Book Review: Dead & Talking by Des Burkinshaw

I am pleased to share my review for Dead & Talking: A Porter and the Gliss Investigation as part of a blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources.

Book Review: Dead & Talking by Des Burkinshaw

Dead & Talking Kindle sleeve FINAL DES

Dead & Talking: A Porter and the Gliss Investigation

Title: Dead & Talking: A Porter and the Gliss Investigation

Author: Des Burkinshaw

Genre: Supernatural  historical thriller

Publisher: magnificent!

Release Date: 10 Mar. 2019

Blurb

If a ghost appeared from nowhere, rescued you from suicide and then ordered you to start solving crimes to help dead people, what would you do? When it happens to Porter Norton, he just wants to put his head in his hands and have nothing to do with it. But now he has to atone for the family curse that has seen all the men die at their own hands for five generations. The Gliss, the sarcastic spirit that rescues him, says he can now and see and hear the Dead – if he’s close to their remains. Porter has to use his unwelcome gift to clear up past injustices. Or else. Forced to investigate the murder of a WW1 British Tommy executed for spying in 1917, he begins to suspect the case has links to his own family history. Along the way, Porter enlists the help of a bickering group of misfits, who struggle to stay involved – because only fools believe in the supernatural, don’t they? Full of pop culture references, banter and twists, the story takes us from present-day London and Flanders to scenes from World War 1. As Porter, The Gliss, and friends, get deeper into the explosive case, they discover their own lives and sanity are at stake. An evil from WW1 pursues them all.

Purchase Links:

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PLLNB4M

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07PLLNB4M

My Thoughts

I’m not sure what I was expecting but this novel exceeded my expectations. It wasn’t a book I wanted to rush but longed to savour each scene. This is unusual for me as I am a reader who likes to gallop to the end if I am immersed in the story. I enjoyed the style, pace and Torchwood-like content – full of distinctive characters, supernatural battles, suspense and danger. The pose was a good balance of description, dialogue with banter and action creating vivid, highly visual scenes. It is easy to imagine the story on the screen.

There are many memorable characters to love. Despite descriptions to the contrary, I visualised and heard The Gliss as the Max, the robotic commander in The Flight of the Navigator which added an extra surreal element to this wonderful book. The dynamics between the characters move the plot forward because of their different personalities  particularly Porter and his sister Cherry. It highlights the contrast between how siblings can react to a common upbringing which affects their adult life.  My favourite person has to be Feng for his unique, unhinged view of the world which is needed to add lightness because the book delves into the dark subjects of depression, suicide and horrors of World War One. Some readers may find some scenes distressing.

Would I recommend?

If you love supernatural thrillers with unforgettable and quirky characters, yes. This is one of my favourite supernatural books, on par with the early  Peter James books so I will be following this series and author closely. I would be pleased to have this book on my forever shelf as I suspect it is one which will improve with each rereading.

Author Biography

Dead and Talking - DES DARK

Des Burkinshaw

Born in the middle of the Summer of Love on a pre-fab council estate in Luton, teenage bitterness and a chance viewing of the Watergate movie, All the President’s Men, made him vow to become a journalist and bring down the government.

First he had to pay for his journalism course, so he became a civil servant. Literally the day he had enough for his fees, he packed it in.
Twelve years on from watching the film, he was a journalist at The Times and had a big hand in bringing down John Major’s government. News ambitions sated, he packed that in too.

Several years of working for Channel 4, ITV and the BBC as a senior producer saw him working across the world, but he eventually got fed up with asking bands how the new album was coming along, and packed it in.

He set up his own production company magnificent! in 2002 and simultaneously worked on the BBC Live Events team for another 10 years. But then six years of work on the Olympics came along, so he packed the BBC in. Again.

Des has jammed with many of his heroes from Paul McCartney to Brian Wilson, Queen to Nancy Sinatra. He has interviewed many A-listers, including David Bowie, Michael Caine, John Cleese and even Noam Chomsky.

He has directed/produced a fairly long list of people – Muse, Coldplay, Michael Jackson, Jay-Z, produced BBC3’s Glastonbury coverage for a couple of years, made films about leprosy in India, comedy shorts with Miranda Hart and Lenny Henry and played guitar for Chas and Dave at the Hackney Empire.

He has made 300+ short films for the Queen, MI5, the BBC, Sky, Discovery, EMI, the British Academy and dozens of authorities, charities and private sector firms. His most recent publication was a series of interviews with leading academics like Mary Beard on the state of the humanities which was published as a standalone magazine by the British Academy.

Fed up with travelling and determined to be a half-decent dad, he now works in London as often as he can. He runs the Young Directors Film School making movies with young people and is about to head up the Digital Film and Video MA at Tileyard. An avid musician and producer, he releases his third album as Romano Chorizo (he plays drums, bass, piano, guitar and really bad sax).

He hates to be pigeon-holed, thinks creativity is a learned state of mind and wishes they would teach people memory and learning techniques at school.

Dead & Talking is his debut novel, the first in a series of Porter & The Gliss investigations.

 

Social Media Links

Website www.desburkinshaw.com

Twitter twitter.com/DesBurkinshaw,

Facebook facebook as Des Burkinshaw

Giveaway to Win 3 x Signed Copies of Dead & Talking (Open INT)*

I am pleased to offer you the chance to read this book.

Click here to enter

Reading this book reminded me of why I love book blogging; it gives the opportunity to discover an author and series which may have slipped under my radar otherwise. I loved the hours I spent immersed in Norton and Gliss’ investigation so thank you Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to the tour and free ARC to read.

Good luck and happy reading!

Love

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*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Book Review: How Not To Write Female Characters by Lucy V Hay

I am a writer – mainly for fun though I am currently writing my first novel. If this ever gets released into the public domain you will be the first to know. Quite often on social media there are cringe worthy threads showing examples of how not to write female characters so I was pleased to be invited to take part in this book blitz tour so I do not fall into the same trap.

Book Review: How Not To Write Female Characters by Lucy V Hay

How Not To Write Female Characters by Lucy V. Hay

How Not To Write Female Characters Book Cover

Title: How Not To Write Female Characters

Author: Lucy V Hay

Genre: Non-fiction, Writing

Purchase link: Amazon

Blurb

Female characters. When fifty per cent of your potential target audience is female, if you’re not writing them in your screenplay or novel? You’re making a BIG mistake!

But how should you approach your female characters? That’s the million-dollar question … After all, women in real life are complex, varied and flawed. Knowing where to start in creating three dimensional female characters for your story is extremely difficult.

So … perhaps it’s easier to figure out how NOT to write female characters?

Script editor, novelist and owner of the UK’s top screenwriting blog http://www.bang2write.com, Lucy V Hay has spent the last fifteen years reading the slush pile. She has learned to spot the patterns, pitfalls and general mistakes writers make when writing female characters – and why.

In How Not To Write Female Characters, Lucy outlines:

•WHO your character is & how to avoid “classic” traps and pitfalls
•WHAT mistakes writers typically make with female characters
•WHERE you can find great female characters in produced and published content
•WHEN to let go of gender politics and agendas
•WHY female characters are more important than ever

Lucy is on a mission to improve your writing, as well as enable diverse voices and characters to rise to the top of the spec pile.

REVIEWS FOR LUCY V’S WRITING ADVICE:

‘A timely guide to creating original characters and reinvigorating tired storylines. ‘
– Debbie Moon, creator and showrunner, Wolfblood (BBC)

‘Lucy V. Hay nails it’
– Stephen Volk, BAFTA-winning screenwriter: Ghostwatch, Afterlife, The Awakening

‘Packed with practical and inspirational insights’
– Karol Griffiths, development consultant and script editor, clients include ITV, BBC, Warner Brothers

‘A top-notch, cutting-edge guide to writing and selling, not just practical but inspirational. Lucy’s distinctive voice infuses the entire journey. Quite brilliant. Here’s the woman who’ll help you make things happen.’
– Barbara Machin, award-winning writer & creator of Waking the Dead

‘Delivers the stirring call to arms that writers must not only write, but take their work to the next level themselves, making sacrifices and taking risks if they want to see their stories on screen.’
– Chris Jones, Filmmaker, Screenwriter & Creative Director at the London Screenwriters Festival

‘Writing and Selling Thriller Screenplays is a must-read for any writer, producer or director looking to create (or in the process of creating) a thriller production. It could also be immensely useful for those generally curious about the genre or looking to learn more.’ – Film Doctor

‘Lucy V Hay explains what a script reader and editor’s role in filmmaking, tells you to work on your concepts and that dialogue is the last thing to work on in her new book.’ – Brit Flicks

My Thoughts

As a writer at the bottom of the learning curve in this craft, I welcome any advice. This short book is ideal for novice and experienced writers. It is informative in a humorous way so you don’t make the females in your novel stereotypical and one dimensional. Luckily, I read many books written by women with female protagonists which helps see examples of Lucy Hay’s words in action though some stereotypes still creep in. All characters deserve to be rounded and developed. Her words of wisdom guide the way to make this happen.

Would I recommend?

It is a quick read, perfect for those on a deadline this July with Camp NanoNoWriMo. It serves as a reminder for writers on the importance of female characters in fiction and am happy to have it on my writing forever shelf for future reference.

Her blog is worth bookmarking too for handy tips and information.

Author Biography

How Not - hands in the air, looking up

Lucy V Hay

Lucy V. Hay is an author, script editor and blogger who helps writers via her Bang2write consultancy. Lucy is the producer of two Brit Thrillers, DEVIATION (2012) and ASSASSIN (2015), as well as the script editor and advisor on numerous other features and shorts. Lucy’s also the author of WRITING AND SELLING THRILLER SCREENPLAYS for Kamera Books’ “Creative Essentials” range, as well as its follow ups on DRAMA SCREENPLAYS and DIVERSE CHARACTERS.

Social Media Links –

Thanks Rachel’s Random Resources for bringing this book to my attention and inviting me on this book blitz tour.

Are you a writer? What do you think are the big no no’s in writing a female character?

Happy reading and writing!

Love

Book Review: The Boy in the Photo by Nicole Trope

It is the weekend and I am pleased to share with you my review for The Boy in the Photo by Nicole Trope. I have never read one of her books before but as soon as I read the gripping blurb; I knew it was one for my TBR pile. Luckily, Bookouture invited to this blog tour so could read it before the release date – thank you.

Book Review: The Boy in the Photo by Nicole Trope

The-Boy-in-the-Photo-Kindle

The Boy in the Photo by Nicole Trope

Title: The Boy in the Photo
Author: Nicole Trope
Genre: Psychological thriller, suspense
Publisher: Bookouture
Release Date: 28th June 2019

Blurb

She becomes aware of the silence at the other end of the line. A prickling sensation crawls up her arms. Her heart speeds up. ‘Found who?’ she asks, slowly, carefully, deliberately.
‘They found Daniel.’Six years agoMegan waits at the school gates for her six-year-old son, Daniel. As the playground empties, panic bubbles inside her. Daniel is nowhere to be found. Her darling son is missing.

Six years later

After years of sleepless nights and endless days of missing her son, Megan finally gets the call she has been dreaming about. Daniel has walked into a police station in a remote town just a few miles away.

Megan is overjoyed – her son is finally coming home. She has kept Daniel’s room, with his Cookie Monster poster on the wall and a stack of Lego under the bed, in perfect shape to welcome him back. But when he returns, there is something different about Daniel…

According to the police, Daniel was kidnapped by his father. After his dad died in a fire, Daniel was finally able to escape. Desperate to find out the truth, Megan tries to talk to her little boy – but he barely answers her questions. Longing to help him heal, Megan tries everything – his favourite chocolate milkshake, a reunion with his best friend, a present for every birthday missed – but still, Daniel is distant.

And as they struggle to connect, Megan begins to suspect that there is more to the story. Soon, she fears that her son is hiding a secret. A secret that could destroy her family…

A heartbreaking, emotional and poignant drama about a family in turmoil. Fans of Jodi Picoult, Liane Moriarty and Linda Green – this moving and stirring novel is for you.

My Thoughts

The blurb drew me in and I was not disappointed. The wonderful writing and characterisation of Megan immersed me into her life as I shared her emotional pain and turmoil when she loses and finds her son. The unimaginable scenario captivated me as the novel took me on a roller coaster of emotions; the past is cleverly revealed in successive anniversaries of his disappearance and shows her emotional journey through grief while always clinging on to hope. As a mum, it broke my heart in places as the fairy tale reunion she dreamt of fails to come true and the reality of the missing years sinks in.  The underlying suspense and dread as the truth is revealed carries the story forward despite having suspicions of where it could possibly lead was going. 

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is a well written, heart breaking story full of suspense.When I first started reading I was unsure whether it was a family based drama or psychological thriller but it is a good blend of both and would appeal to fans of both of those genres.

Nicole Trope is worthy of the title Australian’s Jodi Picoult as mentioned in the tag line. This is an author I will be following closely and reading her back catalogue.

Author Biography

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Nicole Trope

Nicole Trope went to university to study Law but realised the error of her ways when she did very badly on her first law essay because-as her professor pointed out- ‘It’s not meant to be a story.’ She studied teaching instead and used her holidays to work on her writing career and complete a Masters’ degree in Children’s Literature. After the birth of her first child she stayed home full time to write and raise children, renovate houses and build a business with her husband.
The idea for her first published novel, The Boy under the Table, was so scary that it took a year for her to find the courage to write the emotional story. Her second novel, Three Hours Late, was voted one of Fifty Books you can’t put down in 2013 and her third novel, The Secrets in Silence, was The Australian Woman’s Weekly Book of the month for June 2014.
She lives in Sydney with her husband and three children.
Social Media links:

 

Thank you again, Bookouture and NetGalley for inviting me on this blog tour and an advanced copy so I could give my honest, unbiased opinion.

Happy weekend reading! Have you read any Nicole Trope’s novels? I would love to know your thoughts.

Love

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Book Review: I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

I have been a fan of Sophie Kinsella since I read The Undomestic Goddess so was excited to see the news she was releasing a new book, I Owe You One. I signed up for a chance to read it on The Pigeonhole but I was offered the chance to read an arc by Netgalley. Scroll down to see if it lived up to my expectations.

Book Review: I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

Book Review: I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella

Book Cover for I Owe You One

Title: I Owe You One

Author: Sophie Kinsella

Genre: Adult fiction, romance

Publisher: Random House UK

Release date: 15th February 2019

Blurb

‘A gem of a novel’ JODI PICOULT

The irresistible new standalone from Sophie Kinsella is a story of love, empowerment and an IOU that changes everything . . .

Fixie Farr can’t help herself. Straightening a crooked object, removing a barely-there stain, helping out a friend . . . she just has to put things right. It’s how she got her nickname, after all.

So when a handsome stranger in a coffee shop asks her to watch his laptop for a moment, Fixie not only agrees, she ends up saving it from certain disaster. To thank her, the computer’s owner, Sebastian, scribbles her an IOU – but of course Fixie never intends to call in the favour.

That is, until her teenage crush, Ryan, comes back into her life and needs her help – and Fixie turns to Seb. But things don’t go according to plan, and now Fixie owes Seb: big time.

Soon the pair are caught up in a series of IOUs – from small favours to life-changing debts – and Fixie is torn between the past she’s used to and the future she deserves.

Does she have the courage to fix things for herself and fight for the life, and love, she really wants?

My Thoughts

This book is one of Sophie Kinsella’s best novels. I made the mistake of thinking I could read only one chapter before getting out of bed; nineteen chapters later I was still under the duvet and accepted I would be there until I reached the end. It has been a long time since I binge read a book in one sitting but when it happens it is glorious and very decadent.

Family always come first for Fixie Farr even if her siblings make her feel inferior and has a strong compulsion to fix things if she sees a problem which can have chaotic  consequences. As the youngest child, I instantly connected with her and understood her emotional journey dealing with her family.  Sophie Kinsella has a talent of combining a likeable character and an unusual situation to create something magical and believable. It made me laugh and cry. All the characters are memorable and will be revisited again.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is a joy to read and perfect for a few hours of me time. Since writing this, I have reread it and enjoyed it more the second time. This is definitely one for my forever shelf next to Twenties Girl which is also a well read book by Sophie Kinsella.

Have you read this or other books by Sophie Kinsella? I would love to know your thoughts below

Love

Book Review: The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas

I am pleased to start this week with a review for The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas. As many of you know I love books about the supernatural so I was excited to be given the chance to be on this blog tour organised by @rararesources

Book Review: The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas

The House of Secrets_FINAL (1)

The House of Secrets by Terry Lynn Thomas

Title: The House of Secrets (The Sarah Bennett Mysteries, Book 2)

Author: Terry Lynn Thomas

Genre: paranormal crime

Publisher: HQ Digital

Release Date: 11th April 2019

Blurb

Sarah Bennett has two secrets: she sees ghosts, and she is in love with a spy.

When Sarah takes a job with occult expert Dr Matthew Geisler, he promises to help her understand the sorrowful spirit that seems to have attached itself to her.

As Sarah struggles to cope with the ghostly presence, she runs into Zeke, the man who left her six months earlier and is recovering from injuries suffered in an alleged accident. But Zeke has secrets of his own, and when an attempt is made on Geisler’s life, Sarah finds herself caught in a struggle between the living and the dead.

Unsure who she can trust, Sarah must solve the mystery of the soul determined to haunt her, and save Dr Geisler and herself from an unknown threat.

This book was previously published as WEEPING IN THE WINGS

Purchase Links:

US – https://www.amazon.com/House-Secrets-Sarah-Bennett-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07H3DKQQ4

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/House-Secrets-Sarah-Bennett-Mysteries-ebook/dp/B07H3DKQQ4

Purchase News: The House of Secrets is 99p throughout June as part of the June Kindle Monthly deal. The Spirit of Grace, book 1 in the series is also 99p throughout June.

My Thoughts

The opening scene grabbed my attention but the verdict of Sarah’s father murder trial clinched it, I knew I would like this book . The House of Secrets is the second in the Sarah Bennett series but it can be read as a standalone. It does make you curious about Sarah Bennett’s and Zeke’s back story which is why the previous one The Spirit of Grace is on my TBR list . The premise of a psychic protagonist investigating crime is not unique but set in the 1940s  the threat of being admitted to an asylum is ever present adding to the overall tension. Sarah is haunted by the past but determined not to sucked under by the spirits she hears or the gossip that follows her.

The prose and imagery made it a relaxing read and reminded me of the Agatha Christie Mysteries but with ghosts which I think is a wonderful combination. I was immersed in the working of the Geisler household and its occupants. It has been converted into an institute for psychiatric patients but with Dr Geisler’s interest in the occult some are also believed to have psychic abilities. Minna is a classic damsel in distress from a Gothic novel and was fun to read but my favourite character was sophisticated Cynthia. I would love to read about her and hope she plays apart in any future books. All the characters including Dr Gleiser have an air of secrecy about them and I felt any of them could prove to be Sarah’s undoing. Like Sarah I was unsure who to trust and where the story would go.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this a refreshing, cosy read for lazy days on the beach, Sunday mornings or hiding under the duvet. I am looking forward to reading more of the series and other books by Terry Lynn Thomas.

Author Biography

The House of Secrets Headshot

Author Terry Lynn Thomas

Terry Lynn Thomas grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area, which explains her love of foggy beaches and Gothic mysteries. When her husband promised to buy Terry a horse and the time to write if she moved to Mississippi with him, she jumped at the chance. Although she had written several novels and screenplays prior to 2006, after she relocated to the South she set out to write in earnest and has never looked back.

Terry Lynn writes the Sarah Bennett Mysteries, set on the California coast during the 1940s, which feature a misunderstood medium in love with a spy. The Drowned Woman is a recipient of the IndieBRAG Medallion. She also writes the Cat Carlisle Mysteries, set in Britain during World War II. The first book in this series, The Silent Woman, came out in April 2018 and has since become a USA TODAY bestseller. When she’s not writing, you can find Terry Lynn riding her horse, walking in the woods with her dogs, or visiting old cemeteries in search of story ideas.

Social Media Links – https://twitter.com/TLThomasBooks

Thank you Rachel’s Random Resources, and HQ Digital for allowing me to read this book for an honest review. For more information and reviews on The House Of Secret why not visit the other blogs on the tour.

I love ghostly reads so feel free to share your recommendations below and if you have read this series please let me know your thoughts.

Happy Reading !

Love

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Book Review: Two Little Girls by Frances Vick

It seems ages since I reviewed a book that was not women’s fiction so I am happy to be part of the blog tour for Two Little Girls by Frances Vick.

Book Review: Two Little Girls by Frances Vick

Two-Little-Girls-Kindle

Two Little Girls Book Cover

Title:  Two Little Girls

Author: Frances Vick

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Publisher: Bookouture

Release Date: 17th April

Purchase Links: 

Amazon: https://geni.us/B07MW3ZSDYSocial

Apple Books: https://apple.co/2CrlQ9I

Kobo: https://tinyurl.com/yb5m7j6r

Googleplay: https://tinyurl.com/ybdgj2kg

Blurb:

An innocent girl is taken. The killer confesses.
But that’s not the whole story. That’s not even the beginning…

It’s 1985 and the disappearance of ten-year-old Lisa Cook shocks the nation. Her best friend, Kirsty, traumatised and fearful, gives evidence that helps to put the Cook family’s lodger behind bars.

…But what if Kirsty made a mistake?

Now, decades later, Kirsty leaves a life she loves to move back to the hometown she hates – tortured by her memories, she’s determined to finally uncover the truth about what happened to Lisa that day. But someone is waiting for her there, someone close to her family. Someone who is hoping to finish off a job that was started years ago…

An absolutely gripping emotional drama for fans of The Couple Next Door, Whisper Me This and Laura Elliot

 My Thoughts:

This is the first book I have read from this author but it will not be the last. It began in 1985 with two best friends Lisa and Kirsty pushing the boundaries and rules of childhood. I was a similar age at the time; I could visualise their lives easily with the mention of Grange Hill, Care bears and Smash Hits but it took me a while to get into the book and relate to both girls. It became easier to form the connection to Kirsty as the harsh consequences of Lisa’s disappearance were revealed. There were times I thought I knew what had happened as she began to uncover the truth but the introduction of two psychics turned my assumptions around. I love books with a potential supernatural element so I became gripped as the tension increased and the pace escalated to the surprising finale.

Would I recommend?

Yes, this a strong psychological thriller with an interesting premise and many twists making it a good book to snuggle down under the duvet with at a weekend. I am looking forward to adding more of Frances Vick book on my TBR list.

Author Biography:

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Frances Vick

The only child of parents who worked at a top security psychiatric hospital, Frances Vick grew up receiving disquieting notes and presents from the patients. Expelled from school, she spent the next few years on the dole, augmenting her income by providing security and crewing for gigs, and being a medical experiment guinea pig. Later jobs included working in a theatre in Manhattan, teaching English in Japanese Junior High Schools, and being a life model in Italy, before coming back to London and working with young offenders and refugees. 

Author Social Media Links:

TWITTER: @franvicksays

WEBSITE: www.francesvick.co.

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/FrancesVickAuthor/

GOODREADS: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9843604.Frances_Vick

Thank you Bookouture, NetGalley and Frances Vick for the opportunity to be part of this tour and an advanced copy of the book so I could give an honest, unbiased review.

Happy reading!

Love

Blog Tour and Book Review: Dyed Souls by Gary Santorella

The blurb of this book sounded different to many I have read recently and I loved the unique cover so when I was offered a place on this blog tour by Rachel Random Resources I had to accept.

Book Review: Dyed Souls by Gary Santorella

Dyed Souls Cover

Dyed Souls Book Cover

Title: Dyed Souls

Author: Gary Santorella

Publisher: Matador

Genre: Young Adult, New Adult, General fiction

Release Date: 6th February 2018

Blurb

Described by John Lloyd of The Bookbag as “Catcher in the Cuckoo’s Nest,” Dyed Souls is a gritty coming-of-age literary novel, set in a residential treatment center in 1980’s California.
Charlie Lyle loves science, natural history, and the world of the mind, and it is his refuge and salvation as he copes with his drug-addicted mother and a world of circumstances well-beyond his grasp. More a work of philosophy than psychology, “For the teen it has a galling coming-of-age, redemption quest. For the adult it has that, as well as a literary look at a singular fictional life.”

Purchase Links

Troubadour – https://www.troubador.co.uk/bookshop/contemporary/dyed-souls/

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dyed-Souls-Gary-Santorella/dp/1788038096

UShttps://www.amazon.com/Dyed-Souls-Gary-Santorella/dp/1788038096

 

My Thoughts

From the moment my stomach lurched with Charlie’s and I felt every swerve of the car as he is driven to the residential treatment centre I knew this author had written one of those books that stays with you for a lifetime. I was not wrong. I loved this hard-hitting, gritty sometimes disturbing novel. All the kids have troubled backgrounds, and it does not shy away from the consequences of these. For those who look for trigger warnings this may not be the book for you but the depth of all the characters and use of language is wonderful and gives an eye opening insight into their lives. It was refreshing to read a male perspective of a screwed up childhood and Charlie’s voice leapt off the page giving the emotional connection a book needs. He is intelligent, and he uses his love of Darwin to make sense of his chaotic world as he discovers love for the first time and who he is. Usually I would say “grab a box of tissues”  but this novel is too intense for that, I was gripped to the end and I could not help feeling I was a different person after closing the book. It is hard to believe this is a debut fiction novel and look forward to discovering what Gary Santorella writes next.

Would I recommend?

Oh yes. It is one of those books for my forever shelf that just looking at the cover will transport me back to Hawthorne. It is a powerful book that I can see as being seen as a classic in the future and I feel privileged to have it on my shelf.

Author Biography

Gary Santorella

Gary Santorella, Owner, Interactive Consulting is a Lean implementation, organizational development, conflict resolution, and team-building specialist. He has a BA in Behavioural Psychology from Providence College, Providence, RI (1980), a Master’s Degree in Occupational Social Welfare from UC Berkeley (1990), and is a licensed cognitive-behavioural therapist in the State of California. His book: Lean Culture for the Construction Industry: Building Responsible & Committed Project Teams 2nd Edition was published by Productivity Press (a division of Taylor & Francis) in 2017. His first novel, Dyed Souls, was published by Matador Publishing in 2018.

Social Media Links 

https://www.facebook.com/Dyed-Souls-577806782579433/?modal=admin_todo_tour

https://twitter.com/dyedsouls

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38451700-dyed-souls

Dyed Souls has won two awards:

Silver in the 2018 Global eBook Awards – Young Adult Fiction Category

Chill With a Book Readers Award.

Thank you Rachel Gibley and Matador and Gary Santorella for the copy of this novel to read to give an honest, unbiased review.

Love

Blog Tour and Book Review: The Pelican by M. Naidoo

pelicans-446864_1920

Unique beautiful birds

Books grab my attention for many reasons, sometimes it is a classic case of judging its potential by the cover, other times it is the blurb but this time I was attracted by the title. The prehistoric looking pelican has fascinated me ever since I read about its antics in Roald Dahl’s The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me as a child and a visit to Paphos in Cyprus where a friendly one would walk along the harbour cemented my love for them. The blurb and the mystery of the bird intrigued me further so I am grateful to Rachel Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and opportunity to read a complimentary copy so I could give my honest review.

Book Review: The Pelican by M.Naidoo

The Pelican cover

The Pelican by M.Naidoo Book Cover

Title: The Pelican

Author: M. Naidoo

Publisher: Kaedin Press

Release Date: 29 July 2017

Blurb

“Because life is about living…”

Julia has never been one to surrender without a fight, but when she receives a devastating diagnosis, she has a decision to make.
Even after thirty years, she can still see her mother slowly fading away with every dose of chemo, every round of radiation, and every lost shred of hope. No, she won’t do it… not to her family… and not to herself!
Without warning, she packs up her belongings and disappears, leaving behind a life that, by all accounts, had been as perfect as they come, and a distraught family full of questions.
Finding peace in a beach house in Northern California turns out to have its complications though. While only a handful of other residents share the tiny beach community, each one has brought their own baggage and developed their own way of dealing with it. All Julia wants is to be left alone, but that simply does not seem to be an option, especially when there’s a persistent bird that declares her to be his new best friend.
Haunted by the shadows of the past, Julia is struggling to cope with the present. Will she have the strength to do this alone and eventually follow through with her plan? Will her family, divided by mixed reactions to being abandoned, come together to try and track her down? And what is the deal with that pelican of hers?
Only time will tell – and time is the one thing Julia does not have…

Purchase Links

https://www.amazon.com/Pelican-M-Naidoo-ebook/dp/B074DTBMZQ/

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Pelican-M-Naidoo-ebook/dp/B074DTBMZQ/

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/the-pelican-4

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-pelican-m-naidoo/1129330070?ean=2940161877258

For duration of tour – The Pelican will be £1.99 on Amazon UK (and US)

My Thoughts

The Pelican is a beautifully written novel which pulled at the emotions as you would expect from the subject matter. Tissues are required but it is not a maudlin story but one of love, taking control of your own death but how life always brings you the unexpected. Julia had always planned to live by the sea so when she was told she has cancer this was where she retreated to. The descriptions of the stunning scenery made it is easy for me to imagine being on the coast, watching the sunset with the meditative sound of the waves lapping on the shore and a lone pelican waddling towards me. He was a wonderful, captivating character and helped immerse me in the story. As I got to know Julia and her past I could understand her reasoning for dying alone but found it difficult at times when other perspectives were told. It made me consider what I would do in the same position.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is a memorable thought-provoking story which would be ideal for book club discussions and the pelican has a special place in my heart.

I loved M.Naidoo’s writing style, pace and ability to bring the setting alive so I am grateful to have another author to follow and explore.

Author Biography

The Pelican Author highres

M. Naidoo

Born and raised in Germany, M.Naidoo lives in Northern California with her husband, two daughters, and three dogs. One of them, Dusty, a spunky terrier mix, found its way into her debut novel.
When she is not in front of her computer, pounding out story lines and characters, she enjoys reading, movies, spending time with her family, and long walks on the beach – her proverbial ‘happy place’. M’s love for the beach and ocean shine through in the vivid descriptions of the coast in The Pelican.

“Juggling my life as a writer and a full-time ‘real’ job has its challenges. I don’t get to spend half as much time as I’d like doing what I love, and there are never enough hours in the day. Still, I feel extremely lucky to be following my passion, and I am enjoying every minute of it. Getting here has been one heck of a ride!”

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/AuthorMNaidoo/

https://www.instagram.com/authormnaidoo/

https://twitter.com/authormnaidoo

Thanks again to Rachel Random Resources and M. Naidoo for the tour invitation and sharing this lovely book.

Have you read The Pelican? I would love to know your thoughts in the comments below.

Happy reading!

Love

Blog Tour and Book Review: It’s My Birthday by Hannah Pearl

As soon as I read the blurb for this book the song It’s my birthday and I’ll cry if I want to by the Nolan Sisters looped in my mind and it compelled me to add it to my TBR list. I was thrilled to be invited to this tour by Rachel’s Random Resources and receive a copy to read.

Book Review: It’s My Birthday by Hannah Pearl

It's My Birthday book cover

It’s My Birthday by Hannah Pearl Book Cover

Title: It’s My Birthday

Author: Hannah Pearl

Genre: Fiction, romance

Publisher: Ruby Fiction

Release date: 19th March 2019

Blurb:

It’s My Birthday

… I’ll cry if I want to.
Oh boy, another birthday …
Karen could be excused for crying on her birthday, especially as it’s the first one since her husband got on a plane to the States and never came back. Then there’s the fact that her workmates were practically bribed to attend her birthday meal. But when a restaurant double booking leads to her sharing a table with single dad Elliot and his daughter, things start looking up.

As Karen gets to know Elliot she experiences feelings she thought she’d never have again. But is it enough? Or will the thing that destroyed Karen’s previous relationship also ruin things with Elliot?

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Its-My-Birthday-heartwarming-romance-ebook/dp/B07N5LXS93

US – https://www.amazon.com/Its-My-Birthday-heartwarming-romance-ebook/dp/B07N5LXS93

My Thoughts

As someone who has had their 40th birthday I loved the idea of the novel beginning on Karen’s birthday at her party which she is reluctantly attending. In the first few pages Hannah Pearl painted a birthday scene I instantly related to, and I was immersed in this honest, heartwarming novel until the end. It was just what I needed on a weekend of duvet dwelling with back pain. Karen was easy to connect to, and it was refreshing to read grounded characters discovering they may have a second chance of love by accident rather than actively searching for a date. Karen has the security of a job and house and despite being heartbroken from her failed marriage she is not a damsel in distress. Any relationship she wants is to complement her life rather than making her whole. Besides Karen, I loved Sophie who unlike many teenagers in fiction shows no angst about the possibility of her father, Elliot going out with another woman. It was lovely to see the friendship between Karen and her develop. The emotive topics of infertility and IVF are dealt with sensitively and pulled at my emotions as Karen struggles with the idea she may never be a mother. 

Would I recommend?

This is an ideal weekend or holiday read. I look forward to reading more from this author.

Author Biography

hannah pearl

Hannah Pearl

Hannah Pearl was born in East London. She is married with two children and now lives in Cambridge.

She has previously worked as a Criminology researcher, as a Development Worker with various charities and even pulled a few pints in her time.

In 2015 she was struck down by Labrynthitis, which left her feeling dizzy and virtually housebound. She has since been diagnosed with ME. Reading has allowed Hannah to escape from the reality of feeling ill. She read upwards of three hundred books during the first year of her illness. When her burgeoning eReader addiction grew to be too expensive, she decided to have a go at writing. In 2017 she won Simon and Schuster’s Books and the City #heatseeker short story competition, in partnership with Heat magazine, for her short story The Last Good Day.

Hannah is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association.

Blogdizzygirlwrites.wordpress.com

Twitter – https://twitter.com/HannahPearl_1

Thanks again Rachel Random Resources for allowing me to read an ARC so I could give an honest review.

Hope you have a happy weekend and reading.

Love

It's My Birthday banner

Other blogs to visit on this tour

Book review and cover for The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

Book Review and Blog Tour: The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

March has arrived with the daffodils, some gorgeous days interspersed with storms. With the rain and wind outside, I have been enjoying snuggling in the warm reading. I am pleased to share my review for The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl. When I am out I love seeing old doors, the quirkier or unusual the better and always wonder about the secrets that lie behind them. The image on this cover with the protagonist standing in the entrance of green weather beaten door caught my imagination making me want to follow her so I was thrilled to be offered a place on this tour with Rachel Random Resources.

Book Review: The Forgotten Secret by Kathleen McGurl

cover from fb

Title: The Forgotten Secret

Author: Kathleen McGurl

Genre: Women’s Fiction, historical

Publisher: HQ Digital

Release date: 1st March 2019

Purchase Links

UK  – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Forgotten-Secret-heartbreaking-gripping-historical-ebook/dp/B07H2PMPR3

US  – https://www.amazon.com/Forgotten-Secret-heartbreaking-gripping-historical-ebook/dp/B07H2PMPR3  

Blurb

A country at war

It’s the summer of 1919 and Ellen O’Brien has her whole life ahead of her. Young, in love and leaving home for her first job, the future seems full of shining possibility. But war is brewing and before long Ellen and everyone around her are swept up by it. As Ireland is torn apart by the turmoil, Ellen finds herself facing the ultimate test of love and loyalty.

And a long-buried secret

A hundred years later and Clare Farrell has inherited a dilapidated old farmhouse in County Meath. Seizing the chance to escape her unhappy marriage she strikes out on her own for the first time, hoping the old building might also provide clues to her family’s shadowy history. As she sets out to put the place – and herself – back to rights, she stumbles across a long-forgotten hiding place, with a clue to a secret that has lain buried for decades.

For fans of Kate Morton and Gill Paul comes an unforgettable novel about two women fighting for independence.

My Thoughts

I do not know much about Irish history, the formation of Northern Ireland and its complex relationship with Britain except from the odd bits I have picked up from the news and books. In the present day political climate it has never been more important to learn and I’m grateful for the insight this book gave me into the War of Independence and beyond. I appreciated the summary of events at the beginning which helped in the understanding Ellen’s story.

The Forgotten Secret has a dual timeline. One story is set in 1996 with Clare finding her feet as she claims her independence from her overbearing husband after she inherits a tumbling down cottage in Ireland. The other follows Ellen as she gets a job as a maid in 1919.  Clashes between the Irish volunteers and the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) turn her life turned upside down. Loyalties between family and friends are stretched to the limits. Reading about the past events and people’s lives in Ireland was shocking and left me reeling.  It started many conversations which is always a good by-product of a well researched novel.

Both characters intrigued me; they were both stronger than they thought they could be and working towards independence but it was Ellen and the increased tension building in her life which drove the novel forward. From the beginning, I needed to know what happened to her and her childhood sweetheart. Kathleen McGurl captured the fear of the time with her words. It was only as Clare’s story unfolded and the farmhouse revealed the keys to the mystery in her family I formed a solid connection to her. By the end, I was hooked on both timelines.

Would I recommend?

Yes, it is an emotional, thought-provoking read with strong women finding their own way. The blend of history, love and mystery makes it a good book for reading under the duvet or in the garden enjoying the sun. I have never read any of the author’s book before so I am delighted to add some more books to my TBR.

Author Biography

 

Kathleen McGurl author of The Forgotten Secret

Kathleen McGurl

Kathleen McGurl lives near the sea in Bournemouth, UK, with her husband and elderly tabby cat. She has two sons who are now grown-up and have left home. She began her writing career creating short stories, and sold dozens to women’s magazines in the UK and Australia. Then she got side-tracked onto family history research – which led eventually to writing novels with genealogy themes. She has always been fascinated by the past, and the ways in which the past can influence the present, and enjoys exploring these links in her novels.

Social Media Links –

Website:  https://kathleenmcgurl.com/

Twitter: @KathMcGurl  https://twitter.com/KathMcGurl

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

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kathleenmcgurl/

Thank you Rachel Random Resources for inviting me to this tour and Kathleen McGurl and HQ Digital for giving me to read an advanced copy so I could give an unbiased, honest review.

Have you read any books based in Ireland about the Troubles? Let me know in the comments below as I would love to know more about this subject.

Happy reading!

Love

Katie signature pink

 

P.S If you would like to know more about the book and author, why not pop over to the other blogs on the tour. Info given below.

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