The Mensch by Leopold Borstinski @Borstinski @ZooloosBT #historicalfiction crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Mensch by Leopold Borstinski. While I am delighted to share I am also sad that this is the final book in the Alex Cohen series. It has been a fabulous series to read and an absolute pleasure to support in the Blog Tours.

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

How can a crooked man ever go straight?
Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen settles down in Florida surrounded by his wife and family. But his past life in the criminal underworld stalks his every move and when a bullet whizzes past his ear, he must decide whether to run or fight.


In his desire to go straight, Alex inserts himself in the East Coast porn film industry, only to find that the tentacles of the mob are clasped tight around his life. With the Feds using new laws to hunt down mob bosses, and rats in his own organization all too ready to testify against him, Alex must clean house before the authorities throw him in jail or the mob kills him to stop him ratting them out.


The seventh book in the Alex Cohen series is a historical thriller novel, which reveals the dying embers of Jewish organized crime in America. Leopold Borstinski’s crime fiction shines a light on the death of the old-style mob in an explosive finale.

PURCHASE LINK – HERE

MY REVIEW

Mensch is a Yiddish term for a person of integrity and honour (according to Google). Could you call a gangster a man of honour or someone with integrity?

In this final book in the Alex Cohen series, the author takes a glimpse, at times of the past, of Alex. From his beginnings when he arrived at Ellis Island to where he is in 1965. He started in The Bowery’s and has gradually emerged into a name that is revered i8n the gangs of the US. The author has had him in the mix and rubbing shoulders and swapping stories with Alfonse Capone, The Kennedys, Fidel Castro and Frank Sinatra.

As the years have passed, Alex has become a husband and a father, he has a close-knit group of friends and business partners. He has worked hard and has put himself in danger many times. and occasionally the lives of his family. He has known a vast number of people and some of them have walked away unharmed!

In this final book, Alex is contemplating his future. He has always said that certain parts of his business will become legitimate and others will go to his oldest and closest business partners and friends. As the author gradually approached the 70s, the once feared name of Alex has started to lose some of its impact. The FEDs have been around for many years, but recently the noose is tightening around the old-style gang bosses. Eager to remain free, there are some who are not averse to turning witness.

Alex has always had a motto and it is one that has been mentioned several times in each book. In this final book, it is mentioned even more. If you have followed the series then you will know to what I refer.

I have enjoyed this series from the very start, following the highs and the lows. The Mensch is a book that feels slower, and it sort of makes sense to me as Alex is starting to slow down. But, that does not for one moment mean he is relaxing and taking things easy. He is getting things in order and this means huge amounts of travelling for face-to-face meetings. I think by slower, I mean he is spending time thinking over the past, the present and the future. Life is going to change, what and when that change will be, well you are going to have to read this one to find out.

This is a series that is one for those who like historical fiction that is based around the gangsters of the US. From an unknown immigrant to one who has associated with the rich, the famous and the notorious. A fab series and a brilliant finale in this final book. It is one I would definitely recommend.

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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The Memories of Blood by Guy Cross #GuyCross @ZooloosBT 

I am delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers opening the Blog Tour today for The Memories of Blood by Guy Cross. This is a wonderfully creepy psychological thriller that I really enjoyed.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloos Blog Tours for my spot on the tour and for arranging my copy.

From the notebook of Gregory Rook: “Sacramental power is born from extremes: obsession, desire, passion, pain, ecstasy, desecration… True holiness transcends morality…”

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

A stormy night; a hit and run and Stephen Porter unleashes a train of events that delivers him—and his family—into the clutches of a terrifying dark magician…

… whose magick works through the medium of blood – and the innocence of children.

Stealer of souls, shapeshifter devil, how can he be defeated?

The answer lies in the memories of Jonny Sorrell, a teenage boy who has no idea they form the key to ending Rook forever.

The question is, will he realise in time?

PURCHASE LINK – HERE

MY REVIEW

This is a wonderful book that definitely has some creepy moments in it. The cover describes this as a psychological horror, and in some way, I do agree, but I would say more psychological than horror. Although there are some nerve-wracking moments and very tense spooky scenes. I don’t read as much horror now as I did when I was a teenager, I think I was much braver then!!!

This is a book that is set around a family, a patient in an institute and has its roots in the past.

The author has used the characters to good effect. Most are actually likeable, but there are exceptions. As the synopsis states, this does use the innocence of children for the blood magick to work, rituals and basically abuse. While the author doesn’t go into detail, thank goodness, the implications are there.

This does have some things in it that I do associate with horror, a priest, a doctor, a family with children, a psychiatric institute and also a remote setting. I suppose it could be seen as slightly stereotypical, but for me, this was great as I found things easier to imagine and associate with as there was a familiarity about some of the aspects.

The characters are really well used, they are a mix of good, bad and evil. There are some characters that randomly appear, this adds to the psychological aspect of the story and it also gives a tense mysterious atmosphere to the story.

I finished reading this book in bed, I had to finish it to make sure things were safe! I told you I wasn’t very brave 🙂

This does have a strong psychological thriller feel to it, and a good horror vibe without being too much horror. I thought it was intriguing and wasn’t sure how things were going to pan out or how some of the characters would be used. I have to say that even though it did creep me out at times, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is one I would definitely recommend.

Guy Cross has been painting and writing from ever since he can remember, leaving a career in teaching to pursue his true loves: writing, painting and making music. His writing is psychologically deep and very dark, reflecting his love of the arcane and occult. Gothic horror is his speciality. 

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Marriage Unarranged by Ritu Bhathal @RituBhathal@ZooloosBT @SpellBoundBks  #romance #chicklit #bookreview

I am delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers opening the tour today and to share my review today for Marriage Unarranged by Ritu Bhathal. This was a fabulous read that took me into the life of Aashi, her family and her friends. A chick-lit with an Indian twist!

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloos Book Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book via NetGalley from the publisher Spellbound Books.

It all s̶t̶a̶r̶t̶e̶d̶ ended with that box…
The year 2000 and Aashi’s life was all set.
New Millennium, exciting beginnings, new life.
Or so she thought.
Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.

And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets?
A stranger who’s hiding something…
Coming Summer 2023, book 2 in The Rishtay Series

PURCHASE LINKS – AMAZON UK US

MY REVIEW

This is the first time I have read anything by this author and I need to read more. I loved the journey I was taken on with the story of Aashi, her brothers Bali and Sunny, also her best friend Kiran.

After discovering her fiance isn’t quite the man she thought he was, Aashi makes the decision to break up the relationship. Aware of the possible embarrassment and shame that she may bring on her family worries her. It is so good that she has an understanding family and her best friend.

Deciding to use the honeymoon holiday rather than cancel it, Aashi and her brothers and Kiran make the journey to India. A trip that brought surprises and new experiences as well as new contacts.

This is such a wonderful story and it was interesting to see the author had put a list of the Punjab terms for the different family members. I have to say that as I got to know each of the family members and also others in the cast it soon became easy to understand them. This list of terms also includes that they may refer to non-related people as well.

This was a fabulous story and one that was full of so many things I know nothing much about. Understanding the family and the traditions as well as how things are gradually changing was great, also the food. mmmm… it sounds amazing. The one thing that I really appreciated knowing was the way the characters reacted when they arrived in India. The distinct smell and the colour overload were something that I had not even considered.

While this is a story about family and friends, it is also one about working out what makes the characters tick. There is a wonderful romantic tension, and nothing is straightforward. I do like the referrals back to tradition and how the rest of their families would feel. Even though each character has a choice, they are always resp[ectful of their families and how things will appear. Family is the core of the story in some ways and it was great to discover this.

As the story gradually progressed from home to India and then back home again I was taken on a whirlwind of a tour. Had some giggles and laughs as well as feeling for some of the characters. Aashi especially. It seems that Aashi transformed when she was allowed to be herself, and this was a subtle but amazing thing to watch.

How things worked out at the end was so appropriate and I felt it kept within the traits of the characters and it just felt really right.

I cannot wait to read the next book in this series, as this one was the first. A story that I think fans of romance and contemporary fiction are going to love. I know I did and I would definitely recommend it.

The only problem with this book that I had, is that I have to wait until next year before I can read the second in the series!!!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but of Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her. From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally encouraged her to continue writing.
As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes. A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing! Ritu also writes a blog, www.butismileanyway.com, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was awarded first place in the Best Overall Blog Category at the 2017 Annual Bloggers Bash Awards and Best Book Blog in 2019.
Ritu is happily married and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the fur baby Sonu Singh.

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Black is the Colour by Seamus Connolly @seamusconnolly_ @ZooloosBT @SpellBoundBks #thriller #crime #debut #bookreview

I am delighted to be one of the Bloggers to open the Tour today for a Debut Author and share my review. Black is the Colour by Seamus Connolly was a brilliant read and if you like twisted thrillers then have a look at this one!

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloos Book Tours for my spot on the Tour and for arranging my copy via the publisher Spellbound Books.

It has been almost three decades since the brutal murder of a young father took place on the streets of Glasgow.

Fleeing the country as a child Cal Lynch returns to Scotland a man, a lawyer, determined to exact vengeance on the gangster who killed his father and tore his family apart.

His desired retribution would be complex and challenging. He had dreamed, trained and prepared for the day of his return.

Falling in love was not part of the plan.

As Cal’s revenge on Eddie Quinn draws ever closer, what happens next will leave him broken and fighting for his very existence.

Black Is The Colour is a gritty gangland tartan noir thriller set against the turbulent backdrop of Thatcher’s Britain.

PURCHASE LINKS – AMAZON UK US

MY REVIEW


What an absolutely fabulous read this book was. If I didn’t need to go to work I would have easily read it in one sitting.

From the synopsis, I knew this was going to be a thriller, I didn’t realise just how twisted it would get though. Cal has returned to Scotland, he has a plan and one that he has thought about for many years. He has revenge on his mind and he knows who he has in his line of sight. As a solicitor, Cal is able to use his experience and also the law to get what he needs to get. Or, so he thinks. Things don’t go all his way and there will be a price to pay along the way.

This is s set in the criminal world in Glasgow. While Cal has been away and made himself a name and a career he has never forgotten his roots. This is something that the author brings into the story and it is great to see. Cal knows the streets, and the people and thinks he knows what he is getting himself into. Plans, well on paper they are always great and even if you think you have all the alternatives covered, well there is something that will go awry.

This is a tense thriller and mystery novel and considering it is only around 180 pages long, the author has certainly made for an addictive story. This is one that is dark, it has unexpected twists and not everything is black or white.

I really liked getting to know Cal and some of the other characters. It doe shave that feel that there could be more to come in way of a series. I do hope so as I think there is the potential for much more.

There are a good amount of characters and I think the balance is about right for them, they are there because they are needed. Again there are some who I do think would make for great recurring characters.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a well-paced story with plenty to keep you thinking and guessing. A couple of great curveballs to keep you on your toes and I look forward to reading more from this author. It is one for crime, thriller and mystery fans and one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Seamus Connolly is a Scottish based author who has recently published his first novel – Black is the Colour. Brought up in the West of Scotland he combines gritty reality and great humour within his fiction writing.
Seamus is currently drafting a follow up to his debut novel which promises to keep readers enthralled with twists and turns to keep the pages turning.

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A Kinder City by Peter Taylor-Gooby @PeterT_G @ZooloosBT @matadorbooks #dysopian #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for A Kinder City by Peter Taylor-Gooby. This is a fabulous read and one that fans of dystopian are going to enjoy.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour.

The City is governed by the grim law of profit and loss. No exceptions, no place for compassion, pleasure, the warmth of friendship or the ardour of love. David, an Enforcer committed to the Law, meets Sarah, a villager from outside, and begins to understand that a different, more joyful, life is possible.


A Kinder City tells the story of their tangled relationship and of how they fall in love, and their struggle against Franklin, the richest man in Market World. If the only law is the market, why not sell everything – and that includes the air we breathe, the land we stand on, the water we drink? No exceptions. His giant factories spew forth the road beasts – the huge machines that devastate the lands beyond the City in pursuit of yet more wealth. Not content with cloning animals, he traps horses in exoskeletons and works them to death. Torn between her growing passion for David and her revulsion at the City that he is pledged to protect, Sarah turns her back on him.


In despair, he confronts one of the convoys supplying Franklin’s mills and releases the horses trapped within the giant trucks. Pursued by terrifying security guards they escape to the Broken Lands and witness at first-hand the desolation that results from ruthless strip-mining and industrial farming driven purely by greed and the misery of the remaining villagers. In their struggle to survive and return to the City they discover the power of their love for each other. Sarah challenges Franklin to his face and, helped by David, sparks off a rebellion among the poor of the City. Together they defeat Franklin. He must learn what it means to be destitute and alone in Market World. The possibility of building a kinder City lies within their grasp.

PURCHASE LINKS – AMAZON – UK US

MY REVIEW

This is the first time I have read anything by this author and I really enjoyed A Kinder City. It is a dystopian novel that had a very good message behind it.

David is an Enforcer for Market World, a company that has been set up for the benefit of people. It is supposed to be a fair system where everything has a price and no bartering, swapping or donations are acceptable. Transactions are via a wristband, the equivalent of a smartwatch. Your wristband is your account, therefore you are your account. David lives and works in the city, everything is regulated, ruled and runs on time.

When he meets Sarah, a villager he attempts to show her how good the city is. She is very different to him, and while she sees what the city has to offer she knows what is happening outside the city. An eye-opener for David and he starts to see that Market World and the man who runs it, Franklin, are not quite the be-all and end-all.

I really enjoyed this book, so much so that it became a one-sitting read for me. It is a dystopian style thriller and one that did also feel like a Young Adult read as well. Very addictive reading!

The landscape that the author built up showed a contrast between a city where things run smoothly, but behind the facade, something more sinister is lurking. Some are aware of this, but not all. In some respects, this is a political thriller as Franklin wants his dream and his vision to encompass everywhere and everything. His policies do not take into account the impact he is having on the environment and the people outside the city. He produces machines that pollute and destroy but give the greatest profits. Sounds a little familiar doesn’t it?

Having to weave various threads, the author has created a world that shows the difference between working for profit and gain against working with and for nature. This is something that is very relevant in today’s world and I think this is what really works so well for this book.

I really enjoyed the various threads in this story, a chance to discover the truth for David, political wranglings, the hope that Franklin can be stopped and that there is a possibility that all could fall down and even more hardships are incurred by those who do not live or work by the cities rules.

I really think this is a book that would appeal to many readers. It has the political intrigue of business against people, there is a thriller element and environmental issues. A tense story that I adored and I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Taylor-Gooby is a sociologist. He has published widely and made many TV and radio appearances. His novels deal with issues that matter – love, money, power and environmental disaster. He has worked on adventure playgrounds, in a social security office and as a teacher. He loves walking, cycling, writing and talking to his children. 

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Blood Sentence by Keith Nixon @knntom @GladiusPress @ZooloosBT #crime #policeprocedural #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Blood Sentence by Keith Nixon. This is the first book in the DI Jonah Pennance series and I am so glad that I have started this one at the very beginning. Pennance is a character that I really liked and I can’t wait to read more. Also, the name choice is so good as well.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s book tours for the spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous crime thriller.

Three bodies, one suspect. That suspect is you…

When the unidentified corpse of an apparent suicide victim is found hanging above a complex pattern of forty photographs of children, Detective Inspector Jonah Pennance of the Met’s specialist Sapphire Unit is brought in to investigate.

A post-mortem reveals the suicide was murder, and Pennance realises he knows the man. But as the body count rises, all the signs point to a care home in Kent – a place that Pennance is all too familiar with.

The problem is the only person connecting the victims is Pennance – and he has a solid motive for wanting them dead… Can Pennance prove his innocence?

Perfect for fans of Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride, and Peter James Blood Sentence is the first book in the explosive series featuring Detective Inspector Jonah Pennance.

MY REVIEW

WOW! What a brilliant read this book was. It is the first book in the DI Jonah Pennance series and what an opener it is.

When Pennance is dragged away from a crime scene in London to go to Anglesey, he isn’t expecting to find that he is a connection, not that he is connected to others. I have to be really careful here, it would be so easy to make a slip up in this review and reveal details!!!

Pennance, well he is mystified and so was I. I mean how could he be connected to two bodies, one a suicide in Wales and a murder in London. He works for the Sapphire Unit of the MET, it’s the department that deals with sex crimes, so it becomes more and more intriguing.

Pennance is a bit of a closed book, the only person who he seems to really get on with is a work colleague, Smithson. The relationship between them is friendly and supportive and I am glad it is a friendship rather than a relationship as it means that Pennance has someone to turn to. Why would he need someone to turn to I hear you ask! Well the more you learn about him the more you realise the complexities of his character. Yeah, I know, vague!

The author has created a wonderfully intense and twisted police procedural that has some really dark scenes, it is twisted around one main plot, but it isn’t straightforward. It also has subplots that keep you on your toes and makes for very addictive reading.

Pennance is a character that comes across as cold, so having a sidekick as such makes a good balance. You do get to learn more about him and his past and I think there is possibly more to come out, I definitely think there are more layers to him for the author to tease out, there is definitely the potential from this reader’s opinion.

This is a crime thriller, it has a very mysterious feel to it and it kept me reading. It feels wrong to call a book exciting when it deals with murders and crime, but exciting it is as it is the start of a new series, and I think it is going to be a very good one. I will be keeping my eye out for more.

Ideal for those looking for something new in police procedures. It’s got plenty of twists, some unexpected turns and all in all a fab read. It is one I would definitely recommend.

About the author

Keith Nixon is the best-selling author of sixteen novels and one million words in print, including the Margate based Solomon Gray series of over 250,000 copies in circulation and reached no.1 on Amazon in the UK, US, Canada and Australia.

Keith lived near the gritty seaside town of Margate, where many of his novels are based, for 17 years before relocating to the edge of the Peak District with his family where he lives today. Keith works in a senior sales role within a high-tech industry and has regularly travelled all over the globe.
His novels are published by Gladius Press and Bastei Lubbe (German)

Social media links – Facebook Instagram Twitter – Website

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A Life For a Life by Carol Wyer @CarolEWyer @ZooloosBT @AmazonPub #crime #policeprocedural #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review on the opening day of the Blog Tour for A Life For a Life by Carol Wyer. This is the 3rd book in this series and it is another fabulous story involving Detective Kate Young.

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

Nobody can get into the mind of an erratic killer—except an unpredictable detective.


When a young man is found lying on a station platform with a hole in his head, DI Kate Young is called in to investigate the grisly murder. But the killing is no one-off. As bodies start to pile up, she is faced with what might be an impossible task—to hunt down a ruthless killer on a seemingly random rampage.
Meanwhile, Kate has her own demons to battle as she struggles to come to terms with her husband’s death. And she is hell-bent on exposing corruption within the force and bringing Superintendent John Dickson to justice. But with the trail of deception running deeper—and closer to home—than she could ever have imagined, she no longer knows who she can trust.


With her grip on reality slipping, Kate realises that maybe she and the killer are not so different after all. But time is running out and Kate is low on options. Can she catch the killer before she loses everything?

Purchase Links – Amazon UK US

MY REVIEW

This is the third book in this series and it is a cracking series. This latest book, A Life For a Life is such an aptly named title for the story.

detective Kate Young is a tough as boots detective, she has to be to have dealt with what has gone on in her past. She is still coming to terms with the death of her husband, and she still misses her father. While she is making progress and in touch with her remaining family, things are still challenging for her.

When a new case lands on her desk, she once again battles with one of her superiors. She is convinced he wants her to fail so appears to limit her and her small team. The case of a body discovered shot through the head isn’t a normal shooting. It is also the start of something that has the team really struggling to piece things together.

While working on this official case, she is also still working on her own personal one. This is a case that has been developing over the course of the series, it has the potential to blow things out into the open and careers could be ended. The problem is that she has very little in the way of evidence. She also finds that her own sounding board for advice has disappeared.

Working one main case is one thing, especially when you have a team working it with you. But when you add another case that you are essentially working yourself and undercover, it makes things difficult. Another problem Kate has is that she really doesn’t know who she can completely trust, her team seem ok but she has her doubts.

Knowing that certain people are waiting for her to fail and fall makes her more determined to do all she can. Working all the hours she can and concentrating all her energy on the shooting case leaves her run down. Her appearance adds fuel to fire that she isn’t able to cope with. All she needs is more pressure, but she does have a superb team to help her.

The author has created a storyline that really does pull on the heartstrings. It is a plot that has a real emotional side to it and it was easy to see how this had developed. Combining this with the unusual weapon of choice is an interesting angle. It is also one that makes sense as things are eventually laid out.

Some surprising twists, an excellently laid out police procedural with an underlying personal story and a one-sitting read for me. This is one where the bodies pile up, the questions keep coming and the pressure is constant. If you have not read any of the previous books in the series I would recommend doing so for the underlying story and also because they are really, really good. This is a book and a series I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

USA Today bestselling author and winner of The People’s Book Prize Award, Carol Wyer’s crime novels have sold over one million copies and been translated into nine languages.

A move from humour to the ‘dark side’ in 2017, saw the introduction of popular DI Robyn Carter in Little Girl Lost and proved that Carol had found her true niche.

February 2021 saw the release of the first in the much-anticipated new series, featuring DI Kate Young. An Eye For An Eye was chosen as a Kindle First Reads and became the #1 bestselling book on Amazon UK and Amazon Australia. 

Carol has had articles published in national magazines ‘Woman’s Weekly’, featured in ‘Take A Break’, ‘Choice’, ‘Yours’ and ‘Woman’s Own’ magazines and the Huffington Post. She’s also been interviewed on numerous radio shows discussing ”Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Ageing Disgracefully’ and on BBC Breakfast television.

She currently lives on a windy hill in rural Staffordshire with her husband Mr. Grumpy… who is very, very grumpy. When she is not plotting devious murders, she can be found performing her comedy routine, Smile While You Still Have Teeth.

To learn more, go to http://www.carolwyer.co.uk, subscribe to her YouTube channel, or follow her on Twitter: @carolewyer

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The Family Business by Alex Kane @AlexKaneWriter @ZooloosBT @HeraBooks #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Family Business by Alex Kane. This is a fabulous and gritty crime thriller.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloos Book Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of the book from Hera Books.

Blood’s thicker than water… and they’re not afraid to spill it
Donnie Black. Charming, successful… and utterly terrifying, he rules the Glasgow underworld with an iron fist. Nothing – or no one – will stop him and he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty to grow his fortune.
Layla Black. She’s been married to Donnie for twenty years, enjoying the lavish world he has worked hard to create. But behind the perfect image, Layla is crumbling, numbing her pain with alcohol. But Layla doesn’t know the secrets Donnie keeps – and the truth will send her spiralling.


Louise Bellshaw. She’s young, beautiful and innocent. She’s charmed by Donnie’s sweet words and believes she’s found, true love. But Louise doesn’t know her dream man has plans that will turn her life into a nightmare.


As the three collide, no one can predict how family ties will turn to bloodshed. Because you’ll do anything for the ones you love, won’t you?


A dark, twisty and totally gripping thriller set in the heart of Glasgow gangland – fans of Mandasue Heller and Kimberley Chambers won’t be able to put this down

Purchase Links – Amazon UK US

MY REVIEW

Oh! My! Goodness! What a brilliant one sitting read The Family Business is!

Set in Glasgow and the start of a power struggle between an existing and well-known gang and the new up and coming one. The Blacks rule the roost of the criminal underworld in this city. Brothers Donnie and Steff run the show. Donnie decides to take a different direction and this doesn’t sit well with several of his team and so they splinter.

The thing with The Blacks is that once you are in, you are in for life… however long that may be! So expect repercussions.

There are many characters involved in his story and they are introduced in a manageable way, so it made it easy for me to know who was who pretty quickly. This turned out to be ideal as it isn’t until later that I realised how interconnected various characters are.

Layla is a key character, she is the wife of Donnie. After the death of her sister, her life has spiralled out of control. Louise flies close to the wind as she is flattered by her new boyfriend, then we have characters like Kev, Chud, Tam, Dunny, Susie, Darcie and a few more. All these have a great role to play and not realising how important their role is until later in the story kept me reading.

This is a dark and twisted crime thriller, there is something about the gangs and underworld stories that appeal to me. They are all bad, but for me, in fiction, there are good baddies and bad baddies, and in some cases really evil baddies. This book has them all and the author will keep you guessing as to which category if any they fall into.

As I mentioned earlier, this book was a one-sitting read. It is a gripping story that soon captured my attention and once started I couldn’t leave it for a moment. There is a real dangerous edge to this story and it made for an exciting read. There are some brutal scenes and the author creates such a suspenseful and edge of your seat read.

If you like really edgy, dark, dangerous and twisted crime, thriller stories with hard-hitting storylines then this is one you really need to put on your TBR. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alex Kane is a psychological thriller writer who lives in Glasgow. She is a huge fan of the genre, with her favourite authors in the genre being Lisa Hall, BA Paris and Sarah Stovell. If she is not writing, she can be found playing with her cat, reading, or drinking tea and/or gin (sometimes all of the above).

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If She Wakes by Erik Therme @ErikTherme @ZooloosBT #crime #mystery #domesticthriller #psychologicalthriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for If She Wakes by Erik Therme. This is the second book in the Harlow series and it works as a standalone very well indeed.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloos Book Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous mystery, crime, thriller story.

Who do you trust when everyone is lying?


My name is Tess Parker.
Two days ago, I was in a car accident with my sister-in-law, Torrie. Before she slipped into a coma, she asked my husband and me to care for her four-month-old son, Levi.


Yesterday, a woman claiming to be Torrie’s estranged sister knocked on our door. But Torrie has no siblings . . . or so she said. She and my brother were only together a short time before he left, and Torrie has clearly been keeping secrets.


Today, another of Torrie’s “sisters” has come to town. Both say the other is lying about who they are.


Neither of them is telling the truth.
Both of them want Levi.

MY REVIEW

This is my first time reading this author and what a really good twisted crime, thriller mystery this book was. It also had a very good psychological edge to it.

The life of Tess hasn’t been the happiest, it has left her mentally and emotionally scarred. She has the support of her husband, and together they are existing in their marriage. When an accident leaves Tess’s sister in law in hospital it is down to Tess and her husband Josh to look after 4-month-old Levi until Torrie is able to leave the hospital.

This started well and the author quickly engaged me with a pretty fast-paced story. What appeared to be a simple story of an accident soon developed into something more twisted. The story of Tess is gradually incorporated into the story and it was definitely needed to explain her state of mind and also the dynamics of her relationship with Josh, Torrie and also baby Levi.

Tess comes across as quite emotionless but as I learnt more about her I realised why. It gave reason to her cold attitude and also to her mental health. This story does touch onto the mental health side of things in various forms and the author has done a wonderful job with this. It gives the overall story a psychological edge to it that makes for a gripping read. It also added several twists, some I saw coming but others I didn’t expect at all.

This is a fast-paced story, it is intriguing and one that I read in one sitting. I was able to see a different side to several of the characters and for some it made me change my view of them. Not everyone is as you think they are.

This is one for those who like a twisted crime thriller and mystery read. It is one I would recommend reading and I look forward to reading more by this author. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harboured runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering on his youngest daughter’s volleyball team or watching horror movies with his oldest. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty-eight places in the world that UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature. Join Erik’s mailing list to be notified of new releases and author giveaways – HERE

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Alex Cohen Boxset by Leopold Borstinski – Cuban Heel #book4 #AlexCohen @borstinski @ZooloosBT #histfic #crime #bookreview

Over the past week, I have been resharing my reviews of books #4 to #6 of the Alex Cohen Box Set. Today is the final day on the Blog Tour and I am sharing my review for Hollywood Bilker.

Having read all the books from the very beginning I have become very fond of Alex Cohen, yeah he is a gangster, he should never be crossed. But the author Leopold Borstinski has created such an addictive series that runs through the decades from Alex’s rise to where he is in the 60s.

If you are a fan of American historical fiction and especially around the Gangsters then this is a series you really should read. It is fabulous and I cannot wait for the next one in the series, which I have been told is in the pipeline! 🙂

Alex Cohen Boxset – Books 4 -6 by Leopold Borstinski. Today is the review for Hollywood Bilker

This digital box set contains the second set of three books in the saga of Alex Cohen’s life:


Hollywood Bilker: Alex 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 his 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 favour 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.

PURCHASE LINKS – AMAZON 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 being 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.

I have included the links below to my reviews for all the books in this series

The Bowery Slugger

East Side Hustler

Midtown Huckster

Casino Chiseler

Cuban Heel

Hollywood Bilker (see above)

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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