#BookReview : The Burgas Affair by Ellis Shuman @ellisshuman

The Burgas Affair by [Shuman, Ellis]

I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on “The Burgas Affair” by Ellis Shuman.  It is available as an ebook from Amazon UK and Amazon US.  I was offered this book via the author and I was happy to accept an eARC of it. My thoughts expressed are my own and are unbiased.

Synopsis:

She’s an Israeli data analyst. He’s a headstrong Bulgarian detective. Together they must track down those responsible for a horrific bombing.

In the wake of a deadly terrorist attack at Burgas Airport in Bulgaria, Israeli and Bulgarian intelligence agencies launch a joint investigation. Detective Boyko Stanchev on the police task force teams up with Ayala Navon, a young Israeli intelligence analyst on her first overseas assignment.

The two must establish whether the terrorists were assisted by a Bulgarian crime organization in laying the groundwork for the attack.

It should be a routine investigation, but shadows of the past keep interfering.

Boyko’s interactions with a crime boss pursuing a vendetta against him threaten to throw him off track. Ayala’s pursuit of the terrorists and their accomplices brings up painful memories of a family tragedy.

Boyko and Ayala form a shaky alliance, one that evolves into growing cooperation and affection as they desperately race against time to uncover who was behind the Burgas bombing.

The Burgas Affair is a fictional account of the aftermath of a very real terrorist attack. On July 18, 2012, a deadly explosive rocked a tourist bus at Burgas Airport, killing five Israelis and their Bulgarian bus driver. The terrorists responsible for this murderous attack have never been brought to justice.

My Thoughts:

Ellis has used real life events of the bombing of a bus at Burgas Airport in Bulgaria as the basis of his story.  He has used his unique knowledge and experiences to add extra dimensions to his story.

This story begins with the bombing, it is hard to read but, as I mentioned it is based on truth.  The bus has Israeli passengers at the Burgas airport. Ellis has not glorified the event.  A Bulgarian-Israeli joint investigation is organised, this is where we meet our Bulgarian detective Boyko, “this is what everyone calls him”, and also Israeli translator Ayala.  From the outset I loved Boyko’s as a character, he is a chauvinistic arse, but also has a little bit of lovable roguishness about him, and as the story progresses things about him change, his mask slips and we see a slightly different side to him.  But his past is about to rear its ugly head, secrets never stay secrets forever.  Ayala has her own story, and her story is one I imagine is unfortunately quite a common one for many.  Working together means working on building up a measure of trust and understanding between the two of them.

The story of the investigation techniques and differences in how things are done was interesting, as well as the attitudes between the two nationalities as they are part of a joint investigating team.  Adding into that both Boyko and Ayala back stories and blending the past and present was done very well.  There was a good amount of Bulgarian and also Israeli extras included, words, food and also the odd custom and tradition.  This was part of the Boyko and Ayala storyline, so fitted in well as they learnt about each other.

Overall a book that starts very dramatically, that then twists and turns its way through several themes.  It was a very insightful read with good attention to details, and a lot of little added extras that the author has used to create a dramatic, exciting edge of the seat read.  A real page turner from start to finish and one I would definitely recommend.  Ideal for readers of crime, thriller with good amount of action, adventure.  I also want to mention how after reading this book, that the cover is a perfect accompaniment.

About the Author:

Ellis Shuman Ellis Shuman was born in Sioux City, Iowa, and immigrated to Israel as a teenager. He completed high school in Jerusalem and served for three years in the Israeli army’s Nahal branch. Along with his wife, Jodie, he was a founding member of Kibbutz Yahel in the Arava Valley in Israel’s south. On the kibbutz he worked in agriculture, industry, tourism, the dairy barn, and served as the kibbutz’s general secretary. After moving with his wife and three young children to Moshav Neve Ilan in the Judean Hills, Ellis received formal training in the hotel industry. He worked in a variety of positions at the Neve Ilan Hotel and later was Food and Beverage Controller at the Jerusalem Hilton. He served as the moshav’s general secretary during a period in which the community underwent major social changes. As a hobby, Ellis began writing on the Internet. He wrote extensively about life in Israel in his position as the Israeli Culture Guide at About.com. He designed and maintained websites for the Neve Ilan Hotel and for Indic–Independent Israeli Cinema. For two years he was webmaster for Yazam, an international financial firm that provided support for technological start-ups. Ellis served for three years as Editor in Chief of Israel Insider, an online daily newsmagazine that developed new technologies as it posted the latest news and views, from and about Israel. Starting in 2004, Ellis began working in a marketing company servicing the online gaming industry. In the years 2009 – 2010, his job was relocated to Sofia, Bulgaria. During those years, Ellis and Jodie traveled extensively in Bulgaria as well as in the countries of the region. Today Ellis continues working at this job, based in Ramat Gan.

Follow Ellis on Twitter  or on his Website

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share.  Better still, go and buy a copy of this book xx

#BlogTour : What She Left by Rosie Fiore @rosiefiore with @rararesources #BookReview

I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “What She Left” by Rosie Fiore.  I would like to express my thanks to Rosie and also Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the tour.

Synopsis:

What would make you walk away from your life, your family and friends, in search of a completel fresh start?

Helen Cooper has a charmed life. She’s beautiful, accomplished, organised – the star parent at the school. Until she disappears.

But Helen wasn’t abducted or murdered. She’s chosen to walk away, abandoning her family, husband Sam, and her home.

Where has Helen gone, and why? What has driven her from her seemingly perfect life? What is she looking for? Sam is tormented by these questions, and gradually begins to lose his grip on work and his family life.

He sees Helen everywhere in the faces of strangers. He’s losing control.

But then one day, it really is Helen’s face he sees…

My Thoughts:

When Helen, the perfect wife, mother, organiser and school event planner supreme disappears, her husband Sam is in understandable turmoil.  But his world is torn even further when he is told she is alive, well and has simply walked out on him.  I use the simply very loosely here, as you soon discover that there is nothing simple about the way this has been done or why.

Rosie has thought this story through very well, she has given views from different characters.  Sam, Lara a friend of Helen’s, Miranda the eldest daughter and then later on Helen herself.  It has given the reader thoughts, feelings, views, perspectives, opinions and emotions from various angles, I like this style of writing when it is done well, it gives you a much bigger and more in-depth idea of the characters and the plot. My opinions of the characters changed as the story revealed its secrets, sometimes feeling sorry, then angry and frustrated and by the time I had finished the story, my opinion had changed again.

This is a book I got into very quickly and kept a grip on me right through to the end.  By the end of the book I had discovered secrets, past histories and missed opportunities. With a chance for new ventures and new beginnings, and Rosie has pulled together to make a real cracking read.

This is a book that I would recommend to readers who like literary fiction and women’s fiction genres.  That like a well written, multi point of view read that looks at family dynamics and lifestyle changes

About the Author:

What She Left Author Pic

Rosie Fiore was born and grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa. She studied drama at the University of the Witwatersrand and has worked as a writer for theatre, television, magazines, advertising, comedy and the corporate market. She has lived in London for the past fifteen years. Her first novel, This Year’s Black, was longlisted for the South African Sunday Times Literary Award. After Isabella was her most recent novel. Rosie also writes under the name Cass Hunter.

Follow Rosie on Twitter ~ Facebook

What She Left Full Banner.jpg

See what other readers thought of the book 

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give a share.  Or better still, go and buy the book xx

#BlogTour :Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict : @Netgalley @Sourcebooks

cover111393-medium

 “Carnegie’s Maid” by Marie Benedict. 

Published by Source Books Landmark.  This book is available in various formats and is available to purchase from Amazon US .  I received an eARC via NetGalley of this book.  My thoughts expressed are my own and are unbiased.

Synopsis:

From the author of The Other Einstein, the mesmerizing tale of what kind of woman could have inspired an American dynasty.

Clara Kelley is not who they think she is. She’s not the experienced Irish maid who was hired to work in one of Pittsburgh’s grandest households. She’s a poor farmer’s daughter with nowhere to go and nothing in her pockets. But the other woman with the same name has vanished, and pretending to be her just might get Clara some money to send back home.

If she can keep up the ruse, that is. Serving as a lady’s maid in the household of Andrew Carnegie requires skills he doesn’t have, answering to an icy mistress who rules her sons and her domain with an iron fist. What Clara does have is a resolve as strong as the steel Pittsburgh is becoming famous for, coupled with an uncanny understanding of business, and Andrew begins to rely on her. But Clara can’t let her guard down, not even when Andrew becomes something more than an employer. Revealing her past might ruin her future — and her family’s.

With captivating insight and heart, Carnegie’s Maid tells the story of one brilliant woman who may have spurred Andrew Carnegie’s transformation from ruthless industrialist into the world’s first true philanthropist..

My Thoughts:

Clara Kelly steps of the boat Envy, from Ireland and now emigrating to America.  A woman of the same name and from the same area of Ireland is also expected, our Clara takes the initiative and travels to Pittsburgh to become a Lady’s maid to Mrs. Carnegie, mother to Andrew a business man who will go on to become the wealthiest man in the world.

While the initial premise of this book sounds great, I did find that the idea of a Irish farmers daughter being able to pull off the skilled role of a lady’s maid somewhat unbelievable, but I actually put that aside and just enjoyed the story, this was quite interesting.  Clara spends a lot of time with her employer and builds up a friendship with her son.  I found a lot of details on the Carnegie family that I was unaware of in this book.  I didn’t know much about the family before I started this story, but by the end I found a huge amount of detail had been added as part of the story.  It did spark an interest and I found myself reading further on the internet, so I can also now add that the author has done her research well.

So, as well as the research and information given on the Carnegies, there were also some other nice details for social etiquette and status of the time especially when on a visit to New York.  The characters of Clara, Andrew and Mrs. Carnegie have been developed very well.  This book has a nice steady pace, and has some inclusion of famous historical events that help keep the feel of the era it is set in.

This is a good read that would appeal to readers of historical fiction, American History with social and economic elements from 1860’s America and Ireland included.  I did feel there were some discrepancies with the way Clara could have got this job, but I read this as more of a fiction book than a historically accurate fictionalised one.

About the Author:

B1rrvouIrFS._SY200_Once a New York City lawyer, Marie Benedict had long dreamed about a fantastical job unraveling the larger mysteries of the past as an archaeologist or historian — before she tried her hand at writing. While drafting her first book, she realized that she could excavate the possible truths lurking in history through fiction, and has done so in THE OTHER EINSTEIN, the story of Mileva Maric, Albert Einstein’s first wife and a physicist herself. Writing as Heather Terrell, Marie also authored The Chrysalis, The Map Thief, and Brigid of Kildare. She is a graduate of Boston College and the Boston University School of Law, and lives in Pittsburgh with her family.

Book Details:

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark (January 16, 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 149264661X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1492646617

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share.  Better still, go and buy this book xx

 

#BlogTour : The Second Cup by @SarahMarieGraye with @rararesources #Giveaway #BookReview

TheSecondCup Cover

I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts and also being part of the blog tour for “The Second Cup” by Sarah Marie Graye.  Tour organiser is Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources.  This book is available in paperback and eBook.

Universal Purchase Linkhttps://mybook.to/SecondCup

Synopsis:

Would your life unravel if someone you knew committed suicide? Theirs did.

Faye’s heart still belongs to her first love, Jack. She knows he might have moved on, but when she decides to track him down, nothing prepares her for the news that he’s taken his own life.

With the fragility of life staring them in the face, Abbie finds herself questioning her marriage, and Faye her friendship with Ethan. And poor Olivia is questioning everything – including why Jack’s death has hit Beth the hardest. Is she about to take her own life too?

My Thoughts:

From the synopsis we are told this book is about a suicide, the devastation it causes to those left behind.  How a group of friends have lived their lives before and since the event.  But for me it is more than the suicide, and please don’t for a moment think I am playing that down and being disrespectful when I say this.  The suicide is part of the story, but I feel the story is more than that.

The story is told from five viewpoints, they each explain their lives from childhood, to University and beyond.  They all seem to have something that is missing from their lives, it is like a void.  They are fragile but they have strength, support and the bond of friendship that keep them moving forward.  Sarah has explored this aspect very well and the message I seem to be seeing is, if people really expressed their thoughts and feelings to those concerned it could make a difference.  Sometimes you cannot see what you have got in life to be thankful for, sometimes it is staring you in the face, other times it has always been there and you have never noticed until it is no longer there.

This story did take me a while to get into, but once I had met the five characters and understood their role within the group it was all good.  It was an intruding and quite deep and dark at times and Sarah has done a great job of giving each several different traits that make them recognisable as you read.  In having many POV’s you are given a much fuller picture of the story as well as their thoughts and feeling to each other.

I have a feeling this is a book that different readers will take different things from, I think there are elements from characters that some readers will identify with.  I will mention that there are mentions in this of unhappy childhoods, depression and then also the suicide.  This may be a trigger for some readers, but for me I thought Sarah handled them well.  If you read Sarah’s bio you will see she has experience of depression and I think this is what makes this story a believable one.

This is one I would definitely recommend to readers of Literary Fiction, Women’s Fiction,  who like a slower paced, multi character lead read, that is well written and an emotionally deep and well thought out book.

I wish to express my thanks to Rachel and Sarah for inviting me onto the tour for this book.  My views expressed here are my own and are unbiased.  I would also like to wish Sarah all the very best with her writing and this book xx

About the Author:

SarahMarieGraye

Sarah Marie Graye was born in Manchester, United Kingdom, in 1975, to English Catholic parents. One of five daughters, to the outside world Sarah Marie’s childhood followed a relatively typical Manchester upbringing… until aged 9, when she was diagnosed with depression.

It’s a diagnosis that has stayed with Sarah Marie over three decades, and something she believes has coloured every life decision.

Now in her early 40s, and with an MA Creative Writing from London South Bank University (where she was the vice-chancellor’s scholarship holder), Sarah Marie has published her debut novel – about family, friendships and mental health.

Follow Sarah on Twitter.

GIVEAWAY

Sarah has an International Giveaway for a chance to win 1 of 3 signed copies of her book.  To enter please follow the link and ⇒ Click Here

The Second Cup Full Banner.jpg

Many thanks for reading my post.   If you liked it please give it a share.  Better still go and buy a copy of the book xx

~BookReview : The Fragile Thread of Hope by Pankaj Giri @_PankajGiri

36522168

I am delighted to be sharing “The Fragile Thread of Hope” by Pankaj Giri. Available to purchase in eBook format.

Synopsis:

A gripping emotional inspirational fiction about love, loss, and finding hope in the darkest of times.

In the autumn of 2012, destiny wreaks havoc on two unsuspecting people—Soham and Fiona.

Although his devastating past involving his brother still haunted him, Soham had established a promising career for himself in Bangalore.

After a difficult childhood, Fiona’s fortunes had finally taken a turn for the better. She had married her beloved, and her life was as perfect as she had ever imagined it to be.

But when tragedy strikes them yet again, their fundamentally fragile lives threaten to fall apart.

Can Fiona and Soham overcome their grief?

Will the overwhelming pain destroy their lives?

Seasoned with the flavours of exotic Nepalese traditions and set in the picturesque Indian hill station, Gangtok, The Fragile Thread of Hope explores the themes of spirituality, faith, alcoholism, love, and guilt while navigating the complex maze of family relationships.

Inspirational and heart-wrenchingly intimate, it urges you to wonder—does hope stand a chance in this travesty called life?

My Thoughts:

This is a stunning and also a bit of an emotional roller coaster of a read.  We are taken into the lives and families of Fiona and Soham.  The start of the story is as an accident occurs, then it goes back in time. We meet the two main characters, to each other they are strangers, but we are told of their childhoods, experiences and memories as they progress through their lives.

Yes it’s a story about growing up with a religious and inspirational aspect to it.  I will be the first to admit that this is not something I would actively seek out to read.  But I was asked if I wanted to read this book  by the author, I checked out the reviews and was intrigued by what I read.  Now after reading the story myself, I am so glad I accepted to give this story a chance.

Pankaj has taken the characters and created a story around them, it is beautifully written even though they have experiences and events in their lives that are heartbreaking and indeed does show how fragile life is.  I started the book, a few hours later I had finished it, I cannot say when or where I found myself avidly turning each page, it just happened. It was like being immersed or cocooned in the world that Pankaj had opened up.

Each character suffers personal tragedy in their lives, we experience their desolation, thoughts, emotions and agonies as well as hearing inspirational insights of help and advice from those around them.  The way Pankaj has beautifully written and explained everything is what makes this special and also impossible to leave.

This is a book I think would appeal to readers of literary fiction, with romance, inspiration and religious aspects.  It is a beautifully crafted story that I absolutely loved and would highly recommend.

My thanks go to Pankaj for suggesting this book to me.  My thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

61h2u3csJqL._SY200_ Pankaj Giri was born and brought up in Gangtok, Sikkim—a picturesque hill station in India. He began his writing career in 2015 by co-authoring a book—Friendship Love and Killer Escapades (FLAKE). Learning from experience and the constructive criticism that he got for his first book, he has now written a new novel—The Fragile Thread of Hope, a mainstream literary fiction dealing with love, loss, and family relationships. He is currently working in the government sector in Sikkim. He likes to kill time by listening to progressive metal music and watching cricket.

Book Details:

Many Thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, please give it a share.  Better still go and buy yourself a copy of this book.

#BookReview : Season of Blood by Jeri Westerson : @jeriwesterson @severnhouse @NetGalley

37657092

A Medieval Mystery from Jeri Westerson, “Season of Blood” is available in hardback and eBook formats.  Published by Severn House Digital

Book Details:

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1256.0 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Digital; First World Publication edition (24 Dec. 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B077NH7L86

Synopsis:

A missing Holy Relic. A mysterious and beautiful woman. Two murdered monks: Crispin Guest tackles his most intriguing investigation to date.

1390. Hailes Abbey, Gloucestershire, England. Two monks lie murdered, their Holy Blood relic stolen: a relic that is said to run liquid for the sinless and remain stubbornly dry for the sinner. Unwilling to become involved in a bitter dispute between a country monastery and Westminster Abbey, the disgraced former knight Crispin Guest attempts to return the relic to Hailes where it belongs, but somehow it keeps returning to his hands no matter what.

My Thoughts:

This is my first visit with this author and I read this book as a stand alone.  It is set in 1390 and we are introduced to Crispin Guest and his apprentice and side kick Jack Tucker.  They have been approached by a mysterious lady for their help in finding her niece. But along with that a monk dies on Crispin’s door step and in his possession is a religious Blood Relic artefact.

This is the 10th instalment in the Crispin Guest mystery series.  As this is the first I had read by this author, I was intrigued as to how well I would get on with an established series.  For me, I am pleased to say, it worked very well, there are hints and mentions of past stories but not enough to detract from this one.  This book has a very good “well researched” feel to it.  It is one of those books that feel right for the time it is set in and Jeri has some great description to back that feel up.  It is a well paced story that has some very unexpected twists, it is one of those books that you are never quite sure who is telling the truth, creating a good edginess to it.  The characters are quick to remember and identify as they are introduced gradually.

Overall this was a very enjoyable read, and I think a good introduction for me to this author, even though I have started at the wrong end of the series. I would recommend this to readers who like a good medieval murder, mystery read.  Some good twists, plots and characters.   It has been well researched and written.

My thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for my copy of this book.  My thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

61fomTgjdpL._SY200_

I’m Jeri Westerson and I write medieval mysteries with an enigmatic, flawed, sexy, and very different protagonist. His name is Crispin Guest and he’s an ex-knight turned private eye. You might want to think of him as a Medieval Sam Spade and these mysteries as Medieval Noir. That’s what makes these novels different. They’re full of hard-hitting action and characters with dirty little secrets. Then there’s the added twist dropped in the middle of murder: a relic with mystical powers. They always seem to stir things up, whether it’s something everyone wants to get their hands on or can’t wait to get rid of.

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share xx

#BlogTour : Standstill by J. A. Marley @jamarleybooks @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681

J.A. Marley - Standstill_cover_high res.jpg

I an delighted to be part of the blog tour to share my thoughts on “Standstill” by J.A. Marley is available as a paperback and also eBook, published by Bloodhound Books.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Bloodhound Books (21 Dec. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1912175878
  • ISBN-13: 978-1912175871
  • Available from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

Even the deadliest criminals leave a trail…

When a psychotic policeman drags the young, ambitious thief, Danny Felix out of bed, he could not imagine he was about to be plunged into the robbery of a lifetime.
Corruption and coercion follow the corrupt Detective Inspector Harkness everywhere he goes and now he has Danny just where he wants him.

But Harkness isn’t the only officer with Danny in his sights. Christine Chance is getting closer to him while doing her best to be a mother to her seriously ill daughter.

Can Danny escape Harkness with his life intact? Can he avoid detection by Chance?

And does he have what it takes to use the streets of modern-day London to pull off the theft of the 21st Century?

Danny thinks he can…but there will be bloodshed. 

My Thoughts:

Danny Felix is a thief, he is a good thief.  But when dirty cop D.I. Harkness raids his flat and doesn’t give him a choice but to work for him, Danny realises he is on uncertain ground.  Danny knows in his gut that working for a dirty cop is not going to be a good relationship.  Add into this story a flying squad officer Christine Chance, she is torn between work and her critically ill daughter. Christine has had a great lead and result on a crime, but when more information comes forward regarding other crimes, she also has a feeling that doesn’t quite sit right.

This took me a while to get into, I think is was the quick chapters and the way they flitted between characters, also the quick introduction to the characters.  But as I started to get a feel for the story things began to fall into place and things started to make sense.  The pacing of the story was one of those that gradually builds as you progress through.  The plot itself was really good, transported into the murky underworld of crime and its associates, corruption, good cop ‘v’ bad cop and blackmail.  I did have a slight issue with the story of Christine and her daughter though, I had trouble believing that she would leave the bedside of her critically ill daughter to go to work. It was the only part of the story that I just didn’t feel right about, the rest of the story I was completely fine with.  As for the rest of the story. The main characters themselves are very varied, with different  outlooks and expectations on life, for some past deeds come back to haunt them.

This is a book that I really enjoyed, it was a very well thought out and executed plot, some great characters and twists.  If you like action, adventure, crime, corruption and police drama reads, then this is one that I would recommend.

My thanks to Sarah Hardy at Bloodhound Books for the invitation to join this blog tour.  My views are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

John Marley, 27April2016, photographer Bronac McNeill

 

John A. Marley’s writing career started with a poem about two brothers who both liked sausages…their names were Butch and Dutch and his Primary School teacher Mr. Murray liked it so much it made the main noticeboard at the entrance to Holy Child Primary School in West Belfast.  A little older but none the wiser, he ended up as a film journalist in his native Northern Ireland, contributing to local newspapers, BBC Radio Ulster and latterly writing as the main film critic for the glossy magazine, Northern Woman.

 

John’s love of good stories came from the Irish predilection for telling a good yarn and the fact that there was nothing quite like sneaking away his Dad’s battered paperbacks to read even though he knew they were meant for adults and not kids. And so pulp fiction such as The Edge Westerns by George G. Gilman, the adventure novels of Alistair MacLean and the thrillers of Jack Higgins all served to whet his appetite for a good story told at pace.

 

These days, his reading tastes still focus on thrills, spills and good plot and he can’t walk by a James Lee Burke or an Elmore Leonard without pausing to read a few pages…even if it is in a busy bookshop. 

 

John A. Marley is also a TV producer with a proven track record in creating and producing distinctive, original entertainment and factual programming and formats for both a UK and international audience. His eclectic portfolio of high-profile shows include Britain’s Ultimate Pilots: Inside the RAFBritain’s Flying PastStaraokeBest of FriendsSkatoonyNoel’s House PartyThrough the KeyholeSMTV:Live/CD:UKHow Euro Are You? and live coverage of “The Oscars” with Barry Norman.

 

John runs his own production company Archie Productions which he launched in 2008. Prior to setting up his own indie, John enjoyed a wide and varied career in television with creative roles at Talent Television, Planet 24, Carlton Television and Walt Disney UK. John’s broadcast media career started in his native Northern Ireland as a radio host.

 

Follow John on Twitter or his Website

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it please give a share.  Or better still , go and get yourself a copy of this book xx

#Extract : Exposition – Act II of the Forward to Glory Quartet by Brian Paul Bach : @ftgquartet @gilbster1000 @AuthorightUKPR

Bach-Forward To Glory II. EXPOSITION Front Cover 300dpi for Gareth.jpg

Today I am sharing an extract from Brian Paul Bach’s book “Exposition : Act II of the Forward to Glory Quartet”.  It is available in paperback and also eBook format and is published by Clink Street.

Book Details:

  • File Size: 1459.0 KB
  • Print Length: 874 pages
  • Publisher: Clink Street Publishing (28 Nov. 2017)
  • Available to purchase from ~  Amazon UKBarnes & Noble

Synopsis:

Butterbugs is becoming somebody. He has come to Hollywood to act, and as an aspiring performer, so far, he is a survivor. His dream persists… though barely. But something’s coming.
He has had to endure nearly crushing challenges with a tenacity deserving its own kind of award. Perhaps simple luck is all that’s needed. It soon appears, from unexpected quarters. And starting there, his ascent begins. Butterbugs is about to be exposed – as actor, as talent, as star. A splash like no other will soon inundate Hollywood. In FORWARD TO GLORY’s guise as a four-part epic-noir-satire, EXPOSITION continues the grand procession commenced in TEMPERING. Proudly episodic, unabashedly sensational, it is a saga geared to a seasoned readership eager to embrace a daring narrative with determination and relish. As he advances, Butterbugs is gifted with the assistance of many: Vonda – the superstar, who literally picks him off the street; The Angry Black Priest – the super-artist, who, out of tragedy, teaches him wisdom; Sonny Projector – the super-agent, who sees something exceptional in this intriguing unknown; Old Atrocity – the super-technician, whose cinematic expertise perfectly compliments the actor’s unique persona; Cody, Saskia and Justy – women to love, who love him; Pepper and Prairie – whose very existence may be nothing more than shadows on a screen but whose power is projected upon him; and Heatherette – whose reappearance saves his life.
The FORWARD TO GLORY Quartet
I. Tempering – the Actor’s struggles
II. Exposition – the Actor’s rise
III. Apotheosis – the Actor’s climax
IV. Beyond Fin – the Actor’s legend

Extract:

Was Butterbugs at all tempted by the Dark Side of Hollywood?

Well, was he?

Or did ‘temptation’, in the classic sense, even enter into it? A sort of anonymous acceptance of the Side’s existence was necessitated by a set of experiences that proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that such a Side did in fact exist, with metaphysical certitude, and indeed, it flourished not a heartbeat away from the conventional infrastruc­ture of the city.

What, pray, was the Side, anyway?

The sun shines only half the time, so what was the other half, but Dark?

The innocuous civic fixtures which surround the citizen on all angles, such as wholesome street signs, thoroughgoing sidewalks and curbs, sodium-tinted streetlamps (of lollipop or even Peyton Place configuration – you know, backlot globes in public candela­bras of utmost propriety), and coolly-illuminated horizontal signs with white text on green background, marking the likes of Sweetzer Blvd and its countless mates, as well as the smoothly-paved and excellently-maintained street surfaces themselves, seemed to mask the surety of the eccentric corruption just at hand.

Inside the countless vehicles occupying this matrix of streets, behind the usually closed doors, and well in back of private hedges, lattices, rat cages, loose-boxes, and fences that provided screens of discretion, there, in back of it all – backstage (which was where anyone with any sense in LA would enact their own personal varia­tions of what they wanted their Dark Sides to be) – was the ripe but essential truth that was the exhibition of the community’s true soul.

In these times, innate Dark Sides merged with the generic, until a tremendously high percentage of the citizenry elected to contribute their creative say and deeds to the collective corruption kettle. True, LA was corrupt. From the start, right up to the unfinished present. True, most of the corruption and naughtiness were either conceived or enacted in private (sacred privacy!), but not always. The streets, and the sidewalks of the streets, were at once a setting and a green room for a certain school of acting-out life’s drama, and wherein a special kind of danger lay.

It was because of this easy setting that Butterbugs did indeed explore and experiment with his own exploratory version of the Side. Because, quite frankly, there was no getting around it – he was desperate. He found himself in the kind of dire situation that he had dreaded all along. He couldn’t drive (tank on empty: so said the dipstick he fashioned out of a diseased palm frond and Burkmart straws, in lieu of a withered and shorted-out gas gauge needle), so he took to drifting the streets, halfheartedly looking for ‘opportunities’.

He found them.

Opportunities there were, all right. Especially those to enact Dr. Hunter S. Thompson’s theses on fear and loathing. They were there, right on the sidewalks, so remote and unbelievable from the pro­tected bubbles that floated by in vehicular suspension. As long as he was on the streets and vulnerable, how could there not be an encounter with both?

Fear is inherent. Loathing is learned.

About the Author:

Brian Paul Bach.jpg

Brian Paul Bach is a writer, artist, filmmaker and photographer; he has worked across the entertainment business, in theatre, music and as an academic. He now lives in central Washington State with his wife, Sandra. His previous works include The Grand Trunk Road From the Front Seat, Calcutta’s Edifice: The Buildings of a Great City, and Busted Boom: The Bummer of Being a Boomer. He writes a regular column for Kolkata On Wheels magazine. The first book in the Forward to Glory quartet, Tempering, was released in March 2017.

Website – https://forwardtogloryquartet.wordpress.com/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ftgquartet/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/brianpaulbach/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/hooghlyside/

Many thanks for reading my post. 

In Search of Mary Shelley – The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein by Fiona Sampson @NetGalley

download (3)

“In Search of Mary Shelley – The Girl Who Wrote Frankenstein” by Fiona Sampson is available in Hardback and eBook. Published on 4th Jan by Serpent’s Tail / Profile Books.

Synopsis:

We know the facts of Mary Shelley’s life in some detail—the death of her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, within days of her birth; the upbringing in the house of her father, William Godwin, in a house full of radical thinkers, poets, philosophers, and writers; her elopement, at the age of seventeen, with Percy Shelley; the years of peripatetic travel across Europe that followed. But there has been no literary biography written this century, and previous books have ignored the real person—what she actually thought and felt and why she did what she did—despite the fact that Mary and her group of second-generation Romantics were extremely interested in the psychological aspect of life.

In this probing narrative, Fiona Sampson pursues Mary Shelley through her turbulent life, much as Victor Frankenstein tracked his monster across the arctic wastes. Sampson has written a book that finally answers the question of how it was that a nineteen-year-old came to write a novel so dark, mysterious, anguished, and psychologically astute that it continues to resonate two centuries later. No previous biographer has ever truly considered this question, let alone answered it.

My Thoughts:

Fiona Sampson takes a look at the woman who was the force behind one of literature’s classic books, Frankenstein is a title recognised around the world.  It has been dissected and discussed numerous times, but what about its creator.

Mary Shelley wrote this book at the age of 18, two years after her marriage to Percy Shelley, she was at the time considered to be an intellectual thinker.  This is a time when women are seen as an object or a piece of the furniture, not to have opinions or views that are meaningful.

Fiona has, I feel, done her research well using a number of documents, journals and letters to build up a picture of this young woman’s life.  She has created an in-depth narrative that has an easy flow to it and makes for good reading, it is insightful and full of details.

This is a wonderful read that would appeal to readers of biographies and memoirs of literary greats.  It has the air of a well researched book, is well written and presented.  My first time reading any work by this author, I may have to look at reading more.

I received my copy for my honest and unbiased opinion via NetGalley and the publishers, my thanks to them for this opportunity.

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, please give it a share xx

#BookReview : The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris :pub @BonnierZaffre @NetGalley

36582334

“The Tattooist of Auschwitz” by Heather Morris is available to purchase from 11th January and is available in various formats.  Published by Bonnier Zaffre and available from Amazon UK 

Synopsis:

I tattooed a number on her arm. She tattooed her name on my heart.

In 1942, Lale Sokolov arrived in Auschwitz-Birkenau. He was given the job of tattooing the prisoners marked for survival – scratching numbers into his fellow victims’ arms in indelible ink to create what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust.

Waiting in line to be tattooed, terrified and shaking, was a young girl. For Lale – a dandy, a jack-the-lad, a bit of a chancer – it was love at first sight. And he was determined not only to survive himself, but to ensure this woman, Gita, did, too.

So begins one of the most life-affirming, courageous, unforgettable and human stories of the Holocaust: the love story of the tattooist of Auschwitz.

My Thoughts:

Where to start with this book, it took me a while to get my thoughts in order before I could write a review.  This is based on the true story of Lala & Gita Sokolov.  They met when Lala tattooed the number on her arm on her arrival at Auschwitz.  They along with tens of thousands of others became a number.  Not a name. Not a person.  They were A Number.

Heather spent three years with Lala and his two dogs as he told his story to her.  He needed to do this so that “it would never happen again”.  Also it was time for him to tell, he knew he didn’t have long before he joined his beloved Gita.  Her death gave him the push he needed.

Lala was part of the German round-up of much-needed workers and he was taken to Auschwitz.  By the use of his charm and a certain amount of luck he managed to get the position of “Tetovierer” the tattooist in the camps of Auschwitz and also nearby Birkenau. This allowed him a little more freedom and also extra food rations, Lala shared all he could with others in the camp.  He managed to barter with civilian workers for food, with the help of Gita and her friends.  All that could be shared out was, help given where possible.  The generosity in a time of great suffering shown by others has a way of repaying itself, and indeed when Lala was in need of help it was there.  He travelled between the two camps and this gave him insights as to what was happening, seeing different things appearing, seeing new people, meeting the new doctor a certain Josef Mengeler.

Through Heather, Lala gave accounts of who he met and his experiences.  Heather has written his story with true emotion, sympathy and understanding.  It is a heart wrenching read, and so it should be, but Lala’s character has come through the pages, showing his grim determination that he would survive, he would marry Gita and they would have a future together.

This is an important period in history, one that should never be forgotten or taken lightly.  Heather has done a wonderful job in relating Lala’s story. It is an emotional journey, and even now I still feel the emotion as I write this review, a few days after reading the book.  I received this book as an eARC via NetGalley, but I will be buying my own physical copy.  I highly recommend this book to all readers.

Lala’s lifetime motto was “If you wake up in the morning, it is a good day.”

Number – 34902 – Gita born 1925 died 2003

Number – 32407 – Lala born 1916 died 2006

Many thanks to Bonnier Faffre and NetGalley for my copy of this book.  My thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

Heather Morris is a native of New Zealand, now resident in Australia, working in a large public hospital in Melbourne. For several years she studied and wrote screenplays, one of which was optioned by an Academy Award-winning screenwriter in the US. In 2003, Heather was introduced to an elderly gentleman who ‘might just have a story worth telling’. The day she met Lale Sokolov changed both their lives, as their friendship grew and he embarked on a journey on self-scrutiny, entrusting the innermost details of his life during the Holocaust to her. Heather originally wrote Lale’s story as a screenplay – which ranked high in international competitions – before reshaping it into her debut novel, The Tattooist of Auschwitz.

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it please give a little share.  Better still go and buy a copy of this outstanding book xx