Friday, 17 August 2018

Blog Tour: A Single Journey - Frankie McGowan


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Book Synopsis:


Harriet has begun to despair of her life.

With a failed relationship behind her, a business on the rocks and a flat that’s falling apart around her ears, she could really use some luck.

Elena Banbury, née Guseva, an elderly but imposing Russian woman who is Harriet’s neighbour and landlady, frequently entertains the punters at Harriet’s jewellery stall with tales of the palaces of St. Petersburg and the treasures of Fabergé. But Harriet sometimes feels, guiltily, that she could do without the endless errands that seem to fall to her as Elena’s friend.

Then, unexpectedly, when Elena dies, she leaves all her worldly goods to a grateful Harriet. In time, however, it becomes clear that others are shocked by Harriet’s good luck, too. Shocked… and very, very unhappy.

Challenged in court by Elena’s family who live in Berlin, Harriet is forced to give up her inheritance and long-dreamed-of plans for a new business, and start her life again. But with her reputation in tatters and the memory of Elena tainted, Harriet knows a great injustice has been done.

Against the advice of her friends, family and lawyers, Harriet sets off on her own, very singular journey to Berlin.

In the weeks that follow she meets rich and poor, the glamorous and the criminal, the honest and the secretive, and begins to see that perhaps she has something to learn from them all. Something to learn about herself, and something to learn about her priorities.

She knows she has to fight for justice. But, when she meets the scholarly, perceptive Neil, who generously tries to help Harriet in her mission, but who is struggling with a complicated marriage, she must also decide if she’ll fight for love, too. 
Review:
So I'm absolutely honoured to be a part of the blog tour for A Single Journey, I begun reading my copy of the book a little while ago but thanks to some unknown glitch I encountered, I was unable to fully read the book. Thankfully Hannah came to my rescue and provided me with another copy n a different format that allowed me to continue my reading. I must let you all know that due to the glitch and date limit on this post, I feel as though I may have missed things here and there because I had to speed read but hopefully, with all things crossed, that this all still makes sense.
I don't really want to be giving away too much of the plot away so I wont explain it in all of the detail I know, but as the story goes, Harriet rents a flat from aging Elena Banbury who spends her time entertaining customers that visit Harriet's failing stall and the others around her with tales of her childhood in Russia. It is only when Elena passes away that Harriet find out how she was really seen by her. 
As far as our main character Harriet goes, she feels extremely real to me, beyond likable in my eyes and with her own flaws, it adds to the realistic feel of her. As the story progresses I begun to feel more attached to her, rooting for her at every moment she needed me to, wanting her to be successful when a challenge came to her, she was just so real for me.
The amazing thing about A Single Journey is that as our main character dives deeper into Elena's life we get to see how the tale passes by generation by generation, crossing numerous countries. It's a greatly pulled off intricate plot that must have been thought through superbly well and because of that as a reader, I was hooked throughout and I have no doubt other readers would be/have been too. The plot is jam packed but easy to follow throughout and as each chapter closes and the next begins, you are drawn more and more into the book being unable to stop yourself from at points beginning to take guesses at what is coming next (but as always I'm so far off) 
As I've seen on The Writing Greyhounds blog tour post, Lorna talks of things that are in the book that are maybe morals and important messages within the book which I wanted to share with you too.
"there are also several important points, or perhaps even morales, that are addressed in the book. A Single Journey reminds us about the importance of following our dreams and staying true to ourselves; all too often, we can find ourselves bogged down in the mundanities of day-to-day life and realise that we are living without really living. Harriet's journey to come to terms with the events of the story perfectly encapsulate this and represent the fact that sometimes, we must listen to our hearts rather than our heads.

Another important message to take away from the book is the way that older people are treated in our society. With the UK's over-worked care system, it's all too easy for vulnerable elderly people to fall through the cracks and end up with their struggles going unnoticed, as portrayed by Elena's situation at the beginning of the book. In real life, there may not always be a Harriet around to help, and A Single Journey
helps to highlight the very real issue of the UK's elderly care crisis."
I think what she says makes perfect sense, they are also things I also picked up on, I also like the idea that the message about the UK's elderly care crisis is really a great message to me sharing and showing through such a book in the way it is. 
A Single Journey was a great read for me even though I may have missed things via speed reading but maybe I'll revisit the book and update this review sometime soon. From what I got from it, as Lorna says, It's a moving, heartfelt story about love, loss and staying true to yourself.
I cant give the book anything less than a 4 out of 5, I simply loved Harriet just that much and loved how the tale within spanned so far. Please don't forget to visit the other blogs taking part in this tour and it's also the time to mention that for the duration of the blog tour, A Single Journey is at the discounted price of only 0.99.



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Saturday, 11 August 2018

The City Of Lost Fortunes - Bryan Camp

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Synopsis:


The fate of New Orleans rests in the hands of a wayward grifter in this novel of gods, games, and monsters.

The post–Katrina New Orleans of The City of Lost Fortunes is a place haunted by its history and by the hurricane’s destruction, a place that is hoping to survive the rebuilding of its present long enough to ensure that it has a future. Street magician Jude Dubuisson is likewise burdened by his past and by the consequences of the storm, because he has a secret: the magical ability to find lost things, a gift passed down to him by the father he has never known—a father who just happens to be more than human.

Jude has been lying low since the storm, which caused so many things to be lost that it played havoc with his magic, and he is hiding from his own power, his divine former employer, and a debt owed to the Fortune god of New Orleans. But his six-year retirement ends abruptly when the Fortune god is murdered and Jude is drawn back into the world he tried so desperately to leave behind. A world full of magic, monsters, and miracles. A world where he must find out who is responsible for the Fortune god’s death, uncover the plot that threatens the city’s soul, and discover what his talent for lost things has always been trying to show him: what it means to be his father’s son.

Review:

The City of Lost Fortunes is one of those books that takes magic, mythology, folklore and culture, throws it all into a blender and ends up being that smoothie that's a mix of mind blowing fantasy. It's unique and highly engaging, there's even a chance that The City of Lost Fortunes could be described as fantasy on steroids!

This novel was an absolute joy to read what with such a beautiful writing that guided me through time and dimensions as if it were a dream. The gods, monsters and mythological undertone blew my imagination.

The conflict at the centre of this book is not a simple one but rather a large cluster of events that through cause and effect guide Jude towards truths and a fate that he never considered.

There is a lot of magic in this book, suppressed magic, magic that has been taken away and magic that has been enhanced. And one way, or another, Jude experiences magic in all forms. But he is not a know-it-all; he learns and discovers and gambles… the game among gods and monsters isn’t over until the final card has been dealt.

Yeah, Jude is a bit of a wise-cracker! I loved his character- his intelligent, analytical mind, his particular view of men, gods, magic. Everything he goes through in this book, and it’s a LOT, he takes it in his stride, without complaint, even when he ends up experiencing an unexpected … ahem.. out of body experience of sorts! As he investigates the murder, and as his very essence hangs in the balance, Jude must remain alert to recognize friend from foe.

I liked all of the characters in the book- some of them we have all heard about through various tales, but it seemed to me that Bryan Camp is a special kind of puppeteer to bring them all together: angels, vampires, zombies, psychopomps, voodoo loas riding the human bodies, ghouls… I’m telling you, this book is a treasure and when you’re reading it, you’re the pirate taking a dive into a loot of pure gold.

The City of Lost Fortunes is an ode, a dedication, to New Orleans and its people. A fantastic, imaginative fairytale-like puzzle of gods and monsters, supernatural folklore and myths. It is an incredible venture into a world otherwise unseen to mere mortals, topped up with a generous dose of attitude, unexpected nuggets of wisdom and twists, underlined by an unwillingness to fold in a game with an open ending. Basically, do yourself a favour and read this book. Its a 5/5 from me and in a world where the number would be out of 10, it would still be a top scorer.

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Henry's Departure - KD Rye

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Synopsis:

KD Rye's short story 'Henry's Departure' tells the tragic tale of three sisters left to fend for themselves in the wilderness of their own home. Sue, Miley and Joyce find themselves abandoned by adults and left without food, they will need to rely on their wits to survive. But when hunger sets in, will the sisters be able to cling to their humanity?


Review:

So this story follows 3 sisters, Sue the oldest, Miley the child in the middle and Joyce, the youngest. Their mother never worked so money was non existent so after the tragic death of their mother, the girls are left to survive on what Henry can give them but it comes with a price. When Henry leaves for a while, the three children are left with no food, which he would always bring each week, they are left with absolutely nothing, their towels are unusable, their stockpile of food is non existent and they're hungry almost every second of the day.

Miley is the only child patient enough to go fishing each day and Joyce always goes with, pulling worms from the dirt to use at bait. It' hit and miss fishing. sometimes you're lucky, sometimes you're not. We do see the girls catch 2 fish, freezing one and gutting, cutting and cooking the other. The detail drawn out from that encounter makes the book feel even more real to the reader. 

I feel like this short story is all about the lengths people go to just to survive, about the level of dependence we have on others, really weirdly over thought deep things like that. It's a 5/5 from me without a doubt, it's deep and gnarly really. Not one for the kiddies really. I loved it from start to end, didn't see the end coming at all, pretty blindsided by it. I'll be keeping an eye out for more work by K D Rye, she's got something I cant quite describe when it comes to writing.

Saturday, 23 June 2018

The Good Son - You - Jeong Jeong

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Synopsis:


Yu-jin is a good son, a model student and a successful athlete. But one day he wakes up covered in blood. There's no sign of a break-in and there's a body downstairs. It's the body of someone who Yu-jin knows all too well.

Yu-jin struggles to piece together the fragments of what he can remember from the night before. He suffers from regular seizures and blackouts. He knows he will be accused if he reports the body, but what to do instead? Faced with an unthinkable choice, Yu-jin makes an unthinkable decision.

Through investigating the murder, reading diaries, and looking at his own past and childhood, Yu-jin discovers what has happened. The police descend on the suburban South Korean district in which he lives. The body of a young woman is discovered. Yu-jin has to go back, right back, to remember what happened, back to the night he lost his father and brother, and even further than that.

The Good Son deals with the ultimate taboo in family life, and asks the question: how far will you go to protect your children from themselves?

Review:

This book review is going to be one of those where I want to hide as much from you as I possibly can about the book itself to help it keep its intensity and helping it keep its mystery and thrill level.

The Good Son is a book follows Yu-jin who wakes up in his own bed, afraid that he has had a seizure as he can not fully remember the night before and there is a particular substance all over him that then opens up the story, allowing us to follow Yu-jin over a period of a few days to help him discover the truth taking us with him and I can assure you, all is not really as it seems.

Set in South Korea, it is interesting and kind of cool to be able to notice and see cultural and behavioural differences etc.. As Yu-jin explores the apartment which he shares with his mother and adopted brother, he quickly discovers one surprise after another. There are triggered memories that fill in the blanks of the partial memories that are bought on by hearing a few words spoken here and there, some triggered by repeating certain actions taken by him on the night he cannon remember. As the story goes on it all begins to knit together, creating such a vivid image, it's incredible.

We begin to learn even more as flashbacks to Yu-jin’s early life are merged in with the present day. The plot thickens as we discover more about the relationship he shared with his mother and auntie and then with his father and brother too.

A Good Son is a physiological thriller that grips, teases and saddens, as the story comes to an end I can see how it all fitted together so perfectly, how much it all made sense for the story to unfold in the way it, how truly amazing it had been constructed. It's easy to give this book a rating, a solid 5/5 from me. I was gripped from the start and I had even had to take a moment to collect myself once I was finished with the book. You-Jeong Jeong did and amazing job with this book, crafting something unique and amazing with a thrill factor that I'd happily go back and experience all over again. You-Jeong Jeong would probably be a little amused to find that the morning following when I completed reading the book, I awoke tasting blood...

Saturday, 26 May 2018

A Path To Jupiter - Paul Richard Scott





Synopsis:

Arthur Kippax hates his name, but there's nothing he can do about it. He's a child of the 1950's, growing up in the 1960's in Sheffield - the Steel City. His parents are down-to-Earth, working class, as are most of his friends, but he will eventually go to Grammar School, learn to stand up for a principle, sit on his own chair and benefit from a good State Education. He will also learn that life is never fair, that God does not suffer little children but causes little children to suffer, in different and often insidious ways. The music of "The Swinging Sixties" becomes a soundtrack for his life, loves and adventures.


Review:

I found this book on an increasing pile of reads that my daughter had to review. From  the moment I picked this book up I found it impossible to put down.
I was born in the late 60's and grew up in a family with mom, dad, step brother and later on a baby sister. Close relatives lived around the corner and were there to pick up the pieces when my dad passed away when I was ten. Ok that's enough about me ,but I mention the close family ties as these are few and far between in todays society.

This book is written beautifully, and quite often I found myself in tears as I too felt the emotion that the main character Arthur felt. Without giving away the story, and believe me I could write for ever about this book as I loved every chapter. The musical quotes made me laugh and gave me greater enthusiasm to read more and more.

The story is one of childhood, love and loss which will touch your heart in the most endearing way .I was totally engrossed and could relate to dads brylcream and the faint whiff of Old Spice as he would dab it on to take nan to the weekly session of bingo. 

The irony is amazing, talking about the proverbial Larry who is always a happy chap to the reference to Lou Kemia and Roo Bella, each used in a way to show the innocence of a child who is affected by the loss of his first love. A truly brilliant read full of humour, the occasional ripe language which only adds to the read but is essential in order to truly immerse yourself into. 
I'd happily give this book a 5/5, I can only hope that there is a second book being written to follow this fabulous read.

Thank you, Paul Richard Scott, for the memories, and for the tears of sadness and laughter

Saturday, 19 May 2018

On Holy Ground - Louise Cole Blog Tour



Synopsis:

Saving the world was just the start.
In The Devil's Poetry, Callie gambled with her life to stop a war. And she won. But now the game has changed. A Reader who understands the Book's magic is either a savior or a curse - what she can't be is free. When Callie stranded in the US, hunted and penniless, she desperately needs allies. But whose agenda can she trust? She must re-evaluate everything she knows, and find a way to escape, or die trying.

Review:

Late in June of last year I was happily a part of The Devil's Poetry blog tour and back then I was ecstatic with the opportunity and absolutely loved the book and tour so when I was contacted about being a part of the On Holy Ground ( The Devil's Poetry Series #2) Blog Tour, I simply could not say no.

On Holy Ground started with one hell of an opening sentence, which I absolutely loved but will not post here because its sort of a bummer to share something you should read in the book first, and even that's after reading the first of the series.
As with the previous book the point of view switches between first person from Callie and third person from a range of other characters’ perspectives. With nearly a year between when I read the first book it took me a little while to find my way with remembering the characters but I managed easy enough once I settled.

While The Devil's Poetry was set nearly exclusively around Callie's home town and London, the second instalment of the series jumps locations several times, and we get to see a lot more of the Order and the Cadaveri. The location jumping and the wide focus we get which allows us to see more of The Order and The Cadaveri is one of the highlights of this book. As it shows us more of these two opposing teams per say, we have a chance to learn more about their aims, their motives and what they are and are not willing to do to achieve them compared to what we see in The Devil's Poetry. I found that throughout the book, the lines of good and evil and the choice between right and wrong become so hard to distinguish and more faded than ever. There's no denying that the moral complexity in this series alone, not just this book, is one of my favourite things, it reflects the real world around us much more effectively than anything that has the good guys fighting the forces of evil.

In On Holy Ground I absolutely loved seeing Callie having to deal with things on her own. In The Devil's Poetry she generally had the Order around her, a team of highly skilled operatives protecting and directing her in the way she needed to go. In On Holy Ground she's cut off, isolated and on the run and she's bloody brilliant! The 'chase' sequences are well written, dramatic and exciting and have the feel of a action movie to them as she changes disguises and tries to stay one step ahead of her pursuers. It's also very hard for her and me as the reader to be sure of who she can trust, as every one has their own agenda. Despite this, it is nice to see Callie keep acknowledging the help she is receiving, whether from strangers or her support network back home, and that wherever she is, knows that she is never completely alone.

There is no way on this god given earth that I can give this book anything less than a 5/5, it ramps up the action and drama in comparison to the first book, gives us more detail of the world of which its set within and allows the reader to interact with some morally complex characters. I must say that if you haven't read the first book of the series but want to read this one, definitely take the time to read the first book first, it makes a difference.





Book Information

Title: On Holy Ground (The Devil’s Poetry #2)
Author: Louise Cole
Release Date: 14th April 2018
Genre: YA Thriller
Publisher: Valkyrie Books
Format: Ebook & Paperback



Author Information


Louise Cole has spent her life reading and writing. And very occasionally gardening. Sometimes she reads as she gardens. She can be seen walking her dogs around North Yorkshire - she's the one with a couple of cocker spaniels and a Kindle. She read English at Oxford - read being the operative word - and hasn't stopped reading since.

In her day-job she is an award-winning journalist, a former business magazine editor and director of a media agency. She writes about business but mainly the business of moving things around: transport, logistics, trucks, ships, and people.

Her fiction includes short stories, young adult thrillers, and other stuff which is still cooking.

Her YA and kids’ fiction is represented by Greenhouse Literary Agency and she is also published on Amazon as one of the Marisa Hayworth triumvirate.





Don't forget to check out the other blog posts on this blog tour.



Saturday, 21 April 2018

The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh (Matthew Connor Adventure series, #2) - Carolyn Arnold

Synopsis:

In Egypt’s Western Desert lies the tomb of an unnamed pharaoh that hides a secret so powerful, it could destroy the world as we know it.

Archaeologist and adventurer Matthew Connor has made a career of finding legends the world has all but forgotten. Though there’s one in particular that has fascinated him for years—the Emerald Tablets. Myth says that they possess the knowledge of the universe, allowing humankind to traverse Heaven and Earth, and have the power to bestow wealth and wisdom upon whoever possesses them. But if they fall into evil hands, it could cause a global disaster.

So when a former colleague stumbles across an ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic map that promises to lead to a pharaoh’s tomb and the Emerald Tablets, there’s no way he’s turning down her invitation to join the dig. He only has one stipulation: his best friends Robyn Garcia and Cal Myers come with him.

The road ahead isn’t going to be an easy one, and their shared dream of recovering the Emerald Tablets is being crushed at every turn. And just when they think it’s all over, they learn there are a few clues they have overlooked. But they’re no longer the only ones searching for the Tablets. Now, the fate of the world hangs in the balance, and soon they’ll find out that when it comes to hunting legends, they can’t trust anyone.

Review:

The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh is the second in the Matthew Connor series of books by author Carolyn Arnold. Matthew, a renown archaeologist, is contacted by an old friend who is currently working on a dig in Egypt. Having possibly discovered the tomb of a nameless pharaoh, this friend called Alex seeks Matthew’s expertise to join her in what may end up being the discovery of the fabled Emerald Tablets. Not willing to pass up the opportunity of a lifetime that would solidify his reputation, Matthew invites his best friends to tag along for the adventure. With the exploration full of mishaps and mystery and amongst whispers about “curses”, Matthew begins to wonder if the name he's made for himself is worth the damage that could be the result if the tablets fell into the wrong hands.
When I was first contacted to read and review The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh, I was immediately intrigued. Ancient Egypt has always been a fascination of mine, I loved Ancient Egypt when we often spoke of it in History classes as i grew up, and  wont lie, who doesn't love the mummy films from back in 1999 with Brendan Fraser. So I jumped at the opportunity to give it a read and give an honest review. The detail in which the dig site, underground catacombs, burial chamber and subsequent riches were described made me feel as if I were standing next to Matthew and Cal as part of the team, Carolyn has a way of doing that so it was so easy to sit back in a chair and sink into the story.
Like other time before now, I was a little concerned with this being the second book in the series that there would be gaps in the story or the characters because I had not yet read City of Gold and maybe I'd end up confused and lost. I shouldn't have even worried because although it's the second adventure, Carolyn crafted the narrative to focus on the present adventure, although we do hear about the team’s previous adventures/activities together as they are mentioned in the context of the story, but they are served with just the right amount of filler (which did make me want to read the previous book so badly.) There was never a moment I was lost or confused due to the referencing of previous encounters between the characters. 
If you like action-packed adventure books that’s that will keep you reading well into the early hours or in my case, right through them, I have no issue in recommending The Secret of the Lost Pharaoh to you. After this introduction to the Matthew Connor series, I am seriously considering picking up a copy of City of Gold, as well as any future books in the series. This is my 3rd time reading work by Carolyn and by the looks of it, its definitely wont be the last.
Its an easy 5/5 from me, maybe even higher if my scale went that high.

Saturday, 14 April 2018

Radar Road: The Best of On Impulse - Nath Jones




Synopsis:

Radar Road: the Best of On Impulse highlights an exploration of twenty-first century narrative. In four collections that move from raw to refined, the On Impulse series invites the reader to contemplate how we use language now: online, in full-length books, and with each other. Morgan Kiger arranged this fifth collection to stand on its own while showcasing the series's original trajectory from catharsis to craft.

Review:

Nath Jones dissects human life through her work, showing us it all in his guts and glory. As a result we see many of the stories lying parallel with real human lives both witnessed and imagined.

In this collection we play witness to the beauty of ageing lovers, the magic of a child’s perspective, the blight of sudden change and the uncommon kindness of neighbourhood and community. Although there are so many people through this book there is a common thing shared by all the women, they are at first seen as the soft, couldn't hurt a fly type, harmless and innocent but they go to show their true hardness bought on by resilience and strength.

Through  the writing in all of these short stories which vary in length and mood, Nath allows us as a reader to look at lives intimately through a window which makes the read even more entertaining. Each person felt incredibly real to me, their experiences taking their toll on me as i read on and on.  I felt a few rang familiar to me, emotions i knew of, experiences that rang all too clearly in my head which only made me love Nath' writing more as everything was so accurately represented.

Some of the stories have some great lines and smart twists that come that kind of made me sit back going 'oh damn' for a solid six minutes... Having read this collection, I really want to read more of Nath' work because I'm so in love and intrigued with what other things Nath can make me feel and experience through her work.

 Without a doubt this book, collection of short stories and a few poem like entries deserves a 5/5. Its down to the relatability of all that was within and even then there is no reason to take the rating any lower.















Saturday, 7 April 2018

Wrecking Ball: A Big Lad From a Small Island - Billy Vunipola

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Synopsis:

Wrecking Ball is a captivating and humorous memoir by Billy Vunipola, one of the stars of England's recent rugby renaissance, and will be enjoyed by those who have read the recent autobiographies by Jonny Wilkinson, Brian O'Driscoll, Dan Carter and Paul O'Connell.

Standing at 6 feet 2 inches and weighing almost 20 stone, Billy is a rampaging and unmissable presence on the rugby pitch, for both club and country.

Wrecking Ball is his captivating story so far, chronicling his remarkable personal odyssey of 10,000 miles, from the tiny Tongan village of Longo Longo to the imposing vastness of Twickenham.

Join Billy on his journey from the year-round sunshine of Tonga to the bitter cold of a British winter, from his favourite Pontypool kebab shop to finding himself eating broccoli for breakfast, and from carefree childhood games in the middle of the Pacific to the serious business of playing professional rugby in Europe.

Wrecking Ball is a wonderfully eccentric and witty book, written with bags of charm. It captures Billy's colourful family and upbringing, and creates a rounded and fascinating portrait of a young man finding his feet as a modern English rugby player.

Review:

I'm going to have to try and contain myself as I write this review, as some people may know I'm a huge fan of the England Rugby team and well Billy Vunipola is one of the members of the team so when I saw he had a book out about his life and his story so far I just had to grab a copy and ahhhh!!! Okay so I've wanted to read the autobiographies of Jonny Wilkinson, Brian O'Driscoll, Dan Carter and Paul O'Connell whom are some kick ass players but I never actually got my hands on any copies even though I'd see the covers everywhere but I couldn't not pick up Billy's book and I'm sure ill go an pick up copies of the other autobiographies some time.

So Billy plays number 8 for England and Saracens and if you saw him and his older brother Mako you'd probably have a pre judgement on them by their sheer size Billy is past 6ft tall and nearly 20 stone so already with that information you're probably sizing him up and backing away from the guy, but honestly although he makes big hits and can probably make severe dents in opposing teams defence he's actually a great guy.

This book about his upbringing from the moment his father set foot on English soil all the way to the 2017 British and Irish Lions Tour of which he had to miss due to injury, we watch as Billy grows up facing many challenges and a huge amount of running!
Before I even went into this autobiography I knew a few things about Billy, like he was born in Sydney and as he grew up could have played for either Australia, Wales or England professionally, I knew of some injuries he had sustained through his career and how some other very well known rugby players had grown up with him (which is always such a great thing to see) but this book kind of opened the doors wider, it showed us the Tongan culture and way of life that Billy and Mako grew up in as well as all the other issues like his first real fight, his debut at Wasps and more things alike.

Throughout reading this, I've laughed and cried with Billy, realising so many things about such a great player that I didn't know before, feeling every emotion he must have experience through each of his experiences as a kid. I've never really felt so attached to someone in such a way that I now do with billy because although I don't personally know the man nor have I met him, this book he wrote for fans and other alike really allowed us to see that even though he is a professional rugby player who is in the public eye a lot, he is still human who has had to fight to get to where he is and has struggled but fought tooth and nail for all he has.

Its an emotional read but intriguing and very eye opening, I loved getting to know more about Billy and his upbringing as well as his family and the culture of which he grew up in before coming to England. I can give this read and easy 5/5 without question and recommend it to any fans of Rugby to any degree. Now I'm off to binge buy every other rugby player autobiography I can and then binge read and fangirl for days.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Happyland: A Fairy Tale in Two Parts - Tes Mekonnen

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Synopsis:


Would you like to court me to Happyland?" Prince Gobbledygook asks Lily Marshmallow and himself. Therein the journey begins to find Happyland. Follow him as he tries to define happiness with a little help from his friends, Big Wig Sophisticated Pig, Brutus Beaujolais and Cornelius Wordbook, an English gentleman with a book-for-a-head. Prince Gobbledygook duels, loses his ladylove, regains his original name and gains a friendship that will last for fourforevers. Will they make it to Happyland?

Review:

This book was definitely different to other books I have ever read, like ever. To some, some of the language in the beginning of the book can throw you off and confused you, but after you get used to it the story flows right along with the unique writing style. For me, I seemed to be pretty well absorbed into the book and the language that confused some readers just seemed to click with me which was strangely amusing somehow. The language used and the illustrations that come with, I think it really fit the story because it is a very quirky story, one that I don't think I've ever really heard of before. I think that the story was super cute and very much enjoyable.

On the surface, the story tells of the inexplicably sad Lily Marshmallow, who is discovered by Prince Goobledygook and led henceforth to a promised land of sorts, known to the Prince as Happyland. Some may say it looks like the usual prince meets potential princess but indeed it is not the case here, this book is much much more.

I thought the illustrations were absolutely gorgeous, and its worth it to just read this for that alone. I think its some of my absolute favourite artwork I have seen ever, and I am so glad it was included in the novel. I must appreciate Anthony Resto and all the illustrations throughout the book, they really helped bring the characters and story to life.

Overall, I did really enjoy this book. I loved all of the quirky characters and the different writing style as well as the unique setting. I love the little 'Morals' we get to read at the end of each sort of scene/chapter. 


LILY MARSHMALLOW IS NOT AN OBJECT OR SOME WEAK WOMAN THAT REQUIRES A MAN TO SAVE HER. SHE IS LIFE. PRINCE GOBBLEDYGOOK IS IN SOME SORT OF PURGATORY AND SHE IS HIS MIRROR. I MUST EMPHASIZE THIS—LILY MARSHMALLOW IS LIFE AND LIFE DOESN’T TALK AND WE ALL WANT TO FIGHT FOR IT. I TRIED TO INFUSE MY PHILOSOPHY INTO HAPPYLAND. 

PRINCE GOBBLEDYGOOK IS THE NOW.

LILY MARSHMALLOW IS LIFE.

ADOLFO DUMFRIES IS FUTURE (A CAUTIONARY TALE).

LEOPOLD BALTHAZAR II IS PAST. 

THIS STORY MIGHT BE FICTITIOUS, BUT IT EXPLAINS MY JOURNEY FOR SEEKING HAPPINESS.

THANK YOU, 

TES MEKONNEN


The story also posed some philosophical questions related to our own understanding on the concept of happiness. The story sees the characters searching desperately for Happyland, and towards the end of the book, discussing the value of happiness in relation to both money and selflessness. These instances provide a moral framework to the tale, and allows the reader to think about how the events that take place in the characters’ journeys may relate to their own lives today.

This book is great, looking past what we see at face value, it's food for thought which always makes me love the book more. I give the book a 4.5 out of 5 and I don't dislike anything about the story or anything i just for some reason cant give it a solid 5, which I would if I could.

Also a huge thanks to Tes Mekonnen who provided me with a copy of the book for a honest review, it's lovely to be trusted with work that had taken time and love to craft. It's an honour.





Saturday, 17 March 2018

The Rogue's Fate - Missy De Graff



Synopsis:

If your life hung in the balance, would you choose to make your own destiny or leave your life to fate?

Lucinda Raven is being hunted by her ex-lover, a controlling rogue Alpha, who is determined to perform the sacred mating ritual that will bind them together forever. Knowing nothing will keep him from carrying out his ruthless plan, Lucinda is on the run and seeks refuge in the territory of an old friend.

Caidan Moone, cursed Alpha of the Blood Moone Pack, has a tortured history that haunts him daily. He sees the arrival of this beautiful and alluring nomad as a chance at redemption from his prior failures and invites her to stay, despite the danger it brings to the entire pack.

As Caidan and Lucinda grow closer, her two worlds collide and Lucinda must face the events of her dark past in order to save the future. Will Caidan be able to protect her without sacrificing his pack? Or will she end up bearing the mark of her psychotic ex?


Review:

I must admit my expectations were very average for this book before I went into it of course. I don't often read werewolf/shifter books so of course this was a sort of breath of fresh air for my reading head. what is great about is this book has been written by an author who was able to give the whole werewolf thing a twist that gives anyone reading its a pleasant surprise.

The plot was well thought through and very well executed with many nice twists a long the way, The new twist to the werewolf book scene allows the author to take the story to a whole new level, The pacing was perfect, It was never a victim of rushing through the story missing out details and all the good stuff or drugging it out for too long to make it enjoyable.

Lucinda is a very like able character, you can't help but feel for her and her situation. It's a clear representation of being caught between a rock and a hard place and She doesn't understand the actions of Dylan but is determined to make the best of her life and what she's got. She will Stop at nothing to do what she feels is best for those she cares for and loves, even when those people would happily leave her to fend for herself. Lucinda is a strong character I held to. It was lovely to see her grow throughout the book.

Caidan is what I like to call a 'typical' alpha werewolf, driven by hard honour and what he thinks is right even If he cant seem to make sense of any situation.

As said previously, as a werewolf /shifter book It's great s has a lot of action and a heavy amount of romance running throughout. Thanks to the new twist Missy bought to the table, the book is above any of the usual 'shifter' Stories. I massively enjoyed this breath of fresh air to my reading habits and I definitely recommend this book to any far of the paranormal (werewolf (shifter needs.
A well deserved 5/5 from me and I'd like to thank Renzo Boggio from Inkitt for bringing this book to my attention.

Saturday, 10 March 2018

Strife (Third Book of the Nameless Chronicle) - M.T.Miller

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Synopsis:


Babylon is under new Management.
It’s not easy being king, even for a god. Four months after defeating the old Management and taking his place at the top, the actions of the risen amnesiac god known as the Nameless are catching up with him. Within the post-apocalyptic pyramid city of Babylon, dissent festers. Gangs and old enemies put up their last stands while the Nameless tries to pull the city out of the gutter and build a better life for his citizens.


But pressure comes from outside as well. To the west, the so-called One True Church of America is building up to one grand push for dominance. From deep within the swamps of Louisiana, the New Voodoo Movement also begins to put its shadowy hand in the mix.
The fuse has been burning for far too long, and the powder keg is about to explode. In the fire of the blast, the Nameless’ immortality will be put to the test.


But even if he survives, will he want to live in the world he’s created?

Review:

The first two books of the Nameless Chronicle show us Nameless as he struggles just to survive whilst along the way stumbling into adventure, some wealth and other kinds of success. He never seemed to have much of a plan for anything, but things worked out in his favour eventually, and at a great cost. But after the great success, if that is what we are calling it, after Ascent, Nameless isn't worried about survival, he doesn't have to, he isn't worried about doing anything more than existing this time and for the first time in his life (can we use that phrase in relation to Nameless?) he's got time for plans and they're not just plans for himself, but for the citizens of the Pyramid too. Things don't go so well for him this way but man, what character growth. Really, there are depths to Nameless that may not surprise readers, it makes sense that they exist, but we've never had the opportunity to see it before.

There are two other cities on the post-apocalyptic landscape, New Orleans and the White City. New Orleans is full of the New Voodoo Movement, and the White City is the home base of the One True Church of America, religious movements that Nameless doesn't have a good track record with, and has done a lot to try to get rid of. Now both of these cities have plans for Babylon and Nameless but it's clear that pretty much all the White City wants out of them is woeful surrender. As with most, that's just not going to sit well with Nameless. Now Nameless has to look at the world that he's helped to create, but he has a chance to reshape it, and save the city he's adopted.

There's a lot of exploration into what makes Nameless tick and his origins in this book, but the focus is on what he's going to do next and why. This is only the third book in the series, and I can't really pinpoint and explain what the "typical" Nameless book is, whatever I'd say if I could,  this isn't it. I don't know how to really talk about it without pulling apart the plot and laying it all out in front of you and we all know that's not how I do things here. There are old friends and new, old threats and new (and some old friends are new threats and vice versa). Which is not to say that the core of Nameless a ruthless, skillful killer of all in his way isn't there, he is and he does. But there's a little more to him than just that.

Having read all of Millers books so far from the first book in the Nameless Chronicle to A Strange Chemistry which is a tale from the world of the Nameless Chronicle, I can happily say I'm hooked with how Miller writes, he seems to have a way with words and I can tell he's becoming more and more mature with how he writes which is so good to witness.

If you want to read The Nameless Chronicle, go from the foundations up, from the start and right through to now, don't start here. I feel like as a reader you would need all that had happened to a character and all of his experiences to understand who he is now, if that makes any sense? If Miller can keep this series going Id be a happy bunny, I can't wait to see where he goes from here but if he can't, I'm more than satisfied with where things are left and the journey we have seen. A very satisfying ending after a good mix of thrills, fighting and character growth. I cant award this book anything less than a 5/5. Miller has a way with words and I hope some readers will give him a show to impress them, he brings a great balance of lightness and darkness in his stories.

I was provided a copy of this book by the author in exchange for this post and my honest opinion.

Saturday, 10 February 2018

Force Of Nature - Jane Harper BLOG TOUR






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Synopsis:

Five women go on a hike. Only four return. Jane Harper, the New York Times bestselling author of The Dry, asks: How well do you really know the people you work with?

When five colleagues are forced to go on a corporate retreat in the wilderness, they reluctantly pick up their backpacks and start walking down the muddy path.

But one of the women doesn’t come out of the woods. And each of her companions tells a slightly different story about what happened.

Federal Police Agent Aaron Falk has a keen interest in the whereabouts of the missing hiker. In an investigation that takes him deep into isolated forest, Falk discovers secrets lurking in the mountains, and a tangled web of personal and professional friendship, suspicion, and betrayal among the hikers. But did that lead to murder?


Review:

Following The Dry, Jane has picked yet another superb setting for The Force Of Nature, Giralang Ranges, and it comes with it's own history, that of Martin Kovac, a serial killer that still haunts the area, continuing to haunt everyone's memories and nightmares.
Five women are on a corporate team building hike run by Executive Adventures, only four make it to the end. Federal Agent Aaron Falk of the Melbourne Financial Investigations Unit returns, this time with colleague, Carmen Cooper. They have been looking into financial corruption and money laundering at Bailey Tennants, the company of which the 5 women work for, and no one knows that Alice Russell is in the process of accessing and handing over crucial documents over to Falk and Cooper. 

When Aaron receives a voicemail from Alice from which he makes out the words 'hurt her' and as Alice is the one team member to not make it to the end of the trail with her team, Aaron feels guilty, suspecting the worst thinking that they endangered her life. The couple come across so human and real because Falk and Cooper are constantly concerned about what happened to Alice but their bosses are only persistent in demanding to get a hold of the documents she was going to hand over no matter what.
It's safe to say I've missed Aaron Falk since our first trip in Australia during the draught of his home town, so it was a lovely reunion even if not exactly on the best of terms. Its lovely to see Aaron as part of a pairing once again. Carmen seems like just the perfect match for him in a professional matter when it comes to with ways of thinking etc..Carmen also proves to be instrumental in Aaron coming to terms with the guilt he holds when it comes to the death of his father, a man well acquainted with the Girlang Ranges.

The story follows the search for Alice and the parallel narrative that tells us what happened amongst the group of lost women as they struggle in the dense bush land, cold, wet, hungry, thirsty and desperate to survive.

Jill Bailey is the head of her team during the hike due to her executive position in the company, this is as hard as always because throughout Alice is constantly hacks away at her authority in her efforts to return to Melbourne to be with her daughter, Margot. It's clear quite quickly that Alice is not nice, holding tightly to her mean and nasty streak that just gives rise to a host of suspects with a motive to do away with her on the hike. 
Alice has a dark history with Lauren Shaw that goes back to their schooldays. Lauren is a vulnerable woman, unable to cope at work as her daughter, Rebecca, whom we find out had descended into the deep depths of misery with mental health issues after an incident at school. Beth is on probation after leaving prison having battled drug addiction and in the process of trying to mend her battered relationship with her twin, Breanna. As the women's situation deteriorates, the rifts, rivalries, conflicts, resentments and jealousies surface, destined to lead to violence. Aaron slowly begins to piece together the mystery of the missing Alice.

Jane Harper once again gives us a strong image of the location in the Girlang Ranges with her beautiful and detailed descriptions of the landscape and the dangers within it, with the howling winds and driving rain. Jane' psychological insights make her complex characters and their development authentic to the reader. Her writing is so vibrant that I felt I was right there with the lost women as they stumbled their way through the bush, hunger and fear contributing to their downward spiral as they turn on each other and Alice. The strongest recurring theme is the issue of just how far parents are prepared to go for their children. It's a beautiful underlining theme if I must say so.

Jane yet again blew me away with Force Of Nature, The Dry swept me off my feet and I'm pretty sure FON just made sure I didn't get back up on my feet. It's a thoroughly enjoyable read, gripping you with each page turn. I cant recommend this book any more than The Dry, just if you ever pick up a copy be prepared for the twists and turns the books take, allow all of the factors throughout the story to take a hold of you and try your best to figure it all out before you get to the end because as always I did horrific at trying to piece together what had happened until I read it out. I can not leave out the fact once I finished the book and closed the pages I held it to my chest and just sat there stammering like an idiot it had taken that much of an effect on me. It's an easy 5/5 for me and I can't wait to read more of Janes writing as she clearly has such a way with words.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Harper is the author of The Dry, winner of various awards including the 2015 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, the 2017 Indie Award Book of the Year and the 2017 Australian Book Industry Awards Book of the Year Award. Rights have been sold in 27 territories worldwide, and film rights optioned to Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea. Jane worked as a print journalist for thirteen years both in Australia and the UK and lives in Melbourne. Force of Nature is Jane’s second novel.
Janeharper.com.au

For further information please contact Grace Vincent, Senior Publicity Manager Grace.Vincent@littlebrown.co.uk / 020 3122 6590