Friday, 20 July 2018

The Collision Of Grief And Gratitude by Rosanne Liesveld + #Giveaway

The Collision of Grief and Gratitude: A Pursuit of Sacred Light by Rosanne Liesveld

Category: Adult Non-fiction, 468 pages
Genre: Self-Help, Death & Grief, Grief & Bereavement
Publisher: Illuminatio Press
Release date: May 16, 2017
Tour dates: July 16 to Aug 10, 2018
Content Rating: PG (The subject of loss is explored and some of the emotions may be too raw for young children.)

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $32.95 / £57.01 (HB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add The Collision Of Grief And Gratitude to your Goodreads

Day 209
"And so each day goes; the grief and the gratitude fighting for the bigger spot in my heart. The tug of war between these emotions exhausts me most days. If you see me in the grief mode, you'll think I'm a wreck. But if you see me in gratitude mode, you'll think I m doing well. Neither is 100 percent true. I am what I am most days, leaning toward finding more gratitude than grief as the days turn into weeks and the weeks into months."

After the unexpected death of her husband, Rosanne Liesveld felt a desperate need to communicate gratitude to those who helped her through the shock that death left in its wake. The day of Curt's funeral, Rosanne wrote a Facebook post expressing how, in the midst of profound grief, she found a space in her heart for gratitude. The next day, she wrote another post; then another.

Rosanne's daily posts throughout her first year of widowhood attracted hundreds to follow along on her journey. Her words inspired those who were not only grieving in some way, but those who wanted to build stronger relationships or live life with more intention and gratitude. It was messy. It was raw. And it was healing.

Rosanne's posts have been compiled into this 366-day journey and are accompanied by beautiful photos taken by Curt.

To follow the tour, please visit Rosanne Liesveld's page on iRead Book Tours.

Meet the Author:

After the unexpected death of her husband, Curt, Rosanne Liesveld went on a year-long quest to find a glimmer of gratitude each day. She posted her daily journey on Facebook. Those posts become her book, The Collision of Grief and Gratitude: A Pursuit of Sacred Light.

As a coach and teacher for more than thirty years with the Gallup Organization, Rosanne has helped people discover and lean into their strengths. She now speaks to groups about how to build stronger relationships, and live life with more intention and gratitude.

Connect with the author: Facebook

Enter the Giveaway!
Win a paperback copy of The Collision of Grief and Gratitude
(3 winners / open to USA only)
Ends Aug 18, 2018

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Rosanne Liesveld / Biography and memoir / Books from America

Thursday, 19 July 2018

Notes From A Big Country by Bill Bryson

Notes From A Big Country by Bill Bryson
Published in the UK by Doubleday in November 1998.

How I got this book:
Borrowed from my partner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £6.99 (PB)
Wordery : from £6.97 (PB)
Waterstones : from £6.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $0.03 / £1.01 (used HB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Bill Bryson has the rare knack of being out of his depth wherever he goes - even (perhaps especially) in the land of his birth. This became all too apparent when, after nearly two decades in England, the world's best-loved travel writer upped sticks with Mrs Bryson, little Jimmy et al. and returned to live in the country he had left as a youth.

Of course there were things Bryson missed about Blighty but any sense of loss was countered by the joy of rediscovering some of the forgotten treasures of his childhood: the glories of a New England autumn; the pleasingly comical sight of oneself in shorts; and motel rooms where you can generally count on being awakened in the night by a piercing shriek and the sound of a female voice pleading, 'Put the gun down, Vinnie, I'll do anything you say.'

Whether discussing the strange appeal of breakfast pizza or the jaw-slackening direness of American TV, Bill Bryson brings his inimitable brand of bemused wit to bear on that strangest of phenomena - the American way of life.

I thought Notes From A Big Country was my very first Bill Bryson book, but Goodreads tells me I had previously read At Home way back in October 2011. That was before I started reviewing everything I read and, I have discovered, if I don't write my thoughts about a particular book then my having read it often fails to lodge in my brain. Does anyone find this or is it simply a personal weirdness to me?

I'm supposed to be reading a literary novel at the moment, but it is just so hot on our campsite that I struggled to focus on it. Glancing around for an alternative, Bryson's volume of collected newspaper articles seemed to be a perfect fit for my attention span! Originally written twenty years ago, Notes From A Big Country is now a fascinating snapshot of American life at the end of the twentieth century and also, in several aspects, a prophetic glimpse of what British life would become. Articles about ridiculous displays of choice in supermarkets, creeping obesity, ubiquitous effort-saving devices that are anything but, and practically-fraudulent advertisements, all seem uncannily familiar.

I love Bryson's dry humour which frequently struck me as very unAmerican - did this develop during his British years? He is endearingly inept with a great eye for a self-depreciating tale and I often giggled out loud at his observations and mishaps. There's nothing like schadenfreude to make a Brit laugh! If your reading mojo is suffering from heat overload too, I'd recommend a few of Bryson's short essays to revive you!

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Bill Bryson / Biographies and memoir / Books from America

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Blood In The Woods by J P Willie + #Giveaway + #FreeBook

Blood In The Woods by J P Willie
First published by Fear Front Publishing in December 2016. Republished in December 2017 by Hellbound Books.

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £14.99 (PB)
Wordery : from £10.96 (PB)
Waterstones : from £14.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $4.93 / £3.73 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add Blood In The Woods to your Goodreads

Based upon true events...

For Jody, growing up in the late eighties and early nineties in the small Louisiana town of Hammond with his best friend Jack was filled with wonderful childhood memories.

Time spent playing in the woods, shooting pellet guns, blowing up mailboxes, fighting at school and upon the dawning of interest in the fairer sex, their carefree lives typical of children with few responsibilities and no worries beyond the next pop-quiz or getting to second base.

As they grow older together and experience the joys and pains of life, love, family and friendship, they uncover a grim secret that their home town has kept, and through little more than an innocent, idle curiosity, Jody and Jack stumble upon something horrific in the woods and their lives quickly take a most sinister and dangerous turn as they find themselves hunted by an unspeakable evil.

Meet The Author
J.P. Willie was born in Covington, Louisiana to parents Gayla and Joseph Willie on October 30th, 1981. He graduated from Tara High School in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and joined the United States Army on October 20, 2000. While serving in the Army, he was stationed at: Fort Bragg (North Carolina), Caserma Ederle (Italy), Mannheim (Germany), Fort Benning (Georgia), Schofield Barracks (Hawaii) and Fort Polk (Louisiana). He served two combat tours in Afghanistan with the 82nd Airborne Division and the 173rd Airborne Brigade. He will retire from the Military in October of 2020.

His first novel, Blood In The Woods, was published by Fear Front Publishing on December 26, 2016. The story is inspired by true events from his childhood and is terrifying readers across the globe. He decided to leave Fear Front Publishing on March 1, 2017 for personal reasons and quickly self-published the novel on April 5, 2017 due to high demand. His first short story,Welcome Home, Rougarou reached #5 for short reads on

J.P. enjoys writing Horror, Thrillers, Supernatural Fiction and Dark Fiction. He is working on his first novella,Hot Summer Savior.

Visit J P Willie's website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

And now it's time for the Giveaway!
I've kinda got a double Giveaway for you today!

First up for grabs is a paperback edition of Blood In The Woods by J P Willie, PLUS a paperback of the winner's choice from the Hellbound Books catalogue.

This giveaway is open worldwide until midnight on the 1st August 2018 and entry is by way of the Gleam widget below. (GDPR: I will need permission to pass the winner's mail address onto Hellbound Books for the purposes of fulfilling the prize and Hellbound Books will need their mailing address!)

Blood In The Woods & Hellbound Books Giveaway

Secondly, for ebook fans, Hellbound Books has a great offer currently running. If you sign up to their e-mail newsletters, you can take your pick from a choice of four ebooks. The subscription link is about halfway down the Hellbound Books Homepage.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by J P Willie / Horror fiction / Books from America

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Dortmund Hibernate by C J Sutton + Excerpt

Dortmund Hibernate by C J Sutton
First published in America by Crooked Cat Books tomorrow, the 18th July 2018.

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £7.99 (PB)
Wordery : from £9.16 (PB)
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $2.64 / £1.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add Dortmund Hibernate to your Goodreads

Psychologist Dr Magnus Paul is tasked with the patients of Dortmund Asylum – nine criminally insane souls hidden from the world due to the extremity of their acts. 

Magnus has six weeks to prove them sane for transfer to a maximum-security prison, or label them as incurable and recommend a death sentence under a new government act. 

As Magnus delves into the darkness of the incarcerated minds, his own sanity is challenged. Secrets squeeze through the cracks of the asylum, blurring the line between reality and nightmare, urging Magnus towards a new life of crime…

The rural western town of Dortmund and its inhabitants are the backdrop to the mayhem on the hill. 

It's Silence of the Lambs meets Shutter Island in this tale of loss, fear and diminishing hope.


In the following excerpt from Dortmund Hibernate, Dr Magnus Paul is driven to the Asylum for his first shift as psychologist to the criminally insane. Here we get our first glimpse of the iconic facility and some information on the conditions presented to the nine remaining inmates. With no personal form of transport, Magnus is reliant on a designated driver to get him up the hill to the asylum from Dortmund. 

Tyres crackled against the gravel road that spiralled up the steep hill towards Dortmund Asylum: ‘Dortmund’ due to the rural Western town it overlooked, not to be confused with the thriving German city, and ‘Asylum’ due to the patients within. Magnus Paul, from the passenger seat, absorbed the sight of the facility perched at the summit as grey clouds hovered above the decaying roof.
“They don’t let you bring your own car up here,” said the taxi driver, drumming his thick fingers against the steering wheel, peering left and right from beneath his unnecessary sunglasses. “No cars to be left on the premises, in case…well, you wouldn’t want the bastards high-tailing away now would you?”
Magnus ignored the small talk, focused on his first day as the psychologist at one of the most mysterious buildings in the country; one of the final ‘labelled’ houses for the criminally insane. His task: to be the only point of contact available, as those residing within spent all remaining life in solitude. No yard time, no chance to mingle with others. Strict solitude. The laws didn’t apply to this land; out of sight, out of jurisdiction. Even the name ‘Asylum’, long drained out of society like a sour infection, rested on the plaque.

Magnus’ first steps into the Asylum soon follow as he meets the lead guard and walks through the hallway with laughter filling his ears. First impressions are a tell-tale sign, and the psychologist enters a cell to have his first session with an animal-obsessed murderer.  

Meet the author:

C.J. Sutton is a writer based in Melbourne, Australia. He holds a Master of Communication with majors in journalism and creative writing, and supports the value of study through correspondence. His fictional writing delves into the unpredictability of the human mind and the fears that drive us.

As a professional writer C.J. Sutton has worked within the hustle and bustle of newsrooms, the competitive offices of advertising and the trenches of marketing. But his interest in creating new characters and worlds has seen a move into fiction, which has always pleaded for complete attention. Dortmund Hibernate is his debut novel.   

Author links: 
Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by C J Sutton / Thrillers / Books from Australia

Monday, 16 July 2018

Liberty Landing by Gail Vida Hamburg + #Giveaway + Guest Post

Liberty Landing by Gail Vida Hamburg

Category: Adult Fiction, 344 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publisher: Mirare Press
Release date: March 2018
Tour dates: July 2 to 20, 2018
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (This book contains love scenes, one explicit love scene, and some profanity)

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £8.99 (PB)
Wordery : from £8.98 (PB)
Waterstones : from £8.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $9.46 / £7.07 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add Liberty Landing to your Goodreads

Liberty Landing -- a 2016 Finalist for the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction -- narrates the American Experience of the 21st century through the lives of a polycultural cast of natives, immigrants, and refugees in Azyl Park--a town in the Midwest.

After Angeline Lalande, a journalist and historian, unearths the real meaning of the name, "Azyl," conferred on the town in the 1800s by immigrant-hating politicians, the town elders begin the act of renaming it. During the course of the renaming, we meet the intriguing denizens of the town--survivors, strugglers, and strivers of every race and nationality, see the intersection of their lives, and the ways they find home, heaven, and haven in each other. We learn about the singular journeys that brought them to Azyl Park--a place that both transforms them and is transformed by them.

The larger story of the American Experiment is told through the personal story of Alexander Hamilton, the essential immigrant among the Founding Fathers, as Angeline writes a book about him. By the end of the novel, after Azyl Park is renamed, each of the characters has lost or found something essential.

Liberty Landing is about the personal and the political, family and loss, memory and migration, finding new love and a new home, and about history and the American Experiment. Seminal moments of the American Experience figure in this literary and historical fiction. Inspired by John Dos Passos' USA Trilogy about early 20th century Americans, Liberty Landing is a sweeping, lush, layered saga, set in a vibrant community, with a cast of Americans marked by neuroses, flaws, secrets, unspeakable pasts, humor, warmth, vulnerability, and humanity.

Liberty Landing is Gail Vida Hamburg's love letter to the American Experiment--the first in a trilogy.

To follow the tour, please visit Gail Vida Hamburg's page on iRead Book Tours.

Watch the trailer:

Writing America As I Find It by Gail Vida Hamburg, author of the novel, Liberty Landing

The characters in Liberty Landing (Mirare Press, 2018), my novel about the American Experiment and American Experience include Gabriel Khoury, a Palestinian Christian from a Lebanese refugee camp; Angeline LaLande, a journalist and chronicler of history of Louisiana Creole origins; Bruce Halliday, an Australian master brewer turned Hollywood  TV reality star; Tina Trang, a Vietnamese woman, who was airlifted as infant from the U.S. Embassy roof during the fall of Saigon; Nila and Rae Oberoi, diasporic Indians raising two troubled teenagers; Roger, a fifth generation American from Iowa; and an ensemble of refugees and immigrants from around the world who land in Azyl Park, the fictional multicultural town in the saga.

Writing these characters into being was a novelist’s dream. As a globalist, an expatriate, and an immigrant of color who has lived in multiple cities on three continents, and as someone with family, friendships, and community that defy rigid cultural, religious, and ethnic boundaries, I felt comfortable writing about these characters.

There is a hypersensitivity in publishing today about novelists writing about characters unlike themselves. I agree with this anxiety to some extent. I’ll never know the lived experience of a transgendered person and don’t feel it would be my story to tell. I’ll never know what it is like to be a Native American on a reservation and don’t feel qualified to tell this story. However, as a person of color who has been racially profiled in stores and restaurants, I feel confident that I can expand on this known and lived experience to articulate the rage of an African American humiliated by racism as she’s shopping or driving.

There’s a new band of professionals in conventional publishing called “sensitivity readers”—a cohort of early readers who point out insensitive portrayals of characters and cultural appropriation by novelists. Author Francine Prose finds them problematic: “Isn’t reading an experience that the writer allows us to “live”? Doesn’t fiction let the reader imagine what it might be like to be someone else? Or to enable us to consider what it means to be a human being—of another race, ethnicity, or gender? Should we dismiss Madame Bovary because Flaubert lacked “lived experience” of what it meant to be a restless provincial housewife? Can we no longer read Othello because Shakespeare wasn’t black?”

At the same time, I have read troublesome depictions of characters by authors who do not know anyone from that group. For example, a writer I know, a suburbanite from a gated community who doesn’t know a single person of color, wrote a story about a Korean woman working in a laundromat … in first person!!! She said, “Ah so,” a lot in the story, which I had to point out to him was Japanese, not Korean. I defend this writer’s right to depict this character if he educates himself through research and interviews about the character’s ethnicity.

Those who support advance sensitivity reading say that novelists who write cross-culturally shrink opportunities in publishing for those writing about their own ethnic groups. In this, I feel safe. Because of the kind of novels I write, socially engaged and political fiction, I rejected traditional publishing very early in my career.

There is a humanity we share that transcends race, religion, culture, and country of origin. For example, when someone we love dies, we all grieve in the same way. We cannot forgive God for shattering our hearts. We feel we will never outlive our sorrow. I’ve buried people I’ve loved, more than once, and my grief is no different from the grief of the parents of Sandy Hook, or those who lost a loved one in 9/11, or a widow who lost her soldier husband in a foreign war. I feel confident I can write about grief other than my own. All of us who love our children raise them with hope in the future. I can render this hope through the character of a White Soccer Mom as easily as I can through a South Asian immigrant father. The American Experience binds us to certain narratives—of this country as a place of deliverance, tolerance, idealism, and hope. The characters in Liberty Landing are grappling with all that it means to be American and human, each in their own way.

Meet the Author:

Gail Vida Hamburg is an award-winning American journalist, author, and museum storyist. She is the author of The Edge of the World (Mirare Press, 2007), a novel about the impact of American foreign policy on individual lives. A nominee for the 2008 James Fenimore Cooper Prize, it is a frequent text in undergraduate post- colonial studies, war studies, and creative writing programs. Born in Malaysia, she spent her teens and twenties in England before migrating to the United States. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Literature and Creative Writing from Bennington Writers Seminars at Bennington College, Vermont. Liberty Landing, the first volume in her trilogy about the American Experience, is her love letter to the great American Experiment.

She lives in Chicago—the setting for Liberty Landing, a finalist for the 2016 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends July 28, 2018

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Gail Vida Hamburg / Contemporary fiction / Books from America

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Wilderness Tips by Margaret Atwood

Wilderness Tips by Margaret Atwood
First published in Canada by McClelland And Stewart in September 1991.

How I got this book:
Bought at the Hope Association book sale in Clussais la Pommeraie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £8.99 (PB)
Wordery : from £7.66 (PB)
Waterstones : from £8.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $0.50 / £2.37 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

A leathery bog-man transforms an old love affair; a sweet, gruesome gift is sent by the wife of an ex-lover; landscape paintings are haunted by the ghost of a young girl. This dazzling collection of ten short stories takes us into familiar Atwood territory to reveal the logic of irrational behaviour and the many textures lying beneath ordinary life.

I've enjoyed several Margaret Atwood novels over the years, but didn't realise she had also published short story collections until I spotted this one at a charity book sale. It was only a Euro and is even signed! Then ten stories are, as I would expect from Atwood, wonderfully well written and I enjoyed reading them all. Often I find short story collections to be a bit hit and miss, but that was absolutely not true in this case. Now, a couple of days after finishing the book, that I have come to write this review however, I realise that I can't actually remember all the stories individually. Instead, some of the storylines are memorable in their entirety - particularly True Trash, Isis In Darkness and the title story, Wilderness Tips - whereas the others for me have already receded to snapshot moments and images. I can recall the historical aspects of Age Of Lead for example, but have forgotten how it related to a present day situation. Don't let that discourage you though - this one is well worth picking up! I just needed to refer back to it to make sure I was connecting the right images with the right tales.

Atwood's imagery is frequently bizarre and unsettling - Hairball for example is essentially about a woman who displays her removed tumour in a jar. Her characters are slightly skewed versions of truth though I did appreciate her brief rant about how you know if an Englishman really cares about a woman - he'll start whinging at her because he believes he trusts her enough to reveal his inner self. That's so true!

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Margaret Atwood / Short stories / Books from Canada

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Death In Dulwich by Alice Castle + #Giveaway

Death In Dulwich by Alice Castle
Published in the UK by Crooked Cat Books in May 2017.

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £6.49 (PB)
Wordery : from £7.51 (PB)
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $4 / £2.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add Death In Dulwich to your Goodreads

Thirty-something single mum Beth Haldane is forced to become Dulwich’s answer to Miss Marple when she stumbles over a murder victim on her first day at work. 

To clear her name, Beth is plunged into a cozy mystery that’s a contemporary twist on Golden Age crime classics. But can she pull it off? She already has a bouncy young son, haughty cat, a fringe with a mind of its own and lots of bills to pay, as she struggles to keep up with the yummy mummies of SE21.

Join Beth in #1 of the London Murder Mystery series, as she discovers the nastiest secrets can lurk in the nicest places.

As regular Literary Flits readers will probably have spotted, I am not a frequent reader of cosy mysteries, but I was particularly attracted by the striking monochrome and red covers of Alice Castle's London Murder Mysteries series. I'm very glad that I was! Having enthusiastically devoured Death In Dulwich during a single afternoon and evening, I am now looking forward to returning to Beth Haldane's company for The Girl In The Gallery.

Death In Dulwich owes its driving narrative to the unfortunate coincidence of Beth discovering, on her first day in her sought-after new job, that her new boss is no more. Spotting his lifeless blood-soaked body abandoned not entirely inappropriately behind a row of bins, is understandably shocking - all the more so when Beth deduces that she must be the prime suspect for his murder. I liked Beth a lot. A single parent after the untimely death of her husband several years ago, she has somehow managed to afford to continue living in genteel Dulwich while raising her cute son, Ben. Beth and Ben are refreshingly normal and I loved that Castle didn't continually direct her readers to admire some brand-name outfit or aspire to fashionable home decor items. Beth is surrounded by people for whom appearance is everything - and having visited this part of London myself I could easily envisage every aspect of Castle's wickedly accurate descriptions - but she isn't blinded by that social anxiety herself. As readers looking through her eyes we get a good outsider's view.

The story itself is exciting and engaging. I appreciated that it always remains completely believable and Castle refrains from having Beth run around in silly escapades. There's a hint of romantic attraction that, again, feels realistic and although the denouement wasn't exactly what I had foreseen - and I had changed my minnd a few times on the way there too - it was convincing and satisfying. The excellent London scene portrayals briefly put me in mind of Helen Smith's Emily Castles Mysteries series. If you like those, give Alice Castle's London Murder Mysteries a try and vice versa.

Meet the author:

Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, set in Brussels and London, was a European hit and sold out in two weeks.

Death in Dulwich was published in September 2017 and has been a number one best-seller in the UK, US, Canada, France, Spain and Germany. A sequel, The Girl in the Gallery was published in December 2017 to critical acclaim. Calamity in Camberwell, the third book in the London Murder Mystery series, will be published this summer, with Homicide in Herne Hill due to follow in early 2019.  Alice is currently working on the fifth London Murder Mystery adventure. Once again, it will feature Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.

Alice is also a mummy blogger and book reviewer.

Author links: 
Website ~ FacebookTwitter

And now for the Giveaway!

Win signed copies of Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery (UK Only).
Ends 30th July 2018.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Alice Castle / Crime fiction / Books from England