Review ~Blog Tour ~ The Beedog: An Insect Discovery in Portugal by Addie Broussard.

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The Beedog: An Insect Discovery in Portugal
An award-winning picture book that will get little ones excited about science.
While building a unique sandcastle, Cora and Manny spot a rather curious insect. Soon, the little scientists keep a watchful eye on the insect’s movements, while learning about the natural environment along the way.
A great book for STEM education and home-school projects or just curious little ones who love science. Book extras include fun, printable activities related to science learning and research.

 

Review

Many thanks to the author and blog tour organiser Rachel Gilbey for the ARC in return for an honest review.
The Beedog is a book about two children who on a visit to the beach come across an insect that looks like a Bee, but is it? It sparks an interest in the insect’s behaviour and what creature it might be!
This book is very much a learning tool designed to get children interested in the natural sciences and it does it exceedingly well. The writer guides the reader from the excitement of a trip to the seaside and then how to use the internet to identify what they were watching in the sand. Through narrowing down the search criteria they manage to identity the insect and why it was digging in the sand.
Its strong point is that it encourages the children reading the book to look at the world around them and then use modern technology to identify what they are looking at. It’s a fun way to integrate the world around us into our children’s everyday lives and the way children learn through the internet, creating a learning pathway children will love, understand and identify with. You not only get the book, you can download additional learning sheets to, which makes it very useful for both home learning and a resource for teachers.
The illustrations are colourful and attract the attention of the reader and the accompanying text is easy to read.
Why would I recommend this book? Because it is a great learning aid that could be used by parents at home who want to encourage their children to learn in a fun and interactive way. It’s not just for teachers, parents and children will find it fun to use as well and that’s what makes it such an great book.

You can purchase The Beedog: An Insect Discovery in Portugal from Amazon

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About the author.

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Addie is an avid traveler, and once went on a solo journey to fifteen countries in one year. When she encounters something unique, she writes about it. Her first published picture book, The Beedog, is about a curious insect that she found in southern Portugal.
Addie began her writing journey when she was just nine years old, with a book called Doggienauts. That book has been updated and is set for publication in 2018. Addie is originally from the United States and is currently a full-time traveler. Home is where her suitcase is.

You can follow the author on InstagramTwitter and Facebook.
About the illustrator Bio, Joyeeta Neogi
Joyeeta is a children’s book illustrator who has worked with international authors and publishers. Her engagement with worldwide clients and multicultural themes has allowed her to create captivating original animal and child characters. Her art captures the expressions, movements and vibrancy of life within simple compositions to bring the author’s story to life. In her free time, Joyeeta is busy with painting and music. She loves to paint in oil and acrylic, and has also developed a passion for watercolour.

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Review ~ Tin Man by Sarah Winman #FriendshipAndLove #LGBT

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It begins with a painting won in a raffle: fifteen sunflowers, hung on the wall by a woman who believes that men and boys are capable of beautiful things.

And then there are two boys, Ellis and Michael,
who are inseparable.
And the boys become men,
and then Annie walks into their lives,
and it changes nothing and everything.

Tin Man sees Sarah Winman follow the acclaimed success of When God Was A Rabbit and A Year Of Marvellous Ways with a love letter to human kindness and friendship, loss and living.

Review

Occasionally I read a book that reminds me why reading means so much to me. Much as that special song comes to represent to others an event or moment in their lives, it’s reading that influenced my formative years and continues to do so. Each decade of my life is marked by a few books that touch me and leave an indelible mark on my heart.
It’s not that you haven’t enjoyed the other books you have read, but some books speak to you with an exquisite tenderness and Tin Man by Sarah Winman is one of those books! It is that rare thing, perfect and hauntingly beautiful.
It tells of Ellis and Michael, who meet as children, become inseparable, grow into men and into their lives comes Annie. It deals with not only the fluid nature of their love and friendships, but confronts the reader with the reality of what it meant to be gay, as the Aids epidemic tore the Gay community apart. It talks of what it’s like for Ellis who should have been an artist, but who works in a car factory, hemmed in by masculine norms of what defined a man and the jobs real men did. Of Michael a writer, who follows the path he was marked out for, but seems always to be destined to settle for less than the love he deserves and yearns for. Then there is sweet, caring Alice, whose story threads itself through Michael and Ellis’s relationship.
The joy of Tin Man is the simple way it deals with love and identity. It’s not dramatic; the story is uncomplicated and yet, is tender and astonishingly intimate. Sarah Winman gives voice to their feelings with such searing intensity, that I was left bereft for days after I’d finished reading it. I fell in love with both Michael and Ellis, my heart ached for them and Alice, to the point it became one of only a handful of books to make me cry.
The beauty of Tin Man is that it takes LGBT relationships and weaves them into the very fabric of the story. They are there, because this is a story about love and friendship and the very thin line that divides the two, not just because a character is LGBT . When reading books that contain Gay, lesbian or bi-sexual people, it often feels that they are shoe horned into a story to fill some vague quota, not so in Tin Man. Ellis, Michael and Anna are caught up in the complicated feelings that define human love and this should not separate and define them just because of their sexuality.
Don’t read this book just because it has LGBT characters. Read it because it will break you and then heal you. Because it is a story about what it means to love and the joys of friendship. Because boys and men are capable of beautiful things and that love is not defined by the narrow confines of heterosexuality.

You can buy Tin Man from AmazonWaterstones and all good bookseller’s.

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Author Bio

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Sarah Winman was born in Illford, Essex. A British actress and author, her first novel When God Became A Rabbit became an international bestseller and won Winman several awards. Her second novel A Year of Marvellous Ways was published on 18 June 2015 and her third, Tin Man, on 27 July 2017 and shortlisted for the 2017 Costa Book Awards.

Sarah Winman can be followed on Facebook

Extract ~ Blog Tour ~ Deepest Wounds by Gordon Brown.

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The past is a dangerous place. Craig McIntyre s mere presence removes people s inhibitions and turns their darkest thoughts into actions. As Craig McIntyre tries to escape bounty hunters from the Dark Web, he discovers that his details are linked to a clandestine government project. Might it hold answers to his past as well as dangers for the present? Back on the run in North America, McIntyre hooks up with some unlikely allies. But can he trust them any more than those who want to use him to shape the future…and to further their personal ambitions? Have those behind Factor really given up on their pursuit of him? Or is McIntyre being reeled in with some politically toxic bait? McIntyre is the key to an explosive secret that could change mankind forever.

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I’m lucky to be able to share an extract from Gordon Brown’s book Deepest Wounds today.

Many thanks to the author and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.

Chapter 1

There’s a time to die and a time to live. It’s my time to die. The
rope around my neck is tight. Air is already at a premium. I’m
drawing short breaths. Asphyxiation is not a good way to go.
Lack of oxygen and an excess of CO2 demands that the body
breathes.
The rope draws taut around my throat. Rough hemp. Scraping
skin as I twist my head. The fan above me beats out the
rhythm of a failing heart. The blindfold I’m wearing lets no
light in.
My feet are numb. Up on my tiptoes I sway. The rope keeps
me vertical. My neck is taking the strain every time I over-balance.
My hands are tied behind my back.
The room is cold. The winter outside has come inside. To
add to the chill, the fan blows an iced wind onto my head. The
nearby door, open to the outside world, lets freezing rain splash
on me. My naked body shivers.
A gust and the chair wobbles. My feet dance. My neck
strains. The radio in the room tells me that for $199 down and
nothing to pay for six months I can own a new waterbed.
I chew on the gag. The gasoline in my mouth is bitter. The
gasoline on my body is leaking more heat from my skin as it
evaporates.
The door to the outside cracks back on its hinges, as more
wind is funneled into the room. My toes, slick with fluid, slide
on the chair. I brace my neck and pull myself upright. My throat
is closing. I gag. I slip and slide. Gain some purchase but the
rope is a little tighter. A slip knot. A choker.
A howl from a beast outside echoes around the room, like a
warning from Hades. Distant. I lift myself a quarter of an inch
higher. Enough to ease the thick necklace. I draw in air. Cold
sustenance pours down my throat. My life, measured in two
half-full lungs. Ill-inflated balloons – crumpled plastic bags in
my chest. I hold the air. Maxing the oxygen exchange. Sucking
the last molecule.
My ribs start to hurt. Aching. The air inside me is heating
up. My body wants to spit it out and drag in the fresh stuff. The
primeval in my head is taking over. I exhale. Air sprays between
my teeth. My toes fold. The rope grabs.
I search for anger. Defiance. A last throw of the dice when
the game is already over. But my vocal chords are neutered. A
dribble of spit leaks between my lips.
My feet slip again. The rope grips, my toes losing contact
with the chair as my airway slams shut. Blind panic kicks in. I
thrash around. My world lights up. Flashes of brilliance as rods
and cones fire. No last thoughts. No lifetime in a heartbeat. No
last-minute calm. Just sheer fear.
My feet scrabble for the chair. A toenail clicks on the surface.
I try to focus. To slow down. I search for the wood beneath me
– my feet slashing. Inside my head there’s nothing but a scream.
And the scream is all I can hear. All I can do. All that I am.
Then I’m down. Falling. I slam into the chair and bounce off
it. I roll across the floor. The rope is still tight but I can breathe.
I suck. Suck hard. Hauling at the air. My throat is a raw pipe.
I roll onto my side. A quarter of a breath. I try to inhale and
exhale at the same time. I choke as more air rushes in. My heart
is a tap dancer in full flow.
‘Had enough?’
I ignore the voice.
The screaming in my head has stopped. I bite another chunk
of air from the room and chew.
‘Enough?’
I cough up bile. Then drink in more of the breathable stuff.
‘I said, have you had enough?’
The voice is a few feet away. Not threatening. Not really
a hard question. More a gentle enquiry. Quiet, assured – like
asking if you want another beer midway through a Friday night
in the pub.
As my breathing eases, my head goes looking for the past.
Why am I here? What the hell is going on?
‘I’m stopping this. This isn’t helping.’
I agree with the voice. This isn’t helping at all. In what way
could this help anyone? But the statement suggests that help
was the desired end game. I want to nod. I also want to enjoy the
next breath. The breath wins.
‘Craig. This is as extreme as it gets. No more.’
The blindfold is ripped from my head. I close my eyes as
the light blinds me and, then, after a few seconds, I open them
slowly, adjusting to the re-introduction of vision. Blinking.
Squinting. Focusing. The man above me steps away. A door
shuts, stopping the cold breeze.
‘This is just fucking stupid.’
I agree again. But stupid is the wrong word. It implies that
I’m a co-conspirator. Part of this. It implies that help and stupidity
are not mutually exclusive. That one led to the other.
Unintended but causal.
Hands work behind me to free the bonds.
‘Can you get up?’
I’m cold as death, the floor is slick with gasoline. My muscles
are fatigued – burnt out from trying to keep me upright. I shake
my head.
‘Lie there for a moment. I’m not up for lifting your naked
corpse. Friends or not.’
Friends. What kind of friend would subject someone to this?
‘Here.’
A coat lands on me.
‘Curl up in that. I’ll start the shower. Once I’ve cleaned up in
here I’ll get the fire going.’
I lie. Shivering. My breathing shallow. Normalizing.
Thoughts swirling. I find the past. And it dawns on me.

I asked for this to be done to me.

You can purchase Deepest Wounds from Amazon.

About the author. 

Gordon Brown

Gordon has been writing since his teens and has six crime thrillers published – his latest, Deepest Wounds, being the third in the Craig McIntyre series, is out now. Gordon helped found Bloody Scotland – Scotland’s International Crime Writing Festival and lives in Scotland. He’s married with two children. Gordon once quit his job in London to fly across the Atlantic to be with his future wife. He has also delivered pizzas in Toronto, sold non alcoholic beer in the Middle East, launched a creativity training business called Brain Juice and floated a high tech company on the London Stock Exchange. He almost had a toy launched by a major toy company, has an MBA, loves music, is a DJ on local radio, compered the main stage at a two-day music festival and was once booed by 49,000 people while on the pitch at a major football Cup Final.

You can follow the author on his website.

Deepest Wounds Blog Tour Poster

Review ~Blog Tour ~ Overkill by Vanda Symon

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OverKill by Vanda Symon

When the body of a young mother is found washed up on the banks of the Mataura River, a small rural community is rocked by her tragic suicide. But all is not what it seems. Sam Shephard, sole-charge police constable in Mataura, soon discovers the death was no suicide and has to face the realisation that there is a killer in town. To complicate the situation, the murdered woman was the wife of her former lover. When Sam finds herself on the list of suspects and suspended from duty, she must cast aside her personal feelings and take matters into her own hands. To find the murderer … and clear her name. A taut, atmospheric and page-turning thriller, Overkill marks the start of an unputdownable and unforgettable series from one of New Zealand’s finest crime writers.

Review

I would like to thank the author, publisher Orenda Books and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC in return for an honest review.
When I picked this novel up to read, I was looking for a book that would grab me and sweep me to the final pages with breathless excitement. Well it did and I loved it!
There were for me, so many things to like about this book. The setting is glorious and gives the novel a sense of originality. It has a determined and sassy heroine who strides through this fabulous story with purpose and a hint of vulnerability, making her one of the most believable heroines I have come across in quite a long time and that makes for a very refreshing and satisfying read. The character of Sam makes this novel and she does so with style. Not only is she a strong female lead, she is relatable to. She is not a perfect modern police women, but neither is she so damaged that she can only function with the support of a host of characters. Sam sits front and centre in Overkill with are a plethora of fascinating supporting characters.
Then there is the story itself, the murder of a young mum and wife in a small rural New Zealand community. The story felt to me to be a classic police drama, with a modern twist, set far away from the grim streets of our cities. Vanda Symon creates a first class drama which held me within its embrace from page one to the final sentence. I loved the claustrophobic feel of the small rural community setting that she created, where everyone knows your business and wagging tongues can destroy lives. It contained the story within a limited geographical area, that ramped up the tension to almost unbearable levels. As Sam looked for the killer, you could feel the imagined borders of the community closing in around her, danger at every corner, with forces threatening her and those she cared about. There were none of the distractions often seen in drama’s played out on a wider canvas, so all your focus was there with Sam in Mataura and that claustrophobia affected me, far more than I expected, leaving me anxious and worried that Sam would become another victim.

Why would I recommend his book? Because it is a superb read, written by an emerging New Zealand talent, who if the world is fair will draw a huge following in Britain. The characterisation is top notch, with a strong female lead whose vulnerability is neither overwhelming nor disabling for the story or the character herself. She is determined and written so well, that a series of books featuring Sam will be something I hope will be published in this country as well.
This is an exciting and intelligent read that If you love thrillers should be your next purchase

You can purchase Overkill from Amazon and Waterstones.

About the author. 

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Vanda Symon is the best-selling author of four Detective Sam Shephard crime fiction novels, published in New Zealand, including Overkill (Penguin, 2007), The Ringmaster (Penguin, 2008), Containment (Penguin, 2009), Bound (Penguin, 2011), and the stand-alone psychological thriller, The Faceless (Penguin, 2012). She is a three-time finalist for the Ngaio Marsh Award for Best Crime Fiction Novel. Her books have also been published in Germany.

Author Kate Mosse has said: ‘Vanda Symon’s fast paced crime novels are as good as anything the US has to offer – a sassy heroine, fabulous sense of place, and rip roaring stories with a twist. Perfect curl-up on the sofa reading.’ Crimewatch has described Vanda as ‘part of a new wave of Kiwi crime writers… Symon’s talent for creating well-rounded characters permeates throughout’.

Vanda is the producer and host of Write On, a monthly radio show on matters literary on Otago Access Radio, and she also reviews books for National Radio. She is very involved in the New Zealand writing community, having been chair of the Otago Southland branch of the New Zealand Society of Authors, and is currently the Chair of Copyright Licensing New Zealand. Vanda also has participated in celebrity debates, acted as speaker, reader or chair in literary events and festivals in New Zealand and Australia, and toured with The New Zealand Book Council’s Words on Wheels.

Vanda has a professional background as a pharmacist and has recently completed a PhD in science communication, examining the communication of science through crime fiction.

You can follow the author on her website and Twitter.

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Extract ~ Review ~ Blog Tour ~The Gathering: Book One of the Uprising Series by Bernadette Giacomazzo.

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The Gathering

The Uprising Series tells the story of three freedom fighters and their friends in high — and low — places that come together to overthrow a vainglorious Emperor and his militaristic Cabal to restore the city, and the way of life, they once knew and loved. In The Gathering, Jamie Ryan has defected from the Cabal and has joined his former brothers-in-arms — Basile Perrinault and Kanoa Shinomura — to form a collective known as The Uprising. When an explosion leads to him crossing paths with Evanora Cunningham — a product of Jamie’s past — he discovers that The Uprising is bigger, and more important, than he thought.

 

I’m lucky to be able to share an extract from The Gathering on booksaremycwtches today. You can also read my review of the book, which I am reshaping after the extract. 

Extract

Chapter Three

Jamie
“Emperor has a daughter?” I asked with genuine wonder and revulsion. “Who would be desperate enough to fuck that stubby dick?”
“Step daughter, actually,” replied Kanoa. “I met her when she was still a baby. Precious little thing. She wasn’t much of a fuss-bucket, either, thank God. Loved to laugh. Chubby, bubbly, did the normal eat-cry-shit your diapers-and-sleep thing that babies do. But he made sure to keep her locked away at school for all these years. ‘For her protection,’ he told us. But the implication was that, when she was old enough, she would be ‘presented’ to all of us and accepted as a princess for the people. ‘The Chosen One,’ if you like.” He scoffed. “What absolute horseshit. He kept her locked away because it wasn’t his real kid – like we didn’t know – and he wanted to hide her so people wouldn’t ask questions.”
“A daughter, huh?” I pondered. “How old is she? What’s her name?”
Kanoa rolled his eyes. “Why? You want her number? Goddamn, Jamie, you’re still that horny old rock star at heart, aren’t you?”
“How about you eat my ass, Kanoa?” I snarled. “You know goddamn well I haven’t gotten laid in 20 years, and I’m not looking to change that by fucking the daughter – step daughter, half daughter, adopted daughter, whatever the fuck – of the man who wants my head on a platter like I’m John the fucking Baptist. No, seriously, what’s her story? Name, age, rank and file? Does she even like men?”
“Man, listen, the last time I saw her, she couldn’t have been more than six years old. I have no fucking idea what she’s like now,” Kanoa replied. “How long have we been on the run? Fifteen years? I’d say she’s gotta be about 21 years old now.”
That’s about how old our baby would be, I thought to myself. My son – our son – would be a young man right now, if things were…different.
“But if you’re asking me for her name, rank, and file, as you put it,” finished Kanoa, “believe me when I tell you that I sincerely do not remember at all.” He sighed, then pushed away his now-empty plate, and continued. “I just wanted to put that part of my life behind me, when I left to go on the run with you guys. I deliberately forgot everything. But occasionally, when I look out at this city – and what I helped make it become – I’m filled with such regret. Like, what the fuck did I do? How the fuck did we get here? And” – he shook his head and looked at the floor – “why didn’t I listen to my father? Why didn’t I go with them?” He ran his fingers through his silky black hair. Unlike Basile and myself, Kanoa didn’t have a single grey hair – a fact which never ceased to amaze either one of us, but which also occasioned many a snarky comment amongst us about what sort of witchcraft Kanoa was practicing to look so much younger than the rest of us.
“Kanoa,” offered Basile, “listen to me. You can’t blame yourself. None of us can. Yes, it was wrong, but shit – we did what we had to do to survive. They took our families from us. Me, Jamie, all of us…”
Kanoa shook his head. “No, Basile,” he said, softly. “No. I had a family. I still have a family. Nothing I could have done back then was justified by anything. That’s why this” – he made a circle with his hand, indicating us, and what we were doing – “this is just the beginning of making things right.”
I sighed. “Just leaving,” I said, “was the start of making things right.”
Basile nodded, then gathered our plates. “We gotta finish getting ready and we gotta get out there. How many of them do you think we can take out at once, Supreme Allied Commander Shinomura?”
Kanoa laughed, darkly. “Well, Brigadier General Perrinault, I think you and Major General Ryan can take out at least twenty of them, if we get out there within the next hour.”
“One whole battalion,” I said with wonder. “How weak do they make them, these days? Back when we were in command, it took a nation of millions to hold us back, and even then, there were no guarantees.”
Basile gave us a wan half-smile. “That’s why Emperor wants us back so badly,” he remarked. “We were the best he’d ever had, and we trained others to be even better than we were. That he wants to kill us…well, that’s the old ‘if I can’t have you, no one can’ trope, isn’t it?”
I sighed. “Great. Our Emperor’s nothing more than a jealous boyfriend with orange skin and a little dick. But we knew that already. So where are we heading tonight?”
The three of us walked to the window and peered to our right. Kanoa wrinkled his nose, as though he were picking up a transmission that neither I nor Basile could hear. “Essex Street,” he said simply. “Corner of East Houston. Something’s going on over there.”
I inhaled sharply. “Home of the old Mercury Lounge,” I said.
Kanoa wrinkled his nose again. “Yeah, I guess,” he replied, shrugging his shoulders. “This ain’t my city, man. I’ll leave it to you to tell us what’s up around here. Or what used to be up around here.” He shook his head. “I can’t even imagine what it was like…before all this.”
“That’s another story for another day, man,” I replied, winking at Basile. “Basile knows a few stories, but maybe if it took you less time to wash your ass, I’d tell them to you too.”
Basile grabbed a black towel and started to make his way towards the bathroom. “Speaking of washing my ass,” he said, “I gotta get presentable. I can’t go out there smelling like feet and ass the way the rest of you do.”
Kanoa saw an opening and dived for it. “Why, Basile?” he asked. “You got a hot date?”
Basile, sensing the bait, smiled wickedly and nodded his head, continuing to walk toward the bathroom. “Yeah, Kanoa. With your mother.”
Kanoa let out a guffaw. “Fuck you mean, Basile? You trying to get me to call you Daddy or something?”
Basile stood in the bathroom door jamb, then turned to face Kanoa. “Nah, Kanoa,” he said, and I could hear the smile in his voice as he delivered the zinger. “It’s bad enough that’s all she calls me.”
He dropped his pants before us both, then laughed hysterically as he turned back around and started the water for the shower.
“Fuck you mean,” he murmured to himself, but clearly referring to Kanoa, “comin’ out here struttin’ the runway and shit. I’m too sexy for my shirt type shit. Actin’ like we goin’ for lobster and shit.”
He looked back at us both, then yelled, “Fuck outta here!” before slamming the door to our howling laugher.
After we finished wiping away our tears of laughter, Kanoa and I turned the radio on to a repeat broadcast of Uprising Radio, hoping to hear Vector Prime’s voice.
It took a minute – static, poor reception, a radio that had seen better days – but we finally got the broadcast to come on, albeit a bit jammed.
“Uprising…” came a voice crackling through the radio, “Vector Prime to the Uprising. The Emperor’s Ball…” – more static – “keep your soldiers on the ground in the old Bowery. Battalions…” – more static – “Essex and the corner of East Houston. Vector Prime, signing off. Long live the Uprising! Long live New York City!”
There’s something familiar about that voice, I thought to myself as I switched off the radio.
My face, to Kanoa, must have asked my question. “What’s up, J-Ry?” he asked, furrowing his eyebrows.
My answer came out in a dream. “Vector Prime,” I said. “I know her.”

You can purchase The Gathering from Amazon

You can also enter a Giveaway – Win a paperback copy of The Gathering (Open Internationally) by following this LINK
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Winner will be asked if they prefer a paperback or a digital copy.  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 I reserve 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 I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

My review 

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This review was first published on the blog May 2018.

I would like to thank the author and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC in return for an honest review.

The Gathering is a novella with a very modern vibe to it.

It deals with the gathering storm of an uprising against a Emperor, in a futuristic New York.

I must admit that this book left me feeling a little unsatisfied, because I like books with a bit more depth to them. It doesn’t make The Gathering a bad book, because it’s not, it is in fact a great example of futuristic urban fiction.

It is written in a sparse way, short snappy paragraphs focusing on events rather than a very descriptive narrative, which helps create a feeling of a futuristic city, bereft of art and culture. To the writers credit, her style of writing enhances the feeling of a city that has lost it’s very soul.

The character development was focused on Jamie Ryan, once a singer, now a rebel and Evanora Cunningham, daughter of his best friend.  You get to know about their past and what drives them, without the book becoming heavy in back story.  Both are very likeable characters, Jamie especially. Very much a rebel with a cause, in the mould of a Tarantino lead, rather than your more traditional romantic hero.  The Gathering is very urban and the characters reflect that.

If you like your books with a very ‘punchy’ writing style and you don’t mind frequent swearing then this book is for you.

About the author

The Gathering Author

With an impressive list of credentials earned over the course of two decades, Bernadette R. Giacomazzo is a multi-hyphenate in the truest sense of the word: an editor, writer, photographer, publicist, and digital marketing specialist who has demonstrated an uncanny ability to thrive in each industry with equal aplomb. Her work has been featured in Teen Vogue, People, Us Weekly, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Post, and many, many more. She served as the news editor of Go! NYC Magazine for nearly a decade, the executive editor of LatinTRENDS Magazine for five years, the eye candy editor of XXL Magazine for two years, and the editor-at-large at iOne/Zona de Sabor for two years. As a publicist, she has worked with the likes of Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson and his G-Unit record label, rapper Kool G. Rap, and various photographers, artists, and models. As a digital marketing specialist, Bernadette is Google Adwords certified, has an advanced knowledge of SEO, PPC, link-building, and other digital marketing techniques, and has worked for a variety of clients in the legal, medical, and real estate industries. Based in New York City, Bernadette is the co-author of Swimming with Sharks: A Real World, How-To Guide to Success (and Failure) in the Business of Music (for the 21st Century), and the author of the forthcoming dystopian fiction series, The Uprising. She also contributed a story to the upcoming Beyonce Knowles tribute anthology, The King Bey Bible, which will be available in bookstores nationwide in the summer of 2018.

You follow the author on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

The Gathering

Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Blood Ribbon by Roger Bray.

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Blood Ribbon
When there’s more than secrets buried, where do you start digging?
When Brooke Adams is found battered, bleeding, and barely conscious, the police are at a loss as to who her attacker is or why she was targeted.
Then, PI Rod Morgan turns up convinced that Brooke’s attack is the latest in a string of unsolved disappearances dating back twenty-five years.
The police, however, aren’t convinced, so Brooke and Rod must investigate the cases themselves.
As secrets from the past start unravelling, will they find Brooke’s attacker before he strikes again, or is that one secret that will stay buried forever?

Review

Many thanks to the author, publisher and blog tour organiser for the ARC of Blood Ribbon in return for an honest review.

I’m a massive fan of Roger Bray ‘s writing and so was excited, when I was given the chance to read and review his new book.  I am happy to be able to say, wow, it is a fabulous read.

I sure people will think my review won’t be balanced because I’m such a big fan, but I always read any review book with a critical eye and I simply couldn’t find a fault with this first class thriller!

I love all types of thriller, fast paced and those slow burners where character and story are allowed to develop over the length of the storyline. Blood Ribbon is very much in the later category for me. The story builds pace over the Arc of the storyline and Roger Bray cleverly weaves false trails for the reader to follow, only for them to realise, they have been duped by his writing and that characters are not who they thought they were. The writing draws you in, wraps you in it’s embrace and it’s a wonderful experience.

The characterisation is another reason this novel was a great read. From Brook who refuses to be a victim, to the chilling, damaged killer, whose motivations left me chilled to the bone, each is fascinating to spend time with.

Why would I recommend this book? Because it is clever, because it’s addictive and simply because it’s written by a very talented writer.

 

 

You can purchase Blood Ribbon from Amazon

 

About the author. 

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I have always loved writing; putting words onto a page and bringing characters to life. I can almost feel myself becoming immersed into their lives, living with their fears and triumphs. Thus, my writing process becomes an endless series of questions. What would she or he do, how would they react, is this in keeping with their character? Strange as it sounds, I don’t like leaving characters in cliffhanging situations without giving them an ending, whichever way it develops. My life to date is what compels me to seek a just outcome, the good will overcome and the bad will be punished. More though, I tend to see my characters as everyday people in extraordinary circumstances, but in which we may all find our selves if the planets align wrongly or for whatever reason you might consider. Of course, most novels are autobiographical in some way. You must draw on your own experiences of life and from events you have experienced to get the inspiration. My life has been an endless adventure. Serving in the Navy, fighting in wars, serving as a Police officer and the experiences each one of those have brought have all drawn me to this point, but it was a downside to my police service that was the catalyst for my writing. Medically retired after being seriously injured while protecting a woman in a domestic violence situation I then experienced the other side of life. Depression and rejection. Giving truth to the oft said saying that when one door closes another opens I pulled myself up and enrolled in college gaining bachelor and master degrees, for my own development rather than any professional need. The process of learning, of getting words down onto the page again relit my passion for writing in a way that I hadn’t felt since high school. So here we are, two books published and another on track. Where it will take me I have no idea but I am going to enjoy getting there and if my writing can bring some small pleasure into people’s lives along the way, then I consider that I will have succeeded in life.

You can follow the author on TwitterFacebook and his website.

Blood Ribbon - Publication Day

Review ~Blog Tour ~ The Theatre of Dreams by Rosie Travers.

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The Theatre of Dreams
Musical theatre actress Tara is down on her luck and in desperate need of a job.  When terminally-ill octogenarian Kitty invites her to take over the running of her former dance academy in the old-fashioned resort of Hookes Bay, Tara thinks she’s found her guardian angel.  But it soon becomes very clear Kitty is being far from benevolent.  Too late, Tara realises helping Kitty will signal the end of an already tarnished career, unless she can pull off the performance of a life-time…

Review

Many thanks to the author, publisher and blog tour organiser for the ARC of The Theatre of Dreams in return for honest review.

This book is a combination of a thriller, love story and a tale of new beginnings.

It is a fantastic read, with a fabulous balance of great characterisation and a story that keep me engaged right to the last page.  Tara is wonderful, I felt sympathy for the situation she finds herself in and I cheered her on as she battled to secure a new life for he herself. Then around her is a rich cast of characters who give this novel a depth,  which meant I didn’t want it to end.

For a thriller, it’s had a lightness of touch, which made it easy to read and very enjoyable throughout. That doesn’t mean it isn’t exciting because it is.  The thriller element keeps me on the edge of my reading chair and I wondered throughout if Tara’s would escape the forces determined to destroy the Theatre of Dreams.

Why would I recommend this book?  Because it’s a top quality read, written by an great writer. Most importantly it’s a fun, highly enjoyable read.

You can purchase The Theatre of Dreams from Amazon.

About the author. 

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I like to  write stories with a twist, a sprinkling of humour and a dash of tragedy.  My aim is to entertain and raise a smile.
I’ve always had a very vivid imagination and my passion for writing began at a very early age.  As a teenager I scribbled, then typed, numerous novels and short stories, none of which I was ever brave enough to show to anyone. My hobby was put on hold while mortgages, marriage, and motherhood took over. In fact, it stayed hidden for a good twenty or so years until I unexpectedly found myself with some spare time on my hands. In 2009 I left the UK to accompany my husband on an overseas work assignment to California. I started a blog about my life in the US, and from there everything mushroomed. I re-discovered my creative juices.  I am a member of the Romantic Novelists Association New Writers Scheme and Hampshire Writers Society. I now live on the south coast of England with my husband and a very spoilt cat.
The Theatre of Dreams is my first novel.

The author can be followed on her websiteTwitter and Facebook.

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Book In The Spotlight~Blog Tour ~The Cheesemaker’s Daughter by Jane Cable.

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The Cheesemaker’s House
Just think, Alice, right now Owen could be putting a hex on you!
When Alice Hart’s husband runs off with his secretary, she runs off with his dog to lick her wounds in a North Yorkshire village. Battling with loneliness but trying to make the best of her new start, she soon meets her neighbours, including the drop-dead gorgeous builder Richard Wainwright and the kindly yet reticent cafe´ owner, Owen Maltby.

As Alice employs Richard to start renovating the barn next to her house, all is not what it seems. Why does she start seeing Owen when he clearly isn’t there? Where – or when – does the strange crying come from? And if Owen is the village charmer, what exactly does that mean?

The Cheesemaker’s House is a gripping read, inspired by a framed will found in the dining room of the author’s dream Yorkshire house. The previous owners explained that the house had been built at the request of the village cheesemaker in 1726 – and that the cheesemaker was a woman. And so the historical aspect of the story was born.

Jane Cable’s novel won the Suspense & Crime category of The Alan Titchmarsh Show People’s Novelist competition, reaching the last four out of over a thousand entries. The Cheesemaker’s House can be enjoyed by anyone who has become bored of today’s predictable boy-meets-girl romance novels.

“I desperately want to find out about Owen; a fascinating character… the gift here is to make you want to read on.”
Jeffrey Archer

You can purchase the The Cheesemaker’s Daughter from Amazon, Waterstones, KoboIBook.

About the author. 

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Although brought up in Cardiff, Jane Cable left Wales to study at the age of eighteen and has lived in England ever since. Her father was Anglo-Welsh poet Mercer Simpson so growing up in a house full of books Jane always read – and wrote. In 2011 she started to take her hobby seriously when The Cheesemaker’s House, which became her debut novel, reached the final of The Alan Titchmarsh Show’s People’s Novelist competition. She writes romance with a twist of mystery which has been published independently and through the UK ebook giant, Endeavour Press. Jane is an active member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and a director of Chindi Authors.
In 2017 Jane moved to Cornwall and this year will become a full time author. She’s passionate about her new home, cricket, travelling and her husband of 22 years – although not necessarily in that order.

You can follow the author on her WebsiteTwitter and Facebook.

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Review ~Blog Tour ~Murder By The Broads by Anthony Tamiozzo.

 

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Murder by the Broads 

Meet DS Adam Burnt, a troubled man who has his work cut out. While at a crime scene he is informed of another murder. But Burnt is also having problems at home. He suspects his wife is having an affair.

As the clues unfold DS Burnt begins a game of cat and mouse.

What links the two murders to a doctor and a psychiatric hospital?

Trying to juggle his personal life and the job, Burnt must navigate Great Yarmouth and the surrounding areas to catch a killer and stop a vicious gang.

Review

I would like to thank the author, Bloodhound Books and blog tour organiser Sarah Hardy for the ARC in return for an honest review.

Murder on the Broads by Anthony Tamiozzo is a Police procedural drama set along the windswept Norfolk coast.

First the more difficult part of the review.

For me the novel didn’t quite work, but that was down to the format. The author frequently changes points of view in the middle of the chapter, meaning I had to go back more than once to pick up the thread of the story. While the way he flips the story back and fore between the event the story is centred around and those leading up to it, is not clearly sign posted. The multiple story threads are also confusing and a bit too messy, and left the story off balance for me.

Now for the better part of this review, the bit I love writing!

Even with the above, this is still a promising debut by an author who clearly has a bright future. I loved the characterisation, especially DS Adam Burnt, a troubled man whose complicated home life makes him fascinating and he has I believe, the makings of a classical personality, around which a series of books could be written. I pretty much liked the characters that I was meant to like and felt contempt for those who prey on those weaker than themselves.

Where Anthony Tamiozzo excels himself, is in the way he portrays the drug culture that can swallow up whole communities. This part of the novel is superb. It reeks of the seediness of the cruel world that many of us walk past each day, but never focus on. He captures the exploitive nature of the criminal underworld and the violence that it breeds. He takes you into a world that many of us know is there and makes us face our own fears, of how close it actually is to us and those we love.

Murder by the Broads shows the potential of a writer whose journey I will follow with much interest. Give it a read, because what didn’t quite synch with me, might do so with you and you don’t want to miss a great read!

You can purchase Murder by The Broads from Amazon.

About the author

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Anthony Tamiozzo was born in Derby and raised in Great Yarmouth. He moved to Aberdeenshire around 2007 with his wife and two kids. He has the day job of a software engineer.

His spare time, when not hill-running, tearing down a mountain on a bike, or coaching his boys football team, he is writing about where he grew up.

He knows people who died or was killed because of drugs all in the unassuming town of Great Yarmouth, which continues to inspire his ideas.

His real name is Ant Wilson but adopted his father’s Italian surname for his writing pseudonym. His favourite writer is Elmore Leonard.

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