Wednesday, 22 September 2021

#BlogTour A Girl Called Ruthless by Melody Pendlebury


 It's my turn on the BlogTour AGirl Called Ruthless by Melody Pendlebury.

About the Author

Melody firmly believes that one should never completely grow up. That is why she has chosen to spend her days writing for a younger audience. Melody resides in Jacksonville Florida with her beloved corgi Gatsby, and her husband Dylan. She started her writing career with children’s picture books and has now pivoted to middle-grade novels. 

She believes that children are eager for more books with strong-willed characters that deal with darker and interesting topics. Her debut novel, A Girl Called Ruthless, is inspired by the fiery girls in her fourth-grade class. When Melody is not writing or teaching kids how to write, she can be found planning her next big trip to some magical place she has never been to. Follow @melodypendy on Twitter, @melodypendywrites/ on Instagram

About the book

A girl with ambition. A clever ruse gone awry. A fatal encounter… Eleven-year-old Ruthless will do whatever it takes to live up to her name. Slaughtering pirates, running an underground gambling operation, and intercepting Russian spies are just a few examples. 

In true Ruthless fashion, she claims the title of student body president, but her aspirations are cut short after getting in trouble. Not letting that stand in her way, she runs for Mayor with the help of her incredibly strong best friend, Owen. Her town of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, has no age requirement to run for the post. The chances of a child winning are slim, to say the least, so Ruthless and Owen disguise themselves as an adult with the good old ‘two kids in a trench coat’ ruse.

This seemingly harmless scheme has grave consequences that invite the turmoil of her mother’s past back to haunt her. When the dangers of the adult world come crashing down on Ruthless, she must learn how to live with her new reality, and ultimately use it to turn her life into a success story – and live up to her name. But will she be able to leave the past behind?

Review

Ruthless prides herself on swimming upstream - she is her name and her name is her. Nothing will stand in her way, even if it means walking over people to get there. She wants to be Mayor, ergo she shall be Mayor. She learns that life isn't always going to go her way and the best laid plans sometimes fail.

Whilst I am absolutely onboard and in agreement with the fact young readers need to encounter more strong-willed young female lead characters, I think Ruthless overshoots the mark by a mile though. What you have instead is a child written like an adult character. Strong-willed isn't the same as rude or lacking impulse control, boundaries and any regard for rules or authority. It's not relatable or a potential role model. You can write a rebel without her being an A-class miniature adult muppet or add half a decade to her age.

What I did like was the way her imagination, reasoning and her stories, and those of others, become part of the narrative. The fairytale, the memory, the life experience - all of them show the storytelling talent and simultaneously the contradiction in the main character. It's loud, brusque and ambitious. 

Buy A Girl Called Ruthless at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎ darkstroke books pub date 21 Aug. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

#BlogTour The Family Man by Kimberley Chambers

 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Family Man by Kimberley Chambers. 'A brand-new series from the queen of gritty crime.'

About the Author

A truly unforgettable character, Kimberley injects authenticity into her gritty gangland crime novels set around the east end. She came to writing later in life, having worked as a street trader (being promoted from tea girl to sales when she rugby-tackled a shoplifter), a DJ and a cabbie. Fed up of scraping a living, she set her mind to writing a novel, despite being laughed at by friends and family, who dubbed her ‘a female Del-Boy’. 

But with her creative mind, colourful life experiences and memorable covering letter (‘Take a chance on me, you won’t regret it. This time next year I’ll be wearing Prada, not Primark’), she quickly had five agents knocking at her door and a publishing contract. Fifteen novels and three Sunday Times number ones later, she’s top of her game and an incredible inspiration.

Join Kimberley’s legion of legendary fans on facebook.com/kimberleychambersofficial and @kimbochambers on Twitter.

About the book

Meet The Bonds… Kenny Bond is finally out of prison after doing a long stretch for killing a copper, and is determined to get back to life on the straight and narrow. He’s got a lot of time to make up for, he’s missed his beloved wife, Sharon, and his family is growing up fast.

A Family Like No Other… Kenny’s son Donny might lack his father’s edge but his twin grandsons, Beau and Brett – well, they are Bonds through and through. Like him, they won’t let anyone stand in their way.

But They're About to Meet Their Match… Family comes before everything else for Kenny. There’s nothing he won’t do for them. But there are enemies from his past he can’t shake off, and a family feud is brewing. Kenny’s determined that nothing, and no one, will threaten his family. But can the Bond family stick together when someone’s out to take them down?

Review

Kenny Bond and his family of conveniently criminally inclined loved ones - give or take a few, those who swim against the stream are likely to clash with the head of the family. He is finally out of prison after a bit of a stretch and it's back to business as usual, but there are certain people who are determined to throw a spanner in the works.

There is no candyfloss and unicorns when it comes to rephrasing the hard parts for sensitive ears and eyes. Chambers does her gangland in a brassy, gritty and unforgiving way. No such thing as easing your way in or a romantic interlude - more like wham bam thank you mam. Put your big girl/boy panties on and pull 'em up yourself. Trigger warnings are for the faint of heart, then again I'm not a fan of those myself.

So, we are clear on the tone of the story, which is family orientated as only British gangland can be. Loyalty in the most peculiar of situations and yet brusque dismissive disloyalty in the next breath, depending on who is on the short end of the stick. The voice, well I had a constant combo of harsh Del Boy turned gangster in my head ( can't wait to hear this in audio version).

I think the author has definitely brought the odd boundary issues of British urban crime to the table. You feel connected and empathetic at times, and yet simultaneously completely angered and/or disgusted by the characters. The Bond family is certainly memorable, that's for sure.

Buy The Family Man at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HarperCollins pub date 16th September 2021│ £14.99│HB EB Audio. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogBlitz A Lethal Arrogance by D.S. Lang


 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogBlitz A Lethal Arrogance-An Arabella Stewart Historical Mystery  Book 3 by D.S. Lang.

About the Author

D.S. Lang, a native Ohioan, has been making up stories since she was a little girl, and she still is! Along the way, she studied English and social studies as an undergrad. After graduate school, she went on to teach government and American history in high school. She also taught English at the junior high, high school, and college levels. In addition, she has worked as a program coordinator, golf shop manager, and online tutor.

Now, she spends much of her time reading, researching, and writing. Most recently, she has delved into the Great War era and the years immediately after it. Her Arabella Stewart Historical Mystery Series was inspired by her Great Uncle Brice who served in the American Expeditionary Force during World War One, and by her love of historical mysteries. In her spare time, she loves to spend time with family and friends, including her dog Izzy. Follow DSLang on Facebook

About the book

After returning home from her service as a United States Army Signal Corps operator in the Great War, Arabella Stewart’s goal, to save her family’s resort, seems within reach as the summer season progresses. She and her business partner, Mac MacLendon, look forward to re-establishing a successful championship golf tournament, once the signature event of the resort’s year. 

Problems arise when one of the contestants, an overbearing snob who has created problems at other competitions, clashes with more than one person. When he is found dead, the victim of a suspicious automobile crash, Bella once again helps Jax Hastings, the town constable and her childhood friend, investigate. As they pursue answers, Bella and Jax find several suspects who might have wanted to make the victim suffer for his lethal arrogance.

Review

Bella is determined to jump-start the family business again. The war has taken it's toll both emotional and financially. Nearly everyone has suffered loss, as has Bella. Learning to come to terms with life without her brother and the holes he has left in the family. It's actually this loss that connects her to Jax, although they refuse to confront the obvious.

Instead they band together to find the killer of an awful man, who was despised by many. The attempts to save Ballantyne Inn are threatened by the early demise of this particularly vile individual.

I think this is less of a whodunnit and more of a 'can you find anyone who wouldn't have dunnit' - yeh that's how likeable the victim is. Is there anyone who didn't have a reason to bump him off?

It's historical romance with cosy mystery as a sideline. Lang weaves the emotional fragility of war trauma, loss, post-war world rebuilding, romance and crime together in this read. The result is a tender approach to each other, whilst navigating a murder most wicked. Note: this dude totally deserved it.

Buy A Lethal Arrogance at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Secrets to the Grave by Steve Frech


 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Secrets to the Grave by Steve Frech.

About the Author

Steve Frech lives in Los Angeles. His novels, Dark Hollows, Nightingale House, and Deadly Games were Amazon best sellers. His next novel, Secrets to the Grave (Book #1 in the Detective Meredith Somerset series), will be published by HQ & Harper Collins in September of 2021. 

In addition to writing, his award-nominated podcast, 'Random Awesomeness', has been developed for television by the Emmy-winning team at 'Thank You, Brain! Productions'. He is also the co-creator of 'Sports? with Jessiemae Peluso' for Comedy Central. He is a frustrated fan of the Chicago Bears, finds cooking to be very cathartic, and is amazing at pub trivia. Follow @stevefrech on Twitter

About the book

The woman recoiled as she rolled the body onto its back. Deep bruises encircled the neck, but the most unsettling feature was the eyes, which stared lifelessly upwards. That was the moment the woman began screaming.

When a teenage girl is found dead on a quiet suburban street, Detective Meredith Somerset is haunted by flashbacks to the day her little sister vanished—the day Meredith should have been watching her. But with a murder to solve, she doesn’t have time for painful memories to cloud her judgement.

The victim is shoeless, the only clue to her identity a small silver medallion hidden in her grass-stained sock. Did she run from her killer across the smooth lawns of Willow Lane? And if so, how did no one in the surrounding houses see or hear a thing?

Meredith needs answers, or she’ll never shake the image of her sister’s face begging her for help. But Willow Lane has more than one mystery behind its doors—and to find the killer, Meredith must venture into a community that’s determined to keep its secrets hidden at any cost…

Review

The body of a young girl is found in the middle of a street and nobody saw a thing - allegedly. Detective Somerset goes door to door on Willow Lane, but the result is a big zero, although there are plenty of suspicions raised by odd behaviour, and perhaps because the chances of no person seeing anything is pretty slim.

Meredith is still haunted by the disappearance of her sister. Is it possible that this young girl stumbled onto something she shouldn't have?  Meredith's finds her own past is the best motivator when it comes to injustice and solving this mystery. Almost like survivor's guilt pushing her to solve this crime, because she is unable to find the solution to her own personal mystery.

I think it's fair to say that Willow Lane is a street with many secrets behind closed doors and a lot of people willing to go to extreme lengths to keep them hidden. This fast-paced crime read is a constant merry-go-round of secrets, half-truths and downright lies. 

Buy Secrets to the Grave at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: HQ Digital pub date 22 Sept. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour I Have Something to Tell You by Susan Lewis

 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour I Have Something to Tell You by Susan Lewis

About the Author

Susan Lewis is the internationally bestselling author of over forty books across the genres of family drama, thriller, suspense and crime, including One Minute Later, My Lies, Your Lies and Forgive Me. Susan’s novels have sold nearly three million copies in the UK alone. She is also the author of Just One More Day and One Day at a Time, the moving memoirs of her childhood in Bristol during the 1960s. 

Susan has previously worked as a secretary in news and current affairs before training as a production assistant working on light entertainment and drama. She’s lived in Hollywood and the South of France, but now resides in Gloucestershire with husband James, two stepsons and dogs. Follow @susanlewisbooks on Twitter, Visit susanlewis.com

About the book

About I Have Something To Tell You: High-flying lawyer Jessica Wells has it all. A successful career, loving husband Tom and a family she adores. But one case – and one client – will put all that at risk.

Edward Blake. An ordinary life turned upside down – or a man who quietly watched television while his wife was murdered upstairs? With more questions than answers and a case too knotted to unravel, Jay suspects he’s protecting someone…

Then she comes home one day and her husband utters the words no-one ever wants to hear. Sit down… because I've got something to tell you…. Now Jay must fight not only for the man she defends, but for the man she thought she trusted with her life – her husband.

Review

Jay is trying to reconnect the fragments of her marriage as she navigates her emotions in the wake of an ultimate betrayal. Anger, suspicion and overall a lack of trust are always at the forefront of any encounter or at least they are on the inside. On the outside she is the wife trying to pretend to try, but let's not kid ourselves - it's hard.

The new case is the perfect distraction, then again maybe it becomes too much of one, because the man accused of brutally murdering his wife is very charming. Every piece of evidence suggests he is guilty, and yet Jay knows this man was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

It is up to her to make sure he doesn't go to prison for the rest of his life for a crime he didn't commit. At the same time she has to decide whether to fight for her husband. Drawn in two directions she has to choose where her loyalties are.

Kudos to the author for the ending - nice one. Suitably messed up, so very much in keeping with the disastrous relationship humans tend to have with the truth. I also wonder whether readers will have the pleasure of encountering Jay again, this plot seems like the perfect set-up for a legal crime series.

Buy I Have Something to Tell You at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HarperCollins; pub date 16th September 2021 | Hardback| £12.99. Buy at Amazon com.

Monday, 20 September 2021

#BlogTour The Impossible Truths of Love by Hannah Beckerman

 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Impossible Truths of Love by Hannah Beckerman. 'Some secrets are kept to deceive. Hers were kept to protect.'

About the Author

Hannah Beckerman is a novelist and journalist. She is a book critic and features writer for The Observer and FT Weekend Magazine and has contributed to a wide range of publications from The Guardian to Red magazine. As a regular chair at literary festivals and corporate events she has interviewed a host of authors and celebrities, as well as appearing as a book critic on BBC Radio 2 and Times Radio. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Hannah worked in television as a producer and commissioning editor for the BBC, Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel USA. She lives in London. The Impossible Truths of Love is her third novel. Follow @hannahbeckerman, Visit hannahbeckerman.com

About the book

The highly-anticipated new novel from bestselling author Hannah Beckerman, The Impossible Truths of Love slips between past and present, mother and daughter, to explore the secrets we keep to protect those we love.

As Nell’s father is dying, he makes a final declaration that hints at a long-held family secret. Feelings of isolation that have plagued Nell for years resurface, and suspicions about her past are raised. Thirty-five years earlier, Annie was devastated by a series of traumas: one shock after another that she buried deep in her heart. The decisions she made were motivated by love, but she feared even then that nobody could ever understand her actions, let alone forgive her.

As their stories unravel, a generation apart, Nell finally discovers the devastating truth about her mother’s past, and her own. A gripping, emotionally charged novel, The Impossible Truths of Love is a moving story about identity, secrets, and what it really means to feel that you’re one of the family.

Review

Nell is dealing with the impending death of one parent and the mental decline of another. As one reveals some odd sentiments about Nell, the other relives the past. Having to deal with loss and grief is made worse by domineering siblings and the sudden realisation that both parents were keeping secrets from Nell.

I am with Annie, gut instinct and certain genetics are most definitely a thing. Unfortunately she falls prey to this interesting phenomena when it comes to motherhood. There is an instant reorganisation of hierarchy from birth onwards - education, social status, job or age becomes irrelevant. There is this invisible, yet absolutely perceivable shift in the way people treat women who become mothers, even by other women. 

On top of that Annie has to deal with the burden of grief and the fact people think she is unstable, due to the trauma. The result is being ignored by everyone and silenced, but perhaps more tragically she is forced to overcome her natural response to reject, and her feelings of disgust. How easy it is to silence a woman who reacts to her instincts, because the world around her treats her as if she is unstable. Why doesn't anyone listen?

I really enjoyed the subtlety of the read. It's never overly dramatic, barring the usual family dynamics and dysfunction. It's a well crafted story about the concept of love and identity, also what family means to each of us and how we define it. Our connections and where we lay the importance of how we are connected, which is different for each one of us. What matters to one, matters little to another.

It's a great read. It's emotional, honest and absolutely a scenario we can all relate to or indeed relate to the characters and their choices. We can imagine Nell's reaction and follow the reasoning behind the decades of secrets. Definitely a book I will be recommending.

Buy The Impossible Truths of Love at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher:  Lake Union Publishing; Publication Date: 5th October 2021 | Paperback Original £8.99 and Ebook. Buy at Amazon com.

Sunday, 19 September 2021

#BlogTour Me and the Monkey by Andy Darby

 It's my turn on the BlogTour Me and the Monkey by Andy Darby.

About the Author

Andy Darby, would-be Viking, and lover of the bizarre. Mission – infest the world with his strange creations. He is the author of Me and The Monkey.

Son of a WW2 Commando, growing up in 1970s Birmingham, as a teenager Andy became a fan of heavy metal, fronting several metal bands over the years. His passion for martial arts also began in the 70s and has continued to the present. Competing as a bodybuilder and playing American Football for the Birmingham Bulls took up much of his 20s.

Following a mixed career involving working in a jewellery factory, spraying cars, and office work, he finally managed to follow his other passion, art, and began a career as a designer. A marketing department honed his skills, and he became aware of the world of designing for live events, joining a small production company, and eventually becoming creative director of their larger parent company. Moving to Cornwall he decided it was time to go freelance setting up his own business focusing on motion graphic design.

In the late 1990s he began to get the urge to write and his laptop drive is littered with the unformed creations that have popped into his head. Me and The Monkey is his first novel, coming to life as an experiment in having the discipline to write something every day during a period when he was travelling extensively for work. The story was written during train journeys, flights, backstage at events, 2am in hotel rooms, even during stops at motorway service stations, and was often written on his phone or iPad.

Andy lives on the north coast of Cornwall with his artist wife, teenage daughter, cat, two ponies, and constantly growing library. He still secretly thinks he could be a big wave surfer regardless of what reality tells him. 

Follow @MeandTheMonkey0 on Twitter, on Facebook, on Instagram, Visit meandthemonkey.co.uk

About the book

Well there’s this talking monkey who won me in a game of Othello in a coffee shop in Amsterdam. He came back to Cornwall with me and has become a prolific reader and dabbler in magic. He also has past life flash backs – the most prominent of which are the Nam special forces ones. We have partially deceased girlfriends who apparently eat dead bodies. 

The Monkey created a sort of black hole in the spare bedroom and now we have a team of nerds investigating it and trying to stop ‘things’ coming out of it. A bunch of Oriental hit men who appear to believe he is a god attempted to steal The Monkey’s magic lolly pop sticks, but he managed to blow them up in their caravan. We are off to Cambodia in search of a temple from which came a monkey faced pendant with glowing eyes and we seem to have upset an international cabal who are out to get us. Oh, and did I mention that The Monkey likes a cigar and we regularly get very drunk on Jack Daniels… 

Review

What is the Monkey god though? Are we talking more on the lines of devil on the shoulder, subconscious, or a really detailed delusion? Or is this really a being with ancient power and very bad habits, who thinks nothing of diving in at the deep-end, whilst swigging whiskey and other vices.

Monkey also seems to be the voice that lacks any kind of empathy or thoughts for humankind. His go-to choice is always destructive, mischievous and seemingly intent on destruction. Bit by Bit of course. All in the name of a good time of course. Hmm let's flip the switch on that and assume he is representing the worst of our base instincts.

Conspiracy theories run galore and cause a wide ledge the sane can stand on to watch the insanity as it happens. It's a it like a frat party on hairy legs. The juxtaposition to that is the way the author relays the information in a calm way in diary or blog like entries.

To put this book into perspective, although whilst writing that I am aware that Monkey and Darby would have a scathing commentary about the fact it doesn't need any such thing, and the whole point is that it is anti-perspective and anti-fits in a particular genre. It is niche, alternative and a cult in the making, which is what Bad Ink stands for.

Personally I like the idea of a core essence or guilt manifesting itself in monkey god form, but perhaps that is too easy. Is it actually just us reacting without impulse control aka societal rules and purely on gut - instant gratification.

I just have to mention what a quality hardcover book it is. Very much a book you can leave on your coffee table or in your bookcase - it will certainly generate some interesting conversations.

Buy Me and the Monkey at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Bad Press Ink Limited pub date 10 July 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Enter the Giveaway to Win a signed Hardback of Me and the Monkey, limited edition print and more (Open INT) a Rafflecopter giveaway

1st Prize - 1 x Hardback book – author signed and numbered (out of 250), 1 x spliff bookmark – author signed, 1 x promotional limited edition print – author and illustrator signed (out of 250), 1 x Monkey death from above T-shirt

 9 x Runners up prize. - 1 x signed spliff bookmarks & 1 x signed and numbered promo print

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

Saturday, 18 September 2021

#BlogTour A Kingswater Summer by Jo Lambert

 
It's my turn on the BlogTour A Kingswater Summer by Jo Lambert.

About the Author

Jo Lambert lives on the eastern edge of the city of Bath. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors.  She has been writing since 2008. Her first five books, a set of linked romantic sagas following the lives of several families in rural West Somerset, were followed in 2015 by Summer Moved On, a contemporary romance set in South Devon. A sequel, Watercolours in the Rain was published 2017, 

 In June 2018 Jo signed to Choc Lit and her debut A Cornish Affair, set in North Cornwall was published in 2019 under their Ruby Fiction imprint. 

Her latest novel A Kingswater Summer is the second of a three-book series. The first, Shadows on the Water, was published in 2020. Both books can be read as standalone stories.

When she isn't writing she reads and reviews. She also has an active blog.  Jo loves travel, red wine and music and long as it has a great melody and lyrics. Oh, and she often takes the odd photograph or two…

Follow @Jolambertwriter on Twitter, Visit jolambertwriter.blog or jolambertbooks.com


About the book

Kiera - Newly returned from backpacking around Europe, Kiera Merrick has landed a dream job - working for actress Stella Wynter, helping set up a memory room at Penmarra, her beautiful riverside home just outside Kingswater.

Jake - Jake Paterson is currently staying with Stella after filming the final series of his popular TV drama. He is trying to work out how to get his co-star and long-term girlfriend Rachel Tyler back after she walked out on him. But Jake soon finds himself drawn to Kiera, developing feelings for her that have no place in his life. He realises painful choices will eventually have to be made. And someone is going to get hurt.

Tom - Stella’s godson, hapless Tom Armytage is also staying at Penmarra along with girlfriend Chantal. He dreams of becoming a successful property developer and hopes Chantal’s dynamic presence will boost his ambitions. To impress her he boasts that he is heir to all of Stella’s wealth.

Chantal -  Chantal Porter is a woman used to getting her own way. Tom is her ideal partner; weak and easily manipulated. Listening to him talk about his inheritance, she likes the idea of being Penmarra’s next mistress. But Stella and Jake’s close relationship gives her cause for concern. Who is he? And could he be a threat to her future ambitions?

As Jake comes to a difficult decision and sets off for London to sort things out with Rachel, a heart broken Kiera is left to watch helplessly as Chantal puts in place a plan to secure Tom’s inheritance. One that will change Stella’s life for ever.

Set on the south coast of Cornwall, A Kingswater Summer is a story of love, deception, and family secrets…

Review

Returning from her backpacking year leaves Keira feeling both wistful for the experiences she has left behind and looking forward to the people and things she has missed, including her job. Turns out her absence didn't leave a gaping hole, which gives her the opportunity to move on to other things.

She enters the isolated world of Stella Wynter, to help her set up a room that will be an homage to her life - a memory room. A fascinating job with a lonely woman turns into something that makes Keira worry. She finds herself in the midst of insincerity, lies and greed with Stella in the middle - someone needs to be in her corner.

Although this is set-up as a multiple character experience according to the blurb - in fact Keira is the character who takes centre stage throughout. It's interesting how Lambert brings a two-tone concept to the table, because it is very much a story about self-discovery, love and yet also a dark domestic thriller type of story. The reader gets relatable family dynamic and a twisted mystery to boot.

Buy A Kingswater Summer at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Drama Driven Publishing pub date 9 Aug. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Friday, 17 September 2021

#BlogTour Little Brown Dog by Paula S. Owen


 It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Little Brown Dog by Paula S. Owen

About the Author

Paula is something of an accidental novelist. A scientist, with a PhD in climate chemistry, she has spent her career writing, educating, campaigning and fretting about the state of our planet. Her late foray into fiction was down to a serendipitous encounter with an amateur historian at Battersea Arts Centre. The incredulous, but true, story he told, and the themes it portrays, stole her heart and became an obsession. Hence Little Brown Dog was conceived. Paula is Welsh born and bred and now lives in London with her partner and a menagerie of rescue animals. Follow @paulasowen, Visit littlebrowndog.london

About the book

One nameless stray. Two fearless young women. A heroic fight for justice. - It’s 1903, and Britain is desperate for change, but widespread calls for social and gender reform flounder against entrenched misogyny. Navigating this world are best friends Lena Hageby and Eliza Blackwood – two thoroughly modern young women determined to live life on their own terms.

Rumours abound of barbaric experiments taking place within London’s medical schools, and when the women covertly witness a shockingly brutal procedure performed on a semi-conscious dog, they resolve to take down the perpetrator – renowned physiologist Dr William Bayling.

In their fight for justice, the women are drawn into an increasingly vicious ‘David and Goliath’ battle with an all-powerful male medical establishment who will stop at nothing to protect the status quo. But how much are the women prepared to risk? Their friendship, their loves, their freedom, even their lives?

Based on extraordinary true events that shook Edwardian society, Little Brown Dog is a tale simultaneously heart-breaking and heart-warming. Although a century has passed, it remains a strikingly modern parable of female bravery in speaking truth to power

Review

Lena and Eliza find themselves taking on the machine that is the male dominated society when they try and change the brutal mistreatment of animals in the name of medical science. What seems to them to be a normal reaction to an atrocity, brings forth unlevelled abuse and hatred, and ultimately consequences neither of them are expecting.

I thought was a fascinating story. Kudos to the author for retrieving it from the dusty archives of history, and paying homage to the people brave enough to fight for both regulations and some humanity when it comes to research, vivisection and experiments. Given the vast amount of political changes and fights for independence, and a voice for women, taking place - I suppose it is no wonder that the fate of animals and the statue of the little brown dog have faded into obscurity over the last century.

Owen makes an excellent point about crossing boundaries with animals when it comes to experiments, pain and torture, all in the name of research. If you are willing to do it to a living and breathing being, then you're not far from crossing the boundary when it comes to the human species. If history has taught us anything, then it is that those lines get blurry really quick, both in the name of research for the greater humanity and personal gain.

Personally I found it rather interesting how much skin in the game the power players and string pullers still have when it comes to said statue. It's almost as if losing certain battles over a century ago is still a matter of contention for this patriarchal society, which is still seeped in misogyny.

Buy Little Brown Dog at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Honno Welsh Women's Press pub date 15 Sept. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

#BlogTour Love Life by Nancy Peach

 
It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Love Life by Nancy Peach.

About the Author

Nancy Peach is a writer of commercial women’s fiction, a mother of three, and an owner of various ridiculous-looking pets including a dog who unexpectedly grew to be the size of a small horse. She is a practicing doctor working for both the NHS and a national cancer charity, and has been writing (in a terribly British, embarrassed, secretive sort of way) for as long as she can remember. 

Nancy has been longlisted for the Comedy Women in Print Prize 2020 and shortlisted for the Harper Collins / Gransnet competition 2019. Her debut Love Life is published by One More Chapter at HarperCollins. She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and is represented by Tanera Simons at Darley-Anderson' You can find her on Twitter at @Mumhasdementia on Instagram @nancy.peach and Facebook NancyPeach.Writer  


About the book

Dr Tess Carter is no starry-eyed Jane Austen heroine. After all, if your dad left without a backward glance and you found your last boyfriend in bed with another guy, you wouldn’t believe in romance either. And the voices in Tess’s head – you know, the ones that tell you you’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not clever enough – well, these voices are very loud. Very loud indeed. Especially when the proud and disagreeable son of one of her patients starts challenging her every decision.

Edward Russell might have a big job and a posh voice, but Tess is determined not to let him get to her, especially if she can get her inner monologue to stop with the endless self-sabotage. And Edward, it turns out, may be less of a prat than he first appears; he’s certainly handy in a crisis.

In the real world, where gentlemanlike manners and out-of-the-blue declarations of love are a story-book fantasy, it’s up to Alice to decide whose voice to listen to … and how to make her own heard.

Review

Tess is more than unlucky in love - more like a walking train wreck. At least her career is running smoothly, well until someone from the past returns, but unfortunately he doesn't remember what happened between them. The two of them try to navigate professional and private relationships at the same time with little success

It's often an emotional read, due to nature of the Tess's work and the way Edward and Tess are connected, but perhaps more so because Tess is relatable. She is also very lucky have Jane in her ear - just saying.

What I really enjoyed about this concept was the angel and devil on your shoulder element, and as if that wasn't enough to entertain the reader the author takes it one step further. With an homage to the world of literature, the grand dame of unrequited passion, love and complicated relationships - our angel with words of wisdom is Jane Austen herself. 

To counter the sensible, the prim and the proper is the devil himself - a tv talk show host. A man who revels in the salacious gossip, the misery, failure and misfortune of others. If whilst writing this a certain host of a popular now cancelled show was in mind, then I can only congratulate on the comparison, for he is indeed a pompous, egotistical man who believes himself to be better than others. He would indeed sneer and jeer from the sidelines.

The two figures narrate the life of our lovely doctor, and often influence her actions and words, as she finds herself in constant conversation with the image of her hopes and dreams, and simultaneously the image of her failure and self-doubt. It's an incredibly clever plot and a delightful read.

Buy Love Life at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎One More Chapter pub date 16 Sept. 2021. Buy at Waterstones.

#BlogTour The Chateau by Catherine Cooper

 It's my turn on the BlogTour The Chateau by Catherine Cooper. The twisty new thriller from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Chalet

About the Author

Catherine Cooper is a freelance journalist writing for many national newspapers and magazines, specialising in travel. She also makes regular appearances as a talking head on daytime TV. She lives in France with her husband and two teenage children.

Her debut thriller The Chalet was a top five Sunday Times bestseller and spent three weeks in the Kindle top 100. The Chateau is her second novel. 

Follow @catherinecooper on Twitter, Visit catherinecooper.net

About the book

A glamorous chateau - Aura and Nick don’t talk about what happened in England. They’ve bought a chateau in France to make a fresh start, and their kids need them to stay together – whatever it costs.

A couple on the brink - The expat community is welcoming, but when a neighbour is murdered at a lavish party, Aura and Nick don’t know who to trust.

A secret that is bound to come out… Someone knows exactly why they really came to the chateau. And someone is going to give them what they deserve.

Review

A new life under the slightly shabby interior and slightly pompous exterior of the chateau, what's not to envy? And yet Nick and Aura have their reasons for leaving a perfect life behind, so when death comes calling they think it's just bad luck on their part. Why would it be anything other than that?

The hook of this plot is the incident, which is vaguely referred to throughout and the details are drip fed to the readers as we get deeper into the story. It creates this kind of two-tiered experience of the characters. The before and after versions of Nick and Aura - you may find them pleasantly agreeable at first without the extra information, but the vision of the two is slowly corrupted bit by bit. 

That's part of the draw and the fact the read has almost early 20th century life of the privileged expat about it at times. One does like to buy oneself a chateau  - purely for entertainment purposes don't you know, right darling?

Without giving too much away about this dark domestic thriller, I think Cooper actually tackles a really valid and current topic within the darkness of the plot. How the actions of one can set a sequence of events in motion, which could have been avoided and yet ultimately ego and misinformation drive a decision towards tragedy.

Buy The Chateau at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HarperCollins | pub date 2nd September 2021 | PBO Ebook AUDIO. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Tinker, Tailor, Schoolmum, Spy by Faye Brann

It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Tinker, Tailor, Schoolmum, Spy by Faye Brann. Winner of the 2020 Comedy Women in Print Prize.

About the Author

Faye grew up in Essex before running away to drama school. She worked in the West End as a stage carpenter but decided to get a 'proper job’, for reasons which are still unclear but may have been influenced by Rachel from Friends. After a decade working her way to the heady heights of middle management, Faye met her husband and moved to Dubai where she ditched corporate life for good in favour of having a baby, performing improvised comedy, and gaining an MA from Falmouth University. 

Now back in London with her family, Faye divides her time between performing in musicals with her local theatre company and working as a freelance copyeditor, but her real passion is for writing novels about (and for) kick-ass middle aged women. Her first novel, Tinker, Tailor, Schoolmum, Spy, won the Comedy Women in Print Unpublished Prize in 2020. Keep in touch with Faye on Instagram and Twitter @writerfaye

About the book 

Vicky Turnbull has never regretted giving up her career for family life in the suburbs. And apart from being outstandingly good at paintball, no one would ever know that in a past life she was an undercover spy and has been trained to kill a man with her bare hands. Not even her husband, and certainly not the other mums at the school gate.

But beneath the school runs and bake sales, Vicky had never quite said goodbye to the past. So, when a newcomer on the PTA sets alarms bells ringing and MI5 comes calling, she’s determined to prove that despite her expanding waistline and love of pink gin, she’s still every bit the cold-eyed special operative. When the assignment gets uncomfortably close to home, Vicky must decide if she has got what the job takes after all, and if home is really where her heart is…

Review

Nothing unusual about the way Vicky plays paintball - I play that way, just saying. To her fellow players, friends and other parents, well they find her James Bond goes loco with a gun and a bit of paint routine quite entertaining.

Little do they know that the mother of three children and the loving wife, well she has an interesting past. The secret squirrel kind of past. She's a wee bit bored now though, so a part-time job might help to alleviate the boredom or perhaps she should respond to her persistent ex-employers.

I think it goes without saying that this should absolutely be developed into a cosy crime TV series or a hardcore brutal one even. The cosy option would lend itself more to the comedy of the plot though. Planning the school summer fair in the morning and stopping terrorists in their tracks during the afternoon school session, sounds like great fun.

Brann writes the kind of plot that teeters on this curious wishful scenario, which is the reality in Vicky's case. She is the kind of powerful, and yet down-to-earth kind of character everyone likes to read and experience.

Buy Tinker, Tailor, Schoolmum, Spy at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HarperCollins | pub date 2nd September 2021 | PBO Ebook AUDIO. Buy at Amazon com.

Sunday, 12 September 2021

#BlogTour Take a Moment by Nina Kaye

It's my turn on the BlogTour Take a Moment by Nina Kaye.

About the Author

Nina Kaye is a contemporary romance author who writes warm, witty and uplifting reads with a deeper edge. She lives in Edinburgh with her husband and much adored side-kick, James. In addition to writing, Nina enjoys swimming, gin and karaoke (preferably all enjoyed together in a sunny, seaside destination). Nina has previously published The Gin Lover’s Guide to Dating and has also been a contender for the RNA Joan Hessayson Award. 

Follow @NinaKayeAuthor on Twitter, Visit ninakaye.co.uk

About the book

Life is better lived in the moment - Meet Alex. She has a wonderful fiancĂ©, a job she thrives in, and a best friend she’s known since childhood. Life’s not perfect, but it’s pretty fantastic. Until a shock diagnosis suddenly throws everything off course.

But Alex has never been one to back down from a fight. Now single and unemployed, she packs up and moves from her Glasgow hometown to vibrant Birmingham for a fresh start. In a new job, in a new city, she’s learning all over again what’s important in life.

Friendship, fun and even romance lie just around the corner – but can Alex get out of her own way and learn to just take a moment, and live? A stunning, uplifting romance for fans of Mhairi McFarlane and Jo Watson.


Review

Alex is looking forward to marrying the man she loves, her career is on the rise and life is good. Then fate deals her a difficult hand, which makes her question everything and everyone. In turn she sees sides of her family and loved ones she is completely unprepared for and she feels she has to do something drastic to take back control of her life.

I thought this was an interesting way to shine a light on our reactions to certain illnesses and/or disabilities, especially if we are the ones looking in from the outside. This is exactly how discrimination forms, builds and becomes a wave, which ultimately makes the person being discriminated against become even more isolated.

I guess the real core of the story, aside from the rebuilding and coming to terms with a debilitating illness, and finding both friends and loved ones who are there for them regardless - is how much the reactions of the world around them influences their wellbeing, mental health and health in general.

It's a heartfelt read, one I think many will be able to connect with and perhaps even see a side of the story they were unaware of. Good intentions sometimes hide the truth of the matter.

Buy Take a Moment at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Canelo Escape pub date 9 Sept. 2021. Buy at Amazon com

Friday, 10 September 2021

#BlogTour Wolf Tones by J.J. Marsh


 It's my turn on the BlogTour Wolf Tones by J.J. Marsh.

About the Author

As an English teacher, actor, director and cultural trainer, I’ve lived and worked all over Europe. Now I’m a full-time author, publisher and audiobook narrator. My crime novels in the Beatrice Stubbs Series have become international bestsellers.

Psychological dramas Odd Numbers (shortlisted for the 2021 Bookbrunch Selfies Prize) and Wolf Tones dig deep into the world of emotional dependence. The Run and Hide Thrillers chase a hunted woman around the world.

I live in Switzerland with my husband and dog, taking advantage of the landscape, languages, Prosecco and cheese. Follow @JJMarsh1 on Twitter, on Facebook, Visit @jjmarshauthor.com

About the book

You escaped the past. Here comes the present. Fifteen years ago, Rolf was destined for the gutter. His luck has changed. Now a cellist with the Salzburg City Orchestra, he has his dream job and dizzying prospects. All because of her. Smart, sexy, well connected and crazy about him, Leonor is his fantasy woman. She made him and he’ll never forget it. Neither will she.

She chooses Rolf’s diet, his friends, his decisions and career path. She knows best. When does a champion turn controller?

While he submits to domination at home, he struggles at work. The maestro is determined to break down and rebuild his new cellist. Clash after clash shatter Rolf’s confidence until he doubts everything about himself. Then a rumour reaches his ear. Has he misjudged his new friends? Is something more sinister pulling the orchestra’s strings?

Regardless of the drama behind the scenes, the show must go on. It’s the only way to escape his past. A classic artist, Rolf presents the best side of himself, hiding the pain of imperfection. A strategy with devastating results.

Review

Rolf is about to embark upon a dream come true when he manages to get a position with the Salzburg City Orchestra. He relocates to Salzburg with his strongest supporter and his lover, Leonor. His confidence takes a beating when he finds it difficult to adjust and little does he know that is just the beginning of his problems.

In general it left me feeling as if there were areas left to be explored and some potential holes to fill in. How did the two of them meet, what are their backstories, has one been drawn to the other for a specific reason? Why does Leonor seem so invested in Rolf's life and success - to the point of obsessive even?

The sexual element seemed to just be tossed in for the sake of it - I felt as if it came out of blue. Saying that there was definitely an undertone of lack of consent and a convenient forgetting of safe word, ergo physical and sexual abuse hidden under the category of sexual exploration. In general Rolf appears to be an insecure man who likes to dominate, and yet somehow as the story progresses the lines between victim and perpetrator start to get blurry.

Some of the questions help to form an idea of what is simmering at the core of their relationship, whilst on the outside everything would seem to appear very normal for a couple in love and interested in each other. It wasn't particularly clear where certain boundaries were crossed by either one or who is guilty of the most malignant attitude - however there is a clear winner towards the end.

It's a piece that could do with a polish, more clarity and more depth. There were plenty of good ideas and subplots the author dipped into though.

Buy Wolf Tones at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Prewett Bielmann Ltd; pub date 5 Aug. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.