#Blogtour The No-Hopers Christmas Club by Geraldine Ryan

 It’s my turn on the Blogtour The No-Hopers Christmas Club by Geraldine Ryan.

About the Author

Geraldine Ryan is a proud Northerner who has spent most of her life in Cambridge – the one with the punts. She holds a degree in Scandinavian Studies, but these days only puts it to use when identifying which language is being spoken among the characters of whatever Scandi drama is currently showing on TV. 

For many years, she worked as a teacher of English and of English as a second or foreign language, in combination with rearing her four children, all of whom are now grown-up, responsible citizens. Her first published story appeared in My Weekly in 1993. Since then, her stories have appeared in Take a Break, Fiction Feast and Woman’s Weekly, as well as in women’s magazines abroad. 

She has also written two young adult novels – Model Behaviour (published by Scholastic) and The Lies and Loves of Finn (Channel 4 Books.) She plans for Riding Pillion with George Clooney to be the first of several short story anthologies. 

Keep up to date with Geraldine’s news, be the first to hear about her new releases and read exclusive content by signing up to her monthly newsletter Turning the Page. By adding your details, you’ll also receive a free short story. Use this link to subscribe: Turningthepage. Follow @GeraldineRyan on Twitter, or Facebook geraldineryanwriter

About the book

As warming as a mince pie and a glass of sherry, these eighteen festive-themed shorts are just waiting to be unwrapped.

• A lonely dog shelter volunteer battles to find new homes for her long-time canine residents while realising her own future is just as uncertain. As the new year approaches, can a fellow animal lover give her the fresh start she so wants for her dogs.

• A widowed grandmother prepares to reunite with her forbidden first love, only to discover the grand country pile from where he’s sent her a Christmas card isn’t quite what it seems.

• A single woman finally meets a man to couple up with over the festive season, but will the eccentric mistress of her late father destroy her plans?

• An ambitious 20-something attends a lavish Christmas party with only one aim – to bag a rich husband. But her plans are derailed when a troubling connection with the aristocrat she’s set her sights on is revealed.

Geraldine Ryan is a prolific short-story writer whose work has appeared in Woman’s Weekly and Take a Break’s Fiction Feast magazines. This yuletide collection follows hot on the heels of her first published anthology Riding Pillion with George Clooney. While Christmas comes but once a year, these moving and humorous tales will stay with you for a lifetime.

Review

If you take as a theme – It’s a Wonderful Life, where the balance between hope, dismay, carrying on or giving up is often just a moment of clarity or reflection. For me this was at the core of these short stories. Perspective is everything. Allowing yourself to take a different turn in the road. 

This is a collection of what appears to be cosy stories, but if you look close enough you can see the glimpses of human nature – good, bad, ugly and even the slightly messy. You can see the moments where the roads collide, and decisions must be made, which is quintessentially the way the majority of us live our lives.

I’d recommend this to readers who want a read that wanders through a variety of emotional depth. Short glimpses of situations and lives centred around the festive season. A story for everyone, and perhaps even some that will jolt memories, make you smile or vanish into the short interludes.

Buy The No-Hopers Christmas Club at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.  Publisher: ‎Wrate’s Publishing, pub date 14 Nov 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour The Girl with the Emerald Flag by Kathleen McGurl

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Girl with the Emerald Flag by Kathleen McGurl.

About the Author

Kathleen McGurl lives near the coast in Christchurch, England. She writes dual timeline novels in which a historical mystery is uncovered and resolved in the present day. She is married to an Irishman and has two adult sons. She enjoys travelling, especially in her motorhome around Europe and has of course visited Ireland many times. Follow @KathMcGurl on Twitter, Visit kathleenmcgurl.com

About the book

A country rebelling – It’s 1916 and, as war rages in Europe, Gráinne leaves her job in a department store to join Countess Markiewicz’s revolutionary efforts. It is a decision which will change her life forever. A rebellion is brewing, and as Dublin’s streets become a battleground, Gráinne soon discovers the personal cost of fighting for what you believe in…

A forgotten sacrifice – Decades on, student Nicky is recovering from a break-up when a research project leads her to her great-grandmother’s experiences in revolutionary Ireland. When Nicky finds a long-forgotten handkerchief amongst her great-grandmother’s things, it leads to the revelation of a heartbreaking story of tragedy and courage, and those who sacrificed everything for their country.

Inspired by a heartbreaking true story, this emotional historical novel will sweep you away to the Emerald Isle. Perfect for fans of Jean Grainger, Sandy Taylor and Fiona Valpy.

Review

Nicky is searching for her identity and is very much in the process of discovering herself. It’s probably a little bit of a standard rebellion the way she talks about and feels about her mother. She feels judged, and under constant supervision and criticism. The two of them clash a lot. In the midst of this coming-of-age and acknowledgement of self, Nicky goes on a journey.

The kind of journey that changes your views of the world, the past and even your own loved ones. Nicky uses her grandmother as a font of knowledge to research a rebellion that unbeknownst to her has impacted the life of her grandmother, and also the history of her family.

Gráinne, a young woman also on the cusp of discovering what she wants in life and who she is, is living in the midst of World War I, and is also heavily involved in the plans to change the political status quo in Ireland. A part of the historical path that to this day still shapes the fragility of a relationship built on a history of death and oppression.

I really enjoy watching an author grow, both in skills and in exploration of genre. Although this is still trademark past and present connects, this story shows the growth as it tackles an enormous historical event in Irish history. It was told without the shadow of the usual political perspective or the fury on both sides, instead the author takes it down to the level of people and their personal experience and perspective.

I think, if this is any indication, that the author will take it up a notch, and I am looking forward to it.

Buy The Girl with the Emerald Flag at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Does Snow Turn a Person White Inside? by Max Lobe

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour Does Snow Turn a Person White Inside? by Max Lobe, translated by Ros Schwartz.

About the Author

Max Lobe was born in Douala, Cameroon. At eighteen he moved to Switzerland, where he earned a BA in communication and journalism and a master’s in public policy and administration. In 2017, his novel Confidences won the Ahmadou Kourouma Prize. Other books by the author include 39 Rue de Berne and A Long Way From Douala published by Small Axes in 2021. Max Lobe lives in Geneva. Follow @maxlobe3 on Twitter

About the book

The narrator, Mwana, is a young man from Bantuland, living in Geneva. A graduate from a Swiss university, we first encounter Mwana waiting for a bus in the hills of Lugano gazing at a poster calling for “black sheep” to be sent home. 

Mwana’s efforts to find work are fruitless until he lands an internship in an NGO campaigning against racial discrimination. The team is busy organising a demonstration against the black sheep poster. Mwana has one foot in each culture. He sees Swiss society through African eyes, with all its contradictions: its moderation, stunning landscapes and its eccentricities, but also its intolerance and inflexibility. 

He also casts a critical eye on his native Africa, the weight of its traditions and beliefs. Is belonging nowhere the price Mwana has to pay for these insights?

Sad and playful Does Snow Turn a Person White Inside? is a moving reflection on the immigrant experience. 

Review

This is an interesting one, a little bit like a pulsing heart with a variety of arteries leading away from it in different directions. Mwana at the core – the heart, and the arteries represent origin country, new domicile, experiences of xenophobia and racism, experience of homophobia – there are so many nuances to the life of Mwana. 

In essence it is the story of immigration, which is often a difficult process in itself, but when the experience of the immigrant is seen through the lens of the racism, xenophobia and homophobia it’s an explosive situation that places a deep burden of fear, rejection and anger on the person involved.

It’s hard to explain the experience to someone who has never lived that kind upheaval before. Origin country is still home, despite both negative and positive connotations, new country is the unstable variant of home. Being surrounded by constant reminders of being unwanted and always being on high alert – it creates anger, depression and a sense of hopelessness.

Simultaneously it’s also a story about faith, hope, and unfortunately also sadly the snake eating its own tail when it comes to systems being in place to support those in need, including those who have an unintended stumble through no fault of their own. The brick walls they hit along the way, even from people who know what they are going through, it’s no wonder a certain cynicism develops after a while.

It’s definitely a read between the lines and a look closely at the real state of affairs kind of book. Good read. I think the most poignant point is that no matter where Mwana goes they feel as if adjusting will never be enough. No amount or how hard they try to assimilate to society will change the way the world reacts to him.

Buy Does Snow Turn a Person White Inside at Amazon Uk. Publisher: ‎Small Axes – Hope Road Publishing pub date 25 Aug. 2022. Buy via Hope Road.

#BlogTour Warrior and Protector by Peter Gibbons

 It’s my turn on the Blogtour Warrior and Protector by Peter Gibbons.

About the Author

Peter Gibbons is a financial advisor and author of the highly acclaimed Viking Blood and Blade trilogy. He comes to Boldwood with his new Saxon Warrior series, set around the 900 AD Viking invasion during the reign of King Athelred the Unready. The first title of the new series, Warrior and Protector, will be published in October 2022. He originates from Liverpool and now lives with his family in County Kildare. Follow @AuthorGibbons on Twitter or @petermgibbons on Instagram

About the book

The start of a brand NEW series – an unputdownable fast paced adventure, filled with unforgettable characters.

989 AD. – Alfred the Great’s dream of a united England has been forged by his daughter Aethelfaed and grandson, King Aethelstan. The Vikings have been expelled from York following the death of Erik Bloodaxe, and for two generations there has been peace between Saxon and Dane.

A new Viking warlord Olaf Tryggvason seeks revenge for Bloodaxe’s death and the slaughter that followed and has set his sights on a fresh assault on England’s shores. With Skarde Wartooth they set sail for Saxon lands, hungry for glory, conquest and vengeance.

Beornoth, a brutal and battle-hardened Saxon Thegn, is called to arms to fight and protect the Saxon people from the savage Norse invaders. On a personal crusade, he joins the army of Byrthnoth, Lord of the east Saxons in a desperate fight against the bloodthirsty Vikings. Beornoth must lay his own demons to bed, survive vicious attacks and find redemption for his tragic past.

If you like Bernard Cornwell, Simon Scarrow, Conn Iggulden, and David Gemmell you will love this epic Saxon adventure packed with battles, Vikings, and adventure. 

Review

Beornoth is a conflicted man, and one who needs to regain his standing – not just for himself either. He needs to retrieve a certain level of respect from those around him. Perhaps facing his demons will awaken the part of his soul and the warrior inside him when he gets the opportunity to confront his enemy.

It’s an epic tale of battle-hardened men on both sides of the conflict. Some more battle hungry than others, because many are just forced to defend themselves against the invaders. Brutal, bloody battles fought – names are made and echo through the vast halls of history till this very day.

I enjoyed the way the author steers the story sharply away from misconceptions and tropes that are usually associated with the Vikings, Saxons and used frequently in fiction. It also gives an interesting insight into how the conflicts between them influenced history, and left a visible footprint ingrained even now in our daily lives.

Not sure why, but the title instantly brings Highland or Viking spice-rom to mind. Aside from that this is a vigorous and exciting start to a new series – Saxon Warrior.  It’s historical fiction or historical war and conquering fiction (is conquering fiction a thing – it should be a sub-genre). The author melds fact with fiction, but in a way that lets the read become both an enjoyable and learning experience – the best kind of historical fiction. Roll on the next book, which promises to be an exploration of a fierce and destructive period in time. 

Buy Warrior and Protector at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: ‎ Boldwood Books, pub date 31 Oct. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Collective by Alison Gaylin

It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Collective by Alison Gaylin.

About the Author

Alison Gaylin is the award-winning author of Hide Your Eyes and its sequel, You Kill Me; the standalones Trashed, Heartless, What Remains Of Me and If I Die Tonight; and the Brenna Spector series: And She Was, Into the Dark, and Stay with Me. A graduate of Northwestern University and of Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, she lives with her husband and daughter in Woodstock, New York. Follow @alisongaylin on Twitter

About the book

Camille Gardner is a grieving and angry mother who, fives years after her daughter’s death, is obsessed with the man she believes to be responsible. Because Camille wants revenge.

Enter: the Collective. A group of women who enact revenge on those who have taken their children.

But as Camille gets more involved in the group she must decide whether these women are the heroes or the villains. And if she chooses wrong, will she ever get out alive?

Review

Less is probably more when it comes to reviewing this, just so the way the plot unfolds remains free from spoilers. There are plenty of juicy bits to focus on though.

Camille is obsessed with the death of her daughter or more accurately her murder and the fact her murderer is allowed to enjoy life as if he were an innocent man. At the height of her destructive phase she encounters a group of women who know exactly how she feels, and more importantly they also believe the guilty should be punished.

For me the core of this story is about the grief and the way it manifests in a different way for each individual. Also how grief is experienced depending on the circumstances of the loss a person experiences. It’s such a nuanced, deeply felt, chaotic and often very destructive emotion.

I think it’s easy to feel empathy for Camille, regardless of the way she acts or reacts. Her frustration and anger are justified. The truth is there is no justice when a loved one is ripped from your life in a vicious way, especially when the perpetrator is allowed to walk away without any consequences.

I really enjoyed the way the author took this plot and ran with it and didn’t feel the need to deliver an ending tied up with a pretty bow. Instead the anger and need for vengeance that simmers throughout the book is presented on a silver platter. Nicely done. 

Buy The Collective at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orion Fiction, pub date1st September 2022 – Mass market paperback (£8.99), eBook and audio also available. Buy at Amazon com. Via Orion Books.

#Blogtour The Forgotten Promise by Paula Greenlees

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Forgotten Promise by Paula Greenlees.

About the Author

Paula has lived in various places, including Singapore, where she was based for three years. It was while living in Singapore that the first seeds of her debut novel, Journey to Paradise, developed. The crumbling buildings and the modern high-rises popping up almost overnight seemed to be a metaphor for the social diversity and change in Singapore at that time. However, as a young mother living there, she wondered what it must have been like as a post-war colonial wife living miles away from the familiarity of home. Despite the gloss and glamour of colonial living, women were frequently stuck in unhappy marriages, often unable to follow careers or have the independence to divorce if things went wrong – which they inevitably did. 

Her writing, although set against exotic backgrounds, is set on the cusp of change – the shift from colonial dominance to independence. She likes to dig into a variety of issues and her main protagonist is, in many ways, a metaphor for the political and social events surrounding her at that time. It isn’t always an easy journey, but in the end, success comes her way. 

The Forgotten Promise tells the story of Ella, a young Eurasian woman, whose life is turned upside down by the Japanese occupation of Malaya, and it is through her lens and that of Noor, her cook, that the narrative is revealed.

As for Paula – she has always wanted to be a writer. As a little girl she used to spend hours writing stories and turning them into books, even using flour and water as paste to stick the pages together.  She spent hours writing poetry and plays as a teenager and has always written short stories in her spare time. It is this need to write and a love of reading that led her to take a degree in English and European Thought and Literature, and later a Masters Degree in Creative Writing.

Apart from her writing, Paula hosts a regular author interview on her website. You can find out more about new and existing historical fiction authors, such as Liz Trenow, Frances Quinn and Louise Fein, by hitting the ‘author interview tab.’ 

As a writer, she feels it is important to have a wide range of interests – not only does it adds flavour and layering to prose, but allows it allows time for ideas to mull and to percolate. People watching in cafés is one, long walks is another. And food! Good food is essential to her and she loves to cook using the best ingredients she can find.  As well as a love of travel, she is a keen amateur photographer and her next trip takes her to Cambodia where she is hoping to discover an exciting hook for a new book – you can find out more about her progress there by following her on Instagram.

Paula has a grown up daughter and lives in Warwickshire with her husband and an extremely friendly Labrador. Follow @PGreenlees on Twitter, Visit paulagreenlees.com

About the book

Malaya, 1920: Two girls make a promise in the shadows of the jungle. A promise that life won’t let them easily keep.

Malaya, 1941: Ella is running her late father’s tin mine in the Kledang hills, while Noor works as her cook. When the war that felt so far away suddenly arrives on their doorstep, Ella is torn apart from her family. Her daughter Grace is left in Noor’s care as Japanese soldiers seize the mine.

Ella is forced to make an impossible choice that takes her to England, thousands of miles from home. She is desperate to be reunited with her loved ones. But will the life she returns to be anything like the life she left behind?

Review

We meet Ella as a child, when the first invisible boundaries between herself and her friend become visible to herself and others. Then later as she lives the life of a tin mine owner, her friend now the family cook. The two of them separated by social and class structures. As the story progresses we return to the two, who have had to make extremely difficult choices to ensure their survival as their home and country is invaded during WW2.

Although the title references the bond between two young girls and a promise they make in all innocence, it is also about the way we deal with curveballs in life. Adapt and survive. Making hard decisions, sometimes at the expense of others and often made in the moment.

Despite the fact Ella is Eurasian, she is very much a product of white colonisation and privilege. I think it is frequently evident in her reactions when she returns to Malaya – the lack of understanding of a place and people who have had to adjust to extreme conditions of an oppressed country.

The destruction, pain, torture and war crimes committed by the Japanese during WW2 often take a second place to the atrocities and warfare in Europe during the same period. This opens a small window to some of it, whilst maintaining the essence of the family saga and dynamics. It was a pleasure to read.

Buy The Forgotten Promise at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎ Penguin pub date 1 Sept. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Total Control by Alex Shaw

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Total Control by Alex Shaw.

About the Author

Alex Shaw spent the second half of the 1990s in Kyiv, Ukraine running his own business consultancy before being head-hunted for a division of Siemens. The next few years saw him doing business for the company across the former USSR, the Middle East, and Africa. Most recently he has spent several years in Doha, Qatar.

Alex is an active member of the ITW (The International Thriller Writers organisation) and the CWA (the Crime Writers Association). He is the author of three international bestselling thriller series featuring Aidan Snow, Jack Tate and Sophie Racine, and the standalone ‘Delta Force Vampire’. His writing has also been published in several thriller anthologies.

Total Blackout was Shortlisted for the 2021 Wilbur  Smith Adventure Writing Prize – Best Published Novel.

Alex, his wife and their two sons divide their time between homes in Kyiv – Ukraine, Sussex – England and Doha – Qatar. Follow Alex on twitter: @alexshawhetman

About the book

The target doesn’t exist. – When cyber terrorist Fang Bao abruptly reappears after years in hiding, MI6 agent and former SAS trooper Jack Tate is sent to bring him in – but when Fang is assassinated by an unknown assailant, Tate realises he was only a pawn in a plot that threatens to put the whole world in danger.

The mission is impossible. – Now Tate has to uncover a lethal conspiracy that stretches all the way from Germany through the United States and into the dark heart of the jungle in Myanmar. As the enemy hunt down the owners of military secrets that would make them indestructible, Tate must race to identify not only their next target, but the enemy themselves.

The war is about to begin… Soon he learns the dark truth at the heart of the global conspiracy. The enemy doesn’t want to just assassinate a world leader; they want to make war – and Tate is the only one who can stop them.

Review

This is the third book in the Jack Tate series, which can all be read as standalone novels. This plot is a timely one I think. The necessity of the US and Uk having to work together to combat a common enemy. An insidious game of blame can and will decide the fate of many. A treacherous game of propaganda in the cyber arena. What better way to cause havoc than to present one scenario to fool the world, and in doing so create an explosive situation.

Influencing the outcomes, whilst creating the right kind of weaknesses to exploit. It’s the kind of plot that isn’t beyond the realms of reality, which is probably what makes it a good read.

It was interesting to see a Tate willing to take a risk and he was certainly teetering quite close to the edge when it comes to controlling his anger. I wonder if it is intentional – a way to show the burden of stress, the result of living a life on a lethal tightrope.

When I recommend books I have quite a few readers (often men) who look for a particular genre, which can be a bit niche. I’m glad I can add another author to the list of recommendations when it comes to this action thriller, with a military vibe. The author knows exactly how to pace the story and keep it rolling until the very end.

Buy Total Control at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : ‎HQ Digital, pub date 21 July 2022. Buy at Amazon comBuy via Harper Collins.

#BlogTour Outcast by Claire Voet

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Outcast by Claire Voet.

About the Author

Claire Voet is an English author, born in Gosport across the shores of Portsmouth Harbour. Claire started writing in 2010 and has since then written a number of books to include The Ghost of Bluebell Cottage, The Other Daddy A World Away, Captain Hawkes, short story A Helping Hand, Echoes In The Mist and the Outcast series.

Claire demonstrates her love for history and also the supernatural in many of her spellbinding stories. As a commercial participator for the BBC Children in Need Appeal, Claire donates money from her book sales once a year. Visit clairevoet.com

About the book

In 1945 Molly Hazleton is heart broken when her fiancé doesn’t return from the war after being reported “missing in action.” So when Aunt Daphne comes to visit with news of having bought a 17th century manor house at auction in Scotland, Molly welcomes the opportunity to start afresh and help her aunt turn Aberdoch Manor into a hotel.

With a strange sense of déjà vu, Molly struggles to understand her connection with the property having never stepped foot inside of it or even Scotland for that matter. Ross McDaniel, the newly appointed gardener, knows more than he is letting on. And when he shows Molly an ancient yew tree named by the locals as the Ghost Tree, after touching it, Molly discovers a remarkable ability to vividly see and experience her own past life – a life of extreme danger and hardship on the road with the Jacobite in 1745, hunted by the Red Coats for crimes she hasn’t committed. She is also in love with a brave, Scot warrior, leader of the McDaniel clan who soon becomes her husband.

Stirring up forgotten memories and an uncontrollable yearning to be back with those she once loved, Molly is hopelessly torn between very different worlds, two hundred years apart! 

Review

The story begins in the past with a brief encounter and a connection created through common ground and self-preservation. It continues in the middle of the 20th century, as the Second World War comes to end. Families and loved ones, are simultaneously relieved and stricken with grief.

Molly is still reeling from her own personal loss, which is probably why she doesn’t think twice at leaving her family and life behind, and hitting the restart button. Moving to a manor house in Scotland sounds like an amazing adventure that will hopefully keep her mind off her grief. Little does she know that both the present and the past are waiting for her.

This is a dual timeline story, historical fiction with a wee bit of romance. At the core of it though, is essence of understanding when one door closes another one will appear and open eventually. This is not only the case when it comes to most things in life, but most certainly also when the door represents relationships and love. 

The ending is a bit of a cliffhanger, the road taken isn’t as clear-cut anymore. I guess the next book is a must read then.

Buy Outcast at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Blossom Spring Publishing pub date 26 May 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Half-Life of Snails by Philippa Holloway

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Half-Life of Snails by Philippa Holloway.

About the Author

Philippa Holloway is a writer and senior lecturer at Staffordshire University, living in England but with her heart still at home in Wales. Her short fiction is published on four continents. 

She has won prizes in literary awards including the Fish Publishing Prize, The Scythe Prize, and the Writers & Artists Working Class Writer’s Prize. She is co-editor of the collection 100 Words of Solitude: Global Voices in Lockdown 2020 (Rare Swan Press). Follow @thejackdawspen on Twitter

About the book

Two sisters, two nuclear power stations, one child caught in the middle… When Helen, a self-taught prepper and single mother, leaves her young son Jack with her sister for a few days so she can visit Chernobyl’s Exclusion Zone, they both know the situation will be tense. Helen opposes plans for a new power station on the coast of Anglesey that will take over the family’s farmland, and Jennifer works for the nuclear industry and welcomes the plans for the good of the economy. But blood is thicker than heavy water, and both want to reconnect somehow, with Jack perhaps the key to a new understanding of one another.

Yet while Helen is forced to face up to childhood traumas, and her worst fears regarding nuclear disaster, during a trip that sees her caught up in political violence and trapped in Chernobyl’s Exclusion Zone during the 2014 Euromaidan revolution, Jennifer too must discover that even the smallest decision can have catastrophic and long-lasting effects, both within the nuclear industry, and within the home.

And Jack isn’t like other five-year olds… as they will both discover with devastating consequences.

Review

Living on the perimeter of a nuclear power station has driven the mindset of young mother Helen. It has made her more aware of her surroundings and of the repercussions and dangers in regard to said station. One could say her need to be safe and prepared for all situations has become an obsession. The kind of obsession that makes a trip to a disaster scene seem normal – to her at least. Leaving her son in the capable hands of her family.

The bond between Helen and her son is strong, tight to the point of suffocation. A mother who sees danger in every corner and has taught her young boy accordingly. A bond that becomes strained and anxieties are heightened, when the worst case scenario happens whilst the two are separated for the first time.

I don’t think this one will leave me, the type of read that exists in the back of your mind – a warning and a stark reminder. A reminder that mankind will never learn their lesson, that greed always supersedes common sense and the safety of those directly in the line of fire. 

Helen’s approach to raising her son as a prepper, thereby also causing segregation, isolation and a very insulated view of his surroundings – it’s contentious and neglectful. He is emotionally stunted and wary of anyone other than his mother, which makes him vulnerable. Or is Helen one step closer to the future than others, thereby creating a child able to survive under the direst of situations and circumstances.

This is the kind of book that resonates in the here and now, and equally has its place in history. It’s also one, I am sure, that will divide readers at times. More importantly it will generate conversations – hopefully. It’s a cracking and captivating read. 

Buy The Half-Life of Snails at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎ Parthian Books pub date 4 May 2022. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Parthian Books.

#BlogTour The Burning Question by Linda Regan

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour The Burning Question by Linda Regan.

About the Author

Linda Regan is the prolific writer of eight crime novels, as well as a celebrated actress of stage and screen. After winning a worldwide writing competition with her novel Behind You! (2006), Linda published seven more novels, including Passion Killers (2007) which was selected as a Sunday Observer pick of the year. Since then, she has written the immensely popular DI Johnson series (2015) and the DCI Banham series (2019).

In addition to her writing, Linda is a much-loved actress, known for her recurring role in the hit BBC sitcom Hi-De-Hi, and guest appearances in popular shows The Bill, Birds of a Feather, Doctors, and Holby City. Before joining the cast of Hi-De-Hi, Linda started out in a comedy dance troupe in her youth before going on to a lead role in the West End production of Tom Stoppard’s Dirty Linen. Playing such vivid and iconic characters throughout her career, has helped Linda to develop character focused stories that bring a uniquely immersive filmic quality to the page.

In addition to her acting, Linda uses her personal experiences to write her signature brand of “strong crime”. All of Linda’s novels are set in South London, where Linda writes with meticulous knowledge of the landscape where she grew up and currently lives with her husband, actor Brian Murphy. Follow @Linda_Regan on Twitter

About the book

DCI Paul Banham and DI Alison Grainger are back. This time they’re investigating the tragic death of a young woman, burnt in her home. When another identical arson attack is reported, Grainger and Banham are on the hunt for a link, unaware that the new trainee DC, Hannah Kemp, already knows the connection. She also knows that if she comes forward with the information, her own past will come to light, and she’ll potentially lose her job. But, if she doesn’t, more women will lose their lives. 

Hannah knows who they are, and she knows their attacker will stop at nothing to keep his ring of illegal prostitutes earning. Once he realises Hannah is now a police detective, she, too, will be in mortal danger. 

As the clock ticks against her own life, she must decide whether to stay quiet for the sake of her career, or risk everything she’s worked for to stop a ruthless killer once and for all.

Review

It’s a mid-series book, however it is absolutely readable as a standalone novel. DCI Paul Banham and DI Alison Grainger are investigating a fatal arson attack with multiple victims. It soon becomes evident that there was an intended victim and some collateral damage. Unfortunately the victim has a link to someone in the team, one she wants to keep buried for very good reasons.

It’s a balance between police procedural and cosy crime, the focus and the soft layer gives it a more comfortable feel. Despite the subject matter, which is a bit seedy and dark at times, it doesn’t have a brutal hardcore crime vibe. Nothing wrong with that, the author definitely puts an emphasis on the interpersonal scenes and situations.

Perhaps sometimes to the point of making the police procedural side less convincing, because the interpersonal relationships and interactions take precedence over procedure. Again, this is merely a matter of what kind of crime read you are looking for. 

The author definitely likes to muddy the waters when it comes to the rule of law and the areas in between black and white, but perhaps the whole intention is to present a set of flawed characters, because the reality is even the people upholding the law are just mere humans. 

Buy The Burning Question at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Headline Accent, pub date 12th May 2022 | Paperback Original – £9.99. Buy at Amazon comVia Headline.