The Bird in the Bamboo Cage by Hazel Gaynor #TheBirdintheBambooCage @HazelGaynor @HarperFiction @RandomTTours #RandomTTours #histfic #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers opening the Blog Tour and to share my review for The Bird in the Bamboo Cage by Hazel Gaynor. It is due to be published on 20th August in the UK and there are links further down so you can pre-order a copy. If you are lucky enough to live in Ireland it was published on 6th 🙂

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my stunning copy of this amazing book. Let me show you what it is all about…

War imprisoned them,
friendship set them free.

China, 1941. With Japan’s declaration of war on the Allies, Elspeth Kent’s future changes forever. When soldiers take control of the missionary school where she teaches, comfortable security is replaced by rationing, uncertainty and fear.


Ten-year-old Nancy Plummer has always felt safe at Chefoo School. Now the enemy, separated indefinitely from anxious parents, the children must turn to their teachers – to Miss Kent and her new Girl Guide patrol especially – for help. But worse is to come when the pupils and teachers are sent to a distant internment camp. Unimaginable hardship, impossible choices and danger lie ahead.


Inspired by true events, this is the unforgettable story of the life-changing bonds formed between a young girl and her teacher, in a remote corner of a terrible war.

**The following purchase links are Amazon affiliate links**

Pre-order you copy today –KINDLEHARDBACKAudiobook

This is an amazing book to read and one that opened my eyes to another aspect of WWII. The story of a group of Missionary School children living in China who were caught up in the war when Japan attacked Pearl Harbour. 

The story is told predominantly in two voices, a schoolgirl calledNancy Plummer (Plum) and her teacher Elspeth Kent. Between them, they tell their story of their time in Chefoo Missionary School, a boarding school where children live while their parents are off doing missionary work, are diplomats or doing work in areas where it is not suitable for children to live. 

Through Plum and Elspeth, I quickly learnt the routine of the school, children, teachers and local people who worked as servants. It sounded like a very idyllic life and in some ways quite privileged but with a sad side to it. Children had to come to terms with their parents work being more important. 

Things soon change as Japan enters the war. Disruption soon follows for the school as soldiers take over. The resolve of the teaching staff to carry on as best as possible really stands out. Elspeth uses the motto of the Girl Guides/ Brownies to help the girls through this transition. The emphasis of taking daily tasks and challenges and turning them towards earning badges gives the girls something to work towards especially when the school is moved.

The school is then moved again, this time to an internment camp. Illness, appalling conditions, lack of food and medical supplies make this is very glum and dissolute place. Again the resolve of the teachers is admirable and again making the best of a bad situation comes in to play. 

The story is one I read over a couple of days. It is a story that has a huge sadness around it but actually what comes through more than anything else is the feeling of hope, of friendship and of one day hopefully returning home to family. 

The author has created amazing characters, I immediately adored the main characters of Plum, Mouse, Sprout, Elspeth, and Mrs T. There are several other characters that have very important roles in the story as they provide support to their friends. There are obviously going to be characters that I am not going to like and I have to say I liked how the author dealt with a truly horrid and awful one. 

The author does characters and descriptions of setting so well. Research is obvious throughout the book and the whole story felt right. She does an amazing job of describing the awful conditions but in a way that mirrors the resolve of the staff to see the best in the conditions.

I adored this book and the way the author has woven a story around real-life events and true accounts. There is a wonderful list of books at the back of the book for further reading and also about how she was introduced to this story. It is interesting and well worth reading. 

This is a fabulous read, it took me through a range of emotions and also left me with a feeling that was heartwarming. It is a story of how a group of people are thrust into unthought-of conditions and situations. How that group then supported each other where possible. A story based on true events that readers are historical fiction needs to add to the reading list. It is an amazing book and one I would absolutely recommend.

Hazel Gaynor is an award-winning, New York Times, USA Today,
and Irish Times, bestselling author of historical fiction, including
her debut THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, for which she received
the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. THE
LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER was shortlisted for the 2019
HWA Gold Crown award. She is published in thirteen languages
and nineteen countries. Hazel is co-founder of creative writing
events, The Inspiration Project, and currently lives in Ireland with
her family, though originally from Yorkshire.

Follow Hazel on – TwitterWebsiteFacebook

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Tales of the Countess by Cali Bird @calibird @BOTBSPUblicity #chicklit #QandA

Today I have something a little different for you. I have a wonderful Q&A with Cali Bird, the author of Tales of the Countess. This is one for chicklit fans and here is what it is all about…

How can a woman so capable at work be so useless at getting a man?

Kennington, London, 1998

The Countess of Kennington awakes one morning after a heavy night and realises it all has to stop.

She has to stop drinking her problems away. She has to stop acting irresponsibly. And she has to stop obsessing over the MSL: the Man She Loves.

But things are often easier said than done, and when she discovers the MSL is attending a conference where she is presenting, she cannot hold back her burgeoning hopes.

In a Sex In the City meets Toy Story scenario, the Countess lives in an unusual household where her chief confidantes, known as the accessories, are a collection of beloved handbags, a beautiful sheepskin coat and her teddy bear who provide her with support and advice.

As the conference gets underway, the Countess tries hard to focus on work, but encouraged by the accessories, she cannot resist the draw of the MSL.

The bags might talk but this is no kids book…

Tales of the Countess is a highly original chicklit novel by British author Cali Bird, about the need to find happiness in yourself before you get your man.

Buy it now for the perfect piece of romantic escapism.

Now for the Questions & Answers…

Hi Cali. Tell us about Tales of the Countess. What’s the book about?

The book is about the need to be happy in yourself and then you get your man. The main character, known only as the Countess is a modern woman, living in London, who is very capable in her work but useless on the relationship front. She drinks and parties too much and is faced with a situation where she really needs to sort herself out.

Is there any man in particular that the Countess has fallen for?

Yes. It is someone that she used to work with in New York. There had been a few sparks between them but he always insisted on remaining friends because of their work relationship. The book opens with her having left that job and returning home to London. She tries to get over him but then runs into him again through her work. She discovers they will both be going to the same conference which makes it much harder to put him out of her mind.

I’ve heard that some of the characters are handbags that talk. Is this true?

Yes. They are inspired by a collection of handbags that I already owned. I loved the film, Toy Story¸ where the toys are their own community and do their own thing while their owner, Andy, isn’t around.

I imagined the same thing happening with my handbags when I was out at work. When I bought a new one, and it became my new favourite, I always wondered what the others made of this and whether they were jealous.

Unlike Toy Story, the bags interact with the Countess. They try and advise her on her love life. When she gets upset because something has gone wrong, which seems to happen a lot, they support her through her emotions.

How did you decide what characters to give them?

That happened quite naturally as I started writing. One of them is very bitchy, while another is a girly-girl true romantic. The Countess’s teddy bear also features. I’ve always thought that teddy bears are very wise and her bear is no different. He works with the bags to try and support her. Later in the story she buys a beautiful sheepskin coat which has more of a tough-love personality and tells her a few home truths which initially, she doesn’t like.

Was it easier to write for them than the people in the book?

Yes. I always found that the conversations between the bags, including their squabbles, flowed easily.  

With the people characters it was important to make sure that they were realistic and carried the story forward in a way which works for the reader.

Do you have a favourite bag?

Tough question! The bags in the book vary between something you’d take clubbing, a formal handbag and some beautiful fake fur casual bags. The formal bag is called the Queen Mum bag. I bought it in the late 90s at the end of the January sales. It has a cream tortoiseshell patent print and I used it for work. Wherever I went with it, it was men, not women, who commented on how much they liked it. It must have reminded them of their grannies or something! I used it for years and eventually the clasp broke. I sought out a specialist handbag repair shop but they couldn’t fix it without changing the look of the bag, which was a heart-breaking moment.

Recently I bought a bag by Aspinall which is very similar to it. I call it the Queen Mum Redux and I am often found stroking it and referring to it as “my precious”.

The book is set in the late 1990s. Is that when you started writing it?

I started writing it in 2000. I’d had the idea for a few months. For a laugh, I used to call myself Countess Cali of Kennington. In 1999 I started writing and as I worked through some creativity exercises, I realised that there would mileage in a fictional version of the countess and her handbags.

It originally began as a short story but kept growing. I worked on it for a few years but then run out of steam as my own life had moved on and I was no longer single. I parked it for nine years and it sat in the proverbial drawer. During those years I learned a lot about story structure and other novel writing techniques, and worked on other projects. Three years ago, I decided to return to Tales of the Countess and this time was determined to get the story fit for publication. Twenty years after I began writing about her, the Countess is finally out in the world.

How does the book mirror your life?

I was single when I started writing it, and suffering one of many heartbreaks. Another liaison with someone I liked didn’t go the way I would have wished. Initially I was attracted to writing the story because, unlike real life, I could choose the ending!

Once I got into writing it though, the story took on a life of its own. As I revised it, the elements in the initial draft which had been based on real events dropped away. Over time it developed its own truth.

I guess I’m similar to the Countess in that at the time I was doing the same kind of work. She’s much more capable than me though. I’ve been too busy playing around with creative stuff!

Thanks very much Cali. It sounds like a fun read.

Thank you. That’s the feedback I’m getting from people who have read it. It seems to be the perfect piece of escapism for the current times.

Cali is in her mid-fifties and lives in Bedfordshire. She was single until she was nearly forty and used to be the archetypal career girl, living in Central London and working in investment banking. One day, she had an epiphany, realised that she needed to honour her creative side and started writing. Since then, she had various side projects including running a life-coaching business, giving self-development talks and blogging about creativity at www.gentlecreative.com. She has practised Buddhism for over thirty years and is a self-confessed tree-hugger.

Cali has known her husband, Graham, since they were at school together. Although they once had a smooch when they were nineteen, they didn’t get back in contact for many years. Within a month of their first date, they realised they had found someone special in each other, but it was another few years before they were married at the tender age of forty-six. It’s never too late to find love!

Twitter: www.twitter.com/calibird

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GentleCreative/

Buy Links: 

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B088WBTRKK

Amazon US –  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B088WBTRKK

Amazon Spain: https://www.amazon.es/dp/B088WBTRKK

Amazon India: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B088WBTRKK

Apple UK – https://books.apple.com/gb/book/id1516176786

Apple US – https://books.apple.com/book/id1516176786

Barnes & Noble/Nook -mhttps://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/tales-of-the-countess-cali-bird/1137082685?ean=2940164319793

Waterstones – https://www.waterstones.com/book/tales-of-the-countess/cali-bird/9781916360808

Scribd – https://www.scribd.com/book/463657008/Tales-of-the-Countess

Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/tales-of-the-countess-a-chick-lit

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Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds : Still Living the Dream in Rural Ireland by Nick Albert @Nickalbertautho @rararesources #rararesources #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review for the second book Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds by Nick Albert. Yes they are still living the dream! My huge thanks to Rachel for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this brilliant book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds 2 – Still living the dream in rural Ireland

Nick and Lesley’s desire for a better life in the countryside was a long-held dream. Unforeseen events and a leap of faith forced that dream into reality, but moving to rural Ireland was only the beginning of their story.
Foreigners in a foreign land, they set about making new friends, learning the culture and expanding their collection of chickens and unruly dogs. But their dream home was in desperate need of renovation, a mammoth task they attacked with the aid of a DIY manual, dwindling funds and incompetent enthusiasm. With defunct diggers, collapsing ladders, and shocking electrics, what could possibly go wrong?
Will their new life live up to expectations, or will the Irish weather, dangerous roads, and a cruel twist of fate turn this dream into a nightmare?

Purchase Links

Amazon UK – KindlePaperbackAudible (these are Amazon UK affiliate links)

Amazon US – KindlePaperbackAudible

Having read and throughly enjoyed the first book I was eager to see how Nick and Lesley were getting on and how the renovations and repairs to their house in Ireland were going. Due to stress Nick was advised to find a slower pace of life and so he and Lesley moved to a property in need of repair. This was a mish-mash of a house that had been added on over the years and in need of a lot of TLC. It is also in the middle of nowhere on a mountain.

Well I cant think of anything more stressful than renovating your own home when you only have a DIY manual for guidance. But from a readers point of view it does make very entertaining reading and Nick has a fabulous way of injecting a sense of humour into the various mishaps that have happened along the way.

Not only are they dealing with the different way of life, the remoteness and the task ahead of them they are also battling the weather. This brings many challenges and again humour. Building work at the best of times is weather dependant but when you are up a mountain the challenges are made more difficult.

As well as the increase in their animal family, which adds some hilarious moments, Lesley has back problems requiring hospital trips. A very scary time is also included as she is admitted to hospital.

It is such an enjoyable read as I get a glimpse into this couples life. It is a book that has its ups and downs and there are so many moments when I found myself chuckling. The dog antics and the various anecdotes are just brilliant reading and I take my hat off to the pair for the challenges they are facing to build their dream home.

A brilliant read of a couple starting over in a new country and the various things that happen along the way. It is a book I would definitely recommend.

Nick Albert was born in England and raised in a Royal Air Force family. After leaving College he worked in retail management for several years before moving into financial services where he quickly progressed through the ranks to become a training consultant. As a very passionate and reasonably talented sportsman, Nick had always wanted to use his training skills towards creating a parallel career, so in the mid 1980’s he qualified and began coaching sport professionally. After a health scare in 2003 and in search of a simpler life, he and his wife Lesley, cashed in their investments, sold their home and bought a rundown farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland – a country they had never before even visited. With little money or experience and armed only with a do-it-yourself manual, they set about renovating their new home, where they now live happily alongside a flock of chickens, two ducks and several unruly, but delightful dogs.
In 2017 Nick was signed to Ant Press to write a series of humorous memoirs about his life in rural Ireland. Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds (book one) was published in September 2017 and soon became an Amazon bestseller. Book two in the series was published on 1st June 2018 and book 3 in August 2019. Book four is due out in 2020.

Nick is also the author of the twisty thriller, Wrecking Crew, the first in a series of books featuring reluctant hero Eric Stone.

Social Media Links – AmazonFacebookWebsiteInstagramTwitter

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Coming Home to Heritage Cove by Helen J Rolfe @hjrolfe @rararesources #promopost

I have a promomotional post today for Coming Home to Heritage Cove by Helen J Rolfe. It should have been a book review but my organisational skills have let me down as I didn’t write this one in my diary! My huge apologies to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources and also to Helen. So a promo post today with a review by the end of the week.

Let me show you what this book is all about…

Welcome to Heritage Cove, the little village by the sea brimming with character, community and friendship, and the perfect place to fall in love this summer…

Melissa rushes back to Heritage Cove when Barney, the man who’s been like a father figure to her since she was a little girl, ends up in hospital. After an absence of five years, her return isn’t going to be easy, especially when she bumps into Harvey, the love of her life and the man she’s never been able to forget.

For reasons he couldn’t explain at the time, Harvey changed his mind about going with Melissa to start afresh as they’d planned, and life moved on for the both of them. But with Melissa back in the village and determined to stick around to help Barney, they can’t avoid each other forever. Melissa knows she let so many people down by staying away for so long, but she and Harvey blame each other for what happened and neither of them is willing to admit to being in the wrong.

When Barney insists on cancelling the Wedding Dress Ball, the charity fundraiser he holds every year in the stunning barn on his property, Melissa and Harvey realise they’re going to have to pull together. Otherwise the man they once knew might be gone forever. And when they unearth a secret Barney has never shared with anyone, they go in search of answers to not only ensure the ball runs this summer, but to bring back the Barney they know and love.

Back in the cove after all this time, Melissa gets to see the life she left behind and it’s time to deal with what it was that drove her away in the first place.

Beneath the summer sunshine in Heritage Cove, the sea sparkles, the heat rises and new love, reconciliations and the answers to an old love story could bring changes for everyone.

Purchase Links – Amazon UKUS

Helen J Rolfe writes romantic fiction and contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community.

Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries where she thinks her readers might like to escape to.

Helen J Rolfe also writes for Orion Books under the name Helen Rolfe.

Born and raised in the UK, Helen graduated from University with a business degree and began working in I.T. This job took her over to Australia and it was there that she finally turned to what she loved and studied writing and journalism. She spent a while freelancing for women’s health and fitness magazines, volunteered with the PR department of a children’s hospital where she wrote articles and media releases, and eventually began writing fiction in 2011. And now, she thinks she may just have found her dream job.

Helen currently lives in Hertfordshire, UK, with her husband and their children.

Follow Helen on – WebsiteTwitterFacebookInstagram

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The 24-Hour Cafe by Libby Page @LibbyPAgeWrites @orionbooks #CompulsiveReaders @Tr4cyF3nt0n #24HourCafe #BookReview

I am delighted to share my review for The 24 Hour Cafe by Libby Page. I am joining with Tracy at Compulsive Readers as part of the Blog Tour. I read it way back in November and I can now finally share my thoughts…

Let me show you what this book is all about…

Welcome to the café that never sleeps. Day and night Stella’s Café opens its doors for the lonely and the lost, the morning people and the night owls. It is many things to many people but most of all it is a place where life can wait at the door. A place of small kindnesses. A place where anyone can be whoever they want, where everyone is always welcome.

Meet Hannah and Mona: best friends, waitresses, dreamers. They work at Stella’s but they dream of more, of leaving the café behind and making their own way in life.

Come inside and spend twenty-four hours at Stella’s Café; a day when Hannah and Mona’s friendship will be tested, when the community will come together and when lives will be changed…

I read this book over a couple of sittings and found it such a relaxing book. This book is about the people who visit or work in the 24-hour cafe called Stella’s. It is told in 24 chapters as the clock marks each hour.

There are two main characters, Mona and Hannah. They are friends and also work as waitresses in Stella’s, each works a 12-hour shift and so I got to see the customers that they met of their shift. I really liked how the book was laid out because not only did I get to read about each of the main customers for each hour of the story, I also got details into the lives of Hannah and Mona.

Their backgrounds are told through a series of memories and go through their backstories up until they work at the cafe. It delves into their hopes, dreams, disappointments and frustrations. I did really like both of these characters and their stories. As I said there is a focus on a customer for each hour. Now, this is what I really liked because it was like people watching from the perspective of either Mona or Hannah, and also you get the story from the customer themselves. For me, this worked really well and though it is only a snapshot into a persons life, it is very representative of the cafe life.

So with the customers’ stories, this is almost like a story of short stories that intersperse the main story of Mona and Hannah. Their stories come across as more like short stories as they are not told in chunks instead they are interrupted as customers take priority.

This is a slower read and I liked the quietness of the story, there is drama and emotion throughout the story, it is not overwhelming, it is more subtle than that. The whole book was just one of those books that you can quite happily lose yourself in as I did over two sittings.

A lovely read that I thoroughly enjoyed and was a delight to read. The 24-Hour Cafe is a book I would definitely recommend.

Libby Page wrote The Lido while working in marketing and moonlighting as a writer. The Lido has sold in over twenty territories around the world and film rights have been sold to Catalyst Global Media. Libby lives in London where she enjoys finding pockets of community within the city. Follow Libby on Twitter

See what other Book Bloggers think by checking out their stops on this Tour…

The Bowery Slugger by Leopold Borstinski @borstinski #hist/fic @damppebbles #BookReview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on the Bowery Slugger by Leopold Borstinski. My thanks to Emma at damppebbles Blog Tours for my spot on the tour and for arranging my e-copy of this brilliant historical fiction book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

A turn-of-the-century Jewish boy punches his way into the gangs of New York.

When Alex Cohen arrives in 1915 America, he seizes the land of opportunity with both hands and grabs it by the throat. But success breeds distrust and Alex must choose between controlling his gang and keeping his friend alive. What would you do if the person you trusted most is setting you up to die at your enemies’ hands?

The first book in the Alex Cohen series is a violent historical novel, which rips through the early years of the Jewish New York mob. Leopold Borstinski’s gripping crime noir beats at the chest of every reader with a bloody fist.

Purchase Links – Amazon UKAmazon USGoogle BooksNook

This is the first time I have read anything by this author, but I have seen his books popping up just recently. I am so glad I grabbed a spot on the Blog Tour sign -up for The Bowery Slugger as it is a wonderful historical fiction book that was right up my street.

It is set in 1915 and I arrived to this story as Alex Cohen arrives in America. He and his family settle and Alex finds himself a job, he starts at the bottom and gradually over the next few months he starts to climb the ladder.

This is a belter of a read and if, like me, you read and loved “Gangs of New York, then you are going to love The Bowery Slugger. It is the the story of a young man who finds himself working for the Jewish Mob. This kind of caught me unawares as I tend to think of this being more a world associated with other nationalities. Surprise aside, I found this such an addictive read as I followed Alex’s story.

There is obvious mentions of strong arming, extortion, take overs and the like. I liked how the author didn’t go into full on bloody descriptions, he found just the right balance for me. Along side the gangs is the story of a more personal one Alex and his love life. He has his heart set on a girl who has heard rumours of Alex and his reputation is one that goes before him, there is a mutual attraction, but is it enough.

I do like historical fiction and when I love it when I come across something new or I learn something I didn’t know before. This book gave me loads of new words, they are Yiddish words and I thought there inclusion was a great addition to the story. Using them as part of conversations adds an authenticity to the story, it also keeps various characters voices in the style and speech of the time. It may be a stereotype that I hold in my head, but for me it gives a character life. This is where reading a digital copy came in very handy as I was able to use the dictionary as I read.

The story is a good pace and for me felt just right for the story. Alex seemed to be a character that had the confidence to stroll at his own pace and this pacing matched the story.

There are so many good things about this book that I liked, the characters were great enough for the story and it would have been easy to add too many as the story feels quite big, but the author got the numbers just right. The story line is one that I really enjoyed, in some respect Alex should be a baddie, but I actually liked him a lot. The dialogue felt right and fitted in with the characters and their manners.

If you like historical fiction then I think The Bowery Slugger is one you should definitely buy. A fabulous book and it is also the first in the series with the next book due out spring next year, and I for one cannot wait for next year! I thoroughly enjoyed The Bowery Slugger and would definitely recommend it.

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.

Social Media Links – TwitterWebsiteFacebook

See what other readers thought and check out their stops on the Blog Tour…

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be fabulous 🙂 xx

Hemlock Jones and the Underground Orphans by Justin Carroll @WriterJustinC @CazVinBooks #Bookreview

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Hemlock Jones and the Underground Orphans by Justin Carroll. My thanks to Caroline at Bits About Books for arranging my spot on the Blog Tour and also for arranging a copy of this fabulous book. My apologies for being late with this review, I hadn’t realised the Tour dates had changed, but better late than never as they say 🙂

This is the second book in the Hemlock Jones series and I loved it as much as I did the first one. Before I get carried away singing the praises for this author’s Hemlock series, let me show you what it is all about…

When orphans vanish from their beds across Victorian London, twelve-year-old demystifier Hemlock Jones and her companion, Edward, take the case!


This time, the trail will lead them from their Baker Street home, along lost rivers and into the heart of the city, to face exotic enemies and a charming man with dark plans…

Hemlock Jones & The Underground Orphans is the second of the Hemlock Jones Chronicles, the award-winning series of detective adventures for children and adults.

Oh it is so good to be travelling around Victorian London with Hemlock and Eddie, oops sorry Edward! Hemlock and Edward are a fabulous combination. Hemlock is a demystifier, she takes the mystery out of criminal cases that she decides to investigate and Edward is her Associate.

Her latest case is one that involves the disappearance of orphans. She is approached as she had helped on a previous case, though her and Edward did not get the credit they deserved, instead it went to that other famous consultant from Baker Street! Though she did not get the credit, she is recognised as being a help, so she agrees to give her expert help in the search for the missing children.

Now, you know I mentioned how I enjoyed wandering around Victorian London with the duo? Well, this time I was glad that as a reader I can experience things from the pages of a book! I bet Edward would wish to be in my position instead of traipsing and crawling through the rat infested sewers!

This book is fabulous and has mystery, intrigue and uses powers of observation and deduction or should I say demystification! I should mention that it is aimed at a younger audience, but this grown up (depending who you ask!) reader loves it!

It is a story that is accessible and is at a pace that holds the attention, there are quieter moments in it but these are moments are essential to the case or are about the lives of the characters themselves. I think this story is ideal for giving a younger audience a mystery novel that has a feel of the classic Sherlock Holmes but in a more upbeat way, it has action and adventure as well as mishaps and danger. I remember trying to read a Sherlock story when I was younger and I was not old enough to understand it, but if I had access to Hemlock Jones I would have been so happy. I will add that as an adult reader I love the Sherlock Holmes books!

The story itself is good and holds the attention, there are mentions of the yuckier side of London and it also has reference to a poem / folk tale that I think would make for good further reading for the target audience. I love that the main heroes of the story are children and their escapades are in an adult world. They are given a chance to deal with an investigation that is adult sized, but its their belief in their own instincts and observations that lead to solving the case.

This is a fabulous read and I think that the younger audience would absolutely enjoy it. It is the 2nd book in the Hemlock Jones series and I would definitely recommend it.

Justin Carroll is an author who balances his love of comic books and games with a passion for martial arts and musicals.

Ever since he stopped wanting to be a dinosaur, Justin wanted to be a writer. He graduated with a degree in English Literature and Language from King’s College, London in 2004 and now, when not writing, he fritters away his time on all manner of geeky things.

Shortlisted for several international short story competitions, Justin was a finalist in the 2010 British Fantasy Awards with “Careful What You Wish For” (Wyvern Publishing) and placed in the top twenty of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge twice.

December 2012 saw the birth of Justin Carroll’s first novel: Everything’s Cool – a dark, psychological thriller.

His second novel, Hemlock Jones & The Angel of Death, is a Young Adult novel and the first in a series featuring Hemlock Jones, the fiery 12-year-old demystifier whose brain easily equals and surpasses that of the famous consulting detective, Sherlock Holmes. “Hemlock Jones & The Angel of Death” won a Silver Medal in the 2017 Wishing Shelf Awards.

Now, Justin has published the second book in the Hemlock Jones Chronicles: Hemlock Jones & The Underground Orphans, perfect for all fans of 10 years and above of adventurous detective mysteries!

Follow Justin on – Author websiteTwitterFacebookAmazonGoodReads

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be wonderful 🙂 xx

Hidden by Roger A Price @RAPriceAuthor #BOTBSPublicity #Review

I am delighted to share my review with you all for Hidden by Roger A Price. My thanks to Sarah at Book On The Brightside Publicity for my spot on the Blog Tour and to the Roger for my e-copy of his book.

Let’s have a look and see what it is all about…

Vinnie’s romantic holiday did not go as planned. There was an assault, his companion was threatened and the police asked them to leave.

And when Vinnie returns to his police job in Manchester, things don’t get much better, as he finds himself at the heart of an investigation that stretches from Manchester to all corners of Europe. Women are being trafficked into the UK and forced into prostitution, and while the police are diligent in their enquiries, they seem to have a rogue in their midst.

As events unravel, the lines between good and bad, police and criminals, seem to become more and more blurred… and the stakes for all involved are getting higher.

Hidden is Book 3 in Roger Price’s the badge and the pen series, but it can equally be read as a novel in its own right. Existing fans of Vinnie and Christine are bound to love it, but Hidden is also perfect for crime and police fiction lovers, and anybody who loves a fast-paced, gripping story.

The synopsis for this book indicates that this is going to be a tough crime and police procedural read. The investigation unfolds and the full extent of the depths people fall soon becomes apparent.

Vinnie is involved in the investigation into trafficked women and Christine, a journalist with wants to highlight this growing crime. The main focus is on Vinnie as he gradually starts to link things together and work out the details. While Christine tends to take ore of a backseat for the first half of the book. The second half however see’s her taking a more proactive stance as her enquiries for the story emerge.

The subject of human trafficking and prostitution is mentioned as it is obviously the basis of the story, the author, however, has not gone into too much detail. The emphasis is on the case and those that are trying to discover the truth behind those that run the business, the women and the premises Alongside the crimes is the corruption and this is a great way of adding an air of distrust. It left me wondering which way and how far corruption would spread.

Now, this Author has a career that gives him invaluable insight into policing, crime, investigations and the courtroom. his adds that extra something that I like in this type of book, the knowledge and experience shows.

The pacing of the story is good and this is helped by not having a huge cast list. Keeping those that are necessary means I don’t have lots of people to remember, it means I can just sit and read allowing the story to take me along.

This is a good read and is one that readers of police procedural, crime, thriller reads would enjoy. It’s one I would Recommend.

I was born in Bury, raised in Whitley Bay, and have lived in Lancashire since I was thirteen. Currently living in Preston, I served for over thirty-one years with the Lancashire Constabulary, the Regional Crime Squad and the National Crime Squad. I retired in the rank of detective inspector in charge of a covert unit, which received local and national acclaim for its successes in engaging those who openly sold Class A drugs, such as heroin and crack cocaine. 
Prior to this I led the C.I.D. in Preston for a short while and before that I was in charge of a dedicated informant unit. Previous experiences include work on many murder investigations and other serious crimes, as well as time spent on drug squads. I have served around the region, country, and overseas.
My work on the National Crime Squad took me across Europe and to the Far East. I have been commended on four occasions. I now write fiction based in-part on my experiences, and in-part from my fevered imagination.
My First novel, By Their Rules, was followed by A New Menace, before I joined Endeavour Media with a new ‘Badge & the Pen’ series of crime thrillers which brings together maverick DI Vinnie Palmer and sassy investigative news reporter, Christine Jones. Unlikely bedfellows who compliment each other as they seek the truth but from differing agendas.
The first in the series is Nemesis, where they hunt down an escaped psychopath, followed by Vengeance, where the troubles of Northern Ireland of twenty years ago remerge in the criminal underworld of north west England.
HIDDEN, is the third where Vinnie and Christine face the worst of criminals, as they hunt those responsible for people trafficking, forced servitude and prostitution, in a race-against-time thriller. 
I have also written an original returning police drama for TV which is going out on submission as we speak, via my agent Olav Wyper at SMA Talent Ltd. McCall and Stamp are trouble-shooters from the dark world of covert policing; solving problems where nothing is black or white: only grey!          

 
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HOW TO FOLLOW.
Aside from following me on any of the above social media accounts, you can join my mailing list – I prefer the title Readers’ List – via my website, or my Facebook author page. You will receive a FREE short story and the odd newsletter from me. I don’t batter people’s inboxes, but I do make sure that any giveaways, notice of promos or exciting news goes to my Readers’ List first, so it makes sense to join.

See what other Book Bloggers think by following the Blog Tour…

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be great 🙂 xx

A Feast of Serendib by Mary Anne Mohanraj @mamohanraj @rararesources #cookbook #BookReview

I am delighted to share my view for a cook book that will definitley tickle your tastebuds. A Feast of Serendib by Mary Anne Mohanraj. Mary brings a delicious feast fantastic with her Sri Lankan background and other cultural influences to create an amazing cook book.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for accepting my request to join the tour and also to Mary for my e-copy of her book.

Dark roasted curry powder, a fine attention to the balance of salty-sour-sweet, wholesome red rice and toasted curry leaves, plenty of coconut milk and chili heat. These are the flavors of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka was a cross roads in the sea routes of the East. Three waves of colonization—Portuguese, Dutch and British—and the Chinese laborers who came with them, left their culinary imprint on Sri Lankan food. Sri Lankan cooking with its many vegetarian dishes gives testimony to the presence of a multi-ethnic and multi -religious population.

Everyday classics like beef smoore and Jaffna crab curry are joined by luxurious feast dishes, such as nargisi kofta and green mango curry, once served to King Kasyapa in his 5th century sky palace of Sigiriya.

Vegetable dishes include cashew curry, jackfruit curry, asparagus poriyal, tempered lentils, broccoli varai and lime-masala mushrooms. There are appetizers of chili-mango cashews, prawn lentil patties, fried mutton rolls, and ribbon tea sandwiches. Deviled chili eggs bring the heat, yet ginger-garlic chicken is mild enough for a small child. Desserts include Sir Lankan favorites:  love cake, mango fluff, milk toffee and vattalappam, a richly-spiced coconut custard.

In A Feast of Serendib, Mary Anne Mohanraj introduces her mother’s cooking and her own Americanizations, providing a wonderful introduction to Sri Lankan American cooking, straightforward enough for a beginner, and nuanced enough to capture the flavor of Sri Lankan cooking.

Purchase Links: Serendib KitchenPre Order Link

Several words spring to mind as I read this book – mouthwatering, delicious, tasty, do-able, yummy… I think you can see where I am going with this!

Before I start on the recipes I am going to mention all the other things that are included in this book. Mary has included little snippets from her life, her family and friends. Sri Lankan cookery has taken recipes from other cultures and they have been adapted over the years to fit with the food available. These little asides are included in the introduction to some recipes, as poems or in the fabulous Introduction at the beginning of the book.

Some of the recipes have little alternatives or tweaks that she has thoughtfully included, little adaptions that are handy to know and come from experience. Each recipe has a wonderful photograph, I like to see what an end product is so these are a very welcome addition.

Now then, the recipes…Wow! every course is catered for, starters, mains, vegetarian, fish, dessert and, drinks. I have tried a couple of dishes, only simple things as I am between shopping trips at the moment, and to be fair my little village shop does not carry a lot of the ingredients. Though in the list of main ingredients there are often alternatives, this came in very handy indeed.

The first thing I tried was the Chai Tea, this sounds a little bit random, but I buy Chai Tea so I reasoned that as I have everything I needed why not make my own! Much better than the shop bought one I get, I can see this is a recipe that I will be using quite often.

Next up was the Braised Pepper Chicken, a milder recipe that had ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom, onions and tomato. A simple recipe to follow that makes use of my basic store cupboard ingredients. Very tasty and I served it with just simple boiled rice, though I do add a veg stock cube to the water while cooking.

I am looking forward to trying more recipes in this book. On my list for the future is Black Pork Curry, Beef Smoore, Beet Curry, Raita that is different from the one I usually make and, I definitely want to try the mango pickle. There are so many recipes that I would love to make and try though.

If you are looking for a cookbook that has a very good mix of recipes then this would be one that would be a good asset for your shelf. A mix of ingredients that are easy to source though I would have to travel a little further afield for some of them.

The recipes I tried were easy to follow and extremely tasty, it is a book I would definitely look to buy in its physical format. It is not just a cookbook, it has so many interesting extras and this makes it enjoyable to read and peruse through

It gets a Highly Recommended from Me!

Mary Anne Mohanraj is the author of Bodies in Motion (HarperCollins), The Stars Change (Circlet Press) and thirteen other titles. Bodies in Motion was a finalist for the Asian American Book Awards, a USA Today Notable Book, and has been translated into six languages. The Stars Change was a finalist for the Lambda, Rainbow, and Bisexual Book Awards.

Mohanraj founded the Hugo-nominated and World Fantasy Award-winning speculative literature magazine, Strange Horizons, and alsofounded Jaggery, a S. Asian & S. Asian diaspora literary journal (jaggerylit.com). She received a Breaking Barriers Award from the Chicago Foundation for Women for her work in Asian American arts organizing, won an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, and was Guest of Honor at WisCon. She serves as Director of two literary organizations, DesiLit (www.desilit.org) and The Speculative Literature Foundation (www.speclit.org). She serves on the futurist boards of the XPrize and Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.

Mohanraj is Clinical Associate Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and lives in a creaky old Victorian in Oak Park, just outside Chicago, withher husband, their two small children, and a sweet dog. Recent publications include stories for George R.R. Martin’s WildCards series, stories at Clarkesworld, Asimov’s, and Lightspeed, and an essay in Roxane Gay’s Unruly Bodies.  2017-2018 titles include Survivor (a SF/F anthology), Perennial, Invisible 3 (co-edited with Jim C. Hines), and Vegan Serendib. http://www.maryannemohanraj.com

Social Media Links – FacebookTwitterInstagramWebsiteSerendib Kitchen Website

See what other Book Bloggers think by following the Blog Tour. Some of them will have recipes and extracts to share as well as what they think of this book.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

No More Lies by Robert Crouch @robertcrouchuk @CarolineBookBit #review

After taking last week off work and away from social media to go and visit my parents, I am delighted to bring you one of my favourite authors and his latest book in the Kent Fisher Series. No More Lies by Robert Crouch is the 4th in this fabulous mystery series and I am so delighted to be sharing my review with you all as part of the Blog Tour with Caroline at Bits About Books.

Kent Fisher gets more than he bargained for when Detective Inspector Ashley Goodman enlists his help with a ten year old murder. She’s on a mission and needs a big case to put her career back on track. 

And they don’t come much bigger than Miles Birchill, Downland’s wealthiest and most divisive resident. 

Not for the first time, Kent has doubts about the case, forcing him to make choices. But who do you trust when everyone has something to hide? 

Caught in the middle, he has no alternative but to solve the murder, unaware that his every move is being watched. 

The Kent Fisher novels offer a fresh and contemporary reworking of the classic whodunit and murder mysteries of authors like Agatha Christie. 

It is so nice to be reunited with Kent Fisher, this is a character that I love to catch up with and see how he is getting on. He is an Environmental Health Officer, he runs an animal sanctuary and solves murders that he seems to find himself in the midst of. In No More Lies, he finds the crime comes to him rather than finding the crime. The deliverer of this crime comes in the form of DI Ashley Goodman…

I have a soft spot for Kent and when this new character arrives, well I had my reservations about this woman! As a character she is interesting and very career driven, she is also impetuous and impulsive as she tries to solve a cold case. She believes that Kent can help her in this and in doing so it will get her career back on track. Kent, you see, has certain connections that are useful.

This book has a different feel to it that the others in the series, it has the same basic elements and includes some well-loved characters such as Columbo, Niamh, Francie and his work colleagues. The emphasis is more on the cold case and Ashley’s investigations. There are running storylines that still continue, if you have not read them I don’t think they will squash any enjoyment of the reading, but as always it is better to read them all!

So, as I mentioned earlier, the main focus is with the cold case. I really liked this emphasis, but I also do like the other characters that are part of Kent’s life. They were still in the story but took more of a back seat this time.

The case being re-opened sets a chain of events off that could cause many problems for people. This, in turn, means that there is an air of mistrust to the story as characters are basically watching their own backs, the sense that people have things to hide is a definite with this story.

I am a big fan of this author and I love reading about Kent Fisher and, I have loved every book in the series. This has that classic ‘whodunnit’ feel but in a modern setting. Kent is the deducer, the sleuth, and the mystery solver. I really like that Kent is not a copper or detective, his EHO career adds just a something special to the reads and gives such a great twist to this murder mystery series.

No More Lies by Robert Crouch is a book that I would definitely recommend!

Inspired by Miss Marple, Inspector Morse and Columbo, Robert Crouch wanted to write entertaining crime fiction the whole family could enjoy.

At their heart is Kent Fisher, an environmental health officer with more baggage than an airport carousel. Passionate about the environment, justice and fair play, he’s soon embroiled in murder.

Drawing on his experiences as an environmental health officer, Robert has created a new kind of detective who brings a unique and fresh twist to the traditional murder mystery. With complex plots, topical issues and a liberal dash of irreverent humour, the Kent Fisher mysteries offer an alternative to the standard police procedural.

Robert now writes full time and lives on the South Coast of England with his wife and their West Highland White Terrier, Harvey, who appears in the novels as Kent’s sidekick, Columbo.

To discover more, visit Robert on –

WebsiteTwitterFacebookAmazonGoodreads

See what fellow readers think by following the Blog Tour

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be great 🙂 xx