#BlogTour The Memory Keeper of Kyiv by Erin Litteken

It’s my turn on the Blogtour The Memory Keeper of Kyiv by Erin Litteken.

About the Author

Erin Litteken is a debut novelist with a degree in history and a passion for research. At a young age, she was enthralled by stories of her family’s harrowing experiences in Ukraine before, during and after World War II. Her first historical fiction title, The Memory Keeper of Kyiv, draws on those experiences. She lives in Illinois, USA with her husband and children. Follow @ErinLitteken on Twitter, Visit Erin’s website: erinlitteken.com

About the book

In the 1930s, Stalin’s activists marched through the Soviet Union, espousing the greatness of collective farming. It was the first step in creating a man-made famine that, in Ukraine, stole almost 4 million lives. Inspired by the history the world forgot, and the Russian government denies, Erin Litteken reimagines their story.

In 1929, Katya is 16 years old, surrounded by family and in love with the boy next door. When Stalin’s activists arrive in her village, it’s just a few, a little pressure to join the collective. But soon neighbours disappear, those who speak out are never seen again and every new day is uncertain.

Resistance has a price, and as desperate hunger grips the countryside, survival seems more a dream than a possibility. But, even in the darkest times, love beckons. Seventy years later, a young widow discovers her grandmother’s journal, one that will reveal the long-buried secrets of her family’s haunted past.

This is a story of the resilience of the human spirit, the love that sees us through our darkest hours and the true horror of what happened during the Holodomor. – May we never forget, lest history repeat itself.

A share of proceeds will be donated to DEC’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal.

Review

I think of myself as lucky in regard to the influence my father has had on my education – in filling the gaps created by country hops, school moves, schoolyear jumps and just in general where society and the system is inadequate in passing on knowledge. Irrespective of whether it be intentional or due to curriculum changes. 

He is a font of knowledge, especially when it comes to history, and putting historical events into perspective when it comes to current events. Why is this story of historical importance, even if certain details and characters make it faction – a melding of historical fact and fiction. It’s important because it gives context to the current conflict – the invasion of the Ukraine by Russia, or Putin to be more precise.

Putin styles himself on a man he admires, a ruler upheld by many of the Soviets then and even now in Russia. Stalin was a murderer, a monster, a dictator who was a master of propaganda, both inside and outside the boundaries of Mother Russia. Even now the millions of the Ukrainian people he purposely starved, killed and tortured – they are a mere footnote in history, and one that is purposely held under a suspicion of doubt.

In a way that is exactly why Katya’s story is buried and hidden for decades. It’s not uncommon for survivors of extreme trauma, such as war or the Holodomor – the Terror Famine – to simply remain silent about the events they have experienced. People displaced, ripped from their homes, family and culture in the most horrifying way, only to then be subjected to the horrors of World War 2. How do you resume a semblance of normality after that?

This story is about generational trauma, family secrets and about finding peace after experiencing the unimaginable. It’s also a stark reminder about the lack of empathy when it comes to the pursuit of power and control, which is why the small gestures and moments of connection are even more important. It’s a captivating story – a timely piece of work.

Buy The Memory Keeper of Kyiv at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎ Boldwood Books pub date 16 May 2022. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Boldwood.

#BlogTour The Mersey Mothers by Sheila Riley

It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Mersey Mothers by Sheila Riley. This is the third book in the Reckoner’s Row series.

About the Author

Sheila Riley wrote four #1 bestselling novels under the pseudonym Annie Groves and is now writing the Reckoner’s Row series under her own name. She has set it around the River Mersey and its docklands near to where she spent her early years. She still lives in Liverpool.

Follow Sheila on @1sheilariley Twitter, Facebook@sheilarileynovelist on Instagram, Sign up to her newsletter here

About the book

Liverpool 1953 – January sees the dawn of the Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation year as the mothers of Reckoners Row unite in preparation for the celebration of the new Queen.

Meanwhile Evie Kilgaren is dreaming of her summer wedding to Danny Harris, but trouble looms for Skinner & Sons with a new rival trying to put them out of business, but no-one knows why….

Ada Harris is summoned to the bedside of her estranged husband, who, in his dying moment confesses to a deadly secret – he knows who really murdered Evie’s mam Rene all those years ago and the consequences are far reaching.

Has an innocent man been jailed and is there still a murderer walking carefree? Will Evie get the happy-ever-after she so longs for with Danny? And will The Mersey Mothers unite and still be friends?

Review

If you’ve stumbled upon the Reckoner’s Row series before the beginning of the book gives us the events of The Mersey Orphan from a different perspective. That common thread or event now serves as the intro to the lives of the children left behind as they deal with the complications of a post-war world and adulthood.

Evie and Danny fight to keep his business afloat in the lead up to their nuptials. It seems someone is playing dirty when it comes to trying to shut them down for good. On top of that a killer close to home has escaped and is intent on finding himself some justice. It’s a constantly moving daily bag of troubles, strife, love and friendship, which is of course what readers are looking for in this kind of saga meets historical fiction with just enough cosy and large portion of reality.

Kudos also for the timely plot in regard to the coronation. What better way to give a nod to the upcoming milestone by referencing the beginning of her journey, the country and its people, who embraced the moment of light after times of loss and darkness.

The author gives readers a Cookson style relatable plot, but with less misery and more satisfying character developments if you like a wee bit of joy with your hard times.

Buy The Mersey Mothers at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎ Boldwood Books pub date 19 April 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Fool’s Gold by Gillian Godden

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Fool’s Gold by Gillian Godden.

About the Author

Gillian Godden is a brilliantly reviewed writer of gangland fiction as well as a full-time NHS Key Worker in Hull. She lived in London for over thirty years, where she sets her thrillers, and during this time worked in various stripper pubs and venues which have inspired her stories. Follow @GGodden on Twitter, on Instagram goddengillian or gilliangoddenauthor on Facebook.

About the book

A new life… With their wretched life in Liverpool behind them, Julie and Ralph Gold head to London for their next big break. Julie’s had enough of slumming it, she’s ready to quit their life of crime and go legit.

The same old game… But it seems their reputation had beat them to it, and the underworld is already bubbling with news of the their arrival.  And as much as Julie tries to go straight, the more people underestimate them and treat them like fools. And there is only so much Julie can take…

One last trick. – So when they are offered one final big job, Julie knows they should say no. It’s risky and could cost them everything they have. But it could also be their last chance to make it big.

And when fools rush in, the Golds take the spoils. Read what happens next for Julie and Ralph Gold in another gripping story by Gillian Godden.

Review

Ralph is offering a new start, a new life for Julie. A life away from the hardship she has known and the need to do anything and everything to survive. She is full of uncertainty, and yet takes the plunge anyway. The problem is their reputations proceed them and the criminal world is waiting around every corner.

Julie’s character is a tricky one. The reader feels empathy with her and she is certainly capable of showing compassion to others. Simultaneously there is also the brusque, foul-mouthed and aggressive Julie who reacts impulsively to perceived slights or judgements. It’s a slightly jarring experience, because the lines become blurred between good and bad. Is that perhaps indicative of her true nature or is it the result of a life lived on the edge?

This is only the first in the Gold series and based on the teaser of the net one at the end of this read, it looks as if it’s going to be a violent and bumpy ride for Julie. It’s a gritty crime series with an urban crime vibe. 

Buy Fool’s Gold at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Boldwood Books; pub date 14 Oct. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Wartime Blues for the Harper Girls by Rosie Clarke

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Wartime Blues for the Harper Girls.

About the Author

Rosie Clarke is a #1 bestselling saga writer whose most recent books include The Mulberry Lane series. She has written over 100 novels under different pseudonyms and is a RNA Award winner. She lives in Cambridgeshire. Rosie’s brand new saga series, Welcome to Harpers Emporium began in December 2019. Click here to sign up to Rosie Clarke’s newsletter

Follow @AnneHerries on Twitteron Bookbubon Amazonon Goodreads, Visit rosieclarke.co.uk,

About the book

London 1917 – As the Americans enter the War, there is renewed energy in the war effort. With husbands and sons fighting for freedom, the women of Harpers are left to tackle the day-to-day affairs at home and work. With Ben Harper away, Sally fears she is being followed by a mysterious woman. Who is she and what does she want?

Maggie Gibbs collapses seriously ill in the frontline hospitals and is brought back to England close to death. Can she be saved and what does the future hold for her and her broken heart? Marion Jackson’s father is on the run from the Police already wanted for murder. She fears he will return to threaten his family once more.

And Beth Burrows is pregnant with her second child, worried and anxious for her husband Jack, who has been many months at sea. As Christmas 1917 approaches what will the future hold for Harpers, its girls and their men at War?

Review

Although this can be read as a standalone novel, I would definitely recommend reading the others in the series, You can follow the entire lives of the characters that way.

All the women find their lives changed drastically by wartime. Relationships are strained by worry, a sense of duty and the need to adapt to the situations arising due to the war. Sally’s worries for Ben are replaced by something akin to fear when she realises she is being followed by a  strange woman.

Maggie, who has proven to be fearless, a role model and she has discovered a real talent for caring for others. Her life is changed abruptly, so it’s a question of finding something just as fulfilling to do when she returns home.

It’s an escapism read, a saga built around female characters who have to persevere through the quickly evolving changes of the 20th century, and in this book they learn to navigate the difficulties of wartime. It’s a book that tackles some difficult topics, but the escapism element means they are touched on and they don’t go into much depth. 

The Harper Girls are worth a follow – strong women facing what seem like insurmountable obstacles, pain and difficult situations – it’s a read that has something for everyone.

Buy Wartime Blues for the Harper Girls at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Boldwood Books 6 July 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Insider by Owen Mullen

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Insider by Owen Mullen.

About the Author

Owen Mullen is a highly regarded crime author who splits his time between Scotland and the island of Crete.  In his earlier life he lived in London and worked as a musician and session singer. He has now written seven books and his first gangland thriller for Boldwood, Family was published in January 2021. Sign up to his newsletter here

Follow @OwenMullen6 on Twitter, on Instagramon YoutubeGoodreads Author pageBookbub page,

About the book

Someone’s playing both sides and now they have a score to settle… When the family business is crime, you can never be sure who to trust. And when three of their businesses are hit in one night, the notorious Glass family close ranks. Either someone is sending them a message or a war is coming… 

With trouble coming from all sides, the heads of the Glass family have more than enough to deal with, but all bets are off when a stranger from the past enters the game, causing division and mistrust.

Crooked cops, rival gangs and old enemies are bad enough, but when the trouble comes from the inside, loyalties are tested, with deadly consequences.

Review

This can be read as a standalone novel, however I would recommend reading the first in the series to get the full gist of it and a feel for the Glass family. It’s fair to say that although they are a highly volatile and dysfunctional family, they also tend to live by rule of family loyalty rules supreme.

The family and their businesses are under attack. They appear to be highly motivated and willingly to leave complete chaos and destruction in their stead, and the Glass family are more or less chasing a ghost. Who as it in for them?

This book has kind of a get ready, start your engines and full throttle ahead kind of feel to it. There is always something going on, it’s pulsing with energy, although one could argue that it’s negative energy due to the vast amount of violence and crime.

It’s urban crime, gangland under siege and city warfare. The Glass family never seems to not be in the line of sight of some enemy or the other, and indeed it seems like the next read doesn’t suggest this will change any time soon.

Buy Insider at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : ‎Boldwood Books pub date June 29, 2021. Buy at Amazon com. 

#BlogTour A Second-Hand Husband by Claire Calman

 It’s my turn on the Blogtour A Second-Hand Husband by Claire Calman.

About the Author

Claire Calman is a writer and broadcaster known for her novels that combine wit and pathos, including the bestseller Love is a Four-Letter Word. She has appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour and Loose Ends. Her first book for Boldwood was published in June 2020. Sign up to hear more from Claire Calman, Follow @clairecalman on Twitter, on Bookbub,

About the book

Natalie and Carl are newlyweds, but the honeymoon period is over already. Carl has just announced he has bought their first home at auction without telling Natalie where it is, never mind showing her a picture of it.

Natalie is horrified to discover that the dream home is in Little Wyford, mere minutes away from Carl’s ex-wife Antonia. And to make matters worse, Antonia’s palatial country mansion has a fully-functioning roof (and a heated swimming pool!), unlike the ramshackle cottage Carl has bought for them…

Antonia is Little Wyford’s Queen Bee, mistress of the book club, organiser of the Christmas Fair and leader of the ladies-who-lunch. No matter how hard she tries, Natalie just doesn’t fit in, and when Antonia insists on referring to Carl as ‘Our Husband’, Natalie’s dreams of happily-ever-after take another nose dive.

Second-hand furniture has much to recommend it, especially when doing up a country cottage, second-hand clothes can be ever-so chic, but second-hand husbands are proving to be a very bad idea indeed… Can Natalie ever escape the label of Wife Number Two or is she destined to share her husband forever?

Hilariously funny, wickedly witty, but with a heart of gold and a warmth and wisdom that are all its own, A Second-Hand Husband is Claire Calman’s tour de force.

Review

Some readers might have a tendency to cringe at Natalie’s actions and low self-esteem, and they wouldn’t be completely wrong to do so. It verges on embarrassing the way she stumbles politely and ever so apologetically from one situation to the other, where others feel free to mock and belittle her.

She lets herself be manoeuvred into being second best, an afterthought, the friendly mouse and the new wife who doesn’t shine as brightly as the old wife. Her first mistake is letting her husband get away with picking a new house right next door to the ex-wife, without any input from her, then keeping stumm every time someone uses her as a doormat.

Oh boy, sorry not sorry, but Carl and his actions aren’t romantic in any way shape or form. He has no respect for Natalie at all. Natalie in turn doesn’t seem able to distinguish between what possible toxicity or a romantic gesture may look like.

It’s story of family dynamics, with romance and how to rebuild trust and relationships when a ready made family needs to open the doors to a new member. Calman doesn’t have to wade too far into fiction with this premise, which is probably why certain characters will evoke strong emotional responses.

Buy A Second-Hand Husband at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎ Boldwood Books pub date June 16, 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Dark Days for the Tobacco Girls by Lizzie Lane

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour Dark Days for the Tobacco Girls by Lizzie Lane.

About the Author

Lizzie Lane is the author of over 50 books, a number of which have been bestsellers.  She was born and bred in Bristol where many of her family worked in the cigarette and cigar factories.  This has inspired her new saga series for Boldwood The Tobacco Girls, the first part of which will be published in January 2021. Sign up to Lizzie’s newsletter

Follow @baywriterallat1 on Twitter,  on Facebook, on Instagramon Bookbub,

About the book

Nothing will stop the The Tobacco Girls, not even war… Bristol 1940. The Tobacco Girls cling together as they realise that the clouds of war are turning dark, the world is becoming more dangerous and their lives more unpredictable. Bridget Milligan’s big, happy family fragments when her siblings are evacuated to North Devon, then a letter from America further fills her with dismay.

Maisie Miles safe haven from both Eddie Bridgeman and her father is jeopardised and she is forced to move on, but where too this time? Phyllis Mason is struck down by tragedy and her life spirals downwards into despair until a new horizons beckons, but also perhaps great danger…

Regardless of the rationing, shortages and an ever-worsening situation, The Tobacco Girls all pull together and hope for better days to come.

Review

With the darkness of World War 2 looming over the girls they each have their own problems to deal with. Maisie sees her past and danger lurking behind each corner, whic technically isn’t paranoia if it’s true. Bridget has to watch her family be torn apart, even if it’s in the best interest of her siblings. Phyllis experiences a tragedy which will turn her life around completely.

Each of them, in their own way, finds their own trauma and difficulties hard to cope with alone, but together they become strong enough to do what’s right. More importantly they show each other the light in the hours of sadness and despair.

Maisie, Phyllis and Bridget will always be there for each other through thick, thin and in this case wartime. Even with the odd disgruntled snipes and their own problems, what they truly excel at is being there when one of them is in dire need of a friend. 

It’s a story of friendship, sisterhood and family, because that’s what they are ..family. It’s lovely historical war fiction, escapism with its roots grounded firmly in history and the reality of friendship between women.

Buy Dark Days for the Tobacco Girls at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Boldwood Books; pub date 8 Jun. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Last Days of Us by Caroline Finnerty

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Last of Us by Caroline Finnerty.

About the Author

Caroline Finnerty is an Irish author of heart-wrenching family dramas and has published four novels and compiled a non-fiction charity anthology. She has been shortlisted for several short-story awards and lives in County Kildare with her husband and four young children. Her first title for Boldwood is The Last Days of Us, to be published in June 2021. 

Follow @cfinnertywriter on Twitter, on Instagramon Bookbub, Visit carolinefinnerty.ie

About the book

They say if you love someone, you have to let them go. But what they are your child? All Sarah McIntyre has ever wanted was a loving, happy family. So when her husband JP announces on Christmas Day that he is leaving her and their two children, 9 year old Harry and 4 year old Robyn, Sarah is left reeling.

But things are set to get worse when Robyn is diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumour. Can JP and Sarah unite to fight their biggest battle yet? or will they be on opposing sides once again? With the couple at loggerheads and with Robyn’s condition deteriorating day-by-day, precious time is running out and JP is getting desperate…

The Last Days of Us is a tender story of hope and forgiveness that asks the question how far would you go to save your child?

Review

Sarah thinks her family is picture perfect, until her husband pulls the plug on their white picket fence family. In the midst of their separation the health of one of their children starts to takes precedence over their difficulties. Unfortunately both parents think they know what’s best for their child, they disagree completely with each other.

Aside from the fact this story is about the disintegration of a family and how they can redefine said family after the husband and father decides to leave, it is also one about an important topic of our time. Do you allow someone to die with dignity or keep them alive by what ever means necessary, especially if there is no realistic medical chance of recovery or survival. Do you prolong a life by a few months regardless of the pain you would be subjecting someone to? Then think of these questions and ask yourself whether your answers would be any different if the person in question was your child.

I found the divide between the two parents, when it came to the possible treatment or allowing their child to die, was the actual crux of the plot. It shows the divide we have in this country at the moment in regards to euthanasia or having the right to choose to die. It’s about choice and power over your own body, so what does that mean when you are a child and depend on your parents to make the best choices for you.

It’s a lovely story, perhaps at the core an upsetting one, but it is one about being able to focus on the important things when life becomes an emotional tornado. Whether parents are able to put their own drama aside to focus on what is right for their child and not what feels good and seems right for themselves.

Buy The Last Days of Us at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Boldwood Books pub date 17 Jun. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour One Summer Sunrise by Shari Low

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour One Summer Sunrise by Shari Low.

About the Author

Shari Low is the #1 bestselling author of over 20 novels, including One Day In Winter and With Or Without You and a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. She lives near Glasgow and her first title for Boldwood was My One Month Marriage in January 2020. Sign up to Shari’s newsletter

Follow @ShariLow on Twitteron Instagramon Facebookon Goodreads, Visit sharilow.com

About the book

As the sun rises on a hot summer’s day, four lives are about to be changed forever… Brand new from the bestselling author of What If?, What Now? and One Day In Summer. Today, Maisie McTeer decides to track down the ex who jilted her at the altar. Today, she’ll find out that revisiting the past can also rewrite her future. 

After losing her husband, Harriet Bassett can no longer bear her lonely life. Today, a familiar face in a crowd will spark a quest to discover if there’s something and someone worth living for. 

Scott and Kelly Bassett’s daughter is leaving home. Today, Scott plans to tell Kelly that he’s ending their marriage to pursue his rock and roll dreams. However, Kelly, has a bombshell of her own. How will Scott react to the news that a new arrival is on the way to fill their empty nest? Between sunrise and sunset, there’s love, heartbreak, laughter and tears, but who will find happiness at the end of the day?

Review

Maisie finds herself in a situation that forces her to face the past and ultimately to find closure when it comes to her past. Call it kismet, when she returns to the scene of her greatest heartache. She needs to face the bad to be able to open her eyes to the good.

Harriet is someone who has faded into the background since the death of her husband. Nobody realises how lonely she is and perhaps even she doesn’t realise how much she would like a taste of life again. And Scott and Kelly are the perfect example of what happens when a couple lives next to each instead of with each other. Together they all make this the perfect conga line of mistakes -linked together through a common denominator.

The story taking place in the time constraints of one day is an interesting way to go about it, I think it would make a great screen experience given the right screenplay adaptation. The stories of the characters connect with ach other to create a honeycomb version of a plot.

Low likes to deliver stories with a lot of heart and the kind of tales that people can relate to. Families with secrets, characters who are just like you, me or your loved ones. 

Buy One Summer Sunrise at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏ : ‎ Boldwood Books pub date 3 Jun. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Bad Blood by Heather Atkinson

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Bad Blood by Heather Atkinson.

About the Author

Heather Atkinson is the author of over fifty books – predominantly in the crime fiction genre.  Although Lancashire born and bred she now lives with her family, including twin teenage daughters, on the beautiful west coast of Scotland.   Her new gangland series for Boldwood, set on the fictional Gallowburn estate in Glasgow began with Blood Brothers in December 2020.

Follow @HeatherAtkinso1 on Twitteron Instagramon Bookbub, on Facebookon Amazon, Visit heatheratkinsonbooks.com

About the book

If you can’t trust your family, who can you trust…? Glasgow gangster Jamie Gray and his fellow Blood Brothers rule the Gallowburn Estate with an iron fist. No one messes around on their turf without consequences. 

But when Jamie’s erstwhile dad, Jason Gray, reappears after many years away – some of them spent behind bars – the Blood Brothers are drawn into the murky and dangerous world of the toughest gangster of them all – The Queen of Glasgow, Toni McVay.  

Toni is the head of the most powerful organised crime family in Scotland and, as the psychotic leader enjoys scooping out the eyeballs of those who displease her, Jamie has no option but to do her bidding.

 With the love of his life Allegra still missing, his enemies closing in, and his family’s safety at risk, Jamie Gray faces the battle of his life.  But with his father’s bad blood running through his veins, and the bravery and brains he has inherited from his mother Jackie, Jamie has all the tools he needs to survive.

Review

This is the second book in the Gallowburn series, both of which can be read as standalone novels. Jamie is still shaken from his experiences with his girlfriend and her father, and the last thing he needs is his deadbeat Dad turning up to stir things up.

Think estate hooligans morphing slowly into more serious criminals. Low-level crime builds up until the crimes become more serious, even if they fall under the self-titled umbrella and idea of Robin Hood. Jamie and his boys say they are keeping the neighbourhood, family and friends safe by making a violent stand in regards to other vandals or criminals in their area.

It’s a gritty urban crime read with a small estate feel to it. The main character is one who conjures up understanding and empathy, but in equal measures the feeling that he is a powder keg waiting to explode. It’s as if he walks a thin line between law abiding and way beyond the law.

Atkinson straddles different subgenres and demographics in my opinion. I can see this being a series that NA and YA readers are drawn to, and also just in general adult readers. Being inside Jamie’s head and emotional turmoil, but also the young delinquent vibe is probably what will attract a younger readership.

As the series progresses will Jamie and his friends move beyond all of the above and begin to wander even further into a life of crime and prison or will he, much like many young offenders. be able to pull his life on a straighter path? Will Atkinson go full gangland or not – it will be interesting to see where it goes.

Buy Bad Blood at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Boldwood Books pub date 1 Jun. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.