The Midas Cat 3 – A Midas Cat in New York by Tommy Ellis @TommyEllis14 #BookreviewbyLou #Fiction #CrimeFiction #Cats

The Midas Cat 3
A Midas Cat in New York
By Tommy Ellis
Rated: 4 stars ****

A Midas Cat in a very human world, snow and a touch of Christmas in New York is the treat in store, there is also some heavy crime with the mafia, which also awaits, through the dark with rays of brightness within it.

Thanks to Tommy Ellis for being in contact to review and for sending me over a PDF copy.

The Midas Cat In New York Cover

Blurb

It’s December, and Ralph Williams is in New York for some retail therapy having been deeclared both sane and innocent of murder. A case of mistaken identity, however soon ruins his festive mood and puts him on the mafia’s hit list… and the triads’. Just when he thought things were as bad as they could get. the midas cat shows up and messes not only with his sadity but organised crime… with unexpected results.

Review

Christmas in New York sounds wonderful and that’s where Ralph is spending it, whilst his cousin is locked away in a cell and his wife, Lauren is elsewhere. So, it’s The Big Apple all alone for Ralph, but he has won an amazing prize, but something unexpected, even for the U.S. happens.

Cat (The Midas Cat) is also in NYC and adores the city. The book continues from the previous books and still has that quality of creating a cat to be one of the main characters and almost human-like and still likes Adam Ant and still has a bit of a humanistic quality, which makes it quirky but fun. It is also fast paced and captures imagination well.

There is a mix of the brightness of Christmas cheer, (there could have been a bit more) and the darker culture that is within the U.S, but there are glimpses of some humour within it, which mostly comes from the cat and reactions towards it. The book, however, feels a bit darker than the books previous to this one, with a bit more of the Mafia and characters such as Don Vincenzo.

The book takes readers right up to and includes Christmas Eve with a surprising ending, that is worth waiting for.

The Smallest Man by Frances Quinn #Bookreview by Lou @franquinn @jessbarratt88 @simonschusteruk #HistoricalFiction

The Smallest Man
By Frances Quinn
Rated: 4 stars ****

Enchanting, refreshingly original with an uplifting quality, The Smallest Man is a great historical fiction book that eases readers through an amazing journey.

Thanks to Jess Barratt at Simon & Schuster for gifting me a proof copy for review.

The Smallest Man

Blurb

‘I want you to remember something, Nat. You’re small on the outside. But inside you’re as big as everyone else. You show people that and you won’t go far wrong in life.’

A compelling story perfect for fans of The Doll FactoryThe Illumination of Ursula Flight and The Familiars.

My name is Nat Davy. Perhaps you’ve heard of me? There was a time when people up and down the land knew my name, though they only ever knew half the story.

The year of 1625, it was, when a single shilling changed my life. That shilling got me taken off to London, where they hid me in a pie, of all things, so I could be given as a gift to the new queen of England.

They called me the queen’s dwarf, but I was more than that. I was her friend, when she had no one else, and later on, when the people of England turned against their king, it was me who saved her life. When they turned the world upside down, I was there, right at the heart of it, and this is my story.

Inspired by a true story, and spanning two decades that changed England for ever, The Smallest Man is a heartwarming tale about being different, but not letting it hold you back. About being brave enough to take a chance, even if the odds aren’t good. And about how, when everything else is falling apart, true friendship holds people together.

The Smallest Man cover

Review

The cover is amazing! It takes you on a journey right there and then, with the inside leading you into the life of Nat Davy – The Smallest Man, which is based on a true story, although this a fictional novel, but there is a strong basis of truth to it.  The first page is just utterly inspired! The narrative of how it tells readers, almost accidentally (although obviously it is cleverly thought out), of a little nugget here and there of Nat’s early life just in where he is not going to start his story, but then it all begins in Oakham.

This isn’t your usual sort of story set in such historical times, this takes readers to the fair and not just any fair – to one featuring freak shows and a decision to be made about whether to sell Nat to it or not has to be made. This makes for some great reading and is so different from other historical fiction novels. There are of course characters to be found like a duke, a queen and a king, lords and more, which adds to the exquisitiveness; but then if that doesn’t capture you, there are also gallows and Catholic martyrs. There are also run-ins with Crofts and his gang of friends.

This isn’t some lavish period piece of a season of dancing, nor is it some romp through the bedcovers, this tells a whole different side to history, and more pertinently, within 1625 and still has a richness to the story and in its textures and scenery. It is through the eyes of The Smallest Man and how his life is and how he is different from other people and seen as a freak. There is a tender emotion within the book as well as a sense of surviving and accomplishing against the odds and also shows that no matter how unlikely a friendship is to be formed, there are possibilities that they can. This book has hope within it and is  which in turn adds  an uplifting quality it.

Going deeper into the royal family and what are essentially death threats changes the tone, but still in keeping with the book and moves this plucky, refreshingly written story onto killer plots and a different layer of intrigue.

The Author’s Note is also fascinating and sheds a bit of light on a man, who perhaps was more on the edges of history, but nonetheless interesting.

Some praise for the book:

I loved this book – a fascinating tale of extraordinary accomplishment, and a story about how anything is possible and how love has always been a beacon of hope’ Phillip Schofield

‘An enchanting tale about a small man with a big heart. Nat Davy is so charming that I couldn’t bear to put this book down. I loved it’ Louise Hare, author of This Lovely City

The finished copy has some lovely green sprayed edges to it

#Spotlight by Lou on #HistoricalFiction Book – A Sparrow Alone by Mim Eichmann @EichmannMim #TheWriteReads #BlogTour

Spotlight On – A Sparrow Alone
By Mim Eichmann

Today I am pleased to present a spotlight post highlighting the latest book by Mim Eichmann – A Sparrow Alone, which is a Historical Fiction book with many themes. Follow futher down to discover the elegant cover and the blurb. Find out more about the author and her website below too. Thank you to The Write Reads for inviting me to the blog tour to do this.

A Sparrow Alone by Mim Eichmann | Review

Blurb

A Sparrow Alone1890’s Colorado. Desperate following her mother’s sudden death, thirteen-year-old Hannah Owens apprentices as domestic help with a wealthy doctor’s family in Colorado Springs. When the doctor declares bankruptcy and abandons his family to finance his mistress Pearl DeVere’s brothel, however, Hannah is thrown into a vortex of gold mining bonanzas and busts, rampant prostitution, and the economic, political and cultural upheavals of the era. Two of Cripple Creek’s most colorful historic characters, Winfield Scott Stratton, eccentric owner of the richest gold mine in Cripple Creek, and Pearl DeVere, the beautiful madam of The Old Homestead, come to life as this old-fashioned, coming-of-age saga unfolds, the first of two historical fiction novels by debut author Mim Eichmann — a tribute to the women who set the stage for women’s rights.

About the Author

A Sparrow Alone Author picwww.MimEichmann.com 
Mim Eichmann has found that her creative journey has taken her down many exciting, interwoven pathways.  For well over two decades she was known primarily in the Chicago area as the artistic director and choreographer of Midwest Ballet Theatre and director of its home, Midwest Ballet Academy, bringing full-length professional ballet performances to thousands of dance lovers every year and was the recipient of many arts’ programming grants.   A desire to become involved again in the folk music world brought about the creation of her acoustic quartet Trillium, now in its 15th year, a folk band well known for its eclectic repertoire performing throughout the Midwest that has also released four cds.  She’s also written the lyrics and music for two award-winning original children’s cds, “Why Do Ducks Have Webby Toes?” and “Wander Down Beyond the Rainbow” and occasionally schedules concerts of her children’s music and movement programs.

Always captivated by the writings, diaries and journals of late 19th century women, as well as that era’s economic, social and political upheavals, Ms. Eichmann has now put pen to paper and the historical fiction novel she has been passionately researching, its rich synopsis gradually evolving over many years, has finally become a reality.  We hope you’ll enjoy “A Sparrow Alone” and its sequel, “Muskrat Ramble.”

Hunted By Antony Dunford – #Review by Lou @antony_dunford @HobeckBooks #Thriller

Hunted
By Antony Dunford
Rated: 5 Stars *****

I waited awhile for Hunted and was excited that for Christmas, Hobeck Books emailed a copy and I wasn’t disappointed… Thank you!
On the backdrop of wild animals, there is a terrific thriller to be had.
Find out more about the author, the blurb and my review below.

Hunted

Blurb

Once a member of the world’s first all-female special forces unit, the Norwegian Hunter Troop, 

Jane Haven is now helping her brother Kennet protect some of the world’s most endangered animals at his Kenyan Wildlife Conservancy.

Heavily armed poachers pose a deadly threat to humans and animals alike, and when her brother dies suddenly, Jane vows to protect his legacy against the threats circling the Bandari reservation.

With rhino horn worth more than diamonds – those threats keep on coming – until Jane finds she’s the one being hunted … 

Hunted is a thrilling adventure that transports the reader into the savage beauty of the African bush. Antony Dunford captures the majesty of Kenya’s wildlife, and in Jane Haven, he’s created a modern kick-ass heroine for the Extinction Rebellion generation.

Review

This is a fabulous book with bite in such an exciting setting, which in turn brings a great paced thriller. Festo, Douglas, Jane and Tony are on the Laikipia Plateau, Kenya,  amongst the wild animals, such as rhinos and Zebras amongst other animals and birds across the Savannah. It’s a spectacular landscape to behold in the mind’s-eye. It is exquisite in depiction of African wilderness and is quite irresistible and enchanting, yet endangered due to poachers and there’s a peculiar omen featuring an owl. All of which would draw any reader in and by the second chapter, there’s even more action.
Murder is never pretty, and this one definitely is not and the hunt is on in what becomes a fast-paced thriller, which becomes about humans and animals in danger. As much as there is this, there is a beautiful richness to the story and it is all encompassing and absorbing as Africa wraps around you. The theories are interesting with the dynamics at play in characters and landscape adding depth to the story.

The book later moves to Nairobi, Lang’ata Maximum Security Prison. It sends a slight shiver down the spine in the way it is described and then you get to know a bit about the activities that are within it and some of the prisoners. It gets more intriguing still and before you know it, the book has come to and end! It’s a very good end in finding out the culprit and also, like throughout, such a nod to conservation and the stark need for it, to protect what is left in the natural world and all done in a none preachy way and all within a fantastic fast-paced thriller with a great heroine.

Find it on Amazon and the Hobeck Books website

Click Hobeck Books  to find out more.

Click here for Amazon

The Unravelling of Maria @fjcurlew #blogtour #saga

The Unravelling of Maria
By
Rated: 4 Stars ****

About the Author

Fiona Author profile picFiona worked as an international school teacher for fifteen years, predominantly in Eastern Europe. Seven of those years were spent in Estonia – a little country she fell in love with. She now lives in East Lothian, Scotland, where her days are spent walking her dog, Brockie the Springer, and writing.

The Unravelling Of Maria is her fourth novel.

Created with GIMP

Blurb

Lovers separated by the Iron Curtain.

Two women whose paths should never have crossed.

A remarkable journey that changes all of their lives.

Maria’s history is a lie. Washed up on the shores of Sweden in 1944, with no memory, she was forced to create her own. Nearly half a century later she still has no idea of her true identity.

Jaak fights for Estonia’s independence, refusing to accept the death of his fiancée Maarja, whose ship was sunk as she fled across the Baltic Sea to escape the Soviet invasion.

Angie knows exactly who she is. A drug addict. A waste of space. Life is just about getting by.

A chance meeting in Edinburgh’s Cancer Centre is the catalyst for something very different.

Sometimes all you need is someone who listens.

Review

The Unravelling of Maria is like a love letter in some ways to Estonia, but is more complex than this. It is set over different time periods and with multiple perspectives, so some concentration is a must. In saying that, it is elegantly written and holds interest. It is immersive as she touches on conflict and also some of the more salubrious sides of Edinburgh, away from the glam of the city within this saga of almost epic proportions.

The book delves in to the history of Estonia, which is fascinating and makes this book feel rather original in many ways. It isn’t overly heavy as there are so many universal themes throughout as well of humanity and identiy. Maria, Angie and Jaak are terrific characters who show bravery and show that sometimes people just need to be given a chance in life. The tension throughout is however immense at times with a huge intensity, but in someways this keeps that feeling of it having a hold on you, going. The descriptions are quite panoramic in quality, which really suits this style of book.

There is a humanity that appears through the book and it feels like it has been researched well and a great deal of care over it has been taken to take people through quite a journey through time and countries in a way that isn’t sensationalised, in the way that some pretty hard times and challenges that have to be faced are revealed.

Social Media/Website Links

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#Bookreview by Lou of Red/Black by Rachel Atherton Charvat #RachelAthertonCharvat @MatadorBooks #RandomTTours #RedBlack

Red Black
By Rachel Atherton Charvat 
Rated: 4 stars ****

I am delighted to be closing the Red/Black blog tour with Random Things Tours, with a review of this twisty book as the roulette table spins as Sarah’s life plays out to an unexpected end.

Follow through the blurb to my review and then discover a bit more about the author and a buy link.

RedBlack BT Poster

BLURB

Sarah Hughes. Wife, mother, secret gambler. 

Her life is one of stability and security. Settled in Cheltenham, married for over twenty years, lovely children but her inner trauma of losing a child in a car accident in which she was driving is reopened when her husband accepts a full-time posting to a military camp in Germany. Upon arriving in Germany, her underlying depression returns and she starts gambling online. The isolated posting and pressures of army life exacerbates her struggle and exposes the frailties of her marriage.

The stakes rise as her gambling escalates and she starts to realise her husband is not all she believed…

Red/ Black is a debut novel that is a carefully constructed story that deals with very modern themes of mental health and gambling.

RedBlack Front Cover

Review

Red/Black in the title cleverly resembles a roulette table. The promise of a sort of glamour of the roulette tables of the casinos that often isn’t a reality, with people who gambling who aren’t the of the film star depiction. Red/ Black shows the unravelling of Sarah Hughes life and red/black becomes symbolic of the gambles Sarah makes in life. She’s just an average wife and mother in Cheltenham and life in a new place should have been wonderful, except her husband takes a full-time job in the military in Germany. There is the tragic loss of her son and her marriage can best be described as fragile and deception is at play, which are big themes. The book shows the fagilities of life and mental health as her life spirals and as she is in a strange place, there is no one instant to help. The mental toll is written, sometimes taking readers into some of the more minute detail. It’s an emotional read and by no means light, it tackles heavy-weight subjects that everyone has heard of so often in people’s lives or perhaps experienced something of it themselves. The book is however very well-written and takes readers on a great story of a darker side of life.

Overall this is a thought-provoking, well-written  book with modern themes that are hard-hitting, with the seemingly great life of security and family, shown in the back-story and the unravelling as life events happen, with twists and turns. That black/red of the roulette table of life keeps spinning to an ending I did not see coming!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rachel Atherton-Charvat is originally from Norfolk and later moved to Gloucestershire.

She is married to a serving Army Officer and is currently accompanying him on an overseas posting in Turkey. She has previously worked as a history teacher and a photographer, exhibiting her work in the UK, USA and Cyprus.

Red/Black is her debut novel.

Buy Link

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Red-Black-Rachel-Atherton-Charvat/dp/1838594981