Horizontal Collaboration Blog Tour

 

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Blurb:

“Horizontal Collaboration” is a term used to describe the sexual and romantic relationships that some French women had with members of the occupying German forces during World War II. In this poignant, female-centered graphic novel created by writer/artist duo Carole Maurel and Mademoiselle Navie, the taboo of “sleeping with the enemy” is explored through the story of a passionate, and forbidden, affair. In June 1942, married Rose (whose husband is a prisoner of war) intervenes in the detainment of her Jewish friend and then accidentally embarks on a secret relationship with the investigating German officer, Mark. There is only one step between heroism and treason, and it’s often a dangerous one. Inside an apartment building on Paris’s 11th arrondissement, little escapes the notice of the blind husband of the concierge. Through his sightless but all-knowing eyes, we learn of Rose and Mark’s hidden relationship, and also of the intertwined stories and problems of the other tenants, largely women and children, who face such complex issues as domestic violence, incest, and prostitution. This fascinating graphic novel tackles the still-sensitive topic of who it is acceptable to love, and how, and the story’s drama is brought vividly to life by intimate and atmospheric illustrations.

Book Information:
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Korero Press; None ed. edition (18 Jun. 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 191274001X
ISBN-13: 978-1912740017

 

My Review

The art in this was simply gorgeous and the stories combined with it made for a breath taking and well…quite frankly, hear breaking read. The emotion on the characters was so raw and powerful, it made the art flawless by making them so utterly believable. There is a large mix of characters, they all board in the same building and we’re given insight into all their toils and dreams. The pressure of WWII wears down on France, and on Parisians especially in this beautiful graphic novel. There is no one without strife or causing it, and in the darkness of war one woman has fallen in love with a German Soldier.

For those who don’t know their history, it was severely ‘frowned upon’ [and that’s putting it mildly] by the people of Paris for the French women to liaison with German Soldiers. Of course some women did it to survive, others because they were true to the German cause, and some, because they fell in love. Rose’s is not the only love story in the book, and everyone’s heartache and hopes really spilled through the pages. It’s an emotional read and one that left me a bit breathless. Things are believable, they’re palpable whether in the actions of the characters or in the setting of history itself and the author and artist have blended everything together beautifully.

I could not say enough good things about this graphic novel. If you are someone who likes history or graphic novels, or even someone who s intrigued by a devastatingly gorgeous story and art, I would definitely recommend this book to you all. By far the best graphic novel read of the year for me so far and I don’t see it slipping out of the top rank anytime soon.

Below you’ll find a couple of examples of the beautiful art and at the very bottom make sure to check out the rest of the tour.

Five huge cups of coffee from me.

 

The Art

 

 

About the Authors/Artists

 

Navie and Carol Maurel Author pic

 

Carole Maurel cut her teeth on animated films before devoting herself to illustration, in particular, graphic novels. Her 2017 book The Apocalypse According to Magda was awarded the Artémisia Avenir award, which celebrates women in comics. 
Navie is a screenwriter for press, cinema and television. She has a degree in history from The Sorbonne in Paris, where she specialized in the history of fascism – making Horizontal Collaboration an excellent fit for her first graphic novel.

Maruel’s Twitter

 

Rest of the Tour

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The Heart of Stone [Ben Galley Ultimate Blog Tour!]

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Merciless. Murderer. Monster. He has been called many names in his time.

Built for war and nothing else, he has witnessed every shade of violence humans know, and he has wrought his own masterpieces with their colours. He cared once, perhaps, but far too long ago. He is bound to his task, dead to the chaos he wreaks for his masters.

Now, he has a new master to serve and a new war to endure. In the far reaches of the Realm, Hartlund tears itself in two over coin and crown. This time he will fight for a boy king and a general bent on victory.

Beneath it all he longs for change. For something to surprise him. For an end to this cycle of warfare.

Every fighter has a last fight. Even one made of stone.

Where to Buy

 

Amazon

 

My Review

When asked to join this tour I was perusing all the books, they all sounded good but for those of you who have been keeping an eye on my blog a little, well, I’ve done 10 tours so far this month with two more to go. So. even though I wanted to read all of them, I had to limit myself and pick one and just read samples off Amazon of the others to satisfy my curiosity. In the end I went with ‘The Heart of Stone’ and I have not one regret in having picked this book. It floored me, I figured I was going to like it [I mean, hello, that’s why I chose it] but I didn’t think I was going to absolutely love it.

Golems are scarce now, and that’s being optimistic. The tools have war have been widely down to a rare few, and Task is rare than most. He is a golem who upon his ‘birth’ dared to ask ‘Why?’ It was in that first part of the prologue alone that I was hooked. I knew Task would be the sort of character I would love.

Ben Galley gives us some really diverse character personalities; Task the golem who defies his creator long after his death by having emotions, Lesky the girl who seems to be more than just a ‘slip of a girl’ and not just in her inner strength but down to her very roots -and one that shows compassion-, and Alabast. Alabaster is the knight who has been, he slew a dragon, made a name for himself, and then coasted on that name and reputation until there was nothing but fumes to coast on and now he’s forced into a role or face the consequences of over borrowing.

Alabast certainly had the most character development out of all of them and Lesky the most actual growth in terms of what she thinks she’s capable of and what she is, while Task proved that his emotions and being can be used more than just as tools by a Master. He is his own and he can decide his fate. The journeys they all went on were so personal and deep and you felt as if you were there along side them, but even the side characters were fleshed out so well that I was left beyond impressed. Galley has used his style in all the best ways, highlighting his strengths by writing a deep immersive fantasy. His world building is incredible and I only wish I could have gotten to know more, to have more of a backstory to what was going on, but I still gave it five cups of coffee so obviously this fact is just me being greedy rather than being an issue.

By the end of this book I couldn’t help but pause and reflect on everything that occurred within its pages and I realized before I hit the halfway mark this might be a new favorite, and well, my intuition was correct. This book will forever hold a place on my favorite fantasies lists and Task will remain one of my favorite protagonists of 2019. If you’re wanting a bit of a slow building fantasy with deep storylines and fluid writing, I suggest Task and his crew to you all. If you have a chance, go read The Heart of Stone.

 

About the Author

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Ben Galley is an author of dark and epic fantasy books who currently hails from Victoria, Canada. Since publishing his debut The Written in 2010, Ben has released a range of award-winning fantasy novels, including the weird western Bloodrush and the epic standalone The Heart of Stone. He is also the author of the brand new Chasing Graves Trilogy.

Twitter Facebook Website

 

The Tour

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I want to thank @WriteReadsTours for inviting me to be part of this tour. This was such a fun thing to be a part of and I have to say, in my opinion, Ben Galley deserves this massive tour. His writing is great and his style and stories have really impressed me. I’ve already ordered the short story Shards, mostly because I need more amazing Task in my life! To see who else is on the tour for the other books, go ahead and click on the link for WriteReadsTours and check out the other books/bloggers!

 

Finer Things Review

**Thank you to Sandstone Press for sending me a copy of this book, below is my honest review in exchange for receiving the book.**

 

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GoodReads:

London: 1963.

The lives of a professional shoplifter and a young art student collide. Delia needs to atone for a terrible mistake; Tess is desperate to convince herself she really is an artist. Elsewhere in London, the Krays are on the rise and a gang war is in the offing. 

Tess’s relationship with her gay best friend grows unexpectedly complicated, and Delia falls for a man she’s been paid to betray.

Book Information:
Publication Date: 
27/06/2019
Format: Paperback
Length: 288
Category: Fiction
ISBN: 9781912240685

 

My Review

This was such a creative premise for a novel. I always love a good historical fiction but this grabbed me from the moment I glanced at the cover. But finding out it was basically a 1960s Female centered version with hints of ‘Ocean’s 11’? Oh I was all in. Disclaimer: This is way better than Ocean’s 11, and I refuse to talk about any movies from that after Ocean’s 12. They don’t exist in my world.

[Funnily enough my husband asked if the model on the cover was Joan from ‘Mad Men’ and considering that was focused on the 60s I would say they really nailed it with this cover.]

Wharton absolutely brings his A game to his debut novel, his writing is completely engaging and when I think of this book the first thing that comes to mind for me is ‘beautiful.’

The characters had so much intrigue to them, and the fact that he kept true to the time period of the 60s without taking away from the integrity of the characters just impressed me.

There was a whimsical air to Delia and I have to say she was my favorite, for being someone so utterly raw and from her roots she was like a changeling with a hint of the old ways in her superstitions.

Tess was complex and I think I would have wanted to see more of her but I was happy enough with how Wharton introduces her to us. She’s young, in London and trying to figure out who she is. Her story is also one that really resonates with the times. There was such a love of art and to see her blossom in her concepts of it was really great and her journey with Jimmy was one that I really appreciated at the end for all its difficulties and the heart aching truth of it all.

David Wharton gave a truly brilliant debut novel and I loved it, keep an eye out for this book and his future works. If you like a more ‘modern’ historical fiction or just a good fiction novel in general, I hope you’ll give this book a try.

 

About the Author

“David Wharton grew up in Northumberland and lives in Leicester, where he has worked in education for many years. He now divides his time between writing fiction and training English teachers. Finer Things is his first novel.”

 

Bride Squad Runaway Blog Tour

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GoodReads:
Ava and her trusty bride squad set off on an unforgettable Irish roadtrip. Along the way there’s ice-cream vans, roguish strangers and a very handsome Frenchman. Join them for this laugh-out-loud, feel-good romance with a twist.
‘Tu es belle – wow! Look at you!’ 
It should be the perfect moment. A sunny day at Vintage Brides, and Ava O’Hara is twirling in her wedding dress. Super-hot Stefan likes what he sees…
But Stefan won’t be the one standing at the altar. It’ll be Simon, Ava’s wannabe rockstar fiancé. Or will it?
Simon says he loves her, but he’s got a funny way of showing it. When his indiscretions go viral on the big day, Ava suddenly becomes a bride-NOT-to-be.
She needs her Bride Squad, and fast. It’s time for a runaway! But will Ava come home from her wild Irish roadtrip? And if she does, will it be to love, loss or something entirely different?
A brilliantly funny and uplifting story of love, friendship and freedom by real-life BFFs, Caroline Grace-Cassidy and Lisa C. Carey. Readers of Holly Martin, Marian Keyes and Katie Fforde will love this brilliant collaboration.

Where to Buy

Amazon Kobo

 

My Review

Bride Runaway Squad is a light hearted and funny read. Think of ‘Bridesmaids’ meets ‘The Decoy Bride.’ [2 of my fave wedding rom-com films, just incase you all were wondering] It’s really the kind of read that just leaves you feeling uplifted at the end, the authors do a great job of keeping real emotions while giving us something to chuckle at. It actually reads a lot like a rom-com movie and it makes the pages just fly by. But! The focus isn’t the romance, it’s the friendship, so keep that in mind, this is all about some Bride Squad Power.

One thing I tell you though, chapter six had me dying to find out what had Simon the fiancé done?! That whole chapter it was just me going ‘WHAT DID HE DO?!’

I really enjoyed is that our bride was just about 40 and just getting married for the first time, I just felt this was a bit more accurate in our day and age, people get married all across the age ranges now.

Also, while the humor is definitely what makes the book, I adored how this was truly a book on friendship, so even though it read like a ‘rom-com’ romance wasn’t the focus, it was a smaller part, the main bulk of the story is finding yourself along the way of reconnecting with those who make a difference just by being in your life.

[My favorite part was with the rats. Hands down. I’m still chuckling.]

The friends don’t always see eye to eye and I love that the issues were resolved in a way that just felt natural. Let me tell you, finding out you had more in common with someone and that jealousy can remove a lot of obstacles is so enjoyable to read. Cate and Lauren are different enough that they both really stand out from each other and from our bride Ava, and the cast of characters is just really fun, there’s a great energy between them and  whoever they meet along the way.

Friendship aside though, I just want to say I adore Stefan and felt like he was such a great character. He is supportive and a good friend before anything else. I may be a fangirl of his now haha.

If you like romance, if you’re getting married, if you just finished a relationship, and you like to have a laugh, this book is one to pick up! It’s a quick and fun summer read and I hope that you all get to enjoy it as much as I did!

Thank you to Black&White Publishing for sending me a copy and allowing me to take part in the tour. [My review is as honest as always!] And you can find the rest of the tour at the end of my post.

***Note! Royalties from the sale of this book are going to be donated to the Sarah Jennifer Knott Foundation for Cancer of Unknown Primary.***

 

About the Author(s)

 

Caroline Grace Cassidy is an Irish film and television actress, and author. She is best known for her role in David Gordon Green’s Your Highness. 

Her debut novel When Love Takes Over was released by Poolbeg on February 7, 2012. She was cited by The Irish Times newspaper as one of their ‘People to Watch’ in 2012.

Since then she has been published with , The Other Side Of Wonderful (2013), I Always Knew (2014) Already Taken (2015) and The Week I Ruined My Life was published in 2016 with UK Publishers Black & White Publishing.

 

Rest of the Tour

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The Sea Refuses No River Blog Tour

 

The Sea Refuses No River Cover

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The journey of grief is a strange one
and one not often talked about in our everyday reality of this society,
but I know what it’s like to dive deep,
down to the bottom of the wreck,
feel the ribs of the wreck,
after losing a parent so young in life

In this collection, the sea refuses no river, there is an acceptance of the pain and an acceptance of the healing moments; the healing journey. To quote Adrienne Rich: I came to explore the wreck’, and in this collection, Bethany discovers how, ‘The words are purposes. The words are maps.’

Book Information:
Paperback: 42 pages
Publisher: Fly on the wall poetry (21 Jun. 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1999598652
ISBN-13: 978-1999598655

Where to Buy it

Click Here

 

My Review

I have always had a soft spot for poetry, and though it’s nice to read love poems, romantic ones at that, I think that poetry spans so much more and offers a sort of comfort for almost any situation. In this collection, Rivers takes the reader on a journey of grief and healing, in this case it is the loss of her own Father which resonates in her poetry. There’s always something missing in you after you’ve lost someone you’ve cared for and sometimes talking to others helps but seeing words from someone else that speaks to your heart is just a therapy in its own, at least for me. Rivers doesn’t force the words and they seem to come from a place of honesty and her style is simple and lovely. She also doesn’t overburden the reader so if they are also suffering from grief it will not be something so overwhelming that it’ll more damage than healing. The imagery is flowing, and paints a picture in your heart. My favorite poems were ‘At My Father’s Grave,’ ‘How to Cross the Desert,’ and ‘Seeker’ but they were all a joy to read in their own right and some of them felt more lyrical than anything.

If you enjoy free flowing poetry, whether you’ve suffered a loss or not, I recommend this to you. Thanks to Anne Cater, the Publisher, and Bethany Rivers for the opportunity to read this lovely book.

About the Author

 

Bethany Rivers Author Pic
Bethany Rivers

 

Bethany Rivers (M.A. in Creative Writing from Cardiff University) is a poet and author based in Shrewsbury, who has taught creative writing for over eleven years and mentored and coached many writers from the start of their writing project through to publication.

Website Twitter Facebook

 

Rest of the Tour Schedule

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Dream Angus


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GoodReads:

Part of a series of books containing myths as retold by first-rank contemporary authors, this is Alexander McCall Smith’s telling of the Celtic myth of Dream Angus, a god of love, youth, beauty, and also the bringer of dreams. He is cherished by all, but fated to love only Caér, the swan maiden from his own dreams. Smith spins five charming stories of Dream Angus with five tales of his modern alter egos.

“…what is life but the pursuit of dreams?”

Thank you to Canongate Books for sending me a copy of this, I was so excited as I love takes on mythology.

[So excited in fact that my email said Revew Request in my haste to type. Let that sink in. Revew. I’m still mortified.]

Admittedly I’ve never read any of Alexander McCall Smith’s works before, I’d heard of him and had been interested but just hadn’t gotten around to it until now.

Dream Angus gives us an interwoven work of short stories that spans the ages to give us a more modern day retelling of the Celtic God of Dreams, Angus.

One thing that impressed me from the start is rarely do a read an introduction unless it’s an academic work, if it catches my eye I will and McCall Smith’s intro was actually very enjoyable to read. It’s hard to know how to introduce your own work when you’re tackling legends and myths and we all know many authors do it well, but it’s still always nice to know that even the prolific authors understand the delicate work they’re doing.

Onto the real meat of the book however I have to say this is just one of those books you read in an almost dreamy manner -no pun intended- it is something to be read as an experience rather than trying to just gobble it up, devour it, and analyze it. That comes later. Half jk.

Rather than trying to give an epic tale, threaded through various times and places are the stories of the small and wondrous gifts bestowed on people by the dreams and powers of Angus, there is love, there is peace, and of course most importantly there are the dreams.

My favorite parts were actually the tale of how Angus came to be, and how he confronted his Father eventually. [Would say more, but, spoilers!] There’s just always something about a good origins story to me.

This is a rather languid and flowery work, it’s not meant for those looking for a clear cut collection of short stories and/or a Michael Bay version of mythology.

Anyway, if you’re into a rather thought provoking novel that’s a leisurely [and rather short] read, I highly recommend Dream Angus to you. Don’t forget The Canons has a whole series of books done by well known authors, ‘The Myths’ and it includes works by Margaret Atwood, A.S. Byatt, and Philip Pullman as well!

“But Angus does more than that: he represents youth and the intense, passionate love that we might experience when we are young but which we might still try to remember as age creeps up. Age and experience might make us sombre and cautious, but there is always an Angus within us- Angus the dreamer.”

-Alexander McCall Smith, 2006

 

 

 

The Repenting Serpent Blog Tour

Hey all,

I was not lying when I said that this summer was the summer of Blog Tours and so far I’m really enjoying participating in all of them. Today I’m with #BitsaboutBooksBlogTour run by the super kind Caroline!

First off. I’m so glad that she asked me to join in because this is the kind of book that is just straight up my jam.

Okay, now onto the important stuff.

The Repenting Serpent - Wes Markin - book cover

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A DCI Michael Yorke Thriller

A vicious serial killer slithers from the darkness, determined to resurrect the ways of a long-dead civilisation.
When the ex-wife of one of DCI Michael Yorke’s closest allies is left mutilated and murdered, Yorke and his team embark on their greatest test yet. A  deeply personal case that will push them to their very limits.
As Yorke’s team are pulled further into the dark, the killer circles, preparing to strike again.
The Repenting Serpent is a true edge-of-the-seat, nail-biting page turner.

 

The DCI Michael York Thrillers:
#1 One Last Prayer for the Rays – getbook.at/OneLastPrayerRays
#2 The Repenting Serpent – getbook.at/RepentingSerpent

 

My Review

I feel like I’m just fangirling over amazing books lately just flapping around excitedly in my reviews like the crazy inflatable arm man. So. I’m going to try really hard to give you something more than pterodactyl screeches in this review.

This was basically the novel equivalent of Criminal Minds, a really dark and suspenseful police procedural.

[And I am a huge fan of Criminal Minds you know until about season 11]

Markin gives such a delicious read about a series of murders and they all seem to have a very strong connection to something more than just a serial killer getting their fill. This also includes Aztec mythology which is a nice change of pace as we usually hear more about Greek/Roman/Norse mythology in novels these days. [Or at least I do…hopefully it’s not just me lol]

I very much enjoyed seeing how Yorke and his team were piecing together clues and loved the creepy chapters told from the point of the serial killer. I have to say the misdirect worked on me momentarily and to that I tip my imaginary hat to Markin because I really thought I know ‘whodunit.’

Also, Markin is not afraid to do away with characters he’s like the thriller  version G.R.R. Martin, so, you know, try not to get attached, bahaha. I did like that though, it was clear that anyone was capable of dying and the feeling of everyone running out of time had me actually and not just figuratively on the edge of my seat. Martin doesn’t drag on the novel too long and he manages to give a very satisfying story in quite a short period when you realize how much he integrated into the plot and the amount of characters.

So, if you like police procedurals/thrillers, and you want to read an amazing newer series, go grab The Repenting Serpent -or the first one in the series, One Last Prayer for the Rays.- Though this is a series, it’s not necessary to read book 1 to be able to read book 2.

 

About the Author

Wes Markin Author Image

Wes Markin is a hyperactive English teacher, who loves writing crime fiction with a twist of the macabre.
Having finished ‘The Repenting Serpent,’ sequel to ‘One Last Prayer for the Rays,’ he is now working on the third instalment of DCI Michael Yorke’s wild ride. He is also the author of ‘Defined,’ a prequel to his DCI Yorke novels, which takes the reader back to his blood-soaked university days.
Born in 1978, Wes grew up in Manchester, UK. After graduating from Leeds University, he spent fifteen years as a teacher of English, and has taught in Thailand, Malaysia and China. Now as a teacher, writer, husband and father, he is currently living in Harrogate, UK.

Twitter

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GoodReads

Amazon

 

The Rest of the Tour

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