Conspiracy of Cats By B.C. Harris @BCHarris64 #CrimeFiction #SupernaturalCrimeFiction #MurderMystery

 Conspiracy of Cats
By B.C. Harris

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I am pleased to bring a review of The Conspiracy of Cats – an involving, chilling murder mystery with a difference that makes it fairly unique. Thanks to Ian Harris for getting in touch and for gifting me a copy of the book in exchange of an honest review.
Take a look at the blurb and review below to find out more.

Conspiracy of Cats

Blurb

Conspiracy of CatsCONSPIRACY OF CATS… a supernatural murder mystery.
An apprehensive Jos Ferguson travels from Edinburgh to northern Tanzania to visit the house her Uncle Peter built before he died. But Peter isn’t as dead as he should be… he was murdered, and he wants his niece to help him exact revenge upon his killer. With a little Maasai magic and a conspiracy of cats, Jos sets out to do exactly that.
A beautiful house. A horrible death. A brilliant revenge.
Who knew death could be so lively?

Review

Meet Jos Ferguson, who’s life is between Scotland, where she is originally from, Tanzania and England. It gets off to an immense start that grips. Readers learn of freak accidents and a murder, so the book isn’t an average journey or holiday and life poses much heartache and challenge.

Meet Jude (Judith Johnstone) is Jos’s aunt who lives in Edinburgh and is most definitely a “cat lady” with no less than 7 cats. There are some heartfelt scenes as she sees Jos off to Africa. She wasn’t always in Edinburgh. It’s interesting reading about her life in the 1970’s when she travelled, rather stylishly for the times, to Bristol in her teenage years, plus attending a party that was so on-trend in Bath, where she met Peter…

The Conspiracy of Cats is immersive, being made up of descriptions and getting to know the people, especially the Maasai Beola and the cats within it. It’s texturised in words and feels rich and all beautifully written. There’s a great house and spacious, beautiful garden, full of nature, created by Jos’s Uncle Peter, where she stays when in Tanzania. It all pulls you almost into a comfortable idyll, rather like being in your own garden whatever the size, if you have one. 

A strange sighting of Peter makes your spine tingle and suddenly a whole new question is posed about his death or if he is really dead and throws Jos into some disarray, this also has an effect on Jude. The book takes a bit of an eerie turn and Jos feels the need to investigate further… There’s a little bit of a supternatural and magical bent that makes this an untypical mystery. This isn’t full on fantasy though, it is a fairly unique crime fictional book that doesn’t have a police detective’s life within it or police stations.

Readers get to know a bit about the Massai culture, which is interesting to read about.

The book certainly takes readers on their “armchair travels” as they see where the characters go and have been in past and present times. 

When the big cats are met, they are keenly described and this gives them real character and have lovely names. They are very much with Jos to set out revenge.

As the investigation continues, there’s an unexpected dark truth that begins to emerge as the sharp edges to the bit of cosyness and humour, gets even edgier and sharper that becomes more chilling than first thought, in this very involving and consuming story.

#Review by Lou of The Imperfect Art of Caring By Jessica Ryn @Jessryn1 @alliyabouyis @HQstories @HarperCollins #BlogTour #Fiction #ContemporaryFiction

The Imperfect Art of Caring
By Jessica Ryn

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Realistic, identifiable and heartwarming. The Imperfect Art of Caring shows so much in its character’s lives. Find the full review below the blurb. Thanks first to HQ Stories for gifting me the book and for having me on the blog tour.

Blurb

The Imperfect Art of CaringOne small act can make a big difference

Violet Strong is strong by name but not by nature, or so she thinks. She listens but never talks about herself. She’s friendly but doesn’t have many real friends. She’s become good at keeping people at a distance ever since she left home at eighteen and never looked back.

But when Violet is forced to return home to care for her estranged mother, Glenys, she quickly finds out that life as a carer isn’t easy. Feeling overwhelmed, she’s forced to turn to the other local carers, including childhood friend, Adam, for help.

Although returning home still feels like a mistake, maybe it will help Violet right some wrongs. After all, she can’t keep running from her past forever, and in learning to look after others, perhaps Violet can start to finally love herself…

Review

Caring, it’s a position so many people find themselves in and there are the challenging conversations to have with family for what to do for best. This is the situation sisters Violet and Jodie find themselves in, when it comes to the time to chat about what to do with their mum, Glenys. Then there’s also the added complexity that Violet hasn’t seen Jodie for years and what to do with her mum’s house, thinking of residential care and also caring for her in the interim period, whilst they decide what to do for best and sort out necessary arrangements. There’s also the assessments, when Violet, ends up looking into care homes and the way that Glenys is feels true to life.

There is some humour and some lovely descriptions and book series titles, blogs, life to be lived, which gives it a 3 dimensional feel, because when you’re dealing with caring there are other things going on too and the world doesn’t just stop. This book is heartwarming and shows kindness within its characters.

The book moves onto Tammy, who is also needing care. There’s only her and her mum and Tammy, who has a disability is trying to live independently, something that her mum finds a bit hard to get her head around at times. The descriptions of how silence is, is intense.
Their stories converge as they end up being neighbours. There are thoughtful, poignant moments throughout and some wise advice from a guy called Adam Croft.
It’s interesting seeing Tammy trying to get on with her life, but also bearing in mind all that her mum has told her. Violet also helps a bit and gives some sound advice. There’s also a search for Tammy’s father, but also a bit of doubt kicks in as to whether it is a good idea or not. In the meantime, it is interesting and positive seeing Tammy progress in life.

For both Violet’s and Tammy’s stories of how life is playing out for them, there is strength of character through the emotions and the getting through life the best they can. There is also a bit of potential romance in the offering.

There’s the highs and lows of caring that are within the book and whether you’re caring for someone or not, even though this is a fictional book, there’s lots both sets of people can take away with them. For carers, it is that it is an “Imperfect Art of Caring” that people try their best to muddle through, and also gives ideas of how to find some support.
For the cared for, there is the drive and determination running through life as well as support.
For those who don’t care for anyone in the sense that this book is talking about, it gives a pretty good picture of the situations faced, at least from a point of view, but without being too heavy.

There’s also the care shown for libraries and a campaign to support them, which is pleasing as so many are lost. It also demonstrates that they are places to ask people for help in. It’s short, but really stands out.

The book is realistic and shows that caring is indeed an “Imperfect Art”, which, anyone who is caring for someone in any situation will know and will have experienced some of what is in the book to a certain extent, depending on situations, including juggling their own life. I see the book as pretty realistic as I am an unpaid carer, writing a blog and juggling other life things as well as caring.

#BookReview By Lou – Mother of the Brontes By Sharon Wright #SharonWright @penswordbooks #NonFiction #Biography #Brontes #MariaBranwell #TheLifeOfMariaBranwell

Mother of the Brontes
The Life of Maria Branwell
By Sharon Wright

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Mother of the Brontes is a highly interesting account of Maria Branwell. Thanks to Pen and Sword for gifting me the book. Discover what the book is about and my opinion in the blurb and my review.

Mother of the Brontes cover

Maria Branwell has spent 200 years in the shadow of her extraordinary children, Charlotte, Emily and Anne Brontë. Now the first biography of Mrs Brontë appears as a beautiful bicentenary paperback edition in October 2021, with a commissioned portrait of Maria at 38 based on the only two existing images in the Brontë Collection. Sharon Wright’s critically-acclaimed biography reveals Maria’s fascinating life as a Regency gentlewoman who went looking for an adventure and found one. A sudden passion and whirlwind love affair led to the birth of the most gifted literary siblings the world has ever known. From a wealthy home in Penzance, Maria was a contemporary of Jane Austen and enjoyed the social status of a prominent family with secrets. So how did Maria fall for the penniless curate she called ‘My Dear Saucy Pat’ hundreds of miles from the home she loved? And what adventures lead lover Patrick Brontë to their fateful meeting in Yorkshire? What family scandals did Maria leave behind in Cornwall? How did wealthy and independent Miss Branwell of balmy Penzance adjust to life as Mrs Brontë in Yorkshire during the industrial revolution? And what was her enduring legacy in the lives of those world famous daughters and troubled son?

Review

It is well documented about lives of the Bronte sisters – Charlotte, Anne and Shirley, through the novels and poetry they wrote and biographies other people have written, even more is known about their brother – Branwell Bronte and their father – Patrick Bronte than the matriarch of the Bronte family – Maria Branwell. This book goes some way to rectifying this biography of her life in this treasure of a book that uncovers her life and her part as an individual and as part of the family she created.

Really delving into history and setting the scene to create background to how things were in the time of Maria’s life, it goes into detail about the backdrop of socio/economical/political scenes. This I felt was necessary to people now and into the future to understand how things were and also puts her life into context. You really get under the surface of how the world looked when she was alive, not just in broader terms, but also the families she may have known or seen around Penzance in Cornwall, the houses that were there and religious beliefs. It provides a focused texture and understanding in the first few chapters.

The book becomes even more compelling to discover why Patrick, so penniless, left Ireland and Maria leaves Cornwall for Yorkshire and how they courted each other and fell in love, even though there was class division of him being poor and her being wealthy, with social standing, but attraction and love won out, however unlikely that would initially seem, but they did and created a life and family together.
There are letters of this period of time, which were later handed down the family. There are extracts of her letters in the book, that feels really special to read and gives readers a glimpse into her letter writing style and means the book is able to retain some of her “voice” for present and future generations. It heightens providence and a real care of the Bronte family. The research is meticulous and the passion of its author – Sharon Wright to ensure this part of the family’s history can be read about in this way, really shines through.

There’s a look into day to day life within the Parsonage that really brings the place, that is still standing, located in Harrogate, Yorkshire, England, (now a museum), to life. It shows life within those walls of husband and wife and their children, who, especially their daughters, were to become literary giants, whose work is still popular and is now shown in many media forms. Lesser known however, is that Maria could also write and there is a little bit of this within the book.

The book takes readers right to the end of Maria’s life and the impact her death had on how the family then behaved in their day to day living and continuing of their own lives.

This is an absolutely fascinating read and to be able to read it in her bicentenary year makes it somewhat even more lovely.

1922 – Scenes From a Turbulent Year By Nick Rennison #NickRennison @OldcastleBooks #NonFiction #History #1920s #1922 #TheRoaringTwenties

1922
Scenes From A Turbulent Year
By Nick Rennison

Rating: 4 out of 5.

1920’s or the The Roaring Twenties is a prominent decade. 1922, especially, was a period of a lot of change, musically, film making, politically, prominent people coming to light and some reaching the end of their lives and much more in this interesting look into 1 busy year. Thanks to Old Castle Books for gifting me the book. Check out the blurb and then my review to find out about the book of the year, 1922.

1922 cover1922 was a year of great turbulence and upheaval. Its events reverberated throughout the rest of the twentieth century and still affect us today, 100 years later.

Empires fell. The Ottoman Empire collapsed after more than six centuries. The British Empire had reached its greatest extent but its heyday was over. The Irish Free State was declared and demands for independence in India grew. New nations and new politics came into existence. The Soviet Union was officially created and Mussolini’s Italy became the first Fascist state.

In the USA, Prohibition was at its height. The Hollywood film industry, although rocked by a series of scandals, continued to grow. A new mass medium – radio – was making its presence felt and, in Britain, the BBC was founded. In literature it was the year of peak modernism. Both T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and James Joyce’s Ulysses were first published in full.

In society, already changed by the trauma of war and pandemic, the morals of the past seemed increasingly outmoded; new ways of behaving were making their appearance. The Roaring Twenties had begun to roar and the Jazz Age had arrived.

1922 also saw the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, the arrest of Mahatma Gandhi, the death of Marcel Proust, the election of a new pope, the release of the first major vampire movie, and the brief imprisonment in Munich of an obscure right-wing demagogue named Adolf Hitler.

In a sequence of vividly written sketches, Nick Rennison conjures up all the drama and diversity of an extraordinary year.

Review

1922 was a busy year. Nothing stood still. Great change was on the horizon and new ways of thinking, new art and music forms were breaking through, the film industry was pushing through its scandals and experiencing growth. It wasn’t only in the arts that things were changing, the shape of countries was also changing as well as their politics as well as leaders who had ideals, inspired from the past and their 1922 present. Nick Rennison in his book about this year informs in an interesting snippets that make me think of newsreel articles in some ways. Each part isn’t overly long and yet has enough depth to pique interest and there are many events that occurred that readers may not know about this period of history. Each part, as well as being short is split into each month of the year.
This is a book that people ought to read as the impact is everlasting. By impact I don’t mean it is all negative, there’s positives too. It shows more that each year doesn’t live in isolation of the year previous or what comes after.

There is clearly a lot of research in documenting a lot of what happened in 1922 and then to write it in a way that doesn’t feel too text book like and is actually interesting enough to make you continue reading past the first pages to find out what else happened from the well-known and the perhaps lesser-known.

The book tells a bit of The Spanish Flu and its effects, which no doubt will bring people to think about the present times (at time of writing this blog post). It also documents the deaths for many reasons – from illness to assassination, of prominent people such as Shackleton, Alexander Graham Bell and more. There are people who I certainly haven’t heard of and yet made an impact on the world and there are many people who I have heard of who also have made a lasting impact on the world. The book respectfully tells the truth about them and means people aren’t forever forgotten about, whether they were good people or not.

There are a number of murders woven into months where there was better news such as the emergence of people who were to become sportstars and film stars of their time and their achievements as well as all the above in the blurb and so much more…

There is also political turmoil in a few countries in the world, including Russia, China, Italy as Fascist (far right) and Communist (far left) had emerged and getting stronger, especially Communism. It’s interesting for those who don’t know some of the smaller details that had a huge impact and both exist today, sometimes strong and powerful, some politicians on the edges and getting closer to far right or far left politics in the world. The countries still don’t stand still as the fall of empires occur and near the end of the year, the formation of the USSR.

Jazz had emerged and the Roaring Twenties was starting to really flow and The Jazz Age had well and truly arrived and the changing dancing styles as older figurations of dancing started to completely transform into something more energetic and, considered by some, quite outrageous.

This is a book that will interest people who like history, are interested in the 1920’s or just wondering what was happening in 1922 to expand their knowledge. There’s something in it for all adults as so much was happening that lots of wider topics such as music, film, politics, famous people are covered and so much more… There is much people of any age can learn about.

Dead Mercy By Noelle Holten @nholten40 @0neMoreChapter_ @HarperCollinsUK @BOTBSPublicity #CrimeFiction A #DCMaggieJamiesonNovel #Thriller #BlogTour

Dead Mercy
By Noelle Holten

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Today I am very pleased to be on the blog tour for the dark, gritty, visceral thriller – Dead Mercy by Noelle Holten. Discover more in the blurb and my review below. Opinions are my own. Thanks to One More Chapter for gifting me the book and to Books on The Bright Side for inviting me to review for the blog tour.

Dead mercy cover

Blurb

‘Hugely confident … harrowing, visceral … recommended’ Ian Rankin on Dead Inside

A brutal murder…

When a burned body is found with its teeth missing, DC Maggie Jamieson discovers that the victim may be the husband of one of her probation colleagues.

A dark history…

As the body count rises, the team becomes increasingly baffled by how the victims could possibly be connected until a clue leads them to a historical case that was never prosecuted.

A terrible secret…

In order to catch the killer, Maggie must piece together what happened all those years ago before it’s too late.

Review

Visceral and spine-tingling from the start – Dead Mercy sees DC Maggie Jamieson in an awkward situation. There is a  murder is brutal as brutal can be where the victim may be related to a probation officer under her wing. Then the bodies really start to rack up. It’s dark, harrowing and yet, perhaps because you’re at home or somewhere safe and the writing is strong, it’s not only going to give you a shiver down the spine with the dark tension created, but pulls you into its twists and turns as Maggie really digs deep and pushes hard to track down the killer.

There’s also a journalist digging around the investigation, which almost displeases Maggie as she is concerned that she will say or do something that will tip off the murderer that the police are onto the person who is committing such heinous crimes. There are pretty dark secrets that start to emerge. It’s an enthralling rollercoaster read that has much grit within it.

The veil is pulled back on the criminal justice system in the UK in a fictional sense, but gives readers a sense of it through some of the details and plot drive.

The book, although part of a series can be read as a stand alone too. All in all, it’s a strong book!

About the Author

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at www.crimebookjunkie.co.uk. She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of risk cases as well as working in a multi agency setting. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, attending as many book festivals as she can afford and sharing the booklove via her blog. Dead Inside – her debut novel with One More Chapter/Harper Collins UK is an international kindle bestseller and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

Connect with Noelle on Social Media here:

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dead mercy tour poster

#Excerpt of a #Chapter of I Made It Out By Avishai El #IMadeItOut #AvishaiEl @between_pr #BlogTour

I Made It Out
By Avishai El

I Made It Out banner

Today I am pleased to be on the blog tour for – I Made It Out. I have a sneaky peek at the cover, blurb and an excerpt of the first chapter to share with you Thanks to Reading Between The Lines for inviting me. Take a look and also discover where you can buy the book and website and social media links.

I Made It Out

Blurb

I Made It Out” details the raw, uncut, and honest life events of AvishaiEl.  She is 32 years old and decided to write this book to help other people who are going through situations that they feel as though they can’t get out of.  She affirms that you can get out of any situation and provides historical context in which she used her mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual capacities to face challenges head on.  In order to maintain peace, one has to go through things in life to get there.  She has gone through ups and downs.  All readers from all walks of life will be able to relate to her shared experiences.  On days where you feel low in life and on days where you feel high on life, opening this book and reading it will provide you with the tools you need to succeed no matter what.  Some of the imagery is explicit to paint a visual picture for the reader.
If she could get through it you can. You can make it out

Chapter One 

On rare occasions he would take me somewhere. The only time I remember him actually spending time with me at that age was when he went to get himself a sandwich filled with sprouts. He let me have a bite of his sandwich but didn’t get me a sand‐ wich. I always thought that was the weirdest thing to do. If I had a child, I would have also bought them something to eat. My father was a detached individual who acted impulsively. He was someone who would leave people, such as my mom and I, filled with unanswered questions. For example, him leaving was an impulsive action. There was no explanation. Another example is the time I asked my father about nationality. I asked my father, “What is my nationality?” His response, “We’re everything.” In my estimation his actions didn’t make sense to me. He wasn’t the type to admit to anything or take accountability. Saying, “Sorry” was not a part of his vocabulary and he always appeared aloof. This aloof, detached attitude that my father possessed put my life in danger. What was seen as ‘doing the right thing’ by my mom, because she followed a court order and didn’t want to keep her daughter away from her father, would later bring immense pain and sadness.
Every other Friday when I went to see my father at my paternal grandmother’s house, my mom would check in and my grandmother would make it seem as if she was there watching me at all times and would tell my mom that my father came over. My paternal grandmother would tell my mom I was doing fine. The reality was, unbeknown to my mom I wasn’t left with my father or his mother, I was left with my paternal grand‐ mother’s husband. He was an elderly man who I saw as a monster. That creature from hell looked like a classic Mr. Rogers to the average person. He would even smile at other people so you wouldn’t suspect the evil lurking underneath that mild exterior. He was very deceptive.
Every time I went over there, I was terrified, but I didn’t say a word to my mom. He abused me sexually and made me do despicable things against my will. He cussed often and called me a bitch. When I was left alone with him, he displayed different personalities. I saw a warped individual, not a person. I was only two-and-a-half to three-years old when I was violently abused.
No child should have to be brutalized. I remember wanting to run away from the house but he blocked me from leaving. I felt trapped. I can recall my mom dropping me off with another family member in the car. My paternal grandmother was outside to walk me in. I cried uncontrollably and was petrified to enter that house. The look on my mom’s face was one of uncertainty. She looked as though she didn’t want to leave me and kept asking me if I wanted to come with her. My maternal grandmother who was in the car with her said, “Just go ‘head,” an irritated edge to her voice. My paternal grandmother would say, “Let’s go in. She’s going to be fine. We’re going to go get breakfast.” This put my mother’s fears at ease. Yet, once again, she lied to my mom. She ended up leaving me with that monster again and then came the worst day of all.
WEBSITE & SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS