#BlogTour CALL ME JOE by MARTIN VAN ES & ANDREW CROFTS @RandomTTours @The_JoeProject @RedDoorBooks @AndrewCrofts @LiterallyPR #CallMeJoeBook #TheJoeProject

Delighted to be part of the Blog Tour for CALL ME JOE by MARTIN VAN ES & ANDREW CROFTS. My thanks to the authors, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for putting this all together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The world is on the brink of disaster.
The environment, society and mankind itself are facing extreme challenges in a world that is both more connected, and yet more divided than ever before. Fear and confusion seep into all parts of everyday life now, more than ever, the world needs one voice, one guide…

One day the Earth is plunged into darkness and when light appears again so does a man – call him Joe – claiming to be the son of God.

Can Joe bring the world’s most creative thinkers and leaders together to tackle the ills of mankind?

Can he convince us all to follow him before it’s too late?

In this compelling and prescient novel, Martin van Es and Andrew Crofts highlight the key concerns of our time and imagines a future where we, at last, all work together to ensure the future of our world and all the life that calls it home.

PUBLISHED BY RED DOOR PRESS

PURCHASE LINKS

publisher website

blackwell’s

MY REVIEW

Here’s an apt book for the times!!  So much of this struck true with me of the world we currently find ourselves living in, that it made it so much easier to connect with and understand! If only we had a Joe…..

This is a book told through the eyes of a few characters, all part of the world but all living very different lives.  Except they all soon share a common experience when the world goes black for 12 minutes… there was no warning, there are no contingency plans in place for such an occurrence  – and how people react around the world is a fascinating insight into humanity!

Sophie is a school teacher when this event happens so has to try and keep her pupils calm while this madness is going on.  When light returns she sees a man walking across the school fields who says he’s just arrived.  She finds herself talking to him and feeling that she needs to help – the pupils in her class are even more fascinated by him and I loved the innocence of children and their questions to him.  If only adults had such an open mind!  For Joe he is openly questioning why humans do so much harm to their planet and one another.  It makes no sense to him – he’s not the only one who wonders why!!

Meanwhile, Governments all around the world are showing their true colours. Suspecting one another of having a hand in what has happened, trying to work out how to deal with what has happened.  And the more they hear about ‘Joe’ and the effect he has on people that he meets in person or via videos, the more they soon pull together to try and discredit him as he baffles them. Is he for real?

This book does a brilliant job of showing up the role of ‘fake news’, the word of the media vs the experiences of people, and how those in favour of the status quo are rattled by this new prescence spouting new ideals and reaching people in a different way to the norm.    It shows up the inequality, the greed, the overpopulation, the climate issues. the intolerance that humanity faces day in, day out and how trying to change people and their ways leads to resistance and underhanded tactics by those not in favour.  

I thoroughly enjoyed this novel, especially with its’ relevance to the present time!  The battle between those who don’t want change against those who would prefer a kinder, more fair world was fascinating and this book gives you a lot to think about!

★★★★

#BlogTour REAL LIFE by ADELINE DIEUDONNE #BookReview #RealLife #RandomThingsTours @annecater

Delighted to be able to share my review on the Blog Tour for REAL LIFE by ADELINE DIEUDONNE today – my thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for putting the tour together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

The French surprise publishing sensation: the multiple award-winning debut that sold over 100,000 copies in its first month

A Lord of the Flies for the #MeToo generation

A deeply disturbing, furiously tender, and darkly comedic debut’ Kirkus Reviews

Translated from the French by Roland Glasser

At home there are four rooms: one for her, one for her brother, one for her parents … and one for the carcasses. The father is a big game hunter, a powerful predator; the mother is submissive to her violent husband’s demands. The young narrator spends the days with her brother, Sam, playing in the shells of cars dumped for scrap and listening out for the chimes of the ice-cream truck, until a brutal accident shatters their world.

The uncompromising pen of Adeline Dieudonné wields flashes of brilliance as she brings her characters to life in a world that is both dark and sensual. This breathtaking debut is a sharp and funny coming-of-age tale in which reality and illusion collide.

‘A magnificent heroine of freedom and intelligence’ Le Figaro

PURCHASE LINK

Amazon

ADELINE DIEUDONNÉ was born in 1982 and lives in Brussels. A playwright and short-story writer, her first novella, Amarula, was awarded the Grand Prix of the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles. Two further booklets were published by Editions Lamiroy in 2017: Seule dans le noir and Bonobo Moussaka. Real Life was recently awarded the prestigious Prix du Roman FNAC, the Prix Rossel, the Prix Renaudot des Lycéens, and the Prix Filigrane, a French prize for a work of high literary quality with wide appeal. Dieudonné also performs as a stand-up comedian.

ROLAND GLASSER is an award-winning translator of French literature, based in London

MY REVIEW

A book to horrify and haunt you as a reader, but one that I found to be disturbingly gripping, and in the narrator there’s a voice that needs to be heard, and her story is one that is brave and shocks in equal measures.

This is a story of domestic abuse and the toll it plays on those involved – the  mother who is absent for her children – she cared more for her goats it seemed – just looking to save herself, and is just waiting for the next beating when her husband is in a bad mood. And the children who watch on thinking that this life is normal. Except the narrator who knows she has to look out for herself and her younger brother so they spend so much time on their own, playing in the woods while she dreams and plans to get them away from this life.  Her imagination is what keeps her going.

But even their lives change for the worst when they are witness to a shocking incident with the ice-cream man, and her little brother is permanently scarred by what he sees.  It’s heartbreaking to see him retreat even more into himself and the scary path she watches him start to take – which is why she wants to speed up their getaway.

This book is very brutal and doesn’t make for easy reading at all with the topics involved, so I understand it won’t be for everyone. But I found myself totally transfixed by the story of these children and the fact that the adults in their life were letting them both down.  They were all living their lives in fear as they knew that the smallest thing could set their father off.  There was no escape. Real life for them was horrific.

We see the children over a few years, and watch as their life plays out and it was tragic to see how this ‘life’ was just accepted by them – it was how they survived.  There was no way out, resistance was futile so it just felt safer to them to keep out of their fathers’ way and just let things be, hoping that they could keep on his good side.  The brothers’ story especially was the most tragic for me – how all he saw as a young child  framed his mind and formed how he behaved.  Sometimes children know no different so they seek an escape in whatever way they see fit, and if you’re surrounded by horrific sights then it must be easier to accept that this maybe the norm, despite the best intentions of others around to set you on the right path.

A really powerful and absorbing story told from the viewpoint of a vunerable but courageous girl, and one I’m very glad to have read.

★★★★

#BlogTour THE LAST VILLAGE by AUDLA ENGLISH #BookReview #TheLastVillage @AudlaE #RandomThingsTours

Delighted you have joined me today for the latest stop on the Blog Tour for THE LAST VILLAGE by AUDLA ENGLISH. My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of  Random Things Tours for putting this all together and letting me be part of it all.  It’s a real pleasure!

The Last Village by Audla English

· Paperback: 214 pages

· Publisher: Independently published (12 Oct. 2018)

· Language: English

· ISBN-10: 1723846171

· ISBN-13: 978-1723846175

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Last-Village-Audla-English/dp/1723846171

ABOUT THE BOOK

CHILL WITH A BOOK AWARDS- PREMIER READERS’ AWARD WINNER

2019 AMERICAN FICTION AWARDS FINALIST- ROMANCE: HISTORICAL

The majestic Souter Lighthouse stands proudly at the edge of the cliff top surrounded by open grassy empty fields and overlooking a vast blue wilderness. Anna Charles knows nothing of the life that her grandmother once had here. It wasn’t until an unexpected engagement, that Anna discovered the past of her Gran and the truth behind an enduring love.

Seventy years earlier, Lillian Smith, had been part of the close-knit community that once thrived in the village that existed next to the lighthouse. A chance meeting with a sailor one day, would change the course of her life forever.

A moving novel set in the North East of England. The Last Village is an enduring love story which spans the 1940’s and modern day, binding the generations.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Audla English grew up in the North East of England. Born in Sunderland, a graduate of Newcastle University and living in South Tyneside, she is passionate about this wonderful region which acts as an inspiration to her writing. Her award-winning debut novel ‘The Last Village’ is a dual time-line historical fiction and is written as a dedication to the now sadly demolished Old Marsden Village which was built by the Whitburn Coal Company in the 1870’s. The Marsden Rock coastal setting is also used to weave a family saga style narrative around a beautiful part of north east England. The novel is a moving love story about the life of Lily, a young woman growing up with her friends in 1945 whereas the other side of the story, in 2017, is about Anna and her own discovery of her grandmother’s past life- it is a novel which spans and binds the generations through family and friendship.

Twitter @AudlaE   Website http://www.audlaenglish.co.uk/

MY REVIEW

I found this to be a charming and engaging story which combined the different timelines so well, and really gave you the different perspectives of how life had changed over the years for the characters.  It really captures the essence of a village that was demolished, but how important it was to the people who lived there and as Anna gets to hear the story from her grandmother Lily of her recollections, it opens up so much history and shows just how many stories go forgotten about as time moves on.

In the present, Anna is preparing for her own wedding, and is reminiscing about the lovely times she used to spend with her grandmother as she grew up but how she knows very little of the life her grandmother led whilst growing up, so it is lovely for both Anna and Lily to share time together and share stories that show that although time and expectations may have changed, at the heart is the need to surround yourself with good people and to be supportive of one another.

I loved looking back in time with the stories that Lily shared.  It tells of her experiences during the war and how the community all pulled together, but that childhood innocence they all had was taken by what they witnessed and lived through.  

Anna is dealing with her own issues as her wedding approaches, namely some bitchy comments from a so called friend, and really brings to light how circumstances can change people. Whilst Anna is all about finding ways to include those closest to her on her big day, others are more concerned about showing off and changing in personality.

It was a really lovely read and both timelines had so much to explore and enjoy.  With the historical aspect, alongside the human impact, it really gave you a sense of these characters and the dramas they had to face and there’s such a warmth about both Lily and Anna that you can’t help fall in love with the both!

★★★★

#BlogTour THE GLITTERING HOUR by IONA GREY #BookReview #RandomThingsTours #TheGlitteringHour @Iona_Grey @simonschusterUK

A huge delight to be the stop today on the Blog Tour for the beautiful THE GLITTERING HOUR by IONA GREY. My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for the copy of the book and for putting the tour together, and letting me be part of it all!

17th October 2019 | Paperback Original | £8.99

 ‘An epic story of joyous hedonism and desperate heartache. Just beautiful’ CATHERINE ISAAC 

‘Stunning’ VERONICA HENRY 

‘Gorgeously written … I loved it’ JILL MANSELL

 ‘An enchanting, evocative read  ‘THE SUN 

1925. The war is over and a new generation is coming of age, keen to put the trauma of the previous one behind them. Selina Lennox is a Bright Young Thing whose life is dedicated to the pursuit of pleasure; to parties and drinking and staying just the right side of scandal. Lawrence Weston is a struggling artist, desperate to escape the poverty of his upbringing and make something of himself. 

When their worlds collide one summer night, neither can resist the thrill of the forbidden, the lure of a love affair that they know cannot possibly last. But there is a dark side to pleasure and a price to be paid for breaking the rules. By the end of that summer everything has changed. A decade later, nine year old Alice is staying at Blackwood Hall with her distant grandparents, piecing together clues from her mother’s letters to discover the secrets of the past, the truth about the present, and hope for the future.

PRE-ORDER LINKS

Amazon UK

hive.co.uk

whsmith

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Iona Grey has a degree in English Literature and Language from Manchester University, an obsession with history and an enduring fascination with the lives of women in the twentieth century. She lives in rural Cheshire with her husband and three daughters. She tweets @iona_grey.

MY REVIEW

A book that made time reading it fly by  and totally transported me back in time and into the lives of Selina and Lawrence, who were from totally diffeent backgrounds but for one summer circumstances brought them together.  And that Summer has big consequences for little Alice 10 years later, and it was mesmerizing to see what transpired through her eyes and the letters she uncovered.

In 1925 the war is over and Selina is living a footloose and fancy free life! She is on the ‘bright young things’ and her biggest struggles in life are deciding what to wear to the numerous parties she frequents!  One of the parties she’s at is a treasure hunt party and while she’s out with her friends deciphering the clues, she finds herself taking care of an animal and gets help from Lawrence. He’s a struggling artist who is aware of who she is, but goes out of his way to help her that night and that kindness really strikes a chord with her and she can’t stop thinking about him.  She finds herself spotting him at various exhibitions and parties and the more time they spend together, the more they find they can’t live without one another – despite it not being the done thing considering their backgrounds.  Selina has never been one to follow the rules anyway so any chance she gets to spend time with him, she grabs it!

Fast forward 10 years and we follow the story of Alice, who is 10 and living with her grandparents at Blackwood Hall. Her life is one of being left alone, aloof grandparents and governesses, and she  clings to the letters that her mother sends her while she’s away on business with her father. Her mother sets her a treasure hunt through the letters in the form of riddles to help her understand who she is and where she comes from as she gets to see the events of 1925 played out through memories of her mother.

The switching of timelines is perfectly played out throughout this story.  And it really adds to the emotional aspect that runs from the first page to last.  You can’t help but feel sad for Alice who is seemingly so alone and just wants the comfort of her family.  The riddles she is set are wonderful for her inquisitive mind though and gives her hope that she’ll be back with her family soon.

Events of 1925 aren’t all fun and games though and it was so fascinating to see the light and dark aspects of what appeared to have been so glamorous and carefree.  As more revelations of what happened over that summer and the years after come to light, I was enthralled to see just how the stories would resolve and didn’t realise just how emotionally I had become attached to Alice in her journey of discovery.  Captivating!

★★★★★

#BlogTour FUCK YEAH VIDEO GAMES by DANIEL HARDCASTLE #bookreview #FuckYeahVideoGames #RandomThingsTours @DanNerdCubes @unbounders

A huge delight to be the latest stop on the Blog Tour for FUCK YEAH VIDEO GAMES by DANIEL HARDCASTLE! As a keen gamer myself, especially in the past, I’ve been eagerly awaiting the release of this book and look forward to sharing more about it along with my thoughts!

My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for the copy of the book and letting me be part of this epic tour!

ABOUT THE BOOK

 As Daniel Hardcastle careers towards thirty, he looks back on what has really made him happy in life: the friends, the romances… the video games. Told through encounters with the most remarkable – and the most mind-boggling – games of the last thirty-odd years, Fuck Yeah, Video Games is also a love letter to the greatest hobby in the world. 

From God of War to Tomb Raider, Pokémon to The Sims, Daniel relives each game with countless in-jokes, obscure references and his signature wit, as well as intricate, original illustrations by Rebecca Maughan. Alongside this march of merriment are chapters dedicated to the hardware behind the games: a veritable history of Sony, Nintendo, Sega and Atari consoles.

 Joyous, absurd, personal and at times sweary, Daniel’s memoir is a celebration of the sheer brilliance of video games. 

PUBLISHED BY UNBOUND

This is the most successful book in UK crowdfunding history: it funded in a mere 42 minutes, and has so far been backed by over 9,000 supporters. If these pledges were counted as sales, the book would have been a Sunday Times bestseller in the week of its launch

. Dan’s OfficialNerdCubed YouTube channel has over 2.6 million subscribers. The book features a foreword by legendary game designer Tim Schafer, and a guest chapter from fellow YouTuber Stuart Ashen (aka Ashens), who has 1.4 million subscribers.

 Dan will be undertaking an extensive UK tour.

 For fans of Terrible Old Games You’ve Never Heard Of by Stuart Ashen, Hey! Listen!: A journey through the golden era of video games by Steve McNeil, The Nostalgia Nerd’s Retro Tech by Peter Leigh, Speccy Nation by Dan Whitehead.

A U T H O R 

Daniel Hardcastle, aka DanNerdCubed, is a YouTube gamer who has accumulated more than 2.6 million subscribers over the course of his 4000 videos. He lives with his partner, Rebecca Maughan.

Social Media  

@DanNerdCubed

 youtube.com/user/officialnerdcubed

MY REVIEW

As a huge fan of computer games – I still have my Atari, Commodore 64 and countless Nintendo consoles – I knew this was going to be my kind of book! And I wasn’t wrong! Although the author mainly features games from the 90’s, it’s still written in a way that I connected with and has now left me itching to go and buy a new console or two and try out some more of the games he has recommended!

This is a love letter to computer games!  The moments in our lives where we remember a certain game that coincided with a memory and how it made us feel.  The fact that you could be cool at school if you were good at playing certain games!  The different lives you could pretend to have through playing these games and how you could see a whole new side to a person by the way they reacted during their time playing a game!

 It also highlights the changes that there’s been over the years in playing games and what video games meant – it used to be for fun but now it all seems to be about how much money can be made.  Something that I struggle to get my head around at times to be fair and I just wonder if that takes away that element of escapism that games used to offer me, as nowadays they have to be taken so seriously.

Illustrated brilliantly by his wife, this book was such a blast to read.  So many funny footnotes alongside fascinating facts, I think it’s a book that will appeal to so many different people.  And not only does he focus on the great games, he mentions the stinkers too – the hits and the misses, the classics and the clunks!  How some games worked because of their simplicity and how others were just complete madness! It also looks at the main players behind the games – Sony, Sega, Atari, Nintendo along with many of the top games such as Sims, Mario, Sonic, Fortnite and Tomb Raider and the impact each of these games had at the time.

 It brought back so many fun memories for me and has made me learn a lot more about the video game industry and history too and I can’t wait to start my homework now of playing some of the games he mentions in his top list!! Fabulous fun!

★★★★★

#BlogTour Johnny Ruin by Dan Dalton #RandomThingsTours #BookReview #JohnnyRuin @wordsbydan @unbounders

Delighted to be the latest stop on the Blog tour for JOHNNY RUIND by DAN DALTON.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for the copy of the book and letting me be part of the tour.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Depression can be hell. Heartbroken and lonely, the narrator has made an attempt on his own life. Whether he meant to or not he can’t say. But now he’s stuck in his own head, and time is running out. To save himself, he embarks on a journey across an imagined America, one haunted by his doomed relationship and the memory of a road trip that ended in tragedy. Help arrives in the guise of Jon Bon Jovi, rock star and childhood hero. An unlikely spirit guide, perhaps, but he’s going to give it a shot...

P R A I S E

 ‘If you found yourself in a dark wood in the middle of your life, who would you want to lead you out of it? Virgil or Jon Bon Jovi? Dan Dalton chose the latter for a guide and the result is this marvellously strange and sad novel, shot through with a dark gleaming wit’ Jenny Offill

 ‘Strange, intense, brilliant’ S. J. Watson

 ‘A great big howl from the abyss of a broken heart. Incredible’ Richard Skinner

 ‘I read Johnny Ruin with a lump in my throat. It’s raw and beautiful and odd and brokenhearted’ Ali Land

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK  £8.46

hive.co.uk  £7.49

whsmith  £6.47

Author Website

MY REVIEW

Sometimes life gets tough and you need Jon Bon Jovi to see you through the darker times, and that is exactly what happens in Johnny Ruin as he’s left to mourn a relationship and all the depression and misery that may bring with it.  It’s a brilliant example of how twisted a mind can become as it processes changes and how replaying moments from the past can either clarify the situation or just muddy the waters.

I loved the way this story is told – the voice of the narrator is clearly struggling with his mental wellbeing and you’re taken along for the ride – it’s very dark, often explicit but it’s a process he needs to go through and he uses the ‘help’ of Jon Bon Jovi as that takes  him back to a happier time of his life and remembers how hearing his songs made him feel.  

I found it fascinating to hear the thoughts of a bloke going through depression and grieving the loss of loved ones – it’s not all rainbows and unicorns and seeing how dark the mind can turn when you feel there’s no hope was quite disturbing. I keep remembering the phrase ‘life is consequences’ which features and that becomes very apparent as he looks back over his life and past relationships.  It brings him comfort to remember happier times.

This was a gritty, angry, reflective book full of dark humour and I loved the raw honesty of the character throughout.

★★★★

#BlogTour THE WAREHOUSE by ROB HART #BookReview #RandomThingsTours #TheWarehouse

Delighted to be the latest stop on the fabulous Blog Tour for THE WAREHOUSE by ROB HART.  My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for the copy of the book and allowing me to be part of the tour to share my thoughts!

ABOUT THE BOOK

THE WAREHOUSE

ROB HART

HARDBACK / 15th AUGUST 2019 / £12.99 / BANTAM PRESS

‘TO BEAT THE SYSTEM, YOU NEED TO BE INSIDE IT’

An immersive dystopian thriller set in an America addicted to consumerism; gun violence, climate change and unemployment have ravaged the nation, and an online retail giant named Cloud reigns supreme. Rob Hart has taken our current reality and transformed it into a terrifyingly recognisable future.

Paxton never thought he’d be working Security for the company that ruined his life, much less that he’d be moving into one of their sprawling live-work facilities. But compared to what’s left outside, perhaps Cloud isn’t so bad. Better still, through his work he meets Zinnia, who fills him with hope for their shared future. Except that Zinnia is not what she seems. And Paxton, with his all-access security credentials, might just be her meal ticket.

As Paxton and Zinnia’s agendas place them on a collision course, they’re about to learn just how far the Cloud will go to make the world a better place.

The Warehouse is brilliantly devised and fantastic world-building. Set in the confines of a corporate panopticon that’s at once brilliantly imagined and terrifyingly real, The Warehouse is a near-future thriller about what happens when Big Brother meets Big Business–and who will pay the ultimate price.

Perfect for fans of The Circle, The Martian and Ready Player One.

EARLY PRAISE FOR THE WAREHOUSE

‘The Warehouse is an inventive, addictive, Crichton-esque, page-turning, near-future dystopian thriller about a corporation ruling over every aspect of our late-capitalism lives. While I hope Rob hasn’t been sent back from the future to warn us, we should heed him regardless.’

Paul Tremblay, author of A Head Full of Ghosts and The Cabin at the End of the World

“The Warehouse is an absolute thriller. Using wit, insight and masterful story-telling, Rob Hart has written a riveting tale that reflects on the state of humanity and where we might be heading. Be prepared for the unexpected and to look at our world through a new, twisted lens.”

Ashlee Vance, author of Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

“On the surface, The Warehouse is a thrilling story of corporate espionage at the highest level, but dig a little deeper, and you’ll find a terrifying cautionary tale of the nightmare world we are making for ourselves—where our reliance upon e-commerce giants is turning them into malevolent entities more powerful than government.”

Blake Crouch, New York Times bestselling author of Dark Matter

“Fast-paced and unputdownable, thrilling and ominous, The Warehouse is a terrifying object lesson of a story that will haunt you each time you see a box on the front step—and yet make you wonder what colour your shirt will be, one day.”

Delilah S. Dawson, New York Times bestselling author of Wake of Vultures and Phasma

“I loved The Warehouse, although and because it made my blood run cold. The world Rob Hart creates is what our world could be by this time next year. Watching these oh so human characters try to cope, even thrive, in their new normal makes one alternately hopeful and despairing.”

SJ Rozan, author of Ghost Hero and Absent Friends

The film rights have been sold for a six figure sum after a five-way auction to Brian Grazer at Imagine Entertainment with Ron Howard set to direct, fresh from the Star Wars: Solo movie.

· Book rights already sold in 15 territories and counting and a major publication in the States. This is going to be the book everyone is talking about in August. 

· Rob decided to write the book because of this news story – the tragic death of Maria Fernandes who suffocated in her car whilst napping between her three shifts a day at different Dunkin Donuts stores.

PURCHASE LINKS

hive.co.uk  £10.25

whsmith  £9.35

waterstones  £12.99

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rob Hart has been a political reporter, the communications director for a politician, a commissioner for the city of New York and is currently a publisher. The Warehouse is his first standalone novel.

MY REVIEW

Imagine a world that’s plagued with consumerism and gun violence and where climate change has altered the way people live – sounds a little too like reality now doesn’t it?! In The Warehouse we get to see in even scarier detail a world where the impacts of the way we live and shop have taken their toll and it is not a pleasant outlook for us all but it makes for a scarily realistic and fascinating story that had me hooked from page one – and now vowing to do all I can not to let this horror become our reality!

In this world the ‘Cloud’ reigns – it’s an online retail giant and it pretty much controls every aspect of your life! It pays employees not in money but in credits – they are in charge of their accommodation, who they mix with, the media – everything you could ever need is supplied by them so surely everything should be wonderful?!  I can’t think where the ‘inspiration’ for this idea came from……

Paxton finds himself becoming an employee of The Cloud, the company who destroyed his business, as security and meets Zinnia who joins at the same time but seemingly has her own reasons for wanting to be there.  There seems to be a connection between them as people but you’re still left wondering if she is using him for his inside knowledge to help her get what she wants.

The detail the author goes into about the working days and the control that The Cloud has over each employee is staggering and scarily believable!   And alongside the story of Paxton and Zinnia, we also hear the point of view from the creator of The Cloud – Gibson – who explains why he created this ’empire’ and how he saw his dream come to be.  He seemed to start up with good intentions but then you get the impression that he just went a little power crazy!

There’s a great mix of dry humour and darker tones throughout as you note the similarities to certain ways of our world and the control elements that certain businesses have put in place, and that the public are seemingly walking blindly into! The wearing of watches to track each employee and can only be taken off at night to recharge, the docking of credits if you were late or ill or lost your watch, taxes and housing costs taken straight from your wages by them…. it’s all portrayed as making your life as simple as possible but the reality is much scarier!

  I loved the little sub plots running through the story and the similarities of the world we live in now were just frightening!   A disturbing but brilliant read!!

★★★★★

#BlogTour A CHAIN ACROSS THE DAWN by DREW WILLIAMS #bookreview #RandomThingsTours #AChainAcrossTheDawn

An honour today to be bringing the Blog Tour for A CHAIN ACROSS THE DAWN by DREW WILLIAMS  to a close. My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for the copy of the book and letting me be part of this fabulous tour!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Bigger spaceships. Bigger explosions. Bigger planets. Bigger problems. 

 It’s been three years since Esa joined the ranks of the Justified after her rescue from the fanatical murderers the Pax. Together, Esa and her mentor Kamali travel from planet to planet, searching for children with supernatural abilities. It’s hard work, but Esa has never felt more assured of her place in the universe. 

 On a visit to a planet so remote that its inhabitants never learned that the Sect Wars ended over a hundred years ago, they learn that the Justified are not the only people searching for gifted children. There is a creature with unexpected powers who will stop at nothing to get its hands on the children that Esa and Kamali are trying to rescue.

 With their latest recruit in tow — a young Wulf child named Sho — Esa and Kamali will travel halfway across the galaxy in pursuit of answers. But the answers only lead to more questions, and the danger will only increase as their terrifying nemesis turns his eyes on them.

Published by Simon & Schuster

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK  £20.00

Hive.co.uk  £15.85

whsmith  £14.00

About the author: 

Drew Williams was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, in the southern United States of America. He is a bookseller at the Little Professor Book Center in Homewood, Alabama. A Chain Across the Dawn is his second book.

MY REVIEW

I was a little daunted when I first picked this book up when I found out that it was the second in the series (the first is THE STARS NOW UNCLAIMED ), but my fears were soon laid to rest as I found it so easy to catch up with these characters and the world they were in, and now I’m just eager to pick up book one to find out how it all started as I had so much fun reading this and following the ‘adventures’ of Esa and Jane as they travel to different planets to rescue childen with supernatural abilities – but this time they’re not alone as someone else wants these children, and will go to extreme lengths to stop others getting in their way.

The pace is relentless with this story and that’s what kept me so engaged! There was always something going on – action, battles and plenty of banter! The main draw of this story I think is the relationship between Esa and Jane and it was fun to see it evolving and to see how much they connect with one another – even if Esa does drive Jane mad with trying to guess her age all the time!

As they travel around they face a lot of danger (mazes of dead people is a new one on me!!) but never lose their humour and I loved the mix of the action with the sassy banter!!  My family thought I was mad sometimes when I was reading and would just burst out laughing at the antics going on!

I’m so glad that I was drawn to this book by the stunning cover and the premise of a space ‘soap opera’ as it definitely delivered on that front!  It was great to read about these characters who were faced with some difficult circumstances whilst having to deal with their own emotions and trying to do good.  Book 3 of the series will be out in 2020 and I’ll definitely be there for that as I can’t wait to hear more of Jane and Esa!

★★★★★

#BlogTour The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott #BookReview @SimonschusterUK @CScottBooks #RandomThingsTours #PhotographerOfTheLost

Truly delighted to be the latest stop on this Pre-Publication Blog Tour for this astonishing book and to give you a little taste of what you have to look forward to come publication day in October! 

My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for the early copy of the book and putting this tour together and letting me be part of it all!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Until she knows her husband’s fate, she cannot decide her own… An epic novel of forbidden love, loss, and the shattered hearts left behind in the wake of World War I 1921. Families are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many survivors of the Great War have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis has not come home. He is considered ‘missing in action’, but when Edie receives a mysterious photograph taken by Francis in the post, hope flares. And so she beings to search. Harry, Francis’s brother, fought alongside him. He too longs for Francis to be alive, so they can forgive each other for the last things they ever said. Both brothers shared a love of photography and it is that which brings Harry back to the Western Front. 

Hired by grieving families to photograph gravesites, as he travels through battle-scarred France gathering news for British wives and mothers, Harry also searches for evidence of his brother. And as Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they get closer to a startling truth. An incredibly moving account of an often-forgotten moment in history, The Photographer of the Lost tells the story of the thousands of soldiers who were lost amid the chaos and ruins, and the even greater number of men and women desperate to find them again.

Published by  Simon & Schuster

Publication Date – 31st October 2019

PRE-ORDER LINKS

Amazon UK  £12.99

hive.co.uk  £10.69

WHSMITH  £9.35

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

photo thanks to Johnny Ring

Caroline Scott is a freelance writer and historian specializing in WWI and women’s history. The Photographer of the Lost is partially inspired by her family history.

Twitter @CScottBooks

MY REVIEW

I don’t even know where to begin with my thoughts on this book – other than that I adored every single blooming page!! I found it to be such a stunning read that really captured the atmosphere of the time, the grief shared by so many and the limbo that many families were left feeling after the First World War when their loved ones were missing in action.  At a time when many were celebrating the War being over, many were left with so many unanswered questions with no word on the missing soldiers and they were left clutching to the faint hope that these men were in a French hospital, unable to get in contact with those back home.

It’s the story of brotherhood and the bonds between loved ones with 3 brothers going off to fight in the Great War – Francis, Harry and Will – and the desperate search for Francis after the war by his brother Harry and Francis’s wife Edie who was desperate to know what happened to him – even more so when she receives an envelope containing a photograph of him, 4 years after he’d gone missing. When was it taken? Where was it taken? Who was it from? Was he still alive?

 Harry becomes a ‘photographer of the lost’ on his return, which means he goes back to France often to take photos of gravestones for those back home who want a picture of the final resting place for their loved ones and  the surrounding areas – while there he devotes much of his time to trying to track down the likely places his brother may have gone, and also meets others doing similar searches for their family members.

The story changes effortlessly from the time in France after the War, to the past when the brothers were setting off to war together – their experiences on the front line, their fears, the banter they used to lighten the mood – they were just young boys and you just can’t even begin to imagine the sights they were witness to.  

Edie too sets off to France to try her best to get some answers for herself, and her storyline also looks back on how she and Francis met and how close they all were – she can’t move on until she knows the truth about her husband.

This was often a very sombre and haunting read, but so beautifully descriptive and made you totally understand just how lost people were when they didn’t know what had happened to those who didn’t come back home – they felt restless until they knew and would cling on to the hope that they’d turn up on the doorstep one day.  It brilliantly showed the human aspect of war – on those who went to fight and on those who were left behind waiting for letters and contact.

An outstanding and memorable book. Easily one of my favourite reads of 2019!

★★★★★

#BlogTour THE GIRL AT THE WINDOW by ROWAN COLEMAN #BookReview #RandomThingsTours

A great pleasure to be the latest stop on the wonderful Blog Tour for THE GIRL AT THE WINDOW by ROWAN COLEMAN. My thanks to the author, publisher and Anne of Random Things Tours for the copy of the book and letting me be part of the Blog Tour.

ABOUT THE BOOK

A beautiful new novel from the Sunday Times bestselling author of The Memory Book and The Summer of Impossible Things

 The Girl at the Window is a beautiful and captivating novel set at Ponden Hall, a centuries-old house on the Yorkshire moors and famously used as a setting for Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights. 

Known as the place where Cathy’s ghost taps on the window, Emily Bronte used to visit often with her sisters and use the extensive library there. It’s a magical place full of stories. In The Girl at the Window, Ponden Hall is where Trudy Heaton grew up, but also where she ran away from… Now, after the devastating loss of her husband, Trudy returns home with her young son, Will, who refuses to believe his father is dead. While Trudy tries to do her best for her son, she must also attempt to build bridges with her eccentric mother. And then there is the Hall itself: fallen into disrepair but generations of lives and loves still echo in its shadows, sometimes even reaching out to the present…

 The Girl at the Window is hauntingly beautiful, and centred on an epic love story with a twist that draws you in fast. The strong themes of grief, absent fathers and maternal instincts are consistent emotional pulls throughout. Trudy and Abe are the ultimate love story, but there is also a wonderfully atmospheric ghostly mystery to be solved as well.

published by Ebury Press

Publication Date – 8th August 2019

PURCHASE LINKS

Amazon UK  £7.99

hive.co.uk  £7.15

whsmith   £5.75

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rowan Coleman lives with her husband and their five children in a very full house in Hertfordshire. She juggles writing novels with raising her family. Rowan’s last novel, The Summer of Impossible Things, was selected for Zoe Ball’s ITV Book Club. Rowan has an everlasting love for the Brontes, and is a regular visitor of Ponden Hall.

http://www.rowancoleman.co.uk | @rowancoleman

MY REVIEW

Wow!! This is how I love books I read to be! Full of heart and mystery, sprinkled with lashings of history and ghostly goings on!! It was just a wonderful read and has me now itching to read more of the Bronte Sisters and especially to revisit Wuthering Heights!

Ponden Hall is where the story is based – Trudy Heaton grew up there but was quick to escape, but finds herself returning there along with her son, Will, as they try and deal with the grief of losing her husband who is presumed dead after a plane crash.  This also means repairing a long rift with her mother – a woman not backward in coming forward and her comments over the years have never gone down too well with her daughter.

The story also goes back to the past – 1654 onwards – and what happened at Ponden Hall when a mystery girl was taken in by Robert Heaton and I found the storyline of Agnes just as captivating as that of Trudy in the present.  The friendship she formed with Robert was truly touching and the treatment he received from his stepfather was abhorrent.

In the present Trudy does her best to try and move on, but the ghosts of her life and those of Ponden Hall are never far away and it was always intriguing to find out what she’d discover next about the house and her family history.  In looking into restoring Ponden Hall she calls in an expert and he seems even more obsessed with her home and the literary links it has than she can imagine.

I thoroughly enjoyed spending time at Ponden Hall with these characters and found it to be such a captivating story  that I just lost track of time whilst I was reading!

★★★★★