Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Historical Fiction, Travel

The Bird in the Bamboo Cage Hazel Gaynor 4*#Review @HazelGaynor @HarperFiction #HistoricalFiction #WW2 #China #ForgottenHeroes @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview #TheBirdintheBambooCage

Published August 20 in Hardback

China, 1941. With Japan’s declaration of war on the Allies, Elspeth Kent’s future changes forever. When soldiers take control of the missionary school where she teaches, comfortable security is replaced by rationing, uncertainty and fear.

Ten-year-old Nancy Plummer has always felt safe at Chefoo School. Now the enemy, separated indefinitely from anxious parents, the children must turn to their teachers – to Miss Kent and her new Girl Guide patrol especially – for help. But worse is to come when the pupils and teachers are sent to a distant internment camp. Unimaginable hardship, impossible choices and danger lie ahead.

Inspired by true events, this is the unforgettable story of the life-changing bonds formed between a young girl and her teacher, in a remote corner of a terrible war.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Harper Fiction – Harper Collins in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Stores inspired by true-life events are always engaging. This book tells of the courage, hardship and strength of schoolchildren and their teachers who became prisoners of war in China during WW2. This historical fiction is well researched, from the recorded war events to the human experience.

This is an emotional, character-driven story told from Elspeth, teacher and Nancy, a school child’s viewpoints. It explores the atrocities, depravations and inhumanity of war. The darkness balanced by the children and their teachers’ courage, friendship and fortitude.

This book delivers a rich reading experience with intimate portrayals of relatable characters and vivid sensory imagery.

Hazel Gaynor

Hazel Gaynor is an award-winning, New York Times, USA Today, and Irish Times, bestselling author of historical fiction, including her debut THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME, for which she received the 2015 RNA Historical Novel of the Year award. THE LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER’S DAUGHTER was shortlisted for the 2019 HWA Gold Crown award. She is published in thirteen languages and nineteen countries. Hazel is co-founder of creative writing
events, The Inspiration Project, and currently lives in Ireland with her family, though originally from Yorkshire.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Horror Fiction, Noir, Thriller

Hinton Hollow Death Trip Will Carver 4*#Review #DetectiveSergeantPace @will_carver @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours #Eviliscoming #Crime #Thriller #noircrime #horrorfiction #BlogTour #BookReview

It’s a small story. A small town with small lives that you would never have heard
about if none of this had happened.
Hinton Hollow. Population 5,120.
Little Henry Wallace was eight years old and one hundred miles from home
before anyone talked to him. His mother placed him on a train with a label
around his neck, asking for him to be kept safe for a week, kept away from
Hinton Hollow.
Because something was coming.
Narrated by Evil itself, Hinton Hollow Death Trip recounts five days in the
history of this small rural town, when darkness paid a visit and infected its
residents. A visit that made them act in unnatural ways. Prodding at their
insecurities. Nudging at their secrets and desires. Coaxing out the malevolence
suppressed within them. Showing their true selves.
Making them cheat.
Making them steal.
Making them kill.
Detective Sergeant Pace had returned to his childhood home. To escape the
things he had done in the city. To go back to something simple. But he was not
alone. Evil had a plan.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Orenda Books in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

The third book in the Detective Sergeant Pace series this story is complete and reads, as a standalone. However, reference is made to the detective’s former life and reading the previous books would give more information on this.

This is an impactful read which graphically explores inhumanity. I didn’t read the chapters that detailed animal cruelty. That apart, this is a well-written story. It’s told from a character called Evil’s point of view who judges humanity with a unique moral code.

Evil enacts a vendetta of sorts on Pace. The inhabitants of Hinton Hollow are collateral damage.

The ending befits what comes before. Whether you like it or not, and this story will divide its readers, it is a memorable experience.

Will Carver

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.

Good Samaritans was book of the year in Guardian, Telegraph and Daily Express, and hit number one on the ebook charts.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Family Drama, Literary Fiction, Travel

The Eliza Doll by Tracey Scott – Townsend 4*#Review @authortrace @Wildpressed @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #TheElizaDoll #1980s #FamilyDrama #Love #Friendship #relationships #SelfRealisation #BlogTour #BookReview

Ellie lives in a campervan with her dog, Jack, selling her handmade dolls at craft fairs. There is one doll that she can’t bear to finish until she comes to terms with the truth of what has happened.

The Eliza Doll is an uncompromising family drama about upheaval, off-grid living and living on the dole in 1980s England.

Set in East Yorkshire and Iceland from the eighties to the present.

WildPressedBooks Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

This is a poignant story of a women’s life. It is part historical as it traces her time as a young woman in the 1980s with elements of family drama and relationships too. This is a relatable story of hardship, love and loss. It shows the relentless push forward of time and the fleeting quality of life.

Ellie appears to have muddled through life, but when she suffers unbearable tragedy and feels her best years have gone, she is easy to empathise. The grief process and the need to be valued for yourself underscores this story.

The flashbacks to the 1980s brought back memories for me too.

This engaging, lyrical story is full of angst and love with a believable and hopeful ending worthy of the main character.

Tracey-Scott-Townsend is the author of six novels — the most recent The Vagabond Mother (January 2020) and Sea Babies (May 2019) — all published by Wild Pressed Books and Inspired Quill Publishing. Reviews often describe her novels as poetic or painterly.

She is also a poet and a visual artist. She has a Fine Art MA and a BA (Hons) Visual Studies. She has exhibited paintings throughout the UK (as Tracey Scott). She has a long career as a workshop facilitator with community groups and in schools.

Tracey is co-director of an up-and-coming small independent publisher, Wild Pressed Books, which has a growing roster of authors and poets.

Mother of four grown-up children, Tracey spends as much time as possible travelling the UK and Europe in a camper van with her husband and two dogs, writing and editing while on the road. 

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Spotlight, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Excerpt, Murder Mystery

The Long Shadow on the Stage Nichole Heydenburg @TheWriteWords16 #Excerpt #CrimeFiction #MurderMystery #Detective @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #TheLongShadowOnTheStage

Jackson Birkman has the perfect life: the lead role on the popular detective show “Dispatching David,” millions of adoring fans, celebrity status, and a beautiful girlfriend. After five seasons, “Dispatching David” has just been cancelled. With the final episode quickly approaching, Jackson is worried about more than just his future acting career. His once massive fortune is dwindling and his girlfriend Clara is pressuring him to propose.

When Jackson unexpectedly dies on the set of the TV show during filming, everyone speculates whether it was suicide or murder. Why would Jackson commit suicide? If it was a setup, who would want Jackson to die? And most importantly, what was the motive of the murderer? As the investigation continues, Officer Wilson inches closer to the truth, uncovering Jackson’s secrets. She begins to think no one really knew Jackson at all, but is determined to solve the case, no matter the cost.

Amazon UK

Excerpt from The Long Shadow on the Stage Nichole Heydenburg

“Jackson, do you think you could help me with this box? I thought I could get it, but it’s heavier than I thought,” Clara said, exhaling loudly, her arms shaking while struggling to hold a particularly large box she was trying to carry into his apartment.

“Ah, sweetie! Why didn’t you wait for me?” Jackson ran over to her and grabbed the box from her arms. It wasn’t that heavy. He brought it into the apartment with Clara trailing after him emptyhanded. “How many do you have left?”

“A lot. Help me,” she pleaded, throwing herself onto his black leather couch and curling up her legs to lie down.

“Are you going to bring in anything else?” He asked, frustrated. He didn’t mind helping, but if she was going to lay around and not do anything, he at least wanted to know the truth and not have her pretend she was working hard.

“Yeah. Just give me a minute. I’m tired.” Clara yawned, pulling the blanket he always kept on the couch over her body and snuggling into the cool leather.

She didn’t look like she was budging an inch, so Jackson grumbled to himself and went back outside to her car, grabbing whatever he could carry to finish moving her stuff in as quickly as possible. He brought inside box after box after box. He stopped beside Clara’s car and leaned against it to rest his tired muscles. Jackson heard footsteps rapidly approaching and was about to turn around when suddenly everything went black.

Nichole Heydenburg earned her Bachelor’s Degree in English with an emphasis in writing and a minor in theatre from Adrian College in 2014. Her one-act play “The Hidden Story” won a playwriting contest and was performed at her alma mater in 2015. She also had several poems published in “The Oxcart” literary magazine. Nichole has been working full-time as the Content Manager for a start-up company for 3 years. When she isn’t writing, Nichole enjoys going on adventures with her husband, reading, playing board games, and the occasional mimosa. “The Long Shadow on the Stage” is her first novel. She currently resides near Asheville, NC with her husband, Zed.

To stay up to date on news about her second novel, as well as read writing and self-publishing tips, subscribe to her monthly newsletter on her website https://www.nicholeheydenburg.com/.