Thursday, 31 January 2019

The Judgement Of Richard Richter by Igor Stiks

The Judgement Of Richard Richter by Igor Stiks
First published by Fraktura in Croatian as Elijahova stolica in 2006. English language translation by Ellen Elias-Bursac published by AmazonCrossing in 2017.

How I got this book:
Bought the ebook via Amazon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In this gripping, war-torn epic novel, author Igor Štiks, a nominee for the IMPAC Dublin Award, tells the story of a celebrated writer who travels to Sarajevo to unearth devastating family secrets and the lies that have defined his life.

Author Richard Richter’s mother and father were always phantoms, both parents having died by the time he was four. His life, now at a crossroads, has been a jumble of invention, elusive memories, and handed-down stories. But when Richard finds his mother’s hidden notebook, written by her during World War II, he discovers a confession that was never meant to be read by anyone—least of all, her son.

Richard’s quest for the truth about his life leads him to an embattled Sarajevo. In the chaos of the besieged city, he discovers something more: a transformative romance and unexpected new friendships that will change the course of his search. But fate has been playing with all of them. And just as fate determines the lives of the characters in his novel, a betrayal reaching back half a century has yet to loosen its grip—on Richard, on everyone he has come to love, and on those he has no choice but to try to forgive.

At the beginning, The Judgment Of Richard Richter felt like quite an old-fashioned literary novel in style. It is narrated by a recently divorced man, the eponymous Richard Richter, in his fifties who is uncomfortably aware of both his age and his situation, and I thought that generally the slower style fitted this character. He repeatedly just happens to mention his literary success and fame, but this man has returned to live in his childhood home - and unchanged childhood room - so a lot of his speech must be to bolster his own ego as well as an attempt to impress his fictional and actual readers. Richter's self-absorption reminded me of reading Wasp Days and initially I wasn't sure I would enjoy the book at all. The repeated foreshadowing of impending doom felt far too heavy-handed a device. We know from practically the first page that this novel isn't leading to a Happily Ever After so I could have done without so many 'by then I would know that ...' musings.

That said, I did love that this feels like a very European novel. The destruction of Sarajevo provides a dramatic backdrop running in parallel with the destruction of Richter's sense of his own identity. Descriptions of broken streets echoed those in the amazing novel The Cellist Of Sarajevo and the extents to which people go to try and maintain hope in wartime are astounding. I loved the idea of the theatre troupe and I imagine this novel has a lot in common with their Max Frisch Homo Faber play - I must now read that novel in order to find out. Stiks also cleverly draws in Laertes reunion with Odysseus, reminding me I am yet to read my copy of The Odyssey!

The main theme here is identity, both individually and culturally. In the cultural melting pot of Sarajevo, Richter begins to understand the truth about himself, and must then try to deal with the repercussions of that truth. I don't want to discuss too much more as going in to this novel unawares worked brilliantly for me. The Judgment isn't so much about the revelation as about Richter's journey to and past that point. The novel speeds up its pace considerably in the second half to become an exciting read, albeit one that takes a decidedly uncomfortable route.

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Books by Igor Stiks / Contemporary fiction / Books from Bosnia

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Melding Spirits by Michael E. Burge + #Giveaway

Melding Spirits by Michael E. Burge

Category: Adult Fiction, 371 pages
Genre: Literary fiction, Mystery, Coming of age
Publisher: Michael E. Burge Publishing
Release date: June 2017
Tour dates: Jan 14 to 31, 2019
Content Rating: PG-13 (The book alludes to criminal acts and deviant behavior, but does not provide graphic description.)

Twelve-year-old Evan Mason’s life has been turned upside down by the sudden death of his father. His mother isn’t home much, the insurance office during the day, waiting tables at night. Evan is spending a great deal of time alone.

Now he finds himself on a Greyhound bus headed for a small town on the Wabash River where he’ll spend the summer of 1958 with his loving grandmother.

Evan soon meets his new neighbor, Katie Dobbins. She’s a feisty blue-eyed girl with a ponytail, the type of girl Buddy Holly might sing about on American Bandstand. Evan is instantly enamored with her.

It seems the perfect summer is underway—but strange things are happening in the woods surrounding the Ghost Hill Indian Mound.

There’s a dark cloud lingering over the Wabash Valley—It won’t be long before it erupts into a raging storm.

To read reviews, please visit Michael E. Burge's page on iRead Book Tours.

Meet the Author:

Michael E. Burge grew up in the Chicago suburbs and a small town on the Wabash River in Southern Illinois.

In the late sixties, he left college to serve on a U.S. Navy destroyer out of Norfolk, Virginia. Upon leaving the service, he transitioned to a career in the burgeoning computer industry, positions in product management and marketing.

He is now pursuing his lifelong interest in writing, publishing his debut novel, Bryant’s Gap, in 2015 and his second, Melding Spirits, in 2017.

Michael also plays piano, paints, and is an avid golfer. He and his family currently live in Illinois.

Connect with the Author: Twitter ~ Facebook

The Mystique of Trains, a Guest Post 

by Michael E. Burge

Since the inception of railroads, people have associated trains with adventure, danger, and intrigue. What has more mystique than a train rolling along in the distance, smoke belching from its stack, the whistle sounding as it rolls into a junction? In light of this, writers often integrate this element into their stories to bolster the plot. Consider, Murder On The Orient Express, Strangers On A Train, and North By Northwest. In all these stories, a train plays a major role. 
My great grandfather began working for the Illinois Central Railroad in the 1890s. He was a conductor. His son, my grandfather also worked for the railroad as an engineer. He was active for 43 years, and died at the Illinois Central Hospital in Chicago, 1951.
Within the pages of both my novels, Bryant’s Gap and Melding Spirits, there are references to trains and railroads, specifically, the Illinois Central.
In chapter nine of Bryant’s Gap, Grady, a railroad detective, is conversing with Bert, the local chief of police, and tells him, “Yep, I know three men who died in that mine. If you live in Centralia, Illinois, and you’re not working in those mines, there’s a good chance you work for the Illinois Central Railroad. Believe me, mining and railroading are two dangerous ways to put food on the table.”
That particular dialogue stemmed from genealogical data my wife Cynthia and I uncovered about the family. 
In 1904, my great uncle, Thomas E. Smith, a yardmaster, was killed in a railroad accident. The newspaper stated: He died in the yards at about 1:30 this afternoon . . . the nose of the switch engine was shoved into the flat car on the east side, and Smith was caught under the front part of the engine and literally ground to pieces. Thomas was well liked by all the railroad boys.
Then, again, in 1918, my grand uncle, William Hope Burge, a switchman, was fatally injured when he fell under the wheels of a train and both legs were severed. I won’t post the article here; the reporter’s article was much too graphic!
These are just two of the numerous accounts of accidents and “close calls” involving family members or friends who worked for “the railroad” over the years.
Like Grady said  “. . . it’s a dangerous way to put food on the table.”

Enter the Giveaway!
Win Melding Spirits by Michael E. Burge.
Two winners will also get a $20 gift card
(open to USA & Can / 7 winners total)
Ends Feb 7, 2019

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Books by Michael E Burge / Mystery fiction / Books from America

Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Piggybacker by Mikki Noble + #Giveaway

Piggybacker (Vessel of Lost Souls, #1) by Mikki Noble
Published in America yesterday, the 28th January 2019.

Add Piggybacker to your Goodreads


Everyone thinks Marley tried to take her own life, that is, except Marley. After her mother sends her to a youth center for troubled teens, she starts hearing the voice of a boy who claims he was murdered and begins questioning her own sanity. The voice is Gavin, a seventeen-year-old boy who promises Marley he can help her find the truth about what happened the day she supposedly tried to kill herself if she completes a resurrection spell in the next four days.

Upon discovering Gavin's death in the newspaper, Marley realizes she's not hallucinating, and that she has a chance to save Gavin's soul and clear her name. The task seems simple: complete the spell, then she and Gavin are free, right? But a powerful, unseen force is determined to stop her, and soon Marley finds herself following clues from the universe to find ingredients for the ritual to save herself and her newfound friend, and most of all, to find the truth about what really happened that day.

Piggybacker is the first in Mikki Noble's spell-binding Vessel of Lost Souls trilogy, and promises a thrilling mystery with powerful enemies, broken relationships, captivating magic, and two souls both caught up in a plot beyond any they could ever imagine. 

Favourite Song List for Characters

Interviewer: Okay, Piggybacker cast, please tell us your favorite song and why. 
Marley: My favorite’s a tie between Stronger by Britney Spears and Fighter by Christina Aguilera because they remind me of my inner strength.
Gavin: Immortals by Fall Out Boy. I’m not sure why. 
Marley: Um, because it’s the theme song to his favorite movie.
Gavin: I don’t know what’s she’s talking about. 
Marley: Are you sure, Gavin? It’s not from a certain kid’s movie you… 
Gavin: Okay, it’s from my favorite kid’s movie. I admit it.  
Marley: You’re so cute. 
Gavin: *eye roll*
Kimmy: I used to love Stitches but now my favorite is Treat You Better by Shawn Mendes because it reminds me of my own Shawn. 
Shawn: *kisses her hand.*
Circe: I don’t have a favorite, though I favor a band called OneRepublic. The singer’s voice makes me happy. 
Marley: You listen to music? I didn’t know that. 
Circe: Oh, sweet girl. There’s not much to do on the island when I’m alone. 
Crystal: My favorite song is Chicago by Benny Goodman. I’ve always enjoyed a good jazz record. 
Taylor: Jazz is cool. I don’t have a favorite song. I love anything by my girl, Beyoncé. That counts, right?
Marley: Why not? Beyoncé rules! 
Taylor: Yeah, she does.
Shawn: Maroon 5’s Moves Like Jagger is my favorite. It just makes you want to dance. 
Kimmy: *snorts* Tell them the truth, Shawn.
Shawn: *whispers* I don’t want to Kimmy.
Kimmy: Please… 
Shawn: Fine. My real favorite song is Phil Collins’ True Colors. 
Noah: I don’t know it. What’s wrong with it? 
Kimmy: Nothing. He’s just a man and doesn’t like to have feelings. 
Shawn: I have feelings for you and I’ll tell everyone. 
Kimmy: *blushes and kisses his cheek.* 
Interviewer: Sammy? What’s your favorite? 
Sammy: Insensitive by Jann Arden. She’s Canadian. 
Gavin: He only listens to Canadian music. Isn’t that cute? 
Sammy: Hey, I’m not cute. *pouts and scooches closer to his Mom.*
Melissa: It’s okay, buddy. Um, my favorite is Express Yourself. Madonna.
Len: Mine is Keep Talking. Pink Floyd
Interviewer: Any special reason?
Len: Not really. 
Derek: My favorite’s by Ooo Baby Baby by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles. My grandfather got me into the classics.
Noah: Is it my turn? 
Interviewer: Yes. What’s your favorite, Noah? 
Noah: My favorite’s The Death of Romance by Zeromancer. It’s the last thing my dad ever bought me. I don’t think he knew who they were, or he never would have bought it. *laughs*
Uncle Sam: I’m a country guy. I guess my favorite song is by Rascal Flatts. It’s called Bless the Broken Road. It’s a sweet song. 
Genie: See that, Marley? You get your soft nature from your family. *smirks wickedly* My favorite song is California Gurls by Katy Perry because I’m a California Girl. I was, before we moved to this small crap town.
Derek: Be nice. 
Gavin: We’ll all pitch in and send you back there if you like.  
Interviewer: On that note, it’s time to say goodnight, everyone. Thanks for joining the cast of Piggybacker. 

Meet the Author 

As far back as she can remember, Mikki was creating characters and stories in her head. It wasn't until fate brushed the tip of its wings over her eyes that she began to see that writing was what she was born to do. She loves animals, reading, everything supernatural related, and enjoys spending her free time on social media whenever she can.

Author links:
WebsiteFacebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

Up for grabs are 3x copies of Piggybacker
Open internationally until the 7th February.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Etsy Find!
by Hekates Heathens in
Lincoln, England

Click pic to visit Etsy Shop

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Books by Mikki Noble / Young adult fiction / Books from America

Monday, 28 January 2019

The Night Knight by C H Clepitt + #Giveaway

The Night Knight (Guild of Dream Warriors #2) by C H Clepitt
Self published in July 2018.

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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"It's hard to sleep when you're afraid to close your eyes..."

Bella is playing catch up. Ten years in a coma has left her feeling out of every loop. When a mysterious knight begins to invade her dreams, she finds herself pulled into a war which is threatening to spill out of her dreams and into reality.

The second in the Guild of Dream Warriors series hits the ground running, and doesn't pause for breath until the end.

I loved that Clepitt switches the narrator for this second volume of her Guild of Dream Warriors series. It's a brave move to give the lead voice to a new character, and I feel it works well here. The first book, My Dream Woman, was narrated by Andi with Bella comatose for the most part. Now Bella is very much awake and we follow her experiences through the next stage of the Dream Warriors' battle. Bella is a softer character than Andi. Comatose for a decade, she also has a touching naivete due to her lack of social integration. When a faceless Knight appears, I could completely understand why Bella would swiftly fall for them. The romance aspect of this novella fits well in between the faster, aggressive scenes and I liked these emotional contrasts. The differences between dream world and real world are effective too. Clepitt has a deft touch in concisely describing her locations.

Although The Night Knight does have a self-contained storyline, I don't think it could easily be read as a standalone novella. The Dream Warriors world is well explained in My Dream Woman and, while I appreciated Clepitt not bogging this second volume down with recaps of what we've already learned, that does also mean this is (so far at least) a series that benefits from being read in order.

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

The prize is an ebook edition of either The Night Knight OR the first book in C H Clepitt's Guild of Dream Warriors series, My Dream Woman, gifted to the winner via Smashwords. I will ask the winner which book they would prefer.
Open internationally until midnight (UK time) on the 11th February 2019.

Entry is by way of the Gleam widget below. This giveaway is entirely my own and is not affiliated with either the author or Smashwords. I just really want more readers to be aware of this book!
(GDPR: Gleam will ask for your email address so that I am able to contact the winner. I will then need to tell Smashwords that winning email address so they can send out the book.)

The Night Knight by C H Clepitt ebook giveaway

Etsy Find!
by The Peachy Polka Dot in
New Hampshire, USA

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Books by C H Clepitt / Fantasy fiction / Books from England

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Pocket Poets: Rupert Brooke

Pocket Poets: Rupert Brooke
Poems originally written between 1908 and 1914. This collection published by Vista Books in 1960.

My 1900s read for my 2018-19 Decade Challenge, my 15th Classics Club read, one more step up Mount TBR and P for my 2019 Alphabet Soup Challenge.

How I got this book:
Swapped for at a book exchange (I think)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A collection of twenty-nine poems and sonnets composed by the acclaimed First World War poet Rupert Brooke. Includes his most famous poem, The Soldier, which was first published in The Times in 1914: ("If I should die, think only this of me: That there's some corner of a foreign field That is forever England.")

I really don't like Brooke's most famous poem, The Soldier. It's one that seemingly gets recited whenever English people want to glorify our war history so I've come to associate it with jingoistic nationalism and pointless death. I don't know whether Brooke actually wrote it to encourage young men to sign up and fight in the First World War, but my attitude towards this one poem has always put me off reading anything else he wrote. Recently however I discovered that Brooke was associated with the Bloomsbury Group and a friend to Virginia Woolf - whose writing I do like very much. When I saw this slim vintage volume of his 'best' poems, I thought maybe it was time to give Brooke a second chance.

Based on this collection, I can say that Brooke was obsessed with Death and Love, in that order, and was rather a melodramatic soul! The timing of his poetry together with historical hindsight makes several of his poems especially poignant. The sonnet which begins "Oh! Death will find me, Long before I tire" and the poem Dust are both absolutely beautiful in their own right, and are given an extra edge by knowing that their author will indeed have died - of a tiny mosquito bite - just six years later. Brooke's work is very English and English in a way that bears no relation to the country I know. Instead this is a land of "honey for tea" and Tennyson at Cambridge. I couldn't relate to much of Brooke's hankering for that kind of life, but longing for home and his desolation after heart-break are universal. And I liked seeing the world through the eyes of fish!

Etsy Find!
by The Vintage Coop UK in
Sevenoaks, England

Click pic to visit Etsy Shop

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Books by Rupert Brooke / Poetry / Books from England

Saturday, 26 January 2019

Vizilsan: Blue Rabbit's Crystal by Marko Marković

Vizilsan: Blue Rabbit's Crystal by Marko Marković
First published in Serbian as Vizilsan: Kristal plavog zeca by Darkwood in 2013. English language translation by Dejan Savic published by Europe Comics in June 2017.

V for my 2019 Alphabet Soup Challenge

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

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Vizilsan is a world hemmed by dreams. Full of contrast, reminiscent of a world from a time long forgotten, yet blessed with certain technological accomplishments from a distant future. The lines between magic and science are blurred. The vast diversity of races poses the question of their origin – either from another planet or a different time. It is a wonderful world of dense forests, endless rivers, vast oceans, insurmountable mountain tops, arid deserts. A world full of life. Alas, the energy that once maintained this natural balance has begun wandering aimlessly due to crazed exploitation of natural resources, threatening to destroy that world. Few are aware. Few are trying to do something about it. A human duchess and a battle-hardened kaitian warrior, with the help of a few loyal friends, will try to restore the balance to the world and secure its survival. An epic adventure across the five continents of the world of Vizilsan now begins...

Vizilsan: Blue Rabbit's Crystal caught my attention because of the Donnie Darko style rabbit on the front cover. When I then learnt that the author, Marko Markovic, is Serbian I decided to give this graphic novel a read. It is a multi-species fantasy story with a Quest to find a mythical gem that can somehow control energy throughout the world. I think, anyway. To be honest, I did struggle to keep the storyline straight in my mind. There are flashbacks to Historical Times and, for a non-fantasy reader like me, the present day looked fairly historical too. I think readers who are more used to weirdly-named fantasy characters and species would stand a better chance of keeping up with Markovic's convoluted plot, however I am glad I gave this a try because I absolutely loved the artwork. Scenes of towns and cities are particularly stunning because of their detail. Also, I felt the images really flowed from one to another. A lot of the story is set at sea or on boats, or in journeying of one kind or another so for this movement to the reflected in the artwork was very effective.

On the downside, I was irritated that the lead (and almost the only) female character was never allowed sufficient time to get dressed properly. Even when all the males were swathed in cosy hoods and cloaks, she was still standing around in her underwear. I suspect hypothermia was the real reason she was so easily overpowered at a potentially critical moment! Also a negative for me was that, as the first in a series, Vizilsan abruptly stops on a bit of a cliff hanger. You might already know that I hate non-endings! If I'd known this graphic novel would leave me stranded mid-story, I probably wouldn't have started it. As it is I am not sure I liked the first installment enough to risk embarking further into what could become a lengthy epic.

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Marko Marković / Graphic novels / Books from Serbia

Friday, 25 January 2019

The Monsoon Ghost Image by Tom Vater

The Monsoon Ghost Image by Tom Vater
Published by Crime Wave Press on the 31st October 2018.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy via Rachel's Random Resources

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Add The Monsoon Ghost Image to your Goodreads

Dirty Pictures, Secret Wars And Human Beasts – Detective Maier Is Back To Investigate The Politics Of Murder

The third Detective Maier mystery is a taut and crazy spy thriller for our disturbing times.

When award-winning German conflict photographer Martin Ritter disappears in a boating accident in Thailand, the nation mourns the loss of a cultural icon. But a few weeks later, Detective Maier’s agency in Hamburg gets a call from Ritter’s wife. Her husband has been seen alive on the streets of Bangkok. Maier decides to travel to Thailand to find Ritter. But all he finds is trouble and a photograph. 

As soon as Maier puts his hands on the Monsoon Ghost Image, the detective turns from hunter to hunted – the CIA, international business interests, a doctor with a penchant for mutilation and a woman who calls herself the Wicked Witch of the East all want to get their fingers on Martin Ritter’s most important piece of work – visual proof of a post 9/11 CIA rendition and the torture of a suspected Muslim terrorist on Thai soil. From the concrete canyons of the Thai capital to the savage jungles and hedonist party islands of southern Thailand, Maier and his sidekick Mikhail race against formidable foes to discover some of our darkest truths and to save their lives into the bargain.

I still haven't gotten around to reading the first volume of Tom Vater's Detective Maier Mystery series, The Cambodian Book Of The Dead, although I did enjoy the second mystery, The Man With The Golden Mind so I was happy to be offered the opportunity to reads its sequel, The Monsoon Ghost Image. (Regular visitors will know I struggle to read any series in the right order!) In this third book, a jaded and suffering Detective Maier is again drawn to Asia, this time to Thailand, along with his Russian colleague, Mikhail, to investigate nefarious goings on.

Vater's location descriptions are, again, wonderfully evocative and detailed. I could easily envisage Bangkok slums or isolated jungle islands, stunning coral coves and drug-addled backpacker parties. However I wasn't so gripped by the mystery this time around. The narrative seemed quite disjointed with members of the cast frequently popping up unexpectedly and then everything moving to a new scene before I could work out exactly what was happening.

If you like fast-paced thrillers with lots of dark violence you probably will enjoy Maier's adventures. I found myself wanting a lot more information about the hows and whys though - especially the whys. We don't get to know any of the characters particularly well so I wasn't always convinced of the authenticity of their actions. I need to at least believe in a character, then I find it easier to suspend belief in the plot when necessary and still enjoy the ride. Sadly that was often too difficult here.

Meet the author

Tom Vater has published four crime novels and is the co-owner of Crime Wave Press, a Hong Kong based crime fiction imprint. He writes for many publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Daily Telegraph, CNN and The Nikkei Asian Review. He is a best-selling non-fiction writer and co-author of the highly acclaimed Sacred Skin.

Author links: 
Linked In ~ Facebook ~ Twitter ~ Clippings

Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Tom Vater / Thrillers / Books from Germany

Thursday, 24 January 2019

A Heart in the Right Place by Heide Goody and Iain Grant + #Giveaway + #Excerpt

A Heart in the Right Place by Heide Goody and Iain Grant
Published by Pigeon Park Press on the 30th November 2018.

Add A Heart In The Right Place to your Goodreads

All Nick wants to do is take his dying father for a perfect father-son weekend in the Scottish Highlands. It’s not much to ask, is it? A log cabin, a roaring fire, a bottle of fine whisky and two days to paper over the cracks in their relationship.

However, Nick didn’t plan on making the trip with a dead neighbour in the back of his car. Or the neighbour’s dog. He really didn’t plan on being pursued by a psychotic female assassin intent on collecting body parts. And he really, really didn’t plan on encountering a platoon of heavily armed mercenaries, or some very hungry boars, or a werewolf.

A Heart in the Right Place - a horror comedy about setting out with the very best intentions and then messing everything up.


A Heart in the Right Place is a comedy horror about Nick and his dad who go on a holiday to the Scottish Highlands with (for very odd reasons), their neighbour’s body in the boot of the car. Unfortunately for them, a very nasty woman called Finn wants to get hold of that body. We meet Finn in this extract…

The flat was on the fifth floor. There was the ammonia stink of stale piss in the hallway. 
Adam gave a firm knock, brushing at his knuckles with a look of distaste. 
A few moments later the door was opened. The man on the other side was short and unshaven, wearing a grey hoodie and jogging bottoms; the kind Americans called sweatpants. He probably did more sweating than jogging. It looked like his four main food groups were lager, cigarettes, porn and Jeremy Kyle. He probably supplemented it with cheap cider as one of his five-a-days.
This was not Oz, Finn could see. Adam had reached the same conclusion. “Oh, hi. We’re looking for Oz. Is he in?”
The man shook his head and was closing the door even as he was mumbling, “No, man. He’s gone down the Asda, like—”
Finn stepped into the gap, slammed back the door and shoved past the fat scruff.
“Eh! Eh!” he exclaimed. “You can’t do that. You the bizzies? The social? You need a warrant.”
Finn ignored him and checked the flat. There were two bedrooms, unoccupied. She had to fling wide the scrappy curtains in one to be sure there wasn’t someone hiding beneath the crusty mound of duvet on the bed.
“This is my home!” protested sweatpants.
She turned to him, held up her Polaroid. “Name?”
She took his photo. “Name?”
“Wait, man. I’m Shaun.”
“Where’s Oz?”
“I need to see some ID.”
She ignored him, pushed out into the cramped hallway as she shook the photo to dry it. Adam was checking the bathroom.
“Some people,” he muttered. “You should see the state of the toilet.”
She ignored him and went through to the lounge. It was less a lounge and more of an Aladdin’s cave; one from a version of the story where Aladdin uncovered a hoard of stolen electronics, tanks of exotic pets, and the remains of a month’s worth of takeaways. 
Shaking her head, Finn casually inspected the stacked boxes of electronic white goods.
“It’s all legit!” whined Shaun.
Finn flipped a box open. Down the side of a plastic toaster was a silica gel sachet, usually included to absorb minor quantities of moisture. This sachet was filled with methamphetamine. She didn’t get involved with the distribution side of the business, but she knew this was one of the ways they shipped the drugs over from Ireland.
“Oz,” she said, simply.
Shaun had a bottle of vodka in his hand. He took a mouthful. He was nervous and jiggled like he had the DTs or was going to piss himself. “Who the fuck are ya, eh?”
 “You said Oz has gone out somewhere?” said Adam, stepping inside the lounge, blocking the exit.
“I have nothing to say to you,” said Shaun. There was a slur in his voice: a note of drunken bravado. That would need sorting out, quickly. “But you—” He gave Finn a wet-lipped leer.
She reached down and gently took the vodka bottle from his hand, maintaining eye contact before smashing the bottle over Shaun’s head. He slumped against a wall of boxes, barely staying upright.
“I cannot believe you did that,” said Adam.
“Seriously, you drank from that filthy bottle? This whole place is disgusting beyond words!”
“Chair,” she repeated, pointing to a dining chair. It had one splintered leg repaired with parcel tape. A tape gun, which had been used to reseal some of the open boxes, was on the threadbare seat. Adam handed it over. Finn hauled the semi-conscious Shaun into the chair.
She went into the kitchenette. The cat leapt aside. Finn opened the drawers to see what knives Shaun had in. It was the lucky dip of wet work. Crap kitchens were better than fully stocked ones: more pleasantly challenging with dope heads than, say, well-to-do rogue accountants. A cutlery drawer in a place like this would have a very limited selection, an invitation to get creative. She once had to do a four hour torture session with nothing but a plastic spatula and a potato masher. This cutlery drawer— Her hand hovered between a short fruit knife, a lever-armed corkscrew, and a fork with a bent tine. Of course, she could use the blade Adam had given her to extract Oz’s heart, but Finn enjoyed variety in her work.
A toaster on the counter matched the ones in the boxes in the lounge. A white kettle clearly came from the same range. Shaun and Oz had been sampling the goods. 
“Put the kettle on,” she told Adam.
He tutted, looking through cupboards for clean mugs. “I’m going to have to wash up if we want a drink. Not that we have time.”
Finn ignored him grumbling about the filthy dishcloth, taking the corkscrew and toaster back into the lounge. Shaun was mumbling groggily. Finn took Shaun’s left hand, inserted it into the toaster and strapped it in place with a dozen circuits of the tape gun. Shaun wasn’t waking, not quite yet. He was like one of the giant insects or slumbering toads in the translucent tanks by the wall. Not aware; not focussed.
The kettle came to the boil. Adam rinsed a trio of cups, rubbing them gingerly with his fingertips under the tap, all the while pulling a face. Finn picked up the kettle, carried it over to Shaun and poured the contents into his lap.
His screaming made Adam drop the mugs. “For fuck’s sake!”
“Awake now?” Finn asked. “Focused?”
Shaun screamed, tried to stand, to pat and waft his parboiled groin. He saw the toaster taped to his hand and screamed some more. Finn pushed him back into the chair with ease.
“Shush, now,” she said.

Meet the authors

Heide Goody is the stupid one in the writing partnership and Iain Grant is the sensible one. Together, they are the authors of over a dozen books.

The ‘Clovenhoof’ series (in which Satan loses his job and has to move to Birmingham) has recently been optioned by a Hollywood production company.

Heide and Iain are both married, but not to each other.

Author links: 
Website ~ Facebook ~ Heide's Twitter ~ Iain's Twitter

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

Win a gorgeous Moleskine Passion Traveller's Journal (Open Internationally until the 27th January)

"The Moleskine Traveller’s Journal is a structured before and after record of every journey you make, from weekends away to life-changing trips and everything in between. Note down your travel plans before you leave and list all the things you hope to see and do, then add maps, photos, tickets and keepsakes when you r#eturn. The Traveller’s Journal is a place to dream, get practical and create a unique and lasting paper archive of your travels that you’ll want to revisit again and again."

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

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Search Lit Flits for more:
Books by Heide Goody and Iain Grant / Horror fiction / Books from England

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Mamachari Matchmaker by S J Pajonas #FreeBook

Mamachari Matchmaker (Kami No Sekai, #3) by S J Pajonas
Self published in America in March 2015.

M for my 2019 Alphabet Soup Challenge

How I got this book:
Downloaded a free copy to celebrate the author's birthday. Happy Birthday Stephanie! (Get your free copy Through This Link until Feb 1st)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Buy Directly

from the Author

This bike longs to be owned by a family with kids but is bought by a quiet, cosplaying, young woman instead. 

How will Mamachari help Eriko to find true love? 


Shhh… Listen To The Gods. 

The Japanese believe the gods live in all things. Trees, appliances, animals, buildings — they all have a spirit living within them. Maybe, if you listen carefully, you can hear them too.

Mamachari Matchmaker is a sweet short story set in Tokyo and partially narrated by a bicycle - well, the god living inside this particular bicycle anyway. Mamacharis are an everyday family bicycle in Japan (Mama Chariot?) frequently to be seen on errands loaded up with small children and groceries. So  it makes perfect sense that Eriko's new Mamachari bicycle would be pushing her towards finding romance. However, unlike some of Eriko's friends, the Mamachari doesn't want her to pretend to be someone she isn't just in order to snag a man.

I really liked shy Eriko. In her own world of manga and cosplay she is perfectly at home, but when confronted by other social situations she panics, blushing and believing everything she says is ridiculous. I can certainly empathise with that! The Mamachari is a fun character with a refreshingly dry sense of humour. Having spent ages in the bicycle shop before Eriko arrived, this god knows feeling unwanted is like. It can understand why Eriko doesn't put herself forward and can whisper advice from the sidelines - unheard by anyone else. I didn't have any problem believing in the reality of Eriko and her talking Mamachari bicycle and was swiftly drawn in to their quest, rooting for Eriko to find her happily ever after.

Etsy Find!
by Psykel Chic in
Florida, USA

Click pic to visit Etsy Shop

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by S J Pajonas / Romance fiction / Books from America

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

The Princess of Baker Street by Mia Kerick + #Giveaway + #Excerpt

The Princess of Baker Street by Mia Kerick
Published in America by Harmony Ink Press today, the 22nd January 2019.

Add The Princess Of Baker Street to your Goodreads

Always wear your imaginary crown is Joey Kinkaid's motto.

For years, Joey, assigned male at birth, led the Baker Street kids in daring and imaginative fantasy adventures, but now that they're teenagers, being a princess is no longer quite so cool. Especially for a child who is seen by the world as a boy.

Eric Sinclair has always been Joey's best friend and admirer - Prince Eric to Joey's Princess Ariel - but middle school puts major distance between them. As Eric's own life takes a dangerous turn for the worse, he stands by and watches as Joey - who persists in dressing and acting too much like a Disney princess for anybody's comfort - gets bullied. Eric doesn't like turning his back on Joey, but he's learned that the secret to teenage survival, especially with an absent mother, is to fly under the radar.

But when Joey finally accepts who she is and comes to school wearing lip gloss, leggings, and a silky pink scarf, the bullies make her life such a misery that she decides to end it all. Eric, in turn, must decide who he really is and what side he wants to stand on though no matter what he chooses, the consequences with be profound for both teens, and they'll face them for years to come. Is there a chance the two teens can be friends again, and maybe even more?


Every day’s basically the same—it’s like the lunchtime bullying plan is set in stone, and it’s only the end of September. And it’s way worse than it was last year, even though he sat alone then too. Travis gets to sit at the jock table, seeing as he’s on the county football team. He starts in on Joey as soon as he sets his rear end on the bench and drops his lunch tray onto the sticky table. For Travis, “bullying Josie” is sort of like a bad habit he just can’t kick. But I’m pretty sure he’d say it’s more like a hobby he’s real good at.
“All the way through sixth grade, Kinkaid wore a dress, like, every day after school—I kid you not.” He announces this loud enough for the jocks and the entire hot-girl table, and of course, lonely Joey, to hear. And even though Joey wasn’t hiding that he wore his mom’s purple dress after school when we all played together, blabbing about it makes me feel like we’re ratting him out.
An imaginary knife stabs into my gut and twists around. I try not to squirm and to keep my face blank, but it’s next to impossible because my belly hurts like I’m having a baby.
“You’ve got to be kidding me—he wore a freaking dress?” Miles Maroney is always the first guy to jump in whenever things start getting mean and dirty. “But I betcha Josie looked cute, if you go for gays.”
We all laugh, and I mean all of us.
I laugh even though I don’t want to. Because I still remember how it was: Joey was the Princess of Baker Street, and Travis and Emily and Lily and me all looked up to him as much as middle school kids look up to the guys on the soccer team now. Joey was the neighborhood kid with all the best ideas. None of us cared what he wore out to play—not even Travis.
“What a freaking princess!” yells Noah Mayer, and we all laugh some more because Noah is the starting forward on the soccer team, and we pretty much have to laugh at everything he says when he’s trying to be funny, or he won’t pass to us. Maybe I forgot to pay my brain bill, but I know how shit like this works.

Meet the Author 

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children: one in law school, another a professional dancer, a third studying at Mia's alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son, heading off to college. (Yes, the nest is finally empty.) She has published more than twenty books of LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing scholarship essays. Her husband of twenty-five years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don't ask Mia about this, as it's a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled people in complex relationships. She has a great affinity for the tortured hero in literature, and as a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of tortured heroes and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to her wonderful publishers for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories. Her books have been featured in Kirkus Reviews magazine, and have won Rainbow Awards for Best Transgender Contemporary Romance and Best YA Lesbian Fiction, a Reader Views Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, a Story Monsters Purple Dragonfly Award for Young Adult e-book Fiction, among other awards.

Mia Kerick is a social liberal and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Author links:
WebsiteFacebook ~ Twitter ~ Goodreads

And now it's time for the Giveaway!

Win a $10 Amazon gift card.
Open internationally until the 31st January.

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Etsy Find!
by The Pin Prick in
London, England

Click pic to visit Etsy Shop

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Mia Kerick / Young adult fiction / Books from America