Review of The Midas Cat: The Devil Wears Tabby #TommyEllis #TheMidasCat #NewBook #Review #Fiction #Cats

The Midas Cat: The Devil Wears Tabby
By Tommy Ellis
Rated 5 stars *****

The Midas Cat

The Author

Tommy is an author and saxophonist. He’s played alongside Chas and Dave, Mud, The Troggs and Earth Wind and Fire, to name a few. He is the author of The Midas Cat books; a series of surreal dark humour featuring an Adam Ant loving, talking feline that’s being tracked down by an unscrupulous banker.

 

Review

The cover itself is mysterously quirky with the cat’s piercing blue eyes and smoke all around it. It sets up the book perfectly.
The chapters are short and sharp. It’s a relatively quick book to read with 3 short parts in 1 book, creating this witty story. I really enjoyed it.

When I was reading it, I could not help but think about the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It reads like it could be staged there or somewhere similar. If you want a jovial, jaunty read with some clever twists, this is the book for you. It’s as much fun as it is quirky and all in a good way.

Part 1 – The Midas Cat – The Devil Wears Tabby
Lauren wants a Midas Cat. Of course she does, we all would like one of those right? Or would they? Ralph has the unenviable task of trying to find such a rare cat.

This book is refreshing, quirky and really good read. Obviously there’s the whole take on The Devil Wears Prada and Lauren being a bit like someone from Vogue, but that’s where this book is cleverly funny. Fashion mixed with the strongest possible desire of a rare cat, that also trumps a friend, what’s not to like and be intrigued about?
There is also the personal issues about whether Ralph is having an affair or not and also begs the question of whether the Midas Cat has something to do with this and indeed with Lord Lucan’s disappearance.

This book is clever in other ways too. Readers actually get to follow the cat. Turns out Cat has a love of Lady Penelope style cigarette holders and Adam Ant and is written cleverly like part human, part cat. This adds to the humour of it all. There is also the calamity of Ralph trying to catch The Midas Cat for Lauren. 

Part 2 – The Midas Cat – The Cambridge Institute Lectures. Readers will rejoin Ralph and Lauren; Ralph now being very unwell after the escapades of trying to capture the rare Midas Cat before. Things aren’t going so well for Ralph anymore and can’t help but feel even more sorry for him after all the trouble he’s been put through and there is some seriousness about whether he will be arrested or not. 

As for the cat, well, it’s as surreal as ever. The Cat has landed firmly on its feet (paws) and is host to the Cambridge Institute Lectures. It seriously needs to be read to be believed. There are also interesting chapters about the professor and the scientific experiments. The writing is witty and descriptive.

Then comes the final piece of the tale – The Midas Cat – Part 3 – Man Friday the Thirteenth.Cat now has a Onesie with too many pockets that it can’t find the loyalty card. There’s a charity event and a pub crawl. The Midas Cat certainly knows how to enjoy itself, whilst poor Ralph is trying to still please Lauren. Readers then meet Marvin, who is also an interesting character, who Ralph tells about the Midas Cat.
Read the book to find out whether Ralph gets the Midas Cat and if his marriage can survive.

* I thank Tommy Ellis for the free e-book and for asking to quote from me, of which I am happy about and so pleased to be asked.

* The review is unbiased

Review of The Nexus Mirror @nemichaelbooks #NexusMirror #Fantasy #Sci-Fi #Review #YA #NewBook

The Nexus Mirror
By N.E. Michael
Rated: 3.5 stars

It is with thanks to the author – Noah Michael for getting in touch with me via my blog asking if I could review his fantasy/sci-fi book. So today, I am pleased to be now publishing my review of this book that will take you through a world and time of many creatures and also one that highlights some contemporary issues too, even though this is set far in the distant future.

About the Author

Noah Michael, is the author of the Chronicles of the Enlai series. He has two undergraduate degrees in bio-medical engineering and the medical sciences, and is currently a student in medical school. He is all about following dreams, and so despite his busy schedule, he never gave up my hobbies which include writing, music, and traveling. Aside from his current series, he has two other worlds in his head just waiting to be built, and can’t wait to share them with you! Please don’t hesitate to reach out and share your dreams with me as well, and I hope you enjoy reading mine!

Social media links:

Twitter handle: @nemichaelbooks

Nexus Mirror cover

Blurb


Thirteen tribes. Two hundred years of war. One girl, with the key to ending it all.

Ever since his father’s mysterious murder, Raiden has been having visions of beings with extraordinary powers which he sketched into comics. The man responsible for the murder, billionaire Jimmy Roko, controls the world from his lofty, impenetrable Silver Tower. Compared to Roko’s vast army of robotic creatures and soldiers, Raiden is helpless. At least he was, until the magical heroes from his comics came knocking at his doorstep…

Forced away from everything he’d ever known, Raiden is thrown into a war filled with mystical beasts and terrible demons, super-powered heroes and futuristic battle-drones, ancient portals and daring new worlds. The fate of the universe rests in Raiden’s hands as he fights against Jimmy Roko and the Chief of Shadows to protect a young girl named Sarah, the last surviving Surger, who possesses the key to the ultimate weapon.

Review

There are topical subjects, fights, a student to protect and war wounds amongst this book of humans and other creatures, some whom are almost human.

Enter a world some time in the future. Not everyone is human!
There are a whole array of other creatures. Raidens, being one type. Raiden Williams, who is a teacher and one with a bit of an attitude at times, one that some guys have with their smirking. It’s a pity as can’t immediately decide whether I like him or not.
Sarah is one of his brightest pupils. Alia and Bella are orphans trying to get by, which makes for an interesting story with some of the social aspects surrounding that.

The book covers bullying, the devastating consequences and the impact. The tone of Alia and those who are the bullies is just right as is the raw emotion. This is a book that would perhaps inspire young adult readers to think about actions having consequences. It’s good and thoughtful.

Alia is a detective, seeking answers as to what happened to Hunter, whether it was murder or suicide.

Hospitals is also a theme within this book as Bella suffers a stroke. The hospital is well described as being very futuristic.

Meet the Enlai. A tribe of people who are almost human and who learn to try to master their emotions and are Readers. There are topical elements to them too as they are asked about changing their DNA to extend their lives and the consequences to this.

What is real and what is in Alia’s subconscious is something that readers have to work out, as does this brave character.

Marcus is the most powerful Reader, which makes for interesting characterisation.

There is enough in the book to know just where you are in the time frames and as different magical and fantastical characters are met, such as shifters, zombies and super-powered pirates. There is a war to be fought and what was great was that the effects of war is also written about. Even so far into the future, war is not straight forward and there are still consequences that are felt.

There is an unexpected ending, which is touching and also in a sentence, the story is left open for the next book – The Legend of Solis.

There is certainly enough going on in this fantasy world that the N.E. Michael has created for the YA fantasy/sci-fi readers to be engaged in. The book does get off to an interesting start and good pace, then seems to slow down somewhat, before really getting into it and seems to jump a bit and could be a bit tighter in places. It is however worth sticking with because when you do that, you really get stuck into this futuristic world and all that lives there and the pace does pick up, so do give it a really good chance. You may find yourself enjoying it, like I did and wanting to find out how it ends. After all, the premise is good and for a new writer, fans of fantasy will do well in trying Noah’s books out.

I thank the author N.E. Michael for contacting me on my blog and for sending me his book. It’s always such a pleasure and honour to be asked to review.

Review of Killing Them With Kindness by Andy Paulcroft @AndyPaulcroft @rararesources #BlogTour #Review

Killing Them With Kindness
By Andy Paulcroft
Rated: 4 Stars ****

 

I am pleased to be on this blog tour for the quirky book with some humour and social themes – Killing Them with Kindness by Andy Paulcroft. We are now half-way through the tour. Today is my turn and I have a review. 

Killing Them With Kindness Full Tour Banner

 

Killing Andy PaulcroftAndy Paulcroft grew up in Weston-super-Mare, and his love of books started when he borrowed his sister’s copy of Five Run Away Together and exaggerated a minor illness in order to finish reading it. He has since worked as a chef in France, Switzerland, Corsica and the North Highlands of Scotland before settling as a catering manager at a boarding school in Dorset. After many years of writing two to three chapters of a book before discarding it, he finally published his first novel Postcards From Another Life – in December 2017. The wonderful feeling of completing a novel was only surpassed by receiving a positive reaction from people who had read it. He retired from catering and recently published his second novel Killing Them With Kindness. He is now working on his third book.

Follow Andy

@Andy.Paulcroft (Facebook Page)

https://twitter.com/AndyPaulcroft

 

Killing - KTWK eBook Cover Compressed(1)

Blurb

Deirdre Cossette is the self-appointed carer for the elderly on The Avenue and all of her friends have stories to tell. Margery, whose comfortable life was destroyed by a knock on the door. Stan, who made a mistake as a young footballer which cost him his friends and his self-respect. Marina, whose slim and stylish figure hides a terrible secret from the summer of Live Aid. And, Oliver and Archie, who have survived everything from post war homophobia to a family tragedy – and they have done it together. Deirdre believes that everyone should have a choice. If they want to live on a diet of cakes, drink the alcoholic equivalent of a small hydrotherapy pool, or take on a toy boy lover in spite of a dodgy heart, Deirdre believes it is their right to do so. If they remember her in their wills afterwards, that’s not her fault, is it? However, not everyone agrees with her. When disgruntled relatives from the present meet up with disgruntled ghosts from her past, Deirdre discovers the cost of being kind.

Review

There are certainly a whole range of personalities in The Avenue for readers to get to know. Each character has lived a life with unexpected stories to tell. I enjoyed this book. It has some pretty good humour within it as well as some twists. This book really engaged me and I loved getting to know all the characters and the carer who would give the residents of The Avenue, what they wanted. It turns out that there is a cost to being that kind as readers will discover as they progress through the story.

This is a pretty emotive story that is also thought-provoking at times and also heart-warming at times too. It’s also certainly quirky, but let’s face it, quirky can be good and in this book, it’s a good path to take these flawed characters down. Just looking at the cover I could tell it was going to be quirky and rather different. It’s certainly that, but whether you’re a quirky person or not, this is worth a read.

There are also serious themes covered within the story, quite topical ones actually – social isolation and loneliness, but are skillfully written with some wit surrounding, what are serious subjects as the wit doesn’t detract from this.

You do need to concentrate a bit on the characters so you remember how people are related, but not with too great a difficulty as the story pulls everyone together and will pull you into their lives. There are also some interesting back-stories periodically, that are written so they are succinct and flow well with the present time.

For something quite original and quirky, give the book a try.

With thanks to Andy and Rachel for inviting me onto the tour and for a print-copy of the book.
This is an unbiased review.

Bury Them Deep By James Oswald @SirBenfro @Wildfirebks @headlinepg @RandomThingsTours @annecater #BlogTour #CrimeFiction #Thriller

Bury Them Deep
By James Oswald
Rated: 5 Stars *****

I am so delighted to be, once again reviewing on this blog tour for James Oswald’s book, this time – Buried Deep on the Random Things Blog Tour. I must say that James Oswald has outdone himself with Bury Them Deep. Absolute congratulations to him for reaching his 10th Inspector McLean novel. There is a lot of high quality writing here. There is plenty to hook people into this book and once hooked, that’s it, so leave plenty of time to read because there is so much readers will want to try to discover.

James Oswald Bury Them Deep BT Poster

About the Author

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAJAMES OSWALD is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling Inspector McLean series of detective mysteries, as well as the new DC Constance Fairchild series. James’s first two
books, NATURAL CAUSES and THE BOOK OF SOULS, were both short-listed for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger Award. BURY THEM DEEP is the tenth book in the Inspector Mclean Series.
James farms Highland cows and Romney sheep by day, writes disturbing fiction by night.

Blurb

The tenth book in the Sunday Times-bestselling Inspector McLean series, from one of Scotland’s most celebrated crime writers.

When a member of the Police Scotland team fails to clock-in for work, concern for her
whereabouts is immediate… and the discovery of her burnt-out car in remote woodland
to the south of Edinburgh sets off a desperate search for the missing woman.
Meanwhile, DCI Tony McLean and the team are preparing for a major anti-corruption
operation – one which may raise the ire of more than a few powerful people in the city. Is
Anya Reynolds’ disappearance a co-incidence or related to the case?
McLean’s investigations suggest that perhaps that Anya isn’t the first woman to have
mysteriously vanished in these ancient hills. Once again, McLean can’t shake the feeling
that there is a far greater evil at work here…
The truth far more chilling than a simple cold case…

Jamees Oswald Bury Them Deep Cover

Review

Bury Them Deep gets off to an excellent start that instantly adds intrigue as to who hates herself and why?

Enter readers, into the streets of Edinburgh and to Operation Caterwaul, something that those on the force with clearance are working on, but there’s an issue. Anya Renfrew, who was working on the operation has mysteriously not turned up for work and so little actually seems to be known about her, as her life is pieced together. It leaves MacLean trying to pour over notes and question suspects and trying to find out as much information as possible, no matter how uncomfortable it becomes, from the doctor treating Norman Bale and even wondering what people on the force know. There is also the question of where she actually spent most of her time residing and what, if anything, a gardener knew.

I think it is ingenious that the more that is attempted to be found out about Anya, the less information there seems to be and the more questions there are. She is quite the enigma! This keeps me utterly intrigued to know who this woman is, what’s happened to her and why has she gone missing with no real trace. It keeps me turning the pages, desperately and hungrily wanting to know more as I find myself buried deep within the 450 pages, totally engrossed and involved with a need to discover what exactly is going to happen next and more about Anya.

There is also money laundering and subsequent fact-finding accountancy raids in Ayr and Aberdeen, jittery Americans, public service cuts and McLean wasn’t on the top clearance list for the operation.

I like the characterisation and the different voices and the build up of suspicion amongst everyone.

Forensics are soon on the case as there are human remains found in the investigative work, but from more than one person and it is questionable whether any belong to Anya Renfrew or not.

The atmosphere of the sometimes slight eeriness and uneasiness is a terrific combination with the intrigue and tension that builds as the story takes some twists and turns that are deftly written. From beginning to end, this book is gripping.

This is James Oswald’s 10th Inspector McLean novel and here’s to another 10.

*With thanks to James Oswald for a thoughtful signed copy of the book.

*My review is unbiased.

Review of A Year Without Summer – One Event, Six Lives, a World Changed by Guinevere Glasfurd @GuinGlasfurd @TwoRoadsBooks #AYearWithoutSummer #RandomThingsTours #BlogTour #Review #Historical

The Year Without Summer
By Guinevere Glasfurd
Rated: ****

I am delighted to be closing this wonderful blog tour of A Year Without Summer. One Year, an exploding volcano that has far reaching implications than just its vicinity. It is worth reading and also find out which characters from history, you recognise. The intertwining of people’s lives and a volcanic eruption makes for intriguing reading.

Year Without Summer BT Poster (1)

 

About the Author

A Year Without Summer Guinever Glasfurd Author Pic (1)

 

Guinevere Glasfurd was born in Lancaster and lives near Cambridge with her husband and daughter. Her debut novel, The Words in My Hand, was shortlisted for the 2016 Costa First Novel Award and Authors’ Club Best First Novel Award and was longlisted in France for the Prix du Roman FNAC. her writing has also appeared in the Scotsman, Mslexia and The National Galleries of Scotland.

Blurb

1815, Sumbawa Island, Indonesia:
Mount Tambora explodes in a cataclysmic eruption, killing thousands and causing famine, poverty and riots. Lives, both ordinary and privileged, are changed forever. Sent to investigate, ship surgeon Henry Hogg can barely believe his eyes. Once a paradise,
the island is now solid ash, the surrounding sea turned to stone. But worse is yet to come: as the ash cloud rises and covers the sun, the seasons will fail.

1816:
In Switzerland, Mary Shelley finds dark inspiration. Confined inside by the unseasonable weather, thousands of famine refugees stream past her door. In Vermont, preacher Charles Whitlock begs his followers to keep faith as drought dries their wells and
their livestock starve. In Britain, the ambitious and lovesick painter John Constable struggles to reconcile the idyllic England he paints with the misery that surrounds him. In the Fens, farm labourer Sarah Hobbs has had enough of going hungry while the
farmers flaunt their wealth. And Hope Peter, returned from Napoleonic war, finds his family home demolished and a fence gone up in its place. He flees to London, where he falls in with a group of revolutionaries who speak of a better life, whatever the cost.
As desperation sets in, Britain becomes racked with riots – rebellion is in the air.

For fans of David Mitchell and Andrew Miller, The Year Without Summer tells the story of a fateful year when temperatures fell and the summer failed to arrive. It is a story of the books written, the art made; of the journeys taken, of the love longed for and
the lives lost. Six separate lives, connected only by an event many thousands of miles away. Few had heard of Tambora – but none could escape its effects.

The Year Without Summer Cover (1)

Review

Firstly, I do enjoy a bit of creativity, so the layout of the title and sub-title captured my attention on such an otherwise, quite stark cover. It intrigues me, as does the hard-hitting blurb.

The book starts with a series of beautifully written letters between Emmalina and Henry in 1815, when Henry is a surgeon upon the Beneres – a ship out on the high seas. They practically set the scene of the times, a bit like looking at letters from ancestors.

The book then changes to 1816, where the chapters really begin, cleverly named after the main characters – John, Hope Peter, Charles, Henry, Mary, Roisin and Sarah. The book then transports readers to and fro from 1815 and 1816 in a succinct way.

This is a sumptuous period piece. I don’t mean big dresses and corsets. I mean that it is as richly character driven as it is setting driven as the story tells one of on land and at sea. There are all walks of life within these pages. There’s a romance, the returning from war, there’s a preacher trying to preach sermons wherever he could, there’s an author and artists too.

Then… an eruption! There is a volcano exploding that will change the course of life.

This was a period of time that I had heard of, but was still a bit unfamiliar with, not so much the people within the story, who did exist, but the actual Tambora volcanic explosion, so that was interesting.

There are writers, such as Mary Shelley, who wrote Frankenstein and artists too that come into this story, one of the main reasons I was drawn to it. I was intrigued as to how they would fit into this story, plus I really like John Constable’s art. John, being John Constable, trying to show off his work of art at an exhibition at Somerset House. Those unfamiliar with Constable’s work, he was born in Suffolk and painted (in my opinion) beautiful landscapes, such as The Haywain, Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows, Cornfield and many more… It is interesting reading his part of the story, you get a feeling of his mood as people study his paintings, but then also go onto Turner’s (whom I equally like) and when the subject of a volcano erupting would be right up Turner’s street, when it is reported in the newspaper. It is also all put into context with what was happening elsewhere, such as Byron leaving Britain for Switzerland and one would think, giving up Newstead Abbey (visit if you haven’t already). As for Mary Shelley, it is interesting reading how she is trying to write and finally comes up with a tale to tell.

There are also tales to tell around the mill and other interesting characters, each life different to the next.

The story goes at a reasonable pace as the words etch onto the page like the paper is a large canvas, now filled with well-known names and historical times all weaved together to create, what is a pretty good yarn. There’s all manner of life to be found in this book.

Do take time to acquaint yourself with the Afterword. It tells of the far-reaching consequences and the real-life devastation caused by the Tambora volcanic explosion. It also tells a little more about the people who are characterised within this book.

Review of Ghosts in the Reflection and Letters to Erin by James F. Miller II #GhostsInTheReflection #LetterstoErin @kenyon_isabelle @jim_twenty @fly_press #flyonthewallpoetrytours #blogtour #poetryblogtour #poetry

Review of Ghosts in the Reflection
Letters to Erin
By James F, Miller II
Rated: ****

This is with thanks to Ms Isabelle Kenyon for getting in touch with me via my blog to invite me to join this blog tour. It gives me great pleasure to present this poetry book that has contemporary themes reflecting on today’s society and then going onto a second part about relationships and love.

Ghosts in the reflection poster Jim Miller Blog Tour

 

Blurb

In our current political and social climate, much-loved poet Jim Miller and his
frank observations of a downtrodden society, seem both relevant and important
for conversations regarding social reform. In this collection, it is the bonds of
love, even through troubled waters, which are offered as solutions to a society
currently shying away from a duty of care for one another.
“May the lord have mercy upon each of our misled souls.”- the words of poet Jim Miller,
presenting the heart of his new collection. Divided into three sections, Miller is
unafraid to delve into our current political and social climate in all its flaws,
passionate love in all its ups and downs and presents an ode to hope for our
future children, that they will learn from our mistakes.

 

Ghosts in the Reflection Front Cover

Review

Firstly, it is absolutely worth reading the author’s letter at the start of this eerily, atmospheric covered book. It gives some vital information which eases the understanding of how the book is presented. Its content is also interesting. Read the dedication before-hand. It is a bit different in that it is dedicated to its readers, but in an empathetic manner. There are then a couple of poems attached to this and then the book really gets going with as series of poems under the main heading of Ghosts in the Reflection and then moving on to Letters to Erin and concluding with A Lesser Man.

Ghosts in the Reflection are poems that show the decline in morals and society. They are moving and emotional and sometimes anger is also shown. They are raw and yet there’s something beautiful about the way they are written. They are powerful and bring strong images throughout them. The poems capture a time, a story observed very well. This poetry isn’t dull or boring, this is contemporary and has a great rhythm. It is relevant for readers today. Poetry, I am well aware, can be so easily dismissed. This isn’t a book to be dismissed so easily. This poetry is accessible. There’s nothing complicated about it and it is easy to follow. The poetry may be relatable to some readers, some may feel empathy or sympathy towards certain poems as the voices appear to be believable. The world has been well-observed by Jim Miller and through these poems are his findings of the state of the world we live in today.

The poem called The Screams Unheard is sensational in its use of words and imagery and emotion that builds and builds. It is of sadness and a woman who is now broken. The anger that turns into rage is immense, even with the everyday things such as brushing her hair, yet she is unheard.

The title of Recreating that Belly Flop from Grace the Other Day While Showing off Poolside made me smile, almost laugh even, a bit of levity. The poem itself is a sad one about love or rather a so-called love. It is unflinchingly written. Every word has a purpose. It has a bit of a twist at the end. It is cleverly written.

There are poems like those mentioned above that are a few pages long, but then there are some that are short and barely a page in length, but still have gravitas and are just as well and poignantly written, such as Sunshine, Daydream. It is beautiful and bright and full of love before twisting in the second stanza.

Daily Observations from a Sidewalk Cafe is indeed so well observed about the different behaviours of society. It highlights the kindness of people, but also what goes unnoticed, unappreciated and how wrapped up people can be to even praise someone, no matter how much hard work and effort a person shows or how much love exudes from a person. It’s thought-provoking about the attitudes that are within society today.

Dancing Blind Marionettes takes a more political turn about elections and the results of them and the impact in the end.
The political poems take readers on an insightful journey into the observations made on US politics.

Letters to Erin is about the highs and lows of relationships. There’s a poem called – Only the Chaos You Call Love and it is beautiful with love being found, but also the awkwardness of that first encounter.

One is so short and so poignant about that one person who may just get away.

As much as there is beauty in these poems about the love and romance that may be encountered in life, there are also some heartbreaking moments too. The tone however differs from that of the first-half of the book. A little less brutal and yet still not without heartwrenching moments within some of the poems and some of them are full of pain.

The concluding part – The Lesser Man contains a poem, a bit about the author and an author’s note, all making interesting reading before closing the book.

All in all, the poems are well-constructed and read well. The book is well-constructed too in terms of the flow from one poem to the next. This is a book that can be read either all at once or dipped in and out of with consumate ease. It’s an interesting perspective from the poet on how he views the world and what he has observed to create these well-written and thought-provoking poems.

There is a contemporary feel to the poems, so whether poetry is your thing or not, they are worth a look. They aren’t so difficult to follow. The themes are universal and each poem tells a relatable story in some way or another. There is also a whole mixture of lengths of poetry, but none feel too long or too short for what is being written.

*It is with thanks to Ms Isabelle Kenyon for providing me with a paperback copy of the book and for getting in contact to ask if I would like to be part of this blog tour, which I gratefully accepted.