#BlogTour Call Me Maybe by Steph Chapman

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Call Me Maybe by Steph Chapman.About the Author

Stephie was born in England in the mid 1980s, which makes her thirty-something (but if you ask, she’ll probably tell you she’s 27). Now, she lives on the South coast of the UK, has a day job to keep her holiday budget topped up, and two kids and a husband to keep an eye on.

Getting Over Jesse Franklin and Jetplanes to Jupiter were born out of a healthy appreciation of bass guitars (and the dudes who play them), and Franko was very much inspired by her favourite band as a teenager. So now you know.

Follow @imcountingufoz on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit stephiechapman.wordpress.comBuy Call Me Maybe

About the book

What if you got a second chance with your first love?

What happens when you meet your teenage heart-throb – when you’re both all grown up? When Cassie was fifteen, all she wanted was to marry Jesse Franklin, the bassist from her favourite band, Franko. Now she’s single, in her late twenties and wondering what happened to that teenage dream.

A chance encounter on Facebook soon leads to a transatlantic hook up, and soon, Jesse and Cassie are having a long-distance love affair spanning five thousand miles.

Cassie is on cloud nine – until she hears something that makes her think that Jessie might not be all that he seems. They say never meet your heroes – but what happens when you fall in love with them…?

Are Cassie and Jessie star crossed lovers, destined to be together? Or should Cassie have left her crush in the box marked teenage memories?

Review

I can imagine this is somewhat of a dream scenario for some people. Could you even imagine meeting a celeb you had a massive crush on as a teenager and then having a relationship with them? I’d just like to point out that mine would be all wrinkly now.

In the blurb it says what if you got a second chance with your first love, but that isn’t really the premise of this story. Having a crush, even a really obsessive strong emotional swoony crush on a celebrity or some unattainable person in the public eye, is not the same as your first love.

It made me wonder whether I would want to meet a teenage crush (if I can remember that far back), thereby possibly destroying the myth and the magic. Clearly Cassie doesn’t have the same fears, and she does have concerns that she might come across as a crazy stalker fan.

When Jesse replies to Cassie she just can’t believe it and she definitely isn’t expecting them to click and end up meeting in person. Is this meant to be or is it all too good to be true?

It’s a romcom – a dream come true scenario for some. Chapman has used modern media, text message exchanges, instead of dialogue per se, which gives the story evn more of a contemporary vibe. The dialogue and writing is also very much in tune with a YA book. It’s easy to forget that the main characters are late twenties and older, because their exchanges are very similar to people in their late teens and early twenties. This  is an easy and fun read.

Buy Call Me Maybe at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Hera; pub date 9 Oct. 2019. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Kobo.

#BlogTour Make It Up To You by Lucy Keeling

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Make it Up To You by Lucy Keeling.About the Author

Lucy Keeling is an author writing fun, sexy, stories with all of the happily ever afters. When she’s not typing at the kitchen table, she’s arranging and then re-arranging to see her friends for the occasional spot of day drinking. Lucy is currently writing the third book in a Contemporary Romance series, the first of which has been Shortlisted by Choc-Lit ‘Search for a Star’ Competition.

Follow @Lucy_K_Author on Twitter, on Facebookon Instagramon AmazonBuy Make It Up To You

About the book

What do mascara wands and gardening shears have in common?

Absolutely nothing! At least that’s what wannabe beauty influencer Sophie Timney thinks when her friend Polly suggests involving her brother Marcus in Sophie’s make-up tutorials. She needs more views, Marcus needs promotion for his gardening business – in Polly’s mind joining forces will help them both. Sophie isn’t so sure.

Because Marcus Bowman has a habit of getting under her skin in a way that no exfoliating face scrub ever could. But, as the views and comments on her videos begin creeping up, it becomes increasingly obvious that Sophie’s subscribers like Marcus, and what’s even worse is that Sophie might be starting to feel the same way …

Review

Before I get to the core of the story I have to hand it to Keeling for creating a wee bit of a mystery. The kind of mystery that makes readers keep coming back to a specific character – what exactly does Mya do for a living?

Sophie is trying to carve out her own niche in the world of social media influencers, specifically in the arena of beauty, make-up and style. So far it has been an uphill battle, perhaps because the huge ocean of social media users is already filled with people who are doing it better than Sophie. Or is it just a question of attracting the attention of the right crowd of viewers at the right time?

When a friend suggests creating a better backdrop to her online tutorials and also giving the garden a new look by asking Polly’s brother Marcus to lend a hand, well Sophie isn’t exactly thrilled. She is even less thrilled when he ends up becoming a part of her videos and then flabbergasted when her viewers appear to like him a lot.

This is an amusing romcom, a feel good story set around relevant careers of our day and age. Social media has taken over a huge part of our lives, both in our private and public lives. There are new careers on the horizon for young people. Marketing via online presence, likes equating to popularity and hopefully eventually to sales. It’s a whole new ballgame.

It’s a contemporary romcom, an accidental love story with a focus on the world of social media.

Buy Make It Up To You at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Choc Lit pub date September 17, 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Carved in Bone by Michael Nava

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Carved in Bone by Michael Nava. It’s a compelling piece of fiction.About the Author

Michael Nava is the six-time Lambda Literary Award author of the Henry Rios novels and recipient of the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement in LGBTQ Literature. The New York Times praised him as “one of our best” crime fiction writers. The New Yorker called Henry Rios “a detective unlike any other previous protagonist in American noir.” Carved In Bone is the first Henry Rios novel in 20 years. Says novelist David Ebershoff (The Danish Girl) Carved In Bone is “rich, haunting and deeply engaged with the world.”

Follow @micnavawriter on Twitter, on Facebookon Instagram, Visit michaelnavawriter.com, Buy Carved in Bone

About the book

A new mystery by six-time Lambda Literary award winner, Michael Nava. Set in San Francisco in 1984, Henry Rios, a gay criminal defense lawyer,  is fresh out of rehab and trying to put his life back together. He’s hired by an insurance company to investigate the apparently accidental death by carbon monoxide poisoning of Bill Ryan in the Castro Street apartment he shared with his lover, who survived. As he delves into Bill Ryan’s life, Rios becomes convinced Ryan’s death was no accident, and that his young lover is implicated. Meanwhile, the tsunami of AIDS is bearing down on San Francisco’s gay community.

Review

I think it’s important to note that there are sex scenes in this book, and they are quite graphic, however they do help readers to comprehend the gay scene of that era. At a time when homosexuality was finally being decriminalised and declassified as a mental health disorder in certain states, and there was finally a possibility of a positive sway in public opinion.

In a way I think there was almost a revival of the free love 60s and 70s era, especially because discarded homosexual men without a home or family were drawn to the same places and subsequently became large communities.

The intimacy and the inner battle the majority of gay men have with themselves and their partner or lovers is relevant to how the HIV virus was passed around. Imagine growing up feeling safe and loved and suddenly being ostracised by the same people who supposedly love you – just because your sexuality doesn’t conform to their ideas of the norm.

Feeling guilt instead of pleasure and equating pain and humiliation to pleasure, because the world around you is teaching you that your desires are abhorrent. Having to overcome the fact that the majority of society believes you have to conform to their standards of love, lust and sex.

This betrayal defines the way Bill relates to his sexuality and his relationships for the rest of his adult life. I think the absolute tragedy is the fact these hypocrites called family then end up being in complete legal control of the belongings and inheritance in the event of the death of the person they cast out. This is why the LGBTQ community fights hard for equal marital rights, so they can ensure their partners have legal rights and don’t end up being locked out of end-of-life decisions and property.

I really enjoyed this book. Nava hits the nail on the head when it comes to every aspect of the story he brings to the table. The tragedy of the HIV and AIDS pandemic, one of the most globally destructive pandemics. The fraudulent profiteering of insurance companies, which includes viatical settlements, and the destruction AIDS has caused.

Henry’s life and struggles play out simultaneously as the reader learns about Bill. The short tragic life of a young man disposed of by his family as if he had never existed, who went on to prove that family isn’t necessarily about blood and more about the people who stand by you during both good and bad times.

It’s a mixture of genres, it’s historical fiction, a mystery, LGBTQ fiction and it’s also a very poignant statement about attitudes towards homosexuality and the AIDS pandemic. It’s a compelling, well-researched and emotional read at times.

Buy Carved in Bone at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

#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 Fiona and the Whale by Hannah Lynn

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Fiona and the Whale by Hannah Lynn. It’s certainly a surprising and provocative read.

Don’t miss the fantastic Giveaway below!
About the Author

Hannah Lynn is an award-winning novelist. Publishing her first book, Amendments – a dark, dystopian speculative fiction novel, in 2015, she has since gone on to write The Afterlife of Walter Augustus, a contemporary fiction novel with a supernatural twist – which won the 2018 Kindle Storyteller Award and the Gold Medal for Best Adult Fiction ebook at this year’s IPPY Awards – and the delightfully funny and poignant Peas and Carrots series.

While she freely moves between genres, her novels are recognisable for their character driven stories and wonderfully vivid description. She is currently working on a YA Vampire series and a reimaging of a classic Greek myth.

Born in 1984, Hannah grew up in the Cotswolds, UK. After graduating from university, she spent ten years as a teacher of physics, first in the UK and then around Asia. It was during this time, inspired by the imaginations of the young people she taught, she began writing short stories for children, and later adult fiction Now as a teacher, writer, wife and mother, she is currently living in the Austrian Alps.

For up-to-date news and access to exclusive promotions follow her on:

Follow @HMLynnauthor on Twitter, on Facebookon Amazonon Goodreadson BookBubBuy Fiona and the Whale

About the book

With her personal life on the rocks, it’s going to take a whale sized miracle to keep her afloat.

Event planner Fiona Reeves did not have her husband’s sudden departure on her schedule. However, she’s certain that it’s only a hiccup and he’ll be back in no time, begging for forgiveness. Fortunately there’s a distraction of mammoth proportions swimming in the River Thames.

Absorbed by the story of Martha the sperm whale, Fiona attempts to carry on life as usual as she awaits her husband’s return. However, nothing can prepare her for the dramatic turn of events that throws her life into ever greater turmoil. The road ahead has many paths and for Fiona it’s time to sink or swim.

Fiona and the Whale is a poignant and often hilarious contemporary fiction novel. If you enjoy topical tales, second chances and a little bit of romance, you’ll love this new book from the Kindle Storyteller Award Winner, Hannah Lynn.

Review

The author takes an interesting approach to the story by becoming sort of a narrator. The occasional friendly commentator who checks in to see how the reader is doing on their reading journey. It doesn’t interrupt the process, in fact it is very much like having another fictional character or fictional narrator except for the fact it is the author.

I’m going to come out and say it like I see it, as is my wont. I felt for Fiona – I really did. Her husband is a pretentious self-involved misogynist in the middle of a classic mid-life crisis. There is absolutely nothing to like about him, especially the way he uses their son to humiliate his wife.

However, when Fiona has her epiphany she acts as if she has found God in the freezer section at the supermarket and her main goal in life is to save the souls of all the heathens around her. You can find God just let the other souls wander around aimlessly and without him if they choose to do so.

Lest there be some misunderstanding because of my snark – this story isn’t about religion, faith or God. Fiona’s epiphany is about her role in the destruction of our environment. The role of humans in the poisoning of the planet. I’m not sure talking to people as if they are idiots and the enemy is the way to create change, and there is no doubt we need change.

In that sense this book is timely and on point. Fiona goes all Greta Thunberg on her friends, her life and her business. Why? All because of a whale, that’s why. I really liked the way the whale became both a symbol and a metaphor at the same time. It’s a symbol of the destruction the human race is causing and it is a metaphor for Fiona’s life. The way she is left abandoned, adrift in strange waters and slowly choking, albeit unawares, on the toxic matter in and around her.

Kudos to the author for the conscience awakening read. It is a thought-provoking contemporary read, which combines environmentalism with a flair of women’s fiction. If you walk away from this read spending just a bit of time contemplating your role in the environment and not what you could do, but what you should be doing right now, then the author has done her job.

Buy Fiona and the Whale at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

Buy Amendments at Amazon UkBuy Amendments at Amazon comBuy The Afterlife of Walter Augustus at Amazon Uk or Amazon comBuy Peas, Carrots and an Aston Martin at Amazon Uk or Amazon com.

Enter the Whale Sized Giveaway  (Open Internationally)

Prizes are – $25 Amazon Gift card, 2 print copies of Fiona and the Whale, 10 ebooks of Fiona, 5 ebooks of The Afterlife of Water Augustus, 5 ebooks, of Peas, Carrots and an Aston Martin.

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#BlogTour The Colour of Death by Elizabeth Davies

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Color of Death by Elizabeth Davies.

About the Author

Elizabeth Davies is a paranormal author, whose books have a romantic flavour with more than a hint of suspense. And death. There’s usually death…

Follow @BethsBooks on Twitter, on Facebookon Instagramon Goodreadson Amazon, Visit elizabethdaviesauthor.co.ukBuy The Colour of Death

About the book

“Mad, bad and dangerous to know.”

Olivia Parr doesn’t believe her ability to see auras is a gift. It hasn’t exactly done her any favours. Quite the opposite, in fact. Having become something of a loner, she tries to avoid people and the glow surrounding them, preferring to view life through the lens of a camera, where she can’t see those telltale colours.

But when a rare visit to a theatre ends in death and bloodshed, Olivia’s life is about to become considerably more complicated.

During the mayhem, one man stands out, and not just because he seems oblivious to the terrible carnage. The reason? He has no aura.

But everyone has an aura, right? Everyone. Except for the dead.

Not only is she fascinated and intrigued by this strange, compelling man, in the aftermath of the tragedy she gains a protector; a man whose aura is deep, dark red – the colour of blood.

Review

This is the first book in the Colour series. Colour refers to the ability of the main character to see auras.

Davies takes this paranormal story back to old school vampire tales. In a world where being one isn’t the norm and does come as a surprise to the characters.

It starts off with quite a shocking scenario. A tragedy puts all three major players in the same place, which reveals them all to each other. It is the beginning of a cat and mouse game to save Crow’s sister and keep Olivia from the clutches of an experienced predator.

One could argue that Olivia has supernatural talents of her own. The vampire certainly thinks so, especially because his lack of any aura at all singles him out. He becomes interested in Olivia’s particular talent, and indeed in Olivia too.

At the same time Olivia is pulled in the opposite direction by Crow. He doesn’t have the same seductive powers as the fanged gentleman, but he does have some kind of pull. Perhaps it is the contradiction between the two men? One is the forbidden fruit and the other is the dark dangerous type.

It’s a paranormal urban fantasy – a sizzling and steamy supernatural tale. It’s very much in the flair of old legends and tropes of the supernatural. Where glamour is still used to enable romantic encounters and allow long toothed predators to nibble on their prey.

Buy The Colour of Death at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Oath by Michael L. Lewis

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour The Oath by Michael L. Lewis.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win 3 x Paperback copies of The Oath by Michael L. Lewis (UK Only)About the Author

Michael L. Lewis was born and raised in England. After preparatory school in London, he was educated at Stowe School, Buckingham. Michael now lives in Los Angeles, California, has a law degree, and writes full-time. He was on the Board of Trustees for several schools and has been a member of the same book club for twenty-five years.

Follow Michael L. Lewis on Facebookon AmazonBuy The Oath

About the book

Three Juniors – A Blood Oath – A Deadly Outcome

1955. The polished veneer of a boys’ boarding school in Northern England masks a cadre of wickedness. Seniors viciously torment any junior they deem unfit. Jonathan Simon, in his first term is warned that there are three monsters in his dorm; seniors Flicker, Sleeth and Tunk, and that the code of conduct mandates no snitching.

Simon befriends two other juniors; pixie-faced Ian Gracey and witty, grossly overweight Arthur Crown. During a cross-country run, the three friends take a short cut and stumble into the cadet rifle range. Corps Sergeant Sleeth puts them through a degrading punishment using human excrement. The three juniors swear a blood oath never to allow another bully to abuse them.

Will this oath be their downfall, or will they make it through the school year? Snitching could have serious consequences but keeping silent will break their blood oath.

As Simon, Gracey and Crown try to survive this perilous journey, the constant threat of harm brings their friendship ever closer…

Review

Boarding schools are very much part of the educational path of the upper class and the wealthy. It’s the norm to send off children, especially boys, to learning institutes. I think tradition, peer pressure and shoving the responsibility from nanny to boarding school has become so ingrained in certain social groups and countries that considering an alternative doesn’t even factor into their decision.

Leaving aside how academically successful a boarding school can be, the emotional damage caused by separation, bullying and the often predator like proclivity of sexual activity in these institutes is probably immeasurable.

Lewis plots the story around all of these negative aspects of being shipped off to school. His characters mirror both sides of the coin. The bullies who rule the roost and the damaged victims they leave in their wake.

The lines are drawn in the sand soon after the new school year starts when the youngest newbies become targets for the older bullies. The younger boys are determined not to let them get away with their usual crimes. The small groups become entwined in a dangerous war of revenge and a fight for survival.

It’s a contemporary thriller, a fast-paced and uncomfortable read at times. It fits into the YA and adult genre. The writing leans more towards simplicity and only skims the first layers in terms of depth. Saying that, the style lends itself to a bigger audience in terms of both younger and older readers.

Buy The Oath at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Book Guild Publishing pub date 1 Mar. 2019. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Book GuildBuy at Book DepositoryFoylesWHSmithWaterstonesBlackwells.

Enter the Giveaway below to Win 3 x Paperback copies of The Oath by Michael L. Lewis (UK Only)

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*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  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.*