#BlogTour Psychopaths Anonymous by Will Carver

It’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Psychopaths Anonymous by Will Carver. It’s a dark read and a cracking one.

About the Author

Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the January David series. He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age eleven, when his  sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company. He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, and lives in Reading with his two children. Will’s latest title published by Orenda Books,

The Beresford was published in July. His previous title Hinton Hollow Death Trip was longlisted for the Not the Booker Prize, while Nothing Important Happened Today was longlisted for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts. Follow @will_carver on Twitter

About the book

When AA meetings make her want to drink more, alcoholic murderess Maeve sets up a group for psychopaths. Maeve has everything. A high-powered job, a beautiful home, a string of uncomplicated one-night encounters. She’s also an addict: a functioning alcoholic with a dependence on sex and an insatiable appetite for killing men.

When she can’t find a support group to share her obsession, she creates her own. And Psychopaths Anonymous is born. Friends of Maeve.

Now in a serious relationship, Maeve wants to keep the group a secret. But not everyone in the group adheres to the rules, and when a reckless member raises suspicions with the police, Maeve’s drinking spirals out of control. She needs to stop killing. She needs to close the group. But Maeve can’t seem to quit the things that are bad for her, including her new man…

Review

What’s not to enjoy about the refreshing honesty with which Maeve goes about her daily life. The automatic and expected boxes are ticked to keep up appearances, but what happens when the small moments of truth and pleasure threaten to interfere with the way she runs her life. Can she sustain any kind of long-term relationship or friendship without being swallowed up by the darkness she likes to cater to.

I think I enjoyed this book for all the wrong reasons. At the top of that list is the fact the author peels back the layers of the shallow exteriors and presents a very real reality. In fact I wonder what would or will happen if psychopathic or sociopathic traits become an acceptable part of society? 

Next on the list, and I have mentioned this in a review of a book written by a recovering alcoholic who swallowed the scheme whole and shouted it out to the world, is the way Carver takes AA to task. It doesn’t work, and the statistics are very interesting. It divides the addicted into categories, some of which are set-up to fail like some self-fulfilling prophecy. Not because of the addiction per se, but because of the way it is infused with a cult like dependency on a reverence to religion and God. 

Clearly only the door reading you must accept God and faith into your heart or fail automatically, means everyone who steps through another door is on a fast path to failure. It also means blame and guilt for loss of sobriety has an automatic perpetrator, as opposed to having personal accountability or looking at the cause and not the symptom.

And the third point is the logistical aspect of certain victimology, which should probably raise alarm bells about the writer, if I were so inclined, but I’m not. (My next FoM meeting is coming Wednesday at six pm – just saying.) 

If Friends of Maeve groups start to pop up everywhere we all know whose door to knock on, right? Talk about giving people ideas and some direction in their lives. Trust Carver to create the kind of book that people will probably either feel uncomfortable about or not admit to liking it for being a bit more than a crime read. I loved it. It’s deliciously dark. It lacks any kind of societal norm or boundary. Most importantly it speaks softly to the dark side – they might not acknowledge it, but they are listening. It’s a superb read.

Buy Psychopaths Anonymous at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Orenda Books pub date 25 Nov. 2021. Buy at Amazon comBuy at Orendabooks.

#BlogTour The Fix by M.A. Russo

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Fix by M.A. Russo.

About the Author/s

Authors M. A. Russo are a sister collective, but you’d be forgiven for thinking they were one and the same. they both strate dtheir careers as nurses, with Marina gaining a Masters  in Health Psychology and a Diploma in Clinical Hypnotherapy, and Anita as a University Nurse Lecturer with a PhD in Cancer Studies. These backgrounds fuel their writing.

Both are now commercial photographers by day and writers by night. They even have similar hobbies. they both love to run, hike, walk their dogs, grow their own veg and crate spectacular vegan meals. Neither can sing well, a regret they both share, as do others around them. Individually, Marina is passionate about lifelong learning, yoga, photographing nature and art. Anita loves shoemaking, screenwriting and composing songs on her guitar. Sisters Marina and Anita  are coauthors of The Fix. Follow @MARussoAuthor on Twitter.

About the book

When Covenston is hit by a series of rapes, Ally and Jinny Canessa find themselves amateur detectives. Ally is a counsellor, at odds with the very attractive DI Nick Daniels, whereas Jinny joins a local coven and believes spells may be the key to uncovering the perpetrator.

Evidence suggests the victims are being selected from one particular community, but the question is why? Ally and Jinny must confront harassment, homophobia – and themselves to find out. Because until they do, no woman is safe.

Review

Jinny is convinced her connection to magic and a local coven is playing kismet with her. She casts and presto something akin to what she conjured up happens. Not in the way she expects it to though.

Jinny and Ally are drawn into a violent crime spree. Someone is picking specific targets to punish them with the most vile form of intimidation and humiliation, to teach them a lesson and to show them true power.

Written by an author duo who are also sisters, this crime read has an underlying dark psychological undertone. It’s punchy, brutal and crosses plenty of boundaries. Not for the sensitive, faint of heart or readers who find certain fictional scenarios sail too closely to reality. It’s crude, veers into the obsessive, abusive and is at times violent. 

Some disturbing chapters are very detailed, perhaps to the point of gratuitous. I wonder if there was a conscious or even subconscious leaning towards what the plot should look like or is it a case of an intention to shed a light of just how targeted and vulnerable certain minority groups are. It felt contrived at times, forcing stereotypes for the greater good of enlightenment and understanding. Are they targeted – yes. Do women in general live a more dangerous and risky existence compared to men – yes.

What is done well is a lack of fracturing, which often occurs when authors write books in teams. I also really like the parallels drawn between the need to fix, self-image and understanding, and the topic of homophobia.

Buy The Fix at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎ Dark Edge Press, pub date 1 Nov. 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Prince of the Skies by Antonio Iturbe

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Prince of the Skies by Antonio Iturbe.

‘The epic Second World War novel from Antonio Iturbe, the international bestselling author of The Librarian of Auschwitz. Translated by Lilit Žekulin Thwaites, this is a novel about love and friendship, war and heroism and the power of the written word.’

About the Author

Antonio Iturbe was born in 1967 and grew up in the dock-side neighbourhood of Barceloneta, in Barcelona. His first novel The Librarian of Auschwitz was the number one selling book in translation in the UK last year. It has been translated into 30 languages and has sold over 600K copies internationally.

Having grown up reading Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s books, Iturbe was inspired to write about the author’s extraordinary life. He conducted extensive research and, despite suffering from vertigo, even flew in a biplane so he would understand how it felt to fly. Iturbe hopes to translate not only the facts but also the poetry of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s writing in The Prince of the Skies.

About the book

Only the best pilots are given jobs at Latécoère – the company destined to become Aéropostale. The successful candidates include Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. A man whose desire to fly will put him at odds with his aristocratic family and the girl who loves him – but who wants to keep him grounded. 

Together with his friends Jean and Henri, they will change the history of aviation and pioneer new mail routes across the world. But Antoine is also destined to touch the lives of millions of readers with his story The Little Prince. But as war begins to threaten Europe, is Antoine’s greatest adventure yet to come . .?

Review

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was torn between family expectations, the rules imposed on him by the woman he loved and his pleasure while experiencing the ultimate freedom and the power of flying above his fellow humans.

Whilst fighting against the restrictions he helps form the future of aviation and the stepping stones to where we are now. It’s fair to say he left his mark on the world and in the clouds.

This is historical fiction or faction, and after reading this I wonder what Antoine de Saint-Exupéry would have thought about the impact of The Little Prince and the legacy he left behind in general. A legacy that becomes more poignant when you connect his life and disappearance to the story he created.

It’s worth noting that Iturbe has chosen to lay more weight on the beauty and freedom de Saint-Exupéry experienced, especially whilst flying. His bravery, which went hand in hand with a recklessness. Perhaps that can be said of any person who commands and controls tonnes of metal in the skies.

I think this is a beautiful homage to a man who left an imprint on the world in the few decades he was alive. It’s beautifully written – a swan song, as the swan prepares for its last flight.

Buy The Prince of the Skies at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publishing in Hardback £16.99| Macmillan | 14th October 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Could You Survive Midsomer? by Simon Brew

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Could You Survive Midsomer? An Official Midsomer Murders Interactive Novel by Simon Brew.

About Midsomer Murders

Midsomer Murders is a TV national treasure. For over 21 years, residents of this quintessentially English county have hosted a series of homicides, which have been at the centre of over 100 episodes. With a huge international fanbase, Midsomer Murders has sold in over 220 territories. A top export of the UK detective genre, the show is hugely popular in Germany, France and all over Scandinavia, as well as having major fanbases in North America and Canada, Australia – and Japan!

About the Author

Simon Brew is the former editor and founder of Den of Geek – the popular culture news and reviews website. He is the author of three books including Movie Geek, TV Geek and The Secret Life of the Movies. Simon is also the founder of the magazine and podcast Film Stories. Follow @simonbrew on Twitter

About the book

Can You Avoid a Bizarre Death in England’s Most Dangerous County? – All is not well in the beautiful county of Midsomer. On the eve of its first Villages In Bloom competition, a man lies slain, smelling of damson jam. Who could have done it?

Well, that’s where you come in. Step into the shoes of Midsomer CID’s newest recruit, choose your own path and decide which way the story goes. Could You Survive Midsomer? sets off on an engaging pick-your-own adventure format to challenge the reader to solve a crime or succumb to the county’s suspiciously high death rate. 

Set in television’s most celebrated and murderous county, the book allows readers to see if they can get to the bottom of the mystery and bring the perpetrator to justice, avoiding an untimely, and possibly bizarre death, along the way. Your task is to make the right choices, solve the case and – most tricky of all – stay alive!

Review

Welcome to the county that has a disproportionate amount of murders per geographical space. This time you get to try and solve the crime yourself or add to the growing statistics. A choose your own story and adventure type of read.

Although this is an interactive novel and obviously it works really well on a digital platform. I have the hardcover, but I also tested it via the Kindle version. The digital allows for an instant jump as you make your choices, the back and forth is less evident or how interspersed each chapter or paragraph is within the book. With a physical copy this is more evident, because you have to look for the relevant pages or numbers within the book.

Rather than seeing the path/s you don’t choose as a missed opportunity I them as an opportunity for a variety of ways to enjoy this book. More than one story to enjoy. What’s not to like?

I do enjoy a Midsomer Murder episode and I love myself a mystery, so this book appeals to my inner Sherlock. I think it’s a fantastic idea, and the fact each read will be not only subjective, as they always are of course, but also individual to each reader as they make choices and take different paths along the way – it’s genius. It’s also a brilliant read. I can’t wait to share this with the world – or just everyone I know who loves a good mystery.

Buy Could You Survive Midsomer Murder at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Casell; pub date 30 September 2021 | 12.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Spanish House by Cherry Radford

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Spanish House by Cherry Radford.

About the Author

Cherry Radford has been a keyboard player in a band, piano teacher at the Royal Ballet School and a post-doctoral scientist at London’s Moorfield’s Eye Hospital. She began her first novel in a coffee break at a scientific conference. She writes uplifting novels about identity, renewal and finding soulmate romance when you least expect it. 

Having inherited a love of Spain and its culture from her half-Spanish mother, all her novels have a Spanish connection or setting. The Spanish House is the first of three stories set in the starkly beautiful and unspoilt Cabo de Gata region of coastal Andalusia where she now lives. Se is married to a musician and has two sons. Follow @CherryRad on Twitter, Visit cherryradford.com

About the book

One bizarre to-do list to earn her inheritance. One Spanish summer. One huge family secret. Juliana makes a modest living as an ‘ethnic’ TV/film extra – even though the only connections with her Spanish heritage are her cacti, Spanish classes, and some confused memories of a Spanish mother she hasn’t seen since she was seven.

When her beloved Uncle Arturo offers her the chance to discover her roots while housesitting his coastal home in a quiet corner of Andalusia, Juliana can’t believe her luck. Especially when he reveals that the house will be hers if she fulfills ten life-enhancing ‘Conditions’ within 90 days.

Redecoration of the house and a visit to the old film studio where her mother used to sew costumes seem ridiculously simple tasks for such a wonderful reward. But little does Juliana realize that there are family secrets and inherited rivalries awaiting her in sunny Spain, and the condition that she has to ‘get on with the neighbors’ – who include a ruggedly handsome but moody artist – may be harder than she thinks.

Review

Used to being little more than an extra on a movie set and a footnote in her own life, Juliana jumps at the strange proposal her uncle sends her. The opportunity to connect with her mother’s Spanish roots, whilst doing a little refurbishment on her uncle’s house. A house that could belong to her one day, but only if she fulfills a long list of very peculiar conditions.

The chance to retrace the steps of the mother who suddenly abandoned her is enough of a draw, and the feeling of being at ‘home’ in Spain is what ultimately seals the deal. What she doesn’t expect is to have her life and expectations completely turned upside down.

This reminded me of The Summer House in Santorini by Parks/Gale in a sense that both authors have the ability to draw the reader into their surroundings with such clarity and reality. It’s a gift to be able to convey the emotional connection someone has with a country or specific place with such accuracy. Clearly the only downside is the fact many readers, including myself, find themselves wanting to travel, live-in and experiences these places.

It’s the perfect escapism read. It’s a feel good read with plenty of laughter – the goat needs its own spin-off – and filled with family secrets. What’s not to like? Oh, and what a wonderfully perfect ending.

Buy The Spanish House at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Aria; pub date 12 July 2021. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey.

About the Author

Catriona Silvey was born in Glasgow and grew up in Perthshire and Derbyshire, which left her with a strange accent and a distrust of flat places. She overcame the latter to do a BA in English at Cambridge, and spent the next few years there working in scientific publishing. After that she did a PhD in language evolution, in the hope of finding out where all these words came from in the first place.

Following stints in Edinburgh and Chicago, she returned to Cambridge, where she lives with her husband and a very peculiar cat. When she’s not working as a researcher studying meaning in language, she writes. Her short stories have been performed at the Edinburgh Literary Festival and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize. Follow @silveycat on Twitter, Visit catrionasilvey.com

About the book

Thora and Santi have met before… Under the clocktower in central Cologne, with nothing but the stars above and their futures ahead.

They will meet again… They don’t know it yet, but they’ll meet again: in numerous lives they will become friends, colleagues, lovers, enemies – meeting over and over for the first time, every time; each coming to know every version of the other.

But as they’re endlessly drawn together and the lines between their different lives begin to blur, they are faced with one question: why? They must discover the truth of their strange attachment before this, and all their lives, are lost forever. 

Review

What’s interesting is the fact both Santi and Thora give themselves and readers the connection and the same clue in every scenario that eventually leads to the solution and conclusion of this story. Not necessarily one you filter out, perhaps because it becomes one of the features on a loop, which makes the two characters identifiable to each other and to us.

The inter-personal relationships change, the power structure and the hierarchy between the two of them. One of the constants is the place, Cologne, which is woven cleverly into the fabric of each loop. Are they loops though or are they glimpses of parallel timelines, reincarnations or jumps in time. Are Santi and Thora trapped in a ever repeating cycle where one of them knows what the inevitable conclusion is and the other is determined to try over and over again.

What sets this apart from other books with a similar premise is the way Silvey creates this visceral connection to the place, much like historical fiction, and the speculative nature of their meetings, all of which culminates in a fascinating ending.

I enjoyed the way the two characters are fused together like soulmates who are destined to repeat the same unfulfilling ending, and yet at the same time are on two different paths. One believes every path is set in stone by a higher power and the other believes the opposite, and yet in a bizarre way Thora also acts as if everything is preordained.

It’s a fascinating and often emotional read, and one I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.

Buy Meet Me in Another Life at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Harper Voyager pub date 8th July 2021 | Hardback | Ebook | Audio | £14.99. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at catrionasilvey.com/books

#BlogTour Down by the Water by Elle Connel

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Down by the Water by Elle Connel.

About the Author

Elle Connel studied English at the University of St Andrews, and later Shakespearean Studies at Kings College London and Shakespeare’s Globe. She has worked as a researcher for Al Jazeera television, a freelance writer while living in Spain, and later as the Cruise Coordinator for the National Trust for Scotland (where she worked onboard a ship, swam amongst icebergs, set foot on St Kilda, and finally learned how to ceilidh dance). She’s now a fulltime writer, based in Edinburgh with her husband and twin sons.

About the book

Seven friends gather at a castle in the Scottish Borders. One last girls’ weekend before Georgina’s wedding. Near the castle, through a path in the woods, is a loch. After a few bottles of Prosecco, the girls head down to the water to take photos. The loch is wild, lonely, and stunningly beautiful. They set their camera to self-timer and take some group shots. Later, looking back at the pictures, they see something impossible. Behind them, eyes wide, a small, drenched boy emerges from the water. How did he get there; where is he now; and what does he want?

The girls thought they knew each other’s darkest secrets, but one of them has been hiding something terrible. Consumed by grief, she’s been waiting for the perfect moment to wreak her revenge…

Review

Is it just me or are these women the reason some of us prefer our own company. What a complete and utter nightmare. Instead of support there is disinterest, instead of genuine affection there is an almost competitive need to outdo each other. How very exhausting to keep these kind of relationships and so-called friendships going. Sometimes you have to leave the school, college, university and childhood friendships behind. 

Tessa has planned the perfect hen-do for her group of friends, but she has made sure it is particularly perfect for the bride-to-be. In fact one could almost say she has ulterior motives to ensure this trip to a lonely, rural Scottish location goes exactly the way she has imagined it for months.

What Connel does with remarkable accuracy is show the negative side of female friendships, especially women in friendship groups. Unfortunately it isn’t all sisterhood and support. It can also evolve into comorbidity and codependency. All the while the negativity is the fuel that cements the relationships and the strange inability to let go of something so harmful.  

It’s a dark domestic thriller – the kind of read that shows the dark side of toxic relationships. The way some people inflict wounds and leave scars upon others and yet are completely oblivious to the pain and suffering they leave in their wake.

Buy Down by the Water at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Wildfire pub date 8 July 2021 | Hardback | £16.99 – Also available in e-book and audio. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The High-Rise Diver byJulia von Lucadou

 It’s my turn on the BlogTour The High-Rise Diver by Julia von Lucadou, translated from the German by Sharmila Cohen. 

About the Author

Julia von Lucadou was born in Heidelberg in 1982. She studied film and theater at Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz and Victoria University of Wellington and earned her PhD in Film Studies in 2015. Lucadou worked as both an assistant director and a television editor prior to writing The High-Rise Diver, her debut novel, which was nominated for the Swiss Book Prize in 2018. She lives between Biel, New York, and Cologne.

Sharmila Cohen is an award-winning writer and German-to-English translator who has translated the works of several leading German-language authors. Her work has been featured in publications such as BOMB and Harpers, and her projects span from poetry and literary fiction to crime and children’s stories. Originally from New York, Cohen came to Berlin in 2011 as a Fulbright Scholar to complete an experimental translation project with local poets. She now divides her time between both cities.

About the book

‘The High Rise Diver is a chillingly beautiful dissection of perfected capitalism. Lucadou creates a horribly convincing world where every aspect of existence has been monetised. In a taut, delicate narrative an implacable and disinterested cruelty faces the human ache for tenderness, mercy, contact and affection.’  A.L. Kennedy

Riva is a “high-rise diver,” a top athlete with millions of fans, and a perfectly functioning human on all levels. Suddenly she rebels, breaking her contract and refusing to train. Cameras are everywhere in her world, but she doesn’t know her every move is being watched by Hitomi, the psychologist tasked with reining Riva back in. 

Unquestionably loyal to the system, Hitomi’s own life is at stake: should she fail to deliver, she will be banned to the “peripheries,” the filthy outskirts of society. For readers of The Handmaid’s Tale, The Circle, and Brave New World, this chilling dystopia constructs a world uncomfortably close to our own, in which performance is everything.

Review

This is going on my top reads of 2021. It is an intricately planned and well written dystopian story. A premise with shades of Orwell’s 1984, but perhaps on a much bigger scale.

To Hitomi Riva is just a job, a way to keep her status, which is closely linked to obedience and performance, and in turn to performance management. The human and humane element is non-existent. Trying to determine why the high-rise flyer refuses to fly and convincing her to jump once again becomes all consuming and directly linked to the slow decline of Hitomi’s success.

The Big Brother or Sister aspect is more than intrusive it is law, lifestyle and a mind-set. It’s voluntary because nobody questions it, unless they aren’t part of the right side of the tracks. The privileged side, who are set on paths to success, whereas the rest are treated like the poor relatives. 

But let’s talk about that privilege and success, is it worth being subjected to a life of 24/7 scrutiny in all areas of their lives or being isolated from all emotional bonds like a Harlow monkey. Creating a species that craves positive reinforcement to a degree that it makes them easy to control – it’s fascinating and in equal measures frightening.

Lucadou is the kind of writer who thrives on the possibilities of speculative creativity, especially when they are cemented in possible futuristic visions of our society. Compelling and riveting. On a side-note – excellent translation.

Buy The High-Rise Diver at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: World Editions; pub date 6 May 2021 – £12.99 paperback. Buy at Amazon comBuy via World Editions.

#BlogTour Tapestries of Life by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Tapestries of Life: Uncovering the Lifesaving Secrets of the Natural World by Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson.

About the Author

Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson is the bestselling author of Extraordinary Insects. A professor at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) in Ås, Norway, she is also a scientific advisor for The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research NINA. She has a Doctorate degree in conservation biology and lectures on nature management and forest biodiversity. Follow @annesver on Twitter

About the book

The second book by the bestselling author of Extraordinary Insects – Trees clean air and water; hoverflies and bees pollinate our crops; the kingfisher inspired the construction of high-speed trains. In Tapestries of Life, bestselling author Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson explains how closely we are all connected with the natural world, highlighting our indelible link with nature’s finely knit system and our everyday lives.

In the heart of natural world is a life-support system like no other, a collective term that describes all the goods and services we receive – food, fresh water, medicine, pollination, pollution control, carbon sequestration, erosion prevention, recreation, spiritual health and so much more. In this utterly captivating book, Anne Sverdrup-Thygeson sets out to explore these wonderful, supportive elements – taking the reader on a journey through the surprising characteristics of the natural world.

Review

I think it would be fair to say the human species is inherently a self-obsessed and selfish one. They are now absolutely complacent when it comes to their survival. They embrace their status as the most intelligent and evolved species living on planet earth, but they do so without considering the timer they have set on the planet. Said timer is the slow destruction and decay caused by the evolution of humans.

The majority of us don’t think twice about the implications of climate change, the mountains of rubbish that won’t degrade in our lifetime or the impact the conglomerates and their reckless treatment of humans, wildlife and the planet will have on all of us. Comprehending that we are driving multiple species into extinction every day and that our grandchildren and future generations will never experience the planet the same way humans did before the 21st century.

For me bees have been a big factor in realising the connect the dots in regards to conservation and natural food-chain aspect of their existence. The way they are being poisoned and eradicated from said chain. They are much more visible and therefore relatable than an elephant stood in the front garden, which doesn’t mean the more exotic species aren’t equally important.

The author has created a scientific work of art – it is full of beauty and passion. It brings life to the world around us especially to the non-scientist and non-academic the world. It’s a bit like walking barefoot through a jungle and experiencing sight and sound for the first time. She also takes us through the more difficult and destructive times humans have created and the natural fallout from said destruction.

I really enjoyed the fact this is a book I can recommend without having to think twice about whether the reader will comprehend the complexity of or struggle with the dryness of a non-fiction read. It’s a riveting homage to mother nature and one I shall enjoy sharing. It’s book of beauty.

Buy Tapestries of Life at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Mudlark pub date 10 Jun. 2021. Buy at Waterstones.

#BlogTour The Last Green Valley by Mark Sullivan

It’s my turn on the BlogTour The Last Green Valley by Mark Sullivan.

About the Author

Mark Sullivan is the acclaimed author of eighteen novels, including the #1 New York Times bestselling Private series, which he writes with James Patterson. Mark has received numerous awards for his writing, including the WHSmith Fresh Talent Award, and his works have been named a New York Times Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Book of the Year. 

He grew up in Medfield, Massachusetts, and graduated from Hamilton College with a BA in English before working as a volunteer in the Peace Corps in Niger, West Africa. Upon his return to the United States, he earned a graduate degree from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University and began a career in investigative journalism. An avid skier and adventurer, he lives with his wife in Bozeman, Montana, where he remains grateful for the miracle of every moment.

Follow @MarkSullivanBks on Twitter, Visit marksullivanbooks.com

About the book

From the author of the #1 bestseller Beneath a Scarlet Sky comes a new historical novel inspired by one family’s incredible story of daring, survival, and triumph.

In late March 1944, as Stalin’s forces push into Ukraine, young Emil and Adeline Martel must make a terrible decision: Do they wait for the Soviet bear’s intrusion and risk being sent to Siberia? Or do they reluctantly follow the wolves—murderous Nazi officers who have pledged to protect “pure-blood” Germans?

The Martels are one of many families of German heritage whose ancestors have farmed in Ukraine for more than a century. But after already living under Stalin’s horrifying regime, Emil and Adeline decide they must run in retreat from their land with the wolves they despise to escape the Soviets and go in search of freedom.

Caught between two warring forces and overcoming horrific trials to pursue their hope of immigrating to the West, the Martels’ story is a brutal, complex, and ultimately triumphant tale that illuminates the extraordinary power of love, faith, and one family’s incredible will to survive and see their dreams realized.

Review

Stuck between two bad situations it’s only common sense that a family pick the lesser evil to try and save themselves, even if that lesser one was destined to become the face of the worst crimes of the 20th century, and that support was offered to the Martel family because they counted as pure-blood Germans.

The family flees the approaching Russian army, and the inevitable fates that await them. Emil and Adeline become separated, their paths define them individually and in Emil’s case completely transforms him. They have to find the strength on their own knowing they will probably never see each other again.

I found it both fascinating and heartwarming the way the sons looked with such an intensity for the reason for the transformation of Emil. Seeing the historical evidence of the horrors he went through wasn’t enough to explain why he would be one man going in and another coming out. Knowing that his endurance and the emotional change in him was driven by proof of goodness in humanity in the form of a person, is perhaps easier to accept because then they know he wasn’t alone.

Much like the story of Pino Lella the story of the Martel family is one that has been sucked up and swallowed by the passing of time. Stories like this aren’t even footnotes in history, often because the greater events tend to be narrated and written, as opposed to the fates of individuals and their families. In this specific scenario a lot of the historical events surrounding WW2 and the Holocaust fade into the background, which doesn’t mean they are of less historical importance, it’s because the severity of the atrocities tend to overshadow everything else. It’s directly linked to the efficiency, the mass planning and execution with which the Nazi regime perpetrated the crimes.

The history and tales of what is referred to as Schwarzmeerdeutsche, a regional group of ethnic Germans who fall under the description of Russlanddeutsche – ethnic Germans who migrated and settled in Russia, are more likely to remain in obscurity because of their ethnicity. In fact it’s a common denominator regardless of where Germans end up and have migrated to and from. The Nazi regime has relegated all Germans to this – a status of less important than, due to their ethnicity.

Sullivan writes beautifully and absolutely does due diligence when researching and trying to give closure to the Martel family, and bringing all the woven threads to a close. It’s a story, historical fiction inspired by facts and truth.

Buy The Last Green Valley at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher : Lake Union Publishing pub date 4 May 2021. Buy at Amazon com.