#BlogTour All Wrapped Up in You by Sun Chara

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour All Wrapped Up in You by Sun Chara. She puts a modern twist on an age-old recipe for racing hearts and romantic interludes.

Enter the Giveaway below to – Win a $20 Amazon Gift card and an e-copy of All Wrapped Up In You (Open Internationally) 

All about the Author

Sun Chara, an Amazon top 100 bestseller, writes sexy, hip ‘n fun contemporary romance, and romantic comedies w/a divine twist for HarperImpulse. She makes her home in southern California, and has appeared on stage/film to rave reviews in How the Other Half Loves, General Hospital, and McGee and Me. She has a Masters Degree in Education and membership in SAG/AFTRA and Romance Writers of America. Sipping Frappuccinos topped with whipped cream/sprinkles, and dancing on the beach make everyday a celebration!

Follow @sunchara3 and @HarperImpulse on Twitter, Or connect with suncharaauthorpage on Facebook

Buy All Wrapped Up in You

About the book

Their marriage hangs in the balance, but on this wind battered Christmas Eve, a miracle is born…

When Ellie hooked up with world renowned neurosurgeon, Peter Medeci, aka ‘Prince Charming’, she thought her dreams had come true. But the demands of being the model wife to his career triggers a mutiny within her and she decides to ditch the ‘royal’ life until he sees her as more than his bedroom playmate.

Review

This is a novella length romantic story. A tidbit of spicy love just in time for the holidays.

Ellie has decided to spend time finding herself after losing any sight of her old persona in the midst of her marriage to Peter. She can no longer see beyond the wealthy lifestyle, the charade of said lifestyle comes with so much pressure, and the two of them seem to be two ships passing each other in the night.

Where is the love they once shared? Not the breathtaking erotic moments of thrill or the lust that fills her from top to bottom when she sees Peter. No, where is the compassion and friendship they once shared. Ellie is willing to live like a matchstick girl until she gets the answers she needs.

What I will say is that it is always worth picking up a full-length novel by Chara. This short interlude does not give her creativity, storytelling and ability to create the kind of bodice-ripping characters a lot of readers enjoy, any justice at all. It is too short to be able to give Ellie, Peter or their relationship they depth the deserve.

Chara, and her writing, always remind me of the popular romance novels of the 80s and early 90s. Her style, the plots and her characters all have this vibe the readers used to hunger for, which is why the books were so popular at the time. She puts a modern twist on an age-old recipe for racing hearts and romantic interludes.

Buy All Wrapped Up In You at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. All Wrapped Up in You at Amazon com

Read my review of Greek Millionaire, Unruly Wife by Sun Chara


Enter the Giveaway below to – Win a $20 Amazon Gift card and an e-copy of All Wrapped Up In You (Open Internationally) 

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

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#BlogTour Kosmos by Adrian Laing

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Kosmos by Adrian Laing. Laing mixes folklore, magic and the modern legal system to create a quirky courtroom story with an underlying moral core.

About the Author

Adrian Laing was born in Harlow, Essex in 1958 and was educated at Hillhead High School, Glasgow and Exeter University where he studied law, graduating in 1978. Adrian was called to the bar (Inner Temple) in 1979, aged 21. Following a sabbatical in Paris studying with Michel Foucault at the College de France, Adrian undertook a pupillage in chambers and was made a Tenant (2 Pump Court, Inner Temple) practicing at the criminal bar defending and prosecuting in jury trials for seven years.

Leaving the criminal bar in 1987 to pursue more commercial interests, Adrian worked as the Assistant Head of Licensing at the ITC during the Channel 3 franchise process and then as a full-time consultant to the Chief Executive of Thames Television (Richard Dunn), following which Adrian was appointed the Senior Broadcasting Lawyer for the Leeds-based firm of solicitors, Hammond Suddards working in the city of London.

In 1994 Adrian was selected to become the first in-house lawyer at the Murdoch-owned publishing house, HarperCollins, where he held the position of Director of Legal Affairs and Company Secretary till 2001 working with some of the leading authors and agents of the day.

Adrian qualified as a solicitor in 2003 and set up his own legal practice (Laing & Co) for over 10 years acting for a wide range of prestigious business clients and authors. Adrian presented or chaired a leading seminar for The London Book Fair 2003 to 2012.

Adrian Laing is the co-author with his wife (Deborah Fosbrook) of three leading law titles published by Bloomsbury Professional, the author of R.D. Laing: A Life a widely acclaimed biography of his late father, the Scottish psychiatrist R.D. Laing, and a novel, Rehab Blues.

Adrian has appeared on radio and television many times most notably the BBC documentary ‘Just Another Sinner’ and Saturday Live with James Runchie.

Adrian now lives in Eastbourne, East Sussex. Buy Kosmos

About the book

Rookie barrister George Winsome, young and arrogant, defends an old boy who thinks he’s Merlin on a manslaughter charge. The riotous trial turns Merlin into a celebrity; money, greed and ambition take hold of George and his partner Heather until the secret of Merlin’s past is revealed as the spirit of Saint Yves intervenes to ensure George and Heather follow their true paths.

‘Kosmos’ is a modern-day jury trial, a feel-good love story and a spiritual journey involving Saint Yves, Nemesis and Merlin.

Review

George Winsome is assigned to represent an old homeless man accused of assault, a man who believes himself to be a great man of power and magic. Merlin thinks the meeting between himself and George is preordained, a way for him to keep the universe on track. Clearly everyone else thinks Merlin is a sandwich short of a picnic and George too big for his boots, which makes them the perfect peculiar couple.

Just based on this scenario it is quite easy to see how the innocent can fall prey to the criminal and/or legal system, and to get lost within misconceptions and misinformation. Aside from that Laing also shines a light on the archaic British legal system, and although everyone is amused by its eccentricities I wonder if they aren’t detrimental to the people having to go through said system.

For me the most intriguing aspect of this concept was whether or not we (people) need to believe in the improbable to sustain some semblance of hope in a world filled with uncertainty, fear and violence. To believe in a fictional or mythical character to achieve some sort of comfort in difficult times.

It also steers readers in the direction of accepting an element of peace in a role in life you might not have imagined yourself in, and yet might accidentally fall into. The few that understand that small acts of kindness will exact change, even if only for a few people, which is often more important than a ruthless high-ranking job with plenty of material gains.

Laing mixes folklore, magic and the modern legal system to create a quirky courtroom story with an underlying moral core.

Buy Kosmos at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Buy Kosmos at Amazon com

Publisher: Flame Tree Press, Follow @flametreepress

Sign up to the new Flame Tree Press Newsletter

#BlogTour The Sorrows by Jonathan Janz

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour for The Sorows by Jonathan Janz. Janz has a penchant for the unpredictable and the macabre. A perfect combination for a connoisseur and writer of horror.About the Author

Jonathan Janz is the author of more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories.

His work has been championed by authors like Joe R. Lansdale, Jack Ketchum, and Brian Keene; he has also been lauded by Publishers Weekly, the Library Journal, and the School Library Journal.

His novel Children of the Dark was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Horror Book of the Year. Jonathan’s main interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children. You can sign up for his newsletter Shadow World, and you can follow him on:

Follow @JonathanJanz @flametreepress on Twitter, On Instagram

Visit jonathanjanz.com

Buy The Sorrows

About the book

The Sorrows, an island off the coast of northern California, and its castle have been uninhabited since a series of gruesome murders in 1925. But its owner needs money, so he allows film composers Ben and Eddie and a couple of their female friends to stay a month in Castle Blackwood. Eddie is certain a haunted castle is just the setting Ben needs to find inspiration for a horror film.

But what they find is more horrific than any movie. Something is waiting for them in the castle. A malevolent being has been trapped for nearly a century. And he’s ready to feed.

Review

You get a fair idea of what to expect within the first chapter or so. Okay that’s a lie, Janz loves to spring the unexpected on his readers and his poor characters.

I like the idea of the odd codependent relationship between Ben and Eddie. The whole deal with the devil to achieve ultimate success and wealth. The way Eddie is willing to go to such extreme measures to get Ben motivated or rather to get his creative juices flowing, well it borders on negligence. What he perceives to be amusing others would consider to be reckless and dangerous. Not exactly what I would call a great friend.

I’m not sure the group really understands the stress and pain Chris is going through. Life as he knows it is in tatters, and having to deal with a vindictive ex-wife who is alienating their young son from him, is destroying him physically and mentally. It makes Chris a liability and someone who is willing to take a big risk, Not exactly unusual for a gambler, which is how and why he ends up letting the risk craving group enter Castle Blackwood.

If you have read anything by Janz then you will probably be aware that he has a talent for the darkest depths of hell and horror. The Sorrows represents the beginning of his journey, and also shows much he has honed his craft since then.

Low level male chauvinism and misogyny is alive and well in the men, and the women are objectified. Well, except for evil ex-wife perhaps. The sexual escapades seem more like gratuitous fillers and the horror is on the other end of the extreme.

Saying all that, the talent doesn’t go unnoticed and is clearly evident in this first novel. What I really liked, especially at the beginning of the book, was the way Ben and Eddie reacted to each other and the events. It was almost as if Janz wrote each part without either character knowing what the other was going to do, and that surprise comes through bold as brass.

Janz has a penchant for the unpredictable and the macabre. A perfect combination for a connoisseur and writer of horror.

Buy The Sorrows by Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: Flame Tree Press, (New edition – 30 Nov. 2018)

#BlogTour Bait, Grist and Security by Mike Hodges

Today it’s more than a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Bait, Grist and Security by Mike Hodges, the cult director of Get Carter and Flash Gordon. The stories have a gangster, old-school boys club vibe combined with shock-jock tactics. They shine a light on the corrupt cesspit of the world of influence and money.

About the Author

Mike Hodges was born in Bristol, UK. As a television producer in the 1960s, he was invited to join the investigative programme World in Action. This took him to the US, covering the 1964 presidential election, and that same year to the war in Vietnam. He produced and sometimes directed the arts programmes Tempo and New Tempo . He is perhaps best-known for his work in cinema and television, including: Get Carter, Suspect, Rumour, The Manipulators, Pulp, The Terminal Man, Flash Gordon, A Prayer for the Dying, Morons from Outer Space, Florida Straits, Black Rainbow, Croupier, and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead. He lives in London. This is his first book.

Follow @unbounders (publisher) on Twitter

Buy Bait, Grist and Security

About the book

Three darkly comic noir novellas from the cult director of Get Carter

In ‘Bait’, a slippery PR man, Mark Miles, is unaware he’s being manipulated and dangled as bait by an investigative reporter until he’s swallowed by a sadistic mind-expanding cult from America.

In ‘Grist’, the bestselling writer, Maxwell Grist, ruthlessly uses real people as fodder for his crime novels before finding himself living up to his name and becoming grist for his ownmurder.

In ‘Security’, an American movie star, unhappy with the film he’s working on, refuses to leave his hotel for the studios, while in the corridor outside his luxury suite mayhem and murder take over.Review

Bait, Grist and Security are three novellas written by cult director Mike Hodges. It is fair to say that all three stories are an attempt to reveal the worst traits of humans and the failings of society. I think the noir is so dark and dirty that it might be considered crud, either that or sent straight from the depraved bowels of hell.

As a director, Mike Hodges has given us film classics, such as Get Carter and Flash Gordon. I am not sure his writing translates as well as his spectacular talent at envisioning what a film should look like to viewers. Then again perhaps it is just a matter of perspective.

The stories have a gangster, old-school boys club vibe combined with shock-jock tactics. They shine a light on the corrupt cesspit of the world of influence and money. Everything is pretty and polished on the surface, but beneath the shallow exterior lurks something uncomfortable and dark.

The stories are also crude, sexually explicit and often teetering on the border of politically incorrect and absolutely socially unacceptable. The scene with the woman in the field is like something out of the Linda Lovelace (also known as Deep Throat) autobiography, except in her case the bestiality was done unto her by a canine. Then there is the occasional lean towards paedophilia.

It’s most certainly going to be a bit of a marmite read, as in not everyone’s cup of tea. Hodges plays with the dregs of humanity in a sardonic way, then mixes this tone within the constructs of the individual stories, and then lets them take their course.

Buy Bait, Grist and Security at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Publisher: Unbound (29 Nov. 2018)

Into This Wild Abyss by F.J. Newman

This story is a coming-of-age, a realisation of the brutality of war, and the brusque reality of desperation and death. It is a wild excursion into turmoil and destruction, let alone a wild abyss.

To celebrate the publication of Into This Wild Abyss by F.J. Newman you can enter a Giveaway to win a copy of this fabulous fantasy novel. Just comment below this post between the 2nd – 10th of December 2018 to take part. (USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand entries ONLY)

About the Author

F J Newman is a New Zealand bookseller and author. He developed a love of reading from a young age and tried his hand at his first book while in high school. Hopefully that will never see the light of day.

Follow @f_j_newman on Twitter, and F.J. Newman on GoodreadsAmazon Author page

Visit vermilionempire.com

Buy Into This Wild Abyss

About the book

Into This Wild Abyss is the first book in the Vermilion Archives.

The Vermilion Empire is in turmoil, rocked by murder, betrayal and revolt. Amid the chaos, three individuals face the brutal reality of a society collapsing around them.

Ashara is stranded in the city and desperate to return to the grassy plains of her homeland. Surrounded by strangers, she must learn the hard way who she can trust. As things go from bad to worse, she is forced to flee with nothing but her wits and courage to protect her.

Natan is a disappointment to his merchant father. He sees the civil war as an opportunity to prove himself but does not count on the bitter cost. What starts as the pursuit of adulthood ends in a quest for revenge.

Po is a novice monk in the Ba’re order. Idealistic but at times naive, he is drawn into a web of intrigue that sees him hunted by the notorious Ministry of Virtue. The information he safeguards could determine the future of the empire itself.

Loyalties are tested and human endurance finds its limits amidst the gritty and unrelenting backdrop of a world teetering on the edge of oblivion.

Review

This is the first book in the Vermilion Archives series, a high or epic fantasy suitable for YA and older readers. The story features three main characters, and their storylines weave in and out of each other’s stories, as their lives connect and intersect during the tale.

Ashara, Natan and Po share an instinct for survival and self-preservation, and they also have a strong sense of loyalty. This story is a coming-of-age, a realisation of the brutality of war, and the brusque reality of desperation and death. It is a wild excursion into turmoil and destruction, let alone a wild abyss.

Ashara finds it difficult to trust and bond with people after she is brutally ripped from her family and her familiar existence. Being forced into servitude makes her question what she was always taught to be the truth, which is the beginning of her own personal rebellion.

Natan is used to being part of a privileged existence, so when his life is turned upside down he has to find the strength to retaliate against the kind of injustice he has previously watched and is now part of.

Po is quite an interesting character, because the violence, war and the strict rules of his existence as a monk present a conundrum for him. He is asked to ignore his instincts and behave with an almost negligent attitude towards his fellow human beings.

As their kingdoms explode into a vicious, volatile and ‘take no prisoners’ kind of war, each one of them has to make a choice about their allegiances and how to survive in this new treacherous world. It really does show how the paths they considered to be divine, a natural progression or the normal order of the universe, can change in the blink of an eye or a single decision.

Epic fantasy is an incredibly difficult genre, perhaps because it combines a multitude of sub-genres and usually has multiple storylines taking place simultaneously. Some authors have a flair for it and others do not. Newman does.

In fact for a debut novel this is incredibly well-written, developed and the world-building has plenty of potential. I would like to see him create a more emotional link between the characters and the reader, a little more depth so those readers will come back for more. Either way, he has my recommendation and I will certainly be coming back to read more by Newman.

Buy Into This Wild Abyss at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Buy Into This Wild Abyss at Amazon com

Publisher: Atlantis Publishing (NZ)

Atlantispublishing Facebook page

#BlogTour Mavis and Dot by Angela Petch

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour for Mavis and Dot by Angela Petch. Petch shows the reader what true companionship, friendship and support is.

About the Author

A prize-winning author, Angela Petch lives half the year in West Sussex and the summer months in a remote valley in the Tuscan Apennines. She recently signed a two-book deal with Bookouture for her Tuscan novels and “Mavis and Dot” is a temporary departure from her usual genre. She has travelled all her life: born in Germany, she spent six years as a child living in Rome, worked in Amsterdam after finishing her degree in Italian, moved to Italy for her job, then to Tanzania for three years. Her head is full of stories and she always carries a pen and note-book to capture more ideas.

In May 2017, Angela Petch won PRIMA’S monthly short story competition and recently had a dozen stories published by The People’s Friend magazine.

“Mavis and Dot” was written in memory of a dear friend who lost her battle with ovarian cancer. All profits from sales of the book will go towards research into a cure for cancer.

About the book

A warm slice of life, funny, feel-good, yet poignant. Introducing two eccentric ladies who form an unlikely friendship.Meet Mavis and Dot – two colourful, retired ladies who live in Worthington-on-Sea, where there are charity shops galore. Apart from bargain hunting, they manage to tangle themselves in escapades involving illegal immigrants, night clubs, nude modelling, errant toupees and more. And then there’s Mal, the lovable dog who nobody else wants. A gently humorous, often side-splitting, heart-warming snapshot of two memorable characters with past secrets and passions.

Escape for a couple of hours into this snapshot of a faded, British seaside town. You’ll laugh and cry but probably laugh more.”This book is quirky and individual, and has great pathos…[it] will resonate with a lot of readers.” Gill Kaye – Editor of Ingenu(e). Written with a light touch in memory of a dear friend who passed away from ovarian cancer, Angela Petch’s seaside tale is a departure from her successful Tuscan novels.

Review

The friendship and relationship between Mavis and Dot reminds me of the friendship my mother has with a woman she met when she moved to a small seaside town. The two of them spend nearly their entire time together sniping and complaining about each other, all whilst going on regular shopping trips and excursions. When apart they complain to others about the annoying habits each of them has, and that is more or less what Mavis and Dot are like.

The differences between them seem insurmountable and yet the way each of them resigns themselves to those idiosyncrasies is what stands out in this story.

For me the core of this story is the odd couple relationship and the friendship they both grow into over time. The story pivots and shoots into a lot of different directions, which I felt was detrimental to the main plot at times, however saying that the eccentricity and the erratic nature of the storyline is also what makes this story.

Friendship happens between the strangest of couples and groups, and between the most unlikely of persons. The question is whether we are still able to do so in times when our society has become so standoffish, inhumane and uncaring towards the plight and pain of our fellow human beings. We have to accept that we are the same beneath our external differences or internal beliefs.

Petch shows the reader what true companionship, friendship and support is, and it has no problem ignoring smelly coats and a bad dress sense. It can be filled with disagreements and still be a strong supportive bond worth nurturing. At the same time, looking beyond the sad aspect of loneliness, the isolation of the elderly and the way we deal with immigrants, there is also a thread of humour throughout the story. It keeps Mavis and Dot light and entertaining.

Buy Mavis and Dot at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy Mavis and Dot at Amazon com

Tuscan Novels

Tuscan Roots: A tangle of love and war in the Italian Apennines (Tuscan Roots – to be reissued by Bookouture in 2019)

Now and Then in Tuscany:Italian Journeys

Attend by West Camel

I really enjoyed this gem of a read and I hope you do too.

Don’t miss the fantastic BlogTour starting on Saturday the 1st of December and running for the entire month. Read the schedule at the bottom of this post to follow my fellow bloggers, as they take this debut book by West Camel, published by Orenda Books, for a ride through the Bloggerverse.About the Author

Born and bred in south London – and not the Somerset village with which he shares a name – West Camel worked as an editor in higher education and business before turning his attention to the arts and publishing.  He has worked as a book and arts journalist, and was editor at Dalkey Archive Press, where he edited the Best European Fiction 2015 anthology, before moving to new press Orenda Books just after its launch.

He currently combines his work as editor at Orenda with writing and editing a wide range of material for various arts organisations, including ghost-writing a New-Adult novel and editing The Riveter magazine for the European Literature Network. He has also written several short scripts, which have been produced in London’s fringe theatres, and was longlisted for the Old Vic’s 12 playwrights project. Attend is his first novel.

Follow @west_camel @OrendaBooks on Twitter, Visit westcamel.net

Buy Attend

About the book

When Sam falls in love with Deptford thug Derek, and Anne’s best friend Kathleen takes her own life, they discover they are linked not just by a world of drugs and revenge; they also share the friendship of the uncanny and enigmatic Deborah. Seamstress, sailor, storyteller and self-proclaimed centenarian immortal, Deborah slowly reveals to Anne and Sam her improbable, fantastical life, a history of hidden Deptford and ultimately the solution to their crises.

With echoes of Armistead Maupin and a hint of magic realism, Attend is a beautifully written, darkly funny, mesmerisingly emotive and deliciously told debut novel, rich in finely wrought characters that you will never forget.

Review

I think the first assumption one makes about this story is that Deborah is some kind of forlorn spirit or a ghost who is destined to wander the streets of Deptford for eternity. The truth is so much more complex. It’s also what gives this story an essence of eccentric charm. You never really know for certain whether she is real, is she a figment of imagination or is she really walking among the living waiting for the right circumstances?

The only trouble with magical realism is the fact it is hard to distinguish between what is real and which elements belong in the magical category. So, with that said I am off to go look for Deborah in the tunnels or in her abode by the river.

One of the most poignant moments in the book is when Deborah asks if Anne and Sam can really see her. If you set aside the story for moment, it speaks to the lack of compassion and empathy in our society. The lonely walk through our world like invisible people. We look away from and turn our backs on things that make us uncomfortable, including the homeless, the abused and invisible in our society.

Not everyone sees Deborah, which in itself says a lot about the world she lives in, and a lot about the people who can or do see her. Does she connect with Anne and Sam because they need her in exactly that moment in time? Are their inner struggles and demons like a flare in the darkness for Deborah? Or do the paths of this threesome meld because fate has dictated this path for them?

I can’t tell a lie, this story drew me in further with each word. I was mesmerised by the story of the young girl in the tunnel and her magical discovery. From the claustrophobic feel of the tunnels, the mysterious piece of cloth – to the Hansel and Gretel safety thread

Attend is a nod in the direction of magical realism with a noirish quality and yet simultaneously filled with the brusque reality of our modern world. The collusion between these different worlds culminates in an extraordinary piece of fiction.

Buy Attend (Kindle) at Amazon Uk, Buy/Pre-order Attend (Paperback – pub date 13 December 2018), Publisher: Orenda Books

Starting on the 1st of December – the Blogtour for Attend by West Camel: