Saturday 29 April 2023

#Blogtour The Journey Home by Conrad Jones

 It's my turn on the Blogtour The Journey Home by Conrad Jones.

About the Author

Conrad Jones spent 12 years working for the biggest quick service restaurant brand in the world.

On March 20th 1993 the IRA terrorist organization bombed the shopping center outside the restaurant he was managing that day. The experience fueled an interest in the root causes of extremist terrorists and the reasoning why its perpetrators feel justified in taking innocent lives. That incident sparked the story of 'Soft Target'. Follow @ConradJones on Twitter, Visit

About the book

The saga continues with Kalu in grave danger in London, while his son Beb flies into rebel-controlled Chad with his wife and baby. They're trying to cross the border into Nigeria to find his long-lost sisters in Monguno. This story will drag you along at 100mph as each perilous journey unfolds and the horror of each situation is exposed. Is this family cursed or can they find each other and a peaceful existence?


This is the third part of a family saga, which can be read as a standalone, but I would recommend reading the previous books to experience the entirety of their story. Given how the family is ripped apart and the danger they face, especially the women and girls of the family, it will give the reader a wider context.

Although it's important to remember that fiction can be used to bring important points home with more intensity - it's far more important to acknowledge the reality of what is described and experienced in the story when it comes to Boko.

Under the guise of misrepresented religion, fanatics or rather criminals use their interpretation of religion to justify the heinous crimes they commit. The crimes against women and children are especially horrifying, and perhaps more so because they have been committing them for many years without any agency being able to bring a stop to their reign of terror. The statistics in regards to the kidnapping,  rape, forced marriages and forced births of girls and women are just a drop in the barrel in regards to the reality of the numbers. That includes the innocent victims they have murdered during their crime waves.

This is the end of journey, a homecoming for the family. A reintroduction to the children they once were and the adults they now are - adults laden with trauma and hesitant to trust their surroundings and the people around them.

It's a story that moves within a world of urban crime, politixal minefields and the exploitative nature of global crime against women and children.

Buy The Journey Home at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Red Dragon Publishing LTD, pub date 2 Mar. 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

Thursday 27 April 2023

#Blogtour Dust Child by Nguyễn Phan Quế Ma

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Dust Child by Nguyễn Phan Quế Ma. 'The eagerly awaited new novel from the internationally bestselling author of The Mountains Sing.'

About the Author

Nguyễn Phan Quế Ma is an award-winning Vietnamese poet and novelist. Born in the Red Delta of Northern Việt Nam, she grew up in the Mekong Delta, Southern Việt Nam. She is a writer and translator who has published eight books of poetry, short stories and non-fiction in Vietnamese. Her debut novel and first book in English, The Mountains Sing, is an international bestseller, runner-up for the 2021 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and winner of the 2021 PEN Oakland/ Josephine Miles Literary Award, the 2020 Lannan Literary Award Fellowship, and others, and has been translated into fifteen languages. 

She has a PhD in Creative Writing from Lancaster University, and her writing has appeared in various publications including the New York Times. Quế Mai was named by Forbes Vietnam as one of the twenty most inspiring women of 2021. Dust Child is inspired by her many years working as a volunteer helping family members unite, and reflects the real-life experiences of Amerasians and their family members. Visit or follow @nguyen_p_quemai on Twitter

About the book

During the Việt Nam War, tens of thousands of children were born into relationships between American soldiers and Việtnamese women. Tragic circumstances separated most of these Amerasian children from their parents. Many have not found each other again…

In 1969, two sisters from rural Việt Nam leave their parents’ home to find work in Sài Gòn. Caught up in the war that is blazing through their country they, like many other young Việtnamese women, are employed as hostesses in a bar frequented by American GIs. Soon they are forced to accept that their own survival, and that of their family back home, might mean compromising the values they have always held dear. As the fighting moves closer to the city, the elder sister, Trang, begins a romance with a young American helicopter pilot.

Decades later, two men wander the streets and marketplaces of modern Sài Gòn. Phong is a ‘Dust Child’ – the son of a Black American soldier and a Vietnamese woman, abandoned by his mother and ostracized all his life – and is looking for his parents and through them a way out of Việt Nam. Meanwhile war veteran Dan returns with his wife Linda, hoping to ease the PTSD that has plagued him for decades. Neither of them can escape the shadow of decisions made during a time of desperation.

With the same compassion and insight that has made The Mountains Sing a favourite of readers across the world, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai brings to life the interwoven stories of these four unforgettable characters, and asks what it takes to move forward


The author captures the feeling these children have, or in this case Phong, of living in a space of neither here nor there. Never accepted by the people of of his home country and treated as if he was personally responsible for the past. His appearance a constant reminder of the Americans who left and never looked back.

Simultaneously the trauma and PTSD the American GI's experience is described with a calm intensity and never with an atmosphere of deserved guilt. As a reader you can feel empathy for any of the main characters without delving too far into the right or wrong of the political skirmish. Instead the author allows for the scenario of each as victim of circumstance merely trying to survive the horror of war.

Infused with an almost trademark sense of compassion, clarity and understanding, the story reminds us of not only the trauma, but also of the ripple these events create in the time. The aftermath, which consumes innocent children who by no fault of their own became unwanted  items in the packing area. With no possible avenue to trace parents who didn't want them or were unable to raise them.

Imagine living in a Catch 22, where you are clearly discriminated against because of your connection to an American parent and yet are unable to fulfil the requirements to leave the country that has never wanted you in the first place.

It's a story that comprehends the fact that life is imperfect, ergo there isn't always a perfect ending or resolution. Equally that there can never be any real restitution for a lifetime of rejection or real peace for the those involved in vicious wartime conflicts. It's a great read.

Buy Dust Child at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by ONEWORLD | pub date 20 April 2023 | Hardback | £16.99. Buy at Amazon com.

Wednesday 26 April 2023

#Blogtour Preloved by Lauren Bravo

It's my turn on the Blogtour Preloved by Lauren Bravo.

About the Author

Lauren Bravo is a freelance journalist who writes about fashion, popular culture, food, travel and feminism, for publications including Grazia, Refinery29 UK, Cosmopolitan, Stylist, easyJet Traveller, Time Out, Delicious, the Telegraph and the Guardian. She is the author of two non-fiction books, What Would the Spice Girls Do? (2018) and How To Break Up With Fast Fashion (2020). Lauren lives in East London, and Preloved is her debut novel. Find out more on her website Follow @laurenbravo on Twitter

About the book

Gwen’s life has stalled. She’s in her mid-thirties, perpetually single, her friends are busy procreating in the country and conversations with her parents seem to revolve entirely around herbaceous borders and the council’s wheelie-bin timetable. Above all she’s lonely. But then, isn’t everyone?

When Gwen’s made redundant from a job she drifted into a decade ago and never left, she realises it’s time to make a change. Over what might be the best – and most solitary – meal she’s ever eaten, Gwen vows to find something meaningful to do with her life, reconnect with her family and friends – and finally book herself a dentist appointment.

Her search for meaning soon leads her to volunteer in a local charity shop where she both literally and metaphorically unloads her emotional baggage. With the help of the weird and wonderful people she meets in the shop and the donated items bursting with untold stories that pass through its doors, Gwen must finally address the events and choices that led her to this point and find a way to move forward with bravery, humanity and more regular dental care.

Brimming with life, love and the stories bound up in even the most everyday items, Preloved is a tale about friendship, loss, being true to oneself no matter the expectations – and the enduring power and joy of charity shops.


It's a bit of a shock to discover that mid-thirty is the new past the sell-by-date, especially when you've just been turfed out of your job. It al leaves Gwen feeling unwanted, unloved and quite frankly invisible - which is not unusual for women after a certain age, perhaps because they are often treated as second best due to their advancing age. I say that with every bit of irony I can muster without being a tad insulting towards a society that has a Logan's Run age identity crisis at the core of their societal standards.

It's time to buckle up and reinvent the wheel. Life as Gwen knows it is about to become quirky and a lot more accepting of her and those around her, as she decides to wade in waters hitherto unknown to her.

Delightful, this would make a great tv series. An item from a charity shop creating a connection between two people, as their stories unfold every week. The main character trying to find themselves and the meaning of life in the midst of one person's thrift item is another person's treasure.

Aside from the quaint characters and the lovely premise I think it's worth noting that thrift shops are the ultimate recycling centre, but people don't see it as such because they are run as shops. In the majority of cases the profit goes to charitable causes. It's much better to let someone else have your preloved item instead of it going to a landfill. 

In a way the characters themselves lend themselves to the description and title. What are we if not preloved when we are emerging from a past relationship.

Buy Preloved at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer Publisher : Simon and Shuster, pub date 27th April 2023 | Hardcover | £14.99. Buy at Amazon com.

Tuesday 25 April 2023

#Blogtour The Arrow Garden by Andrew J. King

 It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Arrow Garden by Andrew J. King.

About the Author

Brought up to value thinking and making equally, Andrew’s first degree was in English Literature and Fine Art. He also holds an MA in Visual Culture at Bath Spa University. A lifelong interest in aspects of Japanese culture led to an extended trip in 2011 in the aftermath of the tsunami, assisting and observing participants in spectacular Shinto rituals of horseback archery.

The Arrow Garden is his first novel. Early drafts were longlisted for the Bridport Prize and The Bath Novel Award, before winning the BNA outright in 2020.

Andrew lives in Bath, England. When not writing he is to be found riding strange bicycles or, very occasionally, practicing traditional Japanese archery. Follow @AndrewJKing5 on Twitter

About the book

He needs a reason to live, she doesn’t want to die. When lonely and socially isolated translator, Gareth, takes up traditional Japanese archery in 1990s Bristol, he learns that to study Kyudo is to reach out, to another culture, another time, other people… But when one of them reaches back, two lives that should never have touched become strangely entangled.

In wartime Tokyo, Tanaka Mie, finds herself wandering the burned-out ruins of her dead parents’ fire-bombed home, with only hazy recollections of how she survived. Setting out on a hike to a mountain village shrine, away from the charred city, she begins a life to which she is not sure she is entitled, a life which feels like living on the other side of the sky. To visit the past or the future, even in imagination, is to change it. But it is also to be changed.


Gareth and Tanaka become the split arrow travelling towards a specific target, unbeknownst to the two of them, with completely different paths and experiences. The intersecting and crossing, and of the course the way the arrow becomes the metaphor for life and the journey taken, is miniscule moment that should be seen in its entirety. Step away from the complex ant hill of humanity, the tragedy and sense of fate, then imagine the vastness of each such encounter. The way every life holds the equal measure or capability of creating a negative or positive response and encounter. 

It leaves the reader with this wistful feeling that is hard to pinpoint, but hovering there in the background. The poetic and lyrical immersion of thought and emotion, as the soul of this creative expanse is laid bare. The echo of survivor's guilt still a haunting companion until the end.

I really enjoyed the way the study of Kyudo was used as a way to drive, mirror and become the plot. Beautifully crafted and executed, so kudos to the author. I also think the postscript is equally written with a gentle tread and has the same amount of importance.

I loved the writing, the way each description and moment is almost like a held breath waiting to be expelled. Beautifully lyrical and consciously realistic when necessary. Definitely an author to watch.

Buy The Arrow Garden at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Aderyn Press pub date 19 Jan. 2023. Buy at Amazon com. Buy via Aderyn Press.

#Blogtour Go As A River by Shelley Read

 It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Go As A River by Shelley Read.

About the Author

Shelley Read is a fifth generation Coloradoan who lives with her family in the Elk Mountains of the Western Slope. She was a Senior Lecturer at Western Colorado University for nearly three decades, where she taught writing, literature, environmental studies, and Honours, and was a founder of the Environment & Sustainability major and a support program for first-generation and at-risk students. Shelley holds degrees in writing and literary studies from the University of Denver and Temple University’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing. She is a regular contributor to Crested Butte Magazine and Gunnison Valley Journal, and has written for the Denver Post and a variety of publications. 

Go As A River, her first novel, is inspired by the landscape she comes from and will be published in over thirty territories.  

About the book

In this soaring, compassionate novel, a breath-taking picture of our natural world - its trees and mountains and light - emerges. But more than this, it is the tale of female resilience and becoming that gives Go As A River its strength, its soul, and its possibility.

Nestled in the foothills of the Elk Mountains and surrounded by sprawling forests, wandering bears and porcupine, the Gunnison River rushes by the tiny town of Iola.

On a cool autumn morning, seventeen year old Torie Nash heads into her village pulling a rickety wagon filled with late-season peaches from her farm.  As she nears an intersection, a mysterious young drifter with eyes dark and shiny as a raven’s wing, grimy thumbs and smudged cheeks, stops to ask her the way. She could have turned left or crossed over, but she did not.  She stayed.  ‘Go as a river,’ he whispers to her.  

So begins a mesmerising story that unfolds over a lifetime, as Torie attempts to absorb and follow his words. 

Gathering all the pieces of her small, extraordinary life, spinning through the eddies of desire, heartbreak and betrayal, embracing and challenged by the landscape she calls home, Torie arrives at a single rocky decision that changes her life forever. 


It's the most fleeting of moments, gestures and meetings that often leave the biggest imprint on our souls. Little does Torie know that a chance meeting with a young drifter is one that will change the course of her life, the way she interacts with her world and how she feels about herself.

In essence the words that remain with Torie, that she go as a river, eventually give her a bigger perspective and better understanding of the fragility of time and life. You're merely a fluid moment passing by in a larger scenario or landscape, leaving behind an essence of your being and nature. Or in this particular case perhaps even leaving behind part of your spirit in another as they flow through their individual landscape. Never the twain shall meet until both rivers merge for some time or flow separately whilst consciously aware of the existence of the other.

The story in itself has a spiritual, philosophical atmosphere to it, a type of metaphor for life itself. Life is a combination of harsh reality and sheer breath-taking moments of tranquillity and beauty. Moments of clarity, epiphanies, and yet skewed with the the painful drudge of daily life.

It's a wonderful read, the author has a beautiful way of making the reader  feel as if they are basking in the comfortable warmth of the sun whilst listening to the sound of leaves rustling and water travelling past. The inevitability, the tragedy, and the unpredictability of life.

Buy Go As A River at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Doubleday pub date 13th April 2023 | Hardback | £14.99. Buy at Amazon com.

Friday 21 April 2023

#Blogtour From Far Around They Saw Us Burn by Alice Jolly

The highly anticipated first short story collection from the author of the Folio Prize-shortlisted Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile.

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour From Far Around They Saw Us Burn by Alice Jolly.

About the Author

Alice Jolly is a novelist and playwright. She won the 2014 V. S. Pritchett Memorial Prize with one of her short stories, ‘Ray the Rottweiler’, and her memoir Dead Babies and Seaside Towns won the 2016 PEN Ackerley Prize. She has published two novels with Simon & Schuster – What the Eye Doesn’t See and If Only You Knew – and four of her plays have been produced by the professional company of the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham. 

Her novel Mary Ann Sate, Imbecile, published by Unbound in 2018, was longlisted for the RSL Ondaatje Prize and shortlisted for the Rathbones Folio Prize. Her latest novel, Between the Regions of Kindness, was published by Unbound in 2019. In 2021, Jolly was awarded an O. Henry Prize for her short story ‘From Far Around They Saw Us Burn’. She lives in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Follow @jollyalice on Twitter

About the book

This collection contains works such as 'Ray the Rottweiler', which won the 2014 V. S. Pritchett Memorial Prize, and 'From Far Around They Saw Us Burn', which in 2021 received an O. Henry Prize, the US's most prestigious short story award. 

From Far Around They Saw Us Burn is the eagerly awaited first short story collection from Alice Jolly, one of the most exciting and accomplished voices in British fiction today. The extraordinary range of work gathered here is united by a fascination with how everyday interactions can transform our lives in unpredictable ways. These are stories of lonely people, outcasts and misfits, and the ghosts that inhabit our intimate spaces. The result is a compelling, arresting and, at times, devastating collection – not least in the title story, which was inspired by the tragic true events of the 1943 Cavan orphanage fire. 

Written with an exemplary eye for detail and an intimate understanding of the complexities of human nature, Jolly's collection builds up towards the ultimate question: what is revealed of us when we peel away the surfaces, and is it enough?


This is a novella length book of short stories, fifteen stories. Multiple variations on situations where humans are disappointing and flawed, simultaneously brow beaten into submission by societal norms.

I think it's the clarity the author offers the reader, especially when presented with a certain perspective or rather the preferred perspective. Chipping away at the frivolous, and perhaps often misleading facts to hide the guilt. Although in the last story there is probably not an inch of guilt by hands who feel they are the voice of morality. The story even more tragic and scathing as it's told from the viewpoint of the victims.

It's an intriguing combination of short stories, which are like small microcosms of kodak moments in time. They pull you in in such a visceral way that it is hard to believe they are but brief moments to experience. I would definitely buy longer works by this author.

Buy From Far Around They Saw Us Burn at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published in Hardback by Unbound on 30th March, 2023 for £18.99 and eBook for £9.99. Buy at Amazon com.

Tuesday 18 April 2023

#Blogtour Tell Me Lies by Teresa Driscoll

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Tell Me lies by Teresa Driscoll. From the two-million copy bestselling author of Her Perfect Family and I Will Make You Pay.

About the Author

Teresa Driscoll is a former BBC TV news presenter whose psychological thrillers have sold nearly two million copies across the world. Her first thriller I Am Watching You hit Kindle Number 1 in the UK, USA and Australia and has sold more than a million copies in English alone. 

Teresa writes women’s fiction as well as thrillers and her work has been optioned for film and sold for translation in more than 20 territories. For decades Teresa was a journalist working across newspapers, magazines and television. Covering crime for so long, she was deeply moved by the haunting impact on the relatives, the friends and the witnesses and it is those ripples she explores now in her darker fiction. Teresa lives in glorious Devon with her family and blogs regularly about her ‘writing life’ on her website, Follow @TeresaDriscoll on Twitter

About the book

From bestselling author Teresa Driscoll comes a chilling thriller of past secrets and present terror. Deep in a rural hideaway, it’s only the owls watching them … right?

After a betrayal that sent their marriage into freefall, Hannah and Sam are desperate for a fresh start with their eight-year-old daughter Lily—and where better than picture-perfect Owl Cottage in beautiful Cornwall. But something about the holiday home stirs dark memories for Hannah …

When she finds dead creatures on the doorstep and hears mysterious knocks at the door, Hannah can’t help wondering whether someone is messing with her—or whether the past she’s been running from has finally claimed her sanity.

As the disturbing events at Owl Cottage seep out into the local community and the police become involved, Hannah turns to Sam for help. But he dismisses her worries, and she begins to wonder if she was wrong to ever trust him. Are the memories making her paranoid, or is this something more sinister than she dares imagine?


I think Hannah is a curious character in the sense that she can appear to tick boxes and perhaps even irritate readers to the point of manoeuvring herself into the position of prime suspect or guilty party.  At the very least she then emerges as the hypersensitive cuckolded wife leaning towards sightly unhinged.

It's easy to believe she is merely manifesting fear in a certain way, because there has been massive betrayal and upheaval in her recent life. Playing into that is the unresolved trauma she is unaware of or rather of the magnitude of her unresolved subconscious issues.

I thought the author did a great job of not only highlighting the skewing of boundaries when it comes to lived trauma, generational trauma being projected on to the next person in line and perhaps not being able to comprehend where one stops and the reality of a situation happening now ends. How women are gaslit on a daily basis when it comes to mental health, medical issues and just life in general.

It's a dark domestic psychological thriller that keeps the reader guessing for quite a while. It has that creepy isolated atmosphere fuelled by what appears to be paranoia and a healthy dose of mistrust. You know what they say though - it isn't paranoia when they are really out to get you, right?

Buy Tell Me Lies at Amazon uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Thomas & Mercer pub date 18 April 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Atalanta by Jennifer Saint

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Atalanta by Jennifer Saint.

'From the Sunday Times No.1 bestselling author comes a new story of a legendary woman from Greek mythology.' Spurned by a king. Raised by bears. Blessed by a goddess. The only female Argonaut.

About the Author

Thanks to a lifelong fascination with Ancient Greek mythology, Jennifer Saint read Classical Studies at King’s College, London. Since September 2022, she has been a Visiting Research Fellow in the Classics Department there. In between, she spent thirteen years as an English teacher, sharing a love of literature and creative writing with her students. Ariadne is her first novel, Elektra is her second, and Atalanta is her latest mesmerising mythological retelling. Follow @jennysaint on Twitter or visit

About the book

Exposed on a mountainside, the defenceless infant Atalanta is left to the mercy of a passing mother bear and raised alongside her cubs under the protective eye of the goddess Artemis. Swearing that she will prove her worth alongside the famed heroes of Greece, Atalanta leaves her forest to join Jason’s band of Argonauts. But can she carve out her own place of legend in a world made for men?


At the core of this retelling is erasure of the only female Argonaut and why her presence has been gradually clipped away in popular narratives. In fact the entirety of the book leans into the role of women in mythology, their treatment by men regardless of whether those men are of myth, of reality or of a mixed nature. Atalanta deserves her space.

It's fascinating how the role of any mythological figure can be cast, written of and perceived in both a positive or negative light, depending on who does the retelling. I think that's why this niche and the retellings or old myth new angle is particularly popular in the book world at the moment - it allows the writer to step away from tales for the majority by men written for men, hence certain recurring themes and the way women are portrayed.

The angry, the reactionary, the vengeful, the woman waiting to be consumed and ravished by any old god, demi god or just a man in general. How refreshing to encounter the character resuming her rightful place in the stories, fighting the presumptive narrative and battling to carve out her space.

Artemis is the pinnacle of feminism is this story, her warnings and prophecies become self-fulfilling ones, because the punishment for not heeding them lends itself to a similar narrative that men deem appropriate for women who refuse to bend the knee. Does that make Artemis the faux feminist?

It's a great read, the author does a fantastic job of breathing new life into forgotten mythology.

Buy Atalanta at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Wildfire pub date 13th April 2023, £16.99 hardback, eBook & audiobook. Buy at Amazon com.

Monday 17 April 2023

#Paperback #Blogtour Isaac and the Egg by Bobby Palmer

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Isaac and the Egg by Bobby Palmer.

About the Author

Bobby Palmer is a freelance journalist who writes for publications including Time Out, GQ, Men's Health and Cosmopolitan. Isaac and the Egg is his debut novel. Follow @thebobpalmer on Twitter

About the book

Heartbreaking and heart-stealing, this bestselling modern-day fable is an unforgettable novel about sorrow, joy, friendship and love. When Isaac Addy walks into the woods on the worst day of his life and finds something extraordinary there, he already knows he's going to take it home.

A grieving Isaac and his curious new friend are unlikely companions. They don't even speak the same language. But their chance encounter will transform Isaac's life in ways he cannot yet imagine. And maybe he will finally be able to tell the truth.

Sometimes, to get out of the woods, you have to go into them. Isaac and the Egg is one of the most hopeful, honest and wildly imaginative novels you will ever read.


The reader meets Isaac in the grip of heightened emotions, at his lowest and on a precipice. End the pain and the torment with death. Until something happens or rather something intervenes, which changes the course of his plans - at least for that moment in time. 

Interesting. It's literary fiction with an element of magical realism. I suppose it also depends on how to want to engage with and view Egg. Is Egg a reality? Or is Egg a fiction of his imagination, to be more precise is Egg his coping mechanism?

The manifestation of Egg begins at the peak of the grief, desperation and an inch before committing suicide. Isaac is in a physical and emotional tug-of-war. Nothing to feel on this side of choice - life. Certainly even less on the other side - jumping off a bridge. He hears what I can only refer to as a core primal scream. Core emotions vented.

Now, is that scream not only him, but experienced as external, ergo as Egg. Is it also his subconscious will to survive coming forward as a more vocal conscious state? Each action and expression by Egg is in fact Isaac, which is why the story ends the way it does. Well, that's my interpretation and I am sticking with it.

It's the kind of book or story that might be a bit of a Marmite experience. I found it an intriguing piece of work and look forward to more by this author.  

Buy Isaac and the Egg at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : ‎Headline Review; pub date 18 Aug. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

Friday 14 April 2023

#Blogtour Odin's Betrayal by Donovan Cook

 It's my turn on the Blogtour Odin's Betrayal by Donovan Cook.

About the Author

Donovan Cook is the author of the well-received Ormstunga Saga series which combines fast-paced narrative with meticulously researched history of the Viking world, and is inspired by his interest in Norse Mythology.  He lives in Lancashire and his first title in a new series for Boldwood will be published in Spring 2023. Follow @DonovanCook20 on Twitter

About the book

Two kingdoms destined for war, one boy caught in the eye of the storm...

Francia AD853 - After a failed Viking raid on the Frankish coast over 20-years-ago, Jarl Sven the Boar is forced to leave his only son, Torkel, as a hostage and warned never to raid Francia again or his son will die.

In Hügelburg, a small town in East Francia, Torkel and his 9-year-old son Charles are ambushed at home. Before dying, Torkel thrusts a package into young Charles’s hands and tells him to flee Francia for Denmark in search of his grandfather Sven the Boar’s protection.

But the man Charles eventually finds is not who he expects, and Charles must put his fate in the hands of a man betrayed by Odin. Together they must uncover the significance of the package and why the Kings of Francia want Charles dead.


Jarl has overcalculated his position and the repercussion of that is not only the deaths of his fellow countrymen, but also having to choose to save many in exchange for the life of his loved one. A hostage means leverage, but when the hostage is your child it also means the beginning of the end.

It's not uncommon for people who live abroad to return to their homeland, their family and countrymen (people), and be completely shocked that the world has moved on. That the idyllic image they have in their memories and head isn't the reality or in this case that life and age has changed someone into a quivering wreck of the person they used to be.

When Torkel automatically looks to the severed connection from his childhood he has no idea what kind of danger, disruption and challenging times he is sending his young son into. In the back of his mind is there perhaps an inkling of the redemption he deserves being delivered to his own son by the father who had to make a choice between life or death so many years before.

Will Charles be able to find and semblance of safety with the grandfather broken by the decisions he had to make to save himself and the rest of his men?

It's a fast paced venture into historical fiction, the ambitious and history altering migration, battles and expeditions that have left permanent footprints in our geographical and genealogical past - footprints and fixtures that are visible even today. 

Buy Odin's Betrayal at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Boldwood Books (11 April 2023)  Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Small Joys by Elvin James Mensah

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Small Joys by Elvin James Mensah.

About the Author

Elvin James Mensah is a 27-year-old British-Ghanaian writer born and raised in South East London. He received his Bachelor of Arts in English and Journalism from Bournemouth University, where he began writing his first novel. When not writing about blackness and queerness, he can be found voraciously explaining either the interconnectivity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to his long-suffering friends, or the everlasting cultural impact of the Spice Girls. His other hobbies include drinking copious amounts of Capri Sun and re-reading Donna Tartt and Hanya Yanigihara novels.

About the book

Harley is a young queer Black man struggling to find his way in mid-noughties Britain. Returning home to Dartford, having just dropped out of an undergraduate course in music journalism, he is wracked by feelings of failure and inadequacy. Standing in the local woods one day, on the verge of doing something drastic and irreversible, his hand is stayed by a stranger: a tall husky guy who emerges from the bushes holding a pair of binoculars.

Muddy is an ebullient Mancunian whose lust for his own life makes others feel better by association. A keen birdwatcher, rugby fanatic and Oasis obsessive, he quickly becomes a devoted and loyal friend to Harley who finds his enthusiasm infectious and his dimples irresistible. In no time at all, they become inseparable. Harley starts to think that life may be worth living after all, while Muddy discovers things about himself that the lads down the rugby club may struggle to understand.

But when figures from the past threaten to plunge Harley back into the depths of depression, his only hope of survival is Muddy and the small joys they create together.


I think the story of Harley in connection with his mental health issues, especially when the culmination of anxiety and depression is linked directly to his time at university. Already existing predispositions, trauma and mental heath that is already fragile - all of those things lead to an overwhelmed young person who sees no other way out than to end the pain and confusion.

Leaving aside the relationship that builds between Harley and Muddy, the way Harley feels whilst at Uni was one of the most interesting aspects of the story. Why? Because it is a common scenario and not just specific to certain groups of people. Harley feels isolated because he is more vulnerable as a gay man, more so because he is a gay black man. He also lets a fairly strong Imposter Syndrome convince him that he doesn't deserve his place among the brightest and academically inclined.

The anxiety and encroaching depression become an insurmountable mountain of pressure with no outlet. A room with moving walls that closing in on him inch by inch - the only way out appears to be drastic ad also crystal clear.

I think the impact of a negative university or college experience is underestimated by many. It can destroy mental health, lives and opportunities, and unfortunately the institutions and their experts don't take it seriously. There are plenty who never meet a Muddy or experience the kind of nurturing opening of doors and arms that allow for a different result than the drastic choice Harley makes at the beginning of the book.

It's a story written without a finger of blame, because the only thing that counts is bringing a valuable life back from the edge of the cliff and then witnessing how they open up to enjoy themselves, life and others.

It's a beautifully written story with a strong emphasis on taking strength and power from the small moments and interactions in life, and learning to navigate the disappointments and negative aspects in a way that doesn't knock you off your feet. Connecting, living, and understanding that there is always a way forward through the pain - even if it doesn't seem like it sometimes. 

Buy Small Joys at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Scribner UK pub date 13 April 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

Thursday 13 April 2023

#Blogtour Maybe Next Time by Cesca Major

 It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Maybe Next Time by Cesca Major.

About the Author

Cesca Major is a novelist and screenwriter. She runs writing retreats and coaching throughout the year, is a mentor for Black Girl Writers and has taught creative writing for Jericho Writers and Henley School of Art. She blogs and vlogs about the writing process on her social channels.

Cesca has written under pseudonyms in other genres and has been nominated for both the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Award and the CWA Gold Dagger Award. She lives in Berkshire with her husband, son and twin girls. Follow @CescaMajor onTwitter

About the book

Even the greatest love stories end. But what if this one didn’t have to? Emma is having the worst day of her life. Frustrating. Chaotic. And the only person who could make it better is gone by the end of the day.

Yet even worse than all of that: Emma keeps waking up to the same day, over and over again. But what if this is a sign things could be different? Can Emma change the heartbreaking end to this love story?


Emma is caught up in the daily pressures of life, and struggling to maintain work life balance. Her commitment to a tradition she has with her husband has become less of a priority over the years, which upsets him. If only she knew she is about to relive the same day over and over again. At first she is convinced that fixing the tragedy that occurs is the way forward, until realises that her entire family is waiting to implode.

It's a hard one to pin to a genre, perhaps because certain elements fit in multiple ones depending on how you view the experience of Emma. A touch of literary fiction, an essence of dark magical realism in the form of the universe requesting its payment for the ferryman, and yet it is simultaneously also a contemporary picture of family life, relationships and love in our era.

It's the kind of work you find yourself watching in screen form after someone has turned it into a visual lesson on compassion, morality, self-exploration of expectations and the frustration about the lack of control we have in life, then again the groundhog certainty of death could be presented with a darker more sinister face.

I really enjoyed the way the author combines the futility and powerlessness of the Butterfly Effect with determination to do better and save the lives of those around her. Just a small alteration here, a minor change there, with the same result over and over again. 

It's also equally and perhaps more importantly about being more aware that time with loved ones is often a fleeting moment, ergo a reminder to try and do better. 

Buy Maybe Next Time at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Harper Fiction | Hardback | £14.99 | pub date  30 March 2023 | eBook and Audio. Buy at Amazon com.

Wednesday 12 April 2023

#Blogtour For My Sins by S.C. Cunningham

It's my turn on the Blogtour For My Sins by S.C. Cunningham.

About the Author

Having worked in the worlds of sport, music, celebrity management, and law enforcement (CID Crime Investigator, Major Crime Team Intel Analyst, Wanted & Absconder Unit), Cunningham creates psychological thrillers with a skilled mix of fuelled tension, dark humor, and pulsating passion, offering a fresh level of sincerity and authority, rare in fiction. - The David Trilogy: The Penance List, Unfinished Business, For My Sins. Find out more about the author here 

About the book

An addictive mix of 'Lock Stock', 'RocknRolla', 'Killing Eve', and 'Line of Duty'.  

Knowing his days are numbered, a seasoned criminal finds his life calling, to expose and cull the sordid underbelly of the world's elite. Delicious, charming, cunning, avenging, David Howard escapes prison and agrees to an MI6 deal, to close down a high-profile trafficking ring in exchange for his freedom - setting a thief to catch a thief. 

 With a target on his back, he's helped by a rogue police unit, working behind the scenes to right cases that fall through the courts' fingers. In an unlikely coupling, they share a goal... and will risk everything to attain it. 

 A page-turning, cheeky, thought-provoking, at times laugh-out-loud, contemporary psycho-thriller, that comes with a warning. Caution: Adult language, sex, violence, triggers. 


This is the third part in the David trilogy, and although this can absolutely be read as a standalone book I would recommend reading the first two in the series to get the gist of the main character and his motivations. A life burdened by trauma, pain and abuse results in a man determined to salve the wounds with satisfaction of revenge.

It's crass and the sexual overtures can seem a little gratuitous at times, although it's part of the driver when it comes to the main character. The abuse and trauma is what made David into the man and monster he is today, the question is whether he is actually the vigilante he thinks he is or just another criminal who takes pleasure from the chaos, pain and destruction he causes.

It wasn't really my cup of tea - I prefer the vigilante revenge premise with a deeper and cleaner sense of justice. When the person taking out the bad guys is equally as seedy, regardless of why, it becomes a bit of no characters to connect with situation.

Buy For My Sins at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : ‎S C Cunningham pub date 15 Feb. 2023.  Buy at Amazon com.

Friday 7 April 2023

#Blogtour The Assistant by Amanda Reynolds

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Assistant by Amanda Reynolds.

About the Author

Amanda Reynolds is the bestselling psychological suspense author whose debut novel, Close To Me, was adapted as a major six-part TV series for Channel 4 in 2021. Previously published by Headline, her books have been translated into multiple languages. Amanda lives near Cheltenham. Follow @amandareynoldsj on Twitter, /@ajreynolds2/ on Instagram,

About the book

I know many things about Larissa. I know what she eats, which must-have brands she applies to her face, and the price of each carefully selected ‘piece’ in her multi-million-pound home in Belgravia. Because Ris, as she is known to her many followers, likes to share. And now I’m here, in her home, watching her every move.

Entrusted with her secrets and running her diary from the bijou basement flat, I’m on hand to fulfil Ris’ every need. Her right-hand woman. But what she doesn’t know is why I’m really here. I’ve put a lot on the line to get this job, and now my plan can begin. I’ve waited long enough.


The picture of the assistant is an incomplete picture and a blank canvas that we fill in as bits of information are presented to the reader. Are we talking a psycho determined to get revenge for some obscure reason, is it just someone with mad ambition or is it just a comedy of misunderstanding and errors.

As Gail inserts herself into the life and times of Ris, who is more concerned about her image than the reality of her lived experience, the cracks begin to show for both of them. At the end of the day is there really a winner in this situation?

I think it's fair to say that this book has a good chance of being picked up for a tv adaptation too - it is an excellent cat and mouse dark domestic thriller. Written in a similar style to Hallett's Appeal - the audience or the reader becomes part of structure, suspicion and plot development. 

The story is written in a variety of diary entries, communication between interviewer and interviewee, and a retelling of the past by one of the main characters. It's done well, the story runs without a disjointed feel, despite the rapid quick fire changes in the way the story is communicated.

I enjoyed it and it is definitely a read I would recommend. I especially liked the way the reader is kept in a constant state of imbalance - is there any person in this situation who is innocent or free from guilt or blame?

Buy The Assistant at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : ‎Boldwood Books, pub date 5 April 2023. Buy at Amazon com.

Monday 3 April 2023

#Blogtour The Translator by Harriet Crawley

It's a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Translator by Harriet Crawley.

About the Author

Harriet Crawley has been a journalist, writer, and art dealer, worked in television and radio, and stood for the Westminster and European Parliaments. For almost twenty years Harriet had one foot in Moscow where she launched a technical publishing business for a Russian oil and gas company. She speaks five languages and this is her fifth book. 

About the book

Moscow, September 2017. Clive Franklin, a Russian language expert in the Foreign Office, is summoned unexpectedly to the city to act as translator for the British Prime Minister. His life is turned on its head when, after more than a decade, he discovers that his former lover, Marina Volina, is now the interpreter to the Russian President. 

At the embassy, Clive learns of a Russian plot to cut the undersea cables linking the US to the UK which would paralyse communications and collapse the Western economy. Marina stuns Clive with the news that she’s ready to help stop the attack, betraying her country for a new identity and a new life.


As the political climate stands at this moment in time I think it's fair to say that the Cold War never really ceased - it just evolved into a modernised version. A battleground that has also moved into the virtual sphere Where groundwork was laid for a more peaceful, less combative and more humane cohabitation between Russia and the West, certain warmongering leaders have destroyed that groundwork and created the basis for a possible third World War.

Serov imagines himself to be a figurehead and true descendant of the Stalin era, Old Mother Russia needs to be restored to her original boundaries, regardless of the toes he tramples on or the losses he causes. Clive is asked to step in to translate for the British PM in Russia where he finds himself drawn into the insidious intrigues of the Russians, and also surprised to find his ex-girlfriend in the midst of this dangerous game of political chess.

The author has taken the idea of such an incendiary and fragile political scenario, added a layer of intrigue and spycraft to the story, and drawn both a fascinating comparison and fast-paced read with an ending that allows for further stories with this fearless set of characters.

Buy The Translator at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press; 23 March 2023. Buy at Amazon com. Buy via Bitter Lemon Press.