Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Literary Fiction, Psychological Thriller, Suspense

A Song of Isolation Michael J. Malone 4*#Review @MichaelJMalone1 @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours #Psychological #Suspense #LiteraryFiction #BlogTour #BookReview #ASongofIsolation #MeToo

Film star Amelie Hart is the darling of the silver screen, appearing on the front pages of every newspaper. But at the peak of her fame she throws it all away for a regular guy with an ordinary job.

The gossip columns are aghast: what happened to the woman who turned heads wherever she went? Any hope the furore will die down are crushed when Amelie’s boyfriend Dave is arrested on charges of child sexual abuse.

Dave strongly asserts his innocence, and when Amelie refuses to denounce him, the press furore quickly turns into physical violence, and she has to flee the country.

While Dave is locked up with the most depraved men in the country and Amelie is hiding on the continent, Damaris, the victim at the centre of the story, is also isolated – a child trying to make sense of an adult world…

Breathtakingly brutal, dark and immensely moving, A Song of Isolation looks beneath the magpie glimmer of celebrity to uncover a sinister world dominated by greed and lies, and the unfathomable destruction of innocent lives… in an instant.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Whilst this is a contemporary, relevant subject, it’s not easy to read about, but this story captures the collateral damage of an allegation of this type with compelling sensitive writing. This story is multipoint of view and allows the reader insight into all sides of the accusation.

Believable characters are the heart of this story and draw the reader into a world of greed and immorality. All three protagonists have their lives devastated by manipulative individuals. The plot is intricate with flashbacks to illuminate the characters current actions and motivations. Integral to this twisty psychological suspense is the destruction of innocence and the callous disregard for others.

This is a compelling, thought-provoking read with a positive but realistic conclusion.

Michael J Malone


International bestseller Michael J. Malone, the critically acclaimed author of A Suitable Lie and House of Spines, returns with a powerful standalone thriller about secrets, celebrity, and greed.

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings.

Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. His psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and the critically acclaimed House of Spines, After He Died and In the Absence of Miracles soon followed suit.

A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber &Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction, Romance, Short stories

The Summer of Madness Alex Raphael 4* #Review @elraphael @rararesources #Romance #literaryfiction #shortstory #Summer #BlogBlitz #BookReview #TheSummerofMadness

In the summer of love, or rather of madness, a whole set of stories are emerging. But there is one that has got everyone talking. When Kurt Vannes decides to win back his ex-girlfriend with the help of a literary classic, he sets off a string of events that will build to a dramatic finale.

Amazon Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This is an unusual short story about a last-ditch romantic gesture. The scene is set perfectly and the characters believable, although most only make cameo appearances. On reflection, the reader knows more about the cast of onlookers than the two main protagonists, but this doesn’t matter its engaging and you want to know what happens next.

An diverse range of writing styles are used. Narrative, dialogue and a newspaper report, which adds to the authenticity. The plot is simple but its ramifications more complex. The connections with the classic novel the man reads are clear, but this is not a happy story so maybe the outcome is inevitable?

The contemporary setting and reactions give different interpretations of a seemingly simple action, everyone has an opinion. The ending is hopeful but not perhaps in the way he expected.

If you are looking for a quick, contemporary read that raises more questions than it answers try this its good.

Alex Raphael

Half-Welsh, half-Mexican and growing up in London, Alex Raphael was surrounded by different influences and interests. But it was always books that spoke to him most and had the greatest impact.

He started writing when at college, where his love of reading evolved into a desire to write, in particular focusing on poetry and short stories. Studying English and American Literature at university meant he took a break from writing, as well as giving him the chance to see more of Mexico on his travels. He concentrated on his journalistic career while working on different writing projects, but his favourite genre of literature has always been short stories as they are what first inspired him to write.

That’s why his first book was The Summer of Madness, a romantic short story that tells of a guy who goes out to try to win his ex-girlfriend back. Will you be rooting for Kurt and his big public gesture or is it more complicated than that and you don’t want her to date him again? Either way you’ll get to know a memorable set of characters along for the ride.

His second book Illusions, Delusions reflects Raphael’s love of alternative short stories from the writers of his childhood and challenges the idea of the narrative. Will your favourite be the story in the form of a questionnaire, a poem or a set of jokes, among the seven very different styles?

Alex Raphael is currently working on his third collection of short stories, which will provide a wide blend of genres and an assortment of very original premises and distinctive character, with his trademark imagination, humour and memorable dialogue.

Website Blog

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Crime, Family Drama, Friendship, Literary Fiction, Political Thriller, Romance

Settlement Anne Stormont 5*#Review Rachel&Jack: The Skye Series @writeanne @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #motivational #Settlement #Love #BookReview #BookTour #Skye

Can love truly heal old wounds? Can the past ever be put peacefully to rest?

Falling in love is the easy bit. Happy ever after requires work, commitment and honesty. She wants him to be her friend and lover. He wants her as his wife. Can a compromise be reached? Or are things truly over between them?

When former Edinburgh policeman Jack Baxter met crofter and author Rachel Campbell at her home on the Scottish island of Skye, they fell in love. It was a second chance at happiness for them both.

But after Jack proposes marriage, it becomes clear they want different things.

Then, as Rachel prepares to return to the Middle East to work on a peacemaking project that’s close to her heart, and as Jack’s past catches up with him, it seems their relationship is doomed.

Can Rachel compromise on her need to maintain her hard-won independence? Can Jack survive the life-threatening situation in which he finds himself?

Will they get the chance to put things right between them?

Settlement is the sequel to literary romance novel, Displacement, but it can be read as a stand-alone.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

An excellent sequel to Displacement, although the story is complete and so can be read as a standalone. However, Jack and Rachel’s story is compelling, emotional and realistic, so read the first book too.

The story begins at a devastating time for Jack, his life hangs in the balance, and he regrets how he left it with Rachel. Rachel learns about Jack, and she relives her former loss of her son.

The story then reverts to the recent past from Rachel and Jack’s point of view, so the reader understands how they got to this dramatic point in their relationship. The story explores what happens after you fall in love, especially if you have emotional baggage. Jack’s track record with long-term relationships impacts on his and Rachel’s. Rachel is constantly moving forward, and is a positive person despite the loss she’s known.

There’s politics and crime as Rachel and Jack pursue their lives independently, and they add to the story’s depth and realism.

This is an addictive read, maybe because the characters are older and have lived.

I look forward to the final instalment in their love story.

Anne Stormont was born in Scotland and although she has travelled all over the world – including a teaching exchange to South Africa, four trips to Australia and several visits to the Middle East – it’s where she still lives.

She began making up stories as a child in order to entertain her four wee sisters. But as an adult, being busy with motherhood and working as a teacher, it took a long time and a mortality wake-up call for her to get that first book written.

She’s a compulsive crossworder, yoga practitioner, avid reader, keen walker and enthusiastic gardener. She can be a bit of a subversive old bat, but she tries to maintain a kind heart. She also loves tea, penguins and being with her grandchildren.

Change of Life was her first novel and she has since published three more. Her books are all set in Scotland and are contemporary romances where the main characters may be slightly older but are not necessarily wiser.

You can find out more about Anne and her books at her Website 

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Literary Fiction, Literary Humour

Midsummer Dreams Ian Riddle @riddleian 4*#Review @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours @MTP_Agency #MidsummerDreams

Midsummer Dreams is a lyrical history of the lives, loves and, in particular, the dreams of several of the inhabitants of the small village of Treddoch Harbour. Treddoch, as it’s referred to locally, is a fictional, atypical, once fishing, now touristy, community situated on Cornwall’s southern coast. Everybody has their dreams, though none more so than the inhabitants of Treddoch. In their case, and this is where they differ from the mainstream, as well as having their own, personal dreams, the residents of Treddoch Harbour also have the one dream, the overarching dream, that singular dream that binds them as a community. This is the dream of having a ‘good Season’. For many of them, who rely on the tourists for their income, their money’s only to be made in the summer, when the tourists are abroad. Winter months can be dire. 

The action is set on the one day, Midsummer’s Day, starting at dawn and ending with dusk. The story’s told through the voice of a tour guide as he takes the reader around the village, introducing the characters one by one, starting with the late Butcher and his Wife, now interred in the local cemetery!

“Polperro very much inspired this novel,” admits the author. “I wanted to take people beyond the daytrips they experience in these villages, to really get to know the people and what they strive for – which is a strong summer season that allows them to keep their families buoyant all year. There’s a massive collective spirit among the locals, that outsiders seldom see.”

Continuing, “I’m so thrilled that many people have likened the book to Thomas’ ‘Under Milk Wood’. It’s a story that will capture the hearts of people from all walks of life, with its innocent undertones and deep longing for stability among forces the locals can’t control.”

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

This story has a quaint, quirky style which draws the reader into the Treddoch Harbour residents’ world. The reader has an omnipotent view of the village and its inhabitants, even those who are dead, through the information imparted by the tour guide.

Its originality is engaging, and it captures the tourist coastal village’s ethos perfectly. The season’s success is the Treddoch Harbour’s inhabitants’ collective dream and underpins the events on Midsummer Day.

There’s a list of players with chapters corresponding to acts in a play. Insightful character portraits and vivid descriptions make this a treat for all the senses.

Ian Riddle

I was born a long time ago now and like both Mary Wesley and Sir Christopher Bland have taken to writing rather late in life.

Following graduation from the University of East Anglia (UEA), which has subsequently become something of a literary mecca since my days there, I worked, briefly, as an Economist in London but soon moved to Cornwall, where, together with my wife, I ran my own business for many years. We lived in the small Cornish fishing village of Polperro which has provided a rich source of material for my first novel, Midsummer Dreams, due to be published Spring 2019.

I began work on the novel last January and eight months later had a rough draft ready but feeling the need of a break from it I put the manuscript to one side and thought to write just a couple of short stories. Twelve months and fifteen stories later it became clear that it was time to put this volume, Collected Writings to bed and return to where I left off, one year past, especially as I can already feel a second volume of shorts tugging at my sleeve.

After over forty years in Cornwall I crossed the Tamar and moved back to England (!) a short while ago, although only as far as Devon, where I still maintain a ‘day job’. How much longer this will last though, I’m not sure. Writing can become a seductive and powerful mistress for which one can easily develop an all consuming passion.

With thanks to Michael Terence Publishing www.mtp.agency

Posted in Contemporary Fiction, Cover Reveal, Cover Reveal, Literary Fiction

Everything is Beautiful Eleanor Ray #CoverReveal @eleanorraybooks @PiatkusBooks @rararesources #EverythingisBeautiful #preorder #FridayMotivation

Sometimes it’s impossible to part with the things we love the most…

When Amy Ashton’s world came crashing down eleven years ago, she started a collection. Just a little collection, just a few keepsakes of happier times: some honeysuckle to remind herself of the boy she loved, a chipped china bird, an old terracotta pot . . . Things that others might throw away, but to Amy, represent a life that could have been.  

Now her house is overflowing with the objects she loves – soon there’ll be no room for Amy at all. But when a family move in next door, a chance discovery unearths a mystery long buried, and Amy’s carefully curated life begins to unravel. If she can find the courage to face her past, might the future she thought she’d lost still be hers for the taking? 

Perfect for fans of Eleanor Oliphant and The Keeper of Lost Things, this exquisitely told, uplifting novel shows us that however hopeless things might feel, beauty can be found in the most unexpected of places.

Pre-order Links:

Amazon UK Amazon

Publication Date: 4th February 2021

Eleanor Ray

Eleanor Ray has an MA in English Literature from Edinburgh University and works in marketing. She lives in London with her husband and two young children.
Eleanor was inspired to write Everything is Beautiful by the objects her toddler collects and treasures – twigs, empty water bottles and wilting daisies. She is currently working on her next novel.

Twitter Facebook Instagram

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Crime, Friendship, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Romance

The Night of the Flood Zoe Somerville 4*#Review @zessomerville @Hoz_Books #BlogTour #BookReview #HistoricalFiction #HistFic #LiteraryFiction #Norfolk #Flood #1950s #Romance #ComingofAge #Secrets #Crime #FridayReads #FridayThoughts #TheNightoftheFlood

Summer, 1952. Verity Frost, stranded on her family farm on the Norfolk coast, is caught between two worlds: the devotion of her childhood friend Arthur, just returned from National Service, and a strange new desire to escape it all. Arthur longs to escape too, but only with Verity by his side.

Into their world steps Jack, a charismatic American pilot flying secret reconnaissance missions off the North Sea coast. But where Verity sees adventure and glamour, Arthur sees only deception. As the water levels rise to breaking point, this tangled web of secrets, lies and passion will bring about a crime that will change all their lives.

Taking the epic real-life North Sea flood as its focus, The Night of the Flood is at once a passionate love story, an atmospheric thriller, and a portrait of a distinctive place in a time of radical social change.

Amazon UK

I received a copy of this book from Head of Zeus in return for an honest review.

My Thoughts…

Set on the Norfolk coast in the early 1950s The Night of the Flood is an atmospheric and at times claustrophobic historical story. Centred around a historic natural disaster, the author interweaves a believable fiction of complex emotional relationships and secrets.

It focuses on the five young adults all inexorably changed by WW2 and railing against their allotted roles in life. Peter, shackled to the failing family farm. Verity, an ambitious woman who wants more from life than marriage and domesticity. Arthur, a former evacuee who has journalistic ambitions he may never realise. Muriel is a less distinct character known to all whose role increases with the story’s progression. Finally, there is Jack, an American stationed at the local airbase, who is the catalyst that forever alters the young lives.

The story is sad and suspenseful, the protagonists’victims of society’s expectations and individual flaws. The coastal historical setting reinforces the story’s authenticity. Relatable characters engage the reader’s emotions in this insightful story.

Zoё Somerville -Image Credit Jonathan Pearce

Zoe Somerville is a writer and English teacher. Having lived all over the world – Japan, France, Washington – she now lives in Bath with her family. After completing a creative writing MA at Bath Spa, Zoe started writing her debut novel, which is inspired by her home county, Norfolk, and the devastating North Sea flood of the 1950s.

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

Displacement Anne Stormont 5*#Review Rachel&Jack: The Skye Series @writeanne @lovebooksgroup #lovebookstours #motivational #Displacement #Love #Loss #BookReview #BookTour #TravelTuesday #Skye #Israel

Divorce, the death of her soldier son, and estrangement from her daughter, leave Hebridean crofter, Rachel Campbell, grief-stricken, lonely and lost.

Forced retirement leaves former Edinburgh policeman Jack Baxter needing to find a new direction in life.

After Rachel and Jack meet on a wild winter’s night in the most dramatic circumstances, an unlikely friendship begins, despite their very different personalities. However, their feelings for each other gradually go beyond friendship – something neither of them feels able to admit. And, when Rachel leaves to go on a life-changing journey to the Middle East, it seems unlikely their relationship will go any further.

Can Rachel give her heart to Jack?

Can Jack trust himself not to break it if she does?

Set against the contrasting and dramatic backdrops of the Scottish island of Skye and the contested country of Israel-Palestine, Displacement is a story of courage and love – where romance and realism meet head on.

Displacement is the first of the three books in the Rachel & Jack Skye Series.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Displacement is an addictive emotionally satisfying read, from the stark beauty of Skye to the richness of the Israeli setting and the captivating, relatable characters.

Rachel’s life finally implodes after her mother’s death. Still reeling from her husband’s infidelity, her son’s death destroys her, and her daughter’s anger leaves her believing that life is over. Jack retired after a health scare is following a dream in Skye. He misses his career and wonders if his relationship with a married woman is his only choice.

Jack and Rachel have a serendipitous meeting, but have they met for a reason?

The characters are authentic and easy to empathise. Rachel comes to terms with devastating loss and learns to forgive herself for events beyond her control. Israel is enlightening, and the setting and political climate explored well.

The dynamic between Rachel and Jack is believable, in an engaging heartwarming read of loss and love.

Anne Stormont was born in Scotland and although she has travelled all over the world – including a teaching exchange to South Africa, four trips to Australia and several visits to the Middle East – it’s where she still lives.

She began making up stories as a child in order to entertain her four wee sisters. But as an adult, being busy with motherhood and working as a teacher, it took a long time and a mortality wake-up call for her to get that first book written.

She’s a compulsive crossworder, yoga practitioner, avid reader, keen walker and enthusiastic gardener. She can be a bit of a subversive old bat, but she tries to maintain a kind heart. She also loves tea, penguins and being with her grandchildren.

Change of Life was her first novel and she has since published three more. Her books are all set in Scotland and are contemporary romances where the main characters may be slightly older but are not necessarily wiser.

You can find out more about Anne and her books at her Website 

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Domestic Thriller, Literary Fiction, Suspense

Blurred Lines Hannah Begbie 4*#Review @hannahbegbie @HarperFiction @HarperCollinsUK @fictionpubteam #Paperback #BookReview #BlogTour @RandomTTours #BlurredLines #domestic #suspense #women #FridayReads

She spoke out. I stayed silent. What would you do?

When Becky walks in on her boss with a woman who isn’t his wife, she’s horrified, but says nothing. She owes Matthew too much.

But when the same woman accuses him of rape, Becky is trapped in a nightmare. Was what she saw rape – or is Matthew, her trusted mentor, telling the truth? Becky must try to ignore her own traumatic past and its terrible hold on her.

As Becky attempts to untangle these blurred lines, she risks everything, even her home and family, to find the truth…

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

Becky faces a traumatic moral dilemma Told from Becky’s point of view, her past affecting her present emotions and reactions. This story uses contemporary issues and weaves them into an intricate plot. An unreliable protagonist means the reader doesn’t know who to believe, wherever their empathy lies.
This is an immersive story. It includes the reader, what do they think? Not everything is what it seems, and this story illustrates this well.

Blurred lines is an absorbing, emotional read.

Hannah Begbie

Hannah Begbie studied Art History at Cambridge University. She went on to become a talent agent, representing BAFTA and Edinburgh Comedy Award-winning writers and comedians for fifteen years. She also enrolled in The Novel Studio course at City University, winning that year’s new writing prize. The book she developed there became her debut novel, MOTHER, which later went on to win the Joan Hessayon Award for New Writers from the RNA. She lives in north London with her husband and their two sons.

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review, Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction

The Bitch Pilar Quintana 4*#Review #Translator Lisa Dillman @pili_quintana @WorldEdBooks @RandomTTours #BlogTour #BookReview #womenintranslation #WITmonth #FridayReads

In the jungle, dreams and nightmares coexist

Colombia’s Pacific coast, where everyday life entails warding off the brutal forces of nature. In this constant struggle, nothing is taken for granted. Damaris lives with her fisherman husband in a shack on a bluff overlooking the sea. Childless and at that age “when women dry up,” as her uncle puts it, she is eager to adopt an orphaned puppy. But this act may bring more than just affection into her home.

The Bitch is written in a prose as terse as the villagers, with storms―both meteorological and emotional―lurking around each corner. Beauty and dread live side by side in this poignant exploration of the many meanings of motherhood and love.

Amazon UK

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

My Thoughts…

The expression in the female dog’s eyes, on the book cover, captures the essence of this book. There’s a sense of hopelessness and inevitability. The puppy adopted by Damaris becomes the focus of her existence. When she chooses freedom over devotion, Damaris feels cheated. This emotion darkens and turns to hate with a terrible outcome.

Full of disturbing imagery, the scenes of cruelty and despair are harrowing to read, but they resonate.
An essay on deprivation, poverty and the position of women in society, this story is a stark reminder of what’s wrong in the world.

Pilar Quintana Image Credit -Retratos en su casa en Bogota Foto Danilo Costa Cangucu Revista Semana

Pilar Quintana lives in Colombia.  She debuted with Cosquillas en la lengua in 2003, and published Coleccionistas de polvos raros in 2007, the same year the Hay Festival selected her as one of the most promising young authors of Latin America. Her latest novel, The Bitch, won the prestigious Colombian Biblioteca de Narrativa Prize, and was selected for several Best Books of 2017 lists, as well as being chosen as one of the most valuable objects to preserve for future generations in a marble time capsule in Bogotá. The Bitch is the first of her works to be translated into English.

This book has been selected to receive financial assistance from English PEN’s Writers in Translation programme supported by Bloomberg and Arts Council England. English PEN exists to promote literature and its understanding, uphold writers’ freedoms around the world, campaign against the persecution and imprisonment of writers for stating their views, and promote the friendly co-operation of writers and free exchange of ideas.

Each year, a dedicated committee of professionals selects books that are translated into English from a wide variety of foreign languages. We award grants to UK publishers to help translate, promote, market and champion these titles. Our aim is to celebrate books of outstanding literary quality, which have a clear link to the PEN charter and promote free speech and intercultural understanding.

www.englishpen.org

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.