#BlogTour Nothing Is As It Was: A Collection of Climate Change Fiction

I am delighted to be taking part in the BlogTour for Nothing Is As It Was. It is a collection of short stories about climate change – edited by Amanda Saint & Gillian Walker.

I believe it is an incredibly interesting topic, which these authors have managed to make relatable and interesting. Using flash fiction and short stories to get their point across is an effective way to engage the reader without them losing interest, especially because each one of them has such an individual approach.

Buy Nothing Is As It Was

About the book

A collection of short stories and flash fictions on the theme of climate change from established and emerging authors who all care about our planet.

A schoolboy inspired by a conservation hero to do his bit; a mother trying to save her family and her farm from drought; a world that doesn’t get dark anymore; and a city that lives in a tower slowly being taken over by the sea.

These stories and many more make up a poignant collection that is sometimes bleak, sometimes lighthearted, but always hopeful that we can make a change.

Climate Change Cover (1)

Review

This is a collection of flash fiction and short stories on one of the most important topics of our time – climate fiction. This collection is raising funds for the global climate action group, Earth Day Network. In the foreword Amanda Saint speaks about the importance of climate change and getting more people or readers to comprehend the importance of this topic. We are living in a world split down the middle when it comes to this particular topic. Many people, including those in the highest political positions in the world, are climate change deniers. No matter what scientific evidence is presented or even actually being able to see the difference in weather patterns, some people would rather leave the planet to self destruct instead of implementing changes to ensure our survival.

With an anthology it is important to get a flavour of what you’re getting and who you’re getting it from. I think the choice to focus on flash fiction and short stories pieces is very much in line with the topic. Just as the weather now hits us with a fierce vehemence and a violent brutality, so do these individual pieces of work. Here is just a taste of what to expect from Nothing Is As It Was:

Mirror Image by Anna Orridge – ‘Give Nature a chance, and she will return.Head held high.’ Mirror Image is anything but a pretty flash into the future we can expect. One in which the malice of our base human nature shines through in the guise of survival.

Me and the Mountain by Vicky Ridley – ‘Earth’s guttural cries of agony’- An interesting premise. Is earth speaking to us? Crying out for attention? Pleading with us to stop destroying her, using her voice to communicate the frustration she feels at the destruction.

Portal by Philip Sobell – This is definitely a tongue-in-cheek sign of the times story, and the sad thing is I can see this happening. Without any shadow of a doubt the human race would, after determining no real value or solution for the Portal, use it to dispose of a problem. Sad, but true.

No-Car by David McVey – Separating the wheat from the whey, the poor from the rich. Unfortunately this reality is already upon us. When the car becomes the luxury item, as opposed to the common item to own. Public transport being re-delegated to that of the poor, and class structures taking on more immense proportions. Begs the question, whether those who choose to save the environment now with a no-car choice and inadvertently moving themselves into that position already. Food for thought.

Sun by Wiebo Grobler – Will it descend into complete chaos? Good question, but what is more intriguing in Sun is the fact that we just stand by and accept our fate. Isn’t that what we are doing already?

Warrior by F E Clark – I love the Author’s Note on this: Written in response to reading that The Oxford Juniour Dictionary had deleted nature words – particularly the names of flowers. The eco-warrior will become one of the most important elements of our future. Just saying.

Graduation Day at the Fishmonger’s Institute by Anne Summerfield – This doesn’t just speak to climate change, it is already indicative of the times we live in now. So many career paths have disappeared and become extinct. It is a downward trend when it comes to survival. One day there will only be holographs or pictures of certain species perhaps we will be one of them.

The GoodLuck Camera by Kimberly Christensen – This story is prophetic. This is what will befall the majority of us if the water levels continue to rise. Our grandchildren or great-grandchildren may never know the abundance of food and water, or the feeling of sand between their toes.

The Other Side of Me by Norman Coburn – How important are the people who can envisage the future and are trying to change the outcome for every one of us?

Bottleneck 2048 by Neil MacDonald – ‘It was too late for precautions, much much too late.’ This is the reality of our situation. Even if everyone was less interested in profit and making the rich even richer, and the deniers were finally taken to task, the process is already well underway.

Nothing Is As It Was by Nick Ryle Wright – Nobody can protect us from Mother Nature, and there is only so much we can predict. ‘Doing nothing is not an option.’

Healng AthaBasca by Keygan Sands – Poetic and sad, with the ultimate grand gesture, albeit an empty one, but at least it is one that ignites the fire inside of the girl who sees the destruction around her.

The Arctic Commandments by Cath Barton – The desperation of knowing there is no solution, and when nature takes over is it not better to let it take you and end that sense of  your inevitable demise?

I am Stealthy, I am Swift by CJ Conrad –  Is this what awaits us in the end. Will we return to the hunter, gatherer mode? Will extreme survival remove generations of societal norms?

New Moon by Dave Murray – We are complacent and we are in denial, at least a fair number of us. At the moment we are at a stalemate, that period in time just before the next wave comes.

Like a Captain of Old, Going Down with the Ship by Fiona Morgan – We will become a collection of memories and executable files. The far-fetched notions from popular space fiction movies, where they watch back history on recorded tapes. That will be us one day.

Blue Planet Collection by Jane Roberts- It starts with one boy. Imagine if we all did our part to make sure the fish can swim unhindered in the oceans. The oceans filled with waste and plastic.

Come and Gone by Angelita Bradley – ‘Like a chance to make things better has come and gone.’ That is it in a nutshell really. We have been given enough warnings and plenty of opportunity to change the result.

The Warming by Karen Morrow – The land is being consumed by the oceans. Without it we become Waterworld. Salvation is the object we poison, and in return poisons us.

Plenty More Fish in the Sea by Luke Strachan – The thing with evolution is that the majority of species adapt to their environment, so it isn’t to far-fetched to think that some may survive over others. In that there is potential and hope.

Hasta La Vista, Babsy by Fee Johnstone – This is a cute little story, and perhaps one that explains more than just whales getting lost and being beached because the currents are changing. Species securing their survival by making their genetic strains more adaptable to the changing environment. Perhaps animals are a lot smarter than us,because they trust their instinct.

Walking with the Weather by Rob Walton- Short, poignant. What good is a petition, a piece of paper or electronic trail that no person pays any attention to?

Too Late by Ros Collins – The empty promises of politicians, who are too concerned with fame and notoriety than with the facts of the situation. You are doing yourselves a disservice if you are governed by a politician who chooses to ignore the inevitable.

Where Lies the Line by Taria Karillion – ‘Two sides of the same tool of change.’ Unfortunately the human species is a selfish one and one that secures survival before that of others. Not even faith can change instinctual behaviour patterns.

Airpocalypse by Rachel Rivett – The air we breath may soon become a commodity, an illegal one at that. Even now there are cities and countries covered in smog so thick you can cut through it with a knife. We take it for granted.

New Shoes by Charlie Hill – This story is indicative of our society and the way we place property before lives, millennial are especially guilty of this. What matters the nice pair of shoes when death is looming at the front door?

Thirst by Lorraine Wilson – Wouldn’t you do anything to save your child? Break the law and steal from others to secure their survival. In a world full of bureaucrats who care nothing about black and white names on paper.

Deluge by Susmita Bhattacharya – Deluge remembers the victims of the unpredictability of Mother Nature. Climate Change is reaping lives like a wanton seeker of souls. Collecting his dues for supposed past indiscretions. She takes the innocent, the young and the blameless.

Fireworks by David Barker – The animals are encroaching upon our territory. The hunter becomes the hunted, especially when the race for survival becomes an equal one.

Ophelia Rising by Elaine Desmond – The banality of life in general supersedes the overall concern we should have for our survival. Affairs, betrayal and emotional upheaval all blitzed by the majestic power of Mother Nature rising to challenge us.

The Window Box by Stephen Connolly – This is a chapter from his current novel-in-progress. I can honestly say that based on this short introduction it is one I would pick up to read. The setting is a drab dystopian world of dog eat dog. Survival of those who abide by the rules of big brother and are threatened by the steady presence of the almighty Poseidon.

Up Above the World so High  – ‘The distinction between night and day is disappearing in the most heavily populated regions of the Earth.’ Knowing what we do about biological clocks and the impact it has on physical and mental health, I am surprised this isn’t a better known fact or discussed fact.

Although the stories have a common denominator, they are all incredibly different. The fact that they are short actually helps the reader to take on board more information. It is like watching an art display of flashbacks or photographs being projected onto a wall for five minutes at a time.

In a time where the masses are being given conflicting information about climate change, and it has certainly fallen prey to the false news propaganda groups, it is important to try and change the perspective of this issue.

The global companies who control our energy resources are really invested in trying to convince the common man and woman, that climate change doesn’t exist. That the extreme weather, the change in seasons, the change of climates is but merely a natural evolution of earth.

It isn’t. We are destroying our habitat, our species and other species. We have probably already passed the point of no return and the inevitable, but that doesn’t mean we should give up. We should at least try to sustain the planet we live on for future generations.

Nothing Is As It Was is an ode to the planet and at the same time a call to rise up and do something, even if it is just that one small thing you can do for your environment.

Buy Nothing Is As It Was at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Published by Retreat West on 3 May 2018 Follow @RetreatWest

Retreat West Books is an independent press publishing paperback books and ebooks.

Founder, Amanda Saint, is a novelist and short story writer. She’s also a features journalist writing about environmental sustainability and climate change. So all Retreat West Books publications take advantage of digital technology advances and are print-on-demand, in order to make best use of the world’s finite resources.

Retreat West Books is an arm of Amanda’s creative writing business, Retreat West, through which she runs fiction writing retreats, courses and competitions and provides editorial services.

Initially started to publish the anthologies of winning stories in the Retreat West competitions, Retreat West Books is now open for submissions for short story collections, novels and memoirs. Submission info can be found here.

Nothing Is As It Was – About the Authors

Mirror Image by Anna Orridge – Anna Orridge has a BA in English Literature from York University and an MA in Creative Writing with Distinction from the University of East Anglia. Her short story, “Rook”, was shortlisted for the Bedford Prize in 2013. The synopsis and opening for an adult novel “Assemblage” made the shortlist for the 2015 Flash 500 competition. Another story, “Number Four”, appeared in the Spring edition of Mslexia in 2016. She is currently writing a Middle Grade novel and was a winner in this year’s #pg70pit competition, which judges the strength of the voice of a novel’s 70th page. The novel has also been selected for the longlist of the 2017 Flash 500 competition. Anna has worked in Spain, Slovakia and Bolivia as an English language tutor, but now lives with her husband and two children in Croydon. Follow @orridge_anna

Me and the Mountain by Vicky Ridley – Vicki Ridley is an author of speculative and young adult fiction and is currently studying for a Masters in Creative Writing at Edinburgh Napier University. She has worked for twenty-five years in schools, youth and community organisations, and universities and is now following her ambition of writing genre and graphic fiction. A passionate advocate of protecting the environment, Vicki is a member of the Scottish Green Party. She avoids writing dystopian climate fiction, remaining hopeful that we can achieve a positive environmental future if we work together in the here and now. Vicki is currently working on her first novel, which will feature utopian climate fiction as well as dead Romans. Follow @VickiRidley1

Portal by Philip Sobell – Philip Sobell has been writing short stories (science fiction, horror and fantasy) for several years. ‘Portal’ is his first publication and he recently joined Retreat West as an intern, working on the social media platforms and contributing content ideas. Follow @PhilipSobell

No-Car by David McVey – David McVey lectures in Communication at New College Lanarkshire. He has published over 120 short stories and a great deal of non-fiction that focuses on history and the outdoors. He enjoys hill-walking, visiting historic sites, reading, watching telly, and supporting his home-town football team, Kirkintilloch Rob Roy FC.

Sun by Wiebo Grobler – Born in South-Africa and raised in a small farming community, Wiebo only had his imagination to keep him occupied, till he discovered the magic of books. He fell in love with the characters within from an early age. Soon he created his own worlds and stories in his head. These stories developed voices, which clamoured to be heard. So, he writes. Shortlisted for his Flash Fiction and Poetry for the Fish Publishing Prize he has various stories published in Molotov Lit, National Flash Fiction Day, Reflex Fiction and more. Follow @WieboG

Warrior by F E Clark – F.E. Clark lives in Scotland. She writes and paints, and takes much inspiration from the natural world where she lives. The changing weather and seasons are of great concern to her. A Pushcart and Best of the Net nominee, read her words at: Molotov Cocktail Literary Magazine, Poems for All, Occulum, Moonchild Magazine, Ink In Thirds, Poems for All, Folded Word, Ellipsis Zine, Story Seed Vault, Luna Luna Magazine, and The Wild Hunt. Follow @feclarkart Visit feclarkart.com

Graduation Day at the Fishmonger’s Institute by Anne Summerfield – Anne Summerfield writes short and long fiction and poetry. Her most recent publications include stories in Sleep is a Beautiful Colour (NFFD Anthology 2017) and Flash Fiction Festival One. She has work online and forthcoming in Spelk, Ellipsis, New Flash Fiction Review and Jellyfish Review. Her story ‘Lamb’ was nominated for Best Small Fictions 2018. Se is based in Hampshire, England. Follow @summerwriter

The GoodLuck Camera by Kimberly Christensen – A resident of the Pacific Northwest, Kimberley Christensen writes about all things sustainable-from organic gardening to breastfeeding to waste reduction. After a number of years working for CoolMom, Seattle’s first climate nonprofit focused on women and families, she recently left her position to write in climate fiction. She hopes to introduce readers to the personal side of climate change.

The Other Side of Me by Norman Coburn – Norman Coburn is a novelist and short story writer based on the East coast of Scotland. Steering clear of crime fiction, he writes mystery stories anchored in nature and Scotland’s rich mythology. Living and working by the sea he’s watching the gradual affects of climate change through changing patterns of bird and fish migration. He likes his stories to be gritty but seasoned with hope.

Bottleneck 2048 by Neil MacDonald – Neil MacDonald has published short stories in Structo, Gold Dust, and other magazines, and articles about writing in Writer’s Forums. His historical fantasy novel A Prize of Sovereigns was serialised by an online publisher. He won the 2017 Plot of Gold competition and was awarded a Cinnamon Press mentorship in 2018 for his novel The Tears of Boabdil. He is the creator and administrator of the Farnham Short Story Competition. Drawing on experiences working in international aid, he has also published six non-fiction books. Born in Scotland, he was raised in Jamaica, and has lived and worked in England, The US and South Africa. He now lives in a cottage in Surrey, England together with his wife and the obligatory cat and dog. Visit neilmacdonaldauthor.wordpress.com

Nothing Is As It Was by Nick Ryle Wright – Nick Ryle Wright is a writer of short fiction, currently based in the New Forest, Hampshire. He has had stories published in various magazines and journals, both online and in print, and is a first reader for The Nottingham Review. Follow @nickrylew

Healng AthaBasca by Keygan Sands – Keygan Sands is an MFA candidate at the Iowa State UNiversity’s Creative Writing and Environment Program. Prior to that, she earned a B.S. in marine science and was a naturalist at a cave. Her writing explores the reciprocity that exists between human and natural systems. She has previously been published in Cold Mountain Review. Follow @dracoaestas

The Arctic Commandments by Cath Barton – Cath Barton is an English writer who lives in Wales. She won the New Welsh Writing AmericCymru Prize for the novella 2017 for Th Plankton Collector, which will be published in September 2018 by New Welsh Review under their Rarebyte imprint. She has been awarded a place on the 2018 Literature Wales Enhanced Mentoring Scheme and is currently working on a collection of short stories inspired by the work of the sixteenth century Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch. Active in the online flash fiction community, she is also a regular contributor to the online critical hub Wales Arts Review. Follow @CathBarton1 Visit cathbarton.com

I am Stealthy, I am Swift by CJ Conrad – CJ Conrad is a deaf, overweight forty-something who believes he will be forever seventeen. He likes dogs, food and welding but not in combination! C also believes that tea is the greatest drink in the world, and that the world would be a far more peaceful place if everyone made room for a brew and a biccy!

New Moon by Dave Murray – Dave Murray is a Manchester based writer of plays , poems and short stories.

Like a Captain of Old, Going Down with the Ship by Fiona Morgan – Fiona Morgan is a reluctant lawyer by day, n enthusiastic writer by night. She loves common sense, history, and bee. She doesn’t like anchovies or climate change deniers. She is currently working on her first novel about a woman who becomes a pilot for the Air Transport Auxilary in WW2. Follow @gosquatkey

Blue Planet Collection by Jane Roberts – Jane Roberts is a freelance writer living in Shropshire, UK. Her fiction is published  in a variety of anthologies and journals including; Litro, Bare Fiction Magazine, The Lonely Crowd, Wales Arts Review, LossLit Magazine, Flash: The International Short Story Magazine, NFFD Anthologies, 100 Stories for Haiti, Stories for Homes, Refugees Welcome Anthology, and Unthology 9 (2017); Bridport Prize Flash Fiction (2013/2016), Fish Short Story Prize (2015/2016) and Flash Prize (2016). She is one third of Literary Salmon (Saboteur Awards Longlisted, “Best Anthology” 2016) and is a participant in the Writing West Midlands’ Room 204 Writer Development Programme 2017/2018.

Follow @JaneEHRoberts Visit janeehroberts.wordpress.com

Come and Gone by Angelita Bradley – Angelita Bradney is the winner of the 2017 National Memory Day story competition. Her short fiction has been published by Litro, Stories for Homes, Retreat West, Ellipsis Zine and The Occulum, and has also been shortlisted in several competitions including the Fish Prize. She lives in south east London and is currently writing a novel at the Faber Academy. Follow @AngelBradn

The Warming by Karen Morrow – Karen Morrow is a writer from the South Coast of NSW, Australia. Along with essays and articles, her short fiction has been published in a number of literary journals including Vine Leaves, Kindling Vols 1 and 2 (Writers Edit), Great Ocean Quarterly and Kids Book Review. She has appeared on several literary award short lists including: Launceston Tasmania Literary Award (2014), Shoalhaven Literary Award (2013), Cowley Literary Award (2013) and Writer’s Web Literary Award (2013). Karen has a degree in Social Science, is a member of the Shoalhaven City Council Arts Board and Director of the Shoalhaven Writer’s Festival. Visit karenmorrowwriter.com

Plenty More Fish in the Sea by Luke Strachan – Originally from the highlands of Scotland, Luke Strachan is a London-based illustrator, artist and author. Luke has a deep love of nature and wildlife, enjoying trekking, scuba diving and anything else that immerses him in the natural environment. A keen traveller, Luke has spent time working and living in Tibetan Monasteries in India and the remote coral atolls of the Marshall Islands. Since moving to London, Luke has published his first graphic novel as well as founding an art and design business. Follow @lucasstrachan Visit rooftopfox.com

Hasta La Vista, Babsy by Fee Johnstone – Fee Johnstone is managing editor of a medical journal and lives in Scotland. She enjoys writing short stories and flash fiction and came third in the Magic Oxygen Literary Prize, ‘the greenest writing competition on the planet’ in 2016 but is still convinced this was an admin error. She has a few pieces scheduled for publication in some awesome zines (Paper and Ink, Razur Cuts, Ellipsis and Ghostland). To combine her love for cats and craft beer, she’s working on teaching her feline friends to pour the perfect stout.

Walking with the Weatherby Rob Walton – Rob Walton grew up in Scunthorpe, and now lives in North Shields. His short fiction and poetry for adults and children appears in various magazines and anthologies. His flashes have been published by 101 words (US), Bangor Literary Journal, Flash Frontier (NZ) Ham, Ink, Sweat & Tears, Number Eleven, Paper Swans, Popshot, Pygmy Giant, Reflex, Spelk and others. He is a past winner and current judge of the UK’s National Flash Fiction Day micro-fiction competition.

Too Late by Ros Collins – After twenty-five years of teaching, Ros retired to the seaside town of Felixstowe with her husband, where she enjoys her hobbies of writing, reading, tennis and blustery walks. She as been short listed in several competitions and came second in the inaugural Reflex Fiction competition. The subject of climate change holds both a fascination and a horror for her.

Where Lies the Line by Taria Karillion – Taria Karillion grew up in a tiny cottage in the grounds of a castle, and is supposedly descended from an infamous pirate ( much to the amusement of her fencing coach at the time of discovery). Despite her historical background, however, and thanks to an accident involving the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a staircase and a nasty attack of gravity, she became a thoroughly addicted fan of science fiction. Her work has won a Hagrid-sized handful of awards and enough publications to fill his other hand. Her future plans include a solo collection and a quest for World Peace and a calorie-free chocolate. Not much to ask, really…

Airpocalypse by Rachel Rivett – Author of three picture books, Little Grey and the great Mystery, Are You Sad, Little Bear? and I Imagine, and shortlisted for SCBWI’s Undiscovered Voices 2014, Rachel Rivett has an MA in Writing for Children. Her short stories appear in the Mother’s Milk anthologies, The Forgotten and the Fantastical and she is currently working on several projects – in snatched and borrowed moments – while she home-educates her children. Visit writewild.weebly.com

New Shoes by Charlie Hill – Charlie Hill is the author of two critically acclaimed novels, a pamphlet of short stories and a novella, about which Nicholas Royle – writing in his introduction to Best British Short Stories 2017 – said: ‘An engrossing piece that…were the author French and his readers all French, might well have been regarded as a worthy late edition to the school of existentialist literature.’ Visit charliehill.org.uk/about/

Visit wordsforthewild.co.uk/?page_id=935

Thirst by Lorraine Wilson – Having spent many years working in remote corners of the world, Loraine Wilson now lives by the sea n Scotland and writes stories that are touched by folklore and the wilderness. She has had her short stories published in magazines and anthologies, and tweets about science, writing, cats and weirdnesses. Follow @raine_clouds

Deluge by Susmita Bhattacharya – Susmita Bhattacharya was born in Mumbai. She teaches creative writing at Winchester University and leads the SO: Write Young Writers project in Southampton. Her debut novel, The Normal State of Mind (Parthian), was published in 2015. Her short stories, essays and poems have been widely published and also broadcast on BBC Radio 4. She won the Winchester Writers Festival Memoir prize in 2016. She lives in Winchester with her family. Follow @Susmitatweets

Visit susmita-bhattacharya.blogspot.co.uk

Fireworks by David Barker – David was born in Cheshire but now lives i Berkshire. he is married to an author of children’s picture books and they have a daughter who loves stories. David spent 26 years working in the City as an economist, trying to predict the future. His first novel, Blue Gold, was published by Urbane last year and the sequel, Rose Gold, comes out in May. the final part of the trilogy is due in 2019.

David appears on Radio Berkshire’s monthly show, Radio Reads, discussing books with host Bill Buckley and author Claire Dyer. He loves reading, especially adventure stories, sci-fi and military history. Outside of family life, his other interests include tennis, golf, surfing and board games. Follow @BlueGold201 Visit davidbarkerauthor.co.uk

Ophelia Rising by Elaine Desmond – Elaine Desmond is a full-time author based in Ireland. She holds a degree in Psychology and Business, as well as a PhD in Sociology. Elaine is the author of a number of academic articles on risk and democracy and, in 2017, published a non-fiction book with Palgrave Macmillan. Legitimation in a World at Risk: The Case of Genetically Modified Crops in India is based upon a year’s research in the politically volatile and economically vulnerable region of Telangana. She lectures on Environmental Sociology and Globalisation and Development at University College Cork, and is affiliated with the Centre of South Asian Studies at Cambridge University. Details of her academic work can be found at cambridge.academia.edu/ElaineDesmond

Elaine has a Certificate  in Creative Writing from the Writers Bureau in the Uk and has had articles published in newspapers and magazines. Her short stories and poems have been runners-up in a number of literary awards. In 2008, she wrote a one-act play entitled A Footprint of Roses about WOZA, a women’s civil movement in Zimbabwe. This was produced throughout Europe and the United States and is available online. Elaine is a member of the Virgin Slate Writers Group and the Corccodorca Theatre Development Company, both in Cork.

The Window Box by Stephen Connolly – Stephen Connolly grew up in Canada, Scotland and the Republic of South Africa. He has published a number of short stories and his pays have been performed in Bath, Brighton, London and Salisbury. In 2015 he graduated with an MA in Scriptwriting from Bath Spa University. Off The Rock Productions will record his radio play ‘The Destiny of Shoes’ in 2018. He was at school with the Proclaimers who probably don’t remember him. His story The Window Box is a chapter from his current novel-in-progress. Visit stephenconnollywriter.com


Up Above the World so High by Rose McGinty – Rose McGinty is the author of Electric Souk, published in 2017 by Urbane Publications. Rose lives in Kent and works for the NHS in East London, and has worked overseas, including the Middle East. She is an alumni of Trinity College, Dublin, and the Faber Academy. Rose has won several writing competitions and had short stories selected for anthologies. Se’s now working on he second novel, a thriller that has taken her to some rather gothic hospital  corridors. Follow @rosemcginty

edited by Amanda Saint Follow @saintlywriter and Gillian Baker

Nothing went as planned, but hey I’m back!

images-19I just thought I would explain my online absence over the last 10 days…

I had to have surgery and it didn’t exactly go the way I expected it to.

Unfortunately I think I am superwoman sometimes and was convinced that major surgery would be a minor setback.

In my head I had it all planned out. In one day, have surgery and out the next day, which is quite the norm in the UK even for major surgery. In theory it sounded great.

In reality I had to beg, wiggle and worm my way out of a longer stay due to the fact I hadn’t ticked all the medical boxes for my release. Then I completely underestimated the pain, the fact the pain meds didn’t work and how much time I would spend in a semi-unconscious mode.

Again, my great plan also said I would be catching up with all my reading and reviews. None of that happened either. ‘Sigh’ I think I managed a grand total of one and half books over a 10 day period, as opposed to the at least one a day I usually read.

My brain has been a bit like scrambled eggs on toast without a slice of bread in sight. So much for best laid plans eh?

Anyhoo, I’m back and have a pile of reading and reviews to catch up with!

The past is a murky cloud of nothing and the present a hot empath

Forbidden Fruit (Corine Solomon, #3.5)Forbidden Fruit by Ann Aguirre
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This novella fits in between book 3 and 4 of the Corine Soloman seriesBlue Diablo: Corine Solomon: Book One.
Shannon and Jesse are given an avenue to explore the possibility of a relationship.
I got a teeny weeny bit fed up of the whole Shannon has the hots for Jesse and Jesse can ‘feel’ just how much because he is an empath. Once or twice I get and possibly a third time but it got to the point of repetitive.
You can clearly tell the author has the gift of gab, however the gab must have been bored and overtired in this little excursion. The little content that was there was drawn out like a rubber band and it lacked both detail and character depth.
Novellas are supposed to entice the reader to read the full novel. They need to be hard hitting and leave the reader with a curiosity born of needing to know what happens next. Even an add on to a series novella.
I received a copy of this book via NetGalley

View all my reviews

#BlogTour Remember Tomorrow by Amanda Saint

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Remember Tomorrow by Amanda Saint. It’s post-apocalyptic fiction with a futuristic flair.

About the Author

Amanda Saint’s debut novel, As If I Were A River, reached #3 in the WHSmith Travel charts; was selected as a NetGalley Top 10 Book of the Month; and chosen as a Top 20 Book of 2016 by the Book Magnet Blog.

Her short stories have been widely published in anthologies and literary magazines, twice appearing on the Fish Flash Fiction longlist and the Ink Tears Short Story shortlist. She runs her own creative writing business, Retreat West, through which she runs writing courses and competitions; and an independent publishing house, retreat West Books. Amanda also works as a freelance journalist writing about climate change and environmental sustainability.

Follow @saintlywriter @RetreatWest on Twitter, on Facebook, Visit amandasaint.net

Buy Remember Tomorrow

About the book

England, 2073. The UK has been cut off from the rest of the world and ravaged by environmental disasters. Small pockets of survivors live in isolated communities with no electricity, communications or transportation, eating only what they can hunt and grow.

Evie is a herbalist, living in a future that’s more like the past, and she’s fighting for her life. The young people of this post-apocalyptic world have cobbled together a new religion, based on medieval superstitions, and they are convinced she’s a witch. Their leader? Evie’s own grandson.

Weaving between Evie’s current world and her activist past, her tumultuous relationships and the terrifying events that led to the demise of civilised life, Remember Tomorrow is a beautifully written, disturbing and deeply moving portrait of an all-too-possible dystopian world, with a chilling warning at its heart.

Review

It doesn’t matter how far into the future we go, we can always rely on humans to never learn from history or their past. The human race excels at destroying themselves. For some reason they seem particularly talented at repeating the most heinous acts of the past centuries. The title of the book is therefore quite apt.

Instead of moving forward and evolving, a community in the future has reverted back to the days when the mere whiff of suspicion could mean the difference between living in peace and being burnt at the stake for witchcraft. Healing becomes spells, witchery and the devil’s work. This places Evie in the unfortunate position of being a target.

The fact that religion always seems to make an appearance in some way, shape or form is definitely part of the problem in this dystopian, post-apocalyptic and futuristic story. A once thriving community set in the year 2073 in England is facing increasingly harder struggles to survive. Food has become scarce, which makes people desperate.

Her own family uses religion to make Evie seem like a threat and the guise of her being a danger to the community is probably just hiding the fact it is a way to rid themselves of community members. Less people equals less mouths to share food with.

Humans tend to target the vulnerable, the different and the non-conformists to deflect from their own failings or hidden agendas. Evie and any other person refusing to become part the fanatical religious group have a big bullseye painted on their back.

It’s post-apocalyptic fiction with a futuristic flair. Given the rise of certain radical groups and the attacks upon specific religious groups and ethnicities at the moment, despite prior tragedies and atrocities in the last century, this isn’t a far-fetched premise at all.

Saint captivates the mass hysteria of religious zealots, which supersedes any common sense or prior knowledge that questions the beliefs of the fanatics. It’s a recipe for violence and disaster.

Buy Remember Tomorrow at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Retreat West Books; Ecopy pub date 21 Mar. 2019. Paperback pub date 17 March 2019.

Read my review of The Word for Freedom and Nothing is As it Was.

#BlogTour The Word for Freedom: Short Stories Celebrating Women’s Suffrage

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour – The Word for Freedom: Short stories celebrating women’s suffrage and raising money for Hestia and UK Says No More.

About the Authors

Authors that have donated stories:

Isabel Costello is a London-based author and host of the Literary Sofa blog. Her debut novel Paris Mon Amour was published in 2016 and her short fiction has appeared in various magazines and anthologies. She teaches Resilient Thinking for Writers with psychologist and author Voula Tsoflias. @isabelcostello www.literarysofa.com

Christine Powell lives in County Durham and is a member of Vane Women, a writers’ co-operative dedicated to the promotion of the work of women writers in the north east of England ( www.vanewomen.co.uk ). Her stories have appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines.

Victoria Richards is a journalist and writer. In 2017/ 18 she was highly commended in the Bridport Prize, came third in The London Magazine short story competition and second in the TSS international flash fiction competition. She was also shortlisted in the Bath Novel Award and the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize, and long listed in the National Poetry Competition. Find her at @nakedvix and www.victoriarichards.co.uk

Carolyn Sanderson has worked in a number of fields, including teaching, training, counselling and working for the Church of England. She has written articles, reviews and a number of hymns. Times and Seasons, her contribution to the Hometown Tales series was recently published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson.

Sallie Anderson is a writer living in Gloucestershire. She now works as a bookseller, but has had many jobs, including election polling clerk, which provided the inspiration for this story. Her short stories have been published in magazines and short-listed in a number of competitions. @JustSalGal

Abigail Rowe lives and writes in Cork, Ireland. Currently completing her first novel, she delights in honing her craft writing short fiction, flash and the odd poem. Abigail’s passions include bees, decent coffee, history, her granddaughters and looking for beauty everywhere and anywhere she goes. @RoweWrites and ismidlifeliminal.wordpress.com 

Rosaleen Lynch is an Irish community worker and writer in the East End of London. She pursues stories whether conversational, literary or performed, keen to explore them as part of the learning cycle of everyday life. @quotes_52 and www.52quotes.blogspot.com

Sophie Duffy is the author of The Generation Game, This Holey Life, and Bright Stars. She has won the Yeovil Literary Prize, the Luke Bitmead Bursary, was runner-up for the Harry Bowling Prize and longlisted for the Guardian Not the Booker. She also writes as Lizzie Lovell and is part of the team of CreativeWritingMatters who administer the Exeter Novel Prize. She lives in Devon.

Kate Vine is a graduate of the MA Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. Her short fiction has been published by Dear Damsels and she is a recent winner of the City Writes competition. She is currently working on her first novel. @Kate_ElizabethV and deardamsels.com/ 2018/ 02/ 16/ he-loves-that-story

David Cook’s stories have been published in the National Flash Fiction Anthology, Stories For Homes 2 and a number of online journals. He lives in Bridgend, Wales, with his wife and daughter. You can find more of his work at www.davewritesfiction.wordpress.com and @davidcook100.

Helen Irene Young is the author of The May Queen (Crooked Cat Books) and a digital editor for a book publisher. She attended the Faber Academy six-month novel writing course. She splits her time between London and Colombia, when she can get there. Her next novel, set in 1940s Bogotá, is about a broken architect trying to build something new. @helenireneyoung and www.helenireneyoung.com

Katherine Blessan is the author of Lydia’s Song: The Story of a Child Lost and a Woman Found (Instant Apostle, 2014), a hope-filled story about sex-trafficking in Cambodia. As well as writing her second novel, Katherine is a screenwriter and short story writer. She lives in Sheffield with her Indian husband and two children where she works as an English tutor and examiner. www.katherineblessan.com and @kathblessan

Anna Orridge has a Masters in Creative Writing with Distinction from the University of East Anglia. Her short stories have appeared in Mslexia, Paper Cuts and the Retreat West anthology Nothing Is As It Was. She is currently writing a Middle Grade Fantasy novel in collaboration with Kickback Media.

Julie Bull lives in South London and Sussex, where she also studied English Literature many moons ago. She is a recovering civil servant and now writes full time. Her first novel lives under the bed. Her short fiction has previously appeared in MIRonline. @juliebu72 instagram: juliebu72 Facebook: Julie Bull.

Karen Hamilton caught the travel bug after a childhood spent abroad and worked as cabin crew for many years. The Perfect Girlfriend is her first novel. It is a psychological thriller about a sociopathic flight attendant, Juliette, who will stop at nothing to win back her pilot ex-boyfriend. @KJHAuthor

Angela Readman’s stories have won The Costa Short Story Award, The Mslexia Story Competition and been on Radio 4. Her debut collection Don’t Try This at Home (And Other Stories) won The Rubery Book Award and was shortlisted in The Edge Hill Prize. She also writes poetry and is published by Nine Arches.

Anna Mazzola is an award-winning writer of historical crime fiction. She has published two novels (The Unseeing and The Story Keeper) and several short stories. She is also a human rights solicitor. She lives in South London with two children, two cats and one husband. @Anna_Mazz and www.Annamazzola.com

Anne Hamilton is a writer, tutor and editor of fiction, and the editor of online magazine, Lothian Life. Her stories are published in several journals and anthologies, and she has read at the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Her travelogue A Blonde Bengali Wife, inspired the charity, Bhola’s Children, and she is now working on her second novel. Anne lives in Edinburgh, with her young son. www.writerightediting.co.uk and @AnneHamilton7

Dane Divine is an emerging writer from Plymouth, UK, where she completed her MA in Creative Writing. She now lives in Wellington, New Zealand where she works at an art college. Dane creates short stories and flash fiction. She is also working on a novel. instagram.com/ dane_divine 

Cath Bore is based in Liverpool. Her fiction and essays are published in Mslexia Magazine, Know Your Place: Essays on the Working Class (Dead Ink), National Flash Fiction Day Anthologies, I Hope You Like Feminist Rants, Fictive Dreams, Spontaneity and more. She also writes about music, books and pop culture. @cathbore and cathbore.wordpress.com

Taria Karillion – As the daughter of an antiquarian book dealer, Taria grew up surrounded by far more books than is healthy for one person. A literature degree, a journalism course and some gratuitous vocabulary overuse later, her stories have appeared in a Hagrid-sized handful of anthologies, and have won enough literary prizes to half-fill his other hand. Despite this, she has no need as yet for larger millinery.

Emily Kerr is proud to be a feminist. Her day job is as a journalist for ITV News and she spends her spare time writing fiction. Her novel Who Does He Think He Is? was shortlisted for the Joan Hessayon Award 2017. She is currently working on her second book. Twitter: @EmilyKerrWrites and www.emilykerrwrites.com

Angela Clarke is the award-winning, Sunday Times bestselling author of the Social Media Murders, including Follow Me, Watch Me, and Trust Me. Her new novel is a gripping psychological thriller that highlights the plight of pregnant women in UK prisons: On My Life is out March 2019. www.AngelaClarke.co.uk

Rachel Rivett – Author of three picture books, Little Grey and the Great Mystery, Are You Sad, Little Bear? and I Imagine, Rachel Rivett has an MA in Writing for Children. She is happy to have short stories in anthologies with Mother’s Milk and Retreat West. www.writewild.weebly.com

Editors:

Amanda Saint founded and runs @RetreatWest, providing creative writing competitions and courses, and in 2017 launched Retreat West Books indie press. Her debut novel, As If I Were A River, was a NetGalley Top 10 Book of the Month and a Book Magnet Blog Top 20 Book of 2016. Her new novel, Remember Tomorrow, is coming in 2019. Her short stories have been widely published and been long and shortlisted for, and won, various prizes. @saintlywriter

Rose McGinty is the author of Electric Souk. She lives in Kent and is a creative writing tutor and editor at Retreat West. Previously she worked for the NHS. Rose has won a number of writing competitions and had short stories selected for anthologies. She also enjoys running creative writing workshops in support of social causes. @rosemcginty

About the book

A collection of 24 short stories celebrating a hundred years of women’ suffrage, from both established and emerging authors, all of whom have been inspired by the suffragettes and whose stories, whether set in 1918, the current day or the future, focus on the same freedoms that those women fought for so courageously.

A clerk of works at the Palace of Westminster encounters Emily Davison in a broom cupboard; a mermaid dares to tread on land to please the man she loves; a school girl friendship makes the suffragette protests relevant to the modern day; a mother leaves her child for a tree; an online troll has to face his target; and a woman caught in modern day slavery discovers a chance for freedom in a newspaper cutting.

These stories and many more come together in a collection that doesn’t shy away from the reality of a woman’s world, which has injustices and inequalities alongside opportunities and hard-won freedoms, but always finds strength, bravery and hope.

Through this anthology Retreat West Books is proud to support Hestia and the UK Says No More campaign against domestic abuse and sexual violence.

Review

The stories are inspired by the suffragettes and also by stories of women and oppression. The tip of the iceberg was fighting for the right to have a voice and vote, but the fight for all the other freedoms is still a raging battle.

Each one of the stories comes at the topic of oppression, domestic abuse, rape, sexual abuse, neglect, slavery and inequality from a completely different angle. The importance of that might not be relevant until you read each story and perhaps recognise a factor or a character you can personally relate to in a few or just in one story.

That in itself is an important statement, because the authors don’t purport to be the same as you or I or to have lived the same lives, but they do want each of us to connect with what we have in common. On some level or another each one of us will have experienced something in life that has tried to or still tries to define us as being the weaker gender, the prey, the never quite equal player in business, sport, politics or the world in general. Somewhere out there, there is always someone thinking or acting upon the concept of ‘but you’re just a girl’ – and that is certainly one of our common denominators in life.

Women, and I have said this before, are often their own worst enemy and greatest opposition, because they have been raised to believe the misconceptions and the rule created by the patriarchal systems and society we live in – that woman is less than man. Everything about women is based upon that archaic thought. When society created a layered hierarchy they created it with women as the plus one at the table.

The only way we can alter the thought-process, the system and the way we are treated and perceived is to link together and support each other. Stand up, speak out and be counted. Don’t let men, and women wearing rose-tinted glasses, steal your voice and allow them to take us back into the Dark Ages. Let me tell you that you will be sneered at, ridiculed, abused and denied your rights, but one day change will come. Women like Sarah Parker Remond, Elizabeth Stanton. Alice Paul, Emmeline Pankhurst, Sushama Sen and PL Roy fought for their voice and ours, and we have to fight to keep it.

The book contains the following:

The Word For Freedom, Counting For England, Below The Line, Women Don’t Kill Animals by, One Woman – One Vote, Cover Their Bright Faces, My Mother Left Me For A Tree, Myopia, The Colour Of Sunflowers, Enid Is Going On A Journey, To The Sea, Sayyida Nanda, Relevant, Those Who Trespass Against Us, Past Present Future, Tiny Valentines, The Silent Woman, Not Our Kind Of Girl, Treading On Needles, The Second Brain, The Servitude Of The Sudaarp, Out Of Office, Gristle and Brick.

It’s full of distinctive and powerful voices. In some of them you can feel the anger, the disillusionment, the concern that it may never change, but you can also feel and read the fight. Never lose the will to fight for what is rightfully yours. The right to be safe, to be heard and be equal unto others.

Buy The Word for Freedom at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.

Published by Retreat West on 1 November 2018

Retreat West Books is an independent press publishing paperback books and ebooks.

Founder, Amanda Saint, is a novelist and short story writer. She’s also a features journalist writing about environmental sustainability and climate change. So all Retreat West Books publications take advantage of digital technology advances and are print-on-demand, in order to make best use of the world’s finite resources.

Retreat West Books is an arm of Amanda’s creative writing business, Retreat West, through which she runs fiction writing retreats, courses and competitions and provides editorial services.

Initially started to publish the anthologies of winning stories in the Retreat West competitions, Retreat West Books is now open for submissions for short story collections, novels and memoirs. Submission info can be found here.

Mr (Not Quite) Perfect by Jessica Hart

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Suddenly Mr not so perfect is looking kind of yummy…

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if you could change all the imperfections on your not quite so perfect man?
Allegra decides to take on that challenge for an article she is writing. Her unfortunate victim is plain old fuddy dudddy Max, her best friends brother.
Allegra hasn’t really thought her plan through properly and when Max starts looking rather yummy she gets second thoughts, especially when other women start looking at him as if he is a chocolate eclair on two legs.
Max is being a good sport about all the prodding, poking and people using him as a walking billboard advertisement.It does come with some fringe benefits like lingerie models for example. What kind of hot-blooded male would say no to that? He doesn’t of course and yet at the same time finds himself wondering and thinking about Allegra all of the time.
Events unfold, tempers fray and suddenly nothing is as it was before.
What I really enjoyed about this story was the simplicity. It is a story that could happen to anyone in real life. Best friends become closer and suddenly you wonder why you never noticed the person you have been looking for has been right next to you the whole time.
A really enjoyable read.
I received a copy of this book courtesy of Harlequin UK and Mills & Boon.

#LoveonTour #BlogTour Love and Other Things to Live For by Louise Leverett

Today it’s Hardcover Publication Day! And it is definitely is an absolute pleasure to take part in the #LoveonTour BlogTour for Love And Other Things to Live For by Louise Leverett. It’s literary fiction, women’s fiction and it is contemporary fiction.

About the Author

Louise Leverett graduated from Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London on a full scholarship before moving on to study at the Lee Strasberg Institute of Film in New York.

Since establishing her own business ‘Rock the Tribes’ she is now working on a collection of writings that will eventually be turned into adaptations for screen.

Follow @LouiseLeverett on Twitter, on Amazonon Goodreads, Visit rockthetribes.com and louiseleverett.com

Buy Love and Other Things to Live For

About the book

Jessica Wood is an aspiring photographer living in London. She’s had her heart broken, and her friends have pieced it back together again.

But across the neon lights of Soho, in the smell of alcohol and cigarette smoke, on every night bus, in every song, every time she tries to forget: she remembers him.

Now, in a battle between the past and the future, choosing between having a life and making a living, finding her feet or spreading her wings, Jessica must ask herself: who is she really living for?

Love and Other Things to Live For is an ode to modern girls and triumph over heartbreak, perfect for fans of Holly Bourne and Dolly Alderton.Review

One wouldn’t be wrong for thinking, just purely based on the playful and colourful title and cover, that this is a spirited and funny story about life and love. It is so much more. It’s literary fiction, it’s a work of great depth even though it purports to glide glibly across the surface of emotions, relationships and the meaning of life.

It’s the story of Jessica as she navigates her discovery of self, after the collapse of her romantic relationship throws her into a self-destructive spin. The blurb describes how she searches for him in every smoke filled room, in the bottom of every glass and between every sheet. I don’t think she is. I think, without actually realising it, that she is searching for and has always been looking for herself.

Whilst reading the voice of the twentysomething of the 21st century I realise just how lucky I was to have lived my younger years in a time before the digital age. In a time where human connection was the first priority in building relationships, and especially in romantic relationships. Actual face to face interaction, talking, handwritten cards and letters, phone calls on telephones that don’t pre-warn you of the presence on the other end. In a way it must sound incredibly intimate, scary and dangerous to younger generations or bold, brassy and old-fashioned.

I’m not sure if I would want to be a young person, or older one for that matter, who has to try and find someone to love in a world of digital devices, apps and images. A world of catfish, photoshopped images and enhanced bios. Is there any truth left at all in a century driven by technology, where the human touch is being slowly eradicated by industrial development and robotics. In an era where the masses thrive off social media and are influenced by false facts and manipulated by monopolised media outlets.

All of that may seem incredibly deep, but then so is this book in my opinion.

It’s literary fiction, women’s fiction and it is contemporary fiction. Jessica is all of us, Jessica could be Jeff and would still be all of us, because her insights and experiences aren’t exclusive. At the same time her very personal experience speaks volumes about the struggles women have living in a patriarchal society. Expected to bow down to the whims of others in our career, life, relationships and families.

This story asks readers to take a step back and slowly cover the image of everyone close to them until nothing remains but the person holding these pages and reading the words. Who is it that remains? Who are we living for? The answer must be for ourselves, the rest and the others should always be secondary. Is that selfishness or self-preservation. Either way it’s food for thought.

Buy Love And Other Things to Live For at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ pub date 18 April 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Book Depository.

#BlogTour Pilgrim by Loiuse Hall

Today it’s the BlogTour Pilgrim by Louise Hall. It’s contemporary fiction with spiritual, theological and addiction issues woven into the fabric of the story.About the Author

Louise Hall is from Malahide, Co. Dublin. She has previously published two works of non-fiction, Medjugorje: What it Means to Me and Medjugorje and Me: A Collection of Stories from Across the World. Her fiction has been published in The Irish Times and been shortlisted for numerous competitions, such as the RTÉ Guide/Penguin Short Story Award, the Colm Tóibín International Short Story Competition and the Jonathan Swift Creative Writing Awards. Pilgrim is her debut novel.

Follow @LouHallWriter on Twitter, on Instagram, Visit louisehall.ie

Buy Pilgrim

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About the book

In Dublin, fourteen-year-old Jen and her father, Charlie, are struggling to cope with the death of their mother/wife. Charlie, in particular, seems to have given up on life. When Jen’s aunt, Suzanne, convinces them to go on a pilgrimage to a strange village in Yugoslavia, there is hope that some solace or healing may be brought to their broken lives.

On their arrival, however, they find a village in upheaval. An influx of pilgrims have swarmed into the village, each looking for their own miracle. Then there are the local police, who aim to suppress this so-called `revolution’. Amid all this, Jen makes a friend, Iva – one of the children who claims to have seen the Virgin Mary.

Told with a deep humanity and grace, Pilgrim is a story about a man who feels he has nothing to live for, and a daughter who is determined to prove him wrong. A nuanced and moving exploration of grief and faith. Unique subject matter based around the famed Medjugorje apparitions. The author already has a dedicated readership built up from her two non-fiction books on Medjugorje. This is her first fictional take on the story.Review

The majority of the book is based upon the Medjugorje apparitions. Medjugorje is a small village in the former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The area is now known as Bosnia and Herzegovina. In 1981 six Herzegovinian children claimed to see the ‘Gospa’ (which is Croatian for lady), when they returned to the same place the next day they saw her again. This time she spoke to them.

All of the above is based on a true story.

The fictional family in this story travels to the village on a pilgrimage. The father thinks it is a bunch of rubbish, but for the young daughter, Jen, it is a glimmer of light in a life filled with fog. After the death of her mother she is struggling to be seen by her father, a man who is drowning in grief. He can do nothing other than wallow in his loss.

Humans like miracles, especially people who find comfort and security in religion and faith. They flock to places that purport to see and experience connections to God. Often in the hope they will experience their own miracle or enlightenment. It’s certainly an interesting phenomenon.

The Yugoslav wars are only hinted upon, aside from the mention of militia and the chapter on the priest in prison. The author doesn’t really go into the atrocities, mass murder, rapes and genocide. I think that was done intentionally, so the focus would be on faith and grief.

For me this was all about how we are linked and connected without knowing it, especially when we live in the same geographical areas. Without being aware of it we are all dominoes on a global stage and when one of us topples we inadvertently touch or hit the next person in the row. It’s also about coping with grief, with loss and trying to reconnect as a family.

It’s contemporary fiction with spiritual, theological and addiction issues woven into the fabric of the story.

Buy Pilgrim at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: The Mercier Press Ltd (14 Sept. 2018)

#BlogTour Downfall by Will Jordan

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Downfall by Will Jordan. It’s book 8 in the popular Ryan Drake thriller series. It’s military, spy and action genre all rolled into one exciting fast-paced read.

About the Author

Will Jordan’s Ryan Drake novels draw on extensive research into weapons and tactics, as well as the experiences of men who’ve fought in some of the world’s most daunting combat zones. Other books in the series include Redemption, Sacrifice and Betrayal. He lives in Fife, Scotland, with his wife and sons.

Follow @WillJordan83 @canelo_co on Twitter, on Amazon, on Goodreads, Visit willjordanbooks.co.uk

About the book

‘My name is Ryan Drake and this is just the beginning.’

Ryan Drake and his team are in hiding, having become sworn enemies of states and agencies around the world. When a CIA operative is killed in a car bomb, Drake is shocked to see an old enemy felled. Further still when a video is released claiming responsibility for the attack… under the name of Ryan Drake.

Forced out of hiding, Drake embarks upon a mission to confront his past. When the stranger from the video reaches out, hinting at secrets just out of reach, he leads Drake on a high-octane journey through the slums of Rio to the deserts of Afghanistan.

Following in the wake of his trail of destruction, the team must pursue Drake as he stops at nothing to find the key to his past. An edge-of-your-seat action thriller from bestselling author Will Jordan, perfect for fans of James Phelan and Vince Flynn.

Review

This is the eighth book in the Ryan Drake series, that seems like a lot of books to catch up on, however this absolutely can be read as a standalone novel. You don’t need much of a back-story to enjoy this action packed thriller.

In this story Ryan and his team end up in a sort of enemy of the state kind of scenario. He also becomes the hunted when his name is brought up in connection with a brutal attack, in fact ‘he’ claims responsibility for the deed. This forces Ryan to act and to expose the person or persons behind this bizarre scheme. Perhaps that is the whole point of the devious plan.

The spy, military and renegade characters are governed by a different set of rules. It’s all about political deals, corruption and in this case Ryan revisiting his past. Trust is an empty vessel when it comes to people who are used to being furtive and pretending to be something they are not. There is no such thing as friends in a world where money and power, and sometimes revenge is the greatest currency.

It’s military, spy and action genre all rolled into one exciting fast-paced read. Definitely a must read for readers who enjoy Clancy, LeCarre and so on.

I like the fact each book in the series doesn’t necessitate the reading of the prior or later books. each one can be read as a standalone novel. Ryan does evolve and grow as the series progresses, but it’s irrelevant to a single book reader because they only experience the Ryan they meet at that particular moment in time.

Buy Downfall at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published by Canelo in eBook and paperback on 7th January 2019. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Google Play. iBooks. Kobo.

#BlogTour The Golden Hour: A Lady Evelyn Mystery by Malia Zaidi

It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Golden Hour: A Lady Evelyn Mystery by Malia Zaidi. It’s a murder mystery interwoven with the complex societal rules and hierarchy of the upper echelon.

About the Author

Malia Zaidi is the author of the Lady Evelyn Mysteries. She studied at the University of Pittsburgh and at the University of Oxford. Having grown up in Germany, she currently lives in Washington DC, though through her love of reading, she resides vicariously (if temporarily) in countries around the world.

Follow @MaliaZaidi on Twitter, on Facebook, on Goodreads, Visit maliazaidi.com or princessandpen.com

Buy The Golden Hour

About the book

London 1927

Lady Evelyn Carlisle has barely arrived in London when familial duty calls her away again. Her cousin Gemma is desperate for help with her ailing mother before her imminent wedding, which Evelyn knew nothing about! Aunt Agnes in tow, she journeys to Scotland, expecting to find Malmo Manor in turmoil. To her surprise, her Scottish family has been keeping far more secrets than the troubled state of their matriarch. Adding to the tension in the house a neighbour has opened his home, Elderbrooke Park, as a retreat for artistic veterans of the Great War. This development does not sit well with everyone in the community. Is the suspicion towards the residents a catalyst for murder? A tragedy at Elderbrooke Park’s May Day celebration awakens Evelyn’s sleuthing instinct, which is strengthened when the story of another unsolved death emerges, connected to her own family. What she uncovers on her quest to expose the truth will change several lives forever, including her own.

With the shadow of history looming over her, Evelyn must trust in her instinct and ability to comb through the past to understand the present, before the murderer can stop her and tragedy strikes again.

Review

As Evelyn circumnavigates the emotional complexity of the relationships between herself and her family members, especially her aunts, she finds quite a few obstacles in her way. Then seemingly out of nowhere and without reason a young maid is murdered.

It all appears to be connected to Elderbrooke Park, a retreat that a family member is helping to set up. A retreat for artistic veterans of the Great War. This is the latest in a long line of distractions for Aunt Iris, a way to cope with the grief of losing her son. A son, missing since 1916, along with thousands of other poor souls in the Great War.

The loved ones who are left behind are left in a limbo when they receive an MIA notification. Somewhere in their hearts there is a tiny spark of hope, born out of desperation, that their son, husband or brother might still be alive. Simultaneously they know that their child, husband, loved one is buried in anonymity with his brothers in arms under layers of once sodden now dried earth in a foreign country across the sea.

Zaidi brings up a few poignant points up about the veterans of the Great War. It’s actually tragic to realise that the perception and generalisation of war veterans hasn’t changed much. They are considered untrustworthy, volatile and emotionally unstable. The communities, people and country they fought for treat them like a bad memory, an ill omen and perhaps most importantly like a reminder of what they have lost. It’s unfortunate that a century later this still remains a problem for veterans.

Don’t be fooled by the cover, which implies a flighty fun read. It doesn’t accurately represent the depth of the character and plot development. It’s a murder mystery interwoven with the complex societal rules and hierarchy of the upper echelon.

The Lady Evelyn Mysteries remind me of a combination of Christie’s world of the aristocracy and Anne Perry’s drawn out plots. The first gives a certain hierarchy to the setting and the relationships, and the latter takes the readers on a journey through the many levels and doors of said hierarchy.

Buy The Golden Hour: A Lady Evelyn Mystery (#4) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: BookBaby; pub date 26 Mar. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Buy A Poisonous Journey (Lady Evelyn Mystery #1) at Amazon Uk or Amazon com.

Buy A Darker Shore (Lady Evelyn Mystery #2) at Amazon Uk or Amazon com.

Buy The Study of Silence (Lady Evelyn Mystery #3) at Amazon Uk or Amazon com.