Hollywood Bilker by Leopold Borstinski @Borstinski   @ZooloosBT  #HollywoodBilker #AlexCohen #ZooloosBookTours #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Hollywood Bilker by Leopold Borstinski. I have loved this series from the very first book and following the journey of the main protagonist Alex Cohen.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book.

Is building another casino worth dying for?

Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen returns to America and settles in 1960s California to build a drug and prostitution empire in LA. When he gets a call from the mob to help the CIA invade Cuba, Alex must decide between family and his business associates.

If he helps Uncle Sam and the Mafia then he puts his life on the line fighting for freedom and the chance to rebuild his Havana casinos. If he refuses the favor then death will call on him, his ex-wife and their sons. Once he agrees to one accommodation then others are sure to follow, in a decade where even presidents, assassins and presidential candidates were whacked at a terrifying rate.

The sixth book in the Alex Cohen series is an historical thriller novel, which rips open Jewish organized crime involvement in Lee Harvey Oswald’s death and the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. Leopold Borstinski’s searing crime fiction lays bare the making of today’s USA.

PURCHASE LINKS – AMZON UK or US

MY REVIEW

This is the 6th book in the Alex Cohen series, a series I am loving and have with every book in the series. The series follows the life of Alex, his family, his friends, his enemies and his business associates. This 6th book sees Alex entering the 1960’s in America.

The previous book saw him high-tailing it out of Cuba, now the author has him rubbing the shoulders with the rich, famous and possibly infamous depending o which circles you mix within. With names such as Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, the Kennedy’s and Alex’s business background, well you know that these people are going to meet up in this authors series.

If you are new to this series then I would definitely recommend re4ading from the beginning, it gives you a better understanding of where Alex has come from, his background and his life growing up. Working his way up through the ranks of the racketeers and mobs of each decade of the 1900s.

With each book, the author uses names of new items that are relevant to the time, it sort of backs up Alex’s character and also keeps the reader in the time and moment.

Alex and his wife Sarah don’t see much of their family, and while Alex has hinted at retiring he has never done much about it. He is a careful man but also one that will take care of his own business. But, now as he is getting to the stage where he wants more family time he realises he needs to let some of his businesses go.

In this episode, the author has Alex rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, glamorous parties, with special extras are his speciality. It gives him a chance to get in with the in-crowd of the time. While this story is full of action, dodgy deals, hidden agendas, it also had a slightly different edge to it. Alex still puts himself in the midst of things, still in danger and risking his life, but he has a future that he is now thinking about. I think this does show in this story, don’t think that Alex or the author have gone soft, they have not. Just pickier about what job is absolutely necessary.

This is yet another fabulous book that I loved, especially as it involves the golden era of Hollywood stars and politicians. If you are a fan of history in the US through the 1900s then this is a series that may very well appeal. I have loved it and look forward to reading the next book.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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.

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A Lifetime Ago by Jim Ody @Jim_Ody_Author @QuestionMarkPress @zooloo2008 #ALifetimeAgo #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for A Lifetime Ago by Jim Ody. This is the first book in a new series, a crime mystery story that I really enjoyed.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy via Question Mark Press.

This is a tale about how the events of one day have such catastrophic consequences on the future.

Hudson Bell is a consultant for the police. A former DI, he spends his days helping to find missing children.

May and her son go on a road trip to celebrate his birthday; Robert and Nadia buy their dream house by the sea.

But as each look to enjoy a new life, none of them can shake off what happened on that fateful day. One of them blames the others and will stop at nothing to seek revenge.

One accident and five lives changed forever.

Purchase Links – AMAZON UK US

MY REVIEW…

This is a fabulous introduction to Hudson Bell in this new series. Hudson is an ex-Detective, he was a well respected and esteemed man. However and the incident has left him traumatised, he now works as a consultant. This suits him better and he can still help those in need.

Hudson is one of those characters that is trying to overcome events from the past. Often this is one of the things with a police-style story, but I have to say that the background the author has woven for Hudson is definitely traumatic. Even though he is not directly involved with the day to day police work he does get cases handed over. They are cold cases and they involve missing children.

This is a story that flits across timelines and between characters, I did find this kept throwing me as I don’t always read the chapter headings. My fault entirely, it did make me have to backtrack a couple of times, so be warned – read the headings!

This isn’t a simple or straightforward case, this case, in particular, has been nagging at Hudson. It is one that is not straightforward and it definitely has twists. This becomes even more twisted as the other characters bring their sections into the story.

I did like the character of Hudson, he definitely grew on me as discovered more about him. There is another character, Jez, he is brilliant, has no filter, says what he thinks and is at times hilarious. Jez adds a sounding board element, as well as being a quick release from the tension of the story. I did like the interaction between these two, Hudson definitely needs Jez in his life.

This is quite a fast-paced story that will keep you reading, when you think you have things sussed, well you won’t have! Twist upon twist, they just kept coming. Nothing is quite as it seems and this makes it a very intriguing read. I did think it wrapped up a little too quick.

This is one for those that like crime thrillers that have a police element to them, it does have a bit of a Private Detective feel and I liked this. Looking forward to seeing where this series goes, It is one I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

Jim writes dark psychological/thrillers, Horror and YA books that have endings you won’t see coming, and favours stories packed with wit. He has written over a dozen novels and many more short-stories spanning many genres.
Jim has a very strange sense of humour and is often considered a little odd. When not writing he will be found playing the drums, watching football and eating chocolate. He lives with his long-suffering wife, three beautiful children and two indignant cats in Swindon, Wiltshire UK.

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The Farmhouse by L.B. Simpson @stimsonink @QuestionPress @zooloo2008 #TheFarmhouseOfPeaceandPlenty #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers opening the Blog Tour today for The Farmhouse by L.B. Simpson. This is an atmospheric, gothic, mystery story that I really enjoyed.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s BookTours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book via Question Press.

The house, for all of its solitude, seemed incredibly noisy

The Farmhouse, having stood against time and history for nearly 160 years in the Virginia countryside, was forgotten and abandoned until Kyle and Jenny Dowling moved in during the summer of 1972.

The Dowlings, married just a year, were struggling to repair their broken marriage. It was to be the perfect place, away from it all, to heal their relationship. Jenny would write and Kyle would tend to minor renovations. The rent was cheap.

The realtor warned them, however, against staying beyond the final days of fall.

Purchase Link – AMAZON UK US

MY REVIEW…

This was a wonderfully atmospheric, slightly eerie story that was a quick read at just 125 pages long. The author didn’t hang about with setting the tone, right from the off, there is unease to the house that Kyle and Jenny first view.

For this couple it is the chance to try to rebuild their marriage, Kyle found this run down and unloved farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, a rural property that they plan on renting cheaply and decorate so an acceptable level for it to be sold on.

Jenny is a writer and Kyle is an ex-schoolteacher. Jenny is the more sensitive of the two and does notice things, movements on the periphery of her vision, shadows, noises and unexplained things. This adds to the atmospherics as the author focuses on Jenny and the story that the house is seemingly trying to get out.

The isolation of the farmhouse and the general run down and old decor certainly add to the story. The house is actually a character in its own right. I know if this was me, I wouldn’t agree to live here if my husband had suggested it. I wouldn’t have quite said on your bike, I would have grabbed the bike and pedalled away as fast as I could!

While this is a spooky story, I didn’t find it too far up the scare scale, it is a good medium and I think I would say there is more intrigue to the mystery. With a house that is very old, there is going to be a rumour or two. The area is devoid of additional characters so in some respect this does give it the feel of a locked-in mystery and it has been done well.

This was a wonderful read and one that I happily sat and read over 2-3 hours. It has a good suspense feel and is full of mystery. It is one I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

L.B. grew up in a one stop-light town in central Idaho. After earning a Bachelor of Art’s degree in cultural anthropology from California State University-Chico, she uprooted herself to begin a new life in Washington, D.C., where she began a varied career in professional communications in private business and education.

“I’ve always had a passion for photography, travel, writing, and history. I am thrilled to now be creating works of fiction that allow me to share these passions with others. One of my favorite parts of the writing process is the historical research required to bring authenticity to my characters’ lives.”

This is her fifth book and the second in her standalone series: Tales from the Parlor Room–a collection of gothic and ghostly tales.

She currently resides in Virginia where she enjoys cemetery walks, visiting abandoned and haunted places and working on more ghostly tales.

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The Seamstress of Warsaw by Rebecca Mascull @rebeccamascull @SpellBoundBks @zooloo2008 #TheSeamstressOfWarsaw #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for The Seamstress of Warsaw by Rebecca Mascull. This is an amazing book that I adored, poignant, emotional and just simply fabulous.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Tours for my spot on the blog Tour and for arranging my e-cop of this stunning book from the publisher SpellBound Books.

1940
London
A man learns a shocking truth about his past.
Warsaw
A mother writes a diary as the ghetto walls go up.
From the bombed streets of London, to occupied Warsaw, to the Polish forests bristling with partisans, will their paths cross?
Will their pasts be reconciled?
And will they survive the deadly assaults on their freedom and their lives?

THE SEAMSTRESS OF WARSAW is a tale of endurance and loss, family and blood, stories and histories, that questions the nature of who we are and where we are going, when the road ahead is burning.

Purchase Link – AMAZON UK or US

MY REVIEW…

When Daniel discovers that he is not who he thought he was, it leads him on a journey at one of the worst times in history to travel. Leaving his home in London her manages to get to Poland to try and find his real family. It is 1940, the family he is looking for is Jewish.

It always sounds so wrong when I say how much I enjoyed a book especially when it is one within this time in history. The persecution of the Jews, the atrocities, the danger for everyone in Europe no matter their belief, their ethnicity or their country. I did, however, really, really enjoy this story.

This is a story that has two sides to it, one is from the perspective of Daniel, the other his Polish mother, Helena. Having two perspectives is great, especially when neither is aware of what has happened or is happening to the other.

The story details so many awful and desperate ways people survived the ghettos, as the Jewish people were crammed into appalling conditions. This is hard reading, but the author has done it in such a way as to get across the imagery and being visceral rather than dramatic. This gives a sense of quiet belief and hope amidst the horror.

The story is very moving and emotional, and I found myself wanting and hoping for various scenarios to unfold. The story is wonderfully paced and also frustrating as opportunities and moments are missed.

A wonderful, wonderful story that captivated and enthralled me. It is one that is a journey of discovery, hope and of survival. I think if you like historical fiction set during WWII and that has historical facts and some wonderful research then this one will be for you. It is a story I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

Rebecca Mascull is an author of historical novels. She also writes saga fiction under the pen-name of Mollie Walton. 
Rebecca’s latest book under the Mascull name is coming on September 18th 2021, THE SEAMSTRESS OF WARSAW, the powerful tale of two people unknowingly connected to each other, caught up in the whirlwind of World War II, whose perilous journeys we follow from the Blitz to the Warsaw Ghetto and beyond, published by SpellBound. 
Mollie Walton’s The Ironbridge Saga series is set in the dangerous world of the iron industry: THE DAUGHTERS OF IRONBRIDGE (2019). The second book in the trilogy is THE SECRETS OF IRONBRIDGE (2020), set in the brickyards of the 1850s. The third book is set in the coalmines and servants’ quarters of the 1870s: THE ORPHAN OF IRONBRIDGE (2021). All three are published by Bonnier Zaffre. Mollie’s next trilogy will be set in WW2 North Yorkshire and the first book of this saga will be out in March 2022, published by Welbeck. 
Her first novel as Rebecca Mascull, THE VISITORS (2014) tells the story of Adeliza Golding, a deaf-blind child living on her father’s hop farm in Victorian Kent. Her second novel SONG OF THE SEA MAID (2015) is set in the C18th and concerns an orphan girl who becomes a scientist and makes a remarkable discovery. Her third novel, THE WILD AIR (2017) is about a shy Edwardian girl who learns to fly and becomes a celebrated aviatrix but the shadow of war is looming. All are published by Hodder & Stoughton. 
She also completed the finishing chapters of her friend and fellow novelist Vanessa Lafaye’s final work, a novella called MISS MARLEY, a prequel to Dickens’s A CHRISTMAS CAROL. This novella is published by HarperCollins. 
Rebecca has worked in education, has a Masters in Writing and lives by the sea in the east of England. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Literary Fund, based at the University of Lincoln. 

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The Lies I Tell by Joel Hames @joel_hames @zooloo2008 @SpellBoundBks #mystery #suspense #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Lies I Tell by Joel Hames. This is a mystery and suspense thriller that is a slower paced one, but also very addictive and intriguing.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Tours for my stop on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this fabulous book.

SHE’S WATCHING YOU,

BUT WHO’S WATCHING HER?



From the bestselling author of Dead North, a tense, claustrophobic psychological thriller perfect for fans of Lucy Foley, Claire McGowan and Clare Mackintosh.

Meet Polly.
Meet Emily.
Meet Belinda.

They’re all me.

My name is Lisa and I’m an identity thief. If I’m not inside your system stealing your money, I’ve probably already stolen it. I’m your friend. I’m a thief. I’m gone. I’m in control.

Only now, the tables have been turned. I’m in danger. My son is in danger. And I don’t know where that danger’s coming from.

Any friend.
Any enemy.
Any stranger.
Anyone from the past I’ve been trying to outrun for years.

NOBODY CAN BE TRUSTED.

My Review…

This was a book I took a little longer to read than usual. It is a story that alternates timelines and has several names that I needed to get used to. The names are the different aliases used by the main character, Lisa. She is an identity thief and a mother. Each one of these aliases is used in a different way.

This is a clever and complex story as I followed Lisa and her son Simon. Lisa’s story is told in two parts, the main one is set in a present day setting. The second is in shorter italicised chapters and this is about her time growing up and is gradually brought up to the present. I do like this style as you tend to get stories that are more in-depth giving the reason behind certain behaviour.

As the synopsis suggests, Lisa is definitely stumped when she discovers that someone has done the very thing that she does to others. The story follows true frustrations, struggles, torments and dangers that she now has to face. Thanks, f it was just Lisa she would know what to do, but she has her son to think of.

This is a slower-paced story and one that I was glad to slow my reading speed down for. It gave me the chance to absorb the story more and understand the character. This was clever and I was so intrigued by it. Following Lisa’s reasoning as to who could be after he led me down so many routes and roads. Not once did I have any inkling as to how the end would play out until the author was ready.

A mystery as well as suspense. I do think it is a thriller and psychological element to it as well. It’s a fabulously twisted story that gradually picks up as the story progresses. It is one that really caught my attention and I would definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

A Londoner in exile, Joel Hames lives in rural Lancashire with his wife and two daughters.

His works of fiction include the bestselling Sam Williams trilogy Dead North, No One Will Hear and The Cold Years, and the standalone psychological thriller The Lies I Tell.

When not writing or spending time with his family, Joel likes to eat, cook, play the piano, and make up excuses to avoid walking the dog. There’s the MMA thing, too, but he doesn’t like to show off.

You can find out more about Joel and sign up to his mailing list through social media or his very own Website

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