Sunday, 31 January 2021

Draden's Whale by Grant Pollerd

Draden's Whale by Grant Pollerd
Self published on the 27th June 2019.

How I got this book:
Bought the ebook via Kobo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

On an ocean, where marines hunt pirates who hunt whalers who hunt whales, an animal-loving orphan will find out what it is like to be both predator and prey.

Draden, a fifteen-year-old boy trapped in a brutal island orphanage, finds solace in nurturing Maggie, a motherless lamb. When Draden is caught rescuing Maggie from the feast for the start of whaling season, the matron sentences him to ten lashes. A visiting captain cuts him a deal to escape the lash and the matron forever, on one cruel condition: he helps the captain hunt whales.

After the whaling ship's destination is revealed to be the last untapped whaling grounds, guarded by the man who tore Draden's family apart, the famed pirate Silverbeard, Draden must decide what and who he is willing to kill to gain vengeance.

"Treasure Island" meets "Moby Dick", "Draden's Whale" is a high-seas adventure where the answers to moral questions are deadly.

In an unexpected coincidence, I found myself reading two whaling-themed novels this month, To Ride A White Horse and Draden's Whale. The two are very different books with Draden's Whale having the feel of a classic high seas adventure tale. I think it would be an appropriate story for teenage readers as the central character is a fifteen-year-old boy, and could also suit reluctant readers because Pollerd keeps up an energetic pace throughout the book. There's never a dull moment!

I liked Pollerd's convincing portrayal of Draden, especially the way we get to see his increasing maturity as the book progresses. After years living in the sheltered orphanage environment, Draden encounters a number of totally unfamiliar situations in fairly rapid succession and, as readers, we see his thoughts and outlook shaped by each event. The brutal world of the whaling ships was dangerous for the sailors with their lives and vessels frequently threatened by storms, pirate attacks and the violent thrashing of the huge whales they hunted. I felt this precariousness really came across well, and personal loss is something which young Draden struggles to accept. The gruesome reality of whale processing provides some stomach-churning moments too.
I enjoyed reading this adventure novel, even though I don't think I fit into its natural target audience. I was interested to discover whether Draden would eventually find a place that suited his temperament and his moral stance, and I appreciated the lively interactions between the characters. Pollerd has a good ear for realistic dialogue. There's a positive message too which fits naturally into the story. I liked that Draden's Whale got me thinking while also keeping me entertained.

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Books by Grant Pollerd / Historical fiction / Books from Australia

Saturday, 30 January 2021

Secrets That We Keep by Linda Kage + #Giveaway + #Excerpt

Secrets That We Keep
Linda Kage
Publication date: January 28th 2021
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Gracen Lowe has a new life theory:
What you don’t know can’t hurt you.

Which is exactly why he decides not to tell his twin sister, Bella, that he’s accidentally falling for the woman she hates most, the very woman who allegedly cheated with Bella’s last boyfriend and broke them apart.

Bella might be his best friend and ultimate confidante, but she’d legit cut off his favorite body part if she knew which woman he’d been craving. So even if his theory’s totally whack, staying quiet will definitely keep him safer.

Except he feels so guilty about it all.

Meanwhile, Bella’s heating up the sheets with one of Gracen’s best friends, and she can’t seem to reveal that little detail to her brother either, due to—you know—reasons.

When the truth is exposed, all bets are off. Shattered secrets will either set everyone free or wreck their relationships forever. 


Pointing, I growled, “You…” and I stepped into her house, slamming the door behind me. “Liar.”

Eyebrows lifting, she set her hands on her hips and glared back. “Excuse me?”

“You heard me,” I charged. “I called you a liar.”

“I –”

“You said you wouldn’t freak out and start avoiding me. Well, where were you tonight?”

“I didn’t feel like—”


“Oh my God. Will you stop interrupting me.”

“Sure. When you stop avoiding me.”

“I’m not—” This time, she cut herself off to glance skyward for assistance as she mumbled curses about me. Once she was calmer, she looked me in the eye. “I’m not avoiding you. The reason I didn’t go tonight had nothing to do with you whatsoever.”

I stepped closer to her, my eyes flaring. “Oh yeah? Prove it.”

She gulped unsteadily—totally freaked out by my proximity—and then she jerked a step back.

I think that broke something inside me. She should never be too scared of getting close to me. It felt like the beginning of the end. I was going to lose her.

But once she had her space, she shot fire at me with her eyes, totally not intimidated at all. “Prove what?” she cried with a disbelieving snort. “That I didn’t go tonight because of—”

“Prove that you aren’t avoiding me,” I clarified.

She gurgled out an incredulous laugh. “How the hell does someone prove something like that?”

I shrugged. “Not my problem. Just get it done. Right now.”

Her eyes widened. “Right—”
“Now. Yes.”

“Right now?” she repeated, blinking at me as if I’d lost my mind.

I put my hand to my ear. “Is there an echo in here?” Then I glanced at the face of my watch. “Time’s ticking, baby doll.”

“Oh my God,” she exploded. She gave another dubious laugh. I couldn’t tell if she was getting a kick out of my stubbornness or if she was seriously annoyed by it. “You are such a pain in the ass.”

“Yeah,” I countered. “A pain in the ass that you’re avoiding.”

Her eyes narrowed. “This is getting ridiculous.” Darting her gaze around the room, probably looking for something heavy to hit me with, she groused, “I can’t believe you’re really making me do this.”

I yawned and reported, “Not convinced yet.”

“Oh, that’s it,” she snarled, fed up with my antics. Stepping close, she grabbed the front of my shirt. “You want to be convinced that I liked being with you, fine! I’ll convince you.”

I opened my mouth to tell her, no, I hadn’t mentioned anything about needing performance feedback. I just didn’t want her to hate me now. But she pulled me into her before I could say anything, and she plastered her mouth to mine.

Author Bio:

Linda writes romance fiction from YA to adult, contemporary to fantasy. Most Kage stories lean more toward the lighter, sillier side with a couple meaningful moments thrown in. Focuses more on entertainment value and emotional impact.
Published since 2010. Went through a 2-year writing correspondence class in children's literature from The Institute of Children's Literature. Then graduated with a Bachelors in Arts, English with an emphasis in creative fiction writing from Pittsburg State University.

Now she lives with hubby, two daughters, cat Holly, and nine cuckoo clocks in southeast Kansas, USA. Farm girl. Parents were dairy farmers. Was youngest of eight. Big family. Day job as a cataloging library assistant.

Harry Potter House Gryffindor, Patronus White Stallion, character match Hagrid. Supernatural Team Dean. Game of Thrones Team Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister. The Walking Dead Team Daryl. Outlander Team Jamie Fraser. Teen Wolf Team Stiles. Avenger Team Thor...or Hulk (can't decide). Justice League Team Flash. Arrow Team Stephen Amell. Stranger Things obsessed. Heard Laurel, not Yanny.

Started out reading with the Baby-Sitters Club. Then moved to Sandra Brown, Linda Howard, Julie Garwood, and LaVyrle Spencer in high school. Now all over the place with her romance reading tastes.

Website / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Readers Group


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Books by Linda Kage / Romance fiction / Books from America

Friday, 29 January 2021

Feverfew by Anna Saunders

Feverfew by Anna Saunders
Published by Indigo Dreams on the 4th January 2021.

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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In Feverfew Anna Saunders weaves together personae of myth such as Phaethon, Jupiter, Pan, and Aphrodite with a clear-voiced contemporary disquiet about a planet threatened by human-led climate destruction and passionate, nakedly confessional poems. Surely these white stars will heal? the protagonist of the title poem of Feverfew asks, and the answer is proven to be 'yes' in a sparkling and powerful collection in which poetry acts as magic and medicine.

I've been lucky to have been offered to the opportunity to read several insightful poetry books over the past few months and Feverfew, I think, will be one of the most memorable because of Anna Saunders' vivid imagery. I loved how she can conjure up a scene with such clarity in just a half dozen words. Her referencing ancient mythical figures did have me scrambling to Google a couple of times. Sisyphus' and Prometheus' stories I knew well, but what about Leda? Swans and other birds also feature prominently and I was particularly taken with the poem Floundering in which Saunders compares the commercial potential of poetry writing with a young heron's fishing skills - both the poet and the heron ending up empty-mouthed.

At times I felt as though perhaps I should not actually be reading these words. The work is so personal that it was almost like rudely staring into a stranger's window, yet at the same time I could empathise and often identify with the poems as they portrayed a shared experience. Is this the ebb, or flow? is a perfect example of tiny moments, particular only to the poet and her companion, yet instantly recognisable to me from my own life.

I did have to work at reading Saunders' poetry which was a rewarding experience. These are poems to be slowly mulled over and savoured and, having now read the whole collection through once and dipped into it over two further evenings, I appreciate how my understanding has grown with re-reading. To stay with the bird analogy, I tend usually to read like a gannet, gulping down entire paragraphs barely digested, so to be made to peck at details like a finch opened up new perspectives. 

Meet the Poet

Anna Saunders is the author of 'Communion', 'Struck', 'Kissing the She Bear', 'Burne Jones and the Fox' and 'Ghosting for Beginners.'
She has had poems published in numerous journals and anthologies.
Anna holds a Masters in Creative and Critical Writing from The University of Gloucestershire and is the CEO and founder of Cheltenham Poetry Festival.

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Anna Saunders / Poetry / Books from England

Thursday, 28 January 2021

Face Value by Gregory Landsman + #Giveaway + #FreeBook


Join us for this tour from Jan 11 to Jan 29, 2021!

Book Details:
Book TitleFace Value - DIY Secrets to Beauty and a Younger Face by Gregory Landsman
CategoryAdult Non-Fiction (18 yrs +),  67 pages
Genre: Beauty & Grooming; Health & Wellness; Self Help
PublisherHill of Content Publishing
Release date:   2018
Content RatingG.

Book Description:


Following the success of the best selling first edition, the new revised version of Gregory Landsman’s Face Value is jam packed with simple DIY secrets to beauty and younger looking skin that can achieve powerful results in a very short time. Featuring an entirely new chapter on rejuvenating night serums, Face Value will change the way you think and approach beauty as you discover that utilizing natural ingredients can provide real and lasting solutions to give you a natural glow and a younger looking face.

Find recipes to…
• Reduce fine lines and wrinkles
• Stimulate collagen production
• Improve skin firmness and elasticity
• Protect skin from damaging free radicals
• Rehydrate, tighten and tone the face
• Restore the skin’s radiance and natural pH levels
• Reduce age spots, pigmentation and blemishes

With Face Value, you can achieve younger looking skin without having to leave your own kitchen!

Book Excerpt - FACE VALUE

The simple do-it-yourself treatments in Face Value target our greatest skin concerns such as reducing fine lines and wrinkles, improving firmness and elasticity and protecting skin from damaging free radicals.)

Every formula contains high doses of the most powerful ingredients such as Alpha Hydroxy Acid, Retin A and potent antioxidants used in the most expensive creams on the market.)

All are touted as anti-aging, stimulating skin cell regeneration and improving the texture of your skin. The good news is that most of it can be found in your own kitchen!)

In more than 30 years of dealing with faces every day, I worked across the globe in the fashion and beauty industry. I could see that the daily stresses of life show up on our faces, and have a profound effect on the way skin visibly ages, even on supermodels.)

With this in mind I put together Face Value; a complete skincare manual that offers real solutions and real choices that really work! Each of these treatments have been tried and tested by people from the four corners of the world and I have used them in my career for years with great success.)

Whether it is a treatment full of firming and plumping hydrators or smoothing exfoliators, these formulas will feed your skin from the outside in, restoring radiance and stimulating collagen production. With Face Value you can create a personalised plan for the issues that concern you most; whether it is saying ‘bye bye’ to age spots, fine lines, blemishes, sun damaged skin or uneven pigmentation.)

Without a doubt our faces say so much more about us than what we look like. They are a pure reflection of our health, vitality and spirit. Through my years of experience in the fashion industry.

I have come to believe that B.E.A.U.T.Y. is based on the principles of …

Balance, Enthusiasm, Acceptance, Understanding,Trust & You I believe that:

Balance in our lives unfolds from the inside out.

Enthusiasm lies within the way we think and feel about ourselves.

Acceptance is the path to making peace with ourselves and others.

Understanding ourselves gives us clarity and wisdom to know what we want, and importantly, what we don’t.

Trust attunes our heart and mind so we can nurture spontaneity and adventure in our lives, and know that…

You have what it takes to create the life and love you know you deserve and to never settle for anything less.

I took every photograph in this book as an expression of my belief that as in nature, where every flower is different from the next, we are a living embodiment that beauty is individual.

While Face Value is about learning to nurture your face and your body with great natural products that work, it is also about knowing that the beauty we find outside ourselves is a very small aspect of what lies within.

I have been fortunate enough to cross paths with people who have helped me understand this; each in their own way showing me that the essence of our beauty lies not in our physical characteristics alone, but in the heart of our character.

While I have seen supermodels in Paris dressed in Chanel and women in India dressed in rags, the one truth that reveals their beauty, regardless of who they are, is the truth of their smile.

So whether you are indulging in a skin rejuvenating bath or giving yourself a three-minute facial – Enjoy! After all, B.E.A.U.T.Y. is about good living and great loving, it is about feeling more, healing more, living more and loving more.

“You are whole and beautiful for no other reason than you are human.” - Gregory Landsman

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Check Out The Entire 10 Years Younger Series:

The complete solution to PREMATURE AGING. The simple, effective, science-based methods in these three books give everyone the opportunity to achieve younger, healthier looking skin at any age…for next to nothing!
  • Get your skin back on track after the holidays with the most powerful anti-aging ingredients found in everyday foods.
  • Fulfill a new years resolution to look your best self at every age with simple effective methods to achieve younger, healthier looking skin that will take years off the face.
  • Spend some time nurturing yourself and take years off your face for next to nothing.
  • This new year get the same results as expensive cremes without having to leave your kitchen.

Each book stands alone, focusing on a different method to achieving younger looking skin i.e. Face Value - DIY topical treatments; Face Fitness - facial exercise; and Face Food - anti-aging foods). Together they represent the ultimate guide to younger, healthier and more vital looking skin at any age.

 “With knowledge and know how we can counteract and prevent premature aging, as small changes make a big difference to the way we age over time.”
Gregory Landsman

To receive a free copy of Gregory’s e-book, STOP SKIN AGING PREMATURELY, which includes a list of the most powerful cortisol lowering foods go to:

Meet the Author:

Gregory Landsman is one of the most noted global beauty and wellness experts in the world, a best selling author of nine books, and a TV host who specializes in using food to take years off the face naturally.

Having worked in the beauty industry for 30+ years Gregory believes that looking youthful goes well beyond waging war on wrinkles, and that how we age is 100% controllable. His natural methods are used globally by models, shown in universities and recommended by doctors.

Often referred to as ‘The Beauty Advisor’, Gregory’s books and global TV program Face Lifting Food show viewers how to create quick skin-boosting meals and powerful skin treatments using everyday foods to achieve younger, healthier looking skin at any age.

Gregory is a strong voice for inclusion. His book, Faith Lifting Prayers is a celebration of humanity and captures his journey of extremes; from Apartheid South Africa to working at the height of the fashion industry, and his fundamental discovery that regardless of what we do, how we look cannot be separated from how we feel. This is why all of his books, even those about looking younger, all feature his own quotes and philosophy about the importance of feeling good in our skin. His book A Lifetime of BEAUTY also shares messages for early teens and middle years about embracing our differences and our individuality; finding happiness; and standing strong in a world that often judges us for the way we look. This book is endorsed for inclusion in the education system.

connect with the author:  website ~ podcast ~ goodreads
Tour Schedule:

Jan 11
A Mama's Corner of the World – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 12 – Lisa's Reading – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 13 – Rockin' Book Reviews – book spotlight / book excerpt / giveaway
Jan 13 - Cover Lover Book Review – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jan 14 – Library of Clean Reads – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 15 – Books, Tea, Healthy Me – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jan 18 – Splashes of Joy – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jan 20 – Paranormal and Romantic Suspense Reviews – book spotlight / book excerpt / giveaway
Jan 21 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / book excerpt / giveaway
Jan 25 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book spotlight / book excerpt / giveaway
Jan 28 – Literary Flits – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 29 – Stephanie Jane – book spotlight / giveaway

Enter the Giveaway:

Win all 8 Gregory Landsman books valued at $190.00 including his latest book Stop Stress Fast (Open internationally until Feb 28) 

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Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Gregory Landsman / Self help books / Books from South Africa

Wednesday, 27 January 2021

A Rush Of White Wings by Pamela Ford + #Giveaway


Join Us for this Tour from Jan 6 to Feb 2, 2021!

Book Details:
Book Title A Rush of White Wings: An Irish Historical Love Story by Pamela Ford
Book Series: An Irish Historical Love Story
Category Adult Fiction (18 +), 382 pages
Genre Historical Romance
Publisher Aine Press
Release dates:   October 2020
Content Rating: PG-13:
There are two pretty mild love scenes, short and not explicit. Virtually no swearing except the more common Irish versions: "Jaysus" or "Jesus, Mary and Joseph."

Book Description:

The best journey brings you home. Boston, 1849. Shattered by the devastating loss of his wife and children during the Irish famine, Sean Deacey has given up on love and happiness. So when he rescues an infant from an immigrant shipwreck, he gives the orphaned babe to his sister Kathleen and her husband. They raise the boy as their own – until Ailish Sullivan arrives two years later claiming the child is her last living relative and demanding his return. A legal fight ensues, and Sean befriends Ailish, determined to change her mind and keep her from destroying his sister’s family. But when friendship leads to understanding, he is torn between the desires of both families. And as his feelings grow for a woman he knows he should not want and can never have, he faces an agonizing choice – stand with his sister or follow his heart. Award-winning author Pamela Ford explores the bonds of family as she takes readers on an uplifting emotional journey through grief, sacrifice, and the power of forgiveness.

Buy the Book ~ Amazon UK

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A Rush of White Wings is the sequel to To Ride A White Horse, Pamela Ford's first historical fiction novel of the Irish Deacey family who immigrated to America in the 1840s to escape the horrors of famine in Ireland. To Ride A White Horse was very much Kathleen Deacey's story and, while she remains an important character, A Rush of White Wings puts her brother, Sean, more into the limelight. Sean's courageous act of rescuing a refugee baby from the sea after the boat it was on is destroyed by a storm, brings great joy to all the Deacey's but that happiness cannot last. Instead Ford takes readers on an emotional journey, reminiscent of Brecht's The Chalk Circle, as she pits two determined women against each other - each one convinced she can provide the better home for the baby.

Young Will is absolutely the star of A Rush of White Wings and I loved his scene-stealing antics which frequently inject a bubble of humour into what would otherwise be a very intense novel. Unfortunately I felt the ultimate conclusion to the story was telegraphed from far too early on so I didn't get a real sense of trepidation about Will's eventual fate, however I could completely empathise with both Kathleen and with Will's Aunt, Ailish, both of whom had equally valid reasons to want to raise 'their' child. Ford raises interesting questions about what determines personal identity and whether blood family connections are more important than financial stability. The bitter xenophobia experienced by Irish immigrants is also a strong theme of this novel with Ford ably portraying that many thousands found themselves not much better off on American soil than they had been in Ireland. The timeliness of reading A Rush of White Wings in the week of Joe Biden's inauguration wasn't lost on me!

Meet the Author:

Pamela Ford is the award-winning author of historical and contemporary romance. She grew up watching old movies, blissfully sighing over the romance; and reading sci-fi and adventure novels, vicariously living the action. The combination probably explains why the books she writes are romantic, happily-ever-afters with plenty of plot. After graduating from college with a degree in Advertising, Pam spent many years as a copywriter and freelance writer before inserting a plot twist in her career path and writing her first book. Pam has won numerous awards including the Booksellers Best, the Laurel Wreath, and a gold medal IPPY in the Independent Book Publisher Awards. She is a National Readers' Choice Awards finalist, a Kindle Book Awards finalist, a Maggie Awards for Excellence finalist, and a two-time Golden Heart Finalist.

connect with the author: website ~ twitter ~ facebook  ~ instagram ~ goodreads
Tour Schedule:
Jan 6 – Working Mommy Journal – book review of A RUSH OF WHITE WINGS / giveaway
Jan 6 - Library of Clean Reads – book review of TO RIDE A WHITE HORSE / giveaway
Jan 6 - Viviana MacKade – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Jan 7 – Elizabeth McKenna - Author Blog – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 7 - Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of A RUSH OF WHITE WINGS / giveaway
Jan 11 – Cover Lover Book Review – book review of A RUSH OF WHITE WINGS / giveaway
Jan 12 – Working Mommy Journal – book review of TO RIDE A WHITE HORSE / giveaway
Jan 13 – Mystery Suspense Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jan 14 – Literary Flits – book review of TO RIDE A WHITE HORSE / giveaway
Jan 15 – Sadie's Spotlight – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 19 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review of TO RIDE A WHITE HORSE / giveaway
Jan 20 – 411 ON BOOKS, AUTHORS, AND PUBLISHING NEWS - book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Jan 20 - Library of Clean Reads – book review of A RUSH OF WHITE WINGS / giveaway
Jan 21 – Book Corner News and Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 22 – Books Lattes & Tiaras – book review of TO RIDE A WHITE HORSE
Jan 25 – Books and Zebras @jypsylynn – book review of A RUSH OF WHITE WINGS
Jan 26 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jan 26 - Pick a Good Book – book review / author interview / giveaway
Jan 27 – Literary Flits – book review of A RUSH OF WHITE WINGS / giveaway
Jan 28 – Pause for Tales – book review of A RUSH OF WHITE WINGS / giveaway
Jan 28 - Celticlady's Reviews – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 29 – fundinmental – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 29 - Books Lattes & Tiaras – book review of A RUSH OF WHITE WINGS
Feb 1 – Corinne Rodrigues – book review of A RUSH OF WHITE WINGS / giveaway
Feb 2 – High Society Book Reviews – book review of A RUSH OF WHITE WINGS / guest post / giveaway

Enter the Giveaway:

Win signed copies of To Ride A White Horse and A Rush Of White Wings. Open to the USA only from the 14th January to the 9th February.

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Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Pamela Ford / Historical fiction / Books from America

Tuesday, 26 January 2021

Weekend Pass by Paul Cavanagh + #Giveaway

Join us for this tour from Jan 12 to Feb 1, 2021!

Book Details:

Book Title:  Weekend Pass by Paul Cavanagh
CategoryAdult Fiction (18 yrs +),  210 pages
Genre: Literary
PublisherNot That London Writer
Release date:   Jan 19, 2021
Content RatingPG-13 + M. Includes some f-words, religious profanities, and mature themes (addiction, adultery)

Weekend Pass packs a lot into fewer than two hundred pages. The dialogue never stutters. The writing is tight and clean and elegant with hidden depths that give pause for reflection and thought. It covers important, difficult themes in a compassionate, humanist way. It was an absolute pleasure to read.

Book Description:

Who can forgive a mother who poisons her eight-year-old son? Even if it was an accident. Tasha thought she had everything under control – her family life, her career as a nurse – until her son got into her stash of painkillers. Now, during her first weekend home from drug treatment, she must come to grips with the damage she’s done and somehow pick up the pieces. Told from the points of view of four different family members, Weekend Pass is a story about the lies we tell ourselves and the people we love. And it’s about struggling to rise above the mistakes that threaten to define us. 

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Weekend Pass is an intense domestic drama novel which explores the effects of addiction across extended families, and how patterns of self-destructive behaviour can be repeated down through multiple generations. The novel itself takes place over a single weekend - Tasha's first temporary release from Recovery House, a drug treatment facility - but manages to encompass years in the lives of her family. Weekend Pass is a gently paced novel which packs a lot of events into its pages. I was engrossed to the extent that I hardly noticed an afternoon passing me by. I didn't want to leave these people until their story had been resolved.

I thought Paul Cavanagh did a really good job of telling this story with the emotional sensitivity it needed, but also without pulling any punches when it came to portraying the realities of drug and alcohol addiction. He does resort to telling, rather than showing, a bit too often for my tastes in depicting Tasha's family's history, however I liked the characters he created. I felt he had a genuine understanding of their fraught relationships. I appreciated also the realism of their fractured communications. A myriad of reasons prevent these people from being open and honest with each other and, even when they believe themselves to be acting in everyone's best interests, the resulting crossed wires often lead to greater misunderstandings and frustrations.

For me, Weekend Pass was quite an emotional read. I could empathise with Tasha, despite what she had done, and also with Charlotte and Brenda. I think this novel would appeal to readers who also enjoyed Distorted Days by Louise Worthington and perhaps also Plumas de Muerte by Phil Motel.

Meet the Author:

Paul Cavanagh is a Canadian author whose debut novel, After Helen, won the Lit Idol competition at the London Book Fair in the UK and was published to rave reviews in the United States, Canada, and the British Isles. He’s been compared to Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Tyler for his ability to be at turns funny and moving while exploring the paradoxes of modern family relationships. He lives in London, Ontario (not be be confused with that other London). Weekend Pass is his third novel.

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

Jan 12 – fundinmental – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 12 - Olio by Marilyn – book review / giveaway
Jan 12 - Olio by Marilyn – book spotlight / author interview
Jan 13 – Gina Rae Mitchell – book review / giveaway
Jan 14 – Elizabeth McKenna - Author Blog – book spotlight / giveaway
Jan 14 - Cheryl's Book Nook – book review / giveaway
Jan 15 – Westveil Publishing – book review / giveaway
Jan 18 – Welcome To MLM Opinions Reviews – book review
Jan 18 - Reading Authors Network – book review / giveaway
Jan 19 – RebeccaReviewedIt – book review / giveaway
Jan 19 - Pick a Good Book – book review / author interview / giveaway
Jan 20 – Jazzy Book Reviews – book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Jan 20 - Books Beans & Botany – book review / giveaway
Jan 21 – StoreyBook Reviews – book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Jan 22 – taketwolu – book review
Jan 22 - Stephanie Jane – book spotlight
Jan 25 – The Bibliophilic World – book review
Jan 25 - Leels Loves Books – book review / giveaway
Jan 26 – Literary Flits – book review / giveaway
Jan 26 - Instagram: All Booked Up Reviews – book spotlight
Jan 27 – I'd Rather Be At The Beach – book review / giveaway
Jan 28 – Locks, Hooks and Books – book review / giveaway
Jan 29 – My Fictional Oasis – book review / giveaway
Jan 29 - Sadie's Spotlight – book spotlight
Feb 1 – Corinne Rodrigues – book review / giveaway
Feb 1 - I'm Into Books – book review / giveaway
Feb 1 - Book Corner News and Reviews - book review / giveaway

Enter the Giveaway: 

Win a signed copy of Weekend Pass. Open to the USA and Canada until the 8th February. 

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Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Paul Cavanagh / Contemporary fiction / Books from Canada

Monday, 25 January 2021

Dracula by Bram Stoker + #FreeBook

Dracula by Bram Stoker
Published by Archibald Constable & Co in May 1897.

How I got this book:
Bought from a charity shop

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

During a business visit to Count Dracula's castle in Transylvania, a young English solicitor finds himself at the center of a series of horrifying incidents. Jonathan Harker is attacked by three phantom women, observes the Count's transformation from human to bat form, and discovers puncture wounds on his own neck that seem to have been made by teeth. Harker returns home upon his escape from Dracula's grim fortress, but a friend's strange malady — involving sleepwalking, inexplicable blood loss, and mysterious throat wounds — initiates a frantic vampire hunt. The popularity of Bram Stoker's 1897 horror romance is as deathless as any vampire. Its supernatural appeal has spawned a host of film and stage adaptations, and more than a century after its initial publication, it continues to hold readers spellbound.

This review was first blogged on Stephanie Jane in March 2016.

Having ignored my own recent advice after reading Princess Casamassima by Henry James to 'beware verbose Victorians', I finally picked up Dracula this week. This is my third book for the 2016 TBR Pile Reading Challenge.

I've had a paperback copy of Dracula by Bram Stoker awaiting reading since we visited Whitby Abbey last year. The ruins were so creepy, even on a sunny day, and I loved remembering our visit and being able to envisage the relevant scenes as I read. I did already vaguely know the plot, but don't think I have ever read this book before, not even in a child's classics version. Thinking about it, perhaps there isn't one? For what essentially is a pretty short story, this is a long book. However, once I got into the convoluted style, I found that there was a swift enough pace to keep me interested. It is very dated in attitudes, particularly towards women who are relentlessly patronised throughout, and the characters are each of a type rather than realistic individuals, however where Stoker excels I think is in his wonderfully evocative descriptions of places and actions. I was captivated by many of the scenes and found myself wishing I had read Dracula years ago!

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Books by Bram Stoker / Horror fiction / Books from Ireland

Sunday, 24 January 2021

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House by Cherie Jones
Published by Tinder Press on the 21st January 2021.

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

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In Baxter's Beach, Barbados, Lala's grandmother Wilma tells the story of the one-armed sister, a cautionary tale about what happens to girls who disobey their mothers. 

For Wilma, it's the story of a wilful adventurer, who ignores the warnings of those around her, and suffers as a result.

When Lala grows up, she sees it offers hope - of life after losing a baby in the most terrible of circumstances and marrying the wrong man.

And Mira Whalen? It's about keeping alive, trying to make sense of the fact that her husband has been murdered, and she didn't get the chance to tell him that she loved him after all.

HOW THE ONE-ARMED SISTER SWEEPS HER HOUSE is the powerful, intense story of three marriages, and of a beautiful island paradise where, beyond the white sand beaches and the wealthy tourists, lies poverty, menacing violence and the story of the sacrifices some women make to survive.

I already had two strong contenders for my January Book of the Month, but then I read How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House and was absolutely blown away. This Barbados-set novel is unflinching in its grim portrayal of intersecting lives in a Paradise that is beset more by horror than bliss. The story begins with the recounting of a folktale of two sisters - one good and obedient, the other determined to go her own way. Of course, the own-way sister is the one who must be maimed as her punishment for being so bold, but, as Cherie Jones magnificently then shows us, her Barbados women really had no chance, regardless of which path they chose.

How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House is a hard-hitting, shocking read. I was gripped from start to finish, but did occasionally find myself recoiling from violence on the page - scenes made all the more horrifying by their matter-of-fact acceptance on the part of the characters concerned. The dual faces of stunningly beautiful Baxter's Beach reminded me of reading A Small Place, Jamaica Kincaid's powerful polemic about Antigua, a similarly former-British island 500 kilometres from Barbados. Rich white people pay to only see the beauty, even their beachfront houses only face out to sea rather than into town and they buy the most attractive local people by the night. Behind the facades however lies a poverty-stricken society with seemingly no hope of escape from destructive patterns that repeat through each generation. This is a grim read, but I couldn't look away and even finished the book feeling somewhat breathless. As though I hadn't just read Jones' words, but lived this story alongside Lala, Adan, Wilma, Mira and Tone. An incredible novel.

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Books by Cherie Jones / Contemporary fiction / Books from Barbados

Saturday, 23 January 2021

Sleep Well, My Lady by Kwei Quartey

Sleep Well, My Lady by Kwei Quartey
Published by Allison & Busby on the 12th January 2021.

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

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Hard-hitting talk show host Augustus Seeza has become a household name in Ghana, though plagued by rumours of lavish overspending, alcoholism, and womanising. He’s dating the imposing, beautiful Lady Araba, who leads a self-made fashion empire. Araba’s religious family believes Augustus is after her money and intervenes to break them up. A few days later, just before a major runway show , Araba is found murdered in her bed. Her driver is arrested after a hasty investigation, but Araba’s favourite aunt, Dele, has always thought Augustus Seeza was the real killer.

Almost a year later, Dele approaches Emma Djan, who has finally started to settle in as the only female PI at her agency. To solve Lady Araba's murder, Emma must not only go on an undercover mission that dredges up trauma from her past but navigate a long list of suspects with solid alibis. Emma quickly discovers that they are willing to lie for each other – and that one may still be willing to kill.

I read the first novel in Kwei Quartey's Emma Djan crime fiction series, The Missing American, at about this time last year and have now enjoyed this second installment, Sleep Well, My Lady, even more. The overall story arc of Emma developing her career as a private investigator does carry on across the two books so there were nods in Sleep Well, My Lady to events that occurred in The Missing American, but these had no bearing on the actual investigation narrative so I think the novels could satisfactorily be read as standalone stories or (at the risk of upsetting a couple of my regular visitors) out of sequence!

I felt Quartey had a much better handle on his story's pace this time around and I don't recall my attention ever drifting. I loved how he set up so much of the background plot and information before Emma Djan and her crew even appear on the page and the time jumps, once I had trained myself to take notice of them at the start of each chapter, were an effective device. I was previously critical of Emma's portrayal not perhaps having been strong enough to support a whole series, but this no longer concerned me in Sleep Well, My Lady. She is refreshingly different from the private detective norm - in that she is young and enthusiastic, teetotal and in a strong relationship - and I also felt that her quiet persistence suited her role. The whole team at Mr Sowah's detective agency felt convincing this time around too and their office banter is entertaining while also being believable.

I wasn't sure, at the end of The Missing American, whether I would actually continue reading this series, however was tempted to do so by the gorgeous cover art of Sleep Well, My Lady. I'm now very glad that I did and look forward to discovering Emma Djan's next investigation too.

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Books by Kwei Quartey / Crime fiction / Books from Ghana

Friday, 22 January 2021

Murder: It’s All in Your Head by Cynthia Hilston + #Excerpt

Murder: It’s All in Your Head by Cynthia Hilston

Published on the 28th November 2020.

Someone has been getting away with murder for over 100 years in the small town of Hurston, Ohio. But the wrong person has been convicted of those murders every time. In 2018, Cassie Meadows is on her way to school when a bright flash comes out of nowhere, and she wakes in millionaire Randy Davis’s body with blood on her hands…the blood of Randy’s wife, who lies in a pool of crimson in the bathtub with her throat slit. Meanwhile, an old man everyone calls Jimmy Williams raves that he’s the real Randy Davis as he lives out his days in a ward for the criminally insane. In 1914, young Helen Hawkins is unloved and repetitively abused by her father, who is also the town’s pastor. Her only escape is in her dreams, where she wakes in others’ bodies, living other lives, but when her dreams turn out to be reality, the tables are turned on her father. In a story where no one is who they seem, how can Cassie, the latest victim accused of a murder she didn’t commit, end the cycle?


Chapter 1
The Davis Estate - South Liberty, Ohio, May 2018
Cassie pedaled her bike faster to school as thoughts of staying home alone on senior prom night plagued her. A flash of light blinded her. She shielded her eyes. Horns blared and tires squealed, and the whole bike shook to a stop.
When she opened her eyes, a wall of old books stared back. She rubbed her eyes and blinked rapidly, taking in her surroundings. Gone was the familiar tree-lined street with rows of 40-year-old ranches and split-levels. Sunlight filtered in through parted drapes. Unlike her house, where dust danced in light beams, this room sat still.
Her sweaty hands clenched into fists at her sides, her nails digging into her palms. A chill jolted up her spine and extended down her arms, freezing her in place. She gazed across the room. Marble pillars flanked an archway to another room across the vast library.
A faint noise came from another part of the building. Curiosity claimed her caution as she took a step. Realizing her fingers were wet, she glanced down and nearly fell over. Blood covered her large hands all the way to her thick fingertips!
She gasped. She reached for her throat. A sharp intake of breath.
“What?” she croaked in a foreign voice.
A dream. This must be a dream.
Her voice rang through her mind, but when she opened her mouth to speak again...
“This can’t be happening.”
Cassie’s hands grasped her throat, in a failed attempt to excise the vocal cords responsible for this new voice. When her fingers grazed whiskers, she raked them over the jaw
and cheeks.
“No. N-no.”
What the hell?
She closed her eyes and forced herself to take a long, slow breath.
Okay, okay. Calm down.
When her eyes opened yet again to this new reality, Cassie gave a shuddering gasp.
She felt like she was doused with ice water, the burn throbbing through her body. She tried to step again, but she wavered in this oversized body that wore like a linebacker’s uniform. The
large feet lumbered with a clumsiness contrary to her agile body. For a girl who had taken gymnastics since she could walk, the dragging, teetering movement of this form almost stopped
her efforts. But she willed herself to move. One step at a time.
Just do the best you can.
Her dad’s words echoed through her mind.
Her steps were short-lived as her dad’s advice died. She halted. A trail of red on the spotless marble floor led to an archway. Her nerves fired in overtime, and her head spun. She followed the path and exited the elaborate room into a hallway.
The sound was louder now.
The unmistakable sound of running water.
“What’s going on?” Cassie whispered. She tried to ignore the voice. Really tried.
Something moved out of the corner of her eye. She turned her head to the right and landed on her reflection, only it wasn’t her face.
A tall man of about thirty stared back. She ran her hands through the trim brown beard that contoured the strong jawline, confirming what she felt earlier. Liquid brown eyes under thick, wavy hair and a deep brow held confusion, panic. A sleek black business suit covered her well-built frame — fit for an executive who dined on caviar and champagne and rode in chauffeured limos. But against the black of her suit the blood extended, weaving an unknown horror story.
She shook her head. “This is impossible.” Yet the voice told a different story.
Her body trembled, and her whole being felt different. Her eyes fell on a picture frame below the mirror. Her fingers fumbled to pick it up. A younger version of the man in the mirror gazed out of the photo. He smiled, his face next to a gorgeous auburn-haired woman. The woman’s hazel eyes crinkled around the edges, her freckles standing out against her fair skin in the sunshine. It was a happy couple’s wedding photo.
Cassie returned the picture to its place, the frame now coated in blood. A drop of crimson marked the floor every few inches. This body must have come from the opposite direction through the house, for how else could she explain the blood everywhere? She rested a hand on the railing at the base of the stairway and gazed up the twisting steps. The running water came from upstairs. She took the first step and steadied herself. Something drew her
toward the source of that sound.
She reached the landing and glanced behind her. Her mark was on the railing, another path of blood. The tell-tale trail continued, decorating the floor in a macabre design, as she went down the hallway toward the sound. Her knees wobbled as a dizzy spell overtook her. She steadied herself with a hand to the wall and blanched at the red print she left.
Call the cops.
I don’t know what the hell’s going on.
She pushed herself from the wall and arrived at the bathroom. Water leaked under the door.
The knob slid under her slick hand. She used the end of her sleeve to grip it and pushed the door open enough to peek inside. Pink water flooded the marble floor. Her gaze traveled to the bathtub. Water spilled over the tub’s edge. A woman lay sprawled in the tub, her vacant eyes staring at the ceiling, her mouth open in a scream. Her head lay at an odd angle, her neck nearly cut in two. Blood ran from the gaping gash into the water.
Cassie tried to scream, but her stomach tightened. Bile rose and she vomited into the pooling water and blood. She slammed the door and collapsed against the outside, pulling her knees to her chest. Water soaked her pants, making the fabric stick to her clammy skin. The tall frame of the man’s body convulsed with the sobs of a teenage girl as she cried into her hands.
Hands that weren’t hers.
“I want my mom.”
She couldn’t get the dead woman’s face out of her mind. As the scene replayed through her head, she realized where she’d seen the woman before.
In the photo.
She had been this man’s wife.

Meet the author   

Cynthia Hilston is a stay-at-home mom of three young kids, happily married, and lives in the Cleveland, Ohio, area. Writing has always been like another child to her. After twenty years of waltzing in the world of fan fiction, she stepped away to do her debut dance with original works of fiction. 
In her spare time - what spare time? - she devours books, watches Supernatural and Outlander,
pets her orange kitty, looks at the stars, drinks wine or coffee with good friends, and dreams of what other stories she wishes to tell.

Author links: 

WebsiteFacebook ~ Twitter ~ Instagram ~ Goodreads

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Books by Cynthia Hilston / Crime fiction / Books from America

Thursday, 21 January 2021

The Memory Man by Helen Smith

The Memory Man by Helen Smith
Published by Tyger Books Quick Reads in November 2014.

How I got this book:
Took advantage of an Amazon free download promotion

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Memory Man is an intriguing new short story from bestselling British author Helen Smith. Two women become friends in an abandoned post-apocalyptic building. A psychic makes contact with a lost soul. His apprentice tries to find news of a man he has lost touch with. Fragments of memories are traded and twisted. Friendship provides comfort, but the recovery of memories brings torment rather than reassurance - until truth becomes secondary to survival.

This review was first blogged on Stephanie Jane in March 2016.

I enjoyed my previous Helen Smith short story, an Emily Castles mystery entitled Three Sisters, so was delighted to get the opportunity to download another via Smith's e-mail newsletter.

The Memory Man is very different to Three Sisters although it does of course share Smith's fabulously descriptive turns of phrase. We find ourselves in a disused canteen with two women and a dead body. The women don't remember anything about themselves or each other and, as readers, we have no idea of their backstories either. I thought The Memory Man had a wonderfully chilling atmosphere and I am still not exactly sure I worked out what was going on. (I have a theory, but don't want to spoil the mystery for you!) I was reminded of the feel of TV series such as Psychoville and think people who appreciated that style of storytelling would also like Smith's story. I did think that the ending was left too open to be completely satisfying, but I would definitely like to read more of Smith's work.

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Books by Helen Smith / Short stories / Books from England