Top Ten Favourite Books So Far in 2019

Well it’s hard to believe, but we’re half way through 2019 already!

I’ve been lucky to read some fantastic books this year so far and it was difficult to choose a top ten. It’s nice though, because I’ve been blessed with hours and hours of reading pleasure.

These are in no particular order, because I loved them all for different reasons.

Circe by Madeline Miller

download (3)

I was really nervous  about reading this novel, having loved, no adored beyond reason A Song for Achillies! I need not have worried, because Circe is wonderful.

Expectation by Anna Hope

Expectation Cover

This book is a stunning look at friendship and the expectations we have about what our lives will be. It really deserves all the praise it’s getting.

The Story Keeper by Anna Mazzola

the story keeper cover

This book is one of the best historical novels I have read. Full of strong female characters and chilling at its core. I can’t wait to read more from this author.

Star Girl by Louise Beech

Call Me Star Girl Cover

What can I say other than this novel is yet another triumph by Louise Beech. She is a writer whose seems able to write in any genre. Star Girl is a psychological thriller, flawless and oozing with nerve wracking moments of tension.

Those We Loved by Victoria Hislop

Those Who Are Loved Cover

Another favourite author who has delivered a stunning new novel. I enjoyed this story about one of the most turbulent period in Greek history.

Tainted Love by T S Hunter

TL_Ebook_RGB_FINAL

This superb novella is perfectly formed.  Featuring lead LGBT characters, it’s a fantastic thriller and I can’t wait to start the next one.

Breakers by Doug Johnstone

Breakers Final Cover

This is a fantastic read, that has a strong character driven storyline. I loved the way it looked at the roots of criminal behaviour and was both and emotional and tension filled read.

Welcome to Heady Heights by David Ross

Heady Heights aw.indd

I’m still amazed how this book, made me laugh, cry a little and left me wishing I could read it again for the first time.

A Modern Family by Helga Flatland

A Modern Family Cover

This character driven story about three siblings should be celebrated as a classic of modern literature.

The Conviction of Cora Burns by Carolyn Kirby

Cora Burns Cover

This was one of the first books I read this year, that it still features strongly in my favourite books this year, is a mark of how great a read it is!

I wonder if any of these books will feature in my final top reads of 2019 at the end of this year?

Advertisements

Blog Tour ~Review ~ Expectation by Anna Hope

Expectation Cover

Hannah, Cate and Lissa are young, vibrant and inseparable. Living on the edge of a common in East London, their shared world is ablaze with art and activism, romance and revelry – and the promise of everything to come. They are electric. They are the best of friends.

Ten years on, they are not where they hoped to be. Amidst flailing careers and faltering marriages, each hungers for what the others have. And each wrestles with the same question: what does it take to lead a meaningful life?

Review

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

.
Occasionally I read a book that reminds me why reading means so much to me. Much as that special song comes to represent to others an event or moment in their lives, it’s reading that has always defined the stages of my life.

.
It’s not that you haven’t enjoyed the other books you have read, but some books just speak to you with an exquisite tenderness and Expectation is one of those books.

.
It is a quietly told story about friendship, love, loss, hope and redemption. It is also about the expectations we have of our lives when we move from the innocence of childhood, into the heady embrace of adulthood; how a life once so full of expectation, can crash on the reality of unsatisfying marriages and careers, yet also thrive on hope and resilence.

.
There is so much to adore about this book, from the perfect characterisation, to the brilliance of the story and the intimate depiction of the friendship between Hannah, Cate and Lissa. Anna Hope in her first contemporary novel takes their relationships and weaves them into the very fabric of the story, giving a masterclass on how to write about about love and friendship and the very thin line that divides the two. For me the emotional connection between myself and these three women felt real, almost as if I was there in the moment, so vibrant were they. I’m extremely lucky to have a group of close female friends and reading this book gave me an insight into what happens when those connections become frayed. The emotions felt raw, the hurt tangible and friendships powerful and enduring.

.

It’s the power of the storytelling that I loved so much. My heart felt wretched for them all one moment and the next it sang in happiness for all they were and could still be. It gave voice to how I imagine my life would be shattered without those bonds of female friendship that sustain me and give me the strength to endure.  It gives voice to the way friendships alter over time, buffeted by the ebb and flow of a tide of emotions and events that are part of lifes natural cycle. All three of the main characters, represent all the women we each know and when they feel pain, when they feel joy, we feel it with them. The power of this novel for me, lies in the normality of their lives and ultimately how it voices the oft ignored idea, that as women, it’s okay to  we can decide what a meaningful life means to us.

.
I read on one of the reviews for Expectation by Erin Kelly, that this is a generation defining book, a sentiment I want to shout from the roof tops. All of Anna Hope’s books are defined by the quality of the writing, the quiet power of the story, the richness of the characterisation and Expectation is this and much more. It is for me her best book yet, in which she surely should be lauded as having reached the top of the literary ladder.

You can purchase Expectation from Amazon and Waterstones

 

About the author.

Anna Hope Author Picture

ANNA HOPE studied at Oxford University and RADA. Her contemporary fiction debut, Expectation, explores themes of love, lust, motherhood, and feminism, while asking the greater question of what defines a generation. She lives in Sussex with her husband and young daughter.

You can follow Anna Hope on Twitter

Expectation Blog Tour Poster

 

Excerpt ~ Blog Tour ~ The Awakening Aten by Aidan K.Morrissey

The Awakening Aten Cover

The Awakening Aten envelops the reader in an Egypt of whispers and fears, of webs within webs, deceit upon deceit. Its themes of murder, intrigue, political and religious conflict, corruption, tomb robbing, war and executions are set against a background of fundamental ideological change.
Ancient Egypt is seen through the eyes of two families; one royal, the other commoner. Yuya, whose tomb is in the Valley of the Kings, is a foreigner who rises from slavery to become Regent to an infant Pharaoh and thus, the most powerful man in the world’s wealthiest empire. His children and descendants will remain at the very heart of the country’s destiny. Kha is a tomb painter and builder who experiences both the despair of imprisonment and the horror of war. As Overseer of the King’s Works he restores the Great Sphinx, and inscribes the ‘Dream Stela’ placed between its paws, still visible today. Through tragic and deathly events his family and that of Yuya become entwined.
This is the fictional tale of real people, whose possessions and artefacts can be seen in museums throughout the world. It gives a voice to those people, inspired by their personal items, buried with them 3,000 years ago.

I’m delighted to welcome author Aidan K. Morrissey with an excerpt from his novel The Awakening Aten. 

This is near the beginning of Chapter 12, and is where we first meet Nahkt.
Nahkts work, relieving the dead of their wealth, started during the reign of the old King Thutmose IV. The cost of constructing and decorating his own tomb on the west bank of the river, in the site reserved for noblemen, was proving expensive. He wanted the best for himself and Tawy, his much younger wife, a renowned chantress in the cult of Amun. They may not have been of exalted rank in this life but he would ensure that in the afterlife they would be well prepared and provisioned.
Turning right, then left and left again, in what might appear as random changes, he finally arrived, sweating, outside a larger than normal house, the size of which was disguised by the surrounding buildings.
Nahkt entered the house and climbed the staircase to the open roof area. His appointment was with the man now sitting on a long couch in a corner of the rooftop. He was being served food and wine by two young naked serving girls. He was dressed in a long colourless gown but each of his fingers was adorned by gold and silver rings. Around his neck was a gold necklace worth more than Nahkt could possibly imagine.
Khonsu, you will get us both killed, what in the name of Amun are you doing?
Drinking wine and eating goose like royalty. What is the matter with you Nahkt?
He smiled at Nahkt. It was not a pretty sight. Only two teeth were visible, his gums blackened by disease.
You cant display such wealth if anyone sees you, questions will be asked. The answers wont be welcomed by the police or soldiers.
Relax priest. No-one can see me and I like to enjoy the spoils for a while, until we melt it all down.
These two girls can see you do they not have tongues?
Oh yes they do but they know if they ever use those tongues in a way which does not please me, they can be removed along with their eyes.
His left hand moved to his side and he picked up a large blade and licked the sharp side whilst staring at the younger of the two serving girls. Revulsion and fear filled her eyes. Nahkt vowed it was time to find a new business partner.
Do you have the plans? Nahkt tried to suppress his anger.
I have what was agreed, do you?
Nahkt nodded towards one of his bodyguards who produced a large pouch from under his robe.
This is what was agreed.
Agreed maybe, but no longer enough.
Khonsu was grinning, or at least his mouth was open in what might have been a grin.
Dont play games with me Khonsu, what was agreed is agreed. Its there in front of you. Dont make me angry.
This is no game oh mighty Nahkt. What I have for you is the route to unimaginable riches. Its worth a little more than we discussed. Let me have the pouch which is hidden under the robe of that other servant of yours. Oh my, he is such a beautiful boy for a Nubian.
Let me see what you have first, said Nahkt.
Khonsu leaned forward and retrieved, from under the couch, a rolled papyrus. Nahkt moved forward to take it. Khonsu pulled it away.
Oh no, Nahkt, like with these new wives of mine you can look and lust after but not touch until you pay. He opened the papyrus roll and Nahkt could make out the drawings and the map.
How do I know this is what you claim it to be?
Have I ever deceived you before? This has come from the grandson of the man responsible for the tombs sealing, its genuine.
Nahkt leaned forward to get a closer look, it looked authentic and it could always be verified later. He smiled at Khonsu and spoke briefly to the Nubian guard whose beauty Khonsu had so admired. The Nubian moved his left hand under his robe and produced a pouch, identical to the one his brother had still in his hand. He dropped the pouch on the couch beside Khonsu, who reacted instinctively, trying to catch it. As he did so, the Nubian took the papyrus roll in his left hand and passed it behind him to the waiting hands of Nahkt. In the same move he drew a sword with his right hand and almost totally removed the head of the supine Khonsu.
The scream of one of the serving girls was halted quickly by his brothers blade. The second girl fell to her knees and grabbed the hem of Nahkts robe. The guard who had so smoothly dispatched the toothless Khonsu bent down and gently placed his hands on the girls shoulders. She tensed but then relaxed at the gentleness of his touch. Almost as a caress he moved one hand around her back to her throat and swiftly broke her neck. His master would not be happy if blood spattered his robe.
Search the house and bring anything of value.
Nahkt went down the mud stairs and stood in the doorway with the precious papyrus concealed safely inside his robe. He waited as the bodyguards removed the gold and jewellery from the recently departed Khonsu and his serving girls and searched the three downstairs rooms of the house. Certain nothing of value had been left, they stood behind Nahkt. With the gold and silver well hidden, the three walked calmly, but assuredly, away from the carnage above and made their way to the home of Nahkt.

About the author

Aidan-K-Morrissey-Author

I am of Irish heritage and was the first member of my immediate family to be born outside of Ireland. My professional life has caused me to travel the world. I am now looking forward to settling in the North East of England, to concentrate on writing.
A graduate in Law from Leicester University, after working for some years in a commercial environment, I qualified as a Solicitor in 1981.
My career developed in an unusual way and I have lived and worked at various times in Italy, Brazil, the United States, India and Germany.
I have always had a love and fascination for history. A holiday in Egypt sparked a particular passion for Ancient Egypt, especially the latter part of the 18th Dynasty. A history, which Pharaoh Horemeb (Djeser-Kheperu-Ra circa 1319-1292 BCE) tried to destroy and which only came to light following the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.
‘The Awakening Aten’ is the culmination of many years of research.
I have built up a substantial collection of academic books and novels on Ancient Egypt, its customs, traditions and daily life. I am fortunate to have been able to visit all of the major museums containing artefacts from Egypt throughout the world, as well as spending months in Egypt itself studying the funereal valleys and other sites. All of this supplemented by internet research.
This novel is the first in a plannned five book series, looking at the fictional lives of real people through a period of major political and religious change, spanning approximately 130 years.
My hobbies are reading, which I enjoy as much as I do writing, and taking bracing walks along the North East Coast and in the Northumberland Hills.

You can follow the author on Twitter

The Awakening Aten BT Poster

Review – Blog Tour – The Anglesey Murder by Conrad Jones

51E35aDf3ZL
DI Alan Williams is called to the recovery of two bodies from the sea at Trearddur Bay, during a storm. The lifeboat crew suspect they’re fishermen, washed away by a wave but they’re wrong. Alan and his detective sergeant, Kim Davies, realise the men were beaten and tied together before they entered the water. Two miles along the headland at Porth Dafarch, a third victim is found but there are no obvious links. As the number of victims increases, a major investigation team battles to unravel a deadly puzzle which, appears to have links to a series of historic murders from the 90’s.
In 1995, Peter Moore owned and operated the cinema in Holyhead. It is thought he assaulted over 40 men and he was arrested and charged with four murders, which he’d committed in as many months. He was jailed for life in 1996 and is still the only recorded Welsh serial killer. Fast forward to today and Detective Inspector Alan Williams is investigating a series of murders with uncanny similarities to the Peter Moore attacks. Is there a copycat on the loose or are the murders connected to the local underworld, which controls the supply of narcotics across North Wales and the North West? Finding a motive, is the challenge he might not win. ALL THE TIME THEY’RE TRACKING THE KILLER, THE KILLER IS STALKING THEM…
Review
I would like to thank the author, publisher and blog tour organiser for the ARC of this novel in return for an honest review.
I’m going to start this review by saying, I have by reading The Anglesey Murders,  found a new favourite author.
It is both exciting and very enjoyable to read; I’d have read it in one sitting, if not for life intervening, because I didn’t want to put it down. I wasn’t even really aware of the passing of time, because it was so engrossing.
More than once my I found myself saying out loud, oh my god as the twisted and evil killer of the story, did something that really shocked me. I felt a real dread when I realised he was stalking the police and I actually felt a compulsion to warn them and had to keep reminding myself it was fiction, because it felt so plausible. Truly what makes this such edge of the seat reading, was the fact it all could happen, that a killer as twisted as this, could stalk the streets of any British town.  With each chapter the tension is ramped up and I went from not wanting to put it down, to being almost to scared to read on, but I did because I had to know who survived.
The killer himself sent shivers down my spine and set my nerves on edge.  He really is the epitome of evil. Perfectly written with layers of self obession, lack of humanity and he is cold and callous. I still find myself unable to think of his actions without shivering.
Without a doubt it’s one of the best thrillers I’ve read this year and I’ve read quite a few great ones!
You can purchase this novel from Amazon
Author Bio:
20180929_081332
Conrad Jones a 52-year-old Author, living in Holyhead, Anglesey, which I class as my home, before starting a career as a trainee manger with McDonalds Restaurants in 1989. I worked in management at McDonalds Restaurants Ltd from 1989-2002, working my way up to Business Consultant (area manager) working in the corporate and franchised departments.
In March 1993 I was managing the Restaurant in Warrington`s Bridge St when two Irish Republican Army bombs exploded directly outside the store, resulting in the death of two young boys and many casualties. Along with hundreds of other people there that day I was deeply affected by the attack, which led to a long-term interest in the motivation and mind set of criminal gangs. I began to read anything crime related that I could get my hands on.
I link this experience with the desire to write books on the subject, which came much later due to an unusual set of circumstances. Because of that experience my early novels follow the adventures of an elite counter terrorist unit, The Terrorist Task Force, and their leader, John Tankersley, or `Tank`and they are the Soft Target Series, which have been described by a reviewer as ‘Reacher on steroids’.
I had no intentions of writing until 2007, when I set off on an 11-week tour of the USA. The Day before I boarded the plane, Madeleine Mcann disappeared and all through the holiday I followed the American news reports which had little or no information about her. I didn’t realise it at the time, but the terrible kidnap would inspire my book, The Child Taker years later. During that trip, I received news that my house had been burgled and my work van and equipment were stolen. That summer was the year when York and Tewksbury were flooded by a deluge and insurance companies were swamped with claims. They informed me that they couldn’t do anything for weeks and that returning home would be a wasted journey. Rendered unemployed on a beach in Clearwater, Florida, I decided to begin my first book, Soft Target. I have never stopped writing since. I have recently completed my 20th novel, The Journey, something that never would have happened but for that burglary and my experiences in Warrington.
As far as my favourite series ever, it has to be James Herbert’s, The Rats trilogy. The first book did for me what school books couldn’t. It fascinated me, triggered my imagination and gave me the hunger to want to read more. I waited years for the second book, The Lair, and Domain, the third book to come out and they were amazing. Domain is one of the best books I have ever read. In later years, Lee Child, especially the early books, has kept me hypnotised on my sunbed on holiday as has Michael Connelley and his Harry Bosch Series.
BLOG TOUR (8)

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

Three Front Cover

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 

Three head shot

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

Three Full Tour Banner

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

A Modern Family Cover

 

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

modern fam blog poster 2019-2

 

Review ~ Blog Tour ~The Case by Leopold Borstinski

Case - High Res

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.

dpbt 2

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.

Ripley.2mb
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
AB-port.1.3mb
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
RipleyBanner3

Review ~ Blog Tour ~ The Desire Card by Lee Matthew Goldberg.

TheDesireCardKindle

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.

dpbt 2

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.

Bird Therapy Cover -2

‘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

Bird Therapy BT Poster -2