#Blogtour The Urbanboys: Discovery of the Five Senses

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Urbanboys: Discovery of the Five Senses by K.N. Smith.

About the Author

K.N. Smith, winner of the “Best of” in the category of “Outstanding Young Adult Novel” at the Jessie Redmon Fauset Book Awards, a Readers’ Favourite “Gold Medal” honoree for “Young Adult – Mystery”, and the Royal Dragonfly Book Awards “1st Place Honoree” for “New Author: Fiction and Science Fiction/Fantasy”, is an author and advocate of literacy and arts programs throughout the world. 

Her lyrical flair sweeps across pages that twist and grind through action-adventure and urban fantasy in edge-of-your-seat narratives. K.N. has over twenty-five years’ experience in communications and creative design as an award-winning consultant. Reading is still her foremost hobby. 

She inspires people of all ages to reach their highest potential in their creative, educational, and life pursuits. Visit K.N. Smith at knsmith.com, follow @knsmith_author on Instagram

About the book

Welcome or unwelcome. Fate has arrived. – A suspenseful incident in a forbidden preserve heightens the senses of five friends. Sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell become super-gifts that forever change the world. But furious battles confront the boys as they try to understand their sensory super powers in a race to save mankind. With light beings and mysterious strangers complicating their plight, will the boys defeat the evil Druth before it’s too late? Get prepared for the twisting and grinding of this award-winning, action-adventure story — an edge-of-your-seat narrative for young and mature readers alike.

Review

Is it fate or destiny, really? When you consciously or subconsciously work towards a certain outcome or goal the questions turns to whether it is a self-fulfilling prophecy instead. Is it fate or is it just what certain people have already decided, hence working towards that outcome. More importantly when you receive a power that can change the world is it not true that eventually power corrupts? Isn’t it true that sometimes there is only a thin line between good and evil?

It’s YA, but I would put it on the older age range instead of the younger. Not that the violence is gory or over the top, there is however an element that takes it to the next level. In particular the first chapters between two of the young men goes from competitive to vicious in a few moments. It’s the description of the scenes between the two of them that elevates the violence to a level of more than survival and rather power and pleasure at the results of their actions.

I think the flowery and overly descriptive prose was less suited to the genre and story. I can imagine it being just right for a venture into something more in keeping with the artistic way the words are woven. It’s a bit like two ideas colliding and not being quite comfortable with each other. The reader is distracted by one while trying to filter the story through the aforementioned.

It’s an ambitious and creative premise with plenty of areas to develop the story and the characters further. Dystopian allows for a reimagining of the old and to push forward boldly into the new and unknown.

Buy The Urbanboys: Discovery of the Five Senses at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com. Publisher ‏: ‎Two Petals Publishing; pub date 29 Sept. 2015. Buy Discovery of Five Senses.

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#Blogtour The Widow’s Walk by John Anthony Miller

It’s my turn on the Blogtour The Widow’s Walk by John Anthony Miller.

About the Author

John Anthony Miller writes all things historical—thrillers, mysteries, and romance. He sets his novels in exotic locations spanning all eras of space and time, with complex characters forced to face inner conflicts, fighting demons both real and imagined. 

Each of his novels are unique: a Medieval epic, four historical mysteries, two Cold-War thrillers, a 1970’s cozy/romance, four WWII thrillers, and the Revolutionary War spy novel, The Minister’s Wife. 

He lives in southern New Jersey. Follow @authorjamiller on Twitter

About the book

Cape May, N.J. 1976 – When NYC editor Audrey Taylor finalizes her divorce, it seems as if her entire world has collapsed around her. And when she inherits a run-down Victorian mansion in a decaying N.J. beach town, it only seems to get worse. At least, until she finds the treasure map.

The Widow’s Walk is a tale of growth, self-discovery, and learning to appreciate all the good that life has to offer. A romance wrapped in a historical subplot, a mystery hidden in a centuries-old crime, it ties two unsuspecting people together to find a love that neither expected—which is far more precious than buried treasure could ever be.

Review

As many people after the collapse of a long-term relationship, perhaps especially women, it’s often a struggle to find a new place for themselves in the world and their own lives. Audrey has been delegated to the space of used and no longer needed – replaced for a younger model and no longer as needed by her grown children.

This story is about stepping into a new period in her life. One she can shape and define for herself. New friendships, new house, new area to live in and is there also the chance for something more than friendship.

When the second-romance story comes with the realistic process of a reboot, the eye of the reader is firmly fixed on potential candidates who are nice on the eye. The author then takes that concept, adds a wee bit of mystery and a treasure hunt to mix. What a better way to get to know someone than when you are looking for the answers to a really old mystery – hunting for a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow or in a ramshackle old house. Perhaps Audrey will find more than just the key to mystery – this is the right time to embrace all the new changes and see the positive in them.

It’s a interesting combination of discovery of self, moving on from the old version of her family unit and creating a new existence, which then wanders into the world of myths, legends and a hunt for hidden treasure.

Buy The Widow’s Walk at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Solstice Publishing, pub date 31 Aug. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Strays by Janeen Leese-Taylor

 It’s my turn on the Blogtour Strays by Janeen Leese-Taylor.

About the Author

Janeen is an Irish author born and raised on the scenic Causeway Coast. Curious, and with a great love for adventure, Jan spent her childhood climbing trees and talking to her imaginary friends, many of whom have now found a home in her writing.

She has a bachelor’s degree in advertising and works for gaming companies around the world. She is a lover of all things fantasy and aims to bring some magic to the places that she visits in her writing. Portstewart, Dublin and Chester City each feature prominently in both her travels and her writing, and her stories often draw from real life places that have captured her heart.

As an ultramarathon runner, Jan often writes on the go, using her trusty phone and stylus to craft scenes that come to her after hours on her feet. 

She lives with her husband, Liam, their Border Collie-Cross, Zarya, and their Guinea Pig, (Peek-A) Boo, who they all fear will one day take over the world! Follow @InkAndSmudge on Twitter. @inkandsmudgebooks/ on Instagram or JLeeseTaylorAuthor on Facebook

About the book

A murder without evidence, a secret that could topple society and a cop with a bit of a coffee habit!

Three things were certain in the mind of Officer Theodore Night: One: There’s a serial killer loose in Portstewart. Two: His new friend is a werewolf. Three: He’s in way over his head

When bloody paw prints at a crime scene leads Officer Night to consider the impossible, he must rely not only on his years of investigative experience, but on the local werewolf pack, for help. An unlikely friendship gives Night the edge he needs to prevent an all-out war. Has Blair, the mysterious barista from Bean and Gone, caused him to bite off more than he can chew?

Review

Officer Theo Night – always willing to lend a helping hand even if it means putting himself in danger. He also has the habit of collecting strays, both the four-legged and the two-legged kind, sometimes a combination of both.

Hot on the heels of a vicious killer, someone or something that likes to annihilate entire families, is out there causing mayhem and Theo is determined to find them. It seems like the wrong time to be picking up young men in distress, especially when his home is filled with a pack of protective family members led by a small alpha with a mega attitude.

Side note – sometimes less is more when it comes to describing a person, perhaps to differentiate one speaker from the other and to ensure the reader knows who is speaking. The flow of dialogue and the story becomes stunted by the repeated use of – the smaller man, the dark-haired man for example.

Urban-fantasy with a mystery/crime vibe, and to top it off it’s also LGBTQ – It ticks plenty of boxes, that’s for sure. It has the potential to be an interesting series, as the author hones her skills and delves deeper into that vein of creativity.

Buy Strays at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : ‎Blossom Spring Publishing; pub date 17 Nov. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour The Simple Truth by James Buckler

 It’s my turn on the Blogtour The Simple Truth by James Buckler.

About the Author

James Buckler lives in London. He has worked in film and TV for many years, most notably for MTV and BBC Films. His first thriller, Last Stop Tokyo, published to critical acclaim. The Simple Truth is his second novel. Follow @jamesbuckwriter on Twitter

About the book

A young woman is dead. A very wealthy client needs a favour. You’re newly qualified as a lawyer and this could be your big break, so you jump at the chance.

The case is about to be closed. All you have to do is talk to a family, ask them to sign some papers. How difficult could it be? Their daughter was found dead at a beauty spot on the outskirts of London in what you’re told was a tragic suicide. 

Only you can uncover what really happened. But the truth is never that simple. And this case could cost you your life…

Review

What’s the difference between the crime organisations that deal with the street and the corporate world that cross the occasional boundary? None at all really other than the fact corporate believe they have the moral high ground, due to their education and the nepotism that gives them a helping hand on their paths. Criminal is criminal, right?

When Lewis is picked for distasteful job of getting an NDA signed, by the boss of his form of all people. He thinks it’s a foot in the door to the top, he also presumes it’s because the top tier can see the potential in him. It takes him a while to figure out he is the low-class patsy that belongs neither here nor there, because one set of people won’t accept him because he works for the enemy and the enemy think he will never be good enough to be considered an equal.

Lewis is the perfect man in the middle, and the kind of character that readers feel sympathy for, as he stumbles right into a wasps nest with the best of intentions. Well, perhaps his ambition allows him to ignore the obvious.

It’s a legal thriller, which has the potential to be a series, as Lewis grows and becomes more secure in his self, his nose for crime, and his inadvertent interest in the truth.

Buy The Simple Truth at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Bantam Press, pub date 5th January 2023 / Hardback / £14.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Green Shoots by Ben Westwood

 It’s my turn on the Blogtour Green Shoots by Ben Westwood.

About the Author

Ben Westwood is an author, lecturer and performer. He has worked for many years as a journalist, writing for publications including The Daily Telegraph, The Times, The Guardian and The Independent. He lived for several years in South America and has authored travel guidebooks to Ecuador, Galapagos and Peru.

Green Shoots is his first novel and draws on his own experience of grief and of living in Ecuador.

Ben now lives in East Sussex with his two children and lectures at the University of Brighton. In his spare time, he is a singer-songwriter and has released two self-funded albums.

To accompany the release of his debut novel, Ben is releasing a Green Shoots Soundtrack of 10 original songs on the themes of grief, loss, love and healing, available on Spotify, iTunes and all major music channels from September 2022. For further information on all Ben’s writing and music, benwestwood.net or music on benwestwoodmusic.com. Follow @benwestwood on Twitter

About the book

The Constant Gardener meets Dexter – Green Shoots is a gripping conspiracy thriller with an ecological heart. 

Brought back from the brink of suicide by a mysterious phone call, grieving journalist John Adamson is on a quest for the truth about his wife Christina’s death in South America. 

A private investigator provides John with clues to what really happened, but also tips him off to investigate a spate of deaths of businessmen, all found with the same cryptic message: “Out of their ashes, green shoots will grow.” 

From the protest-filled streets of London to the ravaged jungles of Ecuador, John is unwittingly drawn into a lethal plot. There seems to be a vigilante killer on the loose, but who is behind these murders and what is the connection to his wife’s death?

Review

Literally sat on the top of a cliff contemplating the most tragic and desperate of choices, due to the loss of the woman he loved most dearly, until a stranger intervenes. A voice from the ether or a voice with a hidden agenda.

It certainly seems as if John is being watched constantly, they seem to be everywhere and know each step he takes. At first he is blinded by the thought that his life was saved by a stranger with good intentions, the realisation that he is merely a tool in a game of reckless profit is something he isn’t able to see at first.

The death of his wife and the mystery surrounding the reason and the culprit – it overshadows his ability to see events through the lens of his experience.

The criminal element of the plot is offset by the underlying tone of grief and loss that follows the main character throughout the story. The shadow and depth of darkness that is always there lingering in the background. In a way being dragged unwillingly into the lethal and ruthless machinations of the eco criminals keeps John from giving up on life completely.

It’s an eco thriller that gives a glimpse into the brutality of the profiteering, the ruthless bulldozing of criminals only interested in money, whilst simultaneously drawing on the drive and desperation of a man haunted by loss and grief.

Buy Green Shoots at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : ‎Cranthorpe Millner Publishers, pub date 27 Sept. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour What Tracy Did Next by T. A. Belshaw

It’s my turn on the Blogtour What Tracy Did Next by T. A. Belshaw.

About the Author

T A Belshaw is from Derbyshire in the United Kingdom where he shares a house with his chatty rescue cat, Mia. He writes for both children and adults. A former miner and computer technician, Trevor studied Advanced Creative Writing at the Open University. He is the author of Tracy’s Hot Mail, Tracy’s Celebrity Hot Mail and the noir, suspense novella, Out of Control. Following the sudden death of his wife in 2015 Trevor took a five-year break from writing, returning during lockdown in 2020, when an injury forced him to take time off work. The result of this new creative burst was the Dual Timeline, Family Saga, Unspoken and the Historical Cosy Crime Whodunnit, Murder at the Mill.

Trevor signed his first contract with Spellbound Books Ltd in April 2021. He signed a further mullti-book contract with them in the spring of 2022.

His short stories have been published in various anthologies including 100 Stories for Haiti, 50 Stories for Pakistan, Another Haircut, Shambelurkling and Other Stories, Deck the Halls, 100 Stories for Queensland and The Cafe Lit anthology 2011, 2012 and 2013. He also has two pieces in Shambelurklers Return. 2014

Trevor is also the author of 15 children’s adventure books written under the name of Trevor Forest. 

His children’s poem, Clicking Gran, was long listed for the Plough prize (children’s section) in 2009 and his short poem, My Mistake, was rated Highly Commended and published in an anthology of the best entries in the Farringdon Poetry Competition.

Trevor’s articles have been published in magazines as diverse as Ireland’s Own, The Best of British and First Edition. Follow @tabelshaw on Twitter, trevorbelshaw.com/

About the book

The gossip machine is back with more juicy titbits as Tracy casts her all-seeing eye over the lives of the people around her.

Tracy is in a quandary. Should she accept Detective Sergeant Neil Hartley’s marriage proposal? Is she truly ready for a life of domesticity while there are so many men she hasn’t met yet, so many places she hasn’t been, so many clothes she hasn’t tried on.

A lover of cloned, market stall fashion and the Primark sales rail, Tracy is still working the promotions circuit under the guidance of her uber-iffy agent, Shayne Slider.

What on earth are Faliraki Flaps? What really happened when Tracy went on holiday with her best friend, Emma? Get an insight into what she got up to in her last year at school as Tracy dips into her personal diaries and lifts the lid on her most intimate secrets. What Tracy Did Next. An eye-opening giggle fest.

Review

This is part of a series of short reads – novella length. The trials and tribulations of Tracy told via old diary entries, emails, and in a very narrator speaking to the audience kind of way. It gives the reader the sense that she is often referring to the audience along for the read.

Tracy and friends are off on holiday – a time of reflection for her, during which she can ponder on the proposal of marriage she has recently received. Sounds simple enough, right? And sensible, right? Well, it’s Tracy for one thing and what happens on holiday is either something you are willing to forget about, regret or  it could possibly change your life. I think all of these things apply to the trip they take.

This is more or less the gateway to the popular smut-read, bordering on certain scenarios, then steering clear of too many details. It’s also very much written from a ‘what I think women think and do’ perspective. A read I would put into New Adult, due to the many sexual references. I found it a bit brash and lewd, but I’m sure there are plenty of readers who will enjoy the titillating experiences of Tracy and her friends.

Buy What Tracy Did Next at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Pub date 3 Nov 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Turkey Shed Gang by Ruth Young

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Turkey Shed Gang by Ruth Young.

About the Author

Ruth has been a teacher for a very long time. She loves being in the classroom making learning fun and specialises in teaching reading and spelling.  Now retired, Ruth teaches children with learning difficulties at her home, and it doesn’t matter how old they are, she loves to help!

Ruth has always told stories to the children she teaches. Her book, The Turkey Shed Gang, is for 7–8-year-old independent readers. She also writes for dyslexic children in mind so that they can read a book, maybe with a little help, which is age appropriate for them.

When she’s not teaching, Ruth loves walking in the Surrey Hills where she lives with her husband, who is a retired airline Captain. They take every chance to travel worldwide and it’s on trips away that Ruth comes up with her ideas for her books, always scribbling notes down in her purple notebook which she carries everywhere.

Ruth loves baking bread and cakes and is always in the kitchen with her vast collection of cookery books. She has been interviewed by the BBC three times about writing, environmental issues and her work with dyslexic children, and had an article published in a national magazine for parents. Follow @ruthyoung6 on Instagram or ruth.young.127 on Facebook.

About the book

Joe had a bad day at school. Everything went wrong…

FIRSTLY, he had to read to the class and that was his worst nightmare, reading in front of everyone. THEN, he scored an own goal in football. LATER, after eating three chocolate eclairs at Gran’s house, she tells him about a raid in the bank this morning. The robbers had guns and monster masks! To Joe it sounded exciting, if only he could have been there too!

But his opinion soon changes when he realises the danger his Gran is now faced with. She shows him a bag full of money that she picked up by mistake, thinking it was her shopping after the raid. Joe decides the only thing to do to keep her safe is for them to go on the run. They must go before the police come to arrest her or worse still, the robbers find out she has their money. To add to his problems, Gran wants to take Mr Percival with them, a talking parrot she inherited from a neighbour.

A school boy, his gran and a parrot on the run, what could possibly go wrong?

Review

Joe has it tough. He is ridiculed, laughed at and then he gets a little overeager at a football match. Overall, not a very good day at all, so it’s a relief to take a time out with his Gran – oh and her newly acquired friend called Mr Percival.

Mr Percival is a bit of a wild card – he says the first thing that pops into his little head, often with hilarious results. He does make the perfect getaway companion for the double act of Joe and his Gran though. They are on the run, because that’s what criminals do – they run and hide.

It’s a read I would recommend to advanced readers 8-plus, however I would be mindful of the bullying, discrimination and lack of support the main character receives from his peers at the beginning of the story, and the lack of support from adults who are supposed to be keeping him safe. They are learning moments but could be upsetting to some younger readers. 

Aside from that it is a funny adventure with endearing characters. What’s lovely is the way young Joe is willing to do anything to keep his Gran safe – it becomes an exercise in character and confidence building. Just because you may not be perfect at one thing it doesn’t mean you won’t excel at something else or find a new way to achieve your goals.

Buy The Turkey Shed Gang at Amazon Uk. Publisher: ‎Blossom Spring Publishing pub date 14 July 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Dark Energy by Tom Boles

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Dark Energy by Tom Boles.

About the Author

Tom Boles has discovered more supernovae (exploding stars) than any other person in history. 

Tom is a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society and a past President of The British Astronomical Association. He was awarded the Merlin Medal and the Walter Goodacre Award for his contribution to astronomy. The International Astronomical Union named main-belt asteroid 7648, Tomboles in his honour. 

He has published many scientific papers on supernovae and written numerous articles for popular astronomy magazines. He has made many television appearances ranging from BBC’s Tomorrow’s World to The Sky at Night. During recent years he has given Enrichment Lectures on astronomy aboard Cunard liners, mainly their flagship QM2. 

During these trips he had designed and presented shows using the ship’s onboard planetarium. His experience as an astronomer inspired his novels and help mould his hero, Brad Willis. He published Dark Energy in June 2021 and Shades of White in November of that year. His third book, Murder comes by Limo was published in July 2022. 

He lives in rural Suffolk where he enjoys dark skies free from light pollution. Follow @boles_tom on Twitter, on Instagram @tomboles2021

About the book

Brad Willis is an unlikely investigator, and an even less likely spy. He is a scientist, not a hero, but when it comes to finding technical solutions, there is none better. That’s how MI6 uses him; that’s how he lands himself in trouble.

Members of the scientific community around the world are being systematically murdered, and for no obvious reason. Who is killing them and why?

That is until Willis uncovers a mystery. The largest research facility in the world has made a huge discovery but not reported it. Why not? Why would someone want it hidden?

His travels take him across four nations where he forms liaisons with a Russian General and an oligarch. Can he trust either? If he chooses badly, he is as good as dead. He suspects everyone, so can trust no one…

And will need to risk his life to find out …

Review

Although I think it is fair to say one has to be on one’s toes now and again when it comes to the science, laws of nature and the general use and whereabouts of certain objects and buildings in this story – grey cells shall be used most frequently, I assure you.

It all starts out with a peculiar phone call. Brad isn’t even entirely sure it isn’t a hoax, and yet he believes it enough to warn a colleague, just in case the warning he received is indeed true. Next thing he knows said colleague is nearly killed. 

It’s a fast-paced speculative extravaganza with an astronomer come hero. I bet when he took that unexpected phone call, he didn’t expect to become both the catalyst and instrument of destruction all at the same time. It’s a bit like having a completed puzzle – the knowledge we have – and someone taking a piece of it bit by bit. Everyone wants a piece of it, which is how Brad ends up contending with the likes of foreign and homegrown spies.

If you take the aspect of science and replace it with hidden treasure or archaeology, and cast a very driven astronomer, the result would probably be a very captivating action hero who searches the stars and saves the world at the same time. Sounds like a series I would absolutely read.

Buy Dark Energy at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

#Blogtour Island of Dreams by Harry Duffin

It’s my turn on the Blogtour Island of Dreams by Harry Duffin.

About the Author

I am an award-winning British screenwriter, who was on the first writing team of the BBC’s Eastenders and won the Writers’ Guild Award for Best TV serial for Coronation Street. I was Head of Development at Cloud 9 Screen Entertainment Group, producing seven major television series, including ‘Swiss Family Robinson’ starring Richard ‘John Boy’ Thomas, and ‘Twist in the Tale’, featuring William Shatner. I was co-creator of the UK Channel Five teen-cult drama series ‘The Tribe’, which ran for five series. Follow @duffin26 on Twitter or @duffinharry on Instagram, Visit harryduffin.co.uk

About the book

In May 1939, when Professor Carl Mueller, his wife, Esther, and their three children flee Nazi Germany, and find refuge on the paradise island of Cuba, they are all full of hopes and dreams for a safe and happy future.

But those dreams are shattered when Carl and Esther are confronted by a ghost from their past, and old betrayals return to haunt them. The turbulent years of political corruption leading to Batista’s dictatorship, forces the older children to take very different paths to pursue their own dangerous dreams.

And – among the chaos and the conflict that finally leads to Castro’s revolution and victory in 1959, an unlikely love begins to grow – a love that threatens the whole family. Having escaped a war-torn Europe, their Island of Dreams is to tear them apart forever.

Review

Out of the fire and into the frying pan – I expect that’s what the Mueller family felt like when the path to freedom ends up landing them in a political inferno, one that threatens to swallow up dissenters whole.

The older children are already set on different paths by the time the family reaches their new destination. When it comes to ideals, politics and beliefs – even at such a young age core memories have left their mark. Those differences lead to further division as they settle into a life in a new country, which has its own powder keg waiting to implode.

Hans is what I would call a disenchanted idealist, brainwashed to believe he is superior and less inclined to believe he is what the Nazi’s would call tainted. He loses himself in the anger and disappointment he aims towards his own family. A typical teenage response to events that suspend belief and shapes the man he becomes. Anna has fire in her belly, her circumstances open her up to the rebellion of her new home.

The children live under the dysfunctional umbrella of a strained relationship – their parents having made the right choices to save them, but perhaps would have made other decisions about their relationship under less dangerous circumstances. Their problems cast long shadows on their children.

The author only touches slightly on the tenuous grasp on possible safety dangled like carrots before so many innocent victims of the Nazi regime. Imagine believing you have done everything possible to escape persecution, only to be confronted with closed doors and a lack of help from the world, and to be returned to certain death.

It’s an interesting premise, because the surrounding circumstances and trauma take a secondary position in regard to the story. In essence you get the life lived if you managed to escape by a mere fraction of time and a lot of luck, but it also means living with the guilt, whilst simultaneously having to hide the fact you are glad you escaped a destiny written for you by others. I also think it’s very much a story of how each life can leave an impact in a different way and perhaps create paths others will follow – imagine if they hadn’t.

War, trauma, fractured relationships and the way each family unit creates a tentacled system of connections and relationships. It would probably make a great mini tv series.

Buy Island Dreams at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Cumulus Publishing Limited; pub date 1 Dec. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#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.