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…

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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

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The Migraine Relief Plan by Stephanie Weaver @sweavermph @rararesources #review

Today I have something a little different to share with you. The Migraine Relief Plan by Stephanie Weaver is a book that I definitely wanted to read as part of the Birthday Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. My huge thanks to Rachel for accepting my request to be on the tour and also to Stephanie for the book.

Let’s have a look and see what the book is about…

The Migraine Relief Plan: An 8-Week Transition to Better Eating, Fewer Headaches, and Optimal Health

In The Migraine Relief Plan, certified health and wellness coach Stephanie Weaver outlines a new, step-by-step lifestyle approach to reducing migraine frequency and severity.

Using the latest research, her own migraine diagnosis, and extensive testing, Weaver has designed an accessible plan to help those living with migraine, headaches, or Meniere’s disease. Over the course of eight weeks, the plan gradually transitions readers into a healthier lifestyle, including key behaviors such as regular sleep, trigger-free eating, gentle exercise, and relaxation techniques. The book also collects resources—shopping lists, meal plans, symptom tracking charts, and kitchen-tested recipes for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner—to provide readers with the tools they need to be successful.

The Migraine Relief Plan encourages readers to eat within the guidelines while still helping them follow personal dietary choices, like vegan or Paleo, and navigate challenges, such as parties, work, and travel. A must-have resource for anyone who lives with head pain, this book will inspire you to rethink your attitude toward health and wellness.

Purchase LinkClick Here

As a hereditary sufferer of migraines, I was eager to read this book. My father found that acupuncture worked for him as well as having an allergy test to see what foods were his triggers. I found some of the same foods triggered my migraines, but I also discovered that hormones had a part to play as well. In some respects I am very lucky as I don’t suffer from them often, but when I do…

This book is a lifestyle guide, it has a great introduction about the authors’ experiences. I think that knowing the author had first-hand experiences made me more willing to pay attention. I am a believer that you don’t truly know what someone experiences until you experience it yourself, you can empathise and offer support but it’s never quite the same.

The book is quite intensive and packed full of so many useful advice, tips and ideas. Taking small steps rather than jumping in at the deep end and ditching the stuff in cupboards and fridge seems to me to be a very sensible approach. The focus is on building up a regime that is manageable and more importantly maintainable. Often diets and lifestyle changes fail as there is too much too soon and the novelty wears off.

There are lots of tips throughout this book, and while I did find some that were useful there were some that did not really apply to me. This is not a criticism in any way, as each sufferer is different, therefore there will be things that are more relevant to some.

Now to the recipes, they have an American feel to them as I would expect given the author is herself an American. There is a range of snacks, lunches, desserts, dressings, and sauces, some of these have a budget rating.

The book is a guide, it is about a change to not only your diet but also the lifestyle. It starts as an 8-week plan but encourages a longer period for better results. This is a well laid out book. It is not a cure-all, and it does not report to do that, it is a guide of things that can help people to manage and maintain a lifestyle. It looks at a whole-body approach rather than just pinpointing one specific area, so health, fitness, sleep as well as diet are dealt with.

I think if you are looking for this sort of approach that could help with reducing symptoms and works alongside your already prescribed medications then I think this book will be beneficial. I found it interesting and I did take quite a lot of things from it that I can easily work into my own lifestyle. It is a book I would recommend.

Stephanie Weaver, MPH, CWHC, is an author, blogger, and certified wellness and health coach. Her recipes have been featured in Cosmopolitan, Bon Appetit, Cooking Light, Parade, and more. She lives in San Diego, CA. 

Social Media Links Facebook TwitterInstagram

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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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The Other Mrs. Bates by Allie Cresswell @alliescribbler @rararesources #review

I am delighted to be finally sharing my review for The Other Mrs. Bates by Allie Cresswell. I say “finally sharing” as I completely messed up on my diary entry for this book, putting it in for January! When my turn for posting on the Blog Tour came I was only able to share a promotional post…I was not a happy bunny. So without further ado, let us see what the book is about and then get to what I thought. 

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.

My Thoughts:

This is the second in The Highbury Trilogy and it is the authors’ interpretation of what precedes Jane Austen’s Emma. I have read the first book and I would recommend you doing the same, it is definitely worth the time and if you like your Classic Literature then you will love these books.

So, having read and loved the first in the series and loving it I was keen to start the second. This is the story of Miss Jane Bates, she decides to take a position in Brighton as a companion to Mrs. Seally, an invalid who is not as Jane expected. The social “snakes and ladders” are as rife in Brighton as they are anywhere and the pecking order and finding suitable husbands or wives is very apparent. It is not a trap Jane gets caught up in but she does play witness to it.

Brighton is the up and coming place “to be seen” in this Georgian Regency era of British history. People attended functions, took walk and seemed to be out in public rather than being wherever they were staying.

This book was such a delight to read and right from the off I was transported in the era of its setting. The mannerisms and phrases just seemed perfect for the era of the story and also for my expectations. The author has in my mind given an interpretation that precedes Emma very well and has continued in the style.

After finishing this book I am so eager to pick up Emma, but I am holding back until I have read the third and final instalment as this will then lead very well into the classic itself. 

This is an absolute must read for fans of Classic Literature, Jane Austen, Historical Romance and those wanting to try it. It was a real joy and pleasure to read and is a book and a series I would absolutely recommend.

If you want to read my review of the first book in this trilogy, Mrs. Bates of Highbury, you can read it 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 – Website – Facebook – Twitter

Many thanks for reading my review, a like or share would be fabulous:) xx

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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