Extract ~ Blog Tour ~ Three: Deception Love Murder by K J McGillick

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Inviting a stranger into your home can be dangerous. Inviting a stranger into your life can turn deadly.

How would you feel if you discovered your death was meticulously planned by someone you loved? You didn’t know how or when or even why. All you could do was wait.

Emma has it all-a job she loves and a man who professed to love her.

Or did she? How could she be so blind?

When her lover’s car is found burned and abandoned in another state, the police come asking some hard questions. What she discovers upends her world completely. Jude had been living a double life right under her nose. A deceitful life, a treacherous life. Who was this man that had already groomed another woman to take over Emma’s life? A woman who was Emma’s body double and now dead.

Why had she so easily trusted this psychopath with her heart? Betrayed on every level, consequences not of Emma’s making were nipping at her heels. Tick. Tock.

THREE is a gripping crime thriller that will have you hooked. A fast-paced psychological thriller that has been compared to the works of Dan Brown. It can be read as a standalone and serves as the first book in the Path of Deception and Betrayal series.

Extract

As he leaned forward, he rested his elbows on the table and his fingers pointed into a steeple. “I am sorry Dr. Collier is going through this stressful time. But I cannot offer you any further information. When we have something more concrete, we will let you know.”
“Well, you realize I can get what I need through a request under the Freedom of Information Act,” Alexi challenged.
“Ms. Morgan. Alexi. I am aware you have connections, and that you were a US assistant attorney. I am not naive to the possibility, more likely the probability, the minute I walk out you will use every resource at your disposal to find out what you want to learn. I realize you need to know the details of the investigation. That is what we are working on and not ready to explain yet. Agents lives remain at risk, and you could compromise an ongoing undercover operation. You can press for more information, but to save you time, I assure you Homeland sealed the files. I am asking you to back off,” he urged.
Aunt Mary couldn’t help herself. “Homeland. So, dickhead is a terrorist. I have to say I told you so. How long have I said he is a commie?”
She had our attention and continued. “Agent Thomas, if you get me into witness protection—I want Arizona, nothing cold—I will share my information. Get me a deal, and I will spill.”
All I could say was, “Jesus, help me,” as I lowered my forehead to the table.
Agent Thomas looked dubiously at Alexi and then back at Aunt Mary. “Thank you. If you would share your information with Ms. Morgan, she can tell me, and I will take your proposal under advisement.”
Aunt Mary hit the table, and I jumped. “Well, get cracking because I have the goods.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He picked up his papers and tapped the bottom to straighten them, then put them in his briefcase. He bid us a good day and left.
When I was sure he had left the building, I whirled around to let Aunt Mary have it. “What in the holy hell is wrong with you? If anybody should be ready to send Jude down the river, it’s me. But for the love of God, terrorism? Get a grip!”
“You think I am not crystal-clear right now? You think I am in one of my funks? I have been telling you for years he’s associated with Russians. You heard for yourself what the man said in spook-speak. Shit for brains is on a terrorist watch list. Now if they want my information, they will give, and I will give. As our great president says, there’s a deal to be made. I will not live the rest of my life looking over my shoulder once I blow the whistle,” she advised and crossed her arms and indicated she was done.
“Okay, okay, everyone quiet down,” Alexi said. “Mary, I am an officer of the court and a US citizen just like you. It is our duty to keep our country safe any way possible. If you have any information to substantiate Mr. White is involved in a terrorist organization, you must tell me.”
Glancing at me Mary said, “Ask her.”
For emphasis, she pointed an accusatory finger at me. “Ask Em. I’ve been feeding information to her for years about his behavior.”
Alexi stood up and squared her shoulders. She walked over to Mary, who appeared to drop back in her seat.
“Mary, this situation is very, very serious. Mr. White is missing, and we don’t have enough information to determine if he’s voluntarily missing, or missing as in dead. A woman posing as Emma is dead.” Alexi purposefully stopped there to let her absorb the information.

About the author 

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K. J. McGillick was born in New York and once she started to walk she never stopped running. But that’s what New Yorker’s do. Right? A Registered Nurse, a lawyer now author. As she evolved so did her career choices. After completing her graduate degree in nursing, she spent many years in the university setting sharing the dreams of the enthusiastic nursing students she taught. After twenty rewarding years in the medical field she attended law school and has spent the last twenty-four years as an attorney helping people navigate the turbulent waters of the legal system. Not an easy feat. And now? Now she is sharing the characters she loves with readers hoping they are intrigued by her twisting and turning plots and entertained by her writing

You can follow the author on Facebook and Twitter

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ A Modern Family by Helga Flatland.

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The Norwegian Anne Tyler makes her English debut in a beautiful, bittersweet novel of regret, relationships and rare psychological insights…

 

‘The most beautiful, elegant writing I’ve read in a long time. If you love Anne Tyler, you will ADORE this’

Joanna Cannon

When Liv, Ellen and Håkon, along with their partners and children, arrive in Rome to celebrate their father’s seventieth birthday, a quiet earthquake occurs: their parents have decided to divorce. Shocked and disbelieving, the siblings try to come to terms with their parents’ decision as it echoes through the homes they have built for themselves, and forces them to reconstruct the shared narrative of their childhood and family history. A bittersweet novel of regret, relationships and rare psychological insights, A Modern Family encourages us to look at the people closest to us a little more carefully, and ultimately reveals that it’s never too late for change…

Review

 

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

Just occasionally, you come across a book that is not just a delight to read, it is so special, it’s placed on the bookshelf labelled, My All Time Favourites. A Modern Family now sits proudly on that shelf, resplendent in its glory as one of the most perceptive reads I’ve had the joy of reading in many a long year. It joins many others from Orenda Books, small and yet incredibly special independent publisher, whose championing of its authors, has given us books that should be gracing the top literary prizes.

I don’t normally compare one writer with another, but in this case I think it is fair and a complement to both. Helga Flatland has the same ability to deliver a story that shines with poetic clarity and is peopled with a rich tapestry of descriptive characterisation as is Elizabeth Strout. Here we have a story that takes ordinary people, their rich and complex emotions and weaves a tale of their struggles to understand both themselves and their family.

Told from the points of view of siblings Liv, Ellen and Hakon it deals with the reactions they each have to their parent’s decision to divorce. From this moment on their lives and family begin to unravel. These amazingly characters could be you and me or our families; the beauty of the story being that as you read, you can’t help but begin to look at yourself and those around you, wondering if you really know them, despite what we think is the strongest of bonds. All the characters in this book, felt like friends, ones I wanted to spend a lifetime with. I think they will remain with me for many years to come. They are drawn with vivid strokes of the pen, so that you can’t help but feel deeply for them. Their power over the reader, born from their normality, from fact that the pain, love and troubles that grip them, have all been faced by many of us.

The story is told with a deceptive simplicity, characterisation being a shining beacon that lights up a powerful story, of the fragility of the threads that connect us. Yet the story is not one of hopelessness, it is in fact a tale of hope and the enduring power of love and forgiveness. I didn’t want it to end, I always wanted to be there with them. As the story, brought their thoughts and lives into my world, like a richly woven tapestry. Intricate, careful, yet perfectly written, I could find no fault with it.

I can not recommend this book highly enough, I still miss Liv, Ellen and Hakon ‘s voices now and I think I always will.

Utterly spellbinding and perfect in every way.

You can purchase A Modern Family from Amazon and Waterstones.

About the author 

Helga Author Pic

Helga Flatland is already one of Norway’s most awarded and widely read authors. Born in Telemark, Norway, in 1984, she made her literary debut in 2010 with the novel Stay If You Can, Leave If You Must, for which she was awarded the Tarjei Vesaas’ First Book Prize. She has written four novels and a children’s book and has won several other literary awards. Her fifth novel, A Modern Family, was published to wide acclaim in Norway in August 2017, and was a number-one bestseller. The rights have subsequently been sold across Europe and the novel has sold more than 100,000 copies.

You can follow the author on Twitter

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~The Case by Leopold Borstinski

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One Private Eye. One Case. One sackful of trouble. When Jake agrees to take a package across America, he doesn’t know if he’ll live to tell the tale. If the CIA, the Feds and the British Secret Service don’t get him then the mob will. How’s a cowardly private dick going to survive in these bloody times? The Case is a stand-alone pulp noir novel. A wry take on the jaw-dropping violent side of private investigator life by Leopold Borstinski, writer of the six-book Lagotti Family series.

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Review

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

Being honest, this novel did not gel with me, not because it’s not good, because it is, it’s all about me and other stuff. Because if you like your thrillers, dark, gritty and pulp fiction like in tone and style, then you could’nt go wrong buying The Case. Films like Pulp Fiction have never been my thing; I don’t like the edgy violence or the stylised feeling to the story. That is just me, one reader.

Aside from my personal reaction this book, it is in fact, very good.

The story starts with Jake looking back at how he managed to end up carrying a case half way across America to hand it over to the Mob. It is told through a series of flashbacks that go between 1940 and 1990 and is full of tales of incest, violence, errant husbands, the mob, FBI and British intelligence!

This is all handled really well by the author, who builds up a story laden with tension, layered with punchy dialogue and creates a novel that has a cult feeling to it. It’s full of an eclectic group of characters, who pop off the page and straight into the minds of the readers. It all felt very of the period, very atmospheric. The hopping back and fore between 1940 and 1990, was handled with ease. The story built up slowly and gradually introduced all the characters who would pay a final role in the story. Many other writers would have lost the story, with so many threads to pull together, but Leopold Borstinski handed them with ease. The individual stories worked together to draw the reader in, compelling them to keep reading as fast as possible, to see if Jake survives the many forces marshalled against him.

I loved the lead character Jake and his dead pan style of dealing with clients, being deeply flawed is what makes him so interesting to read about and spend time with.

It really is very accomplished. Not for me, the style just didn’t gel, but it is a fine read and if this type of pulp fiction inspired story, is yours, this will be for you and is definitely worth purchasing.

You can purchase The Case from Amazon UK and US

About Leopold Borstinski:

Leopold Borstinski
Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching. There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often. He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

The author can be followed on TwitterFacebook and his website.

The Case Blog Tour

 

 

 

Review ~ Blog Tour ~ The Death of Jessica Ripley by Andrew Barrett.

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Jessica Ripley didn’t kill her ex-husband. But everyone thinks she did. After serving twelve years for his murder, it’s time to get her own back on those who put her inside.
During those twelve years, Jessy’s son, Michael, has turned against her. Whatever mercy Jessy had for her intended victims, just blew away.
CSI Eddie Collins is having a hard time watching his father enjoying life. He’s also having it tough in the form of two new recruits to his office. One is off his tree on drugs and the other wants his job.
And then the murders begin.Can Eddie trust the evidence, or is someone twisting it, desperate to get even? And who did kill Jessy’s ex?
Review
I would like to thank the author, publisher and blog tour organiser, for the ARC in return for an honest review.
I am a massive fan of Andrew Barrett’s writing and especially the creation of the character CSI Eddie Collins. Passionate about his work and finding justice for murder victims. He is a loner, grumpy and hard to work with. Therefore, I loved hearing that he was to feature in a new story.
Why did I enjoy this new instalment in the CSI Eddie Collins series? Like all the others, it’s packed with fabulous characters, great storylines, lots of twists and turns and oodles of tension. It’s one of the best thriller series going currently and I struggled to put this new novel down. From page one to the last page I was addicted to the story and revelled in being able to spend time with one of my favourite characters. Here we have the story of Jessica, put in prison for a crime she did not commit and she wants her own back. Pretty standard plot, but there are twists and turns in the story, that give it added layers of tension and making it both original and thrilling to read. What I found and loved was that my first impressions were upturned and I never saw the ending coming. There was so much going on that I was thrown curve balls at moments I thought I had it all sussed and I didn’t. The story went from one heart stopping moment and then did an about turn, leaving me feeling breathless and unnerved.
Then you have the wonderful, grumpy, flawed Eddie Collins. Andrew Barrett doesn’t allow him to stand still as a character, he develops him and makes him all the more human. We come to understand why he lives life largely alone, how his job affects his personal life and how life at home has shaped him. I love him, despite his sometimes-aggressive manner, because he is underneath all of that, a gorgeous caring person and really cares about the team he has and the cases he is investigating.
I would recommend this book to anyone and I can’t wait to spend time with Eddie Collins again.
You can purchase this book from Amazon
About the author
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Andrew Barrett has enjoyed variety in his professional life, from engine-builder to farmer, from Oilfield Service Technician in Kuwait, to his current role of Senior CSI in Yorkshire.
He’s been a CSI since 1996, and has worked on all scene types from terrorism to murder, suicide to rape, drugs manufacture to bomb scenes. One way or another, Andrew’s life revolves around crime.
In 1997 he finished his first crime thriller, A Long Time Dead, and it’s still a readers’ favourite today, some 150,000 copies later, topping the Amazon charts several times. Two more books featuring SOCO Roger Conniston completed the trilogy.
Today, Andrew is still producing authentic crime thrillers with a forensic flavour that attract attention from readers worldwide. He’s also attracted attention from the Yorkshire media, having been featured in the Yorkshire Post and interviewed on BBC Radio Leeds.
He’s best known for his lead character, CSI Eddie Collins, and the acerbic way in which he roots out criminals, and administers justice. Eddie’s series is five books and three novellas in length, and there’s still more to come.
Andrew has recently discovered the delights of writing stand-alones, with one under his belt another under way.
Andrew is a proud Yorkshireman and sets all of his novels there, using his home city of Leeds as another major, and complementary, character in each of the stories.
You can find out more about him and his writing at http://www.andrewbarrett.co.uk/
You can follow the author on TwitterFacebook and Instagram
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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ The Desire Card by Lee Matthew Goldberg.

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Any wish fulfilled for the right price. That’s the promise the organization behind The Desire Card gives to its elite clients – but sometimes the price may be more menacing than anyone could ever imagine.

Harrison Stockton has lived an adult life of privilege and excess: a high-powered job on Wall Street fuels his fondness for alcohol and pills at the expense of a family he has no time for. Quite suddenly all of this comes crashing to a halt when he loses his job and at the same time discovers he almost certainly has only months left to live.

Desperate, and with seemingly nowhere else left to turn, Harrison activates his Desire Card. What follows is a gritty and gripping quest that takes him from New York City to the slums of Mumbai and forces him to take chances, and make decisions, he never thought he’d ever have to face. When his moral descent threatens his wife and children, Harrison must decide whether to save himself at any cost, or do what’s right and break his bargain with the mysterious group behind The Desire Card.

The Desire Card is a taut fast-paced thriller, from internationally acclaimed author Lee Matthew Goldberg, that explores what a man will do to survive when money isn’t always enough to get everything he desires.

Review

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

What did I like about this book? Could it have been the way I enjoyed disliking the lead character Harrison Stockton? Could it have been the story, which asks us and Harrison how far would someone be willing to go to save their own lives?

Well I loved it for all of this, superb characterisation, married with a taunt and suspenseful story, that comes together to deliver a first class thriller.

For me the story itself is a class act, because it confronts the reader with quandary, what would we do in the situation that Harrison finds himself in? If given the chance to save our own lives by spending a lot of money, would we? It made me as a reader feel more involved in the story, more invested in the outcome. I wanted to know what Harrison was capable of and it gripped me so much I could not wait to get back to the book when real life interfered. The story not only entertained me, always having to read just a few more pages, even when sleep beckoned, it was forcing me to put myself in Harrisons shoes and wonder what I would do! The story is full of twists and turns, the tension leaving me always having to read a few more pages just so I could find out, if he was a better man than the initial story had me believing.

Then we have Harrison, whom frankly I found quite unlikeable on times, but it was refreshing to find a ‘hero’ of the story, that I enjoyed hating, pitied, felt sorry for and just occasionally liked. One moment I longed to see him come good, while on the flip side wanted to see punished for his entitled arrogance. He is complex and flawed and this makes him the perfect thriller character. For me his flaws made him so enjoyable to spend time with. I might have wanted to slap him, but he was never boring. I stayed addicted to the story in part because he is such a perfect depiction of a flawed and damaged man. Because though he is self-absorbed and indulgent, underneath you hope to find a man capable of seeing past his own needs.

If you are looking for a quality thriller, with a storyline, which will challenge you, with a hero that is equally challenging, in a good way, then give this book a read!

You can purchase this novel from Fahrenheit PressAmazon UK and Amazon US.

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About the author

Lee Matthew Goldberg

 

Lee Matthew Goldberg is the author of the novels SLOW DOWN, THE MENTOR, and THE DESIRE CARD. He has been published in multiple languages and nominated for the 2018 Prix du Polar. The second book in the Desire Card series, PREY NO MORE, is forthcoming from Fahrenheit Press in 2019. His pilots and screenplays have been finalists in Script Pipeline, Stage 32, We Screenplay, the New York Screenplay, Screencraft, and the Hollywood Screenplay contests. After graduating with an MFA from the New School, his writing has also appeared in the anthology DIRTY BOULEVARD, The Millions, Cagibi, The Montreal Review, The Adirondack Review, The New Plains Review, Underwood Press and others. He is the co-curator of The Guerrilla Lit Reading Series (guerrillalit.wordpress.com). He lives in New York City. Follow him at leematthewgoldberg.com and Twitter.

You can follow the author on

Twitter

Facebook

Website

Instagram

Amazon author page

The Desire Card Blog Tour

 

Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Bird Therapy by Joe Harkness.

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‘I can’t remember the last book I read that I could say with absolute assurance would save lives. But this one will’ Chris Packham

When Joe Harkness suffered a breakdown in 2013, he tried all the things his doctor recommended: medication helped, counselling was enlightening, and mindfulness grounded him. But nothing came close to nature, particularly birds. How had he never noticed such beauty before? Soon, every avian encounter took him one step closer to accepting who he is.

The positive change in Joe’s wellbeing was so profound that he started a blog to record his experience. Three years later he has become a spokesperson for the benefits of birdwatching, spreading the word everywhere from Radio 4 to Downing Street.

In this groundbreaking book filled with practical advice, Joe explains the impact that birdwatching had on his life, and invites the reader to discover these extraordinary effects for themselves.

Review

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

I love listening to the birds singing in the morning and visiting the feeding table, so when I was offered the chance to review Bird Therapy I jumped at the chance. Within its pages, Joe Harkness advocates the endless possibilities bird watching has to help those suffering from depression and many other mental illnesses.

I enjoyed this book very much because so much of what he has written resonated with me. I admired the honesty of his writing and the way he shared his experiences with us because he wants to help as many people as possible. It made this a very positive and often moving read and it helped me to understand why I find sitting in the garden in the morning so relaxing. For here, I find peace, tranquillity and I feel connected with the moment, before having to leave for the clutter and noise of work.

Not only does he share his own experiences about how bird watching has helped him, he lays out for the reader in a clear and easy to understand way, practical tips on how to get the best out of bird watching, which I felt added, an extra layer of usefulness to this form of therapy. It would have been easy for him to simply write a book about his own experiences and leave it at that, but that would have left many readers too overwhelmed on where to start, if they felt this form of therapy could help them. By giving these tips, he opens up a completely new world and hobby to those who are too often overwhelmed by their illness to be able to find a route to wellbeing. It gives readers a starting point and the comfort of knowing, this is a journey to recovery, not an insurmountable hurdle. The way he has chosen to write it, makes this form of mindfulness accessible to all and offers an alternative to those who what to supplement traditional forms of treatment, or avoid taking medication and those that have not found help from other forms of therapy.

It’s power comes from the way the writer is speaking from experience and that this therapy has helped him and continues to do so. It offers hope to other suffers. Depression does not simply disappear; alongside so many chronic conditions, this is a continuous battle to stay focussed on a life worth living and many need therapy such as this that offers continuing support. This is no fad; it is a form of therapy that is accessible to all.

Now that I understand why I find listening to the birds in my garden so comforting, I will do it more. When I walk with friends, I will watch out for our avian neighbours.

It has the real possibility of saving lives, of opening up to many whose lives are clouded by mental health issues, a route to wellbeing and offering real ongoing therapeutic benefits.

You can purchase the novel from Amazon

About the author

Joe Harkness Author Picture-2

You can follow the author on Twitter

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Gods Children by Mabi Roberts #honno #Godschildren #damppebblesblogtours

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‘Kate Marsden: nurse, intrepid adventurer, saviour of the lepers or devious manipulator, immoral and dishonest?’ As she lies on her deathbed visited by the ghosts of her past, who should we believe, Kate or those who accuse her of duplicity? Memory is a fickle thing: recollections may be frozen in time or distorted by the mirror of wishful thinking. Kate’s own story is one of incredible achievements, illicit love affairs and desperate longing; those of her accusers paint a very different portrait – of a woman determined on fame and fortune. The reader navigates a narrative as fractured as the Siberian ice Kate crosses in search of a cure for leprosy, and as beautiful as Rose, her lost love, as the full picture emerges of a life lived when women were not expected to break the mould.

Review

I would like to thank the author, Hono Press and blog tour organiser Emma Welton for the ARC in return for an honest review.

I would like to thank the author, Hono Press and blog tour organiser Emma Welton for the ARC in return for an honest review.

“Memories are bullets. Some whiz by and only spook you. Others tear you open and leave you in pieces.” ― Richard Kadrey, Kill the Dead

The beauty of Gods Children is the way it takes this idea, that memories can be duplicitous and weave around it the story of Kate Marsden, nurse, explorer and savour of Lepers. Or is she? As Kate lies in a hospital bed, approaching the end of her life, we learn of her extraordinary story through a series of jumbled and fractured memories. As we read, we learn her version of events and that of the ghosts from her past who accuse her of falsehood. We have to decide whom to believe, which memories to place our faith in, for based on this, she is heroine or charlatan.

It is utterly intriguing, the way we never really know, and for me it created an atmosphere of contradictory emotions and diverging thoughts. I was torn as I read, who did I place my faith in, this flawed, passionate women or the ghosts that plague her last days. I don’t think I have felt so conflicted when reading a book before about a character and it was exhilarating, because it so beautifully written, the story so cleverly constructed. I liked it a lot, because its’s so different from many other books, it felt open ended to me and I enjoyed that uncertainty that lingered in my mind and still does days after finishing it. Other readers may feel differently, might be able to decide if they believe Kate’s memories one way or another and that is great. Simply because this is the type of story that really will mean different things to different readers. It created a wealth of interpretations not normally open to readers of more traditionally told linear stories. The use of memories, some we can trust, some we cannot be sure of, created a sense mistrust of all the characters and left me with a palatable unease at the end. But this disquiet only served to make this novel, one of the best I’ve read so far this year, because you can’t Pidgeon hole it! You can’t simply put it down and move on, the story and my feelings are still lingering, as I continue to think about the motivations of Kate and those who seek to judge her.

What makes this story even more fascinating is that Kate Marsden, complex and depending on whose version of her life you believe, was a real life nurse and missionary. At a time when women were expected to say at home, when men were the intrepid explorers, she investigated a cure of leprosy and created a treatment centre. Dogged by accusations of financial irregularity and condemned because of her sexuality, her life was far from the ‘normal’ of that period. The character in Gods Children reflects both her visionary outlook and the persecution she faced as an LGBT women. However, it doesn’t paint her as perfect, it reflects the contractionary way she was seen. It asks us to look at her attackers and ask, did they pursue her unfairly, was it rooted in homophobia, or was she all of these things, reflecting both her great works and her failings. She is complex and magnificent and it’s up to us as readers to decide if she should be celebrated as a character in this novel or vilified. To me, her complex personality will stay with me for a long time and I will continue to wonder about who she really was. Lost to history, Mabli Roberts should be celebrated for giving her a voice and creating a character of such richness that she will never be forgotten by those that read this novel. I know how I feel about her and I will be fascinated to know how others feel!

A five star read that for its complexity and emotional impact, really should be on the reading list of all lovers of historical literature. The voices of both Kate and the ghosts of her past, shine from the pages and the use of memory in all its flawed glory, gives this novel a feeling of being lost in time. Memories are all that are left to Kate and for us they a are a route into the story of an incredible women.

You can purchase God’s Children from

Amazon UK

Google Books,

Foyles,

Blackwells

Hive

About the author

Mabli Roberts Colour med

Mabli Roberts lives in a wild, mountainous part of Wales. She has an MA in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and has worked as a Visiting Lecturer at the University of Wales, Newport. Most of her inspiration comes from her love of history and from long walks in the timeless landscape around her.

Mabli also writes as Paula Brackston, PJ Brackston and PJ Davy. Nutters was shortlisted for the Mind Book Award and The Witch’s Daughter was a New York Times bestseller.

Her work has been translated into five languages and is sold around the world. You can find out more about her books on her website www.paulabrackston.com, her Author’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/worldofpaulabrackston/ and YouTube channel https://m.youtube.com/paulabrackstonbooks?uid=Kk6GiSUE_AJLagHLfM3dyA as well as the God’s Children Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Gods-Children-1476228589147399/

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Blog Tour ~The Disappeared by Amy Lord.

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What if reading the wrong book could get you arrested?

In a decaying city controlled by the First General and his army, expressing the wrong opinion can have terrible consequences. Clara Winter knows this better than anyone. When she was a child, her father was taken by the Authorisation Bureau for the crime of teaching banned books to his students. She is still haunted by his disappearance.

Now Clara teaches at the same university, determined to rebel against the regime that cost her family so much – and her weapons are the banned books her father left behind. But she has started something dangerous, something that brings her to the attention of the Authorisation Bureau and its most feared interrogator, Major Jackson. The same man who arrested Clara’s father.

With her rights stripped away, in a country where democracy has been replaced with something more sinister, will she be the next one to disappear?

Extract

I was eleven when my father disappeared. It’s almost twenty years since the night I last saw him. I still remember that knock at the door; it echoes down through the years, as it echoed that night through the walls of our home.
I use the word ‘disappeared’, but it always feels like a lie. My father didn’t vanish. He didn’t walk to the shops for a packet of cigarettes and fail to come back. He didn’t run away to start another life somewhere, another family. He didn’t even leave behind a body, washed up on some riverbank, or slowly spinning from a straining tree branch.
That last night with my father was like every other. He returned late from his job at the university, where he lectured in English Literature. Public transport was unreliable in those days, when the regime was still taking hold. He would walk the five miles home each day, carrying his bag, heavy with papers. I would watch from our sixth-floor window as he made his way across the car park, past the burned-out shells of old hatchbacks, where the braver children would sometimes play army, machine-gunning each other with sticks or old bits of piping. His ragged hair would take on a life of its own in the breeze, his thin shoulders tensed beneath the weight of his students’ words, twitching uneasily at every fake bullet that came his way.
By then we had been moved into the flat. Shared accommodation, they called it. We weren’t allowed to live in our house in the suburbs any more. My mother mourned the loss of her rose garden and the expensive paper that lined our living room walls, its delicate floral pattern climbing from oak floor to corniced ceiling. She wept about the silverware she was forced to leave behind, a wedding gift from the grandmother who passed away weeks after her marriage.
Our new home became a one-bedroom flat, former housing association detritus that stank of cat piss and had holes in the plaster the size of fists. I slept in the bedroom while my parents shared an old sofa bed in the main room, which was littered with piles of my father’s books, the vibrancy of their spines bringing life to the beige world we found ourselves adrift in. He had salvaged as much as he could from our house, but my mother wouldn’t let him risk rescuing anything more. He would fret sometimes, struck by a jolt of longing for a particular book that had been abandoned.
We hadn’t long fallen asleep when the knock came. I sat up in bed, disorientated. The knock came again. It was dark, but I could hear my parents whispering in the front room, my mother’s voice low and pleading.
‘You can’t let them in. Think of Clara.’
My father snapped, ‘I have to, Lucia.’ I listened to them half dressing in haste. I could picture my mother smoothing her hair as he opened the door, a nervous smile on his face. I crept out from beneath the covers to peep through the slit in my bedroom door. The sudden light made my eyes water.
They barged in without invitation: four men in the black and grey uniforms of the Authorisation Bureau.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon

About the author 

Amy Lord Author Pic 2

Amy Lord is a writer, blogger and digital marketer form north-east England. She won a Northern Writers’ Award in 2015 for The Disappeared and was also longlisted in the inaugural Bath Novel Award.  An earlier manuscript saw her shortlisted for Route Publishing’s Next Great Novelist Award.  Amy is currently working on a new novel, which was developed as part of a year-long mentoring scheme with Writers’ Block NE.

You can follow the author on Twitter

The Disappeared BT Poster

 

 

Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Those Who Are Loved by Victoria Hislop

Those Who Are Loved Cover

The gripping new novel by Sunday Times Number One bestseller Victoria Hislop is set against the backdrop of the German occupation of Greece, the subsequent civil war and a military dictatorship, all of which left deep scars.

Athens 1941. After decades of political uncertainty, Greece is polarised between Right- and Left-wing views when the Germans invade.
Fifteen-year-old Themis comes from a family divided by these political differences. The Nazi occupation deepens the fault-lines between those she loves just as it reduces Greece to destitution. She watches friends die in the ensuing famine and is moved to commit acts of resistance.

In the civil war that follows the end of the occupation, Themis joins the Communist army, where she experiences the extremes of love and hatred and the paradoxes presented by a war in which Greek fights Greek.

Eventually imprisoned on the infamous islands of exile, Makronisos and then Trikeri, Themis encounters another prisoner whose life will entwine with her own in ways neither can foresee. And finds she must weigh her principles against her desire to escape and live.

As she looks back on her life, Themis realises how tightly the personal and political can become entangled. While some wounds heal, others deepen.

This powerful new novel from Number One bestseller Victoria Hislop sheds light on the complexity and trauma of Greece’s past and weaves it into the epic tale of an ordinary woman compelled to live an extraordinary life.

Review

.I would like to thank the author, publisher and blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.
Those Who Are Loved is a sweeping tale of a land and its people torn apart by war, both magnificent and ambitious in equal measure, I was left utterly captivated by the wonderful story and dazzling characterisation.

.From the moment, I read the first page I was caught up Themis’s life as she and her family were buffeted and torn apart, first by World War II and then the Greek civil war.
.The story is wrapped up in a delicious retelling of this period of Greek History, which for me was heavenly, but for those not as excited by historical detail, it is never at any point allowed to swamp the story. In fact, it creates a richness and depth that gives it an almost filmic quality and it sets the scene for characters who were shaped by what was a period of almost unpatrolled trauma, which tore not only the nation apart, but also created fault lines in families that never truly healed. It is all part of what makes this book such a compelling read, you feel that your there, not just in the families crowded family home, but also with Themis on the prison camps on islands such as Makronisos and Trikeri. For an historical novel to feel authentic the setting must make you feel you’re not only there in Greece, but also immersed in the period itself, and this novel does that with ease, when reading I was in the streets of Athens and the surrounding hills, as war and civil breakdown, ravaged the country and its people. It is at all times a compelling read, that I found it hard to put down, so immersed in both Themis story and that of the people of Greece itself.
.The characters are so real and vivid, that they have stuck with me long after finishing the book. Themis is shaped by her surroundings and the political turmoil that led to not only a war between nations, but also a civil war that engulfed her country and family! She is a stunning character, passionate, both capable of great compassion and love, yet also capable of acts resistance against her own people. She evolves as the story progresses and is a product not just of political passion and history, but her own personal demons and emotions. Rounded and capable of change, she is one of my favourite female characters in quite some time. The other characters are there to support her story, yet all are as deeply fleshed out as she is, especially her older brother and grandmother, who stand astride the political divisions that rock her family. There she sits a commited communist and yet her older brother, sits firmly on the side of the government of the day. Put these two characters together and you have the perfect assemble cast of characters, who represent how families were torn apart by political differences. They are all utterly memorable and play their part in this story of war, loss, love and survival.

You can purchase the novel from AmazonWaterstones and any independent bookshop.

Victoria Hislop said:
‘Those Who Are Loved has been germinating for a decade now, from the moment I first saw the island of Makronisos from the Greek mainland. I was told it was uninhabited, but had been a prison camp for communists. The discovery compelled me to read about the Greek civil war (in which many women played a role), but of course it also meant researching the events that led to that conflict as well as the long-term after-effects that are still seen in Greece even today. Everyone knows how much I love Greece, but exploring this story has taken me to some new and disquieting places.’

 

About the author

Inspired by a visit to Spinalonga, the abandoned Greek leprosy colony, Victoria Hislop wrote The Island in 2005. It became an international bestseller and a 26-part Greek TV series. She was named Newcomer of the Year at the British Book Awards and is now an ambassador for Lepra. The Island has sold over 1.2million copies in the UK and more than 5 million worldwide.
Her affection for the Mediterranean then took her to Spain, which inspired her second bestseller The Return, and she returned to Greece to tell the turbulent tale of Thessaloniki in The Thread, shortlisted for a British Book Award and confirming her reputation as an inspirational storyteller. It was followed by her much-admired Greece-set short story collection, The Last Dance and Other Stories. The Sunrise, a Sunday Times Number One bestseller about the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, was published to widespread acclaim in 2014.  Victoria’s most recent book, Cartes Postales from Greece was a Sunday Times Number One bestseller and one of the Top Ten biggest selling paperbacks of 2017.  Her novels have sold 10 million copies worldwide.

Victoria Hislop Author Picture

 

You can follow the author on her website and Twitter.

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ The Path Keeper by N J Simmonds

The Path Keeper Front cover

What if our lives were mapped out before birth? Does anyone have the power to change their destiny?

Ella hates London. She misses her old life in Spain and is struggling to get over her past—until she meets Zac. He’s always loved her but isn’t meant to be part of her story. Not this time. Not ever. Little does she know that his secret is the one thing that will tear them apart and force her to live in a world that no longer makes sense. A world full of danger, lies and magic.

The Path Keeper is a passionate tale of first loves, second chances and the invisible threads that bind us. Can love ever be stronger than fate?

Trigger Warning

Review

I  would like to thank the author, publisher and blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.
I have to admit that though I had slight reservations about this book, I really enjoyed it.
Essentially it is about love and second chances, in that the human soul lives more than one life, reincarnated into a new body over and over and given the chance to try a better way of doing things in each new life they live. Their guides in this are angelic figures and it is pre-ordained when they live and die.
Now, I struggled with this concept at first, just because I like to believe that our moment of death is not set in the stars, and it took me a while to get past that and into the flow of the story! Yet having taken a step away and thought over these themes, I can see that it is in fact what defines the story and shapes the love affair. Yet as a reader and especially as non-religious one, this spiritual feel to it, is really what affected how I enjoyed it.
The story itself is actually exciting and thought provoking and by the point, I had finished it I had grown to be very fond of the characters and left wanting more. However, I actually had to take a step away from the book and think about the themes before I could identify why I liked it.
There was one major reason, the originality of the love story itself that is both passionate and all consuming. I wanted Zac and Ella to find a way to be together. I believed in there love and was gripped by a need to know if it was doomed or if they could find a path to happiness. N J Simmonds gives them a connection and then weaves it into a story that transcends the world as we know it, carrying them and us on a journey that will test their love and left me both a little crushed and yet full of hope. It is quite a journey, but one, when looking back on the book, I realise required me to be more open to the possibility of more than one way to view the journey we take. Once I began to do that, this epic fantasy was a real winner and one I would recommend to lovers of fantasy and love stories.

You can purchase this novel from Amazon

The Path Keeper EBook PB Cover

 

About the author 

Natali Drake, who writes under the pen name of N.J. Simmonds, has written articles for various UK newspapers and online publications. In 2015 she cofounded the online magazine The Glass House Girls and is a regular contributor. Originally from north London, she now divides her time between her two homes in the Netherlands and Spain with her husband and two daughters.

NJ Simmonds Author Picture

You can follow the author on her website and Twitter

FINAL Path Keeper BT Poster -2