Sunday, 25 August 2019

Dead Inside by Noelle Holten Paperback launch

When possible we like to support authors and go to book events, we also like to meet before hand for a gab and scran. Some of my pals are more book geeky than others but we all love food and chat. So I grabbed my current read "The Pact We Made" and headed in on the bus.




How fab are my pals wee shoes, Disney baddies!




So we headed in, a wee group of us went to hear Noelle talk about her book and be interviewed by blogger extraordinaire Sharon B from Chapter in my life.





Sharon "grilled" Noelle, what it was like getting started as a writer, going from a book blogger to actually writing and getting published.





They had such a good flow and banter, we all laughed and raptly listened to Noelle talk about her past, how she left her job being a parole officer, getting her job with Bookouture.




They opened up questions to the floor and Sharon had plenty incase, for once, we were a shy audience. Think it was a case of we were enjoying listening to them but we did have plenty of questions coming in from the audience.




Noelle told us what is in store next and many of us are looking forward to Bloody Scotland and her taking the stage with Ian Rankin!





After that folk lined up to buy the book and get it signed. Noelle looked glowing and in her element, it was such a great night. If you can, please go to book events - it supports the book community and authors and readers always have a great night!





The book is out to buy in treebook and ebook (only £1.99) format, from AMAZON and book stores. Enjoy!





Incase you missed it, I have a Q&A with Noelle, you can read it HERE and a few days left on the giveaway for x1 copy of the ebook of Dead Inside, UK only as Amazon won't allow me to gift an ebook outside of my country.


The Warehouse by Rob Hart Blog Tour




Today is my stop and closing the blog tour, for my stop I have my review, this book really makes you stop and think!




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.

Find Rob on Twitter @robwhart and Facebook

About the book




‘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.

Available to buy NOW


The WarehouseThe Warehouse by Rob Hart
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 368

Publisher - Bantam Press

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Cloud is a company which likes to keep its secrets – and it guards them well…

A near-future 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.

Cloud brands itself not just as an online storefront, but as a global saviour. But, beneath the sunny exterior lurks something far more sinister.
____________________

Paxton is a would-be inventor put out of business by Cloud. He’s had his one shot at success ripped away from him – and now he’s urgently in need of money and a job.

Things get more complicated when Paxton meets Zinnia. He can’t work her out. She says she’s a teacher down on her luck, but she doesn’t look – or act – like a teacher. And she seems to have a plan all of her own.

With their agendas putting them on a collision course, they may both learn that the machine is just too big to be beaten.


My Review

Cloud is the ultimate company, if you mess up there you can pretty much kiss off a chance of working anywhere else. They own so much, fingers in all pies, they are the giant company that covers all your consumer needs. We meet their newest employees, Paxton and Zinnia, Paxton has his own reasons for getting a job with the company that ruined his business and Zinnia, Zinnia has her own reasons for getting into Cloud!

We get a glimpse into the corporate machine, Cloud gives one face to the world and it's workers see something else. Targets that impact on their health, Cloud seems to be too good to be true and someone wants to see if it is indeed all it portrays itself to be.

I really liked Paxton and see how his journey progresses as he wants to do a good job but has his own conflicts in doing so. Zinnia also wants to make good on her performance and targets but for different reasons to Paxton. They are so polar opposites and it is intriguing to see their development and how they go about their day(s) and their growing friendship.

I enjoyed the aspect of this super company, the power it has over consumers, workers, peoples lives and it makes you look at what is in our own world. We know of a company that is huge, we can order pretty much anything online but don't really think about what goes on for the workers. Obviously this is a book set in the future with conditions that are almost unthinkable in our current lifetime. That said look at some of the things that are being allowed currently, a scary prospect and one you can imagine, some parts of the story, not being so unrealistic. Certainly makes you think! 4/5 for me this time, this was my first dance with this author but it won't be my last!



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Friday, 23 August 2019

I Spy by Claire Kendal

I SpyI Spy by Claire Kendal
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages - 400

Publisher - Harper Collins

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Someone is watching your every move…

Holly Lawrence always wanted to be a spy, but the experience proved more dangerous than anything she imagined. Now, Holly lives in hiding under an assumed name. She avoids relationships and trusts no one.

But Holly’s new life begins to unravel when she encounters a young mother and her two-year-old child… a child who reminds her of a past she has tried hard to forget. This time, someone is spying on her, and Holly will need to decide how far she is willing to go to survive.

A psychological thriller unlike anything you’ve read before...

My Review

Holly Lawrence has always liked watching people, finding things out so it stands to reason she would go and interview to become a spy. When her interview bombs she goes back to normal life. The story splits into two timelines, the before and the now, present day. The before we find Holly in a controlling relationship that chills the further you get into it. Present day she has had to remove herself from her old life, people she loved, to stay safe. You can never outrun your past and Holly finds herself being tested and putting her own safety in danger to save another.

It took me a wee bit to settle into the book, the timeline jumps, the different characters and getting to grips with who Holly is. She is a bit of an up/down character. She shows some signs of strength and bravery yet others you get so frustrated at some of her choices.

There is such a mix in this book, the spy thing turns up again so you get a feel of that running through a book that is heavily focused on a coercive and abusive relationship. This thing with this is the abuser doesn't use violence but how he maintains control has your gorge rising because it is masked as caring you can see just how effective this is.

I have read this author before and will read her again, she creates environments for her characters that makes for uncomfortable but utterly compelling reading, 3.5/5 for me this time!

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Thursday, 22 August 2019

The Deaths and Afterlife of Aleister Crowley by Ian Thornton blog tour

Today in my stop in the blog tour for The Deaths and Afterlife of Aleister Crowley by Ian Thornton.




ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Ian Thornton




Ian Thornton’s debut novel, The Great and Calamitous Tale of Johan Thoms (How One Man Scorched the Twentieth Century, but Didn’t Mean to) was published by Simon & Schuster Canada in September 2013. Harper Collins published worldwide on June 28th 2014 to coincide with the centenary of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the pivot of the novel. It was translated across Europe and taught at the Sorbonne.

Prior to becoming a novelist, Ian worked for Broadcast magazine in London and also for Variety. He is a co-founder of the global television industry publisher, C21 Media and www.c21media.net.

He covered the Royal wedding in London for CTV, Canada's premier independent broadcaster, and has recently written for Wisden Cricketer, The Guardian, The Hindu and for the Soho House magazine, House. He also wrote on the football World Cup in South Africa for the Canadian sports channel, The Score, and has worked for Queen’s University in Ontario, where his project was presented at the White House as part of President Obama's new media initiative.

Ian is the official biographer of the Compton cricket club in California and has been a judge on the largest Latin American film festival, Expresion en Corto. He is currently producing a feature documentary.

Originally from Leeds, Ian currently resides in Toronto with his wife Heather Gordon and their children, Laszlo and Clementine.

About the book (how fab is that cover!)




Aleister Crowley, also known as the Great Beast, is one of the most reviled men in history. Satanist, cult leader, debauched novelist and poet, his legacy has been harshly contested for decades.

Crowley supposedly died in 1947, but in Ian Thornton's new novel, set in the present day, the Great Beast is alive and well and living in Shangri-la. Now over 130 years old, thanks to the magical air of his mystical location, he looks back on his life and decides it is time to set the record straight.

For Crowley was not the evil man he is often portrayed as. This was just a cover to hide his real mission, to save the twentieth century from destroying itself and to set humanity on the road to freedom and liberty.

The Death and Afterlife of Aleister Crowley is an epic novel that will make you see this notorious figure in a completely new light, as he encounters an impressive cast of real-life characters including Timothy Leary, The Beatles, Princess Margaret, Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock.

For my stop I have my review, enjoy.

The Deaths and Afterlife of Aleister CrowleyThe Deaths and Afterlife of Aleister Crowley by Ian Thornton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 4 days

Pages - 400

Publisher - Unbound

Source - Review Copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Aleister Crowley, also known as the Great Beast, is one of the most reviled men in history. Satanist, cult leader, debauched novelist and poet, his legacy has been harshly contested for decades.

Crowley supposedly died in 1947, but in Ian Thornton's new novel, set in the present day, the Great Beast is alive and well and living in Shangri-la. Now over 130 years old, thanks to the magical air of his mystical location, he looks back on his life and decides it is time to set the record straight.

For Crowley was not the evil man he is often portrayed as. This was just a cover to hide his real mission, to save the twentieth century from destroying itself and to set humanity on the road to freedom and liberty.

The Death and Afterlife of Aleister Crowley is an epic novel that will make you see this notorious figure in a completely new light, as he encounters an impressive cast of real-life characters including Timothy Leary, The Beatles, Princess Margaret, Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock.


My Review

I had never heard of Aleister Crowley before reading this book, a man refered to as "Beast" by his own mother and reveled in being called "Great Beast" as his notoriety grew. He denounced his religious background and started up his own "religion" encouraging people to do what they want basically. He was interested in the occult, satanism and widely documented his insatiable appetite for enjoying all the pleasures and perversions the human body can offer.

So, it was more than an eye opener when I started reading this, told from Aleister as being the narrator he tells the reader, warts and all, his life and journeys. Exposure to sexual acts as a young child by adults in his care, bestiality in rituals, drugs, alcohol pretty much anything and everything. I had to keep putting the book down to goggle him and see if this stuff was true, it was. He made a name for himself, his exploits, he was featured on the band "The Beatles" album cover. There is no denying he lead an eyebrow raising life to put it politely. Some of the exploits I felt I needed to wash my eyes and brain in holy water after reading!

Whilst the book doesn't go into masses of details for the debauchery there is plenty for you to know exactly what he is talking about. Some of his poems, featured, include bodily fluids, this is not a book for the faint hearted or easily offended. That said it makes for interesting reading, the guy was rumoured to be a spy. What Thornton has done is taken well known historical events and woven them into Crowley claiming to have influenced, averted or been present when X event happened.

My history knowledge is terrible so I would put the book down to read up on X assassination or X war to get the documented events on what happened then read on to how Thornton placed Crowley in among it. It is an interesting, colourful (blue) and shocking read, sexual exploits that will shock you (unless you already know his history). I would love to have a Q&A with the author as I can't even imagine just how much went into the research for the book before then crafting a well known figure and creating a history or actual events and slotting him into them. Why that character, was it a challenge and the creative process for pulling all of that together. I can honestly say I have never read a book like it, if you know of Crowley I would love to hear your thoughts on the book and if like me this is your first introduction to him what did you think?



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Monday, 19 August 2019

Fake Like Me by Barbara Bourland

Fake Like MeFake Like Me by Barbara Bourland
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 2 days

Pages - 368

Publisher - Riverrun

Source - Review Copy

Blurb from Goodreads

At once a twisted psychological portrait of a woman crumbling under unimaginable pressure and a razor-sharp satire of the contemporary art scene, FAKE LIKE ME is a dark, glamorous, and addictive story of good intentions gone awry, from the critically acclaimed author of I'll Eat When I'm Dead.

What really happened to Carey Logan?

After a fire decimates her studio, including the seven billboard-size paintings for her next show, a young, no-name painter is left with an impossible task: recreate her art in three months-or ruin her fledgling career.

Homeless and desperate, she flees to an exclusive retreat in upstate New York famous for its outrageous revelries and glamorous artists. And notorious as the place where brilliant young artist Carey Logan-one of her idols-drowned in the lake.

But when she arrives, the retreat is a ghost of its former self. No one shares their work. No parties light up the deck. No one speaks of Carey, though her death haunts the cabins and the black lake, lurking beneath the surface like a shipwreck. As the young painter works obsessively in Carey's former studio, uncovers strange secrets and starts to fall--hard and fast--for Carey's mysterious boyfriend, it's as if she's taking her place.

But one thought shadows her every move: What really happened to Carey Logan?


My Review

Our main character and story teller has no name, like she is nameless through the whole story. She is an artist and about to hit the big time when an untimely fire wipes out the artwork she needs to hand in in a few months. Her idol Carey Logan inspired her since she seen her years back. Carey is now dead by suicide and chance happens she gets to go to the retreat Carey and fellow artists create some of their master pieces in. Finding herself in Carey's actual creative space our main character attempts to pull off the recreation of her works whilst trying to find out about Carey and what really happened.

So art isn't my thing but I did find it quite interesting reading the various methods our main character uses to create her master pieces. There is a lot of coverage on the creative artistic side to the book and I think for arty folk this will be interested but as a non arty person I did enjoy learning about something so different. The book is a slow burner in that respect, it is all about the artist, her struggles, work, ideas. Trying to infiltrate the group of artists at the retreat who aren't happy about her arrival. We also see her old "friend" I use that term loosely as the more you read the more shallow she seems and their friendship hallow.

Art, sex, friendship, creativity, betrayal and secrets and just some of the themes in the book although the massive focus was on the artist side. It was different, interesting and managed to surprise me once or twice along the way. Not a book I would normally pick up but I did find it interesting and would read this author again, 3.5/5 for me.

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Saturday, 17 August 2019

The Dead On Leave by Chris Nickson

The Dead on Leave: A 1930s British whodunitThe Dead on Leave: A 1930s British whodunit by Chris Nickson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read - 1 day

Pages -

Publisher - Endeavour Quill

Source - Review Copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Leeds, Autumn 1936.

During a British Union of Fascists rally, a body is found.

War veteran Detective Sergeant Urban Raven is tasked with finding the killer.

But with virtually no clues, no witnesses and no obvious motive, he has few leads to start the investigation.

Leeds has become a shadow of its former self. Once a bright, vibrant and progressive metropolis, it has all but ground to a halt since the Crash of ’29, the Depression and the ensuing descent into unemployment and poverty.

And there are political stirrings as the BUF vie with the Communist Party for public support.

Was the murder an act of vengeance?

Was the victim killed for his political beliefs?

Or was the killing part of a more sinister plan, a grisly smear campaign? And if so, which side, if either, is responsible?

Raven and his colleagues find themselves constantly hindered by red tape, politics and the press. But sometimes, if you want a result, you just have to do it your way…

This puzzler of a crime story comprises convincing characters, a clever plot and a window into the dark days of 1930s northern England, where so many had lost hope…

…the dead. On leave.



My Review

It is Leeds, 1936, money is tight, poverty is rife and the Nazi's are spreading their hate. The BUF (British Union of Fascists) numbers are rising, political unrest is evident and there is a rally for the visiting Oswald Mosley. Detective Sergeant Urban Raven and some extra police are expect to deal with the numbers and fall out. They knew there would be trouble but no one was expecting murder! When a body is found Raven and the team have to investigate and go on what little is available to the police for that time period.

I don't often read books that feature any kind of politics, it isn't really my thing if I am honest. However I did get into this book pretty quickly, I had to google some of the stuff because yes it is a fiction book but it does mention things that happened or where true for that time period and I do love a book where you learn some history. I had never heard of BUF nor of Oswald Mosley, that was an eye opener and strange I hadn't heard his name, I defo need to read up on history!

Urban is a good guy, scarred from his first time around in the war he can use it to his advantage when policing but faces stares/judgement when not in uniform. As well as the murder and relying on police work the old way (before masses of technology) we see his struggles in his personal life. I think a good author makes this work as it doesn't detract from the main bulk of the story (murder/investigation) but allows the reader to get a feel for the human aspect behind the cop.

Whilst it isn't a blood/guts and gore type book the murder happens quickly and the rest is the investigation centered around it. The writing keeps you engaged and interesting in where the story is going next.

Not sure if this is a series but I would absolutely like to read more on Urban and the characters featured in this book. Whilst this was my first dance with this author it won't be my last, I like the shape of the characters, the pace and how he tackled an investigation as it would have been back in the 30's when cars weren't as common as clothing. 4/5 for me this time and I look forward to more adventures with Urban!


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Wednesday, 14 August 2019

Edinburgh Book Festival yesterday

As you may remember I went to my first ever book festival, Edinburgh Book Festival, last year. It was great and so many lovely people. This year my two friends came, they didn't book any shows they just wanted to check it out (mostly the gin bar!). We headed in on the train, the weather was variable to say the least.




I was blessed and lucky enough to get a press pass again this year.




I remember last year the press yurt has wee ducks outside and was happy to see them appear again this year, kind of wish I had taken my own wee rubber duck and got a piccy, I have another day booked there so maybe take her then.





First up was Sandy, Sir Alexander McCall Smith. I have yet to read his books but seen him last year and after listening to him I bought one of his books and have another on the TBRM. He is hillarious, he just chuckles away, his stories are fantastic. He did a small reading from his book and said he doesn't like doing long readings. He joked about going to see an author before who read for 45 minutes from their book, folk were pretending to faint and even when ambulances came they still continued. He is just so funny, a breath of fresh air and I could listen to him all day. Any opportunity I get to hear him speak I will go to and advise everyone to go, you will come away smiling! We were treated to a violin musician too, beautiful and a poetry reading.





Up next was Sharon Blackie, this isn't an author I have read before and she does both fiction and non fiction. This is a book of fairytales retold bu Sharon and one of her own creation. She read the story and discussed how fairy tales have interested her since she was younger. Sorry I haven't edited the photos, I am shattered, back to work tomorrow and edited ones are on our Instagram.





It is so nice to look around and see folk sitting reading books everywhere and just chatting and taking the scene in.





Four shows in one day is quite a lot so after a wee gab with the ladies me and Kelly grabbed a minute to get some ice cream, I don't do mint but I do like a mint choc chip ice cream every blue moon. The wee stall just across from the book store is really nice and they have a list of what is in each one, allergies headsup which is great as not all wee stalls have them.




Up next was "The Story of the Iolaire Tragedy" discussing the book The Darkest Dawn. The tragedy itself that happened 100 years ago, words read from people actually involved and two songs performed that had been written after the disaster. Prior to the festival I had never heard of this but reading about it in the brochure I wanted to hear more. It was very emotive and during the whole talk photos of the men came up in the big screen in the background. I was moved and not in anyway related or aware of it before that day so can only image how those in the audience felt who were actually connected/related to those involved.




Last was Val McDermid, I had seen Val at last years event. She is a great speak *I did have to write down a word or two she used to see what it meant), her stories are fantastic. Val has written over 30 books and has a tv show from one of her creations coming up later this year. She is going to spend time in New Zealand teaching and continues to write stories that have captivated her audiences.





I am loving the purple around the festival, as you know it is my favourite colour.





Edinburgh is such a beautiful city, I love seeing it all lit up at night.

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