Audiobook Review & Giveaway: The Secret Garden of Yanagi Inn by Amber A. Logan

Book Title:  The Secret Garden of Yanagi Inn by Amber A. Logan
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+),  336 pages
Genre: Paranormal Mystery
Publisher:  CamCat Books
Release date:  Nov 15, 2022

Content Rating:  PG. The book is clean, without excessive swearing, no sexual content or graphic violent scenes, etc.  

Cracked doesn’t always mean broken.

Grieving her mother’s death, Mari Lennox travels to Kyoto, Japan to take photographs of Yanagi Inn for a client. As she explores the inn and its grounds, her camera captures striking images, uncovering layers of mystery shrouding the old resort—including an overgrown, secret garden on a forbidden island. But then eerie weeping no one else in the inn seems to hear starts keeping her awake at night.

​Despite the warnings of the staff, Mari searches the deep recesses of the old building to discover the source of the ghostly sound, only to realize that her own family’s history is tied to the inn, its mysterious, forlorn garden . . . and the secrets it holds.

BUY THE BOOK:
CamCat Books
Amazon ~ B&N ~ IndieBound ~ Bookshop
add to goodreads

My Review

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

Mari receives a grant to take photos of Yanagi Inn in Japan. She’d lived in Japan when she was a child. She feels like this may the thing that will help her deal with her grief after her mom dies.

Mari’s time at Yanagi Inn includes a secret island, memories coming to the surface, and a ghost. It’s not a scary story though. It’s more a story of Mari coming to terms with her past and being able to help the people she meets at Yanagi Inn.

The characters at Yanagi Inn are interesting, and Mari’s character is well developed. There is a little more about her thoughts and feelings than I care for, but that’s a personal preference.

If you like a story with a bit of paranormal, this is one you should like.

About the Author

Amber A. Logan is a university instructor, freelance editor, and author of speculative fiction living in Kansas with her husband and two children—Fox and Willow. In addition to her degrees in Psychology, Liberal Arts, and International Relations, Amber holds a PhD in Creative Writing from Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge.

connect with the author: website ~ twitter ~ facebook instagram goodreads

Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Secret Garden of Yanagi Inn

(2 winners/USA only)

Gleam

Follow the Tour

​Oct 25 – Rockin’ Book Reviews – audiobook review / guest post / giveaway
Oct 25 – She Just Loves Books – audiobook review / giveaway
Oct 26 – Viviana MacKade – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Oct 26 – JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Oct 27 – Sadie’s Spotlight – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Oct 28 – Just Another Mother With Books – book spotlight
Oct 28 – Jennareadstuff – book review / giveaway
Oct 28 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Oct 31 – Paws.Read.Repeat – book review / giveaway
Oct 31 – Books for Books – book spotlight
Nov 1 – Mysweetenedlifebychix – audiobook review / giveaway
Nov 1 – Leanne bookstagram – book review / giveaway
Nov 2 – Liese’s Blog – book spotlight
Nov 3 –  @bookqueenbee – audiobook review
Nov 3 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Nov 3 – Novels Alive – book review / giveaway
Nov 4 – Amy’s Booket List – audiobook review / giveaway
Nov 4 – Booking With Janelle – audiobook review / author interview / giveaway
Nov 7 – Cover Lover Book Review – book review / guest post / giveaway
Nov 7 – Literary Flits – audiobook review / giveaway
Nov 8 – Olio by Marilyn – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Nov 8 – Olio by Marilyn – book review / giveaway
Nov 9 – fundinmental – book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 10 – Deborah-Zenha Adams – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Nov 10 – @shangread_la – book review / giveaway
Nov 10 – Pause for Tales – book review / giveaway
Nov 11 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book review / giveaway
Nov 14 – Bound 4 Escape – audiobook review / giveaway
Nov 14 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Nov 14 – Splashes of Joy – audiobook review / giveaway
Nov 14 – @onecreativeartist – book review

Book Review & Giveaway: Between Before and After by Jessica Stilling

Between Before and After by Jessica Stilling

Publisher:  DX Varos Publishing (November 8, 2022)
Category: General Fiction, Literary Fiction, Family Secrets
ISBN: 978-1955065665
Available in Print and ebook, 479 (or less) pages

Between Before and After

Indie movie director Sebastian Foster has found his niche making movies based on the award-winning novels written by his estranged mother. However, his latest film, based loosely on the tragic death of his sister as a child, opens up old wounds best left under bandages.

Told in two concurrent timelines, now and when Sebastian was a teen, some twenty years ago in the mid-1990s, this story of learning unknown truths unwinds in the streets of Paris, where Sebastian lived as a teen and where he has returned to make his picture.

Amazon
Barnes&Noble
DX Varos Publishing

Guest Review by Sal

The moment I started reading this book, I knew that I was going to enjoy it. Jessica Stilling’s marvellously-plotted, emotion-packed novel, ‘Between Before and After,’ is the type of book that you can recommend to anyone, because it has a little something for everyone.  

Set in Paris, this novel uses duel timelines to tell a story that leaves the reader guessing until you suddenly realize what exactly happened that night in 1994.  

In current day, Sebastian Foster is a director, who mainly makes movies using the plots of his famous author mother’s novels. But in 1994, Bastian was just a 14-year-old kid who lived in a dingy apartment in Paris with his mother and little sister.  

Moving to Paris from New York as a teenager, Bastian attempts to navigate a country where he doesn’t speak much of the language and eventually gets pulled into the seedy underground world of a prescription drug trade by a friend. Though he does not want to be involved at all, Bastian’s friend, Marcel, continues to pull him in, and, when their illegal activities are discovered, things become much more real than either of them could have anticipated.  

Meanwhile, in the present, Sebastian attempts to direct a movie centering around the tragedy of his sister’s death in a fire during the summer of 1994. How do these two things link up? You’ll have to read the book to find out, and I recommend doing so. 

This is one heck of a novel! I couldn’t put it down and read through it all in one night. Stilling’s evocative writing creates a world so vivid that I felt like I could reach out and touch it.  

This book is about a young boy trying to find his place in the world, and a man who is still trying to recover from a terrible tragedy, and both are the same character. Five stars for this wonderful story! 

About the Author

Jessica Stilling has written three works of literary fiction, Betwixt and Between, The Beekeeper’s Daughter, and The Weary God of Ancient Travelers. She also wrote poetry and short fiction for various literary journals.

Her articles have appeared in Ms. Magazine, Bust Magazine and she writes extensively for The Writer Magazine. She has taught Creative Writing in both high school and university. She also publishes young adult fantasy under the pen name JM Stephen.

Jessica loves Virginia Woolf, very long walks, and currently lives in southern Vermont where she writes for the very local newspaper, The Deerfield Valley News.

Website: https://www.jessicastilling.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JessicaStilling
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jessica.sticklor

Giveaway

This giveaway is for 3 print or ebook copies. Print is open to the U.S. only and ebook is open worldwide. This giveaway ends on November 24, 2022 midnight, pacific time. Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the Tour

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Nov 1 Kickoff & Interview

Bookgirl Amazon & Goodreads Nov 2 Review

Lu Ann Rockin Book Reviews Nov 4 Excerpt

Sal Bound 4 Escape Nov 8 Guest Review

Gracie Goodreads Nov 9 Review

Suzie My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews Nov 10 Review

Nora StoreyBook Reviews Nov 14 Guest Review & Excerpt

Denise Amazon & Goodreads Nov 16 Review

Mark Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Nov 17 Guest Review

Lu Ann Rockin Book Reviews Nov 20 Review

Laura Lee Celticlady’s Reviews Nov 21 Guest Review & Excerpt

Mindy Room Without Books is Empty Nov 22 Review

Bee Book Pleasures Nov 23 Review

Praise For Jessica Stilling

Bronx Council of the Arts Chapter One Award for The Beekeeper’s Daughter

“Stilling’s take on this familiar tale is provocative and poignant, rich with emotion and powerfully described, laced with profound contemplation about dying too soon and growing up too quickly.”- Publisher’s Weekly review of Betwixt and Between

“At turns happy and unbearably sad, Betwixt and Between is a beautifully realized re-imagining of a classic story that will enchant readers as the original did.”- Booklist starred review of Betwixt and Between

“A suspenseful read. Jessica Stilling sets the story among a backdrop of stunning scenes of Greece described as being almost visceral with a unique compilation of romance, mystery, and self-inspection. A compelling story that comes to life off the page.”-San Francisco Book Review of the Weary God of Ancient Travelers

Book Review & Giveaway: Soulful Return by Fidelis O. Mkparu

Soulful Return by Fidelis O. Mkparu

Publisher:  DX Varos Publishing (November 22, 2022)
Category: General Fiction, Literary Fiction, African-American Fiction, Immigrant Experience
ISBN: 978-1955065603
Available in Print and ebook, 332 pages

Soulful Return

“The hounding voice inside me would not let go.”

Thus begins the emotional journey of Afamefuna Onochie Nwaku, a Harvard-trained medical doctor with a career most can only dream of, a loving wife, and supportive family. Then, he receives a telephone call from his sister who lives in Nigeria that her life is being threatened.

Left with no other fair choice, Afam leaves behind his family, throwing his marriage into turmoil and risking the life he has built in Boston. Instead of the Nigeria that he loves, that he needs, he finds a land and people he barely recognizes waiting for him. Afam decides to stay but realizes that his future in Nigeria is as murky as the River-Niger after a torrential tropical rainfall.

As Afam sets out on a journey to reconnect with the family and heritage that he left behind, he must face new enemies in an increasingly corrupt Nigeria where many people see him as an American intruder. And through it all, he must fight to keep his family together—and alive.

Amazon
Barnes&Noble
DX Varos Publishing

Guest Review by Sal

“I watched as waves cascaded up my ankles and bobbed to a rhythm like drumbeats, the ceremonial drumbeats of my ancestral home, the type that made dancing feet float in the air and twirling waists reach their breaking point.”

Set in both Boston and Nigeria, Fidelis O. Mkparu’s amazing novel, ‘Soulful Return,’ is an exploration of the ties that bind us and how it feels to return to the place that you thought you called home.

After being sent to Boston as a young man to attend medical school, 60-year-old Afamefuna Onochie Nwaku receives a call from his sister that forces him to return home.

Afamefuna’s sister, Adaku, is being threatened by local men who wish to take over their father’s land. At the end of her rope, she demands that her brother return home to claim his ancestral lands and protect them from the men.

Although Afamefuna’s wife protests and eventually stays in Boston without him, he decides to return to Nigeria and to his father’s house. Immediately upon returning, however, he discovers that in the 25 years since he last visited, the country has changed in many upsetting ways.

After a harrowing journey home to his ancestral village that includes being asked by policemen for bribes and almost capsizing in a boat, Afamefuna returns to see that his parents’ house has remained the same since their death, but the politics around the land have changed.

This is a story that is somehow both quiet and electric all at once. Having never read any of Mkparu’s work before, I wasn’t sure what to expect going into this, but I knew it was going to be an excellent novel from the very first page.

I couldn’t get enough of this book and didn’t want it to end. Five stars!

Advance Praise for Soulful Return

“Mkparu has created a masterpiece of immigrant experience and connection, outlining many of the forces that influence and stress modern Africans and Americans alike.” — D. DonovanMidwest Book Review

About the Author

Multi award winning author, Fidelis O. Mkparu is a Nigerian immigrant in the U.S. who wishes to speak to his experiences and those of his fellow immigrants. He is a professor of Medicine at Northeast Ohio Medical University and a senior attending cardiologist at Aultman Hospital and Mercy Medical Center in Canton, Ohio. Previously, he was a Spaulding fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital at Harvard Medical School.

His preceding novels include Love’s Affliction and Tears Before Exaltation.

Website: https://fidelismkparu.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/fidelismkparu
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/fidelis.mkparu

Giveaway

This giveaway is for 3 print or ebook copies. Print is open to the U.S. only and ebook is open worldwide. This giveaway ends on November 24, 2022 midnight, pacific time. Entries accepted via Rafflecopter only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the Tour

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Nov 2 Kickoff & Interview

Sal Bound 4 Escape Nov 3 Review

Denise Amazon & Goodreads Nov 8 Review

Laura Lee Celticlady’s Reviews Nov 10 Review & Excerpt

Bookgirl Amazon Nov 11 Review

Suzie My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews Nov 14 Review & Excerpt

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Nov 15 Review

Gracie Goodreads Nov 16 Review

Bee Book Pleasures Nov 17 Review & Interview

Linda Lu Goodreads Nov 18 Review

Nora S. Storeybook Reviews Nov 22 Review & Guest Post

Ellen Goodreads Nov 23 Review

Awards and Praise for Fidelis O. Mkparu

2018 EVVY winner, Literary & Contemporary Fiction for Tears Before Exaltation.

Silver Medal: Nautilus Book Awards, Fiction 2016 for Love’s Affliction.

Reader Views Literary Award Winner 2015/2016 for Love’s Affliction.

Finalist 2015: INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award, Multicultural Fiction for Love’s Affliction.

“A must-read, Love’s Affliction is an exceptionally gripping and poignant story. While intense throughout, there is resolution – and not quite what one may expect!”—San Francisco Book Review

“An exceptionally well crafted work, “Love’s Affliction” is an engaging and extraordinary multi-cultural novel that documents author Fidelis O. Mkparu as a talented, first class storyteller. “Love’s Affliction” is very highly recommended for personal reading lists and would prove to be a valued addition to community library Contemporary Fiction collections.”—Midwest Book Review

Audiobook Review & Giveaway: Belinda by Mark Zvonkovic

Book Title:  Belinda (The Raymond Hatcher Stories/Book Three) by Mark Zvonkovic
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+),  276 pages
Genre: Literary / Legal Thriller 
Publisher:  Dos Perro Press 
Release date:  June 2022
Content Rating:  PG13+M because it involves mature themes, occasional mild profanities, non-explicit sex scenes and mild violence.

Set in the conference rooms of a white-shoe Houston law firm and the stunning coastline of Baja California, Belinda is the story of a woman’s bravery and resourcefulness at the end of her brilliant career. Her decision to fight her firm’s men in suits who demand her retirement is called into question when a man once her lover appears after a long unexplained absence.

Against a backdrop of romance and legal drama, the novel explores questions about love, the law, and the anxious precipice of life change. Is it ever too late to be swept away by romance? Can true justice ever be attained when the law’s practitioners are corrupt? And when your work is what defines you, what’s left after retirement?

​During a week of surprises and abstruse events, Belinda sees the once presumed greatness of her life flicker as she forces the moment for her decision to a crisis. 

BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
Indiebound~ Bookshop
BookBub
add to goodreads

My Review

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

Belinda is the third book in the Raymond Hatcher series and my favorite so far. All three books are standalone.

Belinda is a lawyer at the end of her career, but she has no idea what she’ll do once she retires. She hears from Jay Jackson out of the blue after his silence for two years. He had left after the murder of Raymond Hatcher. What Belinda doesn’t know is that Jay was a spy like Raymond, who was his mentor. She decides to give him a second chance.

There are many other characters in this story, mostly lawyers working on a big deal. The different egos of the lawyers were interesting and probably realistic.

The narrator did well with pace and timing. She also performed the voices effectively, so I always knew who was talking.

The pace of the story is okay until the end when things heat up. It seems that Jay may never be able to retire as a spy. I liked the ending, but I hope there will be one more book to tie up an important loose end.

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)

Gleam

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

Book Review & Giveaway: The Narrows by Mark Zvonkovic

Book Title:  The Narrows (The Raymond Hatcher Stories/Book Two) by Mark Zvonkovic
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+),  306 pages
Genre: Psychological Thriller 
Publisher:  Dos Perro Press 
Release date:  November 2020
Content Rating:  PG13: The book has a couple of non-explicit sex scenes and very mild violence.

A harrowing extraction of members of a religious cult goes awry.

Junior high teacher Larry Brown teams up with experienced extractor nicknamed Black Lightning to rescue his cousin from a cult. But the mission is complicated by Larry’s unfaithful girlfriend and the drowning of another cult member in the Charles River. And then Larry’s cousin isn’t as willing as Larry hoped. These events work together on a day in a family vacation home on Cape Cod to turn Larry’s world upside down.

Spanning a ten-day period, The Narrows chronicles the personal and social challenges that took place during the cultural transformation of the 1970s.

BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
 Indiebound  ~  Bookshop 
BookBub
add to goodreads

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.

Larry Brown is a teacher in the 1970s. He is related to the characters in the first book in the series, A Lion in the Grass, but this book doesn’t really fit into The Raymond Hatcher Stories. In fact, I would recommend reading books number one and three, then going back to read The Narrows as a standalone.

Although the description describes the extraction of members of a cult, that’s only at the very end of the book. It is more about Larry’s relationships, thoughts and memories. There is also a lot of useless conversation, especially at cocktails parties. Larry is funny at times in his own way. For example, when they were on their way to The Narrows, he told the driver there were no landmarks but to count to 30 then turn left. Of course, she questioned how fast to drive and how fast to count. He said to close her eyes and just count to 30. But she’s driving! And then he saw a landmark and told her to turn. That tickled me.

The Narrows is mostly character development until the excitement and a surprise at the end. I recommend it if you like general fiction but not if you’re looking for a page turner.

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)

Gleam

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

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.

BUY THE BOOK:
Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble
 Indiebound  ~  Bookshop 
BookBub
add to goodreads

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