#BlogTour The Dilemma by B.A. Paris

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for The Dilemma by B.A. Paris.

About the Author

B.A. Paris is the internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown and Bring Me Back. Now approaching 1.5 million copies sold in the UK alone, she is a Sunday Times bestseller, New York Times bestseller as well as a number one bestseller on Amazon and iBooks. her books have sold in 38 languages around the world. having lived in France for many years, she recently moved back to the UK.

Follow @BAParisAuthor on Twitter, on Goodreadson AmazonBuy The Dilemma

About the book

It’s Livia’s 40th birthday. She’s having the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding she never had. During the day, her husband, Adam, hears some terrible news. He needs to tell Livia, because how can the party go on? But she’s so happy – so excited – and the guests are about to arrive…Review

This has the same layer of emotions on which As Far as the Stars by V. MacGregor is built, but Paris takes that layer adds the tension and builds a moral dilemma into the mix. The result is spectacular read, which will leave readers wondering whether it was the right decision or not.

Livia has been planning her 40th birthday party for a long time. It is going to be a huge expensive shindig. She never had her dream wedding, so this party is her do-over. I found her very superficial at times. She has a wonderful life, a loving husband and two healthy children. She has a good life, despite being rejected by her parents for her choices in life, and yet a party becomes more important than anything and anyone. It explains why Adam waits.

Adam knows, somewhere deep in his heart he thinks he knows, but denial gives him an escape route of sorts. For a few hours he can pretend and push the inevitable to the side.

When you find out something shocking or out of character about a loved one or a friend you have a choice – you keep it to yourself or put it out there into the world. As soon as you put it out there it changes the way that person is perceived. Every action, thought, word and conversation is replayed, which in turn changes the interpretation of the information one already has. The nice, loving bright shiny star becomes an irresponsible, vindictive liar.

This is a compelling contemporary read – it packs a visceral punch. It’s really quite clever how the author ends the story and yet leaves it open-ended at the same time. Paris leaves her readers with the emotional dilemma.

I can imagine readers will find the dilemma quite divisive. The fear, the denial and the constant hold on a slither of hope is emotional torture. Do you say something and every moment from that point forward is tainted by the finality of the news or do you let your loved ones have one final night of peace? Either way the facts don’t change or do they?.

Buy The Dilemma at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for an other retailer. Published by HQ, pub date 9 January 2020. Hardback – ebook – Audiobook. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Hive.co.uk

Read my review of The BreakdownBring Me Back and the new explosive ending of Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris.

#BlogTour Her Last Secret by P.L. Kane

I mixed up my days and missed my slot on the tour yesterday, probably because I am still in the ‘what day is it’ time of the year and thought it was a completely different day, so a day late and a dollar short – here is my post for the BlogTour Her Last Secret by P.L. Kane.

About the Author

P.L. Kane is the pseudonym of a #1 bestselling and award-winning author and editor, who has had over ninety books published in the fields of SF, YA and Horror/Dark Fantasy. In terms of crime fiction, previous books include the collection Nailbiters and the anthology Exit Wounds.

Kane has had work optioned and adapted for film and television (including LionsGate/NBC, who picked up a story for primetime US network TV). Several of Kane’s stories have been turned into short movies and Loose Canon Films/Hydra Filma have just adapted ‘Men of the Cloth’ into a feature, The Colour of Madness.

Kane’s audio drama work for places such as Bafflegab and Spiteful Puppet/ITV features the acting talents of people like Tom Meeten (The Ghoul), Neve McIntosh (Dr Who/Shetland), Alice Lowe (Prevenge) and Ian Ogilvy (Return of the Saint). Visit plkane.com for more details.

Follow @PLKane1 on Twitter, on GoodreadsBuy Her Last Secret

About the book

Jordan Radcliffe is found stabbed to death. Her boyfriend’s finger prints are on the knife and his clothes are covered in her blood. Case closed… Or is it?

When Jordan’s estranged father Jake learns of his only daughter’s death, he is convinced that there is more to her murder than he is being told. But Jake hasn’t seen Jordan for over three years and, with secrets of her own, she was far from the child he abandoned all those years ago.

Jake’s ex-wife Jules, is reluctant to let him waltz back into her life. But with a question mark hanging over the case, Jake knows that he must piece together the fragments of evidence before it is too late. Will he ever discover the truth?

Review

The death of a child, your own child, is the worst possible experience a parent can go through, even more so when your child is brutally murdered.

Jake and Jules are completely devastated by the murder of their daughter Jordan. The only comfort is the fact the police already have the murderer in custody. Bobby was found covered in his girlfriend’s blood, but he still insists that he is innocent.

Her parents, in particular Jake, find it difficult to reconcile their present with their past. Jake has to deal with the new man in her life and the new father figure in his daughters life. A man he takes an instant dislike to – is it just jealousy?

One of the most poignant elements of this story is guilt. Jake realises that there is no going back – no do over as a father to his daughter. He wasn’t there to protect Jordan or to give her advice. Instead the separation from wife and home also resulted in the father and daughter relationship being severed.

He points the finger straight at his ex-wife. Why didn’t she pay more attention to what Jordan was doing and who she was seeing? It’s an easy way to deal with your own sense of guilt I suppose. Blame someone else, because the reality is so much more painful than Jake wants to acknowledge.

It’s an emotionally charged domestic noir – fraught with guilt and regret. Kane plots a crime, but turns the story into a compelling tale about relationships, broken homes and families.

Buy Her Last Secret at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital; pub date 8 Jan. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Move by Felicity Everett

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Move by Felicity Everett.

About the Author

Felicity Everett grew up in Manchester and studied English Literature at Sussex University. She worked in children’s publishing in London, whilst raising a family and is the author of more than twenty works of children’s fiction and non-fiction.

After a short career break, Felicity returned to writing full-time and in 201 published her debut novel, The Story of Us, a funny and touching account of the friendships forged between five women at University in the 1980s. Her second novel, The People at Number 9, was published in April 2017, is a dark satire on sex, envy and betrayal in the suburbs. Felicity has recently returned from a few years living in Melbourne, with her husband and now lives in Gloucestershire.

Follow @Ittymay on Twitter, on Goodreadson AmazonBuy The Move

About the book

Karen is driving through a strange landscape into a new life. Always a city girl, now she is on her way to an idyllic country cottage, refurbished for her with impeccable taste by he husband Nick. They’re making a fresh start.

But something is awry in the new house – it’s not just the fact that Karen and Nick are ill at ease in one another’s company – that their recent history is far from picture perfect, it’s the whole vibe. The landscape is breathtaking by day, eerie by night. If the countryside is supposed to be a place of peace, far away from curtain-twitchers, who is the person watching them from the hill? And who are their new neighbours?

With Karen only recently emerging from a dark place in her life, can she find the trust in her husband Nick to let go of events that have followed them to their new house?

Review

What’s interesting about The Move is the way Everett gives it the vibe of a psychological thriller and yet at the end you realise it’s something else entirely. Around every corner, in every nook and cranny, and behind every hedge and window, there is this suggestion of menace. Something evil this way comes.

The author writes the story in a way that invites the reader to imagine more than actually happens by describing scenarios and people that leaves everything open to interpretation or more than one possibility.

There is this scene at the very beginning with Karen in the car – I swear till the very last word I expected some revelation about what had really happened. It’s quite clever really, because there is this suggestion that people in general have the tendency to assume, imagine and pad out their experiences. Karen for instance tends to jump straight to paranoia, which is sparked by jealousy and low self-esteem.

Her husband Nick loves to gaslight his wife, despite the fact he is a cheat and an abusive parent, he likes to play the innocent hard-done by hubby. Poor Nick who has to put up with the crazy wife and the loser son. Perhaps he has a point though?

For me this is a story about discovery of self, empowerment and setting yourself free from oppressive emotional bonds. As soon as you recognise them you can set yourself free by severing the ties.

The author shows the emotional recovery of Karen and epiphany she has. It’s all about comprehending that just because someone points the finger of blame at you it doesn’t mean you are actually to blame. When someone tells you who they are – believe them the first time.

Buy The Move at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ; pub date 23rd January 2020 – Hardback £12.99. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Hive.co.uk.

#BlogTour A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum

Today it’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour A Woman is No Man by Etaf Rum. It’s a poignant tale of oppression and also women’s empowerment.

About the Author

Etaf Rum was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, by Palestinian immigrants. She teaches college English literature in North Carolina, where she lives with her two children. A Woman is No Man is her first novel.

Follow @EtafRum on Twitter, on Facebookon Instagramon Goodreadson Amazon, Visit etafrum.comBuy A Woman is No Man

About the book

Palestine, 1990. Seventeen -year-old Isra prefers reading books to entertaining the suitors her father has chosen for her. Over the course of a week, the naive and dreamy girl finds herself quickly betrothed and married, and is soon living in Brooklyn. There Isra struggles to adapt to the expectations of her oppressive mother-in-law Fareeda and strange new husband Adam, a pressure that intensifies as she begins to have children – four daughters instead of the sons Fareeda tells Isra she must bear.

Brooklyn, 2008. Eighteen-year-old Deya, Isra’s oldest daughter, must meet with potential husbands at her grandmother Fareeda’s insistence, though her only desire is to go to college. Deya can’t help but wonder if her options would have been different had her parents survived the car crash that killed them when Deya was only eight. But her grandmother is firm on the matter: the only way to secure a worthy future for Deya is through marriage to the right man.

But fate has a will of its own, and soon Deya will find herself on an unexpected path tht leads her to shocking truths about her family – knowledge that will force her to question everything she thought she knew about her parents, the past, and her own future.

Set in an America at once foreign to many and staggeringly close at hand, A Woman is No Man is a story of culture and honour, secrets and betrayals, love and violence. It is an intimate glimpse into a controlling and close cultural world, and a universal tale about family and the ways silence and shame can destroy those we have sworn to protect.

Review

Why wasn’t this on some of the best book and prize lists of the year in the Uk? It has seriously remained almost invisible, despite winning recognition and accolades in the US. It should be compulsory reading for all girls and women, regardless of their background.

It speaks truth to the lies that are spoken by both men and women defending tradition, culture and religion. Tell us again how you revere women. How they aren’t treated like sub-humans and second class citizens. Tell us again how keeping women silent and submissive is simultaneously cementing and honouring their place in society.

I came away a few times from this read, but ultimately when I finished it I was both enraged and saddened.

I think what many of us forget, and that includes the families who put children, and especially girls, in this position, is the difficult position they end up in when they grow up in Western cultures. The two contradicting cultures must be incredibly difficult to navigate at the same time. One culture is steeped in medieval and oppressive traditions and rules, whereas the other culture allows freedom in all areas. How are children and young people supposed to be true to both?

The story begins with Isra, a young Palestinian Arab girl who is married off to a family and moved to Brooklyn. Then we hear the story of her eldest daughter Deya as her grandmother Fareeda starts to pressure her into upholding the family honour and her duties by accepting a suitor.The stories of the two women play out at the same time as Deya discovers the truth about the parents she believes were killed in a car crash.

It’s women’s fiction and a poignant contemporary read about empowering women in a culture of systemic abuse and oppression. The author gives us a compelling and infuriating look behind closed doors. Girls born and bred to be nothing more than brood-mares, cleaners, cooks and objects of abuse – that’s if they are allowed to live at all. No wonder Isra sinks into despair.

I think it’s particularly tragic that her love of reading is what ultimately destroys what is left of her hope that there is more out there for her and her daughters other than pressure, oppression and pain.

I loved and hated this book in equal measures. It is an incredibly tragic and beautiful story, but it is also indicative of the systemic abuse and oppression of women in certain cultures.

One last thing – although it pains me to say this – the role other women play in both the oppression and abuse shouldn’t be underestimated. Fareeda plays a leading role in this story, as do other mothers, wives, sisters and daughters who condone and contribute to the never-ending cycle of oppression. Excusing it by labeling it tradition, culture or part of a devout upbringing is a farce and makes a mockery of any culture that sustains, welcomes and continues to uphold oppressive and abusive behaviour.

This is an excellent read.

Buy A Woman is No Man at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ: Published on 12th December 2019 – Paperback £8.99 – Available in eBook and Audiobook. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Hive.co.uk Buy at Waterstones

#BlogTour I’ll Be Home For Christmas by Abbey Clancy

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour I’ll Be Home for Christmas by Abbey Clancy.

About the Author

Born in Liverpool, Abbey Clancy balances her home life with her career as a model and TV presenter. She is an ambassador for many of the UK’s top brands and has designed her own clothing and jewellery lines as well as launching a range of baby products. Abbey is married to Premiership footballer Peter Crouch and has three small children. I’ll be Home for Christmas is her second novel.

Follow @OfficialClancy  and @HQStories on Twitter, on Goodreadson AmazonBuy I’ll be Home for Christmas

About the book

Popstar Jessika Malone can’t believe her luck! Not only has she signed a major record deal and is topping the charts with her latest single, she’s just been offered the chance of a lifetime: a tour with gorgeous megastar Cooper Black…

It’s everything she’s ever dreamed of – except that it means travelling thousands of miles from her boyfriend, Daniel, just when he’s finally got down on one knee and popped the question.

Far from home and followed by the paparazzi, her relationship is tested more than Jessika ever imagined – will she make it home for Christmas before its too late?

Review

Jessika doesn’t really spend a lot of time reflecting on her own mistakes or choices. Everything is seen through the lens of her own frame of references. She feels hurt by the fact Daniel won’t fly out and visit her, and yet doesn’t consider doing the same thing. She feels jealous because he is spending all his time with an attractive superstar, but completely disregards the fact she is doing the same thing.

She acts like a spoiled child who is used to getting her own way and she certainly does when her bubble is burst on a surprise visit to her home.

I like the fact Clancy brought up abuse of power. It may not not seem important other than to magnify a certain dramatic point in the story, but it does speak to an ongoing issue that people with large followings have. The use of fans or followers to impact negatively on a third party or person. Doesn’t seem like a big thing, but it can destroy lives, reputations and businesses. Not exactly the kind of behaviour that should be supported.

Also the way Cooper does this, which the rich and famous are wont to do. Using the medium of their career to diss or malign someone is childish at best and destructive at worst. The author incorporates this into the read in a subtle way and makes her point without losing the feel-good read aspect of the book.

It’s a Christmas romance, a story that proves money and fame can’t buy you love or happiness. That trust is an integral part to any relationship, and once it is gone it has to be rebuilt. Clancy delivers a fun, energetic read with serious undertones – just right for the festive season.

Buy I’ll Be Home for Christmas at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Mills & Boon; pub date 14th November 2019 – Paperback £7.99 – eBook £5.99 – Audiobook £12.99. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Hive.co.uk

#BlogTour Storm of Ash by Michelle Kenney

Today it’s a pleasure to kick off the BlogTour Storm of Ash by Michelle Kenney.

About the Author

Michelle is a firm believer in magic, and that ancient doorways to other worlds can still be found if we look hard enough. She is also a hopeless scribbleaholic and, when left to her own devices, likes nothing better than to dream up new fantasy worlds in the back of a dog-eared notebook. Doctors say they’re unlikely to find a cure any time soon.

In between scribbling, Michelle love reading, running, attempting to play bluegrass and beach treasure-hunting with her two daughters (dreamers-in-training).

Michelle holds a LLB (hons) degree, an APD in Public Relations and is an Accredited Practitioner with the CIPR (with whom she’s won awards for Magazine & PR work). But she’s definitely happiest curled up against a rainy window, with her nose in a book.

Book of Fire is the first in a brand new YAFantasy Trilogy published by HarperCollins HQ. City of Dust, Book 2, was published October 2018 (digital) and December 2018 (paperback), and Storm of Ash, the final instalment is out on 11 December (Digital) and February 2020 (Paperback)

Follow @mkenneypr on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazonon Facebook, Visit michellekenney.co.ukBuy Storm of Ash

About the book

The brand new novel from Michelle Kenney, author of the Book of Fire and City of Dust!

As Talia treks back through the treacherous North Mountains, she knows only three things: Pantheon has stolen nearly everyone she loves; Her blood is the only control over the Voynich’s oldest secret; And Cassius won’t stop hunting Arafel until every last outsider is destroyed. Will Talia finally face her legacy and defeat Cassius before it is too late?Review

This is the third book in the Book of Fire series. It absolutely can be read as a standalone novel, however I would highly recommend reading Book of Fire and City of Dust to get a better overall view and to be able to enjoy the vision and complexity of the storytelling.

This book starts with the conundrum Talia faces when it comes to Lake. The draco-chimera has become a potential threat to everyone, as Talia always thought she possibly would. Can the power be tamed and controlled or is Lake destined to be an object of destruction?

It’s difficult to talk about this third part without giving too much of the plot away, so I am going to keep the details to a minimum. Needless to say both Lake and Talia bring fire to the table in their own specific way. The bond between them since the day Talia discovered the chimera will be drawn and chipped at, but perhaps not quite in the way certain adversaries expect it to be. Belief, friendship and ultimately trust is what speaks from their connection to each other.

Kenney writes fantasy the way it should be written. She wants her readers to sink into the folds of the intricate world-building and become immersed in the worlds she weaves. Much like a spider, she spins a web that one cannot help but fall into.

I was impressed by how many different elements the author wove into the structure of the story. History, mythology, evolution and of course the power of magic, which is defined and controlled only by the boundaries of her imagination. It is however also without boundaries, exceptionally expressive and simultaneously filled with rivers of emotion that flow throughout the story as it evolves.

It’s high fantasy with elements of evolution, history and magic. The powerful world-building is combined with strong descriptive writing and an excellent plot. It’s a cracking read, especially if you enjoy your fantasy intense, complex and relentless.

Buy Storm of Ash (Book of Fire #3) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.  Publisher: HQ Digital, ebook pub date 11 Dec. 2019 – Paperback pub date 6 Feb. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Dark Hollows by Steve Frech

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Dark Hollows by Steve Frech.

About the Author

Steve Frech lives in Los Angeles. In addition to writing, he produces and hosts the Random Awesomeness Podcast, an improv-comedy quiz show that has been performed at Upright Citizens Brigade, The Improv, iO West, and Nerdist.

Follow @stevefrech on Twitter, on Goodreadson Facebook, Buy Dark HollowsAbout the book

Jacob Reese enjoys the quiet life, running a coffee shop and renting out his cottage in The Hollows, Vermont.

But the calm is shattered when a woman who looks eerily similar to his ex-girlfriend Laura turns up to stay in the cottage, and leaves a mysterious note in the guest book.

Now Jacob’s seeing Laura everywhere—a glimpse of her face across the street, her music box left outside his house, a gift he gave her years before hanging from the trees.

But it can’t be Laura. Because Laura’s dead.

Someone knows Jacob’s secret—what really happened the night Laura died—and they’re out for revenge…

Review

To an outside observer Jacob appears to have it all. A man who is liked by all with a successful business and with both feet firmly placed in the community – what could possibly be wrong with his life? As if that wasn’t enough to cement the impression of a person in control of his life and happiness there is also his delightfully droll dog Murphy.

The truth is Jacob does have a secret – the kind of secret he can’t afford to let surface. It would destroy the life he has built for himself. But it seems as if someone else knows about his secret and are intent on destroying his life bit by bit.

Laura is back, which is a bit of a conundrum because Jacob is pretty sure she is dead. Very sure actually, which begs the question – who is trying to convince him that she is very much alive and well?

It’s interesting how Frech doesn’t really take the most obvious path of Jacob being the guilty party and deserving of some kind of punishment. Instead the mystery and tension is built around the Jacob of now, as opposed to the Jacob of then.

It’s a psychological thriller that plays with the question of guilt. Does the punishment fit the crime? Is the destruction of his life and those he cares for really the right way to punish him? It’s a cat and mouse game and I’m not sure there is a clear victor at the end, which is probably the most satisfying way to end the story.

Buy Dark Hollows at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ Digital ebook pub date 6 Dec. 2019. Paperback release date 20 Feb. 2020. Buy at Amazon comBuy at HQ.