#Review By Lou of A Little Piece Of Mind By Giles Paley-Phillips @eliistender10 @unbounders @RandomTTours #ALittlePieceOfMind #BlogTour

A Little Piece Of Mind
By Giles Paley-Phillips

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

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Today I am on the blog tour with a review for A Little Piece of Mind by award winning author and podcaster of Blank Podcast – Giles Paley- Phillips. Thanks to Unbound and Random T. Tours for inviting me to review.

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Blurb

From award-winning author Giles Paley-Phillips, this haunting verse novel follows Hobs, a young man struggling to navigate his own mind and the increasingly mysterious affairs he encounters in his supposedly idyllic suburban home town.
When Jenni, the girl of his dreams, suddenly disappears, Hobs finds himself on the trail of Mike Bilk, a charismatic businessman-turned-politician whose alleged role in a local tragedy points to greater questions of political greed and corruption.

As time begins to lose its shape, Hobs is left to piece together his fragmented memories while battling the disorienting anguish of adolescent love and infatuation. With reality crumbling around him, Hobs must confront the possibility that there’s no one left he can trust – least of all himself.

Review

The story cuts and makes you involuntarily take a sharp-intake of breath! Then Hobs, short for Hobart appears…
Think verse books are just for children or students of Shakespeare? Think again. This is becoming a bit of a trend, re-emerging in adult books and they are very good and bring a different freshness, as this one does to contemporary fiction.

A Little Piece Of Mind tells a story of Hobs and through short verses, an entire story is created, so it’s useful for readers with little time on their hands as it’s easy to dip in and out, or, in this case, read perhaps more than what you first intended as the verses enthrall as the story builds and builds and also because they are short.

A Little Piece of Mind allows readers into the mind and life of Hobs. It’s a beautifully written book, showing his mental state and his life of finding the girl of his dreams – Jenni; where the story moves along and it shows a bit about her relationship with her mother. Readers see and feel the emotion of Hobs when Jenni goes mysteriously missing. You can feel and see the urgency and desire of Hobs to see Jenni again. The writing becomes quite intense in places. The pain is there and feels real for Hobs as aspects of life seem to swirl around him as he pieces bits of what is going on together.
Hot-shot – Mike Bilk is quite the high profile character, who he ends up on the trail of. He’s an intruguing character with quite a lot of influence and power, for readers to get to know.

A Little Piece of Mind captures something quite cerebral on one-hand and on the other, sheer emotion and characters to get your teeth into and also care about in this pacey book that creates a desire to keep turning the pages to see what happens next.

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#BookReview By Lou of The Family Man By Kimberley Chambers @kimbochambers @HarperCollinsUK #RandomTTours #GangsterCrime #CrimeFiction #GangsterFiction

The Family Man
By Kimberley Chambers

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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Spectacular and mightily gritty with a fast pace. This is slick gangster crime with edge, at its best!
Thanks to Random Things Tours for inviting me to review and to Harper Collins for providing an exquisite Limited Gold Edition of the book. Follow down to find out more in the blurb and the rest of my review below…

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Blurb

A brand-new series from the queen of gritty crime

A fascinating interviewee and a brilliant raconteur, Kimberley has appeared on BBC Breakfast, BBC Radio 4 Saturday Live, Loose Ends and Front Row, BBC Radio 2 Graham Norton and the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Virgin Radio…

The Family Man Graphic 2MEET THE BONDS…
Kenny Bond is finally out of prison after doing a long stretch for killing a copper, and is determined to get back to life on the straight and narrow. He’s got a lot of time to make up for, he’s missed his beloved wife, Sharon, and his family is growing up fast.
A FAMILY LIKE NO OTHER…
Kenny’s son Donny might lack his father’s edge but his twin grandsons, Beau and Brett – well, they are Bonds through and through. Like him, they won’t let anyone stand in their way.
BUT THEY’RE ABOUT TO MEET THEIR MATCH…
Family comes before everything else for Kenny. There’s nothing he won’t do for them. But there are enemies from his past he can’t shake off, and a family feud is brewing. Kenny’s determined that nothing, and no one, will threaten his family. But can the Bond family stick together when someone’s out to take them down?

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Review

The Family Man is fast-paced and enthralling. It’s full of grit and pulls readers into the authenticity of the underground of a gangland family.

The Family Man tells the story of The Bond family throughout the 1980’s and into the 1990’s. For a gangster family you really get the sense of those family bonds and the whole juxtopositions that is especially embodied in Kenny, who is a gangster and murderer, yet really cares about his family. Don’t be mistaken, there is nothing that is cosy and warm as such. This book feels authentic in language and situations used. It has bags of intense grit that builds from Wormwood Scrubs and throughout the book.

The bonds between the family are put to the test and there’s someone after them… It puts into question how far someone will go to protect their family, even in the gangland world.

It’s interesting reading how Sharon, a devoted wife to Kenny Bond, really feels about things as she has spent so much time standing by her man, even though he was banged up in prison. The relationships in this family and strong feelings really come through in this, at times, visceral book.

There, even in such an underground of life, is emotion in many ways, felt by the characters, simmering away, but all the while, in the forefront is that knowledge they are gangsters. The family feud that brews and betrayal, adds another level of intensity and grit.

About the Author

Kimberley Chambers Author PIcA truly unforgettable character, Kimberley injects authenticity into her gritty gangland crime novels set around the east end. She came to writing later in life, having worked as a street trader (being promoted from tea girl to sales when she rugby-tackled a shoplifter), a DJ and a cabbie.
Fed up of scraping a living, she set her mind to writing a novel, despite being laughed at by friends and family, who dubbed her ‘a female Del-Boy’. But with her creative mind, colourful life experiences and memorable covering letter (‘Take a chance on me, you won’t regret it. This time next year I’ll be wearing Prada, not Primark’), she quickly had five agents knocking at her door and a publishing contract. Fifteen novels and three Sunday Times number ones later, she’s top of her game and an incredible inspiration.
Join Kimberley’s legion of legendary fans facebook.com/kimberleychambersofficial on and
@kimbochambers on Twitter.

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The Great Silence by Doug Johnstone @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks #RandomTTours #TheSkelfs #TheGreatSilence #CrimeFiction

The Great Silence
by Doug Johnstone

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

The Great Silence is the latest book in The Skelfs series. They are back. Thanks to Random T. Tours for inviting me to the blog tour and to Orenda Books for gifting me the e-book. Find out more about this Edinburgh based crime book in the blurb and my review below.

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Blurb

The Great Silence cover with quotes and author name (1)Keeping on top of the family funeral directors’ and private investigation businesses is no easy task for the Skelf women, and when matriarch Dorothy discovers a human foot while walking the dog, a perplexing case presents itself.
Daughter Jenny and grand-daughter Hannah have their hands full too: the mysterious circumstances of a dying woman have led them into an unexpected family drama, Hannah’s new astrophysicist colleague claims he’s receiving messages from outer space, and the Skelfs’ teenaged lodger has a devastating experience.
Nothing is clear as the women are immersed ever deeper in their most challenging cases yet. But when the daughter of Jenny’s violent and fugitive ex-husband goes missing without trace and a wild animal is spotted roaming Edinburgh’s parks, real danger presents itself, and all three Skelfs are in peril.
Taut, dark, warmly funny and unafraid to ask big questions – of us all – The Great Silence is the much-anticipated third instalment in the addictive, unforgettable Skelfs series.

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Review

It is great to be reunited with Dorothy, Jenny and Hannah, of whom each have a chapter dedicated to them and it rotates through them until the end of the story. It starts with a nose-wrinkling moment with Dorothy and her collie dog – Einstein. It’s definitely a most unexpected opener.

The Skelf family own a funeral business in Edinburgh, but also there are investigations to conduct. This isn’t your usual funeral parlour, this is one where investigations also occur, so it’s quite a lot for the Skelf’s to juggle.

In a way, like previous books in this series, it presents itself as something a bit more genteel, but when you get into the detail, nestling amongst some humour and the beauty and fun of Edinburgh and its surrounding areas, such as Leith and Portobello including the zoo and Cramond, (which Doug Johnstone adeptly leads his readers round), it’s actually quite dark and full of mystery. There seems to be many mysterious deaths that turn up in the mortuary; there is one presenting with no clear cause of death or DNA match. There are also mysterious limbs by Leith, not necessarily matching up with each other. There’s mystery and black humour in the way it is written, including some strange embalming.

Nothing is straight forward and some people aren’t either, as Hannah’s got a new colleague who is an astrophysicist and absolutely convinced there are aliens. To add to this strangeness, there may be a mystery surrounding a big cat. As well as mysterious deaths, there is also grief, high emotion, much tension and family dramas; it’s a story of multi-layers that also sees the Skelf’s in danger and a lot of life questions and contemplations about life, religion and more, being questioned are considered.

About The Author

Author Doug Johnstone poses for a portrait near his home in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Doug Johnstone is the author of twelve previous novels, most recently The Big Chill (2020). Several of his books have been bestsellers and three, A Dark Matter (2020), Breakers (2019) and The Jump (2015), were shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year.
He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions over the last decade – including at a funeral parlour ahead of writing A Dark Matter – and has been an arts journalist for over twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three solo EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also player-manager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh. Follow Doug on Twitter @doug_johnstone and visit his website: dougjohnstone.com.

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#BookReview by Lou – The Boy Who Couldn’t by R. Coverdale @RLCoverdale #RandomTTours #TheBoyWhoCouldn’t #InternationalFriendshipDay #8-12yearolds #ChildrensBooks #PrimarySchool #Nature #Badgers

The Boy Who Couldn’t
by R. Coverdale

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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The Boy Who Couldn’t is a positive story that is perfect for 8-12 year olds, that is great for the home and for school, with highly relevant and teachable themes.
School Resources are available and there is also a fun quiz at the back of the book.
Find out more in the blurb and review below. There is also fascinating information about the author after that too, as well as website and social media links for her and the Badger Trust.

Blurb

The Boy Who FINAL CoverThe school bully is the only one who can save them.

James’ life has been turned upside down and now the local bully has made him a target. So why would his mother insist he should invite him over? Especially when they’re hiding a secret badger clan at the bottom of the garden.

Now the badgers are under threat from a gang with fighting dogs and the badgers aren’t the only ones in peril.

Danger is approaching and it will make the most unlikely of heroes.

A story about becoming the person you can be, not the person you are expected to be.

Review

The chapters go between James and Greg, beginning with James, who is in the middle of a real life drama, he didn’t expect to be in and his parents are in some financial trouble. It is however his 11th  birthday and is a home with love in it and fun. His dad is into adventures and wildlife and home life is quite stable. He’s quite inspirational and takes time with his son, teaching him about badgers and they build a badger sett with Ahmed. Older children and young adults may be inspired to get into the outdoors and create dens, learn about wildlife and nature and have fun along the way.

When readers meet Greg for the first time, he is just turning 13. His parents are also having some issues, as does Greg himself, but finds being amongst nature calms him down. His homelife is, in complete contrast the James’s homelife, more unstable, and where he feels rather invisible to his parents, and his dad has been in prison, but he does have Uncle Kev, who shows him different things and pays him attention, when he visits.

James and Ahmed come from better off backgrounds than Greg does and different places, Greg from an estate and the other 2 boys not. They do however meet in the woodland, even though they feel awkward and Greg can be a bully, plus there are just differences because of their circumstances.

The book deals with bullying and what Greg feels like when he is the one who is frightened and James and Ahmed are showing bravery, instead of how it used to be the other way round, but in the end it is Greg who also has to show some courage when men come and start capturing badgers with their dogs, even though he initially freezes. There’s much trepidation and so much that will have children gasp and have them gripped. There are twists and turns as human and badger lives are put in danger. There’s also courage of a different kind, which is turning your life around for the better…

It has the absolute best of endings that will have everyone smiling by then.

Children will either be able to relate or they can empathise with people who’s home lives are perhaps similar or different from their own. It also shows how families can be different from each other, which encourages this empathy and understanding, as well as how very different people can end up in friendships, even when it doesn’t seem it would be likely due to life circumstances. It also encourages care for wildlife, in-particular, badgers. It also really highlights wildlife crime too.

At the back of the book, there is a True or False Quiz that readers can do for fun or in a classroom setting, that will enhance their understanding of what they’ve just read. In addition to this, there are also teacher resources that can be obtained, so it can be used in depth in schools.

There is a website at the back of the book, I’ll also include here, for The Badger’s Trust, for those interested.
www.badgertrust.org.uk
The author is also responsible and has included info about what to do if children/young adults do ever find themselves in danger in the UK and also the number for Childline: 0800 1111

About the Author

Rachel Coverdale Author PicRachel Coverdale was born and bred in the beautiful North Yorkshire countryside in North East England. Raised with copious amounts of animals but without the distraction of a modern TV set, she turned to books and her own imagination for entertainment. Animals were and still are a huge part of her life and inevitably they made their way into her stories. Believing strongly in fresh air, nature and outdoor play to give children a sense of fun and freedom, Rachel uses her books to encourage children to connect with nature and venture into the countryside.

Having taught as an English teacher for many years and now settled happily into the role of school librarian, Rachel ensures all her books are not only creative, imaginative and exciting, but also of great educational benefit. Teaching resources and a scheme of work are available for “The Boy Who Couldn’t”.

Rachel is regularly featured on BBC Radio Tees Book Hour with Bob Fischer and Shack discussing and reviewing her latest reads. She also travels her native North East England paying visits to Primary and Secondary schools, giving talks on her books and about the importance of nature and the environment they live in.

Social and Website Links

Twitter @RLCoverdale

Instagram @rachellouisecoverdale

Website: https://www.rachelcoverdale.com Facebook: rachellouisecoverdale Twitter: @RLCoverdale

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#Review by Lou Stealing The Spanish Princess – Behind Every Painting Is A Story… by Bea Green #BeaGreen @TheConradPress @RandomTTOurs #CrimeFiction #StealingTheSpanishPrincess

Stealing The Spanish Princess
By Bea Green 

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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I stand in art galleries sometimes, just gazing at paintings, wondering what the story is behind them, or the pose of a portrait. With Stealing The Spanish Princess, you see part of the painting through a door and wonder what’s going on as you step inside.

Thanks to Love Books for inviting me on the blog tour and for The Conrad Press for sending me the book. Follow down to find out more of my review and about the author and what gave inspiration to include a particular piece of art in this first in the series crime fiction book.

Blurb

Spanish Princess Graphic 2In this captivating and dazzling art crime mystery, eccentric detective Richard Langley hunts for a 16th-century masterpiece by the artist El Greco. The thief stole the priceless painting from an apartment in Kensington, London, and in the process knifed to death a Russian woman. DCI Richard Langley from Scotland Yard’s Art and Antiquities Unit joins colleagues from Homicide as they pursue a trail that leads them to St Petersburg and then to Madrid. Following closely in their footsteps is a maverick private investigator hired by the painting’s owner. Knowing how hard it is to sell on stolen artworks of that calibre, Richard wonders what the motive behind its theft might be. The answer, when it comes, takes everyone by surprise.

Review

This is the first Inspector Langley Mystery and readers are in for a treat with this debut that takes readers into the art theft scene and murder! 

Chief Inspector Richard Langley begins his day studying a mummified foot…. as you do… until he is requested to head up to room 402, a room that doesn’t specialise in antiquities and art crime, so comes as a surprise to be called to meet Chief SuperIntendant Alan Matthews, Chief Inspector, Abdul Hazim and Detective Inspector Eilidh Simmons and Super Intendent Lionel Grieves. Then all becomes clear to Langley as murder and art theft of a valuable El Greco painting mix together like colours on a pallet. Bea Green has done some interesting research on El Greco that is intertwined smoothly into the story. You can check out what the paintings are like online. I did a quick internet search. It’s worth doing.
The book is rich with art references to several artists and art security in such a tumultous world, especially in some parts. There are interesting parts about Russia and the art and opera world there, that also become intriguing and all becomes a murky, sinister world with the Russian Mafia.

Rosamie is an interesting character as a person of interest to the police and I found her to be intriguing, especially in her reactions.

There is much for readers to be interested with this book from styles of art to theatre to history, to present times to connections to different countries and of course, crime; all of which takes some unexpected turns.

 

Author Bio for Bea Green

 

Bea Green Author PicBea Green has had a somewhat roving life as the daughter of a British diplomat. Her mother is Spanish and growing up Bea spent every summer at her grandfather’s olive tree farm in Andalusia. This olive tree farm was the inspiration for her contemporary romance book, La Finca.

Bea studied Art throughout school and then did Art History for two of her four years at St Andrews University, where she met her husband. She graduated with an MA in English Literature.

Her interest in art was fostered by her father and her Spanish grandmother. Her Spanish grandmother accompanied her to many of Madrid’s art galleries and several of El Prado’s paintings are fondly remembered in Bea’s art crime book, Stealing the Spanish Princess.

Stealing the Spanish Princess was inspired by a Spanish painting, Lady in a Fur Wrap, at Pollok House, Glasgow. When Bea wrote Stealing the Spanish Princess there was a huge debate among art experts about the painting, with some claiming it was painted by El Greco. Some experts thought the painting was of Princess Catalina Micaela, daughter of the Spanish King, Philip II.

Bea Green has lived in Edinburgh since leaving St Andrews University, with her Glaswegian husband and two daughters. She also maintains close links with her family in Spain.

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Bobby March Will Live Forever by Alan Parks @AlanJParks @blackthornbks @RandomTTours #BobbyMarch #HarryMcCoy

Bobby March Will Live Forever
By Alan Parks
Rated: 5 stars *****

The plot is both gritty and gripping and very quickly gets into full-swing from the outset, with twists and turns to come throughout. It’s quite the page-turner on such an interesting dark back drop in Glasgow.  Although this is book 3 in the series, it works very well as a standalone as well as part of the Harry McCoy series.
This is a book praised by Ian Rankin and Peter May.
Thanks to Blackthorn publishers for providing a book and for RandomThingsTours for inviting me to be part of the blogtour.
Follow on down to find out more about the author, the blurb and my review as well as website and social media links.

About The Author

Alan Parks Author Pic (1)Alan Parks has worked in the music industry for over twenty years. His debut novel Bloody January was shortlisted for the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. He lives and works in Glasgow.

Bobby March Will Live Forever is the third Harry McCoy thriller

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Blurb

Harry McCoy investigates the suspicious overdose of a rock legend and the disappearance of a young girl in this gripping thriller.

WHO IS TO BLAME WHEN NO ONE IS INNOCENT?

Bobby March PB CoverThere’s a heatwave in Glasgow and the drugs trade is booming. The whole force is searching for missing thirteen-year-old Alice Kelly. All except Harry McCoy, who has been taken off the case after a run-in with the boss, and is instead sent alone to investigate the death of rock-star Bobby March, who has just overdosed in the Royal Stuart hotel.

The papers want blood. The force wants results. McCoy has a hunch. But does he have enough time?

  • Themes include inner-city poverty, gang warfare, the rise and fall of rock & roll stardom, illegal narcotics distribution and the growth of the IRA, seen through the eyes of his good-cop-in-a-gray-world, Detective Harry McCoy.
  • Will appeal to fans of Ian Rankin, Denise Mina, Peter May, William McIlvanney and Val McDermid, as well as TV series such as Idris Elba’s Luther

Review

Ingeniously, Alan Parks has chosen months of the year to be within his titles, the first being Bloody January, followed by February’s Son and this is his latest installment – Bobby March Will Live Forever. Set in 1970’s Glasgow in the underworld during a heatwave (proving it does get hot in Scotland), Harry McCoy is facing a hard time of it as he has involuntarily been taken off the case investigating the death of rockstar – Bobby March. It’s dark and twisty as well as evocative in this latest book in Tartan Noir.
The book is most definitely Glasgow with Central Station, The Barras and the named press being The Daily Record and The Evening Times all being mentioned, so there is plenty that people will recongnise or an familiarise themselves with.

The music scene is set-up well with Bobby March heading to London to do an important recording in the 1960’s. Fast forward to the 70’s – the era the book is predominantly set in, during a drugs and rock n roll world and the book captures the culture well, around this time and Bobby March seems like he’s a music legend, with graffiti around saying “Bobby March Will Live Forever”. He’s a character readers get to know as the book goes along and get a real feel for who he was and the grim lifestyle he had lived.
The book also takes a look at the social aspect of these times in the more impoverished parts of Glasgow, where there were people living who were very much set apart from the music scene, before focusing back onto the case, which leads them to the Barras to do some digging around. McCoy has quite the work ethic and an interest in finding the truth and bringing about justice, even when it means a few scrapes along the way.

There is a missing 13 year old and Harry McCoy has to find her, off the record. The pressure to discover more about Bobby March and his presumed overdose and the missing teen, can be felt as the pages turn.

Gritty and gripping on the dark backdrop of the music and drugs scenes of 1970’s Glasgow; Bobby March Will Live Forever is the latest Harry McCoy Thriller that keeps feeding the curiosity to the end.

I have read an extract of the next book – April Dead and readers are in for something equally as explosive and dramatic!

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 Links

 Twitter: @AlanJParks

 Website: www.alanparks.co.ukBobby March PB BT Poster