Book Review & Giveaway: A Lion in the Grass by Mark Zvonkovic

Book Title:  A Lion in the Grass (The Raymond Hatcher Stories/Book One) by Mark Zvonkovic
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+),  333 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction 
Publisher:  Dos Perro Press 
Release date:  August 2020
Content Rating:  PG13+M: The book has mature themes associated with wartime violence and not-explicit sex scenes.

Set over the course of six decades, A Lion in the Grass documents the despair and hope of a spy who suffers the murder of friends and enjoys the success of mentoring protégés.

​The story is told through alternative viewpoints of Raymond, his protégés, and the French villain. The novel digs deeply into questions of love, self-doubt and hatred, all foisted upon Raymond during a career from which, he discovers, it is impossible to retire.

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My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free copy from iRead Book Tours. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

A Lion in the Grass spans 60 years of the life of a spy named Raymond. I wanted to connect with Raymond, but most of the time I was just reading summaries of what had happened, and it was difficult to feel for him. I was still able to enjoy the story, just not nearly as much as I would have liked to.

Although Raymond is the main character, the story is told through the viewpoint of several characters which did enrich the story. There are many deaths of friends, loved ones, and colleagues that Raymond has to deal with through the years, and he is determined to find revenge for those he loses.

There were times when it was a little confusing because there are a lot of characters, and they could be hard to keep up with. It would be helpful to have a cast of characters listed at the beginning of the book.

This was a pretty good read, I liked the ending, and will be reading The Narrows by Mark Zvonkovic soon.

About the Author

Mark Zvonkovic is a writer who lives in Rosarito Beach, Baja California Mexico with his wife Nancy and their two dogs. Finn and Cooper. He has written three novels, and he also writes book reviews and essays that appear in online publications. Before retiring to Mexico, Mark practiced law for thirty-five years at three multinational law firms in Houston, Texas and New York City. He attended college at Southern Methodist University and Boston University, and his law degree is from SMU School of Law. Mark grew up as an oil company brat and lived in Latin America, Texas and New York.

connect with the author: website ~ facebook ~ bookbub goodreads

Giveaway

Win signed set of The Raymond Hatcher Stories (one winner / USA only) (ends Oct 28)

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Follow the Tour

Sep 26 – The Mystery Review Crew – book series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Sep 26 – Novels Alive – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Sep 26 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / guest post / giveaway
Sep 26 – My Reading Getaway – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Sep 27 – Bound 4 Escape – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Sep 27 – The Obsessed Reader – book series spotlight / giveaway
Sep 28 – fundinmental – book series spotlight / giveaway
Sep 29 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book series spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Sep 29 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Sep 29 – Splashes of Joy  – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway

Sep 30 – Faith and Books – audiobook review of BELINDA / giveaway
Sep 30 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review of BELINDA / giveaway
Sep 30 – Splashes of Joy  – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway

Oct 3 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Oct 4 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 4 – Leanne bookstagram – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS
Oct 5 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 5 – Leanne bookstagram – book review of THE NARROWS
Oct 6 – Cover Lover Book Review – book series spotlight / giveaway
Oct 6 – Leanne bookstagram – book review of BELINDA
Oct 7 – Novels Alive – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 7 – Paws.Read.Repeat – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Oct 11 – Splashes of Joy  – book review of BELINDA / giveaway

Oct 11 – Bound 4 Escape – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 11 – Literary Flits – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Oct 11 – Olio by Marilyn – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Oct 11 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway
Oct 12 – My Reading Getaway – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 12 – Literary Flits – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 12 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 13 – Olio by Marilyn – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 14 – Novels Alive – audiobook review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 14 – Paws.Read.Repeat – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway
Oct 17 – Books and Zebras – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS
Oct 17 – Literary Flits – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 18 – @onecreativeartist – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS
Oct 18 – Books and Zebras – book review of THE NARROWS
Oct 19 –Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of A LION IN THE GRASS / giveaway

Oct 19 – Books and Zebras – book review of BELINDA
Oct 20 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 20 – @onecreativeartist – book review of THE NARROWS
​Oct 20 –Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of THE NARROWS / giveaway

Oct 21 –Book Corner News and Reviews – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 21 – @onecreativeartist – book review of BELINDA
Oct 21 – Paws.Read.Repeat – book review of BELINDA / giveaway
Oct 21 – My Reading Getaway – book review of BELINDA / author interview / giveaway
Oct 21 – Books for Books – book series spotlight

New Releases

The Italian

When the truth behind his mother abandoning him is revealed, it changes Lewis’s perception of the past altogether

About the Book:                         

Lewis Sinclaire’s earliest memory is that wherein his mother kisses him on the forehead and wishes him a happy birthday on the very day that she abandoned him. He never saw her again, but the memory is a happy one, nonetheless. But is a memory a true facsimile of what actually happened?

During the lockdown of spring 2020, Lewis, a restauranteur by trade, is forced to isolate with his dying father in the family home that he has despised all of his life. He is determined to use the time wisely, and over a game of chess and fuelled by a strong Irish Whiskey, he discovers that a memory is not the truth. He discovers precisely what went on between his mother and his father at the family villa in Le Marche, Italy, in nineteen-eighty-four, and why his mother had to abandon him. Then, at his father’s ‘lockdown’ funeral, a stranger appears, who changes his mind completely….

About the Author:

Gary W. Hixon is an author based in North Yorkshire, England. He writes novels of a humorous and philosophical nature. The author bases his novels on his own experiences and lived in Windsor for ten years thus that town in Berkshire forms the backdrop to this, his latest novel. Gary Hixon is fascinated by the human experience, particularly why people choose to live their lives in a certain way.

Excerpt from the book:

“Then a pause so long that all eternity could have been poured into it.

“Have you heard from your mother?” he asked, almost longingly, almost too ashamed of himself for having asked.

And that was the moment I understood the purpose of the phone call. I ended our conversation by throwing my mobile across the wine cellar until it smashed against the wall above a cask of ale called Perpetual Motion, ironically. And when I sunk to my knees and the world around me collapsed inwards – because I realised that my mother actually did exist and that she must still be alive. More than that because I realised that it must have been thirty years since my mother left me on that chair in the garden at Sant’Elpidio because I had been three years old. And that phone call had been on the occasion of my thirty-third birthday.

“Are you alright, Lewis?” she asked me, finding me on my knees.

My words were incoherent when I spoke, garbled noises between gasps of shock. “How dare he?” I answered. “How dare he speak of that woman to me?”

 

“The Italian” by Gary W. Hixon is available in paperback from Amazon at:

This novel can also be downloaded in e-book format from:

Press/Media Contact Details:

Darin Jewell (Gary Hixon’s literary agent)
Tel. 0208 292 5163
E-mail: darin@theinspiragroup.com

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A Very Naughty Little Girl Goes Camping

This is a charming tale that will delight children of all ages

About the Book: 

An exciting, funny and at times, sad story about the adventures of ‘A Very Naughty Little Girl’. No matter how hard she tries, Sarah cannot behave herself, much to the exasperation of her best friend, Jennifer, who attempts to help her change her ways.

About the Author:

Abigail Strauss ran her own antique shop and a dolls house business for twenty years. She then had a second career as a reporter and feature writer for her local newspaper.  Abigail Strauss’ second children’s book was written during her isolation in the lockdown due to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic of 2020/22.  Although Abigail was unable to see her close family for many weeks, she included them all as the characters in her book, which helped her feel closer to them.  It also eased the loneliness, which was inevitable at that difficult time.

Excerpt from Book:

“A place had been reserved for them so that their tents were next to each other.

Everyone lent a hand in unloading the cars and erecting the tents.  Eventually, they all flopped down on the grass and breathed a sigh of relief – the tents were in position and everything in its place.

“Can we go and explore now?” asked Nick, as all the children jumped to their feet.

“Have a glass of orange juice before you go, you must all be thirsty after your hard work,” said Vicky.

As the children scampered off, closely followed by Rusty, the mums and dads relaxed for a while and then set up the stove to boil the kettle for cups of tea.

Vicky said, “Let’s make this a holiday to remember!”

“A Very Naughty Little Girl Goes Camping” by Abigail Strauss is available in hardback from Amazon at:

This book is also available in paperback format from Amazon at:

You can also download the e-book version from:

Press/Media Contact Details:

Grosvenor House Publishing
Tel. 0208 339 6060
E-mail: info@grosvenorhousepublishing.co.uk

New Release: Something Decidedly Oddd by Lesley A

Ruby thinks her life is in good order but as she lurches from choir to yoga, to Zumba and work deadlines and taking her son, Ben, to and from school and cubs and clubs, she makes sure she doesn’t have a free minute. No matter that she’s oblivious to other people’s feelings, as far as she’s concerned, she’s reasonably happy and coping. Well, everyone has self-doubts now and then, don’t they? She mostly keeps the panic attacks in check – more or less – and prides herself she can usually spot the signs and remove herself from stressful situations before they overwhelm her.

Help comes in a form she least expects when a little old man introduces himself as her Guardian Angel then challenges everything about how she chooses to live her life…

Excerpt

I leaned towards him to emphasise what I was saying. ‘And now you must forgive yourself and get on with being the best version of yourself that you can be. My mother used to say that to me when I was growing up. “Be the best version of yourself that you can be.” It’s only really now, talking to you, that I truly understand what she meant.’

‘May I say something please?’ said Ben in the pause that followed. We turned to him. ‘I know what it’s like to grow up without my daddy. I have Mummy and Granny and Ungrampa and I know they love me and I love them, but I can’t ever have my daddy back. You’re still alive. I think your daughter needs to know you love her. I think you should find her and tell her.’

Cameron withdrew, leaving our unlikely threesome to continue the therapy until way past Ben’s bedtime. I understood why he left, he wasn’t needed any more. I could handle the situation myself. When the time came to say goodbye, all three of us spontaneously hugged. An enormous burden had been lifted and the future would be somewhat easier to face for all of us.

Something Decidedly Oddd” by Lesley A is available in paperback at:

This exceptional book is also available in e-book format at:

Press/Media Contact Details:

New Generation Publishing
Tel. 01234 711 956
E-mail: info@newgeneration-publishing.com

Book Review: Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups by Andrew Joyce

Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups is a jumble of genres—seven hundred pages of fiction and non-fiction … some stories included against the author’s better judgment. If he had known that one day they’d be published, he might not have been as honest when describing his past. Here is a tome of true stories about the author’s criminal and misspent youth, historical accounts of the United States when She was young, and tales of imagination encompassing every conceivable variety—all presented as though the author is sitting next to you at a bar and you’re buying the drinks as long as he keeps coming up with captivating stories to hold your interest.

Comprised of 218,000 words, you’ll have plenty to read for the foreseeable future. This is a book to have on your night table, to sample a story each night before extinguishing the lights and drifting off to a restful sleep.

Mr. Joyce sincerely hopes that you will enjoy his stories because, as he has stated, “It took a lot of living to come up with the material for some of them.”

Andrew Joyce is the recipient of the 2013 Editor’s Choice Award for Best Western for his novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.

Amazon

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy from the author. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

These stories are great. I think it was a good idea to put them all together in one book even though they’re different genres. It’s like a surprise bag…you never know what you’re going to get!

Some of the stories are true. One that really got to me is “The Swamp” because it’s a true story, and it was scary and suspenseful. It’s one of those stories that many of us look back on thinking that we were lucky to survive our teens and twenties. Other stories were funny, heartbreaking, short and sweet, historical, romantic. It’s all here.

I almost didn’t accept this book to read and possibly review, but I decided that I could read one or two stories before bed when I had a few minutes. I’ve had the book for quite some time and have thoroughly enjoyed reading it for a few minutes many nights before going to bed. I definitely recommend Bedtime Stories for Grown-Ups especially if you’re looking for something that you can pick up and read for a few minutes, read before bed, or read in between longer novels.

About the Author

Andrew Joyce left home at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until years later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written seven books. His first novel, Redemption: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, was awarded the Editors’ Choice Award for Best Western of 2013. A subsequent novel, Yellow Hair, received the Book of the Year award from Just Reviews and Best Historical Fiction of 2016 from Colleen’s Book Reviews.

Website

New Release: A Room Without Windows by Rosie Brown

When a wife loses her husband, that can be too much to bear: but when a mother then loses her only son, that is just one loss too far.

Mary Tegg doesn’t know which way to turn, and her young daughter is suffering because her mother is finding it impossible to sort their lives out. Mary desperately needs someone to blame for the death of her son, and it has to be someone other than herself. Steve Jackson seems to be the obvious suspect, and so the watching begins. But Steve Jackson has a guilty secret, and he’d rather die than tell the truth about what really happened that night. Mary’s hate-filled, angry eyes are beginning to get the better of him, and his behaviour is disrupting his family. His father tells him that it’s better to ignore her and not let it get to him so much, but he’s afraid of what she might know.

When she finally knocks on the Jacksons’ door and accuses Steve of murdering her son, all hell is let loose in the Jackson house. But then Malcolm Tegg unexpectedly arrives back in town, and what he learns by accident makes him determined to get to the truth. As life becomes too complicated for Steve Jackson, will he finally reveal the truth about that night, or will he continue his painful struggle to look for an easier way out of his agony? A way that would be a more certain release from something from which he is desperate to break free.

About the Author:

Rosie Brown has always enjoyed writing – both stories and poetry. At Grammar School, she was encouraged by her English teacher, who would read her stories, written for homework, to the rest of the class.  Rosie’s greatest achievement at that time was when her last piece of homework was printed in the school magazine. After leaving school, she would make up poems during her long walk to work. From her mid-30s, she has continued to write a lot of poetry, and a book on spirituality. Some of her poems have been published in anthologies. Eventually, in her 60s, she started to write this novel, and hopes to publish more of her work in future.

A Room Without Windows” by Rosie Brown is available in hardback at:

Paperback copies are available to purchase from:

You can also download the e-book version at:

Press/Media Contact Details:

New Generation Publishing
Tel. 01234 711 956
E-mail: info@newgeneration-publishing.com

Book Review: Old Faces: Yet More Tales from Tipperary by Edward Forde Hickey

This fourth book in the series, portrays a closely-knit group of people living in the north Tipperary hills during the early 20th century – a community largely made up of small farmers, whose lives were far different from today. The book’s inspiration comes from writers such as Thomas Hardy and attempts to pass on to readers the lyrical and rich phrasings of Tipperary’s old hill folk and capture the spiritual wealth of an age that remained unchanged for several centuries.    

    Tales of . . .   

* brotherly love and hate.  

* a rogue’s return from across the sea and his efforts to reform. 

* an unexpected first-love at the harvest-time dance-in-the-fields. 

* persecution of two old saints at the hands of misguided youth.  

* sports-day activities for adults and children alike, following the arduous channelling of a new stream.  

* two adventurous toddlers, getting lost in the wilderness but saved by a witch.  

    ‘. . . lovers of literature will find themselves engrossed in the lives of a past hillside community.’ 

                                                                    Addison & Cole 

My Review

Old Faces isn’t the type of book I would normally read, but I really enjoyed it. As I read the story, I could “hear” the narration in an Irish brogue. Some of the names are ordinary, but many of the names are hilarious. In the first sentence is Molly-rattle-the-tea-and-sugar-bag. What a great introduction to some unique names and stories.

I liked all of the stories, but of course I had my favorites. It was interesting that some of the stories were tragic, others had happy endings, but there was humor in all of them, some more than others. I went through the Table of Contents so that I could pick out the story or stories I liked the least, but I honestly liked them all.

There was a lot of humour in the stories, but I laughed most when I read this:

“Goldshit sitting on a black stick under the hob above the blazing fire and then falling asleep and tumbling off his perch and landing in the hot ashes and then struggling with the blazing sods of turf in the fire and the Wild Witch of the West chasing him round the floor — this was something that would stay with them forever.”

I didn’t know that Tipperary is a real place! It’s about the size of the town I live in. I wish the people here were as interesting!

I have enjoyed all of the books about Tipperary and I hope there are more to come!

About the Author:

Edward Forde Hickey lives in Kent with his wife. They have three sons. During the years 1962 until 1998, he taught in inner city primary schools (laterally as a headteacher for 18 years). In early life, he was a pop star with Decca records (see ‘Eddie Hickey/Lady May’) and later sang with the Glenside Ceilidhe Band in The Galtymore Dancehall, Cricklewood (1965/1975).

Born of Irish parents during the Blitz of London, he spent his first five years of life nurtured and moulded by his grandmother in the foothills above Dolla, near Nenagh in County Tipperary. His grandmother is and always was his inspiration; she had a natural gift with words.

Edward has always been interested in folklore and the Irish past (its music, dance and literature). He was a champion Irish step-dancer. He taught and adjudicated it, even as far afield as in Australia, before dedicating himself to research into hillside communities in north Tipperary, from where he brought back tapes of original songs for The English Folk Dance and Song Society.

He keeps a small farm in the foothills of north Tipperary and visits it often.

The first three books in the series are entitled “Tales from Tipperarary”, “Reflections” and “From Time to Time”.

 

“Old Faces” by Edward Forde Hickey is currently available in paperback from Amazon at:

This book is also available to download in e-book format from Amazon at:

Press/Media Contact Details:

Grosvenor House Publishing
Tel. 0208 339 6060
E-mail: info@grosvenorhousepublishing.co.uk

New Releases

The Most Dangerous Spy

Nancy Brown is an ordinary girl living in the industrial town of Orethorpe at the outbreak of the Second World War. Her life suddenly changes when she is told to report to the mysterious Megg House, and soon she finds herself caught up in a top-secret operation to find German spies operating in the town.

Seventy years later Arthur Lane is living in Orethorpe. By chance, he strikes up a friendship with an elderly man, Mr Smith. When a newspaper reporter turns up asking to interview Mr Smith about his role in the war, Arthur learns that Mr Smith has a deep secret. Can he discover what it is?

“The Most Dangerous Spy” switches between 1940, when a careless word can leave lives in peril, and 2010, when once-deadly knowledge – including the identity of ‘the most dangerous spy of all’ – can remain secret no longer.

About the Author:

Sharon Edwards works for the BBC. Her novel is aimed at 9-13 year-olds and is mainly set in the Second World War, although there is also a modern-day story that weaves through the novel. The two storylines come together at the end. The book is set in a Midlands industrial town in the UK where a young girl is recruited to help find German undercover agents in the town. She visits Bletchley Park as her intercepts end up there for decoding.

Excerpt from Book:

Nancy was staring at one man and then the other.  What did they want with her and how did he know about her German lessons? It was then that the tall, thin man spoke for the first time.

“The country is at War, Miss Brown; you know that, of course,” he said, his tone gentle. “What you may not know is that England could be invaded by Hitler’s forces.” He suddenly walked over towards her, reached out to a spare chair in the corner of the room and slammed it down on the floor close to hers. He sat down and leant forward. “Hitler is coming, that’s a fact, but we want to stop him,” he said. “It’s our duty to stop him. It’s my duty and it’s your duty to do whatever we can to aid our own side in keeping the Germans at bay, and you can help us. Do you understand?”

“We want you to listen,” the older man explained, taking over from his colleague. “You know how to listen and goodness knows there aren’t enough of you. Nothing to do with running into a line of bullets or trying to get yourself blown up. It’s absurdly simple. We just want you to listen.”

Nancy looked at the faces bearing down on her. After a few moments she blurted out: “Listen to what?”

The older man leant in even closer, their faces almost touching. “Why, the Germans, of course, German spies.”

 

“The Most Dangerous Spy” by Sharon Edwards is available in paperback from Amazon at:

You can also download the e-book version from:

 

Press/Media Contact Details:

Sharon Edwards
E-mail: sharon222edwards@btinternet.com

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The Morgana Chronicles: The Pen of Guinevere

The gates of hell open, and a thirteen-year-old girl is left in the graveyard. Who is she? What is she?

That is what she wants to know!

But all is not what is seems. Morgan is two people: a girl and a witch by the name of Morgana. She finds the land is very bright and colourful and does not wish to go back to hell – but the God of Purgatory wants her back.

Morgan has a job to do, and it means meeting witches, fairies, and other creatures in a world of magic and mayhem.

She wants love and wants to give it back, but it is all so muddled…

Excerpt from the book:

“As the baby girl slept, the Devil appeared.  Red hot skin with horns on his head, he carried a staff with a skull and fiery red eyes as an aid.  His appearance took Tanya aback as she stood at the doorway of the bedroom; when she looked at him, she felt as though he was burning a hole through her soul.

‘You are here,’ she whispered, glancing around the corridor to make sure no-one else was awake.

‘I am here for my prize,’ he growled deeply.

‘Take her,’ she replied coldly.  ‘I have all that I need.’ The Devil picked the child up, wrapped in her pink blanket, and left.

Tanya too a deep breath and went back to bad as if nothing had happened, then lay down and fell into a deep and restful sleep.

The next morning, she went to the nursery and screamed to find one empty Moses basket.

That scream led to many years of hope that one day, the little girl would come home, and her family would finally be whole again.  Because that morning, it broke apart…”

The Morgana Chronicles:  The Pen of Guinevere (Book 1)” by Morgan Harrison is available in paperback from Amazon UK at:

Press/Media Contact Details:

Darin Jewell
Tel. 0208 292 5163
E-mail: darin@theinspiragroup.com

Book Review: The Road from Cromer Pier by Martin Gore

It’s ten years on from The Road to Cromer Pier, and Summertime Special Show Director Karen Wells has two potential headliners, but both have issues. Dare she take the risk? And Karen herself is at a crossroads. Will her mother Janet ever retire and allow her to run the pier theatre?

Meanwhile Janet’s nemesis, businessman Lionel Pemrose still has designs on the pier theatre, but he is facing growing financial problems. Bank manager Peter Hodson is haunted by a past indiscretion, and calls in recently widowed turnaround expert Tom Stanley. Can he keep the indiscretion a secret?

Tom is bereaved and has recently been made redundant from his own firm. He is too young to retire, and after years of long hours, suddenly finds himself unemployed. He pours his energies into the assignment, which could be his last hurrah.
Old enmities, loyalties and past mistakes surface as the future of the pier theatre is once again under threat, and those involved must deal with unresolved issues in their lives.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Road-Cromer-Pier-Martin-Gore-ebook/dp/B0982HW7CG

US – https://www.amazon.com/Road-Cromer-Pier-Martin-Gore-ebook/dp/B0982HW7CG

My Review

I chose to read this book after receiving a free e-copy. All opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased.

I had read The Road to Cromer Pier last year and although it started slowly, I ended up enjoying it, so I was happy to read The Road from Cromer Pier which occurs ten years later. Again, I felt this book started slowly but I stuck with it and did enjoy it. There are several people who were in the first book, so that always helps. It does also work as a standalone novel if you haven’t read the first one.

As always, there are financial issues for the theater at Cromer Pier with the evil Pemrose wanting to snag up the theater as soon as he is able. While Janet and Karen are dealing with finances, there are many other challenges for them and the people who are working in the theater. There are mental health issues, domestic abuse, and retirement just to name a few.

There are quite a few characters and they are all well developed, each with their own flaws. I also like the author’s writing although sometimes there’s a little more description than I like, but that’s a personal preference. The Road from Cromer Pier is a well-written feel good book with a good ending.

About the Author

I am a 63 year old Accountant who semi-retired to explore my love of creative writing. In my career I held Board level jobs for over twenty five years, in private, public and third sector organisations. I was born in Coventry, a city then dominated by the car industry and high volume manufacturing. Jaguar, Triumph, Talbot, Rolls Royce, Courtaulds, Massey Ferguson were the major employers, to name but a few.

When I was nine years old I told my long suffering mother that as I liked English composition and drama I was going to be a Playwright. She told me that I should work hard at school and get a proper job. She was right of course.

I started as an Office Junior at Jaguar in 1973 at eleven pounds sixty four a week. I thus grew up in the strike torn, class divided seventies. My first career ended in 2015, when I semi retired as Director of Corporate services at Humberside Probation. My second career, as a Non Executive Director, is great as it has allowed me free time to travel and indulge my passion for writing, both in novels and for theatre.

The opportunity to rekindle my interest in writing came in 2009, when I wrote my first pantomime, Cinderella, for my home group, the Walkington Pantomime Players. I have now written eight. I love theatre, particularly musical theatre, and completed the Hull Truck Theatre Playwrite course in 2010. My first play, a comedy called He’s Behind You, is now available on: https://www.silverbirchingtonplays.com/product-page/he-s-behind-you-by-martin-gore

Pen Pals was my first novel, and a second, The Road to Cromer Pier, is now available in all three formats. It was. officially launched on Cromer Pier itself, coinciding with the new season of the Summertime Special Show.

I’m active on twitter @authorgore and on facebook martin gore author. My website is www.martingore.co.uk.

I’m an old fashioned writer I guess. I want you to laugh and to cry. I want you to believe in my characters, and feel that my stories have a beginning, a middle, and a satisfactory ending.’

Social Media Links

Twitter – https://twitter.com/AuthorGore

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Book Review: Hard Copy by Richard Ayres

Helen is religious and believes she committed a mortal sin when she became pregnant by Jeremy. Determined that their daughter Jane would never fall from grace, she vigorously disciplined her. Jane fled from home aged 18, and has since had no contact with her parents. Jeremy, a man at odds with the modern world, has failed to get any of his novels published. Still, he sets up a business advising aspiring novelists. When Helen is charged with assault, and one of Jeremy’s clients knows more about him than he is aware, life changes irrevocably for them both. But is it for the better?

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My Review

Hard Copy is a good story that kept my interest throughout. One of the reasons my interest was kept is because of the author’s writing style. It’s easy to follow, and he’s not over-descriptive. The use of dialogue to reveal backstories was done well, and I found it more interesting than just reading it in the narrative.

Jeremy Johnson was a self-absorbed, unkind, uncaring man. At first, I hated his wife, Helen Johnson, and all she stood for. Once I learned more about her, however, I realized that her strict religious upbringing and the fact that she had sinned drove her over the edge.

After many years in a loveless marriage, Helen and Jeremy finally grew emotionally and even further apart. Helen was forced to look at her life after losing her job and having nothing left to live for. After losing his job, Jeremy started editing books and finally was doing something he enjoyed. Will they be able to find each other after all these years or is it a lost cause?

The ending was good but it didn’t surprise me.

About the Author

Richard Ayres lives in Staffordshire.  He worked in Further Education for thirty years before he took early retirement and began writing.


His first novel, ‘A Pennine Incident’ is a tense portrayal of a mystery in Martin’s past and its effect on his life and relationships.  The main themes explored in the novel are the impact of a single traumatic event on the life of an individual, the fragility of friendship, the effects of ageing and changes in personality on relationships, and the impact of class origin and upbringing on later life, all played out in the seeming tranquillity of the Yorkshire Dales.

His second novel, ‘The Further Education of Mike Carter’ is a satire on life in a mythical Further Education College in the English midlands. The politics of the workplace are muddied by events in the personal lives of protagonists, and when sexual tension is added to the mix, the outcome is unpredictable.

His next novel, ‘Letters and Secrets’ involves three couples living in different parts of the country awaiting forthcoming celebrations with varying degrees of enthusiasm, hostility or indifference.

‘Tired of London’ was published in May 2016.  This is a story of six former friends, reunited after 40 years, who embark on an extended pub-crawl through central London. Their reunion is brought to an abrupt end by a series of incidents which threaten the hopes they had of reconnecting with the past and each other.

Richard then wrote ‘Friends Disunited’ which is a psychological thriller as a former friend turns puppet-master.

‘Unto the Third and Fourth Generation’ involves a man in the early stages of dementia who has a dreadful secret dating back to his youth of which his daughter Rebecca is ashamed and which she dreads her children will discover. Have the sins of the parents been passed down to the third and fourth generation?

‘An Odious Little Man’ is about a man who, lonely and frightened as his health worsens, confides in his cleaner and his nurse, revealing events in his youth in the 1950s and 60s when he couldn’t relate to the culture of the times and was frightened of girls.  It is only after his death that the nature of the problem that affected him through is life is revealed and which probably accounted for him becoming an odious little man. But it seems that not everyone thought of him that way.

Press/Media Contact Details:

Contact: Darin Jewell (Richard Ayres’ literary agent)
Managing Director
The Inspira Group Literary Agency
London, UK
darin@theinspiragroup.com
tel. UK +208 292 5163

Audiobook Review: The Fall of Mrs. Parsons by Phil Geoffrey Bond

Author: Phil Geoffrey Bond
Narrator: Jenn Lee
Length: 50 minutes
Publisher: Chess Books/Above Deck Entertainment
Producer: Audiobook Empire
Released: April 15, 2021
Genre: Fiction

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Mrs. Parsons lives a quiet life in a small cottage in the woods on the outskirts of town, having woken next to her husband Lloyd, and has gone about with her normal routine every day for the past 50+ years. But on this most extraordinary day, she will venture out into the world, reclaiming her place in it and, in so doing so, rediscover herself.

In this lush, romantic short tale from Phil Geoffrey Bond, the simple life is revealed as not so simple at all.

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I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Audiobook Empire. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

Mrs. Parsons and her husband have lived in a small cabin for 50 years, and their lives are routine and simple. One day, though, she decides that she wants to “find herself.” She leaves their home and buys a ticket for somewhere far away. But she realizes that she truly loves her husband and that he loves her.

This is a short story but it delves into something that we all go through at least once in our lives. The question of whether our lives could be more, that we could do more with our lives is a common one. I think that some people take a lot longer than Mrs. Parsons to figure things out.

The narrator did a good job with pace and timing and her voice is pleasant to listen to.

If you like to listen to short stories, this is a good, sweet, romantic story that may have you looking at your own life.

PHIL GEOFFREY BOND is an award-winning author, best known for his collection of short pieces, All the Sad Young Men, and the celebrated picture book, My Friend, the Cat, based on the popular stage show. Often mixing dramatic prose with live theatre, his original pieces My Queer Youth, The Disney Diaries, My Friend, the Cat, My Roaring Twenties and Small Town Confessions have been embraced by a wide range of off-Broadway audiences. As a playwright, Phil has developed work at The Sundance Theatre Lab (The Citadel), and many regional theatres throughout the states. A fixture on the NYC nightlife scene, he is a seven-time MAC (Manhattan Association of Cabarets), two-time Bistro and one-time Nightlife Award-winner. Currently, he is the writer/producer/host of Sondheim Unplugged, now enjoying it’s 6th year at Manhattan nightspot Feinstein’s/54 Below. 2016 will see the release of his debut novel, The Last Year at Low Tide (Chess Books). In 1993, he was awarded the Presidential Medallion from President Clinton on behalf of his work as a young playwright.

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Narrator Bio

After 20+ years as professional NYC actor, I stumbled into some documentary voiceover work. From that moment on, I knew the trajectory of my career had been changed forever. I adore narrating and doing VO, and every job feels like a gift.

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Q&A with Author Phil Geoffrey Bond

  1. Was a possible audiobook recording something you were conscious of while writing?
    1. Not at all. I wrote this when I was in my early twenties, before such things existed.
  2. How did you select your narrator?
    1. My dear friend Jenn Lee Andrews began narrating books — she’s a wonderful actress with whom I’ve worked before many times. It was just a natural fit. She’s sublime.
  3. How closely did you work with your narrator before and during the recording process? Did you give them any pronunciation tips or special insight into the characters?
    1. No – she invented it all herself, marvelously.
  4. Were there any real life inspirations behind your writing?
    1. I grew up in a small town in Indiana with rural towns, rivers, creeks, etc., named after Native American tribes. That’s really the background for the sense of place in the story. The characters are just my own imagination, although I think we’ve all known people like Maybelle, at least.
  5. Are you an audiobook listener? What about the audiobook format appeals to you?
    1. I’m a novice and have no experience here. However, I remember “Books on Tape.” I eagerly devoured, after I’d read it, Katherine Hepburn’s book, “Me,” which she read herself.
  6. If you had the power to time travel, would you use it? If yes, when and where would you go?
    1. I would have liked to have seen Judy Garland at Carnegie Hall on April 23, 1961.
  7. If this title were being made into a TV series or movie, who would you cast to play the primary roles?
    1. Meryl Streep as Maybelle. David Stratharian as Lloyd. Glenn Close as Emma, the friend from the dance — former Miss Fire Engine. The young couple in the restaurant could be cameos by Lily James and some dashing young gentleman.
  8. What do you say to those who view listening to audiobooks as “cheating” or as inferior to “real reading”?
    1. I’m new to it, as well. But I do appreciate hearing a human voice embody my words and, if it gets people paying attention to the written word, I’m all for it.
  9. How did you celebrate after finishing this novel?
    1. I throw a plate and a glass into the lit fireplace aka Kathleeen Turner in Romancing the Stone. Then I pet my cat, Romeo.
  10. What gets you out of a writing slump? What about a reading slump?
    1. Scotch.
  11. Have any of your characters ever appeared in your dreams?
    1. They mostly come from my dreams, originally.
  12. What’s your favorite:
    1. Food – Chinese — really fried, bad for you chicken – like sesame or General Tso’s.
    2. Song – anything sung by Streisand. Also, Etta James, Dinah Washington, Lady Day, Carole King, Maureen McGovern, Sally Mayes, Ann Hampton Callaway, Liz Callaway… the story goes on…
    3. Book – trick question.
    4. Television show – The Golden Girls/anything Star Trek.
    5. Movie – Funny Girl.
    6. Band – rubber.
    7. Sports team – what’s that?
    8. City – London.
  13. What bits of advice would you give to aspiring authors?
    1. Don’t ever listen to me.
  14. Do you have any tips for authors going through the process of turning their books into audiobooks?
    1. Be absolutely fond of your narrator. I am.
  15. What’s next for you?
    1. My partner’s 40th birthday was this week and there remains leftover cake in the fridge… probably that.

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