#BlogTour THE BEEKEEPER OF ALEPPO by CHRISTY LEFTERI @ZaffreBooks @christy_lefteri @Tr4cyF3nt0n

A huge delight to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for THE BEEKEEPER OF ALEPPO by CHRISTY LEFTERI. My thanks to the author, publisher and Tracy Fenton  of Compulsive Readers for letting me be part of the tour.

ABOUT THE BOOK

In the midst of war, he found love
In the midst of darkness, he found courage
In the midst of tragedy, he found hope

The Beekeeper of Aleppo

What will you find from his story?

Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape. But what Afra has seen is so terrible she has gone blind, and so they must embark on a perilous journey through Turkey and Greece towards an uncertain future in Britain. On the way, Nuri is sustained by the knowledge that waiting for them is Mustafa, his cousin and business partner, who has started an apiary and is teaching fellow refugees in Yorkshire to keep bees.

As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all – and perhaps this is the hardest thing they face – they must journey to find each other again.

Moving, powerful, compassionate and beautifully written, The Beekeeper of Aleppo is a testament to the triumph of the human spirit. Told with deceptive simplicity, it is the kind of book that reminds us of the power of storytelling. 

published by Bonnier Zaffre

PURCHASE LINKS – paperback release 20th February 2020

WHSmith  £7.37

hive.co.uk  £6.59

amazon  £6.99

MY REVIEW

This is a story of hope and of love, the bond between a husband and wife and the determination of the human spirit to succeed despite the horrors that the world throws their way – and I loved every single minute of it.  Yes it made me cry, but it also filled my heart with so much love and all the warm feelings you get when you find ‘good’ people trying to make the world a better place.

Nuri and Afri are a devoted husband and wife looking for a new life away from the horrors of Syria. They’ve lost a child, Afri has lost her sight, but they know that there must be a better way for them out there so they make the decision to travel to the UK where Nuri’s cousin already lives.  Their journey is anything but easy and we get to follow them along the way and the people they meet, all with their own stories of horror to tell, and all the obstacles placed in their way – how the life of a refugee is plagued with nightmares. Can you ever really escape the horror and destruction you’ve witnessed at first hand?

What struck me most about this book was the beautiful way it was written – the harshness and brutality of war was softened by the exquisite descriptions and language used.  And how quickly their quiet and simple life in Syria was changed beyond recognition due to war and the actions of others.

The story switches between their journey away from Syria, to their time when they reach the UK and the process they have to go through in trying to move on and start new lives in a foreign country. It was brilliantly portrayed without feeling too ‘preachy’ or ‘political’ and gave these characters the time you needed to share their pain and empathise with their plight.

Humbling and touching.

★★★★★

#BlogTour THE UNLIKELY ESCAPE OF URIAH HEEP by H.G. PARRY #BookReview @Tr4cyF3nt0n @orbitbooks @hg_parry

Delighted to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for THE UNLIKELY ESCAPE OF URIAH HEEP by H.G.PARRY – my thanks to the author, publisher and Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for putting this all together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The ultimate book-lover’s fantasy, featuring a young scholar with the power to bring literary characters into the world, for fans of The Magicians, Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, and The Invisible Library.

For his entire life, Charley Sutherland has concealed a magical ability he can’t quite control: he can bring characters from books into the real world. His older brother, Rob — a young lawyer with a normal house, a normal fiancee, and an utterly normal life — hopes that this strange family secret will disappear with disuse, and he will be discharged from his life’s duty of protecting Charley and the real world from each other. But then, literary characters start causing trouble in their city, making threats about destroying the world… and for once, it isn’t Charley’s doing.

There’s someone else who shares his powers. It’s up to Charley and a reluctant Rob to stop them, before these characters tear apart the fabric of reality.

published by Orbit Books

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK

hive.co.uk

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

H. G. Parry lives in a book-infested flat in Wellington, New Zealand, which she shares with her sister and two overactive rabbits. She holds a PhD in English literature from Victoria University of Wellington, and teaches English, film and media studies. Her short fiction has appeared in InterGalactic Medicine Show, Daily Science Fiction and small press anthologies. The Unlikely Escape of Uriah Heep is her debut novel.

Author on Twitter

MY REVIEW

A joy to read!! And I now have an overwhelming desire to read all of Dickens’ work and see if I can work the magic to make my favourite (and those not so favourite!) characters  leap from the pages of a variety of books into my world, and see what transpires! Because if it’s as half as entertaining as the goings on in this book then it will make the world an interesting place to be!

This book is an ode to books, a love letter to reading and all the places that stories take us, and to the characters it introduces us to. With the background that Charley Sutherland has, it allows the author to have so much fun with his ‘ability’ of bringing book characters to life. Something he’s been able to do since his childhood – it’s only when they start to cause trouble in the real world that he questions  this power and needs to find a way to put a stop to it all. His older brother, Rob, has always been the one to help him out in sticky situations and he’s drawn into this ‘split’ world in a big way throughout this story. Can  he keep on going on fixing things for his little brother and the more he begins to investigate the past and these happenings, the more the plot thickens!

I loved the strangeness of the book! It was such good fun trying to guess which fictional character would appear next, and it was a perfect mix of the fun and serious! From Darcy to Dorian, Jabberwocky to Dr Frankenstein (to name but a few!), it’s a real blast to see these characters operate out of context – some to help, others to hinder!

There’s a great humour about the book as well, and it sits well with the mystery aspect along with the family dynamics and I just kept hoping the story would never end!

It’s inventive, insane, emotional and incredibly enjoyable and I loved every single minute of my time in the world of Charley and Uriah Heep! Highly recommended!!

★★★★★

#BlogTour The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E.Harrow #BookReview #TenThousandDoors @Tr4cyF3nt0n @orbitbooks

Delighted to be the latest stop on the brilliant Blog Tour for the equally brilliant THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY by ALIX E.HARROW.  My thanks to the publisher, author and Tracy of Compulsive Readers for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it!

ABOUT THE BOOK

In the early 1900s, a young woman embarks on a fantastical journey of self-discovery after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut.

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

Lush and richly imagined, a tale of impossible journeys, unforgettable love, and the enduring power of stories awaits in Alix E. Harrow’s spellbinding debut–step inside and discover its magic.

Published by Orbit

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK  £21.72

hive.co.uk  £10.69

whsmith  £9.35

MY REVIEW

I think we’ve all dreamed of finding doors that lead to different worlds – I still live in hope of finding Narnia at the back of my wardrobe – and in this book you get to enjoy the magical journey of following January as she discovers a special book that unlocks worlds of adventure, whilst she discovers more about her past and those around her.  It was  a beautifully written story and one you can totally lose yourself in as you switch between storylines, and there’s never a dull moment in either!

January is a wonderful character. She’s seen as an oddball, but tolerated by others because she is under the care of Mr Locke, a very wealthy man, as her father is seemingly always off working looking for treasures all over the globe. As the story progresses you find out how relevant her fathers’ travels are and this just adds more depth to the story.

The book January discovers tells the story of Ade, another fascinating character, who was born in 1866 and was raised by her aunts who took very little notice of her, allowing her to roam free and adventure. When she is 15 she sees a ‘ghost’ and what transpires is a totally enthralling story that involves lots of door hunting and a wonderful love story.

I found this to be one of those books that takes a little while for you to get your bearings with the way it’s told. but it soon has you under the spell and I really loved the different aspects of the story – the romance, the fantasy elements and the historical as they all blended so well and really just kept delivering surprise after surprise!!  Highly recommended!!

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#BlogTour #BookReview David Mogo, Godhunter by Suyi Davies Okungbowa @Tr4cyF3nt0n #CompulsiveReaders

Excited to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for DAVID MOGO, GODHUNTER by SUYI DAVIES OKUNGBOWA.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for the copy of the book and for putting this tour together!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Nigerian God-Punk – a powerful and atmospheric urban fantasy set in Lagos.

Since the Orisha War that rained thousands of deities down on the streets of Lagos, David Mogo, demigod, scours Eko’s dank underbelly for a living wage as a freelance Godhunter. Despite pulling his biggest feat yet by capturing a high god for a renowned Eko wizard, David knows his job’s bad luck. He’s proved right when the wizard conjures a legion of Taboos—feral godling-child hybrids—to seize Lagos for himself. To fix his mistake and keep Lagos standing, David teams up with his foster wizard, the high god’s twin sister and a speech-impaired Muslim teenage girl to defeat the wizard. 

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK   £7.67

hive.co.uk  £7.99

whsmith  £6.47

MY REVIEW

The gods have fallen, there’s chaos on Earth but life continues as normal in Laos and David Mogo is trying to earn a living as a Godhunter, while also trying to figure himself out – life isn’t easy if you’re a mix of a human and a god!!  And what follows is a fun mix of fast paced action and the fantastical chaos of living in a messed up world, and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and spending time in a world which has been creatively invented by the author.

It did take me a little while to ‘get’ the speech used but it soon clicked and really immersed you into the world, and allowed you to really get a feel for the characters and the craziness they are surrounded by!

 In David Mogo, a character has been created who is such an intriguing person – very conflicted as a person, but dealing with his own powers and trying to figure out the best way to use them.  In his work as a godhunter he is placed in the middle of the action which was really exciting – he’s a person with a good heart but a tough exterior.

There are some very shady characters around which takes the story down some darker paths, but there’s enough humour around to lighten the mood of this read and the message about sacrifice and trust between people comes through loud and clear.

A fascinating debut and fun read and I look forward to more from this author in the future!

★★★★

#BlogTour Something to Live For by Richard Roper #BookReview @Tr4cyF3nt0n #FindYourSomething

Delighted to be on the Blog Tour sharing my review today, on publication day no less!, for the fabulous SOMETHING TO LIVE FOR by RICHARD ROPER.

My thanks to the Author, Publisher and Tour organiser, Tracy Fenton, for the copy of the book and for letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Sometimes you have to risk everything to find your something…

Andrew works with death for a living. Searching for people’s next of kin and attending the funerals if they don’t have anyone, he’s desperate to avoid the same fate for himself. Which is fine, because he has the perfect wife and 2.4 children waiting at home for him after a long day. At least, that’s what he’s told people.

The truth is, his life isn’t exactly as people think and the little white lie he once told is about to catch up with him.

Because in all Andrew’s efforts to fit in, he’s forgotten one important thing: how to really live. And maybe, it’s about time for him to start

PURCHASE LINKS

AMAZON UK  £10.98

HIVE.CO.UK  £10.29

WHSMITH  £9.35

GOLDSBORO BOOKS – signed first edition £12.99

MY REVIEW

Beware! This book will make you want to devour the back catalogue of Ella Fitzgerald songs!! That’s what it has made me do and I loved the touching tale that Richard Roper tells of this character who tries to fit in by living a lie – but that only works if you don’t get found out!

Andrew lives a very solitary life but seems happy in his own way. He loves model railways and escapes into that world alongside the online community he connects with, but to cover his tracks (no pun intended!) at work he has created an alternative life for when his co-workers quiz him – he’s married and has 2 kids.   Sometimes it’s easier just to pretend! He has everything thought through – from the first time he went on a date with his ‘wife’, to her job and the holidays they take.

He sees the loneliness of the world magnified due to his work – he arranges funerals for the council for those people who have died alone and seemingly have no relatives or friends around.  He takes it on himself to attend their funerals as well and now has a new colleague working with him – Peggy – who shadows him on his visits to the deceased and instantly feels relaxed in her company.  So he’s now faced with the dilemma of trying to untell a life lie.

Andrew is a sweet soul and I found it totally fascinating to see him living 2 lives.  He didn’t want to hurt people with his made up life, but that’s what started to happen and seeing how he tried to be honest to others, and most importantly, himself was the crux of this story.  The empathy he showed to those who had died too was so thoughtful and really gives you lots to think about.

He also had to face some tough issues in his own family and that was dealt with quite poignantly and gave you more to his background.  There’s also time for lots of fun with this story and that really added to the mix of the book – the character of Peggy was a breath of fresh air and seemed to allow Andrew to breathe as a person.

Fabulous!!

★★★★

#BlogTour The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe #BookReview @Tr4cyF3nt0n

A huge delight for me to be part of the Blog Tour for this truly amazing book – THE LIBRARIAN OF AUSCHWITZ by ANTONION ITURBE. My thanks to the author, publisher and Tracy Fenton of Compulsive Readers for allowing me to be part of it all.

ABOUT THE BOOK

‘It wasn’t an extensive library. In fact, it consisted of eight books and some of them were in poor condition. But they were books. In this incredibly dark place, they were a reminder of less sombre times, when words rang out more loudly than machine guns…’

Fourteen-year-old Dita is one of the many imprisoned by the Nazis at Auschwitz. Taken, along with her mother and father, from the Terezín ghetto in Prague, Dita is adjusting to the constant terror that is life in the camp. When Jewish leader Freddy Hirsch asks Dita to take charge of the eight precious books the prisoners have managed to smuggle past the guards, she agrees. And so Dita becomes the secret librarian of Auschwitz, responsible for the safekeeping of the small collection of titles, as well as the ‘living books’ – prisoners of Auschwitz who know certain books so well, they too can be ‘borrowed’ to educate the children in the camp.

But books are extremely dangerous. They make people think. And nowhere are they more dangerous than in Block 31 of Auschwitz, the children’s block, where the slightest transgression can result in execution, no matter how young the transgressor…

PUBLISHED BY EBURY PRESS

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK

hive.co.uk

waterstones

MY REVIEW

Wow! What a book! I’ve seen the comparisons to The Tattooist of Auschwitz and, for me, I found this to be more compelling and more emotional in the way that the author conveys the brutality of the camps, alongside the beauty of the human spirit of those inside the camps. It never shies away from the horror and cruelty of the humans in charge at the Auschwitz camp – it isn’t an easy read at times – but the human stories of people trying their best to survive and using books and each other as inspiration to keep going was truly touching and awe-inspiring and really helped you connect with the situation that those inside the camps had to face on a daily basis.

It begins with Alfred Hirsch who is inside the family camp and starts a school to help teach the youngsters in there although the few books they have are always hidden from the guards, as if they are found they are destroyed. He is helped by young Dita, aged 14, who is passionate about books and learning and takes it on herself to come up with ingenious ways to keep the books hidden. The importance of stories helps them all to escape the reality of day to day life in the camps and makes you realise just how important books can be.

As you follow the stories of these people, you get glimpses of life around the camp, the despicable characters who we all know from history, but also the brave actions of others which can often be forgotten by such a horrific period of history.  I connected more with the characters in this book  due to the way it was told – the human stories, the day to day routine – the fact that there was no escaping what was going on around them in the chambers but the fact that people had to keep hope for their children that they would get out and that they needed to keep learning for when that moment arrived.  How those people kept going is beyond me but the books and the community they built up seemed to give them all strength to carry on.

A brilliant and  emotional read and one I highly recommend to everyone.

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