Thursday 31 March 2022

#BlogTour Crimson Reign by Amélie Wen Zhao

It's time for The Conclusion to the Blood Heir Trilogy - it's the Blogtour for Crimson Reign by Amélie Wen Zhao.

About the Author

Amélie Wen Zhao was born in Paris and grew up in Beijing in an international community. Her multicultural upbringing instilled in her a deep love of global affairs and cross-cultural perspectives. 

She seeks to bring this passion to her stories, crafting characters from kingdoms in different corners of the world. She attended college in New York City, where she now lives. Amélie is the author of the Blood Heir series: Blood Heir, Red Tigress, and Crimson Reign.

Follow @ameliewenzhao on Twitter,  Visit

About the book

The Red Tigress, Ana Mikhailov, has returned to Cyrilia, but the country she once called home has fallen under a dark rule. Across the land, the Empress Morganya is tightening her grip on Affinites and non-Affinites alike.

Ana dealt a blow to the Empress when she and her allies turned back Morganya's troops, but she couldn't stop Morganya from gaining possession of a dangerous new weapon with the power to steal Affinities.

Ana's forces are scattered, and her alliance with the rebel group, the Red Cloaks, is becoming more frayed by the day. What's worse, she's lost her Affinity to blood and without it, Ana barely knows who she is anymore – or if she has the strength to defeat Morganya.

Morganya's reign of terror is close to crushing the nation Ana was born to rule. And now Ana will finally face the sinister empress, but will she survive? Will anyone? And will her Empire welcome her back to the throne, or turn her out to survive on her own.

The Affinites and Non-Affinites of Cyrilia will determine Ana's future, if Morganya doesn't kill her first.


This is the conclusion to the fantastic Blood Heir trilogy, and I highly recommend reading the other books in the series to get the full gist and experience of it - not to be missed. It's the kind of series you go back and read all over again.

It's a plot that from the very beginning has drawn from reality when it comes to parallels in the oppression, rebellion, cross-cultural complexities and politics. Almost a reverse magical realism - no pun intended - if indeed fantasy were reality. A seemingly familiar plot of family power struggles, misaligned love and powers that wield both from cruelty and passion, which culminates in a riveting plot and invigorating read.

The author does an excellent job of keeping the story going with just as much zest as before, despite the fact Ransom and Ana have their own paths and storylines to finish - I wonder if pressed whether readers could identify the character who is actually the lead. I'm guessing that's probably a mixed bag of opinions, because from the very beginning both the two of them, and other major players have attracted their individual supporters.

It's a tightly created and executed fantasy - maybe worthy of an off-shoot series perhaps - and it's a shame to say goodbye to the characters and story. Kudos for giving readers a multitude and variety of strong female character, especially the hardcore ones who balance on the wrong side of life. I think the ending was what the world wanted, as opposed to leaving everyone infuriated, hanging on a cliff or eager for another part. I can't wait to read what the author comes up with next.

Buy Crimson Reign at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HarperVoyager pub date 3rd March 2022 | Hardback | Ebook | Audio | £14.99 Buy at Amazon com. At Harper Collins.

Tuesday 29 March 2022

#BlogTour Very Bad People by Patrick Alley

It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Very Bad People: The Inside Story of the Fight Against the World’s Network of Corruption by Patrick Alley, with a foreword by George Soros. 'Thrilling corruption exposé by co-founder of Global Witness.'

About the Author

Patrick Alley co-founded Global Witness in 1995 with Charmian Gooch and Simon Taylor. Since then Global Witness has become a global leader in its field. Patrick has taken part in over fifty field investigations in South East Asia, Africa and Europe and in subsequent advocacy activities.

Patrick conceived several of Global Witness’ campaigns and focuses on corruption, conflict resources, forests and land, and environmental defenders. He is a board director of Global Witness and is involved in the organisation’s strategic leadership. Alongside his two co-founders, Patrick received the 2014 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.

Follow @paddy_alley on Twitter, Visit

About the book

Three friends, Patrick, Charmian and Simon came together in 1993 with a joint obsession with the Cambodian civil war plus a big vision, a collective naivety, a shared anarchy, anger at injustice and a love of a good time. 

Setting up a tiny office above a junk shop in old Clerkenwell, and finding their first laptop in a filing cabinet they salvaged from a skip, they came up with an improbable scheme by which they planned to help bring down the Khmer Rouge by cutting off their funding from the illegal Thai logging trade and thus help bring the war to an end. Going undercover on the Cambodian border, with basic spy equipment, and risking their lives, against all the odds they pulled it off. Global Witness was born.

Global Witness is one of the world’s leading investigative organisations dedicated to rooting out corruption and environmental abuse around the world. Patrick Alley is co-founder of Global Witness and in his book Very Bad People: The Inside Story of the Fight Against the World’s Network of Corruption, Patrick exposes how warlords, kleptocrats, banks and governments work together to maintain a corrupt status quo, with global implications. Part memoir, part exposé, it shows us how the world really works.


I'm not sure how anyone else will feel about this book after reading it, but I went away feeling disappointed at the level of destruction, depravity and greed that cements our world. In equal measures I am incredibly glad there are people like Patrick and his associates who are willing to do their bit to expose, change and throw a spanner in the machinery of these criminals - and make no mistake they are are criminals.

Simultaneously the book also puts quite a few political and historical events into perspective. The manipulations and the true core of certain skirmishes, genocides, conglomerates and heads of country and state, and their offspring - well it is an eye-opener. And if there was any doubt that Global Witness are making a mark - you only have to read the testimonials at the beginning of the book. If you're declared an enemy of the state by certain ruthless criminal political figures, then you know you're doing your job.

I think books like these should be part of political science, geography, history and the economic curriculum. Give new generations a true look behind the scenes. I'm sure the majority of people have no idea how few big companies run the world or that behind every conflict of a military nature there are always string-pullers with a hidden agenda. Money, profit, control, power - greed. It's a fascinating and important read - I highly recommend it.

Buy Very Bad People at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Monoray pub date 17 Mar. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

Monday 28 March 2022

#BlogTour Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi

It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hashimi.

About the Author

Nadia Hashimi was raised in New York and New Jersey. Both her parents were born in Afghanistan and left in the early 1970's, before the Soviet invasion.  In 2002, Nadia made her forst trip to Afghanistan with her parents. She is a pediatrician, and lives with her family in the Washington, D.C, suburbs. She is the author of three books for adults, as well as the middle grade novels One Half from the East and the Sky at Our Feet. Follow @NadiaHashimi on Twitter, Visit her online at

About the book

Kabul, 1978: The daughter of a prominent family, Sitara Zamani lives a privileged life in Afghanistan’s thriving cosmopolitan capital. The 1970s are a time of remarkable promise under the leadership of people like Sardar Daoud, Afghanistan’s progressive president, and Sitara’s beloved father, his right-hand man. But the ten-year-old Sitara’s world is shattered when communists stage a coup, assassinating the president and Sitara’s entire family. Only she survives. 

Smuggled out of the palace by a guard named Shair, Sitara finds her way to the home of a female American diplomat, who adopts her and raises her in America. In her new country, Sitara takes on a new name—Aryana Shepherd—and throws herself into her studies, eventually becoming a renowned surgeon.

New York, 2008: Thirty years after that fatal night in Kabul, Aryana’s world is rocked again when an elderly patient appears in her examination room—a man she never expected to see again. It is Shair, the soldier who saved her, yet may have murdered her entire family. Seeing him awakens Aryana’s fury and desire for answers—and, perhaps, revenge.


Sitara's world is destroyed when he affluent family falls prey to the political machinations of a brutal and lethal coup. She doesn't necessarily see her escape and subsequent life as fortunate, as she finds it difficult to put the horrors she experienced to bed. The sounds, images and emotions that have dimmed and become quieter as her drive pushes her to success in her new life, are suddenly awakened when she encounters a pivotal person from her past.

I really enjoyed the read, Hashimi has a knack of fusing fact and fiction, so the reader isn't quite sure where the two meet or separate. It gives the historical inspiration behind the story more validity and I think it also leaves a bigger imprint because of it. That in itself is quite important with historical fiction, when readers encounter history they perhaps haven't encountered in their life or educational, cultural background.

In a time and era of such discourse and division, and with many more countries becoming melting pots of diversity, due to immigration, refugees and mass migration - it's paramount that we all understand the history of those around us. It gives context, especially in regards to culture and indeed often the trauma they have experienced and bring with them.

It's a fascinating story of betrayal, trauma, pain and also one about closure. About dealing with the past and acknowledging that no action in the present or the future will change the past, which means learning to accept to gain some semblance of peace. I really enjoyed both the story and the writing.

Buy Sparks Like Stars at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎William Morrow pub date 2 Mar. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Thursday 24 March 2022

#Blogtour The Better Brother by Simon Gravatt

It's my turn on the Blogtour The Better Brother by Simon Gravatt.

About the Author

Simon Gravatt is a first-time novelist who lives in South London. He's drawn from personal experience as a brother and business owner to write his tale of sibling rivalry and the combustibility of small business. Simon is married with two adult children. Follow @SimonGravatt, Visit

About the book

Michael Merriweather despises his brother. He never wants to see Jack again. But then their father dies and leaves a will that requires the warring siblings to run the family funeral business together as a condition of them receiving their inheritance. As a result, the brothers face a series of difficult decisions that will change their lives.

Michael and Jack are at each other from the word go. Their opposing views on how to run the business descends into a very personal conflict that will have catastrophic consequences. Soon, all that matters to each of them is a burning desire to come out on top and prove himself to be the better brother.

Layers of festering resentment are gradually unpeeled in this darkly comic tale of sibling rivalry, laced with the power, passion, reprisals and everyday friction of family business.


Ahh, sibling rivalry. This natural sense of needing to best the other, but for what purpose in the end. It's an issue that can cloud relationships, and often those relationships turn toxic or become a major stress factor.

For Michael and Jack the truth of their strained relationship is about to be tried, tested and put on display for the world to see. The death of their father, and subsequently his intention to create a bridge between the two, leads to upheaval and the kind of confrontation they have both been avoiding.

The story also explores the topic of acceptance, forgiveness, power and dysfunctional family relationships. Are the brothers primed for their reaction to each other, making a clash inevitable, and should the finger be pointing elsewhere because of that. There is a book club question in the back that I found quite intriguing, whether the fact they were two brothers mattered, and not two sisters, thereby exploring preconceived ideas about sibling rivalry and contention in the frame of a specific gender.

I wonder if this is the end or whether the author will revisit the two brothers as they grow, or not, and age? Explore what happens at the end of the book a bit more. Aside from giving readers the fraught tension between two brothers and their emotional warfare, it's a read that has a serious reflective side to the fictional plot dynamic - one that perhaps many can relate to.

Buy The Better Brother at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: RedDoor Press, £8.99 PB. Buy at Amazon com. At Red Door Press.

Wednesday 23 March 2022

#BlogTour A Dream of Duplicity by A.M. Gautam

 It's my turn on the BlogTour A Dream of Dulicity by A.M. Gautam.

About the Author 

A.M Gautam is an author based in Bangalore, India. His short stories and poems have been published in India, Singapore, the USA, and the UK. One of his speculative short stories was included in the Best Asian Fiction Anthology, 2018 by Kitaab, Singapore. He is also the winner of the Short Story 2020 contest by

About the book

Set in the quaint hill-station of Landour, India this is the story of Aayaan, a painter whose mind always shows him the world in a way that suits him the best, and of Kavya, a writer, who is coping with the recent death of her parents by dropping out of college and opening up a pizzeria.

Aayaan’s everyday life in Landour reeks of loneliness and mundane routines; his days often begin with him waking up in his bed and wishing that he had not woken up at all. His only relief is his weekly visits to the newly-opened Sawyer’s Pizzeria where, while gobbling down pizza, he can watch the girl he fancies, Kavya’s twin sister, Kalpana.

Things take a darker turn soon, however, and blood spills when it is revealed that one of the sisters suffers from existential crises, or rather, a crisis of existence. 


Hmm this is the kind of story that needs a light touch when it comes to a review. The smallest reveal can give away the most poignant part of the story, and yet it is also a story that has aspects I would love to discuss in more depth.

Aayaan is convinced that the solution to his many inadequacies and things holding him back, is to engage with the persons who are the key to his existence. Kavya and her twin sister, Kalpana are happy to welcome him into the fold, after a specific incident brings them all closer.

I really enjoyed how deeply layered this book is and how frank the author approaches the plotline. One could say the expectations of behaviour are fulfilled and unsurprising, however it is a very clear message. A message that needs to be heard and taken seriously. At the very core of this quiet, unassuming story lurks a call to arms - a take note of the burden and try to do better for the women in society.

It's a genre crossing read, an interesting combination of deception, misogyny, possession and obsession. The innocent beginning is certainly not where we end up in the last chapter. Arrgh, I really want to have a good natter, but hey ho let every reader discover it for themselves.

Buy A Dream of Duplicity at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏ : ‎Aesthetic Press pub date 22 Mar. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

Monday 21 March 2022

#Blogtour The Flames by Sophie Haydock

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Flames by Sophie Haydock. The Flames: This is the story of four muses. Let them speak...
About the Author
Sophie Haydock is an award-winning author living in east London. The Flames, is her debut novel. She is the winner of the Impress Prize for New Writers. Sophie trained as a journalist at City University, London, and has worked at the Sunday Times Magazine, Tatler and BBC Three, as well as freelancing for publications including the Financial Times, Guardian Weekend magazine, and organisations such as the Arts Council, Royal Academy and Sotheby's. 

Passionate about short stories, Sophie also works for the Sunday Times Audible Short Story Award and is associate director of the Word Factory literary organisation. Her Instagram account @egonschieleswomen - dedicated to the women who posed for Egon Schiele - has a community of over 110,000 followers, and continues to grow. For more information, visit: Follow @Words_by_Sophie on Twitter

About the book
Every Painting tells a story, but whatt if the women on the canvas could talk...
Vienna, at the beginning of the 20th century, is an exhilarating social whirl, a city of ideas, of music, of ground-breaking art, led by Gustav Klimt until the arrival of his scandalous protegee, Egon Schiele. Into this world come four women, each with their own story to tell:

Adele: passionate, fierce, obstinate. The daughter of a bourgeois family, she rails against the strictures of her class and harbours her own wild fantasies.

Gertrude: spirited, single-minded, possessive. The sister to budding artist Egon Schiele, she longs for an exciting life away from their tempestuous family home.

Vally: determined, independent, proud. A model for celebrated artist Gustav Klimt, she has carved her way out of poverty and is now forging a brave new path for herself.

Edith: quiet, conventional, loyal. Or is she? Younger sister to Adele, Edith is overlooked and wonders if there is another version of the woman she might become.

Four flames, four wild, blazing hearts, longing to be known. In an elegant bohemian city like Vienna, everything seems possible - until an act of betrayal changes everything. For just as a flame has the power to mesmerize, it can also destroy everything in its path.

The story of the women, the muses of Egon Schiele. Set in dual timelines, we meet one of the women as an older woman, desperate to find peace and forgiveness. In moments of confusion it's hard to detect the truth and clarity of the life she has led and the role she played in the world of art.

In the past the reader is introduced to the artist, who in the 21st century would have been embraced for his vision, but in the early 20th century was a scandal unto himself. Egon Schiele, a protegee of Klimt, has no concern for those around him. He wants to paint what inspires him, even if it is considered scandalous in the eyes of society. 

In pre-war and subsequently the duration of the Great War his relationships with the women who inspired such imagery unfold before us, and perhaps give an insight into his process, passion and psyche in a way that helps others to understand the font of creative source.

There is a fine line between genius and insanity, passion and borderline abusive behaviour, between obsession and the embers of mutual attraction. The author captures this untamable wildness of creative passion, and the victims who are left trailing behind in the wake of creation. Although I am certain the majority wouldn't see themselves as such, but rather as the chosen who have been deemed worthy  enough to be the source of said creativity.

Haydock draws readers into her fictional narrative and interpretation, which is supported by historical facts and nuances. The result is a riveting, powerful, passionate and visceral read. It's an excellent story I wouldn't hesitate to recommend and gift this book.

Buy The Flames at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Doubleday Uk; pub date 17 March 2022. Hardback - £14.99. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Penguin.

Wednesday 16 March 2022

#BlogTour The Book of Perilous Dishes by Doina Ruști

 It's an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Book of Perilous Dishes by Doina Ruști.  Translated from the Romanian language by James Christian Brown.

About the Author

Doina Ruști  is one of Romania’s most successful writers of historical and speculative fiction. Known for the originality of her novels, Ruști is the recipient of many major Romanian awards, and her books have been translated into multiple languages, including Chinese and German to date. Ruști is known for exploring aspects of fantasy and the supernatural, as well as tackling darker themes such as political corruption. 

She says, “I live in Bucharest, the happiest city in the world, even its name says it (The City of Joy). In all my novels I write about Bucharest. If this city didn’t exist, maybe I wouldn’t be a writer.”

Follow @doinarusti on Twitter, Visit

About the Translator - James Christian Brown

'I am originally from Scotland but have lived in Romania since 1993. I teach in the English Department of the University of Bucharest and translate Romanian books into English. My first book-length translation from Romanian to English was The Păltiniş Diary by Gabriel Liiceanu (2000). More recently I have translated Răzvan Petrescu’s collection of short stories Small Changes in Attitude (2011), the play Mihaela, The Tiger of Our Town by Gianina Cărbunariu (2016), the volume of philosophical talks About the World We Live In by Alexandru Dragomir (2017), and Doina Ruști’s novel The Book of Perilous Dishes (Neem Tree Press, 2022)'

About the book

Bucharest, 1798. - A slave-cook lives in Bucharest, sought after by everyone. His sublime cooking satisfies even the sophisticated tastes of the Prince, who lays claim to him, whisking him off to the Palace. However, no one knows that the cook has in his possession a witch's recipe book, the Book of Perilous Dishes.

His food can bring about damaging sincerity, forgetfulness, the gift of prediction, or hysterical laughter. And the rightful owner of this book is fourteen-year-old Pâtca, an adolescent initiated in the occult arts. Pâtca comes to Bucharest, to her uncle Cuviosu Zăval, to recover this book, but she finds him dead, murdered, and the Book of Perilous Dishes has disappeared without a trace. All that Zăval has left her is a strange map...


I am eternally grateful for translators who are at the top of their game and able to recreate a foreign language book, so readers from other countries can enjoy brilliant stories that would otherwise remain just beyond our grasp. In this case the translator has in-depth knowledge of language, history and the geographical areas, which absolutely helps to do this story by Ruști justice.

The book starts with an introduction by the translator, which includes the historical context and also why he made certain choices when it came to translating or not translating certain words. At the end of the book there is also the added bonus of a glossary and pronunciation guide.

Pâtca has been preparing for the day when she has to run to save her life - that day has come, it's time to become who she was always intended to be. She is trained to evoke powers, she is a staunch proud carrier of a special bloodline. A bloodline that determines paths of power, time, space and air.

Her escape and story becomes linked with a man who has become a myth in itself, a cook who creates dishes with intent. Pâtca seeks out her uncle in search of the book containing these dishes, but the book is gone and she is drawn into the rings reverberating from the use of recipes that call upon more than just aptitude and taste.

It's an intriguing combination of historical fiction and magical realism. It's on of those books that keeps on giving, worth more than one read - and I don't say that often. An incredibly intricate read narrated by the young Pâtca, who always seems to be in the midst of confusion, whilst simultaneously being convinced and driven by her birthright. I really enjoyed it and can't wait to read more by Ruști.

Buy The Book of Perilous Dishes at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other reason. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Neem Tree Press.

Friday 11 March 2022

#BlogTour My Own Worst Enemy by Robert Edric

It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour My Own Worst Enemy by Robert Edric.

About the Author

Robert Edric was born in 1956. His novels include Winter Garden (James Tait Black Prize winner, 1986), A New Ice Age (Guardian Prize Runner-up, 1986), The Book of the Heathen (W H Smith Literary Award, 2000), Peacetime and Gathering the Water (both Booker Prize-longlisted) and In Zodiac Light, shortlisted for the 2010 International IMPAC award. He lives in Yorkshire.

About the book

Robert Edric is a widely celebrated novelist, winner of the James Tait Black Prize and W H Smith Literary Award, and with nominations from the Booker Prize and Guardian Prize. He now applies his trademark candour to his first wry, honest and moving memoir of a now-vanished era of working-class 1960s Sheffield.

My Own Worst Enemy explores the relationship between a touchy, overbearing and tragicomic bully of a father and a son whose acceptance to grammar school puts him on another track entirely.

In clear-eyed but compassionate prose, Robert Edric vividly depicts this lost era of working-men’s clubs; of tight-knit communities in factory towns; and of a time when a woman’s place was only in the home. He brings to colourful life his family, both immediate and extended – over which hovers the barely-repressed frustration and anger of his own father.

My Own Worst Enemy is a brilliantly specific portrait of both a particular time and place and a universal story of childhood and family, and the ways they can go right or wrong.


I think it's important to view the minutiae of Edric's relationship with his father and his roots from a broader perspective. When you grow up in working class surroundings in a working class family and endeavour to 'better' yourself, and I say that with the greatest irony, because the class structures determine that view of course, stepping outside of your circle and into a different one comes with certain advantages and disadvantages. 

A working class boy who rises from one class to another through an academic path, thereby possibly entering the middle class, upper middle or even upper - he enters a complex structure which closes and opens doors. The structure is also an unforgiving master. The working class no longer accepts the person who has entered the upper level, and the next circle will never fully accept the working class boy as one of their own.

It helps make sense of the fractious relationships and perhaps give a different slant on things. I've read the Guardian's elitist incomprehensible fawning, but then perhaps you have to have lived or seen it to make the right connections. Of course, in the end the only person who can talk with any authority on his memoir is Edric - I do wonder what his father's view on everything would be. 

The father who saw his son as the emerging elitist, the person looking down on him, instead of being proud of the accomplishments. Instead of acknowledging the drive and intellect, the aforementioned becomes the grain of sand in the eye that irritates on a constant basis. Of course that doesn't negate any pre-existing predilection to abuse those you allegedly love and care for, it just adds fuel to the inner anger. 

I found the emotional disassociation in the memoir quite interesting, but then perhaps that is a coping mechanism learnt very early on to deal with the contentious and dysfunctional relationship between father and son - one that still looms over him at times.

It's a dry, factual account of someone dipping into their beginnings. An attempt at closure, to comprehend, and of course give readers the key to the man behind many excellent reads.

Buy My Own Worst Enemy at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Swift Press pub date 24 Feb. 2022. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Swift Press.

#BlogTour The Mother Fault by Kate Mildenhall

It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour to celebrate the #PaperbackPublication of The Mother Fault by Kate Mildenhall. Definitely a read you don't want to miss.

About the Author
Kate Mildenhall is a writer who lives on the outskirts of Melbourne with her family. Her debut novel, Skylarking, was published in Australia by Black Inc. in 2016 and in the UK by Legend Press in 2017. Skylarking was longlisted for the Voss Literary Prize 2017 and the Indie Book Awards 2017. Kate has received residencies at Varuna, the Writers House and at Bundanon. With friend and author Katherine Collette, Kate co-hosts The First Time podcast, a podcast about the first time you publish a book.

Kate’s second novel, The Mother Fault, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2020 and Harper Collins in the UK in May 2021. Follow @katemildenhall, Visit

About the book
To keep her children safe, she must put their lives at risk … - In suburban Australia, Mim and her two children live as quietly as they can. Around them, a near-future world is descending into chaos: government officials have taken absolute control, but not everybody wants to obey the rules.

When Mim’s husband Ben mysteriously disappears, Mim realises that she and her children are in great danger. Together, they must set off on the journey of a lifetime to find Ben. The government are trying to track them down, but Mim will do anything to keep her family safe – even if it means risking all their lives. - Can the world ever return to normality, and their family to what it was?

Ben is missing. It's a mistake, they have the wrong person right? How is Mim supposed to tell their young children that their father is missing. Suddenly his disappearance starts having very real consequences for the family he left behind, and Mim has to make a choice to either be quiet and let the system take over or fight for her family.

In this very realistic dystopian read it's easy to imagine a future just like this, and I believe that in itself is the power of the story. The fact the suggested scenarios are already part of mass fears and easily implemented going forward, is what makes this the kind of read you don't want to miss.

I can imagine quite a few readers shouting out - I told you so! And others rolling their eyes at the paranoia. The integral details surrounding the premise, the basis of the not too far in the future dystopian setting - they are grounded in the realms of possible future scenarios. The author cleverly plays on the fears induced by the last few years and combines it with conspiracy theories, political and economical climates, draws on the environmental impact or foreseeable consequences of said impact, and has created a cracking read.

Mildenhall has captured the slowly encroaching methods of the powers that be. The logical explanations of why certain Big Brother methods are necessary are a manipulation tool to convince everyone to come to heel, the long-term consequences of being a non-questioning sheeple are not only detrimental they are also dangerous.
I loved the amount of information that is thrown at the reader, but in such a subtle way that you blink and it's gone. How important each rule, regulation and nugget of information is, doesn't become clear straight away. It's a powerful modern futuristic plot - a very realistic one.

Buy The Mother Fault at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: HarperCollins pub date 3 Mar. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

Monday 7 March 2022

#BlogTour The York King by Amy Licence

It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The York King by Amy Licence. This is the second book in the House of York trilogy.

About the Author

Amy Licence is an historian of women’s lives in the medieval and early modern period, from queens to commoners. Her particular interest lies in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century, in gender relations, queenship and identity, female orthodoxy and fertility and childbirth. She is also interested in modernism, specifically Woolf and the Bloomsbury Group, Picasso and Post-Impressionism. She has been a teacher for over twenty years. 

Amy has written for The Guardian, The TLS, The New Statesman, BBC History, The Huffington Post and contributes regularly to BBC History Magazine. Follow @PrufrocksPeach on Twitter

About the book

1464. Family conflicts, Lancaster against York, the fight for the English throne continues...

During the early years of his reign, Edward IV of York battles to bring peace and stability to the country, as Henry Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, raises support in the north, attempting to return the Lancastrian king, Henry VI, to the throne. With uprisings imminent, the Earl of Warwick pursues a marriage alliance with France, determined to bring about a friendship between the two countries and suppress support for Lancaster.

Unhappy with the match, Edward meets Elizabeth Woodville, daughter of a squire, and marries in a secret ceremony. With verbal agreements broken, friendships damaged and old divisions reappearing, Edward finds himself facing new enemies much closer to home.

Set during the Wars of the Roses, this is the second volume in the House of York trilogy.


The War of the Roses is one of the most fascinating periods in English history, although admittedly there are many more. The bloodshed, betrayal, and fights for the throne. What a dangerous time to live in. This book focuses on Edward IV and the battle to retain and indeed regain his place on the English throne. His choice of wife in Elizabeth Woodville leads to conflict and a revolt, which see his closest ally and a brother turn on him.

Interestingly this is the prelude to one of the most intriguing mysteries during the conflict between the Houses of Lancaster and York. Edward V and his brother Richard go on to become the infamous Princes in the Tower. I wonder if the next book in the trilogy will reference these events or focus on Richard III - there are doubts about the true physical appearance of Richard, the Duke of Gloucester - later Richard III, for instance. And the finger tends to be pointed in his direction when it comes to the aforementioned mystery.

I digress, as I am wont to do when it comes to this topic. The author does an excellent job of telling the history as historical faction. The topic itself can be event, character and fact heavy, and indeed keeping track of titles, names and places can be a bit of a task. Being able to engage a reader from beginning to end with a story that does due diligence to the actual events is not an easy task, however Licence does it very well.

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the book or to read further work by this author.

Buy The York King at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Lume Books; pub date 3 Mar. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

Sunday 6 March 2022

#BlogTour Adonias Low by D.A. Watson

It's my turn on the BlogTour Adonias Low by D A Watson.

About the Author

D.A. Watson is the author of four horror novels and the fiction and poetry collection, Tales of the What the Fuck. 

His stories, verse and articles have appeared in several anthologies and collections and have won gongs and acclaim from Greenock to Dunedin, including nominations for a Pushcart Prize in the US and the UK People's Book Prize. An occasional poetry performer, he also appeared on the main stage of the Burnsfest Festival in 2018 as the warm up act for the one and only Chesney Hawkes, a personal milestone and career highlight. 

He lives with his family on the west coast of Scotland and is still telling stories. Follow @davewatsonbooks on Twitter, on Facebook  or visit

About the book

Murder. Robbery. Kidnapping. - Welcome to Napa Valley, California, 1891. - To lawmen and bad men alike, The Low Man is a ghost story. The most feared bounty hunter to ever walk the territories. Whispered to be a Native American shapeshifter, a renegade Pinkerton detective, or the Bible quoting son of a mad preacher. No one knows for sure. He’s a spectre outlaws scare each other with around campfires.

Adonias Low lives in the highlands of Napa Valley with his children, scratching a hard living as a farmer and occasional wagon guard. When a wealthy gin baron hires him to see a valuable shipment safely to San Francisco, the opportunity comes just in time to keep the family afloat.

But when the job turns into a massacre and his daughter is abducted by a deviant killer, Adonias is forced into a violent reckoning that will awaken a darkness he’s long tried to bury.

As the corpses mount up, a dying sheriff tries to make sense of the madness, scalp hunters saddle up and ride for blood, fame.


It's as if someone took the energy and volatility of an urban crime setting, or a one-man Bronson Death Wish vibe, and pulled it back into a Western era, then wove folklore and horror into the fabric. You get the lawlessness, isolation, desperation of the era, and of course the brutality that went with it.

I liked the concept, perhaps because ultimately it comes down to the simple man protects family by any means possible, and that will attract a multitude of readers. I do think it can be done without gratuitous violence towards women and children, because it brings down the tone of the entire story, which is then detrimental to the cleverly interwoven subplot of man becomes legend. Legend becomes fused with folklore, fear and the elements we cannot begin to understand. And although it is part and parcel of said era I would also be cautious when to comes to the gratuitous use of descriptive language in regard to certain people referenced in the story.

Saying that, I can imagine this is definitely the right cup of tea for many readers. Justice, vengeance and guilt become intermingled, when punishing the bad puts you on an equal setting to those people. Where do you draw the line? Do you push before you're shoved, wait until it's too late and accept your fate or do you listen to the devil sitting firmly on your shoulder? 

Buy Adonias Low at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Next Chapter; pub date 17 Nov. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Friday 4 March 2022

#BlogTour The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan

'From the bestselling author of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir comes an unforgettable story inspired by the true events of a BBC-sponsored wartime cooking competition.' It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan.

About the Author

Jennifer Ryan is the author of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. She lives in Ireland with her husband and two children. Originally from Kent and then London, she was previously a non-fiction book editor. Follow @JenniferiRyan on Twitter

About the book

Two years into the Second World War, and German U-boats are frequently disrupting Britain’s supply of food. In an effort to help housewives with food rationing, a BBC radio programme called The Kitchen Front launches a new cooking contest – and the grand prize is a job as the programme’s first-ever female co-host.

For young widow Audrey, winning the competition could be a chance to pay off her husband’s debts and keep a roof over her children’s heads. However, her estranged sister, Gwendoline, is equally set on success even if her own kitchen maid, Nell, is competing against her. And then there is Zelda, a London-trained chef desperate to succeed in a male-dominated profession – and harbouring a secret that will change everything . . .


This story is fiction woven with facts, based loosely on programmes the BBC actually had during wartime and times of rationing. In an attempt to teach people how to create meals from less a cooking competition is started and includes four very different women who are determined to win. One of those women is the young mother and recently widowed Audrey.

Winning would mean being able to take care of her already vulnerable children, and you would think that her family would line up to be her biggest supporter, well everyone except for her sister who also has her mind set on winning. What follows is a healthy, funny and often emotional race to the finishing line.

The book is filled with the connection to food, the love of the one thing that brings all people together. My parents are ration babies and my father in particular has many stories to tell, and he is also capable of whipping up a meal out of anything at all. The most basic of ingredients with a tenfold ways of creating nourishing food.

The story is filled with the spirit of sisterhood and friendship, even though it takes a while to get there for some. The trauma of the times they live in call for extraordinary measures, and I think a lot of those have never really left certain countries. Stories are passed on, as are memories, and more importantly those ways and attempts to unify, comfort and support have been passed on also.

It's contemporary read, despite the fact it is historical fiction. The important elements of humanity, friendship and even the more nuanced aspects of rivalry and competitions, all of these things resonate now as they did then. 

Ryan writes a jolly good yarn, one readers can connect with, whilst drawing parallels and feasting on memories and nostalgia. A Home Fires vibe, mixing the staunch upper lip and iron will to survive and persevere with the devastation of loss, change and new beginnings. It's a read I think many will enjoy.

Buy The Kitchen Front at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Pan; 3 Mar. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Karitas Untitled by Kristín Marja Baldursdóttir

It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Karitas Untitled by Kristín Marja Baldursdóttir, translated by Philip Roughton. This is the first book in the Translated Fiction BlogTour, the second book The Homecoming by Anna Enquist is on tour in April - both books are published by Amazon Crossing.

About the Author

Kristín Marja Baldursdóttir is one of Iceland's most acclaimed writers and the internationally bestselling author of numerous noels, including Karitas Untitled, a Nordic Council Literature Prize nominee; Street of the Mothers; Chaos on Canvas; and Seagull's Laughter, which was adapted for the stage and also into an award-winning film.

She received her degree in 1991 from the University of iceland and has also worked as a techer and a journalist. Among Kristín Marja's many honours are the Knight's Cross of the Icelandic Order of the Falcon for her achievements in writing and her contributions to Icelandic literature, the Jónas Hallgrímsson Prize, and the Fjöruverðlaun Women's Literature Prize. Kristín Marja lives in Reykjavik. 

About the Translator

Philip Roughton is an award-winning translator of many of Iceland's best-known authors including Nobel laureate Halldór Laxness, Jón Kalman Stefánsson, Þórarinn Eldjárn, Bergsveinn Birgisson, and Steinunn Sigurðardóttir.

About the book

Growing up on a farm in early twentieth-century rural Iceland, Karitas Ólafsdóttir, one of six siblings, yearns for a new life. As an artist, Karitas has a powerful calling and is determined to never let go of her true unconventional self. But she is powerless against the fateful turns of real life and all its expectations of women. Pulled back time and again by design and by chance to the Icelandic countryside―as dutiful daughter, loving mother, and fisherman’s wife―she struggles to thrive, to be what she was meant to be.

Spanning decades and set against a breathtaking historical canvas, Karitas Untitled, an award-winning classic of Icelandic literature, is a complex and immersive portrait of an artist’s conflict with love, family, nature, and a country unaccustomed to an untraditional woman―but most of all, with herself and the creative instincts she has no choice but to follow.


It's interesting how the young Karitas can recognise certain aspects of her older siblings needing to break free from convention and live life on her own terms, but she does so as a child and perhaps doesn't comprehend when she goes through the same process. In the one it is perceived as flighty, egotistical and perhaps a possible betrayal of the struggling family, in the other as an existential crisis.

Does Karitas ever acknowledge that fact or does her sister remain the one that attempted or perhaps just the sister who was wilful. In her own journey she finds it difficult and even impossible to live up to expectations and adhere to conventions, and yet she does. Simultaneously the soul of the artist pushes to break free of said constraints. The question is whether the two halves of Karitas can coexist or must one half be sacrificed on the altar of emotional bonds or left to shrivel without the necessary air to breathe?

It's beautifully written, and at this point kudos to the translator who manages to capture the beating heart of this story. The stunning, compelling and often deadly surroundings. The isolation of the area, and the way the souls of its people are forever anchored to the land. The author describes with compelling accuracy the woman torn in many directions, and the earth she belongs to, the people she loves who ask so much of her. What does she gain in return - not enough? Can it ever be enough? A riveting piece of literature.

Buy Karitas Untitled at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Amazon Crossing; pub date 1 Mar. 2022 - Paperback £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.

Thursday 3 March 2022

#BlogTour The Patient by Tim Sullivan

It's a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Patient by Tim Sullivan.

About the Author

Tim Sullivan is a crime writer, screenwriter and director, whose film credits include A Handful of Dust, Coronation Street, The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes, Jack and Sarah, and Cold Feet. His crime series featuring the socially awkward but brilliantly persistent DS George Cross has topped the book charts and been widely acclaimed. He is currently the UK chair of the Writers' Guild of America (West).

Tim lives in North London with his wife Rachel, the Emmy award-winning producer of The Barefoot Contessa and Pioneer Woman. To find out more about the author, please visit, Follow @TimJRSullivan on Twitter

About the book

An outsider himself, having been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Condition, DS Cross is especially drawn to cases concerning the voiceless and the dispossessed. In The Patient his attention is drawn to a woman who has been sitting in the reception of the Major Crime Unit, patiently, for three days. Her daughter is dead. With no fingerprints, no weapon and no witnesses, the Bristol Crime Unit are ready to close the case. The victim has a long history of drug abuse and the coroner has given a verdict of suicide. But her mother is convinced it was murder.

DS Cross risks his career and the reputation of the force to uncover the truth. In defiance of his superiors, he re-opens the case and is soon mired in a labyrinth of potential suspects - an addict ex-boyfriend who is the father of Flick's daughter, a predatory ex-employer, and the therapist she came to rely upon, but can he solve the case before his superiors shut it down for good?


It's an interesting one, because you go into the read with that extra bit of information on the main character, ergo with certain expectations, and yet simultaneously the author doesn't build the story around that aspect per se. Instead the reader is drawn in by the obvious barriers Cross encounters, emotionally, psychologically and physically.

The result is a strong compassionate thread throughout this crime read, which in itself draws from a deep emotional well of despair. Imagine knowing your child's death was suspicious and the police were determined to file it away without any further investigation. Frustration, anger, and a constant adding of fuel to the fires of grief.

Cross sees patterns others are unable to see or perhaps unwilling to acknowledge, and when he takes a step across one of the many boundaries he crosses on occasion, there is no way back until he finds the truth.

I really enjoyed the subtlety and the way the author conveys this essence of peace, empathy, compassion and in equal measures life from a neurodiversity perspective. It doesn't overshadow the crime element - it is woven comfortably into the story.

I think this is a series with a lot of potential, and Sullivan is an author with plenty of talent. The read engages and pulls the reader in, which is exactly what you want from a good story.

Buy The Patient at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Head of Zeus; pub date 3 March 2022 - Hardback - £18.99. Buy at Amazon com.