A River Of Bodies By Kevin Doyle

I received A River of Bodies by Kevin Doyle, the second book in his Solidarity Books Trilogy, to review. I also received his first book To Keep a Bird Singing.

The Gripping Sequel To Keep A Bird Singing

A River Of Bodies

Noelle Sullivan, disaffected ex-punk and grassroots activist, has every reason to be afraid. His investigation into Danesfort Industrial School and the boys who went missing from it is attracting attention. Special Branch want him to disappear and he’s made enemies of the powerful Walsh and Donnelly families.

A River of Bodies

But Noelie is determined to get to the truth. He walk away. At least that’s what he tells himself until his friends and family start paying the price.

My Thoughts

Noelie’s investigation continues into the dark world of the Donnelly family. The clock is ticking with Albery Donnelly onto Noelie and his friends. This really is a fantastic political thriller, written in such a way that you won’t be able to stop yourself reading it in one sitting. Noelie is so determined to uncover all the dirty secrets regarding the Donnelly family and their associations with the Catholic church and the security forces.

I’m looking forward to the third book of the trilogy being published and finding out how Noelie and his friends manage to uncover!

To Keep A Bird Singing

To Keep A Bird Singing

When Noelie Sullivan finds his stolen punk records for sale in a charity shop in Cork it seems like a lucky break. But Noelie has just made himself and those closest to him a target.

Hidden among the records is a statement alleging that missing man, Jim Dalton, was murdered by the security services twenty years ago to protect a high-ranking informer in the IRA.

In spite of himself, Noelie gets drawn into the story of Dalton’s disappearance and uncovers a link between the missing man and a powerful family of brothers, who have ties to a former industrial school.

Noelie’s every move takes him deeper into danger. What price will he pay for the truth?

My Thoughts

Right from the start you feel compelled to keep reading and discover more about Albert Donnelly, his family and the detailed statement Noelie finds in his stolen records. Noelie’s sheer determination to uncover the truth pushes him and his friends into danger in this political, you can’t help but want to dig deeper with him. A brilliant start to the Solidarity Books Trilogy.

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle is from Cork and works as a writer and creative writing teacher. He has been published in many literary journals, including Stinging Fly, The Cork Review, Southwords and the Cúirt Journal. He is the winner of a string of awards, including the Tipperary Short Story Award (1998) – first; Over The Edge New Writer Of The Year – Shortlist; Hennessy Literary Awards (2011) – Shortlist; Seán Ó Faoláin Prize (2013) – Runner up; Michael McLaverty Short Story Award (2016) – Winner. In 2018 he published his first novel.

The Secrets We Kept By Lara Prescott Blog Tour

I received The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott to review, a historical fiction around the banned masterpiece, Doctor Zhivago.

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

The Secrets We Kept

1956. A celebrated Russian author is writing a book, Doctor Zhivago, which could spark dissent in the Soviet Union. The Soviets, afraid of its subversive power, ban it.

But in the rest of the world it’s fast becoming a sensation.

In Washington DC, the CIA is planning to use the book to tip the Cold War in its favour.

Their agents are not the usual spies, however. Two typists – the charming, experienced Sally and the talented novice Irina – are charged with the mission of a lifetime: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago back into Russia by any mean necessary.

It will not be easy. There are people prepared to die for this book – and agents willing to kill for it. But the cannot fail – as this book has the power to change history.

Lara Prescott

Lara Prescott -Author

Lara Prescott was named after the heroine of Doctor Zhivago and first discovered the true story behind the novel after the CIA declassified 99 documents pertaining to its role in the book’s publication and covert dissemination.

She travelled the world – from Moscow and Washington, to London and Paris – in the course of her research, becoming particularly interested in political repression in both the Soviet Union and United States and how, during the Cold War, both countries used literature as a weapon.

Lara earned her MFA from the Michener Centre for Writers. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband.

My Thoughts

Lara Prescott has certainly written an amazingly compelling read. With a mix of historical fact and fiction surrounding Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak, it’s a real page turner!

Told through the eyes of two female spies taken from the typing pools of the CIA to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR during the height of the cold war, The Secrets We Kept is a cleverly written novel, showing the level of research Lara Prescott must have put in to complete it.

With the literary love story between Boris Pasternak and Olga, his mistress and muse and the base of Zhivago’s heroine, Lara, interweaved throughout, The Secrets We Kept keeps you wanting to read on and know more.

The censorship of literature always intrigues me and it’s interesting to see the lengths those in power will go to, to ensure writers and those helping them are persecuted. With 2020 marking the 60th anniversary of Pasternak’s death, Lara Prescott’s novel will certainly help his legacy and the importance of Doctor Zhivago lives on.

The Lost Fairy Tales – Fearless Girls Around The World

Eva received The Lost Fairy Tales – Fearless Girls Around The World to review from Little Tiger. Written by Isabel Otter and illustrated beautifully by Ana Senderthroughout, this book is perfect for ages 7 to 11 years.

The Lost Fairy Tales - Fearless Girls Around The World

The Lost Fairy Tales

An enchanting anthology of 20 overlooked and forgotten fairy tales has been collected from different cultures around the world to create this book. Every story features a female heroine, who approaches life with humour, wit, cunning and bravery. None of these heroines need rescuing!

Story Map

Ana Sender’s magical illustrations bring these tales to life, and a handy map shows the origin of the stories from around the world. The Lost Fairy Tales is the perfect gift to inspire and uplift young readers.

Isabel Otter

Isabel is a children’s book editor and writer. She grew up in rural Herefordshire and spent much of her childhood in trees. Isabel loves weaving stories and writing about the world around her. She currently lives in London.

Ana Sender

Ana was born in Terrassa (Barcelona). As a child, she loved to draw, write and imagine all sorts of stories. She studied painting and illustrations in Massana art school in Barcelona. Her work has appeared in newspapers, books and also fashion (as a pattern designer for the Spanish brand La Casita de Wendy). Ana has written and illustrated children’s books The Orchid Hunter and The Cottingley Fairies, her last book Onironiro is a picture book about the adventures or situations she lives in her dreams. She likes werewolves, surrealism and swampy places.

Our Thoughts

We love The Lost Fairy Tales, each story really is unique in showing how women, all around the world are heroines too. The majority of fairy tales often portray prim princesses as damsels in distress but not in this book.

Goddess of the sun

Eva’s favourite story was Goddess of the Sun, set in Mexico. She likes how the message behind the story is that men aren’t always the strongest or bravest and that girls can be the heroine of the story.

Goddess Of The Sun Image

The beautiful illustrations throughout the book help the stories come alive. Fairy tales are often retold of written by men, about men. It’s lovely to discover so many fairy tales where that is simply not the case. I absolutely love this book and so does Eva, the stories really show that girls can be just as brave, strong and clever as men and can save the day too.

Do you enjoy books with strong female characters too?

Cherry Nova By Kelly-Marie Pollock

I received Cherry Nova by Kelly-Marie Pollock to review in pdf format. Cherry Nova is a gothic romance and occult horror set in Victorian London.

Cherry Nova Frontcover

*Contains adult themes including Sex, Drug Use, Profanity and Violence*

Cherry Nova

Set in Victorian London, Cherry Nova follows the story of Nova, a young woman, who awakens in a downtrodden hotel room with no recollection of who she is and how she got there. With her life seemingly erased, she sets out on a journey of selfdiscovery, fuelled by an overbearing blood lust that leads her down an unknown path.

She soon realises though, that not all lovers love you, not all enemies are evil and that you can’t always trust the person staring back at you in the mirror. Magic, Mythology, Secrets and Lies all intertwine themselves around her newly carved out existence, but you can’t run from the past no matter how hard you try. Your sin will always boomerang back to you. Monsters are real, afterall, she should know – She’s one of them.

Back cover and blurb of Cherry Nova by Kelly-Marie Pollock

My Thoughts

Cherry Nova is fantastic from start to finish! I often struggle to stay focused when reading PDF’s however once I finally found the time, I found I couldn’t put my phone back down. I love a vampire novel set in the Victorian era and the detail throughout really gives you that grimy Victorian London feel. Each character’s personality really shines through as the story develops making you feel like you really get to know them.

I used to read a lot of vampire novels as a teen but this honestly tops them all! There are so many different things going on for Nova as she slowly regains her memories and figures out who and what she is.

I was relieved to see Cherry Nova is the first book in The Chronicles of Nova Morgan, I’ll be keeping my eye out for the rest of them as they are published.

Kelly-Marie Pollock

Kelly is a 33-year-old, married mum of 4 plus 3 adult step-children. She has an intense love of the Victorian era, Vampires and is waiting for a Zombie uprising. Kelly’s passion is writing. She is also a mental health advocate and BiPolar warrior. When she isn’t reading or writing, she enjoys long nature walks with her husband and their children. Kelly can not get through the day without her morning cup of tea. She uses excessive amounts of sarcasm and profanity in most sentences and she’s not even sorry. (Why would you be!? haha!)

The Deaths And Afterlife Of Aleister Crowley By Ian Thornton

I received The Deaths and Afterlife of Aleister Crowley by Ian Thornton to review. An epic alternate history novel based on one of the most reviled men in history, otherwise known as the Great Beast.

The Deaths and Afterlife of Aleister Crowley

The Deaths and Afterlife of Aleister Crowley

Aleister Crowley, Satanist, cult leader, debauched novelist and poet, his legacy has been hotly contested for decades. The truth is Crowley is alive and well, in the elevated and life-preserving air of Shangri-La. Called the wickedest man in the world, the Great Beast only laughs at those fools.

The British Secret Service, Churchill and Rasputin all knew the real Crowley, who was the greatest spy and Scarlet Pimpernel of the twentieth century. This genuine English hero and unrivalled drug fiend used his pre-eminent knowledge of the Occult to run amok behind the German lines in two world wars and ro rurn both Mussolini and Hitler into the twitching and hollow wrecks.

And so now the, the inspiration behind the music and sexual revolutions of the sixties is about to return for his curtain call, for there is dark Orwellian dystopia coming. And Aleister Crowley is convinced that only he can save the world.

My Thoughts

I was really intrigued when I heard about The Deaths and Afterlife of Aleister Crowley. The cover is really inviting and I couldn’t wait to read it! I finished feeling a little torn over it though.

It was fascinating to read from Aleister Crowleys’ point of view but it felt like the author rambled a little (don’t we all!?). This made it a little hard to stay focused. Whilst it is a little rambly, Aleister Crowley is certainly fascinating to read about.

Although I have heard of Crowley before, I will be doing some research to figure out which parts or true facts. Ian Thornton writes in a way that makes it impossible to decipher fact from fiction, blending both so well. It is definitely worth a read if you have an interest in Crowley and historical fiction. It may take a few sittings to finish though and some of the sexual debaucheries may not be to everyone’s taste.

Ian Thornton

Ian Thornton’s debut novel, The Great and Calamitous Tale of Johan Thoms (How One Man Scorched the Twentieth Century, but Didn’t Mean to) was published by Simon & Schuster Canada in September 2013. Harper Collins published worldwide on June 28th 2014. This was to coincide with the centenary of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the pivot of the novel. It was translated across Europe and taught at the Sorbonne.

Prior to becoming a novelist, Ian worked for the Broadcast magazine in London and also for Variety. He is a co-founder of the global television industry publisher, C21 Media and www.c21media.net.

He covered the royal wedding in London for CTV, Canada’s premier independent broadcaster. Ian has recently written for Wisden Cricketer, The Guardian, The Hindu and for the Soho House magazine, House. He also wrote on the football World cup in South Africa for the Canadian sports channel, The Score. Ian has also worked for Queen’s University in Ontario, where his project was presented at the White House as part of President Obama’s new media initiative

Ian is the official biographer of the Compton cricket club in California. He has been a judge on the largest Latin Amerian film festival, Expresion en Corto. He is currently producing a feature documentary.

Originally from Leeds, Ian currently resides in Toronto with his wife Heather Gordon and their children, Laszlo and Clementine.

Dead Guilty by Michelle Davies

I received Dead Guilty by Michelle Davies to review, the fourth novel in the DC Maggie Neville series. A psychological thriller, published by Pan Macmillan, that is hard to put down!

Dead Guilty

Dead Guilty

Katy Pope was seventeen when she was brutally murdered on a family holiday in Majorca. Despite her mother’s high rank in the Met and the joint major investigation between the British and Spanish police, Katy’s killer was never caught.

Ten years later, Katy’s family return to the Spanish island to launch a fresh appeal for information, taking with them the now skeletal team of investigating Met detectives, and newly seconded Maggie as the family liason officer.

But Maggie’s first international investigation quickly goes from being more than just a press conference when another British girl there on holiday goes missing, and Katy’s killer announces that it’s time for an encore…

My Thoughts

I really enjoyed reading Dead Guilty, it’s definitely my kind of book! The storyline is fantastically creepy and gets your mind racing to work out who the murderer really is. At least twice I thought I was certain I knew who the killer was. It turns out that I had been clueless all along. I hadn’t heard of the DC Maggie Neville series before and thoroughly enjoyed Dead Guilty. It’s safe to say I will now catch up on the first 3 novels too.

Michelle Davies

Michelle spent the formative years as a reporter on a local newspaper in Buckinghamshire and interviewed many relatives of serious victims during that time.

Michelle Davies

Later, as a freelance journalist for women’s magazines, she secured an interview with Kerry Needham, whose son Ben Needham went missing in Kos 1991 when he was a toddler. It was hearing her talk about it that gave her central police character a FLO.

Do you enjoy reading psychological thrillers too? Have you read any other Michelle Davies novels?

IGIST By L.S Larson – Book And App Review

We received IGIST by L.S Larson to review, an innovative new immersive children’s reading experience. The IGIST book and augmented reality app work together to create an entirely believable and compelling new universe.

IGIST front cover

A story aimed at children and teens 10+ that champion science, curiosity and exploration. Encouraging children to find out more about the amazing world of science and technology through a new reading experience.

IGIST

IGIST Back Cover

According to the one teacher on Earth who believed in her, Emi had a chance. The space academy of her dreams was more than a reach. The Intergalactic Institute of Science and Technology (IGIST) hadn’t admitted and earthling in decades. The bygones left on Earth would lead a boring existence if, and only if, they were lucky enough to evade the plague.

IGIST app screenshot

Emi always thought she was different, not because her only friend growing up in Rockland was a drone named Sadee, but because she was very determined to become a revered scientist like her late mother. But even a passion for science and good old-fashioned grit could not prepare Emi for the challenges that await in a wide, strange galaxy under the auspices of the Star League.

Our Thoughts

We really enjoyed IGIST, Emi’s character is so determined to reach her dreams. Whilst my phone doesn’t work with the AR, we can still use the app. As you read the book the app awards points and badges. Eva has really enjoyed reading IGIST and using the app. She thinks there should be more books with apps like this.

A great read for STEM-interested girls and boys. The main character, Emi is driven by her desire to break barriers and get into the most renowned science academy in the universe. IGIST does for science what Hogwarts did for magic.

You can either read the book on its own or with the app.

I Love My Llamacorn – Book Review

We received I Love My Llamacorn to review by Prisca Le Tande. Published by Little Tiger and aimed at children aged 2 to 5 years, this gorgeously glittery book is perfect for fans of llamas, unicorns and everything magical!

I Love My Llamacorn

I Love My Llamacorn

A loveable llamacorn will steal your heart in this beautifully sparkly board book. Full of bright, colourful illustrations, fun peep-holes and die-cut concentric hearts penetrating from the cover right through every page, this little book for children proves just how deep love goes.

I Love my Llamacorn

I Love My Llamacorn is a celebration of unconditional love in board book form. With gentle rhyming on each spread, children will stay engaged on their journey through the book. Tiny book lovers who tend to flick forwards, backwards and skip pages when first engaging with board books will still be able to receive the full message regardless of reading order thanks to the self-contained rhymes on each spread.

Inside - I love my Llamacorn

Prisca Le Tandé

Prisca Le Tandé is a child of the disco era – so dancing queens and grooving cats are right up her street. She sees the world of illustration as a dessert trolley laden with your favourite things. Why no taste everything – you can always go to the dentist afterwards. After studying Applied Art at school, she enrolled in a film studio degree and embarked on an adventure in the into the world of animation. She is still living the adventure, as the author and artistic director of the animated series “Grosha and Mr B”. When she was young, Prisca adored the craft craze scoubidou. It’s that same simple creativity that gives her such joy now that she’s creating books for children.

Izzy’s Thoughts

Izzy enjoyed this book so much. She is absolutely obsessed with unicorns, llamas and anything magical so she has been reading this tgo her Llama’s! This is definitely a perfect book for little ones who love the That’s Not My Series which Izzy adores too. Izzy loved the sparkly pages and brightly coloured, cute animations. Eva has been asked to read this several times as Izzy loves the way she reads the rhymes throughout.

Do you know a little reader who would love this too?

Second Skin By Sue Bentley – Blog Tour

I received Second Skin by Sue Bentley to review, a fantastic fantasy featuring shapeshifting dragons! This is the first book in the Bridge of Fire books published by Endeavour Venture available from Amazon.

Second Skin

Second Skin

Estranged from birth and raised on tales of the great mountain castle of Idrith-Core, where her distant father serves as Lord Commander and confidante of the King, Aledra Jewel-Wing was now going there to court.

As one of the Drakkoni, a race of powerful shape-shifters and conquerors of a wild land, she joins her stepmother at the festival for all peoples. But when in attempting to save a life, Aledra shifts into her Drakkoni Secondskin – her beautiful second soul: a giant flighted lizard with flaming breath – she breaks an ancient oath, and the tremulous peace between the Drakkoni and Esrans is shattered.

Branded a fugitive, hunted by her father, and aided in escape by the master-mancer who raised her, Aledra begins a journey for survival across a war-torn continent.

Sue Bentley

Sue Bentley

Sue lives in a house surrounded by a wildlife hedge so she can pretend she lives in the countryside. She enjoys reading, walking, cinema, researching her books, and painting and printmaking, when she’s not writing — which isn’t very often!

My Thoughts

I thoroughly enjoyed Second Skin, Aledra’s quiet life quickly changes with joining her mysterious father in court. When things go wrong, she ends up being held in a cell where she finally meets her father. The master-mancer who taught her, helps her escape. Throughout there are complicated characters such as Aledra’s father, Aledra herself and Penda. A mixture of love, war and dragons, Second Skin is a fantastic start to the Bridge of Fire. I can see Aledra growing further throughout the series and can’t wait to see where it leads.

Have you read anything by Sue Bentley before?

American Dreams By Kenneth Bromberg – Blog Tour

I received American Dreams by Kenneth Bromberg to review, a crime novel published by Flame Tree Press. From Czarist Russia to America where dreams are made, we follow Max and his father through a world of crime.

American Dreams Bookcover

American Dreams

In 1904 Czarist Russia, Max, a four-year-old Jewish boy, witnesses his mother’s rape and murder by Russian soldiers. After the boy’s father extracts terrible revenge, father and son escape to New York and settle on the Lower East Side, a teeming melting pot of recent immigrants.

Max meets a young Polish girl, Sophie, and the two children become inseparable playmates. By the time they are teenagers, Max excels at both school and sports, Sophie has become a stunningly beautiful young woman, and friendship has grown into love. Their plans are shattered when Sophie is forced to marry a local crime boss and once again, Max must simply watch as the most important person in his life is taken from him. In response, he begins a ruthless and violent climb to the top of the New York underworld

Kenneth Bromberg

Kennerth Bromberg Author photo

Kenneth Bromberg grew up in the beach cities of Southern California. He has a passion for tennis, American history, and literature. Having attended the University of California, Los Angeles, he then worked for several years as a bartender. He eventually returned to UCLA to pursue an MBA and become a certified public accountant.

After retiring from accounting, Kenneth fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a novelist. His first work, American Dreams, is based upon stories told by his grandmother who immigrated to New York from a small Jewish village near Kiev in the first years of the 20th century. If you like Mario Puzo’s The Godfather and Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy, you will love this debut novel.

My Thoughts

I knew from the first chapter I would enjoy American Dreams as a crime fan and wasn’t disappointed. After a traumatic start for Max, we meet several other characters with some interesting backstories too, all leading them to America. Here they all work towards their own dreams. Forwarding to World War II where two of the sons of main characters serve, yet have their own dreams for the future too. American Dreams is rather violent throughout, mixing crime, love and a little history across several generations really well.

Do you enjoy violent crime novels too?