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?

Razia By Abda Khan – Blog Tour

I received Razia by Abda Khan to review as part of the Random Things Blog Tours. Razia is a fast-paced thriller exposing the truth behind Britains darkest secret.

Razia - Front cover 

How far would you go to free a slave?

The novel is published to coincide with World Day against Trafficking in Persons which is held on 30th July 2019. People trafficking and modernday slavery is a massive problem worldwide with very few countries immune from it. Raising awareness can help increase the prevention of that.

Razia

Farah Jilani is a lawyer who lives and works in London. Having just ended a long relationship. Her parents are looking for a husband for her whether she wants one or not. This all seems normal enough until she attends a work dinner. The dinner is hosted by a dangerously powerful man and Farah comes across a young woman being kept as a domestic slave called Razia.

Travelling from the law courts of London to the brick kilns of Lahore, Farah begins to uncover the trap keeping generations of people enslaved. Everywhere she turns, Farah faces deep-rooted oppression and corruption. She teams up with a human rights lawyer Ali in a bid to seek justice for Razia. When the authorities finally step in their actions have dire consequences.

Can Farah discover the explosive secret behind these tragic events?

Abda Khan

Abda Khan Author Photo

A lawyer and campaigner who works with victims of domestic violence, Abda Khan has written two novels. Her first novel Stained was published in 2016. Abda Khan was highly commended in the 2017 NatWest Asian Women of Achievement Awards in the Arts & Culture category.. She also won the Noor Inayat Khan Muslim Woman of the Year Award 2019

My Thoughts

Razia really is a gripping read, I managed to finish it in just one day. I just couldn’t put the book down, Abda Khans passion shows through her writing. Years of research has helped create a fast-paced, character-driven thriller that you simply can’t tear yourself away from. I will be keeping my eyes peeled for future novels from Abda Khan and hunting down a copy of Stained too as her writing really draws you in.

Do you enjoy thrillers that also help raise awareness of important topics too?

The Fragility Of Bodies By Sergio Olguín – Blog Tour

I received The Fragility of Bodies By Sergio Olguín to review, a crime/thriller/mystery set in Buenos Aires. Journalist Veronica Rosenthal thinks she knows Buenos Aire until her latest investigation. Revealing a city where life is cheap and the games boys play are to the death.

The Fragility of Bodies

The Fragility Of Bodies

This is the first in a series of novels by Sergio Olguin starring journalist Veronica Rosenthal. Set in Buenos Aires, The Fragility of Bodies is also a TV series currently showing in Argentina. This sensual and terse novel is fiercely critical of a system which tolerates the lives of young boys being put at risk by the powerful and wealthy of Buenos Aires for sheer entertainment.

Veronica, a successful, young journalist is beautiful and unmarried with a healthy appetite for bourbon and men. Driven by a sense of justice, lust and ambition, Veronicas is a fascinatingly complicated heroine. Hearing a local train driver has committed suicide, jumping from the roof of a block of flats, she decides to investigate. Drawn in by the suicide note left, confessing to four mortal ‘accidents’ on the train tracks.

As far as the police are concerned the case is closed, suicide is suicide. Veronica just can’t let it go though. Continuing her investigations takes her on a journey through an unfamiliar world of grinding poverty and junkie infested neighbourhoods. Not to mention train drivers on commuter lines haunted by the memory of bodies hit at speed by their locomotives at night.

With the assistance of a train driver informant, a recovering junkie and two street kids who will risk their lives for a can of Coke, Veronica uncovers a dark secret. Discovering a group of men betting on working-class youngsters, convincing them to play Russian roulette by standing in front of fast-coming trains to see who endures the longest.

With bodies of children crushed under tons of steel, those of adults yielding to relentless desire, the resolution of the investigation reveals the deep bonds which unite desire and death.

Sergio Olguín

Sergio Olguín

Born in Buenos Aires in 1967, Sergio Olguin was a journalist before turning to fiction. Awarded numerous awards including Premio Tusquets 2009 for Oscura monótona sangre (“Dark Monotonous Blood“). His books have been translated into German, French and Italian. The Fragility of Bodies is the first novel to be translated into English by Miranda France.

Translated by Miranda France

Miranda France is the author of two acclaimed volumes of travel writing: Don Quixote’s Delusions and Bad Times in Buenos Aires. She has also written the novels Hill Farm and The Day Before the Fire. She has translated much Latin American fiction, including Claudia Piñeiro’s novels for Bitter Lemon Press.

My Thoughts

The Fragility of Bodies was a fantastic read! I love darker novels like this that delve into the dirty secrets of the wealthy and powerful. Veronica refuses to give up no matter how tough things get or who she is up against. She is determined to get her story and uncover these dark secrets that lead to young boys being killed and train drivers having terrifying nightmares of bodies crunching under steel but can she stop it?

Do you enjoy darker novels?

The Awakening Aten – Blog Tour

I received The Awakening Aten By Aiden K. Morrissey to review, a crime/thriller/mystery novel based in Egypt. You are quickly enveloped in an Egypt of whispers, fears, webs within webs and deceit upon deceit through the eyes of two families.

The Awakening Of Aten

The Awakening Of Aten

The Awakening Aten is full of murder, intrigue, political and rebellious conflict, corruption, tomb robbing war and executions. All set against a background of fundamental ideological change. We discover all this through the eyes of two families, one royal and one a commoner.

Yuya, whose tomb is in the Valley of the Kings, is a foreigner who rises from slavery to become Regent to an infant Pharaoh. This Pharoah is the most powerful man in the world’s wealthiest empire. His children and descendants will remain at the very heart of the country’s destiny.

Kha is a tomb painter and builder who experiences the despair of imprisonment and the horror of war. As overseer of the King’s works, he restores the Great Sphinx and inscribes the ‘Dream Stela’ placed between its paws, still visible today. Through tragic and deathly events his family and that of Yuya become entwined.

This is a fictional tale of real people, whose possessions and artefacts can be seen in museums throughout the worlds. It gives a voice to those people, inspired by their personal items buried with them 3,000 years ago.

Aidan K. Morrissey

Aidan K. Morrissey Author Photo

Aidan is of Irish heritage and was the first member of his family to be born outside of Ireland. His professional life has caused him to travel the worlds. Now settled in the North East of England he concentrates on writing. A graduate in Law, having worked in a commercial environment, he qualified as a Solicitor in 1981. Aidan’s career developed in an unusual way allowing him to work in various countries including Italy, Brazil, USA, India and Germany.

A holiday in Egypt sparked his passion for Ancient Egypt, specifically the latter part of the 18th dynasty. A history, which Pharoah Horemeb (Djeser-Kheperu-Ra circa 1319-1292 BCE) tried to destroy, only came to light in 1922 with the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb. Aidan has built up a substantial collection of academic books and novels on Ancient Egypt. Learning its customs, traditions and daily life so The Awakening Aten is the culmination of many years of research. He has visited all of the major museums containing artefacts from Egypt throughout the world. As well as spending months in Egypt itself studying the funereal valleys and other sites. All of this supplemented by internet research.

The Awakening Aten is the first in a planned five-book series, looking at the fictional lives of real people through a period of major political and religious change, spanning approximately 130 years.

My Thoughts

I remember first learning about Ancient Egypt in school and like Aidan, it sparked a passion for learning more about Ancient Egypt so I was excited to read The Awakening Aten. Thankfully I wasn’t disappointed! It reads more lke a first party account of events instead of a fiction novel. Aidan’s writing is realistic and leaves you imagining everything so clearly, his depth of research shines throughout the entire book. Knowing The Awakening Aten is the first of five books I genuinely can’t wait to read more. Combining my love of reading and passion for Ancient Egypt, Aidan K.Morrisey has created an entirely unique series I’ll be hunting down for sure!

Do you enjoy historical novels? Do you have a passion for Ancient Egypt too?

Choo-Choo Peekaboo Children’s Book

We were sent Choo-Choo Peekaboo to review, illustrated by Gareth Lucas and published by Little Tiger. Perfect for children aged 1 to 4 years this fun board book with flaps is an engaging adventure story.

Choo-Choo Peekaboo

Choo-Choo Peekaboo

Zebra is trying to paint but his hilarious animal friends are causing chaos! Lift the flaps to discover bouncing baboons, roller-skating rabbits, dirt biking salmations and even space-sheep in a spaceship!

Choo-Choo Peekaboo

Choo-Choo Peekaboo is funny and colourful throughout with fantastic illustrations, alliterative action, creative chaos, and a medley of motion with vehicles with added vroom! Poor Zebra just can’t catch a break and paint in peace. Can he find a solution?

Gareth Lucas

Gareth Lucas is an award-winning illustrator and designer living in his hometown of Essex! Having worked on a variety of projects, Lucas enjoys children’s book illustrating the most. In 2016 Lucas was the winner of the Sainsbury’s Childrens Book Awards for Peekaboo A to Z.

Gareth Lucas - Choo-Choo Peekaboo

Izzy’s Thoughts

Izzy thought Choo-Choo Peekaboo was a really funny book, giggling all the way through and trying to lift the flaps too soon! She has asked to re-read this book several times over the last week or two. Izzy has even taken it to bed to look through herself. Overall we think this a fantastic book.

Have you heard of either of Gareth Lucas’ Peekaboo flap books?

The Path Keeper Book Tour

I received The Path Keeper by N.J Simmonds, the first book of the Indigo Chronicles to review. A mixture of fantasy and historical romance, I simply couldn’t put this book down!

The Path Keeper Book Cover

This book does come with a mental health trigger warning and contains sexual scenes. These will resonate with older teens (15+) and adults alike.

Mental health & sexual scenes warning.

The Path Keeper

What if our lives were mapped out before birth? Does anyone have the power to change their destiny?

Ella hates London, she misses her old life in Spain and struggles to get over her past. Then she meets Zac. He’s always loved her but isn’t meant to be part of her story., not now or ever. Ella doesn’t realise that Zac’s secret is the one thing that will tear them apart and force her to live in a world that no longer makes sense. A world full of danger, lies and magic. The Path Keeper is a passionate tale of first loves, second chances and the invisible threads that bind us. Can love ever be stronger than fate?

I absolutely loved The Path Keeper and will definitely be looking out for the rest of the Indigo Chronicles. N.J Simmonds writing just flows so well, piecing the story together bit by bit so you just can’t put the book down! Zac and Ella are such interesting characters with so much going on with each of them both in the present and the past. I’m not the greatest fan of romances but this is just so different.

N.J Simmonds

N J Simmonds Author

Natali Drake writes under the pen name of N.J. Simmonds and has written articles for various UK newspapers and online publications. In 2015 she cofounded the online magazine The Glass House Girls and is a regular contributor. Originally from north London, she now divides her time between her two homes in the Netherlands and Spain with her husband and two daughters.

The Amber Maze By Christopher Bowden – Blog Tour

I’ve been reading The Amber Maze by Christopher Bowden which I was sent in exchange for my honest review.

The Amber Maze Cover

The Amber Maze

A mysterious key found down the side of an antique chair in a Dorset cottage begins a search for answers. Hugh Mullion is determined to unlock the secrets of this unknown. No one knows how long the key has been there or what it opens but Hugh begins to investigate for himself.

During his search for answers, Hugh unlocks the secrets of a troubled life of a talented artist. Destined to be hailed a neglected genius fifty years too late, suppressed by a dark secret he could never escape.

The mysterious trail takes Huge from Edwardian Oxfordshire to 1960’s Camden Town where the ghosts of the past are finally laid to rest.

Christopher Bowden

Christopher Bowden is the author of six novels, each with a colour theme and lives in South London. The Amber Maze is his most recent novel, published in September 2018. His previous books have been praised by Andrew Marr, Julian Fellowes, Sir Derok Jacobi, an Shena Mackay.

My Thoughts

The Amber Maze draws you in from the start with the mysterious key being found. Bit by bit secrets quickly unravel throughout the story in an enchanting way. I loved the idea of a secret at the heart of The Amber Maze and was pleased the secret wasn’t spoilt until the very end. I had hoped for a slightly different outcome although this may be more due to my preference for thrillers! Overall I did enjoy The Amber Maze, it is definitely a page turn for mystery lovers. I love the colour theme idea behind Christopher Bowden’s novels, especially The Purple Shadow. I will definitely have to

The Amber Maze Blog Tour

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the blog tour posts!

Crochet Learn It. Love It. Book Review

I received Crochet Learn It. Love It. By Tracey Todhunter to review. As most of my readers already know I love crochet, so I couldn’t wait to review this book. I have to say before I explain any further, if you are looking for a comprehensive beginners guide to crochet then this is definitely it!

Crochet Learn It. Love It

Crochet Learn It. Love It.

The book contains a mix of essential crochet skills, patterns, tricks and tips to ease you into a life of learning and loving crochet!

Chapter 1 – Essential Skills

Essential Skills covers everything you need to know starting with different yarn types and weight. I was pleased to see a Ball Band explanation, something I haven’t seen anywhere else before. With different types of hooks available, basic accessories and even luxury accessories explained, any beginner is sure to feel knowledgeable.

Essential Crochet Skills

This handy book shows you all the essentials from holding and tensioning the yarn via various methods. It also shows you how to hold the hook, make a slip knot, foundation chain, count chains, work into chains and fasten off. All explained in great detail, accompanied by photos making it easy for any beginner to learn Crochet.

Basic Stitches

There is a great guide to basic stitches which will help you get started on most projects. To make this easier there is a full explanation on how to understand crochet stitches to help you make sense of your work and pick up on any mistakes, a huge help for any beginner. I remember looking at my first crochet attempts and having no idea what I was looking at or if it was correct. This book puts your mind at ease as you learn making it much more enjoyable.

Basic Stitches

Confidence Building

Crochet Learn It. Love It makes reading patterns and charts a breeze and explains measuring AND adjusting your tension! From joining yarn to working neat stripes, stripes with a difference and shaping your work, you’ll feel like a pro in no time.

You’ll find yourself knowing how to finish your work, different blocking methods, tapestry needle stitches, crocheted, slip stitch and conceal crocheted seams enhancing your work. I’ve been crocheting at least 2 years now and I had already learned so much from this book, without even passing this first section!

Quick Start Projects

There are several quick start projects throughout the book. These consist of quick and easy patterns which require little yarn. Each project states the finished size and tension along with the items you’ll need. These are items such as yarns, crochet hook sizes, yarn needles, buttons etc.

There is also a list of abbreviations and techniques used in the pattern along with the page no within the book to help you with stitches. Following pattern notes you can find the pattern itself with photo’s to guide you. Compared to other crochet books I’ve read I genuinely felt that I could try each project. This would have been perfect when I first started out. With such great explanations and notes you are filled with confidence to complete each project. I’ll definitely be making a few of these once I’m done with my current Crochet Projects!

Chapter 2 – Working In The Round

Working In The Round

Moving on to the second section you quickly learn how to work in the round. Learn the foundation ring, magic ring and finger wrap methods to start. This section will quickly show you how to crochet circles and spirals along with a gorgeous ‘sun in the center’ pattern to show off your new crochet skills!

Sun In Circle

Blocks and motifs are great for making various pieces and are also worked in the round. This books explains how to make a plain granny square block, granny motif, granny triangles and granny hexagons. These are useful from cushion covers, blankets, cardigans and more. You will also learn to crochet a circle or flower in a square. There’s a lovely pattern at the end of this section for a granny square cushion similar to the one I recently made too.

Granny Triangle

I love granny squares as they are nice and easy but I decided to try a granny triangle for the first time. I found the pattern easy to follow and can now tick it off my list of things to learn!

Granny Triangle

Learning tubular crochet can make things quite fun. Luckily this book makes it simple to learn with some fab patterns to go with it! This handy guide makes crocheting a beanie or Amigurumi fox a piece of cake

Chapter 3 -Stitch Patterns

Stitch variations really can change crochet, from working into just a front or back loop, extended stitches and alternate loops, this book covers it all. This is something I hadn’t found in my other books either and Tracey Todhunter explains it all so well.

Stitch Patterns

I was surprised to find so many beautiful stitches and patterns to go with each stitch enabling you to create impressive crocheted pieces instantly! It really is quite an extensive list for a beginners guide and will no doubt make falling in love much easier.

Chapter 4 – Finishing Touches

Finishing touches such as buttons, holes, edging stitches and more are explained in great details with some fantastic techniques shared. Whether finishing crochet work or adding a touch of crochet to a pillowcase or similar, you can use these finishing touches to pretty up just about anything!

Finishing Touches

Each section is bursting with enough crochet knowledge that you feel confident taking on new projects. I may not be a complete beginner but I still learned a good few tips and stitches. The patterns throughout are simple to follow and will have you falling in love with crochet in no time!

Chapter 5 – Taking Your Skills Further

The Final chapter shows you a few more advanced skills such as tunisian, broomstick and hairpin crochet. I will be attempting the Tunisian at some point as this guide looks much easier than other’s I’ve looked at. Detailed step by step photos with explanations make each technique seem doable.

Taking Your Skills Further

A Fantastic Guide To Crochet

Honestly, Crochet Learn It. Love It. is a fantastic guide to crochet and makes it so easy to learn, you really will love it! You can learn so much from this fab little book and I know I’ll be using it for reference in future. There are a good few stitches in the book I’ve yet to try. I can’t wait to speed through my current projects and try them.

Driftwood By T.L. Wright – Book Review

I ordered Driftwood to start off my reading challenge this year. T.L. Wright is a lovely lady I occasionally chat to on Twitter and an amazing author! I really couldn’t wait to get started with Driftwood, the front cover is gorgeous!

Driftwood

As part of my reading challenge this year I vowed to read as many books by authors that I chat to as I can. Last year I read Free and What’s Mine by the lovely Fiona Morgan. To start off this year I wanted to begin with Driftwood and I am so pleased I did. This is a book that will no doubt be re-read too which isn’t something I do often!

Driftwood

Driftwood begins with a beautifully worded poem that instantly draws you in. This stunning gothic romance is simply amazing. You can’t help but notice T.L Wrights unique style of writing that entrances you.

Several stories cleverly combine into one as we meet each character. Each character has a unique story but one which pulls them all together in an enchantingly haunting way. With several references to certain bands (I won’t give the game away!) cleverly placed I found myself fangirl squealing a bit. Not something that usually happens in all fairness haha!

Driftwood back cover

An Amazing Read

Driftwood is unlike anything I have ever read. You instantly find yourself lost in the words, living and breathing each one which isn’t always the case. It’s been a long time since I came across a book like Driftwood. I honestly can’t wait to read the sequel and any other work written by T.L Wright.

I couldn’t recommend this more if you love a slightly darker and in-depth read. The way it is written is absolutely beautiful, I can’t stress that enough!

I’m now going to be hunting for more books like this as it has helped spur me on with my reading challenge. I have already managed 3 books this month which is great after years of barely picking up a book. It is becoming part of my self-care routine now to read for an hour a day at least.

Have you read anything this year? Does Driftwood sound like a book for you or have you read it before?

Free By Fiona Morgan – Book Review

I’ve read Free by Fiona Morgan* over the last fortnight. Since Izzy started reception I’ve felt less guilty about reading. I’ve always been passionate about reading but with 2 kids I found it hard to make time. Children’s books have been the main reads over the last 8 years! Now I get more me-time I’ve spent my afternoons enjoying a few chapters with a hot chocolate! 

Free By Fiona Morgan

Fiona Morgan is a lovely author who I chat to on Twitter, I wanted to show her some support by giving her books a read. I have her first 2 books which you can buy as paperbacks from Amazon or download on Kindle.

Free & What's Mine by Fiona Morgan

Free

Free is the first book Fiona has written and I have to admit I was a little sad to finish it! It’s one of those books where you get to know the characters so well you actually miss them. 

Ava’s boyfriend Nathan has convinced her she is useless, incapable of being independent in anyway and regularly beats it into her. She seems to push his buttons whatever she says or does and causes Nathan to get angry! After a chance meeting with a guy called Neil who is completely different and so understanding, Ava plucks up the courage to leave Nathan. One day after a beating she calls Neil and makes her escape. 

You can’t leave me!

Leaving an abuser is never easy and Nathan is extremely persistent when it comes to pursuing Ava, causing both Ava and Neil mental anguish. Nathan is adamant Ava is his and she can’t leave him or live without him. The long-buried memories of Neil’s father are brought back in to focus as he helps Ava. Caught up in uncertainty and physical violence, Ava and Neil’s growing tender love is put to the test! 

Perfectly Captured

Fiona captures every angle so perfectly throughout the book and you can’t help but feel the storyline. For someone who has lived with an abuser and witnessed it on several occasions. I’ve seen and heard so many similar stories that Free feels like real life. From thoughts & feelings to actions, everything is spot on. I’m not usually a fan of Romance Thrillers. I prefer thrillers but Free doesn’t go overboard on the romance side and I found myself wanting to see how their relationship developed! 

I’m looking forward to the girls going to school tomorrow so I can start reading What’s Mine! I’ve managed 7 books so far this year and hoping to make it 8. With captivating storylines like Fiona’s, I may even top that!

Fiona Morgan - Author of Free

Do you like romance thrillers? Have you heard of Fiona Morgan’s books before? 

*This is not a sponsored post.