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

The Gathering Ebook

 

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

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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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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Do No Harm by Lucy V Hay.

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Till death do us part…

After leaving her marriage to jealous, possessive oncologist Maxwell, Lily and her six-year-old son have a second chance at happiness with headteacher Sebastian. Kind but vulnerable, Sebastian is the polar opposite of Maxwell, and the perfect match for Lily. After a whirlwind romance, they marry, and that’s when things start to go wrong… Maxwell returns to the scene, determined to win back his family, and events soon spiral out of control. Lily and Sebastian find themselves not only fighting for their relationship, but also their lives… Chilling, dark and terrifying, Do No Harm is a taut psychological thriller and a study of obsession, from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

Review

I would like to thank the author Lucy V Hay, Orenda Books and also blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC in return for an honest review.

Do No Harm is a psychological thriller by the talented author of The Other Twin and Proof Positive, Lucy V Hay. Within its pages is a clever and twisted story of control and manipulation.

There are so many things to love about this book. I would liken it to going into a maze, where you continually take the wrong turn and end up at a dead end, because the author has laid a trap and I the reader, had smugly thought I knew where the story was leading me to. I was wrong, not once, not twice, but many times and so ended up forever walking into another dead end. On the surface, this is a story about a couple caught in the terrifying grasp of a man who can’t bear to lose control of his former wife, but there are many more layers to this novel than that.

I was addicted to the story, reading late into the night and then burying my head within its pages on the bus into work. I was so entranced by it, I found myself resenting the lady who has taken to talking to me on the bus in the morning. I may have even avoided sitting where she could sit next to me, because I was so desperate to read on! I felt bad, but not that bad that I was to be distracted from a fabulous, exciting and tense read!

What I loved about this book was the way I was continually wrong footed. Frankly I was a little too smug for my own good. I thought I had it pretty much figured out by the end of the first chapter, who was behind it all and then I was forced to change my mind. Not learning my lesson, I definitely knew the who was in control a few chapters later, but alas not, Lucy V Hays writing is far too good for that. She weaves a tale so complex that it plays tricks on the reader and lulls them into false sense of security. Her writer is clever and compulsive, she acknowledges the intelligence of the reader and then manipulates that cleverness, leaving them as she did me, a confused, shocked and thoroughly engaged reader, a slave to her skill as a writer.

The characterisation is superb. No one is who they seem to be; I doubted them all and then questioned that first judgement. From Maxwell the jealous ex, to Lilly looking for a new life with her son, Sebastian and his mother, each was written with a deft hand, never over working their characteristics. The writer just teases us with elements about them, which meant I was continually reassessing them. Characters I was meant to feel sympathy with such as Lilly, I found myself suddenly annoyed with, Maxwell, I hated as I was meant to, yet he was not as clever as I initially thought! Utterly fascinating was the puppet master that was at the heart of this story that I attributed to all the characters at one point or another.

Why is this book worth reading? Because it is clever, it’s addictive and compelling. It drew me in as a reader and entangled me in a web of deception and obsession. What better reason to read a book than to see if you can outwit the writer’s thought processes! In Lucy V Hayes latest offering, you will find yourself measuring up to a writer who you will find difficult to out think and it is a rich and rewarding experience.

You can purchase Do No Harm from Waterstones and Amazon

About the author

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Lucy V. Hay is a novelist, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. She is the associate producer of Brit Thrillers Deviation (2012) and Assassin(2015), both starring Danny Dyer. Lucy is also head reader for the London Screenwriters’ Festival and has written two non-fiction books, Writing & Selling Thriller Screenplays, plus its follow-up Drama ScreenplaysShe lives in Devon with her husband, three children, six cats and five African Land Snails.

You can follow Lucy V Hay on Facebook and Twitter.

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Cover Reveal ~Too Far by Jason Starr

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TOO FAR by JASON STARR 
published by No Exit Press, 22nd November 

 

One night. One date. What have you got to lose?

 

Jack Harper isn’t a bad man, but he’s stuck in a loveless marriage with a mediocre job just trying to keep sober. The only good thing in his life is his son. When an old college friend introduces him to a new extramarital dating website, he tentatively reaches out to find a distraction from his misery. But when he goes to meet up with his steamy online date, he quickly realises it was a dire choice.

Soon, Jack finds himself desperately trying to prove his innocence for crimes he did not commit, and the life he once had – unhappy as it was – is nothing but a dream. Now, he’s living his worst nightmare. . .

As gripping as TM Logan’s Lies and as compulsive as Gillian McAllister’s Anything You Do Say, this intense psychological thriller is packed with shocking twists and turns and plays with a basic anxiety we all harbour: What if one reckless decision could ruin your life forever?

‘The ultimate page turner’ – Michael Connelly

‘A rocket-paced, propulsive, and utterly addictive thrill-ride. Jason Starr is a master of ratcheting up the suspense page-by-page, making it totally impossible to look away’ – Lisa Unger

‘Jason Starr is a brilliant storyteller…I loved Too Far, pure and simple, and I’d recommend it to anyone’ – Scott Pratt, bestselling author of the Joe Dillard series and the Darren Street series
You can pre-order Too Far by following this link. 
About the author.
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Jason Starr is the international bestselling author of many suspense novels, and his work has been published in over a dozen languages. He also writescomics and graphic novels for Marvel, DC, Vertigo, and BOOM! Studios, and many of his books are in development for film and TV. He has won the Anthony Award twice, as well as a Barry Award. Starr was born in Brooklyn and lives in Manhattan.

Review ~ Blog Tour ~ The Second Footman by Jasper Barry.

The Second Footman

Nineteen year-old Max is the duchesse de Claireville’s second footman, but he does not intend to endure the indignities of service for long. He has a plan-to find an aristocratic patron who will become his unwitting accomplice in an audacious fraud. It is true that in 1880s’ France, despite nearly a century of revolution and social turmoil, the aristocracy is still firmly entrenched in privilege, and the gulf between the salon and the servants’ hall is as wide as ever. But Max is handsome, quick to learn and confident of his abilities as a seducer of both men and women. Whether ladling soup into noble plates beneath crystal chandeliers, or reading biographies of the great generals in his squalid footman’s dormitory, he is planning his strategy. He, Max, is the man of the future – ruthless, above morality and sentimental attachments. Yet, when, after a couple of false starts, he at last acquires his patron, he finds himself ambushed by instinctive longings-for friendship, for affection-that threaten his grand plan. ‘Be true to yourself…’ the saying goes. But to which self? And what is ‘truth’?

Review. 

The Second Footman is a historical drama set in 19 Century France and written by Jasper Barry. What makes it different is that it features a forbidden love story between Max an ambitious footman and his lover the privileged Marquis de Mirenant. Though a gay love story, set amongst the rich opulence of the French aristocracy and the lives of a servant class, it is also about ambition and self acceptance.
I loved the rich historical detail and the strong emphasis placed on character development and story. I’m aware some might find it a slow read, but personally for me the pace reflected the journey both characters take. I was very impressed that Jasper Barry allowed the story to breathe, allowing the characters of both men to be teased out slowly. It is a delicious feeling of indulgence to read a book that run its course, without the need for contrived plot devices to speed the narrative along.
I thought the characterisation was superb. Both Max and Mirenant were fascinating to spend time with and easy to both love and dislike. Max is mercurial, in that he changes throughout the story, frustrated with his position within society and at the same time confused about if he craves true love or is the contrived seducer of patrons he can exploit. Mirenant is a man of his period and position; he is both understandable and yet can leave you feeling like you want to shake him up.
This book, unlike many LGBT + novels is about the relationship between these two men, their feelings and motivations as they negotiate their relationship and the social divide between life above and below stairs. I felt refreshing to focus on them, especially on Max as he tried to discover who he really is, trickster or a venerable young man looking for love. Jasper Barry weaves this into the magnificent back drop of France and sumptuous historical detail.
Why would I recommend this book to other readers? Because it is a wonderful read. You become absorbed by the period detail and the fascinating characters.

The Second Footman can be purchased from Amazon and Waterstones.

About the author 

Jasper Barry graduated from Cambridge with a degree in English and has worked in
advertising, then in journalism. Jasper lives in London with too many books and three obstreperous cats.

You can follow the author on TwitterFacebook and his Website .

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ Dead of Night by Michael Stanley.

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When freelance journalist, Crystal Nguyen, heads to South Africa, she thinks she’ll be researching an article on rhino-horn smuggling for National Geographic, but within a week she’s been hunting poachers, hunted by their bosses, and then arrested in connection with a murder. And everyone is after a briefcase full of money that she doesn’t want, but can’t get rid of… Fleeing South Africa, she goes undercover in Vietnam, trying to discover the truth before she’s exposed by the local mafia. Discovering the plot behind the money is only half the battle. Now she must convince the South African authorities to take action before it’s too late, both for the rhinos and for her. She has a powerful story to tell, if she survives long enough to tell it… Fast-paced, relevant and chilling, Dead of Night is a stunning new thriller from Michael Stanley, author of the award-winning Detective Kubu series, introducing an intriguing new protagonist, while exposing one of the most vicious conflicts on the African continent…

Review

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

Dead of the Night is an exciting thriller that takes us from America, to South Africa and Vietnam.  It is written by the writing team Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip, authors of the much loved  Detective Kubu series of crime fiction.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book, simply because it had me compulsively turning the pages.  It made me long to walk in of Crystal Nguyen’s footsteps and visit the lands brought so vividly to life by Michael Stanley. But most of all, it kept me guessing the outcome right to the final paragraph. The author’s managed to trick me on numerous occassions, I learned not to trust my first reaction to a character, yet they still fooled me, tricked me into complacency, even after I learned to be wary of first impressions.

I loved Crystal who is a fantastic combination of so many characteristics, bravery, honesty, foolhardy at times, a poor judge of character at others, yet determined and resilient. I found it impossible not to want her to survive the treachery of those she encounters, as she tries to find her friend Michael and save endangered Rhino from further attack. Her keen intelligence is weighed equally with a recklessness that sees her in danger throughout the novel.

The writing style is rich with descriptive detail of the lands the novel was set in and drew me into the story.  I loved how I could feel the African sickness along with Crystal, how a land so rich in beauty, is plagued by corruption and violence, yet the rich tapestry of the wilderness wrapped me in its embrace.  I loved how the writers, wove  all these elements and delivered a story that was a  real page turner and yet encouraged me to wallow not just the story itself, but lands so different to my own.

Why would I recommend this book to other readers? Simply because it is exciting, has great characterisation and is set amongst lands that will fascinate and beguile you.

You can purchase Dead of Night Amazon and Waterstones.

About the author’s. 

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Michael Stanley is the writing team of Michael Sears and Stanley Trollip. Both were born in South Africa and have worked in academia and business. Stanley was an educational psychologist, specialising in the application of computers to teaching and learning, and is a pilot. Michael specialises in image processing and remote sensing, and teaches at the University of the Witwatersrand.

On a flying trip to Botswana, they watched a pack of hyenas hunt, kill, and devour a wildebeest, eating both flesh and bones. That gave them the premise for their first mystery, A Carrion Death, which introduced Detective ‘Kubu’ Bengu of the Botswana Criminal Investigation Department. It was a finalist for five awards, including the CWA Debut Dagger. The series has been critically acclaimed, and their third book, Death of the Mantis, won the Barry Award and was a finalist for an Edgar award. Deadly Harvest was a finalist for an International Thriller Writers’ award.

The authors can be followed on Twitter.

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Review ~ Blog Tour ~ The Emperor of Shoes by Spence Wise

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Alex Cohen, a twenty-six-year-old Jewish Bostonian, is living in a remote village in southern China, where his father runs a family-owned shoe factory. Lost and searching, Alex reluctantly assumes the helm of the company, absorbing the generations-old secrets of the trade from his loving but neurotic father. As Alex explores the plant’s vast floors and assembly lines he comes to a grim realization: employers are exploited, regulatory systems are corrupt and Alex’s own father is engaging in payoffs and bribes to protect the bottom line. Then he meets a seamstress named Ivy.

As Alex and Ivy grow close, Alex’s sympathies begin to shift to the Chinese workers, who labor under brutal conditions, stitching, sewing and cobbling shoes for American companies. But when Ivy’s past resurfaces, her broader goals become apparent. She is an embedded organizer of a pro-democratic Chinese party, secretly sowing dissonance among her fellow laborers. Will Alex remain loyal to his father and his heritage? Or will the sparks of revolution ignite?

‘What a haunting and intelligent debut novel. The confident and assured prose evokes easily the beauty of the complex relationships, the ugliness of the situation in the shoe factory, and the difficulty Alex faces when deciding between following his heart and his head. Just stunning’ – Louise Beech, author of How to Be Brave, The Mountain in My Shoe and Maria in the Moon

“Fresh and innovative, Spencer Wise’s The Emperor of Shoes is the latest addition to the tradition of young-man fiction that starts with Bellow and Roth… I’ve taught for more than forty years; this is the best first novel I’ve ever read.” –David Kirby, National Book Award nominated author of The House on Boulevard Street

Review

I would like to thank the author Spencer Wise, the publisher and blog tour organiser Anne Cater for the ARC in return for an honest review.
The Emperor of Shoes is a clever and haunting tale of a young idealistic man, caught between his Jewish heritage and life under a corrupt, repressive Chinese regime.
What I found most striking about this book is the way I became cocooned within the story; constantly looking for any moment to return to Alex and his life. As a character he is a fascinating study of a young man, neither a natural radical nor an exploitive businessman like his father. He is torn between family loyalties and finding his own place in a culture very different to his own, which forces him to walk a tightrope between both worlds. Alex continually has to redefine himself as others seek to place a claim on him. As he fights to define his own needs, he is swept up in an attempt by his own workers to lay claim to a future, he as a western man had as his birthright. Alex is in many ways your average man, who like many of us, yearns for parental love and approval, but often finds himself drowning under the cloying desires of an over needy and controlling parent. I liked Alex, his imperfect nature and what some might see as a weakness to stand up and walk away from his father’s attempts to create a mirror image of himself. Because how many of us don’t spend our lives constantly negotiating fluctuating relationships with our parents? In Alex there are elements of us all and that makes him easy to love and equally, to be angry with.
The story is literature at its very best, written with a confident hand and an intrinsic understanding of human nature and motivations. Although it deals with subjects such as exploitation, it reads with an ease that bellies the intrinsic complexities of the story. There is no rushing this book, I didn’t want it to end, I wanted to stay in the stories embrace for as long as possible. Character is far more important than actions in The Emperor of Shoes, how they interact, manipulate and respond to each other needs and agenda’s. The author has created a unique love story and critique of the grim exploration of workers; yet shows the power of the human spirit to fight for equality and place the needs of the many before their own survival.

It’s a powerful read. Emotional and uplifting. I was left yearning to read more by an author with a very bright future.

The Emperor of Shoes can be pre-order in paperback from Amazon and Waterstones when it’s released on the and purchased from 26th of July.

About the author

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Spencer Wise was born in Boston in 1977. He holds a BA from Tuft’s University, an MA in fiction from The University of Texas, where he was a James Michener Fellow, and a PhD in Creative Writing from Florida State University

Wise is currently a Visiting Lecturer at Florida State University in Tallahassee, where he is at work on his second novel, Holderness.

You can follow the author on Twitter and his website.

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