Return To Hiroshima by Bob Van Laerhoven @ @rararesources #Giveaway (Open Int’lly) #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for Return To Hiroshima by Bob Van Laerhoven. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invite and to Bob for my e-copy of his book.

Synopsis:

1995, Japan struggles with a severe economic crisis. Fate brings a number of people together in Hiroshima in a confrontation with dramatic consequences. Xavier Douterloigne, the son of a Belgian diplomat, returns to the city, where he spent his youth, to come to terms with the death of his sister. Inspector Takeda finds a deformed baby lying dead at the foot of the Peace Monument, a reminder of Hiroshima’s war history. A Yakuza-lord, rumored to be the incarnation of the Japanese demon Rokurobei, mercilessly defends his criminal empire against his daughter Mitsuko, whom he considers insane. And the punk author Reizo, obsessed by the ultra-nationalistic ideals of his literary idol Mishima, recoils at nothing to write the novel that will “overturn Japan’s foundations”….


Hiroshima’s indelible war-past simmers in the background of this ultra-noir novel. Clandestine experiments conducted by Japanese Secret Service Unit 731 during WWII become unveiled and leave a sinister stain on the reputation of the imperial family and the Japanese society as a whole.

Purchase Links

Amazon.comAmazon UKAmazon CAAmazon FrAmazon Es

My Thoughts:

I think the cover for this book is quite grim and sinister looking. The story inside is as equally as grim and definitely more sinister than I was expecting and also very intense. It did require a lot of concentration on my part for the beginning 25%. Characters were quickly introduced in rapidly alternating chapters. At times it was a struggle to keep up with who was who and what role they were going to play. Then suddenly I started to get a feel for them, starting to recognise them easier and started to be able to pay more attention to the story instead and then I really was able to enjoy it at a whole other level.

The story is one of a dark and drug-fuelled nature with corruption and the search for power and dominance. There was a heavy feel of Japanese culture and society throughout and the expectations of the different generations. Expectations of themselves as well as others. I found the concept of anyone not being 100% Japanese and therefore seen to be an outcast, a hard one to read about, though I do understand it as part of the culture of the time.

Society clashes between the older generation and their demand of respect and obedience against the new younger culture seeking their own lives and enjoyments to be very interesting. It was a good blend and balance of the old and the new. There is some hard reading when dealing with the camps and research centres during WWII. Some horrific experiments and treatments tried and given to prisoners was appalling, but I understood its place in the story. This period in history, that includes the Atomic Bomb, is a hard part of human history.

This is definitely a book that you can say has a plot that is definitely multi-l;ayered. As I have mentioned the prison camps and atomic bomb have a part in this story, as well as the 1995 Sarin gas attack in Tokyo. Te author has mixed and intertwined fact with dark and disturbing fiction to create a intricate, mysterious and intense reading journey.

The characters are as intense as the plot itself. A Yakuza boss who believes he is a Japanese demon, a Police Officer who is of mixed race, A German Photographer, a Belgian diplomats son are just the tip of the iceberg. It seemed that each character had a secret or something to hide and I wondered who I could trust and if any of them were actually telling the truth. Even now I am not completely sure who was truthful or in fact were they believing their own idea of their own version of the truth.

There is no mistake this is a dark noir read, the descriptions and vivid imagery are amazing and do at times make for uncomfortable reading. This is not a book I would recommend to readers who are after a quick read. If however you are after a book that requires patience and concentration, especially at the beginning, then this is the one for you. I found myself taking regular breaks as I read to be able to absorb the details.

This is a book I would recommend to readers who like crime, thriller, and mystery that is dark and definitely on the noirish side. I did check to see if “noirish” was actually a word and checked out the Collins Dictionary and this is what they had as the definition for

Noirish “2…a genre of crime literature in which the characters are tough or cynical and the settings are bleak…” and that definitely applies to this book.

About the Author:

A fulltime Belgian/Flemish author, Laerhoven published more than 35 books in Holland and Belgium. Some of his literary work is published in French, English, German, Slovenian, Italian, Polish, and Russian. Three time finalist of the Hercule Poirot Prize for Best Mystery Novel of the Year with the novels “Djinn”, “The Finger of God,” and “Return to Hiroshima”; Winner of the Hercule Poirot Prize for “Baudelaire’s Revenge,” which also won the USA Best Book Award 2014 in the category “mystery/suspense”.

His collection of short stories “Dangerous Obsessions,” first published by The Anaphora Literary Press in the USA in 2015, was hailed as “best short story collection of 2015” by the San Diego Book Review. The collection is translated in Italian, (Brazilian) Portuguese, Spanish, and Swedish.  “Retour à Hiroshima”, the French translation of “Return to Hiroshima,” is recently finished. In 2018, The Anaphora Literary Press published “Heart Fever”, a second collection of short stories. Heart Fever, written in English by the author, is a finalist in the Silver Falchion 2018 Award in the category “short stories collections”. Laerhoven is the only non-American finalist of the Awards.

Social Media Links –

Book Trailer on YouTube

Author social media links: Facebook Twitter Pintrest

Author websites

Website (NL/FR/EN)

Russian website for Месть Бодлера, the Russian edition of Baudelaire’s Revenge

GIVEAWAY – OPEN INTERNATIONALLY:

Giveaway to Win 2 x Return to Hiroshima Paperbacks (Open Internationally)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  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.

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There’s Something About A Cowboy by Rich Amooi @RichAmooi @rararesources #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for There’s Something About A Cowboy by Rich Amooi as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Rachel for the invite and to Rich for my e-copy.

Synopsis:

Rule #1: No Dating Cowboys.

A fake fiancé doesn’t count, right? Oh boy . . .

Amy Weaver is tired of her dad meddling in her love life. Fed up, she hires an actor to play the part of her fake cowboy fiancé when she goes home for her grandpa’s ninetieth birthday. Sure, Luke Jenkins has got looks, charm, and muscular legs, but this is business, pure and simple. Things are fine and dandy until she finds out he’s a real cowboy, not an actor. Now, she’s stuck between a rock and his chiseled jawline, falling faster than a sack of horseshoes. How the heck is Amy supposed to ignore the sparks between them and stick to her rule of not dating cowboys? All bets are off.

Purchase LinksAmazon USAmazon UKAmazon AUAmazon CA

My Thoughts:

Now I have seen various reviews mention fake dates being a popular theme over the years, but as a reader who is relatively new to contemporary romance and Rom-com I cannot make any comment on that. It is great to be able to find a genre that has no real prior expectations. So let’s get onto what I thought…

Amy Weaver has a thing about Cowboy’s for boyfriends, but does not have the best track record. She meets Luke Jenkins in a local bar and a challenge for a bronco bull riding is set. Amy is expected home and she is getting fed up with her father going on about how she should go back to her ex-boyfriend. Amy in her wisdom decides the only thing to do is take along a fake boyfriend and Luke just so happens to fit the stereotype bill.

This is a book I quite happily sat and read in one sitting. I really liked Amy, she is feisty, stubborn and a naturally competitive 40 something. She was such a good character to pit against the handsome and rough around the edges cowboy looking Luke, who also has a competitive streak. Amy believes Luke to be an actor who had been hired by the bar to help add to the atmosphere, well he definitely added atmosphere…

The author did a great job of capturing my attention from the first few pages as I was introduced to the main characters. Others were added along the way as the story required and by the end of the book I knew exactly who was who and a bit about them. I found them easy to remember and this gave me the opportunity to enjoy the story.

As the story unfolds there are some surprising revelations for Amy to deal with. Not everyone has had her best interests at heart and they shock her. They also give her a new sense of direction and a focus that maybe she had lost in her earlier years before she moved away.

This book should come with a literary health warning… Do Not Read On An Empty Stomach… the food and recipes that are mentioned throughout, yes throughout the story are fabulous. Wonderful culinary creations and delights are laid across the pages spare ribs, barbecues, fire pits, pies, crumbles and breads are just some of the delights. They sounded as yummy as Luke himeself…

This is a book that would appeal to contemporary romance and rom-com readers. It has a great storyline and cast and there are some surprises along the way. This is the first time I have read anything by this author and I will definitely be buying more. Ideal if you are looking for an escape into a pleasant, charming, at times humorous story. One I would recommend.

About the Author:

Fun, Quirky Romantic Comedies from a Guy’s Perspective. Rich Amooi is a former radio personality who now writes romantic comedies full-time. He is happily married to a kiss monster imported from Spain. Rich believes in public displays of affection, silliness, infinite possibilities, donuts, gratitude, laughter, and happily ever after.

Social Media LinksFacebookTwitterGoodreads

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The Road to Alexander by Jennifer Macaire @jennifermacaire @rararesources #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Road To Alexander by Jenny Macaire as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. My thanks to Rachel for the invite and to Jennifer for my e-copy of this book.

Synopsis:

What do you do when the past becomes your future?

The year is 2089, and time-travelling journalist Ashley Riveraine gets a once in a lifetime opportunity to interview her childhood hero, Alexander the Great. She expects to come out with an award-winning article, but doesn’t count on Fate intervening.

Alexander mistakes Ashley for Persephone, goddess of the dead, and kidnaps her, stranding her in his own time. Being stuck 3000 years in the past with the man of her dreams wouldn’t be so bad if the scientists of the Time Institute hadn’t threatened to erase Ashley from existence if she changes history.

Ashley must now walk a tightrope, caught up in the cataclysmic events of the time, knowing what the future holds for the people she comes to love but powerless to do anything to influence it.

Join Ashley on her hilarious, bumpy journey into the past as she discovers where her place in history truly is…

Purchase  Link – Click Here

My Thoughts:

This is the story of Ashley and how she travels back in time to meet one of her heroes, Alexander the Great, to interview him. Alexander unwittingly prevents Ashley from returning back to her time and she is left stranded in history and decides to embrace the predicament in which she finds herself.

Now I did wonder how I would get on this story, time travel and ancient history. I really should not wonder when it comes to reading as this author did an absolutely cracking job with the story and completely won me over. I will mention that the author stated in her notes at the end, that she has moved somethings and people around to help with her story. I am aware of something from the days of Alexander but I am not au fait with much of it so I just enjoyed the story as the author saw it.

I would definitely say this is a historical romance as well as being a historical fiction read. It is about two people from very different times, backgrounds, interests, and experiences. The author has managed to inject some humorous aspects into the story that had me smirking, Ashley uses phrases and words that would not have been around at that time, and it gets some of the historical characters scratching their heads. For them, it adds to the mystery behind who or what they believe her to be.

I really liked the way a lot of historical facts has been mixed in with the fiction it made reading details much more interesting. Essentially turning a list of dates, people and places into something a lot lighter reading. There are mentions of battles, gods, religion, philosophy and the beliefs of the time. There is so much from the daily life, health, hygiene pretty much everything you would expect and a lot I didn’t even think about.

While Ashley is the main part of the story, her focus is on Alexander, the man, and the legendary historical figure. By the end of the story, I realised that this author really knows her stuff and has an obvious love of this time period, as it really does show in her writing. I came away knowing so much more than when I started this book, that is a big bonus for me.

I did mention it had a romantic aspect to it. Ashley initially is a little aloof and comes across as cold, where as Alexander is definitely a hot blooded male… thats all I am saying at this point, it does make for some very interesting reading! As the story develops Ashley then seems to thaw a little and others start to see a change in her, she becomes more emotionally engaged.

This is the first book in a series and I cannot wait to see what comes next. This is a really good book and one that I think would definitely appeal to readers of historical fiction and romance readers. It is one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

Jennifer Macaire is an American living in Paris. She likes to read, eat chocolate, and plays a mean game of golf. She grew up in upstate New York, Samoa, and the Virgin Islands. She graduated from St Peter and Paul High School in St Thomas and moved to NYC where she modelled for five years for Elite. She went to France and met her husband at the polo club. All that is true. But she mostly likes to make up stories

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The Greek Affair by Linn B Halton @LinnBHalton @rararesources #Giveaway (UK) #Review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Greek Affair by Linn B Halton as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. My huge thanks to both Rachel and Linn for my e-copy of this book. I can honestly say it was nice to read something set in a warmer environment as I sat in a chilly Cornwall.

Synopsis:

More than just a holiday romance?

Her daughter, her job and divorcing her untrustworthy ex are Leah’s main priorities. She isn’t really bothered that her life might be missing a few things. But after winning a prestigious travel blogger award, she’s inundated with offers to review glamorous holiday destinations. Lying around drinking exotic cocktails and being paid for it! What could be better?

Perhaps a romantic trip to idyllic Greece to find the one man who might make Leah risk her heart again…

Purchase Link Click Here.

My Thoughts:

When she wins the Travel Blogger Award doors open for Leah and her daughter Rosie. A short solo cruise for Leah and a meeting with Harrison makes her realise that she has never really dealt with the emotions of being a single parent. Harrison is the perfect gentleman and a wonderful friendship builds up. A trip to Greece with Rosie during half term is another eye-opener for Leah as she meets another single parent in the form of Daniel. Rosie strikes up a friendship with his daughter Belle and it gives Rosie a chance to realise that she is also missing something in her life.

This is a fabulous mix of travel, family, home-life, separation and difficult pasts. As I read, especially the sections that gave descriptions about Greece, I couldn’t help but think that this author has surely been here as her descriptions were wonderful. I have never been to Greece and I loved the quirky little asides about structures, doorways, a little about the architecture and foods. It had such a great feel to it and it was easy to lose myself in the vivid imagery that she had created.

I really liked that the young daughter had a say in her mum’s blog and in fact had her own segment. Working together and encouraging each other really stood out for me with this mother and daughter team.

The story has its emotional up’s and down’s as things progressed at a pace that felt very appropriate. Again this was where the author really got it right as far as how she portrayed the dilemma’s, anxieties and uncertainties when entering relationships where children are involved. Mixing various scenarios and giving things priorities for the main characters made for a really interesting read, with a few surprises along the way for good measure.

It is a romance but not the slushy lovey-dovey type and this made for a more realistic read. The main characters are 30 something parents who lead very different lives, I felt the romance had a more practical, no-nonsense approach with the adults dealing with not only their own possible futures but also that of their children and families. It played out very well indeed.

This is a book that has a good selection of things that I enjoy in this style of book, yes there is drama and romance but it is nicely balanced with the more practical everyday feeling of life in the real world and with a tantalising Greek backdrop. One I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

From interior designer to author Linn B. Halton – who also writes under the pen name of Lucy Coleman – says ‘it’s been a fantastic journey!’

Linn is the bestselling author of more than a dozen novels and is excited to be writing for both Aria Fiction (Head of Zeus) and Harper Impulse (Harper Collins); she’s represented by Sara Keane of the Keane Kataria Literary Agency.

When she’s not writing or spending time with the family, she’s either upcycling furniture or working in the garden.

Linn won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award; her novels have been short-listed in the UK’s Festival of Romance and the eFestival of Words Book Awards.

Living in Coed Duon in the Welsh Valleys with her ‘rock’, Lawrence, and gorgeous Bengal cat Ziggy, she freely admits she’s an eternal romantic.

Linn is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association and writes feel-good, uplifting novels about life, love, and relationships.

Follow Linn on her: WebsiteFacebookTwitter

Giveaway :

Giveaway to Win Rose Wine and Chocolates (UK only)

If you would like to be in with a chance to win a lovely rose wine and chocolate gift set, click on the link below and follow the instructions. Good luck!

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway **HERE**

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  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 be passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for the fulfillment of the prize, afterwhich time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Godlefe’s Cuckoo by Bill Todd @williamjtodd #damppebblesblogtours #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for Godlefe’s Cuckoo by Bill Todd as part of the Blog Tour with Emma at #damppebblestours My thanks to Emma for the invite and also to Bill for my e-copy of his book.

Synopsis:

Danny Lancaster has been missing since the fishing boat exploded. Police are closing their inquiry but Wanda Lovejoy continues her campaign to find the truth. An evil man kept alive by machines nurses a corrosive hate. As drugs and disease pull his dying mind apart he throws his crime empire into a scorched earth quest to find one man. If Danny Lancaster isn’t dead he soon will be.

Purchase link – Amazon UKAmazon US

My Thoughts:

This is set around Brighton and provides a dramatic backdrop to an action-packed read. A book with a fair sized cast of characters with individual roles that you will soon come to recognise as the story unfurls and the how’s and why’s of each character becomes more obvious.

A good amount of concentration was required by me and my so very tired brain when I started this book. The author really does lay down the groundwork for this book well, it involves the characters and describes various aspects of who they are, what they do. Any connections to each other are tenuous at best and it is not until the second half of the book that the author gradually starts pulling these connections together. This builds up a real sense of intrigue and initially caught me unawares until I realised the style of the writing.

The chapters are quick and flit between the characters, this was actually really good for me as it meant I was able to remember them,  rather than focusing on one then moving on. I did find the first half slower paced, but as I had mentioned being tired, but then suddenly the author seemed to kick up a gear, or my brain felt slightly better and awake. The vagaries and groundwork of the first half started to come together and things started to add up and it really did turn into a fast action riddled read. It is at this point I realised how important the groundwork was in the first half. 

I am not going into the plot as the synopsis does a great job in a very small space of a few lines. These few lines do give a sense of what to expect, drugs, evil man, missing person, search for the truth with a threat of death. The plot involves all of the above and then some. It had me hooked and turned an already interesting and intriguing good read into a great action read.

This is a book that I think readers of crime, thriller and mystery books would really enjoy. Even though it is part of a series it can definitely be read as a stand-alone, although I am intrigued by Danny Lancaster and I am looking to get the earlier books to discover more about him and what makes him tick. It is one I would happily recommend.

About the Author:

Bill with grandson Theo

I’m a journalist and travel writer who has visited more than 40 countries from the white wastes of Arctic Finland to the ancient deserts of Namibia. Love a good wilderness. I received the Ed Lacy travel award in 2007.
I’ve written six crime thrillers featuring soldier-turned-investigator Danny Lancaster and was startled and delighted to be voted one of the 100 best crime authors in the WH Smith readers’ poll in 2015. I’ve also written three short factual military histories. I live to write although keyboard time has been cut lately with the arrival of grandson Theo.

Author links: 

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Presumed Guilty by Jane Isaac @JaneIsaacAuthor #damppebblesblogtours #review

I am delighted to be on the Blog Tour for Presumed Guilty by Jane Isaac. Hugh thanks to Emma at damppebles blog tours for the invite and to Jane for my e-copy of her book. 

Last year I was able to read After He’s Gone, this is the first in the DC Beth Chambers series and it is a great read, you can read my review HERE

Synopsis:

Accident or murder? 

The first victim – a prominent local councillor, killed in a hit and run ‒could be either, but the next bodies leave no doubt. A twisted killer is at large. And he’s not finished yet. 

DC Beth Chamberlain, Family Liaison Officer, has to support the victims’families, but before she can solve the crimes in the present, Beth needs to uncover the secrets of the past. 

Meanwhile, the killer has her in his sights… 

The latest electrifying whodunnit from the bestselling author of After He’sGone. If you’re a fan of Angela Marsons, Nicci French and Rachel Abbott, you won’t want to miss Presumed Guilty.

My Thoughts:

This is the second book in the DC Beth Chamberlain series, I have read these books in order, but they also work as standalone… having said that any book in a series read in order give a much better read…the decision is yours.

Beth is plunged right back into the thick of things as this book kicks off at a good pace. Beth is a FLO (Family Liaison Officer) as well as being an investigating officer on the case. There are moments that reference back to the previous book, but don’t worry if you haven’t read it, things are explained, though you really should.

The characters have such a big range of backgrounds for this story. Some you will like and some you definitely will not. This is a story where as the body count begins to grow so do the questions. I joined the investigators in scratching of head as progress on the first case does not seem to be gaining any speed when the next case arrives. The modus operandi is different and there is no link…Is there? With the new case comes a new set of circumstances and questions, and also a little glimmer or spark of something that seems to get things moving.

The plot is a well-woven one and is a type of police procedural that kept me guessing. The author plays her cards very close to her chest as she develops the story and engaged my interest. I had no idea and no way of working out things out, instead, she gave me little breadcrumbs as I followed the trail she laid out before me. Only when the author decided to bring all the elements together did I start to discover the truth. I did like the way things did not go according to plan, it kept a good sense of suspense. It left me eagerly looking forward to seeing what the author and Beth get up to next time.

Ideal for readers who like a police procedural with a female lead. A good solid murder, crime, and thriller. One I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

JaneIsaac lives with her detective husband (very helpful for research!) and her daughter in rural Northamptonshire, the UK where she can often be found trudging over the fields with her Labrador, Bollo. Her debut, An Unfamiliar Murder, was nominated as best mystery in the efestival of Words Best of the IndependenteBook awards 2013.’ The follow-up, The Truth Will Out, was nominated as‘Thriller of the Month – April 2014’ by E-Thriller.com.

Presumed Guilty is Jane’s seventh novel and the second in her DC Beth Chamberlain(Family Liaison Officer) series. The third DC Beth Chamberlain novel will be released early 2019.

Social Media: Website – Twitter – Facebook – Instagram – AmazonAuthor Page – Goodreads

DC Beth Chamberlain ~ books so far…

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Start by Graham Morgan #GrahamMorgan @FledglingPress #LoveBooksGroupTours #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing my review for Start by Graham Morgan as part of the Blog Tour with Kelly at Love Books Group Tours and Fledgling Press.

Synopsis:

Graham Morgan has an MBE for services to mental health and helped to write the Scottish MentalHealth (2003) Care and Treatment Act. This is the Act under which he is now detained. 
Graham’s story addresses key issues around mental illness, a topic which is very much in the public sphere at the moment. However, it addresses mental illness from a perspective that is not heard frequently: that of those whose illness is so severe that they are subject to the Mental Health Act.
Graham’s is a positive story rooted in the natural world that Graham values greatly, which shows that, even with considerable barriers, people can work and lead responsible and independent lives; albeit with support from friends and mental health professionals. Graham does not gloss over or glamorise mental illness, instead he tries to show, despite the devastating impact mental illness can have both on those with the illness and those that are close to them, that people can live full and positive lives. A final chapter, bringing the reader up to date some years after Graham has been detained again, shows him living a fulfilling and productive life with his new family, coping with the symptoms that he still struggles to accept are an illness, and preparing to address the United Nations later in the year in his new role working with the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland.  

Buy Link Amazon UK

My Thoughts:

This for me was a real eye-opener of a book. A book about mental illness. A book about the author and his own experiences.

The book is full of so many high and low points as you would expect, as he tries to find a balance in his own life. It is full of details that give an insight into his thoughts and also actions as well as those actions of those around him.

The author describes how mental illness affects not only the sufferer but also how those around him deal or do not deal with it. As I read I got a real sense of loneliness and sadness as Graham described his life. There are points in his life where he has no memories, this actually hit me as quite a shocking revelation. I know we all laugh and joke about not remembering things, but to not actually remember whole conversations, family get-togethers and various other things made me pause and think for a while. As an adult, he speaks to his family about their memories of him as a child. Again not the usual conversations as they fill in various gaps that he cannot remember.

The book does not follow any sort of obvious timeline and to be honest it really didn’t matter. I don’t think anyone can recount their own lives in order without flitting back to a distant memory that has been triggered. This flitting style actually added something to the telling and worked well for me.

Even though there are the obvious sad and low parts there is also something else. Even within these parts there is an optimism that comes across. This optimism comes in the way of hope. I think this comes from the very open and frank honesty that the author tells his story.

The book takes in different aspects of treatments, procedures, and protocols that are in place and with an interest in mental health whatever their reason. It is insightful, honest, candid and also positive, educational and insightful. A book I would recommend.

About the Author:

Graham was born in 1963 in York. He went to university as an angst-ridden student and was quickly admitted to one of the old mental asylums, prompting the work he has done for most of his life: helping people with mental illness speak up about their lives and their rights. He has mainly worked in Scotland, where he has lived for the last thirty years, twenty of them in the Highlands. In the course of this work, he has been awarded an MBE, made Joint Service User Contributor of the Year by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and, lately, has spoken at the UN about his and other peoples’ experiences of detention. He has a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia and has been compulsorily treated under a CTO for the last ten years. He currently lives in Argyll with his partner and her young twins. Start is his first book.
Reviews Graham Morgan’s START is a remarkable and engrossing read. It buttonholed me and held my attention with its fervour, modesty, wit, self-questioning, its generosity amid corrosive fear, loss, and pain. Andrew Greig, author of Electric Brae, That Summer, Fair Helen A compelling read, from the beautiful prose, the wonder of the natural world to the depths of despond of living with schizophrenia. The roller coaster of a life laid out on the page for all of us to learn from will enhance any family members, friend or professionals understanding of the journey people take through mental illness. Ruth Stark MSc, CQSW, MBE – Immediate Past President, International Federation of Social Work

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Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon @knntom @BOTBSPublicity #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Dig Two Graves by Keith Nixon as part of the Blog Tour with Sarah Book On The Brightside Publicity. My huge thanks to Sarah for the invite and to Keith for my e-copy of his book. This is the first in a new series and is one I am looking forward to reading more of.

Synopsis:

Was it suicide … or murder? Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray is driven to discover the truth. Whatever the personal cost.

When teenager Nick Buckingham tumbles from the fifth floor of an apartment block, Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray answers the call with a sick feeling in his stomach. The victim was just a kid, sixteen years old. And the exact age the detective’s son was, the son Gray has not seen since he went missing at a funfair ten years ago. Each case involving children haunts Gray with the reminder that his son may still be out there – or worse, dead. The seemingly open and shut case of suicide twists into a darker discovery. Buckingham and Gray have never met, so why is Gray’s number on the dead teenager’s mobile phone?

Gray begins to unravel a murky world of abuse, lies, and corruption. And when the body of Reverend David Hill is found shot to death in the vestry of Gray’sold church, Gray wonders how far the depravity stretches and who might be next. Nothing seems connected, and yet there is one common thread: Detective SergeantSolomon Gray, himself. As the bodies pile up, Gray must face his own demons and his son’s abduction. 

Crippled by loss Gray takes the first step on the long road of redemption. But is the killer closer to home than he realised?

Set in the once grand town of Margate in the south of England, the now broken and depressed seaside resort becomes its own character in this dark police suspense thriller, perfect for fans of Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride, and PeterJames.

Dig Two Graves is the first in the Solomon Gray series. Pick it up now to discover whether Gray finds his son in this thrilling new crime series. 

My Thoughts:

D.S Solomon Gray (Sol) is a copper with a hauntingly dark past. After the disappearance of his son, who has never been found, his wifes’ death and his daughter who he no longer has no contact with, he is a man with many demons. A new case involving a young boy brings his past back to the forefront of his thoughts once again, especially as the boy would be a similar age to his own son.

This is one of those gritty police procedural reads, it is set in Margate and as the case developed I gradually got to discover Sol’s past. He really is a man with the weight of the world on his shoulders, and this new case really adds to the weight that is bearing down him. Sol has never given up his search for his son, he his own search is his own private mission that he is traveling. 

The chapters for this book are quick and this means that the pacing of the story is quite a good one to keep me turning the pages. It also means that Sol’s past and present cases are given in quick succession and details are intersected with each other. 

The plot itself caught me unawares as I am not a reader who pays attention to the synopsis before I start the book. When I started I thought it would be a more straightforward police procedural, instead what I actually got was a deeper and more intense read the further I got into the story. This revelation really kept me hooked and took me on routes I didn’t expect and I basically read this in one sitting.

This is a book for lovers of dark, gritty, crime thriller readers and is the first in a new series. A book I would definitely recommend and look I forward to following the series.

See further books in the Solomon Gray series.

Dig Two Graves (Solomon Gray 1)  from Amazon

Burn The Evidence (Solomon Gray 2) from Amazon

Beg For Mercy (Solomon Gary 3) from Amazon

About the Author:

Keith Nixon is a British born writer of crime and historical fiction novels. Originally, he trained as a chemist, but Keith is now in a senior sales role for a high-tech business. Keith currently lives with his family in the North West of England.

 Readers can connect with Keith on various social media platforms:

 Website –  Twitter –  Facebook –  Blog

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The Other Miss Bates by Allie Cresswell @Alliescribbler @rararesources #review

I am delighted to be a spotlight post today for The Other Miss Bates by Allie Cresswell as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. I read the first book in The Highbury Trilogy and thought it was absolutely wonderful, so when the invite to join this one arrived I immediately accepted. Now confession and apology time…I should be posting a review for this book and my organisational skills have shown themselves to be severely lacking. I have this tour in my diary, and you may think this is a good thing… the only thing is it is next years diary for January…me and myself need to have serious words… So huge apologies to both Allie and Rachel for my lack of review at this time 😦  So, for the time being, I will shine a spotlight on the second book in the trilogy and a review will be following in the very near future.

Synopsis:

Jane Bates has left Highbury to become the companion of the invalid widow Mrs. Sealy in Brighton. Life in the new, fashionable seaside resort is exciting indeed. A wide circle of interesting acquaintance and a rich tapestry of new experiences – balls at the Assembly rooms, carriage rides and promenades on the Steyne – make her new life all Jane had hoped for.

While Jane’s sister Hetty can be a tiresome conversationalist she proves to be a surprisingly good correspondent and Janeis kept minutely up-to-date with developments in Highbury, particularly the tragic news from Donwell Abbey.

When handsome Lieutenant Weston returns to Brighton Jane expects their attachment to pick up where it left off in Highbury the previous Christmas, but the determined Miss Louisa Churchill, newly arrived with her brother and sister-in-law from Enscombe in Yorkshire, seems to have a different plan in mind.

Purchase link   Amazon UK

If you want to read my review of Mrs. Bates of Highbury, the first in the series then CLICK HERE

About the Author:

Allie Cresswell was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.

She did a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.

She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters, two grandsons and two cockapoos but just one husband – Tim. They live in Cumbria, NW England.

The Other Miss Bates is her eighth novel and the second in the Highbury series

Social Media Links – WebsiteFacebook Twitter

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Tangled Vines by Megan Mayfair @mayfairmegan @rararesources #BookReview

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for Tangled Vines by Megan Mayfair as part of the Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. May huge thanks to Rachel for the invite and to Megan for my e-copy of her book.

Synopsis:

Amelia O’Sullivan is a photographer who has always viewed herself through the wrong lens. When her marriage publicly crashed around her, she flees to the safety of her aunt’s country property to pick up the pieces. Can she adjust her focus to what she really wants from her life? 

Born into a wealthy and powerful family, Frederick Doyle may seem like a man who has it all, but behind the scenes, a bitter business feud threatens an irrevocable family split. As he fights for control of the winery he’d built from the ground up, he finds a supportive ally in Amelia and becomes increasingly beguiled by her creative spirit. 

Jill McMahon is a successful novelist suffering from writer’s block over her latest manuscript. Finding her niece, Amelia, at her door, reminds her of the bonds of family, but in seeing Amelia andFrederick’s relationship grow, a long-forgotten and painful secret threatens tore-surface. 

Can Amelia, Frederick, and Jill untangle themselves from their pasts or will history simply repeat itself? 

PurchaseLink  – Here

My Thoughts:

I usually start a my thoughts with a bit of my own synopsis, but this time I am not as I would pretty much duplicate what it says so I will go straight into what I thought.

This is set in Australia and is a wonderful read that captured my attention from the outset and held right the way through until the end. The story is about three key characters and how they know or come to know each other. It is a story about their lives, their worries, their loves, and losses. Decisions that need to be made for their own individual future need to be made and they all seem to have come to a crossroads in their lives and they have to decide what, who and where their possible and potential happiness lies. The story is about finding an inner strength and confidence in making their decisions to move towards starting the next chapter in their lives and, it is not going to be plain sailing. Important decisions are not easily made.

Even thought there are some heartbreaking revelations, the author has not dwelt too much on them. The story has a pacing that keeps the story moving forward as I followed the characters on their uncertain futures while still dealing with ongoing grief and worries. 

There are various friends, family and colleagues that accompany the main characters and they each have their part to play in the story. I soon worked out who I liked and didn’t and I am sure you will have similar views.

As I mentioned earlier, the past has a part in this story and it plays out very well, and the author dealt with some aspects very well, one in particular was the anxiety that one of the characters has to deal with, for me this was a key trait of this character and it gave an insight into the reactions, emotions and also the personality of said character.

This is a story I really enjoyed, I found myself wondering as to how things would pan out as nothing was clear cut. Nothing was guaranteed to follow a certain pattern and this added a good deal of  subtle dramatic suspense. This is a romance that is not overly romantic which sounds a really odd thing to say. What I mean is that there is a romantic thread, but it is also about family, life, experiences, disappointments and new beginnings as I followed three people dealing with major decisions that could have implications for their futures and goals.

A story that would appeal to romance and also general fiction readers and is one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author:

Megan’sstories are about families, intrigue and love. Every book contains a bit of humour and a lot of heart.

Megan lives in Melbourne with her husband and three children and has a background in public relations and higher education.

She drinks far too much coffee and has an addiction to buying scarves. She interviews with other authors for her blog series, Espresso Tales, and loves a bit of #bookstagram.

Her debut novel, The Things We Leave Unsaid, was released by Crooked Cat Books in 2018. Tangled Vines is her second novel.

Social Media Links – Instagram – Facebook – Twitter – Website


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