#BookReview of ‘Keeper of Secrets’ by Lynda Stacey as part of the @rararesources #blogtour #KeeperofSecrets @ChocLituk @RubyFiction @LyndaStacey #doncasterisgreat

It is my great pleasure today to be on the blog tour for ‘Keeper of Secrets’ by Lynda Stacey. Many thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for including me, and to the author for my e-copy of the book, in exchange for my thoughts.


Synopsis
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Should some secrets stay buried?

For as long as Cassie Hunt can remember her Aunt Aggie has spoken about the forgotten world that exists just below their feet, in the tunnels and catacombs of the Sand House. The story is what inspired Cassie to become an archaeologist.

But Aggie has a secret that she’s buried as deep as the tunnels and when excavation work begins on the site, Cassie is the only one who can help her keep it. With the assistance of her old university friend, Noah Flanagan, she puts into action a plan to honour Aggie’s wishes.

It seems the deeper Noah and Cassie dig, the more shocking the secrets uncovered – and danger is never far away, both above and below the ground …


My thoughts

I was really happy to get on to this blog tour, as the author is from a village less than four miles away from where I live, plus I love the subject matter. I always wanted to be an archaeologist, right from my first experience of the adventures of Indiana Jones, through my gaming addiction to Lara Croft, and the muddy, methodical Time Team.

Anyway, I was an auditor, and then a housewife now, so it didn’t quite turn out the way I’d planned…!

The story starts dramatically, and in the first chapter, we are immediately drawn into the dark world of Cassie’s youth in Doncaster. The mood lightens throughout the rest of the first part, as we see Cassie and her sister living more comfortably and surrounded with love. Aunt Aggie is a lovely, selfless character and her story drives the whole plot.

It is from Aunt Aggie, in the first instance, and without knowing the full story, that Cassie follows her dream out to Italy as an archaeologist, and there is a really compelling dual plotline which I have no intention of revealing beyond what you can see from the blurb, but hope that it suffices to say that it’s clever and poignant and every bit worth reading for yourself.

I was totally absorbed in this novel, from the dark to the light, and then back again. It is part romance, part mystery and is beautifully balanced. The characters are believable, with back stories which rise to the fore in all the right places.

Gripping, dangerous, tense and heart-breaking; this is a story of the lengths we will go to for those we love. For me personally, it’s also been a fascinating introduction to an incredible local history of which I had no previous knowledge. I’ve done lots of research since I finished reading.

Thoroughly enjoyed this; highly recommended. I also hope that Lynda and her friends and family were not affected by the terrible flooding we have seen in Doncaster over the last few days 🙁

To buy a copy, please click here

About the author

Lynda Stacey

Lynda is a wife, step-mother and grandmother who grew up in the mining village of Bentley, Doncaster, in South Yorkshire..

She is currently the Sales Director of a stationery, office supplies and office furniture company in Doncaster, where she has worked for the past 28 years. Prior to this she’d also been a nurse, a model, an emergency first response instructor and a PADI Scuba Diving Instructor … and yes, she was crazy enough to dive in the sea with sharks, without a cage.

Following a car accident in 2008, Lynda was left with limited mobility in her right arm. Unable to dive or teach anymore, she turned to her love of writing, a hobby she’d followed avidly since being a teenager.

Her own life story, along with varied career choices, helps Lynda to create stories of romantic suspense, with challenging and unpredictable plots, along with (as in all romances) very happy endings.

She lives in a small rural hamlet near Doncaster, with her ‘hero at home husband’, Haydn, whom she’s been happily married to for over 20 years.

Lynda joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association in 2014 under the umbrella of the New Writers’ Scheme and in 2015 her debut novel House of Secrets won Choc Lit’s Search for a Star competition. Lynda writes for both Choc Lit and Ruby Fiction.

To connect with Lynda:

Facebook

Twitter

Website

To read lots of other reviews etc about ‘Keeper of Secrets’, please do check out the other blogs on the tour, which are shown on the banner below:

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‘Tangled Roots’ by Denise D. Young @rararesources @ddyoungbooks #BlogTour #TangledRoots

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Denise D Young’s paranormal fantasy ‘Tangled Roots’, the first book in her Tangled Magic series. Many thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources for including me, and to the author for the copy of the book, which I have reviewed as a reader, honestly, individually and impartially.

Tangled4

The Blurb

A beautiful witch lost in time. A brooding farm boy with magic in his blood and a chip on his shoulder. Dark secrets and shadowy magic. Paranormal romance with a time slip awaits in the first book of this new series.

Cassie Gearhart casts a spell in the forest in the summer of 1974. The next thing she knows, she wakes up to find the world irrevocably changed.

It’s 2019, for one thing. For another, all of her coven members have vanished, leaving behind only one man who holds the key to their secrets.

Nick Felson has sworn off magic, until a confused Cassie knocks on his door in the middle of the night, somehow missing forty-five years’ worth of time. But Nick knows falling for the captivating witch means letting magic back into his life—and that’s one line he swore he’d never cross.

Can Cassie unravel the mystery that transported her decades into the future? And can Nick resist the powerful magic and heart-pounding passion that swirl in the air whenever he and Cassie are together?

The Tangled Magic Series is intended for readers 18-plus who enjoy fast-paced reads, wild and witchy magic, swoon-worthy kisses, and small-town charm. The series is best read in order.

My Review

Paranormal fantasy is not a genre I have much dabbled in, and so I did not really know what to expect from this book. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not much of a swoony romance type of girl, but the first thing about Tangled Roots that struck me was the quality of the writing. It has an intense, almost poetic style and an ethereal feel; the author is clearly competent in wordsmithery!

It’s brief but immersive, a passionate romance which thankfully didn’t get bogged down in erotica, which would have put me off!

I enjoyed the witchy aspect and the sensations relating to nature as the identity of each person’s magic, and how Nick and Cassie’s romance develops so quickly because of this. It is mysterious and although the brevity of the novella doesn’t allow us to get to know the intricate ins and outs of the characters, we know enough to feel their fears and desires and to wish for them to work out what is going on, even if it means they could be separated by time again.

Willow Creek became familiar very quickly, so the scene had been set well. Small town gossip is very accurately described and elicited a few wry smiles from me.

I enjoyed Tangled Roots, with its many goings on squeezed into a quick read, but it is a good story which is well-paced. Fans of adult paranormal/magical fantasy will no doubt enjoy it.

If you wish to buy Tangled Roots and set off on what promises to be a great series, please click here.

About the author

Denise D Young2.jpg

 

Equal parts bookworm, flower child, and eclectic witch, Denise D. Young writes fantasy and paranormal romance featuring witches, magic, faeries, and the occasional shifter.

Whatever the flavor of the magic, it’s always served with a brisk cup of tea–and the promise of romance varying from sweet to sensual.

She lives with her husband and their animals in the mountains of Virginia, where small towns and tall trees inspire her stories. She reads tarot cards, collects crystals, gazes at stars, and believes magic is the answer (no matter what the question was).

If you’ve ever hoped to find a book of spells in a dusty attic, if you suspect every misty forest contains a hidden portal to another realm, or if you don’t mind a little darkness before your happily-ever-after, her books might be just the thing you’ve been waiting for.

To connect with the author:

Website

Facebook

Amazon Author Page

Goodreads

Pinterest

As always, this is a blog tour, and there are many other perspectives, extracts and guest posts to read. The other bloggers involved are shown here on the tour banner:

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Happy reading!

‘Empire’s Daughter’ (Empire’s Legacy, Book I) by Marian L Thorpe @marianlthorpe @rararesources @gilbster1000 #amreading #bookblogger #bookworm #bookreview #giveaway

I am very pleased to be on the book tour today for Empire’s Daughter, the first in the Empire’s Legacy series, by Marian L Thorpe. Many thanks to Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources for including me, and for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed as a reader, honestly, individually and impartially. Also, don’t forget to enter the exciting bookish giveaway at the end!

Empires Daughter ebook cover

The Blurb:

For twenty generations, the men and women of The Empire have lived separately, the women farming and fishing, the men fighting wars. But in the spring of Lena’s seventeenth year, an officer rides into her village with an unprecedented request. The Empire is threatened by invasion, and to defend it successfully, women will need to fight.

When the village votes in favour, Lena and her partner Maya are torn apart. Maya chooses exile rather than battle, Lena chooses to fight. As Lena learns the skills of warfare and leadership, she discovers that choices have consequences that cannot be foreseen, and that her role in her country’s future is greater than she could have dreamed.

My Review:

This novel has a great premise, and really appealed to the lover of Roman and medieval history in me. It diverges slightly and intentionally to make the story work, but this neither matters nor disappoints.

The story begins in a village called Tirvan which is entirely comprised of women, who undertake all the work to supply the Empire, and are visited by men, twice a year only, at Festival. This is a time where willing women of age can form brief relationships in order to bear children. This system is known as Partition and is governed by an agreement made between men and women, some years hence. They undertake the work of the Empire, to support the ongoing military campaigns. At seven years old, male children are permanently removed from their families for army training.

Most women are for the remainder of the time, in same sex relationships. Seventeen-year-old Lena is partnered with Maya, and together they skipper a fishing vessel. Her mother is one of the village leaders, and the local political system is participative. Lives are peaceful and ordered, until the arrival of a male emissary, Casyn, who has been sent from the Emperor to warn them that there is going to be an invasion from the island of Leste. He tells the village women that their coastline is going to be one of the landing points, and they must be taught and organised to fight. Lena secretly relishes the excitement of this, but Maya is angry.

I don’t want to spoil the story from there, as Empire’s daughter is a book well worth reading for yourself. I would class it as YA historical fantasy, as the story centres around young people, but as a 41-year-old, I enjoyed it too! There are some great themes around history, gender, politics, relationships, family, love, loss and adventure. The world building is rich and well thought through.

The women all appear literate and have always had a key role in making decisions in society, down to the arrangement of Partition years ago and the level of female empowerment was not as I expected, and great to read about.

Lena has a range of emotions and convictions that I simply did not have at seventeen. In the context of the time though, when boys were sent into military training at seven, it seems appropriate that Lena behaves more like someone in their mid-twenties at such a young age in this novel. I lost track of the characters quite often, as there are many, and I had to refer to the character page at the beginning a fair bit to refamiliarise myself. The author clearly preempted readers like me! I was well invested in the storyline of the main characters though. I didn’t envy Lena for the choices she had to make, but I enjoyed the plot very much.

Those who enjoy strong female characters, keen world-building and the history of civilisations and how they evolve will, I think, really enjoy Empire’s Daughter. I am looking forward to reading the next instalment.

Purchase Link – buy here!

About the author: Marian L Thorpe

Empires author photo

Writer of historical fantasy and urban fantasy for adults. The Empire’s Legacy series explores gender expectations, the conflicts between personal belief and societal norms, and how, within a society where sexuality is fluid, personal definitions of love and loyalty change with growth and experience.

The world of Empire’s Legacy was inspired by my interest in the history of Britain in the years when it was a province of the Roman Empire called Britannia, and then in the aftermath of the fall of the Roman Empire. In another life, I would have been a landscape archaeologist, and landscape is an important metaphor in the Empire’s Legacy trilogy and in all my writing, fiction and non-fiction.

I live in Canada for most of the year, England for the rest, have one cat, a husband, and when I’m not writing or editing, I’m birding.

Social media links:

Author website

Twitter

Facebook

EXCITING GIVEAWAY!!!!

Giveaway to Win all 3 paperbacks of the Empire’s Legacy trilogy  (Open Internationally)

Empires Giveaway Prize

*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.

Enter here!

As usual, of course, this is a blog tour and there are many other insights into Empire’s Daughter, the series and the author. Please do check them out!

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Chronicles of the Pale by Clare Rhoden @rararesources @ClareER #bookreview #booktour

It is my pleasure to be on the blog tour today for Clare Rhoden’s trilogy, ‘Chronicles of the Pale’. Many thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for including me. I have read all three books, and I am most grateful for my copies of these, which I have reviewed honestly, impartially and individually.

The first in the series is ‘The Pale’.

ThePale_Cover

The Blurb:

The Outside can be a dangerous place.

But so can the inside.

It’s been years since the original cataclysm, but life has been structured, peaceful, and most of all uneventful in the Pale. The humachine citizens welcome the order provided by their ruler, the baleful Regent.

However, when one of their own rescues a human boy, Hector, from ravenous ferals on the Outside, their careful systems are turned upside down.

As Hector grows more and more human-strange, the citizens of the Pale grow uneasy.

What will happen when the Outside tries to get in?

Purchase Link –The Pale

The second is ‘Broad Plain Darkening

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The Blurb:

The safe world of the Pale is under threat.

Inside the policosmos, the new Regent Adaeze strives for dominance over the all-powerful Senior Forecaster, but the Pale’s humachine citizens are unaware that their city is close to collapse.

Outside on Broad Plain, the exiled human Hector undertakes a dangerous trek to find a safe haven for the orphaned twins.

How can anyone survive as their world shifts underneath them?

Purchase LinkBroad Plain Darkening

The third is ‘The Ruined Land’

The Chronicles - RuinedLand_inprogress

The Blurb:

Exiled from the Pale, humachine Hector has found a home with the tribes Outside.

Or has he?

While the canini struggle to care for the human twins, Feather travels Broad Plain to reunite them with their father. But his own family is scattered as the Pale sends out its terrifying army and the land itself buckles beneath them.

Can anyone survive the ruination of the land?

In this gripping conclusion to the Chronicles of the Pale, the citizens of the mighty Pale have as much to lose as the communities of the Outside.

My review:

So, it’s been the summer holidays and boy, it’s been busy. I only started reading this trilogy about 8 days ago, and I was worried I wouldn’t do it in time, having deposited four youngsters back into school, one child’s subsequent illness and another’s broken arm! Such is life though, and I will state from the outset that I haven’t enjoyed a series of books this much for years, probably not since Raymond E Feist’s Riftwar Cycle, and this, dear author and readers, is what has carried me through in time!

Clare Rhoden explains a complicated dystopian new world order very capably, through superbly written prose and convincing dialogue between her characters.

In The Pale, we learn that there has been a past event known as the Conflagration, an event set in a version of human future, so cataclysmic that all species are displaced, and have had to organise themselves once again. The current time is 197pc (post-conflagration), and the Pale has the highest population of organised life. If you can call it life. Humans in the past had abused the use of technology and science to disastrous effect, but in the Pale, humachines are the nearest relation to how some humans (probably the ones in charge) had become. They are propagated as engineered eggs, population is strictly controlled and there is an important distinction between those more important, and those not. They are ruled over by a regent, who is given the information needed to rule by a selection of senior advisors. They are protected by formidable walls and weaponry and there is total subservience and adherence to protocol, which lands serviceman Tad in trouble.

Broad Plain is also home to the Settlement, ruled by a chief and the religious leader of the Temple. This operates on a version of a caste system, whereby only those who have been assessed as a perfect example of the human species are permitted to breed. A lower town works to maintain the comfort of the higher town. This feels more familiar and uncomfortable than any other place written about.

The protectionist attitudes of the walled cities dictate that, although other places, humans and species exist, there should be no interaction (beyond Settlement trade). When it does happen, regardless of their rules, can this be tolerated in any circumstances?

The canini are genetically altered canines, who live free from their human masters in large family groups. One of the legacies of their human interaction, pre-conflagration, is their ability to use mindspeech, not only amongst themselves, but to communicate with other species who are receptive. They are wonderful.

There are numerous tribes of humans, and we are introduced to the Storm, who live lightly on the land and move around regularly to limit their impact. They have no walls, and so are considered to inhabit the Outside.

The Outside is a dangerous place now. Not only could you run into pantheras, strikebeasts and snakes, the engine ferals are enough to give anyone nightmares, and they are our own fault.

So, I suppose we could say that we can see how we could, how we do, and perhaps how we should live, all within these stories set on Broad Plain.

In the first of the trilogy, there is an aftershock, a massive geological event following the first conflagration. There is massive damage on Broad Plain, and the communities must reassess many aspects of how life is managed.

More than once during the reading of these Chronicles, my part of our joint cognitive dissonance felt a distinct tremor of its own, particularly with regard to treatment of other species, our environment, and acceptance of technologies developed for who knows what, really.

We get many equal third person perspectives from multiple characters, who are all expertly drawn. I don’t think there is one voice louder than the others in the telling, and I loved how my interest in the story was maintained by moving from one to another character’s experiences.

My guilty pleasure was in the form of the magnificently Machiavellian Senior Forecaster of the Pale, Jaxon Tangshi (think Petyr Baelish/Peter Mandelson, but with longevity). Most of the *gasp, no! moments happened because of him, so I just loved his character although he is completely hateful.

Progressing through the series, I was in awe of the author’s ability to handle grief and intense drama, yet bring hope, faith, loyalty and kindness into such abysmal chaos.
If there is one thing I would have liked (to risk sounding a bit like a disgruntled GOT fan), it is that there would just have been one more chapter near the end set in the Pale.

However, to criticise based on merely wanting more is not a failing at all. I totally loved Chronicles of The Pale and will be raving about them. In fact, Drew, if you’re reading this post at all, I think you’ll love these books.

If this is where we are headed, we need to be afraid. Should I have to face it, I would only do it, if I could, with a dog by my side as my equal, and on the lookout for friends.

Purchase Links:
UK – The Ruined Land
US – The Ruined Land
AU – The Ruined Land

Author Bio:

Clare Rhoden
Clare Rhoden is a writer, speaker and reviewer inspired by politics, culture and the march of history. Her thought-provoking stories and popular characters inspire hope and optimism through challenging times, with novels ranging from wartime history to the dystopian world of the Pale.
To connect with Clare:
Website
Facebook
Instagram
Twitter

Exciting giveaway!!!: Enter here

Giveaway to Win Signed Copies of all three Chronicles of the Pale books & wolf-dog toy made by Borchetta Plush Toys of Australia (Open INT) * see terms and conditions below:

The Chronicles - Giveaway - All 3 books

The Chronicles - Giveaway Prize - Wolf Toy

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. 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.

‘In The Company Of Strangers’ by Awais Khan @rararesources @AwaisKhanAuthor #bookreview #bookbloggers #blogtour

It is my pleasure to be taking my turn on the blog tour today for Awais Khan’s debut novel ‘In The Company Of Strangers’. Many thanks to Rachel Gilbey, from Rachel’s Random Resources, for including me, and to the author for the copy of the book, which I have reviewed as a reader; honestly, individually and impartially.

In The Company of Strangers Cover

The Blurb:

Mona has almost everything: money, friends, social status… everything except for freedom. Languishing in her golden cage, she craves a sense of belonging…

Desperate for emotional release, she turns to a friend who introduces her to a world of glitter, glamour, covert affairs and drugs. There she meets Ali, a physically and emotionally wounded man, years younger than her.

Heady with love, she begins a delicate game of deceit that spirals out of control and threatens to shatter the deceptive facade of conservatism erected by Lahori society, and potentially destroy everything that Mona has ever held dear.

My Review:

The prologue, which sets the scene for this story, makes us party to the tormented final thoughts and observations of a suicide bomber who is making his way into a crowded area in order to avenge his family. When he puts his finger to the detonator, he sets in motion a devastating chain of events.

Ali’s little brother is caught up in the blast, with life changing consequences. To pay for the medical bills, Ali must return to the sleazy work he had hoped to leave behind, despite being extremely successful. He becomes a top billing for the Lahori socialite Meera, who has been newly reunited with her best friend from her youth, Mona, who had married Bilal, a construction magnate, many years earlier. Their social circles are the same; glamourous and bitchy, a superficial whirlwind of parties and home visits which are very amusing to begin with, but palpable tension builds up throughout the story.

It is through Mona and Ali, our star-crossed lovers, that the story is told. The warmth with which these characters’ experiences are told is utterly pervasive and compelling.

I was struck with the author’s ease of writing from a female perspective. I lived and breathed with Mona for the duration of this novel. She has a sense of abstraction from the Lahori high society to which she belongs, allowing us to see the cracks and strains in her life and the lives of those around her.

Although the men believe they are the controlling force in society, there are some very formidable women too. Meera, thrice divorced and fiercely independent, makes it her mission to supersede all others in the pursuit of high society domination. This incenses the cunning and calculating Shahida Elahi, an older woman with a social agenda of her own. Mona’s mother in law, Nighat, is a complex character and I think I ended up liking her, despite her treatment of Mona throughout most of the story.

Away from the high life in Lahore, where secular conservatism is being espoused, young men are becoming radicalised. The dangers of charismatic leadership have been well documented throughout history, in all walks of life and fields of influence and Mir Rabiullah is no exception. He is a monstrous character, and unlike all others in this book, one who the author does nothing to redeem.

Mona experiences huge anxiety about the bomb attacks in Pakistan, which seem to be increasing in frequency and moving closer to the circles in which she moves. She is treading a dangerous path herself and there is great risk in what she does.

The plot of the novel is so compulsive; I found myself reading through the night to find out how Mona and Ali’s troubling situation would resolve.

I have experienced Istanbul through Orhan Pamuk, Kabul through Khaled Hosseini and now Lahore through Awais Khan. He is an author to watch, and I hope that he continues to write much more. As English speakers, to have language barriers broken down for us by skilled writers and translators, we are gifted access to recognise ourselves in others and to see the similarities in human society, no matter the location or culture.

Without reservation, I highly recommend In the Company of Strangers. It is an emotionally charged, stunning debut with masterful characterisation and a tremendous sense of place.

Trigger Warnings: domestic violence, bomb blasts and associated injuries, self-sacrifice, pregnancy related triggers.

This is of course, a blog tour, and there will be many unique perspectives on ‘In The Company of Strangers’ and I would urge you to read them. Some have interviews with the author and on others there are extracts from the novel.

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If you would like to order a copy, please follow one of these purchase links:

The Book Guild

Waterstones

Foyles

Amazon

About the Author:

Awais Khan photo

Awais Khan is a graduate of Western University and Durham University. Having been an avid reader and writer all his life, he decided to take the plunge and study Novel Writing and Editing at Faber Academy in London.

His work has appeared in the Missing Slate Magazine, Daily Times and MODE, and he has been interviewed by leading television channels like PTV, Voice of America, Samaa TV and City 42, to name a few.

He is also the Founder of The Writing Institute, one of the largest institutions for Creative Writing in Pakistan. He lives in Lahore and frequently visits London for business.

To connect:

Instagram

The Writing Institute on Instagram

Facebook

‘Smile of the Stowaway’ by Tony Bassett @rararesources @tonybassett1 #bookgiveaway #competition #rafflecopter #bookblog #bookreview

I am delighted to be on the blog tour today for Smile of the Stowaway by Tony Bassett. Many thanks to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for including me on the tour, and for the copy of the book, which I have reviewed as a reader, honestly, individually, and impartially.

Smile of the Stowaway cover

The Blurb:

A married couple, a stranger from far away and a murder that rocks their lives. Desperate to reach England, a bedraggled immigrant clings precariously beneath a couple’s motor home as they cross the Channel. Once holidaymakers Bob and Anne overcome their shock at his discovery and their initial reservations, they welcome the friendly stranger into their home in defiance of the law. But their trust is stretched to the limit when the police accuse the smiling twenty-three-year-old of a gruesome murder. Could this man from six thousand miles away be guilty? Or is the real killer still out there? Former national newspaper journalist Tony Bassett tells how Anne turns detective, battling against a mountain of circumstantial evidence and police bungling to discover the truth. This gripping first novel concerning a death in a remote Kentish country cottage is packed with mystery, suspense and occasional touches of humour.

My Review:

Imagine travelling back from a trip abroad in your motorhome, ignorant of the fact that a desperate stranger has boarded the underside of your vehicle, only finding out when you pull on to your driveway, and he drops to the ground, ready to run. Would you call the authorities immediately, or might you take pity on an exhausted human being who has undertaken a hellish journey in order to reach a safe country which he hopes to make his home? This is the precise dilemma that suburban couple Bob and Anne face in Smile of the Stowaway, the first crime novel written by ex-Fleet Street journalist Tony Bassett.

The choice they make places the Eritrean illegal immigrant, Yusuf, as a new fixture in their lives, and one who they come to regard with concern and affection. When Yusuf is able to take up a job locally, due to the deniability of the way he has arrived, and his being in possession of a passport, all appears to be going very well.

Then, there is a brutal murder, and the shadow of suspicion falls upon the stowaway with the beautiful smile. Anne is convinced that Yusuf is innocent, and goes on a one-woman mission with her husband Bill (through whom this story is recounted) in tow, to prove it.

Yet, will her faith be misplaced, and is Yusuf really the genial, kind and hardworking man he appears to be?

Some of the problems encountered in this book seemed to me to have solutions which were a little too quickly resolved. I felt that the writing would have benefited from fewer descriptions of some minor points, and greater complexity in other areas, particularly with regard to police procedure and legal process. As a layperson, I would have liked to have understood these things better within the context of this as a crime novel, and this subject, which I found very interesting. I am glad that the author chose to tackle illegal immigration from the perspective he did.

The plot moves forward quickly, and the author is at his most comfortable when he is writing about the private investigation process that his amateur sleuth, Anne, undertakes (although I did have to suspend disbelief on occasion!). I’m sure that this must in no small part be attributable to his extensive journalistic experience.

The book uproots the typical negative tabloid story we used to be confronted with on a regular basis concerning illegal immigrants, and makes our perspective focus on the individual rather than the headline. This is more in keeping with the new, more compassionate style of journalism which appears to be turning the tide against the people traffickers, and eliciting our sympathy for those seeking safe harbour, often failing so tragically.

The author uses his main characters to demonstrate the value of friendship and compassion to those who risk everything to reach a safe place, but also lets the plot unfold in such a way that the complex issues faced by illegal immigrants are exposed.

To take part in an exciting giveaway…

Giveaway to Win 6 x PB copies of Smile of the Stowaway (Open INT)

Rafflecopter Giveaway

*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.

Purchase links:

Amazon UK  

Amazon US

About the author:

Tony Bassett picture

Tony Bassett, who was born in West Kent, grew up wanting to be a writer from the age of nine when he edited a school magazine.

After attending Hull University where he won a `Time-Life’ magazine student journalism award, he spent six years working as a journalist in Sidcup, Worcester and Cardiff before moving to Fleet Street.

Tony spent 37 years working for the national press, mainly for the `Sunday People’ where he worked both for the newsdesk and the investigations department.

He helped cover the Jeremy Thorpe trial for the `Evening Standard’, broke the news in the `Sun’ of Bill Wyman’s plans to marry Mandy Smith and found evidence for the `Sunday People’ of Rod Stewart’s secret love child.

On one occasion, while working for `The People’, he took an escaped gangster back to prison. His first book, `Smile Of The Stowaway’, is one of four crime novels Tony has written over the past three years.

He has five grown-up children and eleven grandchildren. He lives in South East London with his partner, Lin.

To connect with Tony,  please follow the social media links below:

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Tony Bassett Author Page

‘The Sentinel’s Alliance’ by Suzanne Rogerson – PUBLICATION DAY!! @rararesources @rogersonsm #publicationday #bookbloggers #fantasy #specialoffer

Hi everyone! It’s e-book publication day today for the third book in Suzanne Rogerson’s The Silent Sea Chronicles – The Sentinel’s Alliance. It is my privilege to be taking part in the promotion of this book, courtesy of Rachel’s Random Resources.

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The Blurb

As the island of Kalaya and its people recover from civil war, a new threat surfaces. Invaders from the island of Elkena hunt the seas, butchering those who possess magic. Their scar-faced captain seeks the Fire Mage who it has been foretold will kill him and Tei and her people are in his warpath.

Tei and a band of Kalayans travel to Stone Haven, the home of their new allies, planning to restore magic to the dead island. But the Stone Haven Council have abhorred magic since their people were massacred by Elkenan invaders twenty years before. Commander Farrell must persuade his people to accept magic again, but his plans expose them to their biggest fear and he risks leading Tei and her people into danger, and jeopardising the safety of both their islands.

Under Farrell’s guidance treaties are forged, but is the newly formed Silent Sea Alliance enough to defeat the invaders and stop their bloodthirsty quest to destroy magic forever?

Fans of epic and character fantasy will be delighted to know that the three books are available for 99p today in celebration. I’m so excited to read this – I’m a lover of fantasy, yet haven’t read one for what seems like ages. I’m off to buy myself the trilogy now; 99p for each book is a fabulous bargain, and the first two books have staggeringly good reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and from the bloggers who have been involved in the blog tour last month. If you follow the Twitter link at the end of this post, you can read the reviews for yourselves.

If you haven’t read the previous books, the first is entitled ‘The Lost Sentinel’, and the blurb reads:

The magical island of Kalaya is dying, along with its Sentinel.

The Assembly controls Kalaya. Originally set up to govern, they now persecute those with magic and exile them to the Turrak Mountains.

Tei, a tailor’s daughter, has always hidden her magic but when her father’s old friend visits and warns them to flee to the mountains she must leave her old life behind.

On the journey, an attack leaves her father mortally wounded. He entrusts her into the care of the exiles and on his deathbed makes a shocking confession.

Struggling with self-doubt, Tei joins the exiles search for their new Sentinel who is the only person capable of restoring the fading magic. But mysterious Masked Riders are hunting the Sentinel too, and time, as well as hope, is running out.

Against mounting odds it will take friendship, heartache and sacrifice for the exiles to succeed, but is Tei willing to risk everything to save the island magic?

The second is ‘The Sentinel’s Reign, and the blurb reads:

Against mounting odds it will take friendship, heartache and sacrifice for the exiles to succeed, but is Tei willing to risk everything to save the island magic?

The Sentinel’s reign is doomed to failure unless Tei can prevent the Kalayan people from plunging into war.

With the new Sentinel initiated and the magic restored on Kalaya, life is flourishing for Tei and the exiles. But Rathnor’s plans for war soon escalate and thwart any chance of peace.
Brogan’s position on the Assembly is uncertain as rumours circulate that he is an exile spy.

After an attempt on his life, Farrell is more determined than ever to build a home for his people on Stone Haven. But the council have their sights set on Kalaya and Farrell struggles to steer them from war.

As trouble brews within and outside forces gather against them, can the exiles keep their hold on the magic, or will this spell the end of Kalaya and its people?

Purchase Link: The Sentinel’s Alliance

To celebrate publication day, all three books of the Silent Sea Chronicles are 99p today!The Lost Sentinel#1 Silent Sea Chronicles
The Sentinel’s Reign#2 Silent Sea Chronicles

About the Author: Suzanne Rogerson

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Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her hugely encouraging husband and two children.

She wrote her first novel at the age of twelve. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.

Suzanne loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden, and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.

She collects books, loves going for walks and picnics with the children and sharing with them her love of nature and photography.

Suzanne is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles. But most of all she likes to escape with a great film, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

Social Media Links:

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