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.


Excerpt

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




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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




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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

Friday, 13 July 2018

Read, Write, Love At Seaside by Addison Cole + #FreeBook


Read, Write, Love At Seaside by Addison Cole
Published in America by World Literary Press in May 2017.

Literary Flits Spotlight Giveaway Winner

Where to buy this book:


The Book Depository : from £14.99 (PB)
Wordery : from £10.23 (PB)
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $Free / £Free (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add Read, Write, Love At Seaside to your Goodreads

Sweet with Heat: Seaside Summers features a group of fun, flirty, and emotional friends who gather each summer at their Cape Cod cottages. They're sassy, flawed, and so easy to relate to, you'll be begging to enter their circle of friends! 

Read, Write, Love at Seaside by Addison Cole is the sweet edition of New York Times bestselling author Melissa Foster's steamy romance novel Read, Write, Love. The stories and characters remain the same, and convey all of the passion you expect between two people in love, without any explicit scenes or harsh language.

In READ, WRITE, LOVE at SEASIDE...

Bestselling author Kurt Remington lives to write. He spends twelve hours a day in front of his computer, rarely leaving the seclusion of his beach-front property, where he's come to finish his latest thriller -- that is, until free-spirited Leanna Bray nearly drowns in the ocean trying to save her dog. Kurt's best-laid plans are shot to hell when he comes to their rescue. Kurt's as irritated as he is intrigued by the sexy, hot mess of a woman who lives life on a whim, forgets everything, and doesn't even know the definition of the word organized.

Leanna's come to the Cape hoping to find a fulfilling career in the jam-making business, and until she figures out her own life, a man is not on the menu. But Leanna can't get the six-two, deliciously muscled and tragically neat Kurt out of her mind. She tells herself she's just stopping by to say thank you, but the heart-warming afternoon sparks an emotional and unexpectedly sweet ride as Kurt and Leanna test the powers of Chemistry 101: Opposites Attract.



SWEET WITH HEAT: SEASIDE SUMMERS SERIES

Read, Write, Love at Seaside
Dreaming at Seaside
Hearts at Seaside
Sunsets at Seaside
Secrets at Seaside
Nights at Seaside
Seized by Love at Seaside
Embraced at Seaside
Lovers at Seaside
Whispers at Seaside


Meet The Author
Addison Cole is the sweet alter ego of New York Times and USA Today bestselling and award-winning author Melissa Foster. She writes humorous and emotional sweet contemporary romance. Her books do not include explicit sex scenes or harsh language. Addison spends her summers on Cape Cod, where she dreams up wonderful love stories in her house overlooking Cape Cod Bay.

Addison enjoys discussing her books with book clubs and reader groups and welcomes an invitation to your event.

Visit Addison Cole's website


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Addison Cole / Romance fiction / Books from America

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn


Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Published in America by Shaye Areheart Books on September 26, 2006.

How I got this book:
Borrowed from my partner

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £6.99 (PB)
Wordery : from £6.46 (PB)
Waterstones : from £6.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $2.79 / £1.75 (used PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

When two girls are abducted and killed in Missouri, journalist Camille Preaker is sent back to her home town to report on the crimes. Long-haunted by a childhood tragedy and estranged from her mother for years, Camille suddenly finds herself installed once again in her family's mansion, reacquainting herself with her distant mother and the half-sister she barely knows - a precocious 13-year-old who holds a disquieting grip on the town.

As Camille works to uncover the truth about these violent crimes, she finds herself identifying with the young victims - a bit too strongly. Clues keep leading to dead ends, forcing Camille to unravel the psychological puzzle of her own past to get at the story. Dogged by her own demons, Camille will have to confront what happened to her years before if she wants to survive this homecoming.

This review was written in November 2014 when recently having seen Gone Girl at the cinema reminded me that I still had Sharp Objects languishing unread on our Kindle. It's the third Gillian Flynn novel I read but apparently the first she wrote.

The storyline here is definitely not for the fainthearted and at points I felt quite queasy reading it. The central theme of two girls in a small town in Missouri being murdered is obviously horrific, but having read several crime thrillers over the years, I have pretty much become immune to the emotional pull of murdered young fictional women and girls. It feels bizarre writing that but so many novels start with such a death that it is almost a prerequisite. Where Sharp Objects differs is that our viewpoint into the story comes via Camille, a journalist sent back to cover the story unfolding in her hometown. Camille not only has self harmed and in plenty of detail, but leads us into the bosom of her cold, dysfunctional family as she tries to come to terms with her personal past and the death of her younger sister. The relationships within her home and trailing out across the town are cleverly included in the story, explaining why she is as she is.

I don't think Sharp Objects is as good a story as Gone Girl and it doesn't have the former's intensity, but I appreciate that they both have unusual central female characters who are damaged and bizarre, yet memorable and definitely never stereotypical.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Gillian Flynn / Thrillers / Books from America

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Bottled Goods by Sophie Van Llewyn


Bottled Goods by Sophie Van Llewyn
Published in the UK by Fairlight Books today, the 11th July 2018.

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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £7.99 (PB)
Wordery : from £7.65 (PB)
Waterstones : from £7.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $6.76 / £4.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

When Alina's brother-in-law defects to the West, she and her husband become persons of interest to the secret services, causing both of their careers to come grinding to a halt. As the strain takes its toll on their marriage, Alina turns to her aunt for help - the wife of a communist leader and a secret practitioner of the old folk ways. Set in 1970's communist Romania, this novella-in-flash draws upon magic realism to weave a tale of everyday troubles, that can't be put down.

Fairlight Moderns is a collection of short modern fictions from around the world. I was attracted by their interesting cover designs and chose Bottled Goods as my first Fairlight Modern because I haven't, I don't think, read any other books with a 1970s Romanian setting . Sophie Van Llewyn's style is unusual, but it works perfectly within the context of this novella. She writes flash fiction vignettes and scenes which are beautifully evocative and detailed and, here, they link together to tell Alina and Liviu's story. I understand that some of the flashes have been published as individual pieces and I can see that they would independently although I did like having the longer complete tale here.

Van Llewyn combines magical realism elements with all-too-real scenes to portray the stifling oppression and poverty experienced under Ceausescu's regime in Romania. Alina, as her mother repeatedly reminds her, has married beneath herself but this allows us as readers to learn about ordinary lives as well as those of the former elite. The 'bottled goods' theme recurs throughout the novella both in the context of aspirations - bottles of imported perfumes or soda drinks are only available in the restricted Western shops - and emotionally - any dissent must be bottled up to avoid attracting security police attention. Bottling also occurs magically and I do encourage you to read the novella to discover this!

Bottled Goods has dark scenes of sexual assault and torture which, while brief, are distressing to read so be aware of this content. I loved the ever-present sense of menace which steadily grows after Liviu's brother defects from Romania. Despite having had no idea of his plans, Alina and Liviu find themselves effectively being punished in his stead and the psychological strain slowly begins to destroy their marriage. I empathised strongly with these characters. Van Llewyn's prose is rich with detail without having a single unnecessary word and I felt this novella, despite its unsettling moments of course, was an absolute joy to read.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Sophie Van Llewyn / Novellas / Books from Romania

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Riding Shotgun and Other American Cruelties by Andy Rausch


Riding Shotgun and Other American Cruelties by Andy Rausch
First published in Hong Kong by Crime Wave Press on the 5th July 2017.

Where to buy this book:


The Book Depository : from £9.89 (PB)
Wordery : from £9.88 (PB)
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $7.33 / £5.41 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add Riding Shotgun and Other American Cruelties to your Goodreads

RIDING SHOTGUN AND OTHER AMERICAN CRUELTIES is a unique collection of quirky, Tarantinoesque crime novellas, representing three very different sub-genres.

In the first story, "Easy-Peezy," a band of elderly Old West bank robbers return to their wicked ways robbing banks in the 1930s John Dillinger era. The second story, "Riding Shotgun," is a bitter tale about a man pushed to the limits of human endurance and forced to take up arms to protect those he loves. The third tale, "$crilla," is an urban crime fantasy in which a fledgling hip-hop group kidnaps a record mogul in the hopes of finally making the kind of loot they've always dreamed of.


Meet the author:

Andy Rausch is a a freelance film journalist, author, and celebrity interviewer. He has published more than twenty books on the subject of popular culture, including The Films of Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro, Making Movies with Orson Welles (with Gary Graver), and The Cinematic Misadventures of Ed Wood (with Charles E. Pratt, Jr.). His work has appeared in Shock Cinema, both Screem and Scream magazines, Senses of Cinema, Diabolique, Creative Screenwriting, Film Threat, Bright Lights Film Journal, and Images: A Journal of Film and Popular Culture. He has written several works of fiction including Mad World, Elvis Presley: CIA Assassin, Riding Shotgun and Other American Cruelties, and the short story collection Death Rattles. He has also worked as a screenwriter, producer, and actor on numerous straight-to-video horror films.

Author links: 
Twitter




Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Andy Rausch / Short stories / Books from America

Monday, 9 July 2018

Love Beneath The Mighty Dome by Ronald J Wichers + #Giveaway


Love Beneath the Mighty Dome: Volume 1 by Ronald J. Wichers

Category: Adult Fiction, 332 pages
Genre: Literary Fiction, Mystery and Suspense
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Release date: September 21, 2017
Tour dates: July 2 to 27, 2018
Content Rating: PG-13

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £16.95 (PB)
Wordery : from £16.51 (PB)
Waterstones : from £16.95 (PB)
Amazon : from $5.19 / £3.70 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add Love Beneath The Mighty Dome to your Goodreads

What if you felt that Almighty God had called you personally to devote your life exclusively to His service only to discover that those in charge of your training were people not worthy of your respect? Would you stubbornly stick to your path? Would you rebel and try to change the institution from within? Would you begin to doubt yourself and your own integrity? Or would you question whether the institution itself was actually what its founder, Jesus of Nazareth, had intended so many hundreds of generations before you?

Turn the pages of Love Beneath the Mighty Dome and discover what happens to those confronted by just this dilemma, how it affects their lives, their ability to function, their ability to love.

To follow the tour, please visit Ronald J. Wichers' page on iRead Book Tours.


Watch the book trailer:




Meet the Author:


Ronald J. Wichers was born in Lake Ronkonkoma New York in 1947. He attended Catholic School until 1965, studied History and literature at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas until being drafted into the United States Army in 1970. He was assigned to a rifle company in the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam and, after sustaining severe wounds in a gun battle, including the loss of his left am, was awarded the Purple Heart Medal, the Army Commendation Medal for Heroism and the Bronze Star Medal.

He later studied theology full time at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley California. He has published several short stories about the Vietnam war. The Fear of Being Eaten/A Biography of the Heart is his fifth novel.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram


Enter the Giveaway!
Win an ebook copy of Love Beneath the Mighty Dome
(open to USA & CANADA / 1 winner)
Ends Aug 4, 2018


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Ronald J Wichers / Mystery fiction / Books from America

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Daughter Of The Sea by Maggie Freeman


Daughter Of The Sea by Maggie Freeman
Published in the UK by Endeavour Press in July 2015.

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

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : unavailable
Waterstones : unavailable
Amazon : from $12.15 / £7.99 (PB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

It's 1579. Maria, abandoned on a desert island, gives birth to Mary - Francis Drake's daughter. Mother and daughter are captured by pirates and eventually sold as slaves on the spice island of Ternate. To help her daughter escape, Maria sells her to a Chinese sea-captain. While the sea breaks relentlessly on the shore Mary forges a new life for herself - a life where adventure, love and family loyalties all play a part.

I've had my copy of Daughter Of The Sea for nearly two and a half years now which makes it one of my two oldest ARCs, both by a good two years over everything else. Oops! I finally got around to reading the novel now because it will be my Oldest ARC entry for the 2018 State Of The ARC Bingo which will start with July's post. I also discovered when putting this review post together that Maggie Freeman was born and grew up in Trinidad so I have been putting off an unusual WorldReads book - without even knowing it!

Daughter Of The Sea is primarily set in Elizabethan era Indonesia and Malaysia and I enjoyed the scenes set in these countries, especially the bustling Malaysian port of Melaka. Freeman manages to bring the town and its people vividly to life and I felt seeing Mary striving to make a success of her life here was the strongest part of the book. Had Freeman chosen to make this the centre of her story, I think it could have well been a high-4 or even a 5-star read. However the narrative is diluted by switching points of view from Mary to her mother, Maria, and occasionally to those of the men who pass through Mary's life.

I was irritated by hugely significant events being briefly glossed over in favour of lengthy 'romantic interludes' that frequently felt shoehorned into the story and did nothing to increase our understanding of Mary. I really didn't so much bad poetry! I didn't like the sudden change of location from Malaysia to England either. Mary might well have wanted to search for her infamous father, but the abrupt loss of her supprting characters and the bizarre way in which she makes her journey just didn't work for me. I could have done without the impending love-triangle cliffhanger ending too! A shame as the first half of Daughter Of The Sea is pretty good historical fiction, but I thought it ultimately let itself down.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Maggie Freeman / Historical fiction / Books from Trinidad and Tobago

Saturday, 7 July 2018

The Art Of Travel by Alain De Botton


The Art Of Travel by Alain De Botton
First published in the UK by Hamish Hamilton in 2002.

How I got this book:
Borrowed from a friend

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £8.37 (PB)
Wordery : from £7.98 (PB)
Waterstones : from £8.99 (HB)
Amazon : from $1.97 / £0.01 (used HB)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Few activities seem to promise is as much happiness as going travelling: taking off for somewhere else, somewhere far from home, a place with more interesting weather, customs and landscapes. But although we are inundated with advice on where to travel to, we seldom ask why we go and how we might become more fulfilled by doing so.

With the help of a selection of writers, artists and thinkers - including Flaubert, Edward Hopper, Wordsworth and Van Gogh - Alain de Botton's bestselling The Art of Travel provides invaluable insights into everything from holiday romance to hotel minibars, airports to sightseeing.

The perfect antidote to those guides that tell us what to do when we get there, The Art of Travel tries to explain why we really went in the first place - and helpfully suggest how we might be happier on our journeys.

I hadn't read philosophy for ages so am happy to have been able to borrow a trio of Alain De Botton books for a friend. The first, Status Anxiety, was interesting, but didn't speak directly about my lifestyle. This second book, The Art Of Travel, is absolutely on the money! De Botton explores attitudes to travel through the eyes of a number of historical thinkers and writers including Wordsworth, Van Gogh, Huysmans and, finally someone whose work I have actually read, Xavier De Maistre. All De Botton's thinkers are men and, I believe, all white men at that, so we don't get a fully rounded view of travel over the past few centuries, but I enjoyed dipping into the ideas that they espouse. This is a great book to discuss as well as to read so could make an ideal nonfiction book club choice.

De Botton starts by thinking about how the anticipation of travel can be more rewarding than the reality. Huysmans fictional creation, Des Esseintes, feels more 'in' a country by visiting its ex-pat enclaves than in the original land. De Botton also looks at how our ideas of desirable places to visit are shaped by the impressions of artists and writers who preceded us. Arles is now most famous for its Van Gogh connections (although Dave and I were more taken with the Roman history!), and it wasn't until painters started interpreting the Scottish Highlands or Wordsworth strode across the Lake District that these wild places became fashionable - and, consequently, a lot less wild!

De Botton writes in an easily accessible style so Reading Philosophy wasn't at all arduous! I could identify with many of the ideas discussed and now also have a lengthy further reading list that includes the third of my De Botton trio, The Consolations Of Philosophy.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Alain De Botton / Philosophy books / Books from Switzerland

Friday, 6 July 2018

A Long Blue Monday by Erhard Von Buren


A Long Blue Monday by Erhard Von Buren
Published in the UK by Matador on the 4th June 2018.

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

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £10 (PB)
Wordery : from £10 (PB)
Waterstones : from £10 (PB)
Amazon : from $5.31 / £3.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

The novel portrays, with dry humour, delicate irony and a touch of nostalgia, the lives and feelings of young people in the late 1950s.

“Erhard von Büren pours out memories of love affairs, of family life, of student experiences or incidents from his readings... His style is spiced with waywardness and wit.” – Award of the Canton Solothurn Prize for Literature.

In A Long Blue Monday, the narrator, who is temporarily away from home working on a book about Sherwood Anderson, remembers his unrequited love affair with Claudia, whom he met at college during rehearsals for a play. 

How could he, the village lad, the son of a working-class family, aspire to gain the affection of Claudia, a sophisticated town girl, who lives with her wealthy family in a spacious house by the river? Worlds seem to separate the two. But he is convinced that where there’s a will there’s a way. As a young boy, he had tried, by being a model pupil and a model son, to repair his family’s damaged reputation. But now, in spite of all his attempts, his love remains unreciprocated. Finally he decides to take several weeks off college to write a play – a trilogy, no less – to gain Claudia’s esteem.

Despite clocking in at less than 300 pages, A Long Blue Monday was, for me, a very long read. It's my third von Buren novel so I was prepared for his writing style and slow pacing, but I couldn't get into this story. Told in the first person by a man now in his sixties, most of the novel is his reminiscences of his self-obsessed teenager years and his first love. The unfortunate recipient of his attentions, Claudia, is kept at a distance from von Buren's readers so we never get a real sense of their relationship. In fact most of the 'female creatures' in this book are essentially interchangeable names, seemingly only differentiated by their hair colour, and this casual chauvinism was really winding me up by the end of the book!

Other than frequent name-dropping of then-current American actors, films and plays - Tennessee Williams, Marlon Brando, etc - I didn't get much of sense of the early 1960s era although the rural Swiss locale is nicely portrayed. The majority of the book is our 'hero' rambling on about how good he is at school, how much he loves Claudia, and how difficult he is finding it to write a trilogy(!) of plays which he plans to inflict upon poor Claudia. I think the biggest problem I have with A Long Blue Monday isn't that our narrator is an unlikeable person - I don't necessarily have to like a character to be interested in their story - but that he is such a dull whiner! I sadly didn't care enough him to really become invested in his tale.

Perhaps other readers will have a better experience with A Long Blue Monday? I noticed the Award of Canton Solothurn Prize for Literature were complimentary about it, but personally I would suggest, if you're going to read Erhard von Buren, pick up Epitaph For A Working Man or Wasp Days instead.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Erhard von Buren / Contemporary fiction / Books from Switzerland

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Disbanded Kingdom by Polis Loizou


Disbanded Kingdom by Polis Loizou
Published in the UK by Cloud Lodge Books in April 2018.

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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : unavailable
Wordery : from £7.33 (PB)
Waterstones : from £8.99 (PB)
Amazon : from $5.27 / £3.99 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Twenty-two-year-old Oscar is a lost cause. He roams central London, looking for love and distraction. But this isn't quite Bright Lights, Big City: Oscar is gay but feels disconnected from London's gay scene. He is naive and rootless, an emotionally stunted young man who lives in upscale Kensington with his foster mother, novelist Charlotte Fontaine.

But all of this changes when Oscar meets Tim, Charlotte's thirty-something literary agent with whom he becomes hopelessly infatuated. While he struggles to understand Tim's politics and his rejection of religion, Oscar's developing friendship with Tim affects a profound change, making him want to understand the world and his place in it.

Disbanded Kingdom is a brilliantly written 21st Century coming-of-age story, set against the emotive backdrop of the United Kingdom's breakaway from the European Union and its threatened rupture with Scotland.

I always love when a book about which I knew almost nothing turns out to be a gem and that is absolutely the case here. Disbanded Kingdom is even a debut novel as well - although its author has experience as a playwright which I believe stood him in good stead for the creation of convincing, snappy dialogue between his cast of Londoners.

On the face of it, Oscar is the sort of character I would usually be irritated by. He is passive, sometimes to the point of inertia yet, instead of muttering at him in exasperation (yes, I do know that fictional characters can't hear me!), I found I could easily empathise with him and enjoyed spending time in his company. I felt he was surprisingly immature for his age, but this is understandable in the context of the novel and Oscar's relationship with his foster-mother, Charlotte, is beautifully portrayed. His family and friends are equally entertaining and I love Loizou's eye for detail, both in people and places. I recognised the quirks of various London districts even though I don't get to visit as much as I would like.

Disbanded Kingdom is what I would describe as a Slice of Life novel. I think it also has coming-of-age aspects. For me, while I did like discovering Oscar's story and the potential for a relationship with Tim, the real delight was the London life swirling around them. People discuss arts, literature and politics in a genuine way and I particularly loved the variety of attitudes and personalities portrayed. I would happily read more of Loizou's writing and, if the opportunity arose, go to see his theatre work too! An excellent London novel.


Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Polis Loizou / Contemporary fiction / Books from Cyprus

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

On the Fault by Ronald J. Wichers + #Giveaway + Guest Post

On the Fault by Ronald J. Wichers

Category: Adult Fiction, 474 pages
Genre: Fictionalized biography
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Release date: March 13, 2018
Tour dates: July 2 to 27, 2018
Content Rating: PG-13

Where to buy this book:

The Book Depository : from £16.95 (PB)
Wordery : from £16.65 (PB)
Waterstones : from £16.95 (PB)
Amazon : from $5.03 / £3.59 (ebook)
Prices and availability may have changed since this post was written

Add On The Fault to your Goodreads

“The heart of the planet is broken and the world is bleeding. We come out of the broken-hearted earth and try to mend it.”

True grit mixes with true wit in this tragic, yet strangely triumphant tale of how much one man can lose. Following the Vietnam War, life proves bittersweet as Joe Hearns learns that sometimes finding happiness means changing the definition.

For Joe Hearns the horrors of combat give way to those of daily life upon return to the States; a life burdened by an odd curse that seems to hover over the heads of anyone who fought in that otherwise magical land. He discovers that courage takes on a whole new meaning when coping with a world moving at a different pace – the pace of friendship and love. But, in the end, this proves the way out from under the curse of the war no one wanted.

When it comes to this soldier’s story the word fearless comes to mind.

To follow the tour, please visit Ronald J. Wichers' page on iRead Book Tours.


Watch the book trailer:



Guest Post On the Fault by Ronald J. Wichers
How the Vietnam War played a role in my Writing

There is definitely a personal connection to the United States’ bloody involvement if Vietnam. I bled there and I shed blood there.

But aside from that, that war was like a rabid dog snarling and stalking all of us for ten years. It made a jumble of how one planned one’s life. For example, what if you wanted to be a priest? Were you going to pursue that because you truly felt called to that vocation? Or, in reality, were you only trying to hide, to cloak yourself in an exempted profession? That was my predicament. I was so terrified of being drafted that my fear infected every and any plans I made for my future. And that’s my problem. Not everybody was so conflicted.

Then, in 1967, my best friend was killed there at the battle of Khe Sanh – the prelude to the Tet Offensive. That was like a bomb going off in my head. His mother stopped eating and not long after wasted away to a corpse. I was in college then. Things were not good in my family. “My country right or wrong” was a refrain from the Right. There were race riots everywhere. Protestors to the war were regarded as traitors. Some were brutally beaten in Chicago outside the venue for the Democratic Party Convention of 1968. It seemed the whole country was in flames, flames in the streets, flames in our hearts, our minds.

I found myself there in 1970, assigned to a rifle company.



Meet the Author:


Ronald J. Wichers was born in Lake Ronkonkoma New York in 1947. He attended Catholic School until 1965, studied History and literature at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas until being drafted into the United States Army in 1970. He was assigned to a rifle company in the 25th Infantry Division in Vietnam and, after sustaining severe wounds in a gun battle, including the loss of his left am, was awarded the Purple Heart Medal, the Army Commendation Medal for Heroism and the Bronze Star Medal.

He later studied theology full time at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley California. He has published several short stories about the Vietnam war. The Fear of Being Eaten/A Biography of the Heart is his fifth novel.

Connect with the author: Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Pinterest ~ Instagram


Enter the Giveaway!
Win an ebook copy of On the Fault
(open to USA & CANADA / 1 winner)
Ends Aug 4, 2018


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Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Ronald J Wichers / Contemporary fiction / Books from America