Friday, 30 June 2017

Eye Of The Tiger by Catherine Green


Eye Of The Tiger: a Redcliffe Novel (book 4) by Catherine Green
Published by Mirador Publishing on the 26th June 2017.

Where to buy this book:
Buy the ebook from Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk

Jessica Stone used to be a normal human. Then she fell in love with a vampire, met his identical twin werewolf brother, and her life fell apart spectacularly. Meeting Detective Jack Mason, and his brother Danny, brought about a powerful change, and Jessica’s magic was released. Now, in Redcliffe book 4, she must learn to control her ethereal animal familiar, who lusts after the alpha werewolf, and will stop at nothing to use her human mistress as a tool...Or is that a weapon?
The Redcliffe novels series follow the adventures of bookshop owner Jessica Stone as she meets a man and falls in love, only to discover the hidden werewolf secrets of her close friends. 
Who knew the Cornish coast could be so deadly?

Welcome to the mysterious world of SpookyMrsGreen: the pagan housewife! A woman with a vivid imagination, you can be sure to find many dangerous and passionate creatures in her stories. Join her tribe today, and she will send you a fabulous FREE book to get you started… (be warned, her vampires do not sparkle, and her wolves will bite!)
Click the link now http://eepurl.com/bMDb1v

Author of British paranormal romance series The Redcliffe Novels, Catherine Green was raised on books from a young age, and has happy memories of Saturday mornings spent in her small local library, devouring the contents of the shelves. Catherine has always been fascinated by the supernatural world, and it feels natural for her to write about vampires, werewolves, witches and other mystical creatures in her contemporary stories.

Find more about Catherine on her website / Facebook / Twitter


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Books by Catherine Green / Romance fiction / Books from England

Thursday, 29 June 2017

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides


Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
First published in America by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in September 2002.

I registered my copy of this book at Bookcrossing

Where to buy this book:
Buy the book from Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk
Buy the ebook from Kobo
Buy the paperback from Speedyhen
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Swapped for in the book exchange at Camping Alvor, Portugal

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"I was born twice: first, as a baby girl, on a remarkably smogless Detroit day of January 1960; and then again, as a teenage boy, in an emergency room near Petoskey, Michigan, in August of l974." 
So begins the breathtaking story of Calliope Stephanides and her truly unique family secret, born on the slopes of Mount Olympus and passed on through three generations. Growing up in 70s Michigan, Calliope’s special inheritance will turn her into Cal, the narrator of this intersex, inter-generational epic of immigrant life in 20th century America.

When I finally got around to reading Middlesex, having been put off by how long a book it appeared to be, I was kicking myself for not reading this book some ten years previously when it was originally published. It is a fantastically rich novel that I absolutely loved. An epic tale of three generations of a Greek family who emigrated to America, Middlesex traces the family's story through a defective gene in their makeup. Eugenides writing is assured and detailed, as much a history lesson as a novel and with so many wonderful characters. All other books I read that year had a long way to go to beat Middlesex!


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Books by Jeffrey Eugenides / Historical fiction / Books from America

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Tales From Harborsmouth by E J Stevens + Giveaway


Tales from Harborsmouth by E.J. Stevens 
(Ivy Granger Psychic Detective, #0.5, #1.5, #2.5, #5.5)
Publication date: July 11th 2017
Genres: Adult, Mystery, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy the ebook from Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk
Buy the ebook from Kobo
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

Add Tales From Harborsmouth to your Goodreads

In Tales from Harborsmouth, readers get the chance to delve deeper into the award-winning world of Ivy Granger.
Ivy Granger is a psychic detective with ties to Harborsmouth’s paranormal underworld. Too bad those ties tend to ensnare Ivy and her friend Jinx in the Machiavellian schemes of the city’s teeming population of bloodsucking vampires and psychotic faeries.
Tales from Harborsmouth is the first time the Ivy Granger novellas are together in one collection and features two exclusive short stories the series prequel Frostbite and the newest Ivy Granger tale Thrill on Joysen Hill.

FROSTBITE (Ivy Granger #0.5) Everyone knows that there's no such thing as ghosts, but when a client claims that her house is being haunted, Ivy tries to keep her mind open and her weapons handy. If her psychic gifts and recent cases have taught her anything, it's that you're better off arming yourself for the unexpected. Anything is possible in Harborsmouth.

BLOOD AND MISTLETOE (Ivy Granger #1.5) Holidays are worse than a full moon for making people crazy. In Harborsmouth, where many of the residents are undead vampires or monstrous fae, the combination may prove deadly. Holidays are Hell, a point driven home when a certain demon attorney returns with information regarding a series of bloody murders. Five Harborsmouth residents have been killed and every victim has one thing in common-they are fae. Whoever is killing faeries must be stopped, but they only leave one clue behind-a piece of mistletoe floating in a pool of the victim's blood. The holidays just got interesting.

CLUB NEXUS (Ivy Granger #2.5) A demon, a human, an Unseelie faerie, and a vampire walk into a bar... These four intertwining short stories are set in Club Nexus, the hidden haunt of Harborsmouth's paranormal underworld. Iced: A bargain gone wrong leads a highborn Unseelie faerie to life as an enslaved bartender with a taste for revenge. Dusted: Being a highly skilled predator doesn't necessarily put you at the top of the food chain at Club Nexus. A southern vampire with a hankering for blood and wanton violence may have bit off more than he can chew. Demonized: The demon attorney we love to hate has his eye on a certain rockabilly human. Too bad she's brought a crossbow loaded with holy water dipped bolts for this night on the town. Jinxed: Just when Jinx needs a carefree girl's night out with Ivy, a smoking hot demon tries to buy her a drink. She really is the unluckiest human on the planet.

THRILL ON JOYSEN HILL (Ivy Granger #5.5) Few places are as rife with opportunity or as fraught with danger as Harborsmouth's notorious Joysen Hill. Vampires own the real estate, and even the most ruthless human thugs won't venture out after dark, but when Torn gets stuck babysitting, he can only think of one place in Harborsmouth interesting enough to take a demon toddler, a teenage bridge troll, and a grouchy hearth brownie. What happens next substantiates the city's advertising slogan. No matter who or what you are, no matter how young or old, you can find your thrill on Joysen Hill.



AUTHOR BIO:
E.J. Stevens is the bestselling, award-winning author of the IVY GRANGER, PSYCHIC DETECTIVE urban fantasy series, the SPIRIT GUIDE young adult series, the HUNTERS' GUILD urban fantasy series, and the WHITECHAPEL PARANORMAL SOCIETY Victorian Gothic horror series. She is known for filling pages with quirky characters, bloodsucking vampires, psychotic faeries, and snarky, kick-butt heroines. Her novels are available worldwide in multiple languages.

BTS Red Carpet Award winner for Best Novel, SYAE finalist for Best Paranormal Series, Best Novella, and Best Horror, winner of the PRG Reviewer's Choice Award for Best Paranormal Fantasy Novel, Best Young Adult Paranormal Series, Best Urban Fantasy Novel, and finalist for Best Young Adult Paranormal Novel and Best Urban Fantasy Series.

When E.J. isn't at her writing desk, she enjoys dancing along seaside cliffs, singing in graveyards, and sleeping in faerie circles. E.J. currently resides in a magical forest on the coast of Maine where she finds daily inspiration for her writing.

Connect with E.J. on GoodreadsTwitter @EJStevensAuthor and Facebook.
For more, including a list of her books, freebies, and upcoming events visit www.EJStevensAuthor.com


And now it is time for the Giveaway! Open worldwide until the 6th of July, up for grabs is a $25 Amazon gift card and a swag pack
Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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Books by E J Stevens / Short stories / Books from America

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Ireland's Fairy Lore by Reverend Michael P. Mahon


Ireland's Fairy Lore by Reverend Michael P. Mahon
First published in one volume in 1919 by Thomas J Flynn and Company. Republished in the UK by ForgottenBooks in November 2013.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the paperback from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Downloaded from ForgottenBooks

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Ireland's Fairy Lore is a collection of 31 separate tales of lore and legend. While the stories do an excellent job of illuminating Ireland's history of Gaelic literature, the author does not treat the works with too serious an interpretation, and in fact is downright lighthearted in many instances. This is especially appropriate for such an entertaining collection.
Standout entries include the story of The Pooka, a goblin like creature that is said to bring either good or misfortune upon people, and is the inspiration for many place names throughout Ireland. The history of The Dagda, a father figure God of frightening power, is another entertaining and illuminating chapter. In fact, of the thirty-one entries included in this collection, almost all are worthy of your attention. They were originally published as individual articles in Pilot magazine.
Ireland's Fairy Lore is an enduring and entertaining examination of Ireland's mythical landscape. The relaxed tone and brief chapters make this an easy read, one that you could get through in a couple of sittings, or go back to regularly over time. For anybody interested in Irelish folk lore, or even just a good fairy story, this book is highly recommended.

From the synopsis on the ForgottenBooks website I was expecting 31 Irish folk tales but this book is more of a survey of the influence of the faery folk on place names and Pagan traditions in Ireland. Rev Mahon was obviously widely read and quotes many medieval and earlier works as he traces the history of the fairies. This is interesting but I did find irritating his patronising assumptions that later Christian beliefs were automatically superior to these Pagan ones - especially at times where one has merely taken over the other. Also, the essays might be 'light hearted' by 1919 standards, but they've become considerably drier by 2014!


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Reverend Michael P Mahon / History / Books from England

Monday, 26 June 2017

Wolf Hunt by Ivailo Petrov


Wolf Hunt by Ivailo Petrov
First published in Bulgarian by Profizdat as Hayka za valtsi in 1986. English language translation by Angela Rodel published in America on the 16th May 2017 by Archipelago Books.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the ebook from Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk
Buy the ebook from Kobo

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Published in 1986, three years before the fall of the Berlin Wall, Wolf Hunt was the first novel to portray the human cost of Communist policies on Bulgarian villagers, forced by the government to abandon their land and traditional way of life. Darkly comic and tragic, the novel centers on an ill-fated winter hunting expedition of six neighbors whose history together is long and interwoven. The ensuing story takes the reader on a voyage of shifting perspectives that places the calamitous history of twentieth-century Bulgaria into a human context of helplessness and desperation.

A long novel by my usual reading standards, Wolf Hunt is told in six stories each centred around one of a half dozen men who unexpectedly go out on a night-time wolf hunt in a blizzard. We see their lives briefly on this night and then jump back to mostly see how they lived in the mid-1940s onwards when the introduction of communism to their village changed every aspect of their existence in a very short space of time. Petrov's portrayal was most poignant in the 1960s scenes as I realised that the vibrancy of the village just twenty years previously had been completely destroyed and now just a dwindling elderly population remained. I particularly appreciated his vivid and thoughtful descriptions of pastoral life that seemed essentially unchanged for centuries. This contrasts sharply with the rushed switch to co-operative farming and social communism and one character even states that the first failed co-operative farm might have been successful had the people been allowed to come to the idea in their own time. Instead the peasant farmers are left substantially worse off than when they tended their own micro farms.

Petrov's viewpoint is overwhelmingly male and we only see the village through the eyes of his six hunters, some of which have remarkably similar voices so I did often lose track of whose story was being told, especially when events overlap. Women are relegated to secondary roles and often presented in a very romanticised way which I found irritating. It would have been more interesting for me to have had a balanced portrayal with less emphasis on macho power struggles, grudges and vindictive behaviour. However Wolf Hunt is still a fascinating read and unusual in its subject matter so I was glad to have stumbled across this new English translation. Rodel does a good job of retaining the flavour of village life and traditional Bulgarian culture without her translation becoming clumsy or too bogged down in explanation.


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Books by Ivailo Petrov / Historical fiction / Books from Bulgaria

Sunday, 25 June 2017

The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane


The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane
First published in the UK by Granta in 2007.

Where to buy this book:
Buy the book from Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk
Buy the ebook from Kobo
Buy the paperback from Speedyhen
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Borrowed from my partner

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Wild Places is both an intellectual and a physical journey, and Macfarlane travels in time as well as space. Guided by monks, questers, scientists, philosophers, poets and artists, both living and dead, he explores our changing ideas of the wild. From the cliffs of Cape Wrath, to the holloways of Dorset, the storm-beaches of Norfolk, the saltmarshes and estuaries of Essex, and the moors of Rannoch and the Pennines, his journeys become the conductors of people and cultures, past and present, who have had intense relationships with these places.
Certain birds, animals, trees and objects - snow-hares, falcons, beeches, crows, suns, white stones - recur, and as it progresses this densely patterned book begins to bind tighter and tighter. At once a wonder voyage, an adventure story, an exercise in visionary cartography, and a work of natural history, it is written in a style and a form as unusual as the places with which it is concerned. It also tells the story of a friendship, and of a loss. It mixes history, memory and landscape in a strange and beautiful evocation of wildness and its vital importance.

If you are looking to get out into nature this summer before Michael Gove does away with Britain's natural world altogether, allow yourself to be inspired by The Wild Places. I loved immersing myself in MacFarlane's descriptions of the wild places he visited around Britain and Ireland, finding this book even more inspirational that the previous one of his I read, The Old Ways. While I don't think I'm personally up to sleeping out on iced over tarns, I would love to discover for myself some of the places he so eloquently describes.

My only real disappointment with this book, which may be more true in the Kindle version I read than for a paper version, is that the text suddenly ends at around 77% to be followed by an extensive bibliography and index. I've now several further titles to search out, but I mistakenly thought I still had hours more reading first!


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Books by Robert Macfarlane / Natural world / Books from England

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Not In The Eye by C Z Hazard


Not in the Eye by C.Z. Hazard
Published by B*Kitty Press on the 23rd December 2013.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the ebook from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In a world running rapidly out of new ideas, the most precious commodity is innovation. In a future so near that it may already be upon us, Western society faces cultural bankruptcy. Our creative heritage has been looted, recycled and plagiarised to the point of exhaustion. The entertainment industry has traded artistic merit for commercial success and mass appeal. Everything is just a rehash of something that came before. Nothing is original.
When a radical new phenomenon erupts (quite literally) onto the porno scene, it changes the industry forever, and forces audiences, jaded by endless reiteration, to sit up and take notice. It’s a watershed moment in these culturally bereft times, and – for a select few – it’s a chance to make some serious money. But wherever there’s serious money to be made, you can bet there’s a lawsuit just around the corner. Join Indigo Julius, self-styled godfather of NuGonzo™ journalism, as he searches for the story behind the story behind the most controversial porn sensation in history, and examines its far-reaching consequences. Across a series of probing interviews with the stars of this media spectacular, Indigo brings you their compelling – if often conflicting – versions of events, as everyone tries to stake a claim in this pornographic goldrush.

C Z Hazard is Nico Reznick's editor so I discovered this book of his after reading her novel, Anhedonia. Told through a series of overlapping interviews, Not In The Eye explores an imagined consequence of society's insatiable search for novelty and drama in a near-future America. Humorously named writer, John Thomas (a running gag), might have invented an innovative gimmick that made incredible profits for the pornography industry. Or maybe his then boss, Mike Man, should have all the credit? Either way, their protacted court case means the only people profiting right now are lawyers and possibly influential journalist Indigo Julius, our interviewer, who is piggybacking on John and Mike's notoriety to increase his own mass appeal.

As an examination of the lengths industries will go to to maintain audience interest, Not In The Eye provides a light but thoughtful look at Taking It Too Far. I liked the story idea and wouldn't be surprised if something along those lines becomes (or already is!) reality in a struggling studio. However I didn't think the character portrayals were strong enough to set our protagonists up as individual people. Perhaps that was the point - they are all actually shallow media-tarts - but without additional detail to round out these creations, I found it difficult to really become involved with their story.


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Books by C Z Hazard / Humorous fiction / Books from England

Friday, 23 June 2017

Guest Review: The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway


The Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway
First published in America by Charles Scribner's Sons in 1952.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the book from Amazon.com / Amazon.co.uk
Buy the ebook from Kobo

Guest review by Scott Kauffman
Californian author and attorney Scott Kauffman got in touch to offer me a review copy of his novel Revenants, The Odyssey Home which I am looking forward to reading and reviewing in July. His fiction career began with an in-class book report written in Mrs. Baer's eighth-grade English class when, due to a conflict of priorities, he failed to read the book. An exercise in invention was called for which scored more highly than previously when he actually read the book. Thus began Scott's life-long apprenticeship as a teller of tales. Scott has kindly donated a Guest Review to Literary Flits and chose Ernest Hemingway's Pulitzer Prize winning classic, The Old Man And The Sea.

Scott's rating: 5 of 5 stars

“The last novel Ernest Hemingway saw published, The Old Man and the Sea has proved itself to be one of the enduring works of American fiction. It is the story of an old Cuban fisherman and his supreme ordeal: a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Using the simple, powerful language of a fable, Hemingway takes the timeless themes of courage in the face of defeat and personal triumph won from loss and transforms them into a magnificent twentieth-century classic.

Scott says: Wondering if it had improved any with age in the forty-five years since I garnered my gentleman’s “C” on a book report from an English teacher likely being generous, I again cracked open The Old Man and the Sea. While my first reading of a fish story about the one that got away bored me to tears, or maybe only to Bonanza that evening, my second left me unsettled for Old Man I see now is Hemingway’s brooding meditation on approaching death. Like Santiago who catches the biggest fish of his life only to lose it to sharks and in that moment knows his best days as a fisherman are forever behind him, so too Hemingway saw his best days as a writer slipping fast as fish line through his fingers. Old Man proved to be his last novel, and he wrote little thereafter that did not require heavy editing. In its pages he foreshadows his own suicide ten years later on an Idaho mountaintop where, ever the showoff, he unloaded both shotgun barrels into the back of his mouth. A not surprising death for a man whose father took his own life as did two siblings and at least one grandchild. A death foreshadowed even earlier in The Sun Also Rises, set almost 30 years to the day before his suicide, and later in For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Hemingway leaves us with the question of how should one meet death? Santiago’s answer is by struggling on come what may: A man, he insists over and over, can be destroyed but should never allow himself to be defeated. Old Santiago fought the good fight until he had nothing but a skeleton of a great fish left to defend and sailed home to die dreaming of the lions he once saw in his youth as they played on a beach in Africa.

So what to make of Hemingway in the end giving in to the despair of defeat? His failing in the fight he wanted most to make, feared his whole life he would not make, and in the end did not. Perhaps this final tragedy, of not going down with both fists swinging, is a fate awaiting us all unless we have lived without ideals, which, Hemingway says, would for us be the greater tragedy. Hemingway’s Dilemma tells us that life gives us a choice between two tragedies: Living a life absent of ideals or living one with ideals but in the end failing to live up to them.



Thank you Scott!

Do you have a book review that you would like to share on Literary Flits? Details of how to do so are Here. I look forward to hearing from you!


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Books by Ernest Hemingway / Adventure fiction / Books from America

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Long Time Coming by Robert Goddard


Long Time Coming by Robert Goddard
First published in the UK by Bantam Press in January 2010.

I registered my copy of this book at Bookcrossing

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the book from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Swapped for in the book exchange at Serro Da Bica campsite, Ourique, Portugal.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Eldritch Swan is a dead man. Or at least that is what his nephew Stephen has always been told. Until one day Eldritch walks back into his life after 36 years in an Irish prison. He won't reveal any of the details of his incarceration, insisting only that he is innocent of any crime.

His return should be of interest to no-one. But the visit of a solicitor with a mysterious request will take Eldritch and his sceptical nephew from sleepy seaside Paignton to London, where an exhibition of Picasso paintings from the prestigious Brownlow collection proves to be the starting point on a journey that will transport them back to the Second World War and the mystery behind Eldritch's imprisonment.

In 1940, he was personal assistant to a wealthy diamond dealer in Antwerp, whose collection of modern art was the envy of many. The subsequent disappearance of those paintings began a trail of murder and intrigue which was to have a catastrophic effect on Eldritch's life. But untangling the web of murky secrets, family ties and old betrayals that conceals the truth will prove to be a dangerous pursuit for Eldritch and Stephen. Before long, a mysterious enemy is doing everything possible to stop the truth emerging - at whatever cost

I was pleasantly surprised by this thriller which was much more convoluted and well-plotted than I expected it to be. The plotlines jump between two main time periods - the 1940s and the 1970s - and I was interested in the differences in detail between the two. Goddard evokes each period well and I loved his scene-setting which adds immensely to the atmosphere of this novel. Subsequent generations of several families become involved in the intrigues which did mean I needed to concentrate in order to keep awareness of who was who, but that is certainly not a bad thing! Overall I found Long Time Coming to be an enjoyable and satisfying read.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Robert Goddard / Thrillers / Books from England

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

First There Wasn't, Then There Was by Troy Blackford


First There Wasn't, Then There Was by Troy Blackford
Self-published in America in February 2014.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the ebook from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Bought the ebook from Amazon

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Four young men have noticed a peculiar man wandering around the streets downtown where they work, muttering to himself with a trashbag slung over his shoulder. After one of them hatches a plan to capture the strange old man's words, the group quickly realize that the fellow has seen and done things that defy the imagination. A metaphysical tale of action and adventure that takes you beyond the bounds of normal human experience and into a world of secret colors and hidden doorways, of uncoiling panthers and recoiling nailguns, 'First There Wasn't, Then There Was' is a novella unlike any other.

I read Troy Blackford's short story collection Flotsam nearly three years ago so already had an idea of his genre-defying style and the darkly surreal way in which his stories interpret the world. This novella-length story certainly didn't disappoint on that score! We begin by meeting four young men whose only genuine commonality seems to be their smoke breaks leaning against the wall of their office building and I loved Blackford's portrayal of this group, recognising in it similar cliques with whom I have worked over the years.

First There Wasn't, Then There Was is a real lesson in not judging a person by their appearance. The apparently homeless tramp about whom the leaners set themselves a challenge of learning more, turns out to be an ingenious storyteller with quite an adventure to recount! Adventure, thriller and fantasy blend in his tale which I enjoyed reading. I did feel that some parts of the novella felt too rushed and I would have liked stronger character development alongside the action, but otherwise this is a fun story.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Troy Blackford / Horror fiction / Books from America

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

The Parthenon Bomber by Christos Chrissopoulos


The Parthenon Bomber by Christos Chrissopoulos
First published in Greek in Greece in 2010. English language translation by John Cullen published by Other Press today, the 20th June 2017.

Where to buy this book:
Buy the ebook from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the ebook from Kobo
Buy the hardback from Speedyhen
Buy the hardback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Received a copy from the publisher via NetGalley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A novel at once metaphorical and iconoclastic, The Parthenon Bomber exposes the painful and maddening paradox of contemporary Greece. “Blow up the Acropolis” was the 1944 call to action by the surrealist circle the Harbingers of Chaos. Sixty years later, a young man obliges. The Parthenon has been destroyed, the city orphaned. Is it still Athens? All eyes are on the empty hill, now smoky and ashen. Cries of distress, indifference, and fanaticism fill the air. What were his reasons? How will he be punished for this unspeakable act of violence? What does it mean for Greece, now deprived of its greatest symbol? This provocative tale reveals the unique dilemma of a country still searching for an identity beyond its past as the birthplace of Western civilization.

Originally published in Greece seven years ago, The Parthenon Bomber has only now been translated into English and is an intense and unusual novella. The story is told from a number of viewpoints beginning with the testimony of a man known as Ch K who, inspired by a Second World War philosophy, charged himself with the destruction of The Parthenon. As readers we do not know if his words are true or even if they are genuinely his, but the confession is certainly compelling in its portrayal of insane single-mindedness. I loved this strong start to the book and was also moved by the later testimony of a firing squad soldier. I could have done with fewer witness statements although I appreciated that these brief paragraphs allowed a brief respite from other chapter's intensity.

Surrealist poet Yorgos Makris did exist and did actually call for the destruction of all monuments in order to free Greece from her hankering for her triumphal past. This reasoning did resonate with me as a similar rose-tinted nostalgia affects many people in Britain, but I found the idea of destroying stone monuments in order to achieve such mental freedom a bizarre concept. Chrissopoulos seamlessly blends that past with our modern-day fear of wanton terrorism to create this powerful insight into a bomber's psyche and also into the thoughts of people he leaves effectively bereaved by the loss of their treasured icon.


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Books by Christos Chrissopoulos / Novellas / Books from Greece

Monday, 19 June 2017

Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel


Like Water For Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
First published in Spanish in Mexico as Como agua para chocolate by Doubleday in 1989. English language translation by Carol and Thomas Christensen.

I registered my copy of this book at Bookcrossing

Where to buy this book:
Buy the book from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the ebook from Kobo
Buy the paperback from Speedyhen
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Bought from the book table at Torquay indoor market

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Earthy, magical, and utterly charming, this tale of family life in turn-of-the-century Mexico became a best-selling phenomenon with its winning blend of poignant romance and bittersweet wit. The classic love story takes place on the De la Garza ranch, as the tyrannical owner, Mama Elena, chops onions at the kitchen table in her final days of pregnancy. While still in her mother's womb, her daughter to be weeps so violently she causes an early labor, and little Tita slips out amid the spices and fixings for noodle soup. This early encounter with food soon becomes a way of life, and Tita grows up to be a master chef. She shares special points of her favorite preparations with listeners throughout the story. The Spanish language edition of the best-selling "Like Water For Chocolate" is a remarkable success in its own right. Now, in this mass market edition, thousands of new readers will be able to partake in the sumptuous, romantic, and hilarious tale of Tita, the terrific cook with an extra special something in her sauce.

After reading Pierced By The Sun last year I was delighted to find a copy of Like Water For Chocolate in Torquay's Indoor Market. The book stall there raises money for a homelessness charity so I am always happy to buy a book or two as well as leaving my Bookcrossing swaps for others to enjoy. Like Water For Chocolate is very different to Pierced By The Sun and includes frequent episodes of the magical realism that I love in South American fiction. In its naive fairytale style the book reminded me of Berta La Larga by Cuca Canals although this one includes incidences of rape and more extreme violence. The characters have a fairytale quality of behaving bizarrely due to unrealistic magical motivations but I felt that this worked well within the novel's world. Tita is a poignant and sympathetic creation and I liked her a lot although I wasn't convinced by her all-consuming desire for Pedro as he seemed a weak waster to me! Mama Elena is also excellent - a really vindictive and selfish woman! However my attitude towards her did soften as we learned more about her past.

Esquivel wrote Like Water For Chocolate in twelve chapters, each focused around a particular traditional recipe so this is definitely a book for foodies. If I knew what all the ingredients were I would have been tempted to make a few of the dishes myself, especially when we see the overwhelming reactions they have among family and friends when Tita cooks them!

If you like logical, realistic fiction, you will probably be more irritated by Like Water For Chocolate than entranced. If you like a sense of the whimsical though, I would certainly recommend giving this novel a try. It is a fairly quick, easy read and one with plenty of humour and romance alongside the heartbreak. A good book for a hot summer afternoon!


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Laura Esquivel / Women's fiction / Books from Mexico

Sunday, 18 June 2017

The Good Old Boys by Elmer Kelton


The Good Old Boys by Elmer Kelton
First published in America by Doubleday in 1978.

I registered my copy of this book at Bookcrossing

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the book from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Bought from the OXFAM shop in Torquay

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Hewey Calloway has a problem. In his West Texas home of 1906, the land and the way of life that he loves are changing too quickly for his taste.Hewey dreams of freedom - he wants only to be a footloose horseback cowboy, endlessly wandering the open range. But the open range of his childhood is slowly disappearing: land is being parceled out, and barbed-wire fences are springing up all over. As if that weren't enough, cars and other machines are invading Hewey's simple cowboy life, stinking up the area and threatening to replace horse travel. As Hewey struggles against the relentless stream of "progress, " he comes to realize that the simple life of his childhood is gone, that a man can't live a life whose time has passed, and that every choice he makes - even those that lead to happiness - requires a sacrifice.

Billed as western authored, this novel by Elmer Kelton is certainly set in that world but in the early 1900s - long past the cowboy heyday. I was reminded strongly of Kent Haruf's Plainsong trilogy by the nostalgic style and emphasis on strong characterisation over action. Despite being set at a different time, I think fans of those books would enjoy this one and vice versa. We follow a cowboy, Hewey Calloway, coming home to West Texas after years away to find his brother's smallholding practically bankrupt and his eldest nephew more interested in the combustion engine than the skills needed for a life on horseback.

The Good Old Boys is a lament for times gone by, but is in no way a sad or depressing book. Kelton weaves humour throughout the novel whether it is Hewey bickering with his sister-in-law, Eve, or attempting to rope an automobile as if it were cattle. I found the book an easy read and one from which I was loathe to tear myself away because I enjoyed spending time in Hewey's world. As a typical western, The Good Old Boys doesn't really do its cover justice, but as immersive historical fiction, this is an excellent and rewarding read.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Elmer Kelton / Westerns / Books from America

Saturday, 17 June 2017

The Name Of The Rose by Umberto Eco


The Name Of The Rose by Umberto Eco
First published in Italy in Italian by Bompiani as Il nome della rosa in 1980. English language translation by William Weaver published in 1993.

I registered my copy of this book at Bookcrossing

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the book from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the ebook from Kobo
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Purchased second-hand from Livros da Ria Formosa in Lagos, Portugal.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate.When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective. He collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey where extraordinary things are happening under the over of night. A spectacular popular and critical success, The Name of the Rose is not only a narrative of a murder investigation but an astonishing chronicle of the Middle Ages.

A brilliant book, certainly one of the most difficult I have ever read and not least because of how much GCSE Latin I have forgotten. The Name Of The Rose is billed as a murder mystery but is also so much more. The mystery plot is interesting but what kept me gripped is the amazing portrayal of medieval life with its insane yet deadly serious theological arguments. Dozens of different sects, all of which claim to be the true Christians, gain or lose power and prestige dependent on the current definition of religious truth. And woe betide any man finding himself on the 'wrong' side - torture and death await. Women, of course, are practically sub-human so are not even afforded the right to argue! This is a fantastic book that beautifully illuminates a bizarre world, one I am grateful I did not experience first hand.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Umberto Eco / Crime fiction / Books from Italy

Friday, 16 June 2017

Speaking With Strategic Impact by Kate LeVan + Giveaway


Speaking with Strategic Impact: Four Steps to Extraordinary Presence and Persuasion by Kate LeVan
Category: Adult Non-Fiction, 152 pages
Genre: Business
Publisher: Delton Press
Release date: May 24, 2017
Tour dates: June 12 to 30, 2017
Content Rating: G

Buy the Book:


Book Description:

Speaking with Strategic Impact is for business people who make their living—or their mark—through presentations long and short.

It’s a must-read if you’re a consultant, analyst, pitch team leader, roadshow executive, technology specialist, project manager, internal or external marketer, sales rep, subject matter expert or innovator.

Do your presentations unexpectedly fall flat? Do others hijack your meetings? Do you spend more time compiling slide decks than actually influencing decision-makers? Has someone vaguely told you that you “should look more confident up there” or that you “lack gravitas”? Have you watched TED Talks but wonder how you can bring that level of effectiveness into real business presentations?

Speaking with Strategic Impact gives you the key to leadership presence and persuasion. More than just tips and tricks, it outlines a discipline for navigating real business situations with consistently superior outcomes that’s favored by top business schools and Fortune 500 companies. You’ll get specific strategic and tactical advice to keep you on the mark in your presentations and meetings—and differentiate you from the vast majority of business presenters.

Read Speaking with Strategic Impact to master the means by which you make a living and a difference in the world!





Meet the Author:

Kate LeVan trains, coaches and collaborates on business communication effectiveness with major corporations worldwide and as an instructor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management. Her training consistently receives top ratings from executive development program participants for its simplicity, applicability and career-changing impact.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook


Enter the Giveaway!
Ends July 8
​​
a Rafflecopter giveaway




Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Kate LeVan / Self help books / Books from America

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Quantum Dream by Nicholas Boyd Crutchley + Giveaway


Quantum Dream by Nicholas Boyd Crutchley
Published by Night Owl in April 2017.

Enter the Goodreads Giveaway for your chance to win 1 of 5 copies of Quantum Dream. Ends on the 7th of July.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy the ebook from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the author

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Solomon is rapper, a rhymer, a drifter. He heads an ecoterrorist organisation dedicated to stopping the global economy destroying habitats, polluting ecosystems, and creating synthetic biological organisms. The global economy is guided by quantum artificial intelligences (QAIs), who interface with people through the psi-q-net. Human beings, more connected with corporations than the natural world, shop the world towards ecological oblivion.
As runaway climate change and resource wars threaten the human species, Solomon and his ecoterrorist organisation create Gaia, a quantum artificial intelligence who has compassion. Gaia lives in the Quantum Dream, the collective unconscious of the world’s QAIs. Through the dreams of quantum computers and people, she influences the world to build a starship, New Hope, which will allow humankind to create an experimental ecocentric society on a distant world, popularly known as Dragonland.
Decades pass until, through a quantum quirk, Chaos, another QAI like Gaia, is spawned in the Quantum Dream. Chaos wishes to destroy humankind for its ecocide, and so infects Earth’s billions with the Blood Plague. Only those aboard the starship, New Hope, are safe as they lay in stasis, and travel to Dragonland. However, Chaos plots to defeat Gaia, and drive those aboard the starship insane through their dreams.
Can Solomon and Gaia stop Chaos from exterminating humankind? And can they then guide the star travellers to create an ecocentric society on a distant world, and save humankind from itself?


The overall plotline of this dystopian science fiction novel appealed to me as I am very concerned about the future of Earth and how humanity's actions are rapidly destroying so much of our planet. Crutchley has vividly imagined a society totally dependent on technology and in desperate need of a new planetary home. I loved his descriptions of settings and dreamscapes which range from the identifiable to the fantastically imagined. This book blends ancient mythology with science fiction ideas resulting in a truly unique landscape. My problem with it all however was that I frequently found myself unable to work out exactly what was going on. The overall arc made sense, but the twists and turns lost me so I appreciated the inspired prose of individual scenes, but without understanding their place in the main narrative. Admittedly I don't read much science fiction so perhaps a reader more familiar with the genre would find Quantum Dream easier to follow.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Nicholas Boyd Crutchley / Science fiction / Books from Scotland

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

A Kind Of Light by H R F Keating


A Kind Of Light by H R F Keating
Written in 1987 and recently discovered by Keating's widow. Endeavour Press edition published in the UK on the 1st of June 2017.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the ebook from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the publisher

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Thomasina le Mesurier writes in her journal of finding a miraculous plant which has the potential to save thousands of lives with its medicinal properties. A plant which could have saved her beloved mentor and friend, Doctor Diver, who fell ill with the Typhoid Fever. She insists on venturing deep into the jungle to source the healing plant and take it back to England. Although told she is being foolhardy, Thomasina ventures off, following Doctor Diver’s notes… But is she chasing after a delusion? The forest is rumoured to hold unmentionable terrors and unfathomable enigmas, but regardless, Thomasina embarks on her journey into the heart of Africa, accompanied only by three native bearers. Can she survive the dangers of the dark? And what will her journey bring?
In the present day a young couple, David Teigh and Theresa Olivia Mountjoy, stumble upon an article expounding the writings of Thomasina. They soon set off on their journey, following in Thomasina’s footsteps, to discover the remaining notebooks preserved in the depths of Africa, all the while recording a documentary film of their treacherous journey. Will the adventurers’ respective searches come to a satisfying, or a more macabre, end? One thing is certain, no traveller who undertakes this expedition can emerge unchanged.
A homage to Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, A Kind of Light will take you on a perilous journey through Africa’s forests.

I enjoyed the historical storyline in A Kind Of Light. Thomasina is an interesting character and I appreciated Keating's detailed and evocative descriptions of the Congolese Forest in the nineteenth century. I found it easy to envisage the incredible land Thomasina traversed and the people she met. Unfortunately her journey only makes up half of this short novel and the present-day (at the time the book was written) narrative didn't work well for me. It does have a few good characters, but these are in supporting roles and not the two leads. Theresa, known as Tom, and her colleague-partner David spend most of their time talking in odd swathes of dialogue that I didn't find at all convincing. Their journey in Thomasina's footsteps was perpetually overshadowed by lengthy conversations about whether or not they should get married. Overall, A Kind Of Light passed an afternoon and there were enough engaging elements to the book to keep me reading. However, in comparison to Heart Of Darkness, this book doesn't come anywhere close to the classic's power and atmosphere.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by H R F Keating / Historical fiction / Books from England

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Dancing In The Rain by Lucy Appadoo + Giveaway


Dancing in the Rain (The Italian Family Series) by Lucy Appadoo
​Category: Adult Fiction, 274 pages
Genre: Historical Coming of Age/Romance/Family Drama
Publisher: Lucy Appadoo
Release date: March 24, 2017
Tour dates: June 5 to 23, 2017
Content Rating: PG-13 + M (There is physical abuse and death involved.)

Buy the Book:


Fifteen-year old Valeria Allegro works diligently on the family farm in Italy, where she is torn between her duty to her family and her desire to find freedom from her strict, domineering father. She finds solace in Dario, a young student who provides a blissful escape—until a neighbour’s son, Gregorio, decides he wants her for himself.

This raises an alarm for her father, which leads to family conflict and aggression. When Dario is threatened and her family is plagued by a series of suspicious accidents, Valeria is desperate to keep her loved ones safe. Can she end the turmoil and escape the firmly built trap to find the freedom she craves?

Meet the Author:



Lucy Appadoo is a registered counsellor and wellness coach with a part-time private practice. She also works as a rehabilitation counsellor for the Australian government. In her spare time, she self-publishes or writes nonfiction and fiction texts. She previously worked as a rehabilitation consultant, caseworker, English as a second language teacher, and proofreader.

Lucy has postgraduate diplomas in psychology, education, and English as a Second Language teaching, as well as specialised qualifications in grief counselling and hypnosis. She has also completed wellness coaching courses (levels 1-3) at Wellness Coaching Australia.

Lucy enjoys reading romantic suspense, romance, thrillers, crime novels, family/historical drama, and sagas. She writes in the genres of romantic suspense, historical fiction, and romance. She has enjoyed travelling to exotic places such as Madrid, Mauritius, and Italy, and draws on these experiences in her creative writing.

Lucy’s favourite authors include Kendra Elliot, Christiane Heggan, Theresa Ragan, Tara Moss, Nicholas Sparks, Adriana Trigiani, Erica Spindler, and James Patterson (to name a few).

Lucy’s interests include meditation, playing tennis, journal writing, reading fiction and nonfiction texts about writing, coaching, and counselling, ongoing professional development, spending time with her husband and two daughters, and socialising with friends and family.

Connect with the Author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook

Enter the Giveaway!
Ends July 1

a Rafflecopter giveaway



Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Lucy Appadoo / Historical fiction / Books from Australia

Monday, 12 June 2017

Dead On Ice by Lauren Carr + Giveaway


Dead On Ice by Lauren Carr
First self-published in America in 2012. Audiobook edition narrated by Mike Alger published by Acorn Book Services in November 2016.

Where to buy this book:
Buy from independent booksellers via Abebooks
Buy from independent booksellers via Alibris
Buy the audiobook download from Audible via Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk
Buy the paperback from The Book Depository

How I got this book:
Received a review copy via iRead Book Tours
(See the other stops on the tour)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Spunky Cameron Gates is tasked with solving the murder of Cherry Pickens, a legendary star of pornographic films, whose body turns up in an abandoned freezer. The case has a personal connection to her lover, Joshua Thornton, because the freezer was located in his cousin's basement. It doesn't take long for their investigation to reveal that the risqué star's roots were buried in their rural Ohio Valley community, something that Cherry had kept off her show business bio. She should have kept her hometown off her road map, too - because when this starlet came running home from the mob, it proved to be a fatal homecoming.

Dead On Ice is a complicated small town mystery with a large cast of characters so I needed to keep concentrating throughout the book to understand all the twists and turns of the case. Carr starts with a flashback prologue depicting a bullying event from the 1970s before launching into the present-day Ohio mystery. For a reasonably short book - only six hours of audio - there is a lot packed in and I particularly liked the antagonistic relationships such as those between warring elderly rivals Doris and Mildred, and between our sleuth Joshua and his girlfriend's cat, Irving. The cat frequently steals the show from all the other characters! Narrator Mike Alger was a good choice to read Dead On Ice because his voice has the versatility to cope with the many and varied cast members and the tension of the novel.

I did find that for me there was sometimes too much padding in certain scenes which upset the overall pace of the story. This tended to be at time when people were talking and eating and we were told every single bite as well as the conversation. Other than these such moments though, I found Dead On Ice to be an entertaining and engaging read. Despite it being a murder mystery, the violence is kept pretty much out of sight so I was never confronted with unexpectedly gruesome details and generally the story remains believable enough. The romance between Cameron and Joshua is nicely portrayed, underpinned by a strong friendship between the two and I imagine that they will go on to have many more crime-solving adventures together.


Lauren Carr is the international best-selling author of the Mac Faraday, Lovers in Crime, and Thorny Rose Mysteries—over twenty titles across three fast-paced mystery series filled with twists and turns! Book reviewers and readers alike rave about how Lauren Carr seamlessly crosses genres to include mystery, suspense, romance, and humor.

Lauren is a popular speaker who has made appearances at schools, youth groups, and on author panels at conventions. She lives with her husband and three dogs (including the real Gnarly’s klutzy nephew Sterling) on a mountain in Harpers Ferry, WV.

Connect with Lauren: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook



And now it's giveaway time!

To celebrate Lauren' Audiobook-a-palooza Blog Tour one $100 Amazon gift card will be given away to a lucky winner. The giveaway is open internationally until the 22nd of July.



Here's the giveaway widget:






Good luck! 




Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Lauren Carr / Crime fiction / Books from America

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Other People's Business by H J Moat


Other People's Business: Much Ado About Nothing - Shakespeare's Romantic Comedy Retold by H J Moat
Self-published in April 2017.

Where to buy this book:
Buy the ebook from Amazon.comAmazon.co.uk

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the author

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Some cupid kills with arrows, some with traps... 
Bee and Ben haven't always hated each other, but they certainly hate each other now. They hate each other so much that it threatens to derail the wedding of their best friends, Imogen and Will. But then something unthinkable happens and turns everything on its head. Within the wedding party, some hearts swell and others are broken, but will anyone work out that relationships are rarely quite what they seem?
This modern retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing explores the idea of whether we're ever really in control of our own romantic destiny and if true love really can conquer all.

After reading Othello and its modern retelling, New Boy, recently I was delighted to be contacted by author Hollie Moat offering me a review copy of her novel, Other People's Business, which is a retelling of William Shakespeare's romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing. Again I listened to my audiobook of the original work before immersing myself in the new retelling.

Other People's Business is written in alternating chapters from the viewpoints of Bee and Ben. I liked the chatty prose style and that this device allows us to witness events through each character's eyes and to learn their innermost thoughts at the same time. I was immediately drawn to Bee who I think is someone I would get on with in real life. It took longer for Ben to be defined, but he does have some great lines and both are very funny when they are sparring. Of course imagining David Tennant as Ben (he played the role in my audiobook) added to his appeal! Moat sticks closely to Much Ado About Nothing's main plotline, but her story is firmly rooted in the present day and I actually preferred her interpretation of moments such as Imogen's (Hero) death which makes more sense as Moat tells it.

Romance fiction isn't my preferred genre, but I did enjoy reading Other People's Business because it manages to be witty and humorous as well as romantic. Sharply observed characters such as pompous businessman Laurence and devoted Dad Len are a joy to encounter and even soppy Imogen was entertainingly exasperating. Throw in a sumptuous wedding and enough booze to render everyone comatose and you have all the ingredients for a great summer read!


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Hollie Moat / Women's fiction / Books from England