reviews, books, blog tour

Blog Tour: Summer Secrets at Streamside Cottage – Samantha Tonge*

Read my review of The Summer Island Swap

A new start can come from the most unexpected places…

It’s been years since Lizzie Lockhart spoke to her parents. But she was safe in the knowledge she knew everything about them. Once upon a time, they were as close as could be. Until they weren’t.

After receiving the earth-shattering news of their passing, Lizzie decides it’s time to unearth some family secrets and find out just who her parents really were… starting with Streamside Cottage.

A cottage Lizzie never knew existed, in a place she’s never heard of: the beautiful English village of Leafton.
Leaving behind London, and the tattoo parlour she called home, Lizzie finds herself moving to the
countryside. Faced with a tight-lipped community, who have secrets of their own, Lizzie is at a loss for what to do, until her rather handsome neighbour, Ben, steps in to help.

As Lizzie finally begins to piece together the puzzle of her family history she realises she has to confront the truth of the past in order to face her future.

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Samantha Tonge lives in Manchester UK and studied German and French at university. She has worked abroad, including a stint at Disneyland Paris, and has travelled widely.

She has sold many dozens of short stories to women’s magazines.
In 2014 her bestselling debut, Doubting Abbey, was shortlisted for the Festival of Romantic Fiction
Best Ebook Award.
In 2015 her summer novel, Game of Scones, hit #5 in the UK Kindle chart and won the Love Stories Awards Best Romantic Ebook category.
In 2019 she was shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Comedy Award.
In 2020 she won the RNA’s Jackie Collins Romantic Thriller Award with her novel Knowing You, from publisher Canelo.

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My thoughts:

Reeling from the deaths of her estranged parents, Lizzie rents the cottage left to her aunt and goes looking for the mystery of why her parents never wanted to return to Leafton.

As she looks into the past, her future is still undecided, will she return to London, the tattoo studio where she works and the flat she shares with her boss, or will she find out things that make her want to stay in Leafton?

This was a clever and enjoyable story about family, the past and building a new life for yourself. Lizzie is an interesting and engaging protagonist, her memories of her early childhood are hazy but the things she needs to know are buried in there somewhere.


*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Hashtag Killer – A.S. French*

Catch a killer or save a child. What would you do?

DI Jen Flowers thought she’d seen it all after fifteen years on the force, but when a vigilante serial killer hits the city and uses social media to gather supporters, she must fight the public and her doubts to catch a murderer and save her daughter.

Suffering from blackouts and abandoned as a child by her father, Ruby Vasquez has been chasing
that one scoop to make her an internet star. Living with an alcoholic mother who hates her, Ruby discovers a secret about the vigilante’s first victim, which puts her in the killer and DI Flowers’ sights.

Jen and Ruby have to overcome the secrets in their past while battling each other to discover the Hashtag Killer’s identity. Jen will have to choose between keeping her daughter safe or finding a killer, while Ruby will need to decide if becoming famous is more important than doing the right thing.

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Andrew French is a man of no wealth and little taste. He lives amongst faded seaside glamour on the North East coast of England. He likes gin and cats but not together, new music and old movies, curry and ice cream. Slow bike rides and long walks to the pub are his usual exercise, as well as flicking through the pages of good books and the memoirs of bad people.

Website, Twitter, Instagram, FB page

My thoughts:

This was a clever thriller, complete with red herrings and false leads, sending the police in the wrong direction as they hunt for a vigilante killer.

Ruby is trying to build a name for herself as a citizen journalist, with her crime blog. But her apparent close proximity to the killer makes her a person of interest to the police. But is her criminal father connected?

Both Jen and Ruby are interesting characters, they have a lot going on in their personal lives and their pursuit of the killer places them at risk. They’re smart and while they take different angles on the crimes, they ultimately want the same thing – justice.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books

Readalong: Mer-May – Tenebrasco by Hannah Reed

mer may

I have a fun announcement for you all! 

Starting May 1st, there will be a read-along of Hannah Reed’s YA Fantasy, Tenebrasco! The read-along will last a month and each week there will be specific chapters to read. Of course, people can read at their own pace too. Starting today, you can download Tenebrasco for free until the 17th (April 15 – 17) from Amazon!

Each weekend one of the hosts will do an IG live to talk about the chapters of the book that week, themes within the book, mermaids and even interview the author. 

Throughout MerMay there will be competitions, prizes and a free giveaway! 

Anyone who joins will also receive a bonus epilogue to Tempus, the final book in the Pearl Wielders series!

Book Cover

Mermay Read-Along!

Tenebrasco 

Publication Date: July 2019

Genre: YA Fantasy/ Mermaids

Mer. Magic. Adventure.

Princess April Meridia is preparing for the long awaited Peace Treaty to unite the mer and legged after centuries divided. The most powerful mera under the sea her only instruction for the evening is to look ‘pretty and harmless’.

But when peace is threatened and April’s powers start acting strangely it is time for her to take control.

Amazon

About the Author

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Hannah Reed writes YA contemporary fantasy. Her latest novel ‘Essentia’ Book 2 of the Pearl Wielder Trilogy is out now (available on Amazon).

Her first novel ‘Tenebrasco’ was published in July 2019 and is the debut novel in the Pearl Wielder Trilogy.

Hannah grew up in Jersey, Channel Islands which was never more than 10 minutes away from a beach. She is addicted to ice cream, has an unhealthy relationship with chocolate and is trying to learn to love running.

Currently, Hannah is living in Canada and is waiting patiently to see a Moose!

Hannah Reed | Instagram | Goodreads 

Hosts: @fierymermaidbooks @tabz_talks_tales @thewritingsofhannah #mermayreadalong (Instagram)

Book Blitz Organized By:

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Blog Tour: The Black Fox – Gordon Bickerstaff*

Read my review of Everything to Lose

Incredible conspiracy. Intricate espionage. Spy story.
Zoe Tampsin is resourceful, smart and Special Forces-trained, but she has been given an impossible mission.

She has to protect scientist, Gavin Shawlens, from assassination by the CIA, and discover the secret trapped in Gavin’s mind that the CIA want destroyed.
As the pressure to find Shawlens escalates – the CIA send Zoe’s former mentor to track her down and her fate seems sealed when he surrounds Zoe and Gavin with a ring of steel. With each hour that passes, the ring is tightened, and the window for discovering Gavin’s secret will shut.
Zoe is faced with a decision that goes against all of her survival instincts. If she is wrong – they both die. If she is right – she will discover the secret and become the next target for assassination.
Run for your life…

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I was born and brought up in Glasgow, Scotland. I studied biochemistry, and I’ve worked in several Scottish universities where I did research on enzymes, and taught biochemistry. After thirty years of teaching and research I retired my academic pen, and took of a mightier fiction pen.

I live in central Scotland with my wife and we enjoy reading, writing, and walking in the hills.

The Lambeth Group books follow the secret government investigations of agent Zoe Tampsin. A strong female protagonist with courage, determination, and guile. She is assisted by specialist consultant, Gavin Shawlens.

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Goodreads

My thoughts:

Another thrilling adventure for Zoe and Gavin, as they attempt to avoid the CIA, acting on British soil without authorisation.

Somewhere inside Gavin’s head is a secret the US will do anything to protect, including murder, kidnap and launching rockets on public roads.

Trouble is Gavin doesn’t have a clue what it is they think he knows. And he and Zoe are running out of time, and heading to Scotland, running out of country.

Clever, gripping and action packed, Zoe believes she’s following orders but is that the case and what is so secret that the CIA are willing to break all the rules?

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Murder, It’s All in Your Head – Cynthia Hilston

MurderIt'sAllinYourHead

Welcome to the book tour for supernatural thriller, Murder: It’s All in Your Head by Cynthia Hilston!murder_ it's all in your head_new

Murder: It’s All in Your Head

Publication Date: December 5, 2020

Genre: Supernatural Thriller/ Horror

Someone has been getting away with murder for over 100 years in the small town of Hurston, Ohio. But the wrong person has been convicted of those murders every time. In 2018, Cassie Meadows is on her way to school when a bright flash comes out of nowhere, and she wakes in millionaire Randy Davis’s body with blood on her hands…the blood of Randy’s wife, who lies in a pool of crimson in the bathtub with her throat slit. Meanwhile, an old man everyone calls Jimmy Williams raves that he’s the real Randy Davis as he lives out his days in a ward for the criminally insane. In 1914, young Helen Hawkins is unloved and repetitively abused by her father, who is also the town’s pastor. Her only escape is in her dreams, where she wakes in others’ bodies, living other lives, but when her dreams turn out to be reality, the tables are turned on her father. In a story where no one is who they seem, how can Cassie, the latest victim accused of a murder she didn’t commit, end the cycle?

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Excerpt

Cassie pedaled her bike faster to school as thoughts of staying home alone on senior prom night plagued her. A flash of light blinded her. She shielded her eyes. Horns blared and tires squealed, and the whole bike shook to a stop.

When she opened her eyes, a wall of old books stared back. She rubbed her eyes and blinked rapidly, taking in her surroundings. Gone was the familiar tree-lined street with rows of 40-year-old ranches and split-levels. Sunlight filtered in through parted drapes. Unlike her house, where dust danced in light beams, this room sat still.

Her sweaty hands clenched into fists at her sides, her nails digging into her palms. A chill jolted up her spine and extended down her arms, freezing her in place. She gazed across the room. Marble pillars flanked an archway to another room across the vast library.

A faint noise came from another part of the building. Curiosity claimed her caution as she took a step. Realizing her fingers were wet, she glanced down and nearly fell over. Blood covered her large hands all the way to her thick fingertips!

Cassie gasped. She reached for her throat. A sharp intake of breath.

“What?” she croaked in a foreign voice.blo

A dream. This must be a dream. Her voice rang through her mind, but when she opened her mouth to speak again…

“This can’t be happening.”

Cassie’s hands grasped her throat, in a failed attempt to excise the vocal cords responsible for this new voice. When her fingers grazed whiskers, she raked them over the jaw and cheeks.

“No. N-no.” What the hell?

She closed her eyes and forced herself to take a long, slow breath. Okay, okay. Calm down.

When her eyes opened yet again to this new reality, Cassie gave a shuddering gasp. She felt like she was doused with ice water, the burn throbbing through her body. She tried to step again, but she wavered in this oversized body that wore like a linebacker’s uniform. The large feet lumbered with a clumsiness contrary to her agile body. For a girl who had taken gymnastics since she could walk, the dragging, teetering movement of this form almost stopped her efforts. But Cassie willed herself to move. One step at a time.

Just do the best you can. Her mom’s words echoed through her mind.

Her steps were short-lived as her dad’s advice died. She halted. A trail of red on the spotless marble floor led to an archway. Her nerves fired in overtime, and her head spun. She followed the path and exited the elaborate room into a hallway.

The sound was louder now. The unmistakable sound of running water.

“What’s going on?” Cassie whispered. She tried to ignore the voice. Really tried.

Something moved out of the corner of her eye. She turned her head to the right and landed on her reflection, only it wasn’t her face. A tall man of about thirty stared back. She ran her hands through the trim brown beard that contoured the strong jawline, confirming what she felt earlier. Liquid brown eyes under thick, wavy hair and a deep brow held confusion, panic. A sleek black business suit covered her well-built frame—fit for an executive who dined on caviar and champagne and rode in chauffeured limos. But against the black of her suit the blood extended, weaving an unknown horror story.

She shook her head. “This is impossible.” Yet the voice told a different story.

Her body trembled, and her whole being felt different. Cassie’s eyes fell on a picture frame below the mirror. Her fingers fumbled to pick it up. A younger version of the man in the mirror gazed out of the photo. He smiled, his face next to a gorgeous auburn-haired woman. The woman’s hazel eyes crinkled around the edges, her freckles standing out against her fair skin in the sunshine. It was a happy couple’s wedding photo.

Cassie returned the picture to its place, the frame now coated in blood. A drop of crimson marked the floor every few inches. This body must have come from the opposite direction through the house, for how else could she explain the blood everywhere? She rested a hand on the railing at the base of the stairway and gazed up the twisting steps. The running water came from upstairs. She took the first step and steadied herself. Something drew her toward the source of that sound.

Cassie reached the landing and glanced behind her. Her mark was on the railing, another path of blood. The tell-tale trail continued, decorating the floor in a macabre design, as she went down the hallway toward the sound. Her knees wobbled as a dizzy spell overtook her. She steadied herself with a hand to the wall and blanched at the red print she left.

Call the cops.

I don’t know what the hell’s going on.

She pushed herself from the wall and arrived at the bathroom. Water leaked under the door.

The knob slid under her slick hand. She used the end of her sleeve to grip it and pushed the door open enough to peek inside. Pink water flooded the marble floor. Her gaze traveled to the bathtub. Water spilled over the tub’s edge. A woman lay sprawled in the tub, her vacant eyes staring at the ceiling, her mouth open in a scream. Her head lay at an odd angle, her neck nearly cut in two. Blood ran from the gaping gash into the water.

Cassie tried to scream, but her stomach tightened. Bile rose and she vomited into the pooling water and blood. She slammed the door and collapsed against the outside, pulling her knees to her chest. Water soaked her pants, making the fabric stick to her clammy skin. The tall frame of the man’s body convulsed with the sobs of a teenage girl as she cried into her hands. Hands that weren’t hers.

“I want my mom.”

She couldn’t get the dead woman’s face out of her mind. As the scene replayed through her head, Cassie realized where she’d seen the woman before. In the photo. She had been this man’s wife.

Available on Amazon

About the Author

authorphoto2

Cynthia Hilston is a stay-at-home mom of three young kids, happily married, and lives in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Writing has always been like another child to her. After twenty years of waltzing in the world of fan fiction, she stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction.

In her spare time – what spare time? – she devours books, watches Supernatural and Outlander, pets her orange kitty, looks at the stars, drinks wine or coffee with good friends, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell.

Cynthia Hilston | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

For a chance to win a paperback edition of the book, enter the giveaway below!

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MurderIt'sAllinYourHead

Book Tour Schedule

April 12th

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

The Magic of Wor(l)ds (Spotlight) http://themagicofworlds.wordpress.com

B is for Book Review (Spotlight) https://bforbookreview.wordpress.com

@liliyanashadowlyn (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/liliyanashadowlyn/

April 13th

Michelle Meng’s Book Blog4 (Review) http://michellemengsbookblog4.simplesite.com/

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com

Nesie’s Place (Spotlight) https://nesiesplace.wordpress.com

April 14th

Inked and Blonde (Review) https://inkedandblonde.blogspot.com/

@brendajeancombs (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/brendajeancombs/

@geauxgetlit (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/geauxgetlit/

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

April 15th

Book Dragons Not Worms (Review) https://bookdragonsnotworms.blogspot.com/?m=1

I’m All About Books (Spotlight) https://imallaboutbooks.com/

Dark Whimsical Art (Spotlight) https://www.darkwhimsicalart.com/blogs/news

April 16th

@amysbooknook8 (Review) https://www.instagram.com/amysbooknook8/

@thrilledtoreadya (Review) https://www.instagram.com/thrilledtoreadya/

@tiny.bibliophile (Review) https://www.instagram.com/tiny.bibliophile/

Stine Writing (Review) https://christinebialczak.com/

Sue’s Musings (Review) https://suelbavey.wordpress.com/

Book Tour Organized By:

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Blog Tour: Vera Kelly is Not a Mystery – Rosalie Knecht*

Read my review of Who Is Vera Kelly?

Recently out-of-the-spy-game heroine Vera Kelly finds herself travelling from Brooklyn to a sprawling countryside estate in the Caribbean in her first case as a private investigator.

When ex-CIA agent Vera Kelly loses her job and her girlfriend in a single day, she reluctantly goes into business as a private detective.

Heartbroken and cash-strapped, she takes a case that dredges up dark memories and attracts dangerous characters from across the Cold War landscape. Before it’s over, she’ll chase a lost child through foster care and follow a trail of Dominican exiles to the Caribbean.

Forever looking over her shoulder, she nearly misses what’s right in front of her: her own desire for home, connection, and a new romance at the local bar.

In this exciting second instalment of the ‘splendid genre-pushing’ (People) Vera Kelly series, Rosalie Knecht challenges and deepens the Vera we love: a woman of sparkling wit, deep moral fibre, and martini-dry humour who knows how to follow a case even as she struggles to follow her heart.

Rosalie Knecht is the author of Who Is Vera Kelly?, Vera Kelly Is Not A Mystery and Relief Map. She is also the translator of César Aira’s The Seamstress and the Wind (New Directions). She lives in New Jersey.

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My thoughts:

This second outing for reluctant former CIA agent, Vera Kelly, is another fun misadventure. This time Vera is down on her luck, dumped and fired, she sets up shop as a PI.

Struggling to get clients who trust a woman, she takes on the case of a missing boy. Only she senses something off about her clients. So it’s off to the Dominican Republic to find out more, and then back to New York in a hurry as she tangles with the bad guys.

She’s also trying to find love, will something happen between her and Max, the bartender from the gay bar she frequents? In a dangerous time to be queer, Vera treads carefully but might just need to trust a bit more.

I really enjoyed this book and Vera’s adventures, despite the lack of training the CIA gave her, she’s good at disappearing into a role and has a strong sense of right and wrong. She tangles with dangerous people and risks her neck a few times, but somehow always gets through. I hope there’s more to come.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Prison Healer – Lynette Noni*


Seventeen-year-old Kiva Meridan has spent the last ten years fighting for survival in the notorious death prison, Zalindov, working as the prison healer.
When the Rebel Queen is captured, Kiva is charged with keeping the terminally ill woman alive long enough for her to undergo the Trial by Ordeal: a series of elemental challenges against the torments of air, fire, water, and earth, assigned to only the most dangerous of criminals.
Then a coded message from Kiva’s family arrives, containing a single order: “Don’t let her die. We are coming.” Aware that the Trials will kill the sickly queen, Kiva risks her own life to volunteer in her place. If she succeeds, both she and the queen will be granted their freedom.
But no one has ever survived.
With an incurable plague sweeping Zalindov, a mysterious new inmate fighting for Kiva’s heart, and a prison rebellion brewing, Kiva can’t escape the terrible feeling that her trials have only just begun.
From bestselling author Lynette Noni comes a dark, thrilling YA fantasy perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, and Sabaa Tahir.

Click on the poster to buy tickets to Lynette’s only UK event.

My thoughts:

This was so, so good. I really enjoyed it, it reminded me of Brandon Sanderson’s The Final Empire series and Sarah J. Maas’ Throne of Glass series, all the amazing protagonists escape terrible prisons and fight their way to the top.

But this book takes place in the prison, you’re in Kiva’s suffering with her, the way she’s treated by both guards and other prisoners, her fears and hopes, her quiet days in the prison infirmary treating the sick and new arrivals.

But one of those new arrivals shakes up her existence – and offers new hope even if her family never come. But there are complications ahead, and inmates keep dying of a strange stomach virus.

I couldn’t put this down, it was so gripping and clever, enjoyable and I am so excited for book two, which I now have to wait for. If you want an epic new adventure series with a brilliant protagonist and excellent supporting characters, read this one.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Coastal Cahoots Club – Victoria Johns*

Thirty-year-old Tessa Archer is an emotional eater who is full of self-loathing and lacking confidence – she’s a woman who is desperate to change if only she had the nerve.

Her cause isn’t helped by her family whose all-round lack of regard, belief and simple love make her life a whole lot harder. Unable to match up to her ‘perfect’ siblings, a brutal family dinner pushes Tessa to take the first tentative steps towards transformation. Inventing a girls’ weekend away, she plans a short break in Cornwall – alone. It’s a place where she hopes she can feel reinvigorated about life, even if she’s terrified of the prospect. This is a last-ditch attempt to prove to her family that she isn’t the scared, useless ‘lump’ they think she is.
Once in St. Ives, with no expectations or standards to uphold, Tessa finally feels as though she can breathe, and not just because the air is cleaner. She pushes herself to meet new people and finally concentrate on her own life.

With the help of the Coastal Cahoots Club, a group of crazy elderly ladies, led by the indomitable Winnie, a new Tessa emerges. There’s even the possibility of love with Winnie’s sexy grandson Ben – if only he was willing to open up his heart.
Who knew a group of old aged pensioners, a sexy bar owner, a militant seamstress and a beautiful Cornish coastal town could bring such magic to a person’s life?
Read this beautiful and poignant story and fall in love with the wonderful cast of characters and their gorgeous surroundings, because life can be amazing if you just learn to trust it.

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Victoria Johns is a writer who enjoys sharing a happily ever after and believes that it’s every good girls dream to experience a steamy, hot one.

Growing up in North West England in a large family surrounded by love and support she found her Prince Charming many years ago and enjoys living the life they’ve made with their son. Being a mum, wife and in full time employment means multi tasking like a super power!
When she’s not writing she’s overdosing on crisps, Rosé wine, trashy TV and raunchy reads.

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My thoughts:

This book was a lot of fun,very funny, quite filthy and a bit of a treat all round. Set in St Ives, Cornwall (I miss the sea) in a time where physical contact is allowed, there’s lots of surfing, drinking, chippy teas, snogging and chasing old ladies up hills!

Tessa is a character to really root for, she’s feeling a bit lost in her life and needs a serious reboot. Enter Winnie and the other dangerous grannies of the Coastal Cahoots Club, armed with years of knowledge, buckets of tea and a walker she will whack you with; these “old dears” will get Tessa to see herself the way they do. Oh, and engineer a romance along the way!

A story about learning to love yourself, live the life you want and finding happiness.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

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Book Blitz: The Demon of Yodak – Adria Carmichael

TheDemonofYodok

I’m happy to share YA Dystopian novel, The Demon of Yodok! Read on for book details and a chance to win a signed hardcover edition. Oh and for all of you book reviewers, you can request a copy of this exciting book from R&R Book Tours!

Juche part one - eBook - Copy

Demon of Yodok

Genre: YA Dystopian

A highly addictive Young Adult Dystopian Survival series that will keep you glued to the pages.

JUCHE [dʒuːtʃe]

Just when Areum, daughter of a privileged family in the totalitarian state of Choson, thought she was free from her personal prison, her world collapses around her as her family are taken away in the middle of the night to a hell-like camp in the mountains where people who have strayed from the righteous path are brutally re-educated through blood, sweat, tears and starvation.

There she has to fight for survival together with the family she hates and is forced to re-evaluate every aspect of her life until then – her deep resentment toward her twin sister; her view of her father in face of the mounting evidence he is a traitor with the blood of millions of fellow countrymen on his hands; and even her love and affection for the Great General – the eternal savior and protector of Choson, whom she had always considered her true father.

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Available on Amazon!

About the Author

AC Logo 2

Adria Carmichael is a writer of Young Adult Dystopian fiction with a twist. When she is not devouring dystopian and post-apocalyptic content in any format – books, movies, TV-series and PlayStation games – she is crafting the epic and highly-addictive Juche saga, her 2020 debut novel series that takes place in the brutal, totalitarian nation of Choson. When the limit of doom and gloom is reached, a 10K run on a sunny day or binging a silly sitcom on a rainy day is her go-to way to unwind.

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Giveaway: For a chance to win a signed hardcover edition of The Demon of Yodok, click the link below!

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Giveway will run from today until April 15th!

Book Blitz Organized By:

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Blog Tour: Another Man – Leslie Croxford*

Haunted by a sense of inner emptiness, Frank Ward struggles to reconcile with his tormented past. He is aided by a series of intense encounters, as well as by an unexpected plunge into researching the life of so-called “Good Nazi”, Albert Speer.

My thoughts:

Frank returns to the Spanish village he spent a holiday in as a young student; now a published author, he searches for his next subject, a historian, he becomes fascinated by the story of Albert Speer’s driver, who recuperated in the village after being repatriated from Russia.

Frank becomes friends with Bruno, a pianist, and they discuss Speer over and over, much to the boredom of Bruno’s wife, Frank’s landlady and other women. When Paloma, Bruno’s daughter, arrives back in the village, she and Frank begin to fall in love.

The switches back and forth from first to third person narration are interesting, they add to the unsettling subject matter, the life of Albert Speer, Hitler’s architect, and a man who built his own myth, that of being a “good Nazi” while in Spandau prison for twenty years. Frank and Bruno are obsessed by him and the weak link to the village where they are. They endlessly debate whether he was a liar (as shown after his death) or as he wanted to be seen – ignorant of the horrors going on around him.

It’s a rather redundant debate, one quick Google search would have answered their questions, and I think that’s why the other characters get a bit fed up with them. Paloma, who actually knew the recuperating driver, tolerates it slightly better than her mother.

But Frank seems to be one of those people who broods on the past, their own included. He thinks about his previous trip to this village, to stay with his friend Juan, and the girl he met then. His Speer obsession becomes so all consuming it stops his melancholy.

It’s an interesting book, beautifully written, even if I got a bit bored of their fixation on one of the chief Nazis, and the fact that we know there’s so such thing as a “good” one.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.