Empire’s Hostage by Marian L. Thorpe @rararesources @marianlthorpe #empireslegacy #bookreview #giveaway #blogtour

Paperback, 249 pages or Kindle Edition, 374 pages
Published: July 16th 2017 by Arboretum Press
ISBN: 0994068123 (ISBN13: 9780994068125)
Edition Language: English
Series: Empire’s Legacy #2

To buy now, please click here. 

I am very pleased to welcome you to one of the last stops on the blog tour for Marian L. Thorpe’s second book in the Empire’s Legacy series, ‘Empire’s Hostage. Thanks so much to the author and publisher for the digital copy in exchange for my thoughts, and to Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to take part in the tour. Please read to the end to enter the giveaway!

What’s it about?

Hostage ebook cover

For fifteen months, the Empire and the northern people have been at war, but a truce is finally at hand. As part of this treaty, Lena, now a Guardswoman on the Wall, is asked to stand as a hostage, to go north to live and learn among the people of Linrathe.

But not everyone there will welcome her.

As Lena learns more of the history of both her land and the north, a new threat emerges, one that will test her loyalty to its limits, and in the end, demand a price she could not have envisioned.

My thoughts:

This is the second book in the trilogy, and having enjoyed the first, ‘Empire’s Daughter’, I was very keen to revisit Lena et al. I already knew I would enjoy Marian’s writing; she has incredible attention to detail and the way in which she intelligently retells and mixes various cultural histories is superb.

I found it far easier to keep up with the characters this time and didn’t need to consult the directory at the start, as I did quite frequently last time! I was more invested in Lena’s character, particularly as the story went on, because, while I found it quite hard to reconcile her age with her thoughts and behaviour while she was in Tirvan, I realised while reading ‘Empire’s Hostage’ that I was wrong, and that she is only really learning to reconcile actions with consequence and the cynicism that comes with age is developing.

The plot is well paced, thoroughly absorbing and tense. Given the fragility of the truce, Lena is torn between her desire for knowledge and the need to be restrained in her interactions, despite finding people she both likes and admires during her restricted journey to north of the Wall. I enjoyed how Lena’s understanding of the world is shaken, fuelling her to desire to discover more, and how the restrictive nature of being a hostage, leads her to make shaky decisions with far-reaching ramifications.

I was glad this time of the guide to pronunciation in the appendices. There is a mixture of words fairly unfamiliar to me of Celtic and Scandinavian origin. The nature of song and stories in disseminating information and a hidden history is a real treat. It’s light on romantic interest, which is both realistic and refreshing as Lena stays true to herself. This is not to say that it doesn’t tug at the heartstrings though, because it often does.

I love her adventurous spirit, her intelligence, independence and her strength of character. She is the heroine I would have liked to have been, and certainly for young adults (and older) with an interest in cultural and military history, the Empire’s Legacy series promises to be incredible.

I’m very interested to know how Cillian and Lena will negotiate their new circumstances in ‘Empire’s Exile’ as I am loving this series; right up my street! Watch the blog in March, where I will be sharing my thoughts.

For lovers of adventure and keenly observed, well researched history, looking for a strong, bright and resilient heroine, I highly recommend the Empire’s Legacy series.

 

About the author:

Empires Hostage Author

Not content with two careers as a research scientist and an educator, Marian L Thorpe decided to go back to what she’d always wanted to do and be a writer.

Author of the alternative world medieval trilogy Empire’s Legacy, Marian also has published short stories and poetry.

Her life-long interest in Roman and post-Roman European history informs her novels, while her avocations of landscape archaeology and birding provide background to her settings.

To connect with the author:

Twitter

Facebook

Website

GIVEAWAY!! to Win a Paperback copy of Empire’s Legacy, the complete trilogy (Open Internationally)

Empires Legacy ebook

Enter here!

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

For the rest of the blog tour, and lots of unique perspectives on ‘Empire’s Hostage, please take a look at the tour banner below:

Empires Hostage Full Tour Banner

 

Book Blitz for ‘Blue Skies Over Berlin’ by John Steinberg @rararesources @SteinbergStory #bookblitz #promo

Genre: Fiction / History / Mystery /Romance / World War 2 / Art
Pre-Order Blitz Date: 11th February 2020
Paperback: 324 pages
Publisher: 2QT Limited (Publishing); 2nd Revised edition edition (29 Nov. 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1913071383
ISBN-13: 978-1913071387

Buy now:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Welcome to my blog for the blog blitz promotion of ‘Blue Skies Over Berlin’ by John Steinberg. Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for including me.

Blue Skies Over Berlin Cover

What’s it about?

A young German woman, thinking she can escape her memories of wartime Berlin, moves to London in 1954 under her new name of Charlotte Brown. The offer of a prestigious job at the National Gallery leads her to believe that she can establish a new life in a city itself emerging from the ruins of war.

With her new identity, Charlotte hopes she has left Eva Schlessinger far behind . . . but when her job brings her into contact with a ruthless set of art dealers with dubious wartime connections, she fears they can see behind her facade. Priceless masterpieces start appearing at auction, stolen from murdered Jewish families by the Nazis, and she herself is implicated. At this point, Charlotte makes a solemn promise – one that will take her a lifetime to fulfil.

Blue Skies Over Berlin is a novel about secrets and guilt in an uncertain time, balanced by friendship and enduring love – and ultimately the need to make amends for just standing by.

About the author:

johnsteinberg_bw

Born and raised in North London in 1952, John still lives in the city with his wife and three children. Privately educated, John left school after ‘A’ levels and completed a business diploma in what is now the University of Westminster, before entering banking.

He started training as an accountant but did not complete the course, choosing a position in his family’s furniture manufacturing business instead. John started his own mergers and acquisitions business in 1987, which he ran for almost 20 years before quitting to become a full time writer in 2007.

John has co-written and produced comedies for the stage and has created a series of books for children. “Previously, I had only been interested in comedy and finally started to write down the things I said or thought of. That led me to co-write and produce a play, In the Balance, and then W for Banker – which appeared at the New End Theatre, Hampstead. It was then I decided to quit the world of business in favour of writing full-time, and move toward more serious subjects. My first novel has taken two years to write and is the first in a series of books I am calling the ‘Steinberg Stories’.”

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To connect with the author:

Facebook

Twitter

‘The Devil’s Bride’ by Emma S. Jackson #BookReview #BlogTour @ESJackson1 @darkstrokedark @crookedcatbooks #paranormalromance #TheDevilsBride

Kindle Edition: 257 pages
Published: February 5th 2020 by crooked cat / darkstroke
ASIN: B081697ZJZ

To buy now, please click here.

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for ‘The Devil’s Bride’ by Emma S. Jackson. Many thanks to Emma for my e-copy of the book in exchange for my thoughts as a reader.


Front Cover

What’s it about?

England, 1670

No one goes near Edburton Manor – not since the night in 1668, when demons rose from the ground to drag Lord Bookham’s new bride to a fiery death. Or so the locals say.

That’s what makes it the perfect hideout for the gang of highwaymen Jamie Lorde runs with.

Ghost stories have never frightened her. The living are a far more dangerous prospect, particularly to a woman in disguise as a man. A woman who can see spirits in a time when witches are hanged and who is working hard to gain the trust of the most ruthless, vicious man she has ever known because she intends to ruin and kill him.

But when the gang discovers Matthew, Lord Bookham’s illegitimate brother, who has been trapped by a curse at the Manor ever since the doomed wedding, all Jamie’s carefully laid plans are sent spiralling out of control.

My thoughts:

I was thrilled to be included in this book tour, not necessarily because I know much about paranormal romance, but I because I get a real thrill out of being chilled to the bone by the gothic and horrifying.

Emma S Jackson’s The Devil’s Bride does not disappoint in this regard. It’s atmospheric, gripping and very creepy. As female protagonists go, Jamie Lorde makes not only a very convincing man, but is canny, intuitive and intelligent and I was totally absorbed in her character.

The pace is very well controlled, the plot smart, addictive and dripping with menace. I read it in a couple of sittings, but it was actually very hard to put down and I did so a bit begrudgingly to feed little people and read bedtime stories etc.

The writing is so very good, as is the actual storytelling. It’s a challenge to bring something new to either the paranormal romance or gothic genres, but ‘The Devil’s Bride succeeds, and this is really exciting – many elements of the plot surprised me, which was extremely refreshing. There are rich descriptions, none of which are extraneous, and never seem forced or awkward – the same with the dialogue.

I love being able to keep track of characters and plot, even when complex motivations and twists and turns are revealed – this makes for a memorable story. There are some swashbuckling action scenes, and plenty of intrigue for readers to look forward to having unpicked in the sequel.

The Devil’s Bride is an accomplished, entertaining, atmospheric and spooky read, which has left me wanting more, and quickly! Really loved this.

About the author:

Author pic

Emma Jackson is the best-selling author of A MISTLETOE MIRACLE, published by Orion Dash.

A devoted bookworm and secret-story-scribbler since she was 6 years old, she joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association on their New Writers’ Scheme at the beginning of 2019, determined to focus on her writing.

Her debut novel was published in November 2019.

When she’s not running around after her two daughters and trying to complete her current work-in-progress, Emma loves to read, bake, catch up on binge-watching TV programmes with her partner and plan lots of craft projects that will inevitably end up unfinished.

THE DEVIL’S BRIDE is her second novel, published by DarkStroke as Emma S Jackson. She hopes to continue working across sub-genres of romance, as she believes variety is the spice of life.

You can follow Emma on:

Twitter

Facebook

Instagram

Website

Mine is the second entry on this blog tour – be sure to check out the rest!

Blog tour banner

Review of ‘Beyond The Margin’ by Jo Jackson @rararesources @jojackson589 #ApedalePress #beyondthemargin #giveaway

Genre: Contemporary literary
Publication Date: 19th October 2019 by Apedale Press
ISBN:978-0-9956094-1-9
Estimated Page Count – 242
Standalone Novel

Purchase links:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

It gives me enormous pleasure to be on the blog tour of Beyond the Margin by Jo Jackson. Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for including me, and to the author for the copy of the book in exchange for my honest reader experience. Details of an exciting bookish giveaway at the bottom!

What’s it about?

Beyond The Margin Cover

Is living on the edge of society a choice? Or is choice a luxury of the fortunate?
Joe, fighting drug addiction, runs until the sea halts his progress. His is a faltering search for meaningful relationships.

‘Let luck be a friend’, Nuala is told but it had never felt that way. Abandoned at five years old survival means learning not to care. Her only hope is to take control of her own destiny.

The intertwining of their lives makes a compelling story of darkness and light, trauma, loss and second chances.

My thoughts:

From the first chapter, this book just had me. I need say nothing much about the plot other than what you see in the synopsis because Beyond the Margin is all about the way it makes you feel.

I found it both captivating and strangely, perhaps even inexplicably, calming. It’s raw and honest and visceral but is told with such skill that, despite the pity, the fury and the pain, it becomes beautiful, warm and uplifting. I was compelled by Joe’s journey. Near isolation makes him face himself; his spinning merry-go-round of regret and guilt is slowed sufficiently by the wonderful couple who both need him and show faith in him, for him to get off and start to heal.

Nuala is so blameless and broke my heart many times on her journey. Luck is no friend to her, until it is. Good people in her life are transient and so often become out of reach. Trying to make it on to the main page when your life is lived out beyond the margins may never be an available option, but she shows a resilience which is borne of her traumatic experiences, with an added strength of character and intelligence that maybe even she doesn’t see.

An exceptional piece of writing, characters to treasure and remember. I didn’t want this to end; very emotional. I now have a book hangover that I don’t have time for! Wouldn’t swap it for the world though – can’t recommend this highly enough.

About the author:

Beyond - Author P9200709 Beyond the Margin-2

Jo Jackson reads books and writes them too.

Having worked with some of the most vulnerable people in society she has a unique voice apparent in her second novel Beyond the Margin.

She was a nurse, midwife and family psychotherapist and now lives in rural Shropshire with her husband. She loves travelling and walking as well as gardening, philosophy and art.

Her first novel Too Loud a Silence is set in Egypt where Jo lived for a few years with her husband and three children. Events there were the inspiration for her book which she describes as ‘a story she had to write’.

To connect with Jo:

Facebook

Twitter

My thoughts come on the last day of what I hope has been a very successful tour for a wonderful book. Please have a look at the tour banner as you’ll be able to find some other opinions, excerpts and author interviews to read.

Beyond The Margin Full Tour Banner

Giveaway to Win signed copies of Beyond the Margin and Too Loud a Silence by Jo Jackson. (UK only)

Beyond The Margin - Giveaway Prize

Enter here!

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

 

Review of ‘The Telephone Call’ by Michael Pakenham @rararesources #giveaway

Genre: Thriller

Publication Date: 28th January 2020 – The Book Guild

Estimated Page Count – 368

Standalone story but is the second DCI Daniel Appleman thriller

Purchase links:

Foyles

Waterstones

Book Guild

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for ‘The Telephone Call’ by Michael Pakenham. Many thanks to The Book Guild, the author and Rachel’s Random Resources for my review copy and for including me on the tour, in exchange for my impartial and honest thoughts as a reader.

What’s it about?

The Telephone Call Cover

When Rosemary Sherwood overhears a disturbing conversation between her husband, Harry Sherwood and an unknown caller, she has no idea that her life’s about to change forever. Fleeing to France for fear of her own safety, Harry threatens to kill their son if she ever dares to breathe a word of anything she overheard.

Torn between hiding out in France and re-connecting with her estranged son, Rosemary returns to England twelve years later believing that she and her son are now out of danger…

A web of deceit and lies has been woven over the years to cover up the antics of Harry and his friends, who are no strangers to violence and murder and who will stop at nothing to ensure they aren’t exposed.

Private Detective Daniel Appleman takes on the case, but can he track down these men before they wreak havoc on the Sherwood family?

My thoughts:

The book has a very strong start, as we are introduced the villains of the piece while they are planning their perverse activities, and I was keenly drawn to the possibilities of the plot, which I will say from the outset, was a great one.

I am only providing thoughts as one reader in a sea of millions, certainly not as a literary critic or writer, so I can only comment on my own personal reading experience. I felt that at times, the dialogue between characters provided a little too much information – by no means all the time, but sometimes. There was some extraneous detail that detracted a little from the story as I experienced it, which I have already said had a great plot. Occasionally I also felt that some characters behaved too erratically, and it actually took me until halfway through the novel until I was fully invested in the non-villainous ones.

Having said that, once I was beyond the half-way point, I raced through the story and genuinely really enjoyed it. The pacing is good, the plot is intriguing, and it all builds up to a very decent conclusion. I particularly loved Avo (short for Avocado) and was very relieved for him!

A, B, C and D provided me with comic relief at some points. They were good characters and balanced the darkness of the general theme of the book very well.

I haven’t read the first DCI Appleman book, but this is absolutely fine as a standalone.

A little heart-breaking at times, the Telephone Call is a well-plotted, fast-paced novel which I enjoyed. It is violent, with some memorable villains and the themes are disturbing, but if this is the way you like your novels, I think you’ll like it!

I’ve read all the other blogger reviews so far and I would urge you to balance mine out with the rest, which are brilliant! The tour banner is below:

The Telephone Call Full Tour Banner

 

About the author:

Michael Pakenham is part of a well-known Irish literary family. Generations of his family lived at Langford Lodge on Loch Neagh outside Belfast. His father was killed in the Second World War and the estate was sold. His mother then took Michael and his sister to Tucson Arizona until the end of the war. On returning to England, his mother bought a farm in Hampshire and Michael has lived in the county ever since. Having served in the Grenadier Guards – the fourth generation to do so – Michael returned to take over his mother’s farming enterprises until he sold his farming interests in 1990 and started his writing career. This will be his eighth book and the second in the Daniel Appleman series. He lives outside Winchester with his wife. He has three children and a string of grandchildren.

Social media links:

Website

Goodreads

Giveaway to Win 5 x Paperback copies of The Telephone Call (UK Only)

Pakenham 1

To enter, please click here!!

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

#bookreview of ‘The Black Ditch’ by Simon J Lancaster as part of the @rararesources #blogtour #giveaway #getyournameinwriting

It gives me great pleasure to be on the blog tour today for the first instalment of The Laurie Sterne Trilogy, ‘The Black Ditch’ by Simon Lancaster. Thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for including me on the tour, and to the author for the copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially. To take part in an exciting giveaway, please see below!

What’s it about?

The Black Ditch Cover

LAURIE STERNE feels like he’s been cut adrift in space. His father has been shot dead, caught in the crossfire of a gangland war that has also claimed his boss’s life. Laurie is a refugee who lost his adoptive mum years before and doesn’t know where he was born, let alone who his birth parents were. But he’s not alone in the world: someone is trying to kill him.

This is London, 2050, a dumping ground for climate refugees and dissidents. Gangs rule, murder goes unpunished and the police make sure you can’t escape.

In his struggle to stay alive, he finds an ally: his former boss’s secret daughter.
But with the killer predicting his every move, is the man without a past being betrayed by the woman who seems to offer him a future?

My thoughts:

There is a whole raft of climate change literature for us to read, in a final plea for drastic action to reduce our impact. Children’s books are tackling the same issue in a more age appropriate way.

Simon J Lancaster’s ‘The Black Ditch’ stands out as an eminently possible, post-democracy dystopian thriller, set in London, beginning in 2025, with most of the fast-paced action taking place in 2050.

Climate change has had a devastating effect on not only the physical environment, but on the population, which has burgeoned under the weight of climate refugees, stretching resources and government well beyond their limits. Gangs and Big Brother style government dictate life in the old capital.

Laurie Sterne runs with a gang, whose leader is seeking legitimacy. Sterne is a well-developed character, and as we start by being introduced to him in childhood, during a most traumatic episode, our sympathy is always with him and so, 25 years later when everything is going awry, we worry about him. The fact that he has managed to survive seems nothing short of a miracle, but he has a useful gift. Which is certainly not enough to keep him out of harm’s way.

The writing style and imagery are great. Mostly short, snappy sentences capture the tense, violent, quickly changing scenarios. The author clearly knows London intricately, and the action ricochets through the city, almost as quickly as the gunfire. We are treated to multi layered characters with complex motivations, and with a plot which thickens further every page, there are several branches this story could expand upon in the sequel. Very exciting!

Thrilling, intriguing, tense, violent and disconcertingly plausible. Extremely well written with great dialogue sequences. Comes very highly recommended from me. A great read – my husband is going to love this!

To buy a copy, please click one of the following purchase links:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

About the author:

The Black Ditch Author Photo

Simon J Lancaster is the author of The Black Ditch, the first in the Laurie Sterne trilogy of dystopian future thrillers.

Prior to writing novels he was a national newspaper journalist in London, as well as a music critic and private pilot.

He has written short stories and plays and, after reading extensively about climate change, concluded that the fantasy gun-play of contemporary-set action novels would be the lived experience of our coming world.

To connect with Simon:

Facebook

 

For a chance to win a signed copy of The Black Ditch, and to have your name used as a character in the sequel, please enter the Rafflecopter giveaway here!!!  (open internationally)

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

 

As usual, this is a blog tour, and there will be many unique perspectives to read about The Black Ditch. Please take a look at the tour banner for all the bloggers involved.

The Black Ditch Full Tour Banner

‘A Portrait of Death’ by Rhen Garland @rararesources #APortraitofDeath #BlogTour #BookReview @RhenWitch

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for ‘A Portrait of Death’ by Rhen Garland. Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for including me, and to the author for the e-copy of the book in exchange for my thoughts.

What’s it about?

A Portrait of Death Front cover 2018

In the quiet English village of Marmis Parva, a weekend house party is organised by a society hostess and all the top names are invited.

But this is no ordinary party.

Two men are savagely murdered during the course of the first evening and a young man, presumed dead, returns home after two years imprisonment in South Africa bringing with him proof of treason.

Detective Chief Inspector Elliott Caine’s long-awaited holiday in the Lake District is cancelled as he is brought in to investigate the peculiar nature of the murders. More bodies are discovered and Elliott has to manoeuvre between high society, Government protocols, and the heinous nature of the crimes if he and his old friend Detective Sergeant Abernathy Thorne, are to catch the sadistic killer, and the traitor lurking amongst them.

When Caine’s past comes back to haunt him, will his judgement be too clouded to focus on solving the crime?

Will the Boer spy’s identity be uncovered before they can flee?

How are these murders connected to another in New York?

My thoughts:

There are two separate prologues to set the scene for this macabre tale, and they set the scene for the gruesome crimes to follow.

Marmis Hall is the perfect setting for some nasty goings on, and the novel sits comfortably in the Victorian era which is one I particularly like reading about.

Detectives Caine and Thorne are called after two people are murdered at a dinner party, and the story follows their investigation into the killer, at odds with high society. There are false trails aplenty, and it is a satisfyingly gruesome tale, laced with the supernatural.

Lots of time and effort has been put into each sentence, and this pays off well. The plot is well organised and twisty, and the characters are complex and believable. I won’t spoil it any further but suffice it to say that I enjoyed it.

Buy yourself a copy here:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

About the author:

Me September 2018

 

Rhen Garland lives in Somerset, England with her folk-singing, book-illustrating husband, approximately 4000 books, an equal number of ancient movies, and a large flock of stuffed sheep.

She enjoys the countryside, peace, and Prosecco and the works of Ngaio Marsh, Glady Mitchell, John Dickson Carr/Carter Dickson, Agatha Christie, and Terry Pratchett.

“I watch far too many old school murder mystery films, TV series, and 1980s action movies for it to be considered healthy.”

“A Portrait of Death” is a murder mystery thriller with paranormal touches set in late Victorian England and is the first book in the Versipellis Mysteries Series.

To connect with Rhen:

Facebook

Instagram

Twitter

Bookbub

Goodreads

For other perspectives, please check out the thoughts of the other bloggers on the tour.

A Portrait of Death Full Tour Banner

 

‘After You Fell’ by J. S. Lark #netgalley @rararesources @JaneLark #afteryoufell #bookreview #bookbloggers #blogtour @OneMoreChapter

It is my great pleasure to be on the blog tour today for ‘After You Fell’ by J.S. Lark, which will be published on 13th December, 2019. Thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for including me, and to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for my e-copy of the book, in exchange for my thoughts.


What’s it about?

after you fell

As one life ends
Louise’s Lovett’s death was a tragedy. But questions still swirl about exactly what happened to Louise that day. Did she fall…or was she pushed?

A new life starts
Helen Matthews’ donor heart saves her life. But as her new heart beats inside her, Helen feels the pull of its previous owner–despite what everyone is telling her, Helen is certain she has one final message to pass on.

And a dark obsession beginsAs the lives of Helen and Louise become ever more entangled, Helen’s obsession gets increasingly out of control. And the fragile new life she has built begins to fall apart…


My thoughts:

The story starts with a woman who has been involved in an accident. I started the next chapter believing she had woken up in hospital on the road to recovery, but here we are introduced to Helen Matthews, who has been the recipient of a new heart from a donor.

As Helen, who has been incapacitated with illness since she was a child, feels the stirring of her new heart, she is compelled to find out more about whose it is. Who is it she can feel inside her, urging her to find out more about what happened? The two women’s lives become obsessively and dangerously tangled.

The whole story pulses with complex emotion. Helen’s character and her turbulent history are very well drawn, with a trail of breadcrumbs placed carefully, leading the reader to a different conclusion at each stage about the legitimacy of her actions in trying to determine what it is that the other woman wants, what she, Helen, wants, and how, if ever, these desires can be reconciled.

Told in the first person, which is a crucial medium for this story, we have several other characters who change the beat of the plot as well at certain points. Alex, Simon, Andy, Mim and all the children have significant bearing on Helen’s wellbeing. An internal battle rages which makes for compulsive and thrilling reading.

A twisty, unique and deeply unsettling plot. The sort of story that makes you look around and truly realise that you never know what is going on in another mind, possibly not even your own. How powerful is intuition in reading people? Is the paranormal real, or imagined? The Turn of the Screw meets The Girl on The Train. Fans of psychological fiction will, I’m sure, want to add this to their reading lists!

To buy now, please click on one of the following links:

UK Amazon

US Amazon

About the author:

JaneLark_Small Version

Jane is a coffee, chocolate and red wine lover, and a late-night writer of compelling, passionate, and emotionally charged fiction.

Jane’s books may contain love, hate, violence, death, passion, a little swearing, and an ending you are never going to forget.

To connect with Jane Lark:

Facebook

Author website

Twitter

Mine is only one of the stops on this blog tour. Please have a look at the tour banner, and for many other unique perspectives, take a look at the bloggers involved.

After You Fell Full Tour Banner

The Case of the Reincarnated Client by Tarquin Hall #netgalley @rararesources @tarquinhall @severnhouse #vishpuri #blogtour #bookreview

I’m very pleased to be on the blog tour today for the marvellous ‘The Case of the Reincarnated Client’ by Tarquin Hall. Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources and for including me, and my copy of the e-book from the publisher and author, via Netgalley.


What’s it about?

The Case of the Reincarnated Client Cover
When a young woman comes forward saying she’s the reincarnation of Riya Kaur, a wife and mother who vanished during the bloody 1984 anti-Sikh riots, Puri is dismissive. He’s busy enough dealing with an irate matrimonial client whose daughter is complaining about her groom’s thunderous snoring. Puri’s indomitable Mummy-ji however is adamant the client is genuine. How else could she so accurately describe under hypnosis Riya Kaur’s life and final hours?

Driven by a sense of duty – the original case was his late father’s – Puri manages to acquire the police file only to find that someone powerful has orchestrated a cover-up.

Forced into an alliance with his mother that tests his beliefs and high blood pressure as never before, it’s only by delving into the past the help of his reincarnated client that Puri can hope to unlock the truth.

My thoughts

This is my first brush with Vish Puri from Most Private Investigators, and it certainly won’t be my last.

Relentless and resolute Mummy-ji begins to harass Puri at his office, to his intense irritation, with her staunch belief that a case Puri’s father left unsolved; the murder of Sikh woman Riya Kaur in the horrific massacre that followed the assassination of Indira Gandhi, is now on the verge of being solved. A young woman, undergoing past life regression therapy, claims to be the reincarnation of the murdered woman, and Mummy-ji wonders if, finally, they will be able to prove how she died.

Teeth gritted and disbelief suspended (because good boys do what their mummies want), Puri starts to juggle this investigation along with other pressing matters, like the sudden and urgent need to bank a lot of cash and solve the mystery of the Snoring Husband. Not to mention an impromptu reconnaissance into Hairy Toes (as observed from under an executive toilet cubicle door) and a clandestine snoop which must be concealed from his wife, Rumpi.

So begins an energetic and entertaining story. Mummy-ji and Puri’s verbal ripostes are delightful, as she outmanoeuvres and out-detectives him at every turn. His team at Most Private Investigators are inspired. There are also considerable ventures into Indian history, politics, injustice, pollution, and the daily lives of ordinary people in a populous city, trying to make ends meet. We live and breathe (through a facemask, if we’ve any good sense) in Delhi for the course of the story and the sense of place is outstanding.

Puri, or ‘Chubby’, as he is affectionately known, spends a great deal of the story either eating or fantasising about food. My stomach rumbled constantly throughout his vibrant gastronomic tour of Delhi. It’s almost worth reading for this alone, although if you include the car saga it’s all the better.

Superb use of language (both English and Hindi), brilliantly plotted, imaginative, colourful, witty and amusing, (though in parts, harrowing) with great characters – there is everything to love about this story.

Most Highly Recommended.

If you wish to buy The Case of the Reincarnated Client, please click on one of the following purchase links:

UK Amazon

US Amazon

Author Bio:

Tarquin Hall Author Picture
British author Tarquin Hall in Nizamuddin, New Delhi Photo: Tom Pietrasik New Delhi, India February 15th 2012

Tarquin Hall is a British author and journalist who has previously lived in the USA, Pakistan, India, Kenya and Turkey.

He now divides his time between the UK and India and is married to BBC reporter and presenter Anu Anand.

He is the author of four previous Vish Puri mysteries and The Delhi Detective’s Handbook.

To connect with the author:

Twitter @severnhouse

Twitter @tarquinhall

Instagram @severnhousepublishers

 

As usual, this is a blog tour, and there will be many other unique perspectives on the book. Do please visit the bloggers to read them.

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‘The House That Sat Down’ by Alice May #bookreview #booktour @rararesources @AliceMay_Author #thehousethatsatdown

I’m so happy to be on the blog tour today for ‘The House That Sat Down’ by Alice May. Sincere thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for including me, and to Alice, Chaos and Logic for the copy of the omnibus edition, in exchange for my thoughts.

What’s it about?

The House That Sat Down Omnibus Cover

Inspired by a true story, The House That Sat Down Trilogy is a tale of triumph over tragedy. It is an astonishing account of sudden, first-world homelessness in the heart of the New Forest, and the unexpected consequences.

Written entirely from a mother’s point of view, following the collapse of her family’s home, it is an uplifting and positive read in spite of the subject matter, with a thread of wry humour throughout. Follow this ordinary woman on an extraordinary journey of survival and self discovery as she reels from disaster, before picking herself up and coming back stronger and wiser than before.

Packed with humorous observations about what it is like to live in a tent in your garden with your husband and four children after a significant part of your house falls down out of the blue one day, this story takes you from the depths of despair right through to the satisfying heights of success against the odds, with lots of tea and cakes on the way.

Follow this crazy family as they cope with disaster in their own truly unique and rather mad way, and celebrate each small triumph along the way with them.

My thoughts:

In some ways, this review wanted to write itself, and was furiously scribbling itself down in my head while I was reading. Yet, I have given myself enough time and rewrites to hope that I can do this remarkable story justice. I have already written the screenplay, cast it, produced it, edited it and timetabled it for TV, all without the prerequisite skills, experience and contacts to make it so (and thus, regretfully, all in my mind). I hope then, that you can see just how much I loved this book. I gratefully received the omnibus edition, thoughtfully complete with postcards of Alice’s art. The edition comprises ‘Accidental Damage’, ‘Restoration’ and ‘Redemption’. For ease of reference, I have used ‘the book and ‘the story’’ to refer to all three.

The main part of our heroine’s 350 year-old family home in the countryside split open. Wide open. Sufficiently to allow a man and a dog to walk through. Blaming herself entirely, she gave up a part of herself, which, as we can only come to truly appreciate throughout the trilogy, must have been devastating, and the family were thrust into a position that few truly can imagine, living in a borrowed tent in their garden, with the possibility of this being for an indeterminable period.

Luckily, the story was written with the benefit of the passage of time giving much needed perspective, and despite the desperation of this predicament, this is one of the funniest pieces of writing I’ve ever read, gently acerbic, wonderfully witty, with a huge heart. And a skeleton. Not in a cupboard. I’ll come back to him later.

With a cast of tremendous characters; Beloved Husband, Chaos, Logic, Quiet, Small, Skelly, Various Builders, The Insurance People and Some Genuine Experts, our heroine transitions from despair, through grim acceptance, to hope, some journeys back and forth between them all, and then to a level of personal fulfilment, which would not have happened without the events back in 2014.

Which leads to the book. She is an artist, and this is a clear case of art begetting art. The cathartic voyage through painting from beginning to end is mesmerising, and the book being written is an extension of that extremely capable, intelligent artistic ability. It’s an absolute joy; a stream of thought masterpiece. The omnibus is a Big Book, and I worried I hadn’t left myself enough time to complete it, although I shouldn’t have been concerned. This is not a book to skim read; it is worth reading every sentence.

I’m plucking something out of my dim and distant memory, which is going to require a brief google. Please bear with me one moment…
….
Yes, erm… Picasso said, (fingers crossed this is true) “Every act of creation is first an act of destruction”. This works well on so many levels in this story, and in ‘Redemption’, our heroine reflects on the silver linings, the opportunities created, the self-reaffirmation and the blessing which is her family.

And yes, here we are on the book tour. I couldn’t recommend this more highly. It is not purely a self-indulgent exercise. It has the potential to speak to so many people who are, or have been, sailing in a similar boat. I live in Doncaster, and we have recently seen dreadful flooding, with many people facing lengthy separation from their family homes. They are at the despair/grim acceptance phase. Stories like this could make a real difference.

I’ll conclude on a lighter note… If Alice May ever feels like a further foray into fiction, I would like to take this opportunity to ask for the main protagonist to be Skelly. I can’t help thinking he would have a tale or two to tell.

P.S. I’m leaving the recipes lying around the place, just in case any of my four Barbarians take the hint….

Buy the book (you won’t regret it):

Amazon UK

Amazon US

About the author:

The House - Alice May

I am a multi-tasking parent to four not-so-small children, and I am fortunate enough to be married to (probably) the most patient man on the planet. We live in, what used to be, a ramshackle old cottage in the country. Our house began to fall down out of the blue one day, which resulted in the whole family living in a tent in the back garden for quite some time, while we worked out how to rebuild our home.

A few years afterwards, I decided to write a book and, once I started, I found I couldn’t stop.

Inspired by true-life events ‘Accidental Damage – tales from the house that sat down’ wouldn’t leave me alone until it was written.

Within six months of self-publishing my novel, I was delighted to learn that it had won two ‘Chill with a Book Awards’. This was a massive honour and motivated me to continue writing. Accidental Damage became the first book in a trilogy.

The Omnibus edition of all three books in the House That Sat Down Trilogy is now available via Amazon in both paperback and kindle format

To connect with Alice:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

This is, of course, a book tour, and there are other wonderful perspectives on ‘The House That Sat Down’ for you to read. Please see the tour banner below x

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