#BookBirthdayBlitz Gorgito’s Ice Rink by Elizabeth Ducie

Today it’s the Book Birthday Blitz for Gorgito’s Ice Rink by Elizabeth Ducie.

Until the 14th October, Gorgito’s Ice Rink is only 99 p/c in all territories.About the Author

When Elizabeth Ducie had been working in the international pharmaceutical industry for nearly thirty years, she decided she’d like to take a break from technical writing—text books, articles and training modules—and write for fun instead. She started by writing travel pieces, but soon discovered she was happier, and more successful, writing fiction. In 2012, she gave up the day job, and started writing full-time. She has published four novels, three collections of short stories and a series of manuals on business skills for writers.

Follow @ElizabethDucie on Twitter, on Facebookon Instagramon Pinterest, Visit elizabethducie.co.ukBuy Giorgio’s Ice Rink

About the book

Gorgito’s Ice Rink was runner up in Writing Magazine’s 2015 Self-Published Book of the Year Awards.

Two small boys grieving for lost sisters — torn between family and other loves. Can keeping a new promise make up for breaking an old one?

When Gorgito Tabatadze sees his sister run off with a soldier, he is bereft. When she disappears into Stalin’s Gulag system, he is devastated. He promises their mother on her death-bed he will find the missing girl and bring her home; but it is to prove an impossible quest.

Forty years later, Gorgito, now a successful businessman in post-Soviet Russia, watches another young boy lose his sister to a love stronger than family. When a talented Russian skater gets the chance to train in America, Gorgito promises her grief-stricken brother he will build an ice-rink in Nikolevsky, their home town, to bring her home again.

With the help of a British engineer, who has fled to Russia to escape her own heartache, and hindered by the local Mayor who has his own reasons for wanting the project to fail, can Gorgito overcome bureaucracy, corruption, economic melt-down and the harsh Russian climate in his quest to build the ice-rink and bring a lost sister home? And will he finally forgive himself for breaking the promise to his mother?

A story of love, loss and broken promises. Gorgito’s story, told through the eyes of the people whose lives he touched.Review

There are a few key themes that are woven into the fabric of this story, but perhaps the most poignant and emotional is the one about Gorgito and his sister Maria. Even after forty plus years he hasn’t forgotten the promise he made to his mother about finding his sister. He still feels her absence even after such a long time. The ice-rink becomes synonymous with Gorgito’s personal loss and with an attempt to make sure Dima doesn’t experience the same heartache.

Gorgito wants to build an ice-rink, so Duma’s sister doesn’t have to leave to have a career as an ice-skater. He doesn’t want Dima to have to miss and live without his sister the way Gorgito had to. The story is split into different periods of time going back many decades to the merciless rule of Stalin’s Mother Russia.

Emma becomes heavily involved in Gorgito’s life and ambitious plans. Being in Russia and feeling at home there awakens feelings of confusion about where she belongs. This is actually quite common for people with dual nationalities or people who are raised in one country but are from another country. It comes as a surprise to Emma and so does the depth of her emotional attachment to the country and even more so by her attachment to the people.

It’s a family saga, at times it is historical fiction and then at others it is a contemporary read. Maria’s part of the story is written in a way that evokes a more emotional response from the reader. The difference in narrative gives the story an uneven feeling at times, but Ducie makes up for it with the research into Russian life, politics and culture.

Buy Giorgio’s Ice Rink at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Chudleigh Phoenix Publications. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Careless Whisper by T.S. Hunter

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Careless Whisper by T.S. Hunter. It’s book 3 of the Soho Noir series.

About the Author

Claiming to be only half-Welsh, T.S. Hunter lived in South Wales for much of his latter teens, moving to London as soon as confidence and finances allowed. He never looked back.

He has variously been a teacher, a cocktail waiter, a podium dancer and a removal man, but his passion for writing has been the only constant.

He’s a confident and engaging speaker and guest, who is as passionate about writing and storytelling as he is about promoting mainstream LGBT fiction.

He now lives with his husband in the country, and is active on social media as @TSHunter5.

Follow @TSHunter5 @RedDogTweets on Twitter, on GoodreadsBuy Careless Whisper

About the book

LOOSE LIPS COST LIVES.

It’s 1986, and Adam Cave, lead singer of sensational pop group Loose Lips, is struggling to stay in the closet, especially as his group is going through a messy split, and media speculation about the reasons behind it are rife.

Joe Stone is assigned to Adam as a runner for the behind-the-scenes, warts and all expose of the recording of the bands last album, and an unlikely friendship begins to form.

But when Adam’s manager, Jack Eddy, is found dead in Adam’s hotel room, in what looks like a sex game gone wrong, Joe turns to his flatmate, Russell, to help him clear the pop star’s name, and keep his secret.

Russell, meanwhile, has a secret of his own. He’s just been for a test, the results of which may change his life forever.

Review

This is the third book in the Soho Noir series, novella length murder mysteries set in the 80’s in the LGBT community.

What I really love about this series, aside from the excellent covers, the great read, the fantastic song book titles, is the fact they are quick pocket reads. Not everyone wants to spend hours or days with one story. This is exactly the right length to inspire new readers and for readers who like some of their reads to be like a tasty foot-long sub over the lunch hour.

During the 80s the word homosexuality was synonymous with HIV and AIDS. It was very much a decade of ignorance, blame and misinformation. The gay community took the brunt of that misinformation, the fear and sadly also a high death toll.

In this book Russell faces his own fear about HIV when he goes to get tested. His journey from coming out to living his best life as an openly gay man has only just begun. The contrast between Russell and Joe is an interesting one. Both with similar stories and yet completely different circumstances.

Of course it wouldn’t be a Soho Noir if a dead body didn’t pop up somewhere in the story. A crime for the two of them to solve, whilst they navigate the complex structure of their lives and those who love them and the ones who oppose them.

Each of the books can be read as a standalone book, despite recurring main characters. There are certain storylines that develop and grow with each book, but not in a way that necessitates reading the prior ones. Saying that, I would definitely recommend reading the others in the series.

It’s a murder mystery set in hub of a pulsing LGBT community in the flashy 80s. Hunter combines the atmosphere of individuality, freedom and the leftovers of the burnt-out 70s with homophobia and the acidic fear of HIV and AIDS. Mystery meets life and is humbled by its sincerity in this brash noirish series.

Buy Careless Whisper (Soho Noir #3) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Red Dog Press; pub date 5 Aug. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my reviews of Tainted Love (Soho Noir #1) and Who’s That Girl (Soho Noir #2) by T.S. Hunter.

#BlogTour Last Orders by Bill Todd

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Last Orders by Bill Todd. It’s a murder mystery solved Danny Lancaster style.About the Author

Bill is a journalist and travel writer who has visited more than 40 countries from the white wastes of Arctic Finland to the ancient deserts of Namibia. He loves a good wilderness. He received the Ed Lacy travel award in 2007.

Bill has written six crime thrillers featuring soldier-turned-investigator Danny Lancaster and was startled and delighted to be voted one of the 100 best crime authors in the WH Smith readers’ poll in 2015. He’s also written three short factual military histories. He lives to write although keyboard time has been cut lately with the arrival of grandson Theo.

Follow @williamjtodd  and @DannyLancaster3 on Twitter, on Goodreadson Instagramon AmazonDannyLancasterInvestigates on Facebook, Visit billtodd.co.uk

About the book

Big Eddie Archer is throwing a celebrity party for the reopening of The Bellerophon public house. When singer Paul Toopen, star of TV reality show Dreamboat, goes missing there is only one man the pub’s guv’nor can call on. But Danny Lancaster is off his game after overdoing Eddie’s free hospitality at last night’s dress rehearsal. Fans besiege the pub and the media are everywhere. This could be a public relations disaster but Eddie reckons if Danny can crack the case before closing time it will make the new Bellerophon famous. Danny’s head is pounding but Eddie’s star guests might just be trapped in a pub with a killer. And the clock is ticking down to last orders. #TheBigBellBash

Review

This is a novella length story, but Todd manages to deliver an entertaining read worthy of a novel. I kinda liked this one a lot more than the full-length ones though, perhaps because the focus is on less rather than on more. It’s just Danny and his devil-may-care attitude and a few side characters, which is all the story needs.

The story is really quite simple. A minor celebrity goes missing at an event, during the event actually, and Danny is called in to solve the mystery of the disappearing guest. The author takes that scenario and turns it into so much more.

There was this moment during the story – the most poignant one in my opinion. It’s a comical one, and I admit to laughing out loud at that moment. Then bang the author flips the switch and takes the reader straight into a flashback. The reader is right there with Danny as he relives the trauma and the horror of the situation he finds himself in once again.

The juxtaposition of the comedic moment and traumatic flashback is a stroke of genius. It actually gives the reader similar visceral reactions as they are reading. Laughter melds into uncertainty, then shock and finally the realisation of what is happening. Kudos to Todd for that particular part of the story.

It’s a murder mystery solved Danny Lancaster style, as only he can solve them. It’s snarky, funny and a jolly good read.

Buy Last Orders:Trapped in a pub with a killer (Danny Lancaster) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published in paperback and ebook formats by DLE-Fiction on 1st August 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my reviews of Rock Hard and Rough Diamond by Bill Todd.

Buy Rough DiamondDeath SquadThe Wreck of the Margherita (free download)Gargoyle Pixie DogGodlefe’s Cuckoo all by Bill Todd.

#BlogTour The Baobab Beach Retreat by Kate Frost

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Baobab Beach Retreat by Kate Frost. It’s a contemporary read and women’s fiction. A story of self-discovery and learning to bold enough to take what you want.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win a paperback copy of The Baobab Beach Retreat by Kate Frost (Open Internationally)

About the Author

Kate Frost writes character-driven women’s fiction and romances, alongside Time Shifters, an award-winning time travel adventure trilogy for 9-12 year olds. She has a MA in Creative Writing from Bath Spa University where she’s also taught lifewriting to creative writing undergraduates. She has eight books published, including her Greek and north Norfolk set series, The Butterfly Storm. The Baobab Beach Retreat is the first in what will be a series of foreign-set romances. Kate lives in Bristol with her husband, their five-year-old son (who still loves waking up before 5am), and their cute and chilled out Cavalier King Charles Spaniel.

Follow @Kactus77 on Twitter, on Goodreads, on Instagram, on Facebook, Visit kate-frost.com

Buy The Baobab Beach Retreat 

About the book

An ex-husband, two potential lovers, one reckless decision. Will Connie ever be happy in love?

When Connie Stone leaves behind a cheating husband and heartache in the UK for her aunt’s beach retreat, the last thing she wants is for her life to once again be complicated by men.

Yet when her past follows her to Tanzania, her time to heal is short-lived and a selfish act shatters her hopes for a fresh start. An unexpected return to the UK reveals a long-hidden family secret that Connie has to deal with before she can decide the direction her life should take.

Getting over a broken heart was never going to be easy. Can Connie put the past to rest and find peace and love in a country far from home?

Review

Underneath the frivolity and light-hearted moments are moments and topics with real emotional depth. It’s a read that ventures into real emotional depth and yet manages to maintain an essence of a more lighter read. It’s an interesting balancing act.

The strength of the story is the fact the character isn’t a young attractive woman stumbling into one brilliant scenario after the other. Instead Connie is in her thirties recovering from the implosion of her marriage and grieving the children she was unable to have.

It’s all about discovering her inner power and being strong enough to say no to the people holding her back and embracing the ones who want to move forward with her.

The story is enhanced by the beautiful surroundings and the feeling of freedom Connie embraces when she is at the retreat. The nostalgia and sense of coming home. All of those things and a blossoming romance makes this a lovely read.

Simultaneously it is also a tale filled with grief and sadness. Connie’s struggle with her miscarriages is an emotion that weaves in and out throughout the story. Never quite leaving her alone at any time and always sat there waiting to drag her back into a dark hole.

It’s a contemporary read and women’s fiction. A story of self-discovery and learning to be bold enough to take what you want. Also one about what it’s like to be a woman when the first bloom of youth has faded and you either rise from the ashes like a phoenix willing to embrace the next stage in life or you accept the invisibility imposed upon you by others.

Buy The Baobab Beach Retreat at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Lemon Tree Press; pub date 22 Mar. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win a paperback copy of The Baobab Beach Retreat by Kate Frost (Open Internationally)

Click here to Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.*

#BlogTour Who’s That Girl by T.S. Hunter

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for the second book in the Soho Noir series, Who’s That Girl by T.S. Hunter. It has the feel of a modern crime with a classic mystery vibe.

About the Author

Claiming to be only half-Welsh, T.S. Hunter lived in South Wales for much of his latter teens, moving to London as soon as confidence and finances allowed. He never looked back.

He has variously been a teacher, a cocktail waiter, a podium dancer and a removal man, but his passion for writing has been the only constant.

He’s a confident and engaging speaker and guest, who is as passionate about writing and storytelling as he is about promoting mainstream LGBT fiction.

He now lives with his husband in the country, and is active on social media as @TSHunter5

Follow @TSHunter5 @RedDogTweets on Twitter, on Goodreads,

Buy Who’s That Girl

About the book

A femme fatale with a point to prove.

It’s the summer of 1985 in London’s Soho, and Joe Stone is settling into his new life living in the heart of London’s developing gay scene.

When Danny Devraux—the compere they’ve hired to host their charity ball, The Frock Show—is found dead backstage, it falls to Joe and his friend and flatmate, Russell, to figure out what happened.

All they have to go on is a broken stiletto found near the scene, and the briefest glimpse of a mystery woman fleeing the club. But who was she? And why did she kill the most loved man in cabaret?

Past secrets, bent coppers, drag queens and old lovers all play their part in this noirish murder mystery.

Review

This is the second book in the Soho Noir series, which are short cosy mystery reads. It’s a LGBT series set in the 80s, as you may be able to tell by the titles.

Once again Joe and Russell find themselves in the middle of a murder mystery. The duo was thrown together, albeit reluctantly, in the first book. The two of them discovered that they had more in common than they thought. Both of them are still learning to navigate the world as gay men, which in the 1980s included being in the midst of the height of the HiV and Aids pandemic.

Aids has caused the deaths of 35 million people worldwide since the 1980s. Unfortunately it was dubbed the ‘gay plague’ which lead to further discrimination of homosexuals, especially men.

In this story a compere, Danny Devraux, is murdered backstage at a charity event. Joe and Russell investigate the murder to make sure an innocent man doesn’t go down for the crime. They find plenty of shocking secrets that put Danny in a completely different light.

I like the whole concept of a fast pocket crime read with an 80s flair and set in the LGBT community. It has the feel of a modern crime with a classic mystery vibe. Hunter gives the reader an idea of how difficult must have been at that time for people of a specific sexual orientation. Even the police were foe rather than friend.

This story is more structured and less excitable than the first, which I personally found a lot more persuasive. It had a more easygoing feel to it, whereas the first was a whirlwind of an introduction to the series.

Side note: I am absolutely loving the book covers for the Soho series.

Buy Who’s That Girl at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Red Dog Press: pub date; 4 Jun. 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Tainted Love (Soho Noir #1) by T. S. Hunter

#BlogTour The Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White

The Promise Between Us

Two days late and a dollar short – here is my blog post for the BlogTour the Promise Between Us by Barbara Claypole White. It’s a contemporary read and women’s fiction with a focus on mental health.

high resolution.jpgAbout the Author

Bestselling author Barbara Claypole White has created her own idiosyncratic niche in mainstream fiction: hopeful family drama with a healthy dose of mental illness. Originally from England, she writes and gardens in the forests of North Carolina, where she lives with her family. Her novels include:

The Unfinished Garden, Mira Books, 2012, winner of the Golden Quill for Best First Book 2013; The In-Between Hour, Mira Books, 2014, chosen by the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance as an Okra Pick; The Perfect Son, Lake Union, 2015, Goodreads Choice Awards Semi-finalist for Best Fiction; Echoes of Family, Lake Union, 2016, WFWA 2017 Star Award Finalist; The Promise Between Us, Lake Union, 2018. (View the book trailer here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLW9XFo0nlg&t=5s)

Barbara is also an OCD advocate for the A2A Alliance, a nonprofit group that promotes advocacy over adversity.

To listen to Barbara’s 2018 interview with Frank Stasio on The State of Things, click here: http://www.wunc.org/post/her-family-grapples-ocd-author-tackles-stereotypes-through-writing?fbclid=IwAR08E-DQ73f31jWBP2uKlix-eFsV7OOSQk_pXfS4uX3kqgnuHkbtVeB1Wvc

To watch Barbara’s 2018 interview with Linda Hurtado on Fox 13, click here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJUPUBZLCf8&t=33s

For more information on Barbara, please visit www.barbaraclaypolewhite.com

Follow @bclaypolewhite on Twitter, on Instagram, on Facebook,

Buy The Promise Between Us

The Promise Between Us Full Tour Banner

About the book

Metal artist Katie Mack is living a lie. Nine years ago she ran away from her family in Raleigh, North Carolina, consumed by the irrational fear that she would harm Maisie, her newborn daughter. Over time she’s come to grips with the mental illness that nearly destroyed her, and now funnels her pain into her art. Despite longing for Maisie, Katie honors an agreement with the husband she left behind—to change her name and never return.

But when she and Maisie accidentally reunite, Katie can’t ignore the familiarity of her child’s compulsive behavior. Worse, Maisie worries obsessively about bad things happening to her pregnant stepmom. Katie has the power to help, but can she reconnect with the family she abandoned?

To protect Maisie, Katie must face the fears that drove her from home, accept the possibility of love, and risk exposing her heart-wrenching secret.

White-ThePromiseBetweenUs-21872-CV-FT-v8.jpgReview

The core theme throughout the book is fascinating, and I have to say kudos to the author for trying to bring more understanding to the topic and for trying to educate readers. I think walking away from this read plenty of readers will look upon postpartum OCD, anxiety and OCD in general in a completely different way.

I think a lot of mental health conditions are thrown under the umbrella term of OCD, and perhaps equally just as many that belong there aren’t. Claypole White shows the more intrusive and devastating side of the disorder. The side of OCD that is misdiagnosed, misinterpreted and often goes undiagnosed, due to a lack of understanding and information flow. More importantly she also writes about the genetic component to the disorder.

The author shows these quite well when it comes to Maisie. As her anxiety and worries grow her coping mechanisms deteriorate and the symptoms of her OCD multiply. It may manifest itself in a slightly different way to an adult, but it is far more realistic to assume that said symptoms may be confused for something else, such as hormones, teenage years and just being a girl. Yes, that sort of sexism and gender inequality does exist when it comes to young children and teenagers, especially in relation to diagnosing medical or mental health conditions. Heck it still happens in adulthood.

There is no one person to blame for the situation between Katie and her ex-husband, and yet neither of them are blameless either. His refusal to accept the need for therapeutic help isn’t an unusual opinion, unfortunately there is still too much stigma attached to mental health.

It’s a contemporary read and women’s fiction with a focus on mental health. It’s a story about family and what constitutes being a family in a world full of patchwork ones. The meaning of the word family has been redefined over the last few decades. In a way that allows more than just the standard mother, father and child unit to exist, which opens up a better world for all of us.

Buy The Promise Between Us at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Lake Union Publishing’ pub date 16 Jan. 2018. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hopstaken and Melissa Prusi. It’s horror meets urban fantasy with a nod at historical fiction.About the Author

Steven Hopstaken was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he spent his formative years watching and reading science fiction and horror. He has a degree in journalism from Northern Michigan University and spends his free time traveling; writing screenplays, short stories and novels;and practicing photography.

Melissa Prusi was born and raised in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (often mistaken for Canada), and studied video and film production at Northern Michigan University and the University of Michigan. She’s been a video editor,a semi-professional film reviewer,a three-time champion on the quiz show Jeopardy!,and a Guinness world record holder (1990 edition, for directing the longest live television show).

They met in a college screenwriting class and married three years later. They spent a brief time in Los Angeles, where they both worked for Warner Bros. television. They eventually ended up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where they love the arts scene but dread the winters. While they both currently make a living as website content managers, they have sold two screenplays, which have been lost to development hell.

They’ve indulged their fascination with Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde through trips to Dublin and London to research their lives and visit sites mentioned in Stoker’s Wilde.

They live in St.Louis Park, Minnesota with their two cats. If they’re not writing, you can usually find them at a movie, local theater production, improv show or pub quiz.

Follow @StokersWilde on Twitter

Buy Stoker’s WildeAbout the book

Years before either becomes a literary legend, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde must overcome their disdain for one another to battle the Black Bishop,a madman wielding supernatural forces to bend the British Empire to his will.Review

What a wonderful way to combine two very important writers of the 19th century, and a wee bit of horror and the supernatural. Hopstaken and Prusi, the writing duo behind Stoker’s Wilde, have melded the creativity of both men to create an entertaining read.

The result is a band of merry werewolf and vampire slaying men. It reminded me of old classic horror stories and films. However it still manages to weave the oppressive morality laws and the way society seeks to conform individuals to their own set of standards, into the story. This defined Wilde’s writing and thought processes, which of course should have a place in his letters.

The book is set up with diary form and journal entries placed intermittently throughout, which have been collected and are held by The White Worm Society. Oscar writes to Florence Balcombe, his wife and later also his literary executor. There are also extracts from Stoker’s journal relating his version of the events. It gives the story an air of historical fiction, of someone wading in a piece of written history, and yet at the same time it has the exuberance of an urban fantasy plot.

It works because the writers know their stuff and have done their research. It’s important, when using a real historical figure in a fictional setting, to get the facts right, especially when it comes to being able to portray them realistically.

I came away from this read with a sense of nostalgia, despite the fang-toothed bloodsuckers and the furry moon-stalkers. With a need to pick up and read Wilde and Stoker and embrace their words. It’s horror meets urban fantasy with a nod to historical fiction.

Buy Stoker’s Wilde at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Flame Tree Press; Paperback pub date 30 May 2019. Buy at Amazon com.