#BlogTour Songs for Your Mother by Gordon MacMillan

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Songs for Your Mother by Gordon MacMillan.

About the Author

Gordon Macmillan is a debut novelist and former journalist who now works for Twitter in London. Follow @GordonMacMillan on Twitter.

About the book

I’m greeted by the strangest sight. A small dark-haired boy is standing there. It’s like he’s a human parcel, delivered to my front door. ‘My name is Luke,’ he says. When Johnny meets Lauren in a bar in Santa Cruz, there’s an instant connection. On an American road trip with best friend Will, Johnny promises to return to the girl who has stolen his heart.

Until tragedy strikes, forcing Johnny to fly back home without ever seeing Lauren again. Six years later, Johnny is living his life in London, even if he’s never forgotten the girl with the grey eyes and dark hair.

Until one September morning, he opens his door to find a little boy standing there – a child, Johnny quickly comes to learn, who was created that one magical night. Lauren is dying, and her last wish is to reunite five-year-old Luke with the father he doesn’t yet know.

Thrown into unexpected parenthood, Johnny finds himself navigating school-gate politics, Disney movies and tantrums, guided by the notes Lauren has written for him.

Life as an instant dad isn’t always easy, but as Johnny and Luke open their hearts to each other, Johnny is about to discover that life’s joy isn’t always where you expected it.

Review

It’s a night that changed everything. Boy meets girl, girl and boy hook up and life gets complicated. In what can only be described as a love at first sight and a lifetime of regrets story, because neither of them returned to that special connection to explore what could have been and instead have to deal with what is instead.

Years later and Johnny gets a special doorstop delivery courtesy of the best friend stork transport and has to revaluate what is important in his life. Is there some way to repair the past and not make a little boy suffer the consequences of two people who were too invested in their own version of a real life romcom to realise he isn’t a character in a film. He is a living breathing child who deserves some accountability from his parents.

This is a combination of the nostalgic and tragic tone of The Book of Us by Andrea Michael and the humour of Big Daddy. The author balances the two elements perfectly to create an emotional and yet often quite lighthearted read. It’s never too over the top tragic or ridiculously hilarious.

It had a bit of a YA flair given the way Lauren and Johnny meet and their ages respectively both before and after, and the general voice of the story. That doesn’t detract from the gist of premise, but perhaps gives the book a chance to slide into other demographics too.

I think it’s really a story about what if’s and being intensely introspective on actions, words and choices in the past and the way they have impacted the present. A coming-of-age story, how the boy finally becomes the man and eventually the parent. It’s a delightful tale that tugs on the heartstrings.

Buy Songs for Your Mother at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Hera pub date 12 May 2021. Buy at Amazon comKoboApple.

#BlogTour The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl, translated by Don Bartlett.

About the Author

One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He made his debut in 1993, and has since published eighteen novels, the most prominent of which form a series of police proceduralscum-psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix, and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015 (published in English by Orenda books in 2019). His work has been published in fourteen countries. He lives in Oslo. 

Follow @ko_dahl on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit kjelloladahl.no

About the book

Oslo, 1938. War is in the air and Europe is in turmoil. Hitler ’s Germany has occupied Austria and is threatening Czechoslovakia; civil war rages in Spain and Mussolini reigns in Italy.

When a woman turns up at the office of police-turned-private investigator Ludvig Paaske, he and his assistant – his one-time nemesis and former drug-smuggler, Jack Rivers – begin a seemingly straightforward investigation into marital infidelity.

But all is not what it seems. Soon, Jack is accused of murder, sending them on a trail which leads back to the 1920s, to prohibition-era Norway, to the smugglers, sex workers and hoodlums of his criminal past … and an extraordinary secret. 

Review

Ex-police now private investigator Ludvig Paaske takes on what appears to be a simple case of marital infidelity, but when he stakes out said husband something just doesn’t seem right. Set in pre Second World War, when tensions are about to culminate in complete destruction and a legacy that will shatter the lives of millions – a simple cheating spouse is such a trivial matter.

In a mystery come crime plot that moves from the 1920s to the late 1930s, this is a twisted game of deception, betrayal and people playing games with the truth.

Given the time periods this is set in I think the author kind of uses that to throw readers off a bit, so when the noir comes along you’re just like – oh wait I forgot it’s a Dahl. With that being said I also forgot to trust my first instincts when it comes to characters, so I guess I deserved the wet kipper in the face at the end.

I actually thought this was a bit darker and more ruthless than previous books. The writing wasn’t as tight or perhaps the style was slightly different – it felt like a different reading experience. The insidious plot more than makes up for it though.

As per usual the author delivers an intriguing read, in fact I had to go back and read the last chapter again just to be sure I got it right. 

Buy The Assistant at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books; Publication Date: 13 May 2021 | Orenda Books | Paperback Original | £8.99. Buy at Amazon comAt Orenda.

BlogTour Paparazzi by Jo Fenton

 It’s my turn on the Blogtour Paparazzi by Jo Fenton.

About the Author

Jo Fenton grew up in Hertfordshire, UK. She devoured books from an early age, particularly enjoying adventure books, school stories and fantasy. She wanted to be a scientist from aged six after being given a wonderful book titled “Science Can Be Fun”. At eleven, she discovered Agatha Christie and Georgette Heyer, and now has an eclectic and much loved book collection cluttering her home office.

Jo combines an exciting career in Clinical Research with an equally exciting but very different career as a writer of psychological thrillers.

When not working, she runs (very slowly), and chats to lots of people. She lives in Manchester with her husband, two sons, a Corgi and a tankful of tropical fish. She is an active and enthusiastic member of two writing groups and a reading group.

Follow @jl_fenton on Twitter, Visit jofenton137.com

About the book

A stalker. A popstar’s family murdered. A terrified photographer.  It’s thirty years since Becky White joined the police. Now, six months after leaving the force, she is suffering from PTSD, when an old friend turns up with a tempting offer. 

 Following the creation of The White Knight Detective Agency, their first client is a press photographer – a member of the Paparazzi – a young woman with a mysterious and troublesome stalker.

But as the case develops, Becky and Joanna find themselves embroiled in murder. When they are unable to prevent further deaths, their investigation takes them down an unexpected path. But can they trust their instinct? And will they identify the killer in time to save a child’s life?

Paparazzi, the second instalment in the bestselling Becky White Thriller series. takes you on a journey into the deceptive world of superstars – and those who follow them! 

Review

When Joanna rocks up and suggests a collaboration of minds and forces with Becky, poor Becky isn’t convinced it is such a great idea. A private investigation agency, great minds solve crimes. An interesting idea, but Becky isn’t sure whether she can trust Joanna, especially after the strange reaction her partner has to the woman brimming with ideas and confidence.

When they finally do get the car on the road they encounter a case that seems simple at first and yet slowly evolves into something treacherous, murderous even. The world of fame and the voyeuristic nature of the paparazzi throws up a mystery the two of them eventually are eager to solve.

I definitely think this is the best I have read by Fenton so far. There is a lot of drive and creativity involved when it comes to her plots. There is still a tendency to have a lot of threads and storylines at the same time, but the majority is brought back together in the end. 

If the two main characters become more solidified and less distracted by personal secrets no person can ever speak about, then this will be an interesting sleuthing duo to follow. 

Buy Paparazzi at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any retailer. Publisher : darkstroke books pub date 10 May 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

Enter the Giveaway to Win a signed copy of Revelation by Jo Fenton (Open INT)

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway 

*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.

#BlogBlitz Raven Fire by Emma Miles

 It’s my turn on the BlogBlitz Raven Fire by Emma Miles.

About the Author

‘I often get asked when I knew I was a writer; the answer is always. A writer is what I am, it’s in my soul. There have been times in my life when I couldn’t write, and times when my writing has been the only thing that kept me going. I think I always longed for something deeper from life, something more meaningful, and I found it in my imagination and in the music of words.

It was poetry which first caught my attention, and whilst my younger cousins called for ghost stories it was animals I first wrote of. I think I gravitated toward fantasy because of the freedom it gives, I could create my own worlds and decide my own rules. My Wind’s Children trilogy was born from an image that came to me whilst daydreaming, of a young man sitting alone below a bridge. I didn’t know who he was; it turns out neither did he, but we found out together.

I’m now working on my eleventh book and love writing more than ever, it’s an addiction, an obsession, but one I now share with my wonderful writing family. My beta readers, my editor, and you, my readers, having you with me on my journey means the world to me.

I write as much as I can around work, but I also try to squeeze in a ridiculous amount of hobbies! I’m a wildlife photographer and do a little archery. I paint, sculpt with clay, withies and driftwood, preferring to be outdoors if I can. I still have a love for the theatre, having started out in life studying backstage crafts, and a great love for language. I speak a little French, Romanian and Italian, ma non molto bene!

Thanks for reading this. If you read any of my books and love them, please come say hello and tell me, you’d be surprised at how much that means to an author. Take care of yourself. Em x’

Follow @EmmaMilesShadow on Twitter, on Facebook EmmaMilesShadow,

About the book

Is prophecy real; can Arridia and Joss defeat a god?

Evil never sleeps, and neither can the fire spirits who have guarded Kesta and her family so faithfully for more than fourteen years. United in a desire for peace, the four lands beneath the sky have enjoyed relative stability, but under the surface stirs unrest. Greed, ambition, disquiet, rebellion; and the ever-present threat of Geladan’s crazed god discovering she has been fooled.

Quiet Arridia is a Raven Scout, dedicated to the principles and hopes of her parents. When an opportunity presents itself to come home, she grasps it, longing to settle and find the love she has patiently waited for.

 Fun-loving Joss is drawn to the court of Elden with all its colour, noise, and intrigue; but has he taken on more than a young man can survive? Raven Fire is the final part of the breath-taking Fire-Walker saga. If you could, would you dare to change the world?

Review

This is the fourth book in the Fire Walker series and also the final one. I do think it would be a good idea to read the first books in the series to get a better overall view and feel for the characters and story. It can however be read as a standalone novel.

Raven Fire is for the majority split between The Fulmer Islands and Elden. In Elden the children of King Bracticus are struggling with the demands of a father who has certain expectations and thinks those should go before their own wishes and desires. And the Fulmer Islands are gripped by insidious dark witchcraft.

It’s the kind of story and ending that deserves a no hint review, especially for readers who have read the entire series. Miles certainly does it justice by bringing all the threads together – even if those threads have been woven through the entire series.

There are a lot of characters, almost too many to follow any one character well or give them more depth. Given the fact the reader is already immersing themselves into a complex fantasy world it makes it harder to get into said tale and what an ambitious and intricate story it is. I liked the fact it has a family saga vibe, giving it a generational fantasy feel. 

I also think there are opportunities for offshoots of this premise. Enough characters to create a story or series that evolves from this one.

Buy Raven Fire at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

#PublicationDayPush Danny Mann Super Fan by Ian Slatter

It’s the Publication Day Push for Danny Mann Super Fan by Ian Slatter.

About the Author

Ian published his debut novel, Eco Worrier, in 2020 – a middle grade adventure story with plenty of twists and turns and lots of laughs. He has also written two non-fiction books for adults – Premier League Legends – the top 10 greatest Premier League players of all time and Incredible Moments in Sport.

Ian wrote for satirical website newsbiscuit.com for ten years, as well as writing for comedy sketch shows on ITV and BBC Radio. Follow @slatter_ian on Twitter, Visit ianslatter.com

About the book

Danny loves Chadmouth Town Football Club more than anything, but a run of defeats and terrible luck has left them bottom of the table and looking certain to be relegated with time running out.
But then, Danny and his best friend Nelson stumble across a bizarre pre-match ritual that seems to turn their luck around, and his beloved team starts winning again. Is it too little too late though, and can he keep doing everything right before each match, even when he starts finding more and more obstacles in his way and despite the relentless teasing from his classmates? It’s going to come down to the wire.
Does Danny have what it takes to save Chadmouth’s season?

Review

If you have a reluctant younger reader, which often tends to be boys, who likes football then this might just be the kind of story that creates a new reader.

It’s for readers aged 9 to 12, which shows the world of competitive sports and the sometimes obsessive nature of fandom, and the ensuing overreactions, in the micro cosmos of school. The rivalry, the banter and of course when the banter goes beyond joking and veers into insulting. It’s a whole mindset.

Danny’s team, Chadmouth Town, is on a losing streak until Danny and his friend Nelson discover a way to help the win. A pre-match ritual that shifts the fortunes of said football team onto the side of Lady Luck. Can they change the future of Chadmouth Town?

From a child’s perspective I can see this resonating, especially when it comes to the topic of bullying. When you exchange the topic of football team for any kind of difference at all that could make you a target in school, then the undertone of the story has a more serious note in the midst of all the amusing rituals.

I find any kind of reading material that will help children to engage with books and reading in general is always commendable. Taking a popular topic like football will definitely draw readers in.

Buy Danny Mann Super Fan at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Breathe by Elena Kravchenko

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Breathe by Elena Kravchenko.

About the Author

I grew up in Kiev, Ukraine at the end of Soviet era, small enough not to fully understand the changes which swept all over my country but big enough to remember before and after. I remember my father asking me, what is the capital of your country? Moscow, I said. His eyes filled with bitterness. ‘It’s Kiev. Kiev!’ he shouted at me. That was not true, I thought, that is not what they taught us at school, but I felt too small to argue with him.

After Lenin’s portrait was taken down in our classroom, my years in school I mostly remember for being self-conscious about being tall, very tall in fact, the tallest girl in the school. Hiding, spending a lot of time at home, I read books that took me to the worlds I thought I could only dream of going to. And then the coin flipped and being tall and skinny was appreciated. I changed from studying at university to distance learning, and left for Paris on a one-way ticket to become a model. 

There were highs and lows, but mostly there was a lot of travelling, I lived a peripatetic life in many capitals in all the continents, some cities became home for a while and some I just passed through. The modelling years finished and I completed my Masters degree in Art and Business and I worked for a while at Sotheby’s, the auction house, in London – a cosmopolitan hub where every one of my friends came from different corner of the world, with vastly different backgrounds, stories, pursuits and visions of tomorrow. I felt that I fitted right in with this motely band of gypsies. 

Every year, I went to my husband’s summer house in the North of Sweden. The pine trees and birches, soft bright green moss, the smell of dry grass, hare bells and red clover in the meadow reminded me of my grandparents’ home where as a child I was sent for long summer months. But it was only when my first son was born, I finally felt the true meaning of home – it’s where my heart was, it was in front of me. Last year, we left London and settled in the Chilterns, where I began a new chapter of my life, planting my dream garden and working on my next book.

Follow  ElenaKravchenkoauthor on Facebook or Instagram

About the book

He has to look back to see tomorrow. – December 26, 2004: The Indian Ocean tsunami has flooded great swathes of western Thailand.

Carl’s best friend and his wife are missing. He travels from London to Thailand to discover what has happened to them, only to learn there is nothing one man can do in the devastation the wave left behind. What started as an impulsive quest ends up with him examining the very essence of his being.

A unique combination of an action-packed quest for truth and a philosophical exploration of life’s deeper meaning, Breathe is a poignant, tense and intelligently written story that will have you contemplating its meaning and message long after you have reached the final page.

Review

Carl doesn’t think much at first when he hears the news. It’s not until later that he realises his friends are in the middle of a tsunami. Missing, presumed dead. He know he has to help find them and bring them home. His journey to find them is closely linked to a personal philosophical epiphany.

This is based on the true events of December 2004, the earthquake and tsunami that left complete devastation in its wake. 

I’m not sure this should have been a story torn in two directions, because for the majority it was and perhaps to the detriment of both. On one side you have Carl’s emotional journey to find his friends and the trauma based on the true life catastrophe – the tsunami of 2004. On the other side you have Carl’s journey of self discovery, and whilst both make for a good read it’s a bit like two alphas battling for attention at the same time. There is no dual crown, someone is going to lose. The question is whether you forfeit one for the other or give them both their own arenas instead of having them duke it out. 

I admit I was more invested in Carl’s journey and determination to do right by his friend and his friend’s wife. To me it was a testament of his friendship and an example of what it means to be non-bio family. What goes on in the background in regards to the facts of the catastrophe and the aftermath was equally as important. The failings, the lack of interest, the unanswered fates of so many victims. It really puts the trauma and scale of the events into perspective. It’s an introspective and emotional read, one I think will stick with readers.

Buy Breathe at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Matador pub date 13 April 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogblitz Audiobook – Beyond the Moon by Catherine Taylor

 It’s my turn on the Blog Blitz Beyond the Moon by Catherine Taylor.

About the Author

Catherine Taylor was born and grew up on the island of Guernsey in the British Channel Islands. She is a former journalist, most recently for Dow Jones News and The Wall Street Journal in London. Beyond The Moon is her first novel. She lives in Ealing, London with her husband and two children.

Narrator Bio – Liz May Brice is an English actress. She is known for roles such as the convicted murderer Pat Kerrigan on ITV1’s Bad Girls, and Agent Johnson in Torchwood: Children of Earth.

Follow @CathTaylorNovel on Twitter, on Facebookon Instagram,

About the book

A strange twist of fate connects a British soldier fighting in the First World War in 1916 with a young woman living in modern-day England a century later, in this haunting literary time travel novel.

In 1916 1st Lieutenant Robert Lovett is a patient at Coldbrook Hall military hospital in Sussex, England. A gifted artist, he’s been wounded fighting in the Great War. Shell shocked and suffering from hysterical blindness he can no longer see his own face, let alone paint, and life seems increasingly hopeless.

A century later in 2017, medical student Louisa Casson has just lost her beloved grandmother – her only family. Heartbroken, she drowns her sorrows in alcohol on the South Downs cliffs – only to fall accidentally part-way down. Doctors fear she may have attempted suicide, and Louisa finds herself involuntarily admitted to Coldbrook Hall – now a psychiatric hospital, an unfriendly and chaotic place.

Then one day, while secretly exploring the old Victorian hospital’s ruined, abandoned wing, Louisa hears a voice calling for help, and stumbles across a dark, old-fashioned hospital room. Inside, lying on the floor, is a mysterious, sightless young man, who tells her he was hurt at the Battle of the Somme, a WW1 battle a century ago. And that his name is Lieutenant Robert Lovett…

Review

The story has a similar nostalgic feel as Somewhere in Time, but with an added twist due to the trauma and mental health issues of the main characters. What connects the two of them is grief and perhaps having difficulty finding someone who understands what they are going through, whether that is in the modern times with Louisa or with Robert during the Great War.

Robert is suffering from what we now know is shell shock, which at the time was a greatly misunderstood and misdiagnosed medical condition. He is distressed by his physical condition and feels immense guilt due to his inability to help his colleagues.

Given the nature and way the two characters meet each other and subsequently have a relationship I would say this expands beyond the genre of historical fiction and into speculative fiction. Of course speculative means you can move the goal posts, create scenarios that defy prior knowledge, logic and definitely the laws of science.

This is a review for the audiobook, however I have also read the ebook – sometimes I find it helpful to experience the writing and the audio version of a book – and I think the narrator does a great job of presenting this story. She really hits the tone when it comes to the taught emotional atmosphere between the two characters.

Buy Beyond the Moon at Audible UkAmazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Authors DirectOnly in the US – Buy at Chirpbooks (Chirp is running a special $3.99 deal only available in the US and Canada for a limited time)

Listening Length – 13 hours and 18 minutes, Author – Catherine Taylor, Narrator – Liz May Brice, Audible.co.uk Release Date – 18 February 2021, Publisher – Catherine Taylor, Program Type – Audiobook, Version – Unabridged, Language – English.

Enter the Giveaway to Win 5 x Beyond the Moon Audiobook (Open Internationally*) *Audiobook to be distributed via Authors-Direct. Please check the Authors Direct website to check whether it operates where you are. 

Click here to enter Rafflecopter giveaway 

*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.

#BlogTour The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird

It’s my turn on the BlogTour for this exciting new dystopian story – The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird.

About the Author

About the author: Christina was born in 1993 and grew up between London and Glasgow. She studied Law at the University of Cambridge and graduated with a First in 2015. Christina works as a Corporate Litigation lawyer in London. The End of Men is her first novel.

Follow @ChristinaRoseSB on Twitter or on Instagram,

About the book

Glasgow, 2025. Dr Amanda Maclean is called to treat a patient with flu-like symptoms. Within three hours he is dead. This is how it begins. The unknown virus sweeps through the hospital with deadly speed. The victims are all men.

Dr Maclean raises the alarm. But by the time the authorities listen to her, the virus has spread to every corner of the world. Threatening families. Governments. Countries.

Review

I wish – just for myself – this book had a before and an after. A read and review of this story before the Covid pandemic and my review now. I can imagine the before would have thought it a brilliant concept, but probably not something we would realistically ever see in our lifetime. Now it’s a whole other ballgame isn’t it. A lot of it comes pretty close to what we have experienced and are experiencing at this moment in time.

Dr Amanda Maclean recognises the significance of a deadly fast-spreading flu-like virus that hits her emergency room one day. All the victims, both young and old are male. She tries to warn official channels and finds her concerns blown off as the virus spreads to other parts of the country. Ignoring and dismissing her comes at the cost of many lives.

Rather cleverly when you look beyond the virus and a little closer at the implications of the gender specific nature of said virus, it shines a spotlight on certain downfalls of a patriarchal society. One of those things is the constant silencing and gaslighting of women by men. But perhaps the most poignant point of all, whether one gender needs the other to survive or is a small minority sufficient and does history change when it’s no longer being written by men for men.

I was intrigued, and possibly a tad concerned, by the way the author saw the virus changing the world. The policies, laws and procedures put in place to contain it. The necessity of vaccination and the lack of vaccination then dictating the steps forward in regards to survival. Very much an eye-opener.

It’s a riveting dystopian premise, but perhaps more so because fiction has become melded with too much reality in the last year or so. Very much an author to watch.

Buy The End of Men at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : The Borough Press pub date 29 April 2021. Buy at Amazon comAt Waterstones.

#BlogTour Wayward Voyage by Anna M. Holmes

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Wayward Voyage by Anna M. Holmes.

About the Author

Anna is originally from New Zealand and lives in the U.K. with her Dutch partner.

Way ward Voyage is Anna’s first novel. She has been fascinated by the lives of women pirates, Anne Bonny and Mary Read, for a long time. Some years ago, she visualised this story as a screenplay before exploring and building their world more deeply as a novel. Wayward Voyage made a longlist of 11 for the Virginia Prize in Women’s Fiction 2020.

Blind Eye an eco-thriller, will be published by The Book Guild in September, so this year, 2021, Anna will have two novels coming out. Her screenplay, Blind Eye, is joint winner of the 2020 Green Stories screenplay competition.  

A documentary about pioneers of flamenco in the UK that Anna produced and directed was screened in Marbella International Film Festival and in London. This passion project ensures a slice of cultural history has been captured. It is available on YouTube and via a portal on her website.

She holds a Humanities B.A, a post-graduate diploma in Journalism and an M.A. in Dance Studies. Initially she worked as a radio journalist before a career in arts management working with U.K. Arts Councils and as an independent producer, dance history lecturer and she has run a dance development agency. 

Anna is a certified Iyengar Yoga teacher and enjoys practising flamenco. Writing, dance, and yoga shape her life.

Follow @AnnaMHolmes_ on Twitter, on Facebook, Visit https://www.annamholmes.com/

About the book

Anne is a headstrong young girl growing up in the frontier colony of Carolina in the early eighteenth century. With the death of her mother, and others she holds dear, Anne discovers that life is uncertain, so best live it to the full. She rejects the confines of conventional society and runs away to sea, finding herself in The Bahamas, which has become a nest for pirates plaguing the West Indies. 

Increasingly dissatisfied with her life, Anne meets a charismatic former pirate, John ‘Calico Jack’ Rackham, and persuades him to take up pirating again, and she won’t be left onshore. The Golden Age of Piracy is a period when frontiers were being explored and boundaries pushed. Wayward Voyage creates a vivid and gritty picture of colonial life in the Americas and at sea.

Review

Is there anyone who hasn’t heard of Anne Bonny, the woman who earned the right to be mentioned in the footnotes of the Golden Age of Piracy. This is her story, part fact and a lot of fiction, imagined through the eyes of the child and later the fierce woman seeking something more than what society has preordained for her.

‘This thing called love could only truly be understood in its absence’ – I think this sentence encompasses the woman and indeed her inner struggles. The inability to believe she is worthy and comprehend her own emotional attachments or even the lack of. It describes the close relationships she has with the men in her life.

I really enjoyed the read, but perhaps more so because Holmes manages to create this 3D perception of her main character, which becomes even more intricate when you draw upon historical fact and fictional sources. Who was this woman of great notoriety, who will be forever be synonymous with the greatly romanticised era of piracy, rebellion and political change.

A woman who demanded a seat at the table and different role for her gender. She refused to be confined and described by sexual objectification and power taken from her through the same avenue. Making a name and taking a stance by becoming one of the boys is an interesting parallel to the world of business and the way modern women inhabit the male centric and patriarchal careers and societies.

Under any other circumstances and perhaps in a situation where the law had better opportunity to curb her actions Anne would have been perceived and treated as a woman with mental health issues. In yet another perhaps as criminally intelligent and a sociopath. It’s interesting how our legacies are framed by the person narrating and writing history.

It speaks volumes that her name, her history and her myth is embedded in books, television and even popular video games. I loved the way the author gave a voice, a story and an ending to Anne. It might not be the one everyone would tell, but it is one that is filled with a sense of compassion, the conflict, the pain and that immense inner determination and drive. It’s a really good read.

Buy Wayward Voyage at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Book Guild Publishing Ltd pub date 28 April 2021. Buy at Amazon comBuy at WaterstonesWHSmithFoylesBlackwell’sBrownsbfsBook Depository.

#BlogTour Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Ariadne by Jennifer Saint. 

About the Author

Due to a lifelong fascination with Ancient Greek mythology, Jennifer Saint read Classical Studies at King’s College, London. She spent the next thirteen years as an English teacher, sharing a love of literature and creative writing with her students. Ariadne is her first novel and she is working on another retelling of ancient myth for her second. Follow @jennysaint on Twitter

About the book

‘My story would not be one of death and suffering and sacrifice, I would take my place in the songs that would be sung about Theseus; the princess who saved him and ended the monstrosity  that blighted Crete’

As Princesses of Crete and daughters of the fearsome King Minos, Ariadne and her sister Phaedra grow up hearing the hoofbeats and bellows of the Minotaur echo from the Labyrinth beneath the palace. The Minotaur – Minos’s greatest shame and Ariadne’s brother – demands blood every year.

When Theseus, Prince of Athens, arrives in Crete as a sacrifice to the beast, Ariadne falls in love with him. But helping Theseus kill the monster means betraying her family and country, and Ariadne knows only too well that in a world ruled by mercurial gods – drawing their attention can cost you everything.

In a world where women are nothing more than the pawns of powerful men, will Ariadne’s decision to betray Crete for Theseus ensure her happy ending? Or will she find herself sacrificed for her lover’s ambition?

Ariadne gives a voice to the forgotten women of one of the most famous Greek myths, and speaks to their strength in the face of angry, petulant Gods. Beautifully written and completely immersive, this is an exceptional debut novel.

Review

First and foremost, I really want this to be the first of many with beautiful hardback covers, so they can stand next to my Stephen Fry’s Mythos series. Secondly – I can’t believe this is her first novel, it’s excellent.

The story of Ariadne, her sister Phaedra and Ariadne’s brother the Minotaur. Ariadne, who is well aware of the dangers when it comes to choosing love above loyalty and more importantly the consequence of a perceived betrayal. Does she really think she can outwit the toxic web of godly arrogance and mythological threads.

Saint shows an intricate understanding of mythology, how the myths interlink with history, the way the patriarchal society drives who takes centre stage in a myth. When it comes mythology the women often tend to stand to the side or behind their male counterparts. The author wants to give a voice to the women who play important parts in mythology, and yet are somehow always delegated to a position of silence or support for the men in said mythology.

I absolutely adored it. It’s definitely a stand-out novel for me. There are so many popular moments in mythology that everyone knows, I just love the thought of someone questioning those moments or adding to the narrative by giving an alternative view. No longer the footnote, this time Ariadne is leading the way.

It’s written with such intricate knowledge – there is a difference between well-researched and read about it – the story becomes the truth, the reality and the myth that should have been written.

Buy Ariadne at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Wildfire pub date 29th April 2021 £14.99 hardback, eBook & audiobook. Buy at Amazon com