The Outrageous Fortune of Abel Morgan – Blog Tour

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Synopsis: 1660, England. War is at an end, yet for Christopher Morgan his personal conflict rages on. Haunted by the tragic death of his wife, Christopher is desperate to escape the pain her memory brings, although looking into the eyes of his young son, Abel, he cannot help but be reminded of what he has lost. Over time, father and son develop a strong bond until they are callously torn apart when Abel is snatched by smugglers and sold overseas. From the shores of Constantinople to the coast of Jamaica, time and tide keep them apart. Christopher will sail across oceans to find Abel, never losing faith that one day they will be reunited, and, as the years pass, Abel will learn that fortune favours the brave.

Book Information:
ISBN: 9780749023348
CATEGORY: Fiction
BIC: FV
FORMAT: B format
PB PAGES: 384
RIGHTS: World English
PRICE: £8.99
Turnaround Publisher Services Pubeasy E:
orders@turnaround-uk.com
EBOOK EDITION ISBN: 9780749023294
DISTRIBUTION: Faber Factory

My Review

Going to start off by saying that this was a really well-drawn out and plotted book, the pacing didn’t drag and the characters are so unique from each other. The plot and subsequent sea adventuring had a very Stevenson feel to it, I was transported back to Treasure Island in the whimsical and realistic writing style and I enjoyed that more than anything else.

While this is more about Abel when he gets older, it’s certainly just as much about his father and I have to say that Christopher was my favorite character in the novel. He had an array of emotions, prone to bouts of melancholy, and yet, there is a true kindness to him a lot of the times. He’s also proven to do whatever it takes to save his son, trying to track him down all the way to Constantinople! He finds himself along the way and redemption, never daring to seek forgiveness for past actions that haunt him but forced to face some of them along the way.

He is a man with certain morals and values and in my opinion the true hero of this story.

Another aspect I absolutely loved about Christopher was that he was bisexual, having an eternal love for his wife and well, I won’t spoil it for you, but also keeping another in his memory, a man yes, and a man that he often recalled on in his thoughts.

Abel doesn’t share as many as his father’s qualities, but he’s not to blame considering he was ripped away from his father and grew up under very different circumstances. Unfortunately, I didn’t really find him sympathetic after he gave up his seafaring ways. He does not have the same gentleness, again he grew up differently and at the end, I suspect I was ‘team’ Turlough rather than team Abel. This doesn’t take away from the journey of Abel and the subsequent journey of his father and they both have such fascinating lives because of this tragedy set in motion when Abel was taken.

I give this four cups of coffee just for Christopher and seafaring adventures alone, and the love of a father and son ❤

Content/Trigger Warnings: Slavery, abuse, marital rape, violent deaths

Highlight for Marital Rape explanation/spoilers: I really didn’t like Abel after a scene of Marital rape, I’m not sure it added anything to the story which is why I did not give this five stars. My sympathy lay with Marie after that and after another certain tragedy and from then on I couldn’t find Abel to be sympathetic. I do understand that his wife was supposed to be viewed as manipulative but it just didn’t seem to fit the rest of this really wonderful story.

 

About the Author

Cynthia Jefferies

Cynthia Jefferies is a long-established writer for children, whose work has been
translated into more than a dozen languages. She was born in Gloucestershire
and her love of history was encouraged by regular family outings to anything of
interest, from great cathedrals to small museums. Having moved to Scotland
and back to Stroud, she has always made time to write and her abiding interest
in Restoration England has never left her. The Outrageous Fortune of Abel
Morgan is her first historical novel for adults.

Author Website

 

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Ike & Kay – Blog Tour

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Acclaimed author and managing director of The Times Literary Supplement, James MacManus, creates a compelling historical novel that brings to life an unbelievable but true love story set during the Second World War. In 1942, Cork-born Kay Summersby’s life is changed forever when she is tasked with driving General Eisenhower on his fact-finding visit to wartime London. Despite Eisenhower’s marriage to Mamie, the pair takes an immediate liking to one another and he gifts Kay a rare wartime luxury: a box of chocolates. So begins a tumultuous relationship that against all military regulation sees Kay travelling with Eisenhower on missions to far flung places before the final assault on Nazi Germany. She becomes known as “Ike’s shadow” and in letters Mamie bemoans his new obsession with ‘Ireland’. That does not stop him from using his influence to grant Kay US citizenship and rank in the US army, drawing her closer when he returns to America. When the US authorities discover Eisenhower’s plans to divorce from his wife they threaten the fragile but passionate affair and Kay is forced to take desperate measures to hold onto the man she loves…

My Review

MacManus has an effortless flow to his storytelling and you’re transported back to the 1940s. He doesn’t get overly flowery in details and yet he gives great descriptions. Like the title implies this is a story about Ike and Kay, his driver, there are a couple of other chapters that are from the POV of others but they are part of history and their story in a way so it does work.

Kay was an interesting character and you could have a good bit of sympathy for her for the choices she makes, knowing she does things usually with the best intentions/out of love.

I do think MacManus did a commendable job with Ike, we’re not meant to idolize him in this and in fact he does a lot to show him as someone who achieved quite a bit but didn’t go unscathed by making mistakes in his personal life. I really didn’t like Ike, but not because of MacManus’s lack of competency, rather, because he did so well writing him. He is not the hero of this story.

The historical aspects of this were hands down my favorite parts, and the romance was as grey and confusing as I think it was meant to be.

Overall it was an intriguing read and I really enjoyed learning more about Ike through this as it definitely led me to look into him more after being fascinated by this book!

Thank you to Duckworth Publishing for a free eBook of this in exchange for my honest review as part of the blog tour.

 

About the Author

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James MacManus is the managing director of The Times Literary Supplement. After studying at St Andrews University he began his career in journalism at the Daily Express in Manchester. Joining The Guardian in 1972, he later became Paris, and then Africa and Middle East Correspondent. He is the author of several novels including On the Broken Shore, Black Venus, Sleep in Peace Tonight and Midnight in Berlin. James MacManus has three children and lives in Dulwich, London.

 

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The Last Concerto – Blog Tour

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Synopsis: 
Famed for its natural beauty and rich history, Sardinia in 1968 is notorious, too, for the bandits who kidnap wealthy landowners for ransom. Eleven-year-old Alba Fresu’s brother, and her father, Bruno, are abducted by criminals who mistake Bruno for a rich man. After a grueling journey through the countryside, the two are eventually released—but the experience leaves Alba shaken and unable to readjust to normal life, or to give voice to her inner turmoil.
Accompanying her mother to cleaning jobs, Alba visits the villa of an eccentric Signora and touches the keys of a piano for the first time. The instrument’s spell is immediate. During secret lessons, forbidden by her mother, Alba is at last able to express emotions too powerful for words alone. Ignoring her parents’ insistence that she work in the family’s car dealership and marry a local boy, Alba accepts a scholarship to the Rome conservatoire. There she immerses herself in a vibrant world of art and a passionate affair.
But her path will lead her to a crossroads, and Alba will have to decide how to reconcile her talent with her longing for love and family, and convey the music of her heart…

Book Information:
Written by: Sara Alexander
Published by: HQ
Publication date: 22/08/2019
Format: Paperback Original £7.99 [Available in eBook & audio]

My Review

I know I’ve said it probably about fifty times by now but as a musician, I tend to be drawn toward books that have music in them. The fact this one had a different musical term each chapter and sections divided into movements, well, I’m completely biased in loving that part of them. But, I’m here to talk about the content of this book, which took me on an extraordinarily emotional rollercoaster. This is a story about a woman having the courage to go after what makes her passionate, music.

The first chapter was a bit of a hesitant introduction for me, but the moment I got past it, it was like something just clicked in me. I could recognize a love of music and the difficulty of perhaps wanting different things than are expected of you. And I’m sure a lot can relate to one or the other if not both. Alba is quiet, the power of her voice is put into her music, and even then, due to her past, she would restrict it and the power of finding her voice.

Seriously, watching her deal with her childhood as being the odd one out, and a girl in her household to experience life in Rome and as a concert pianist, it’s all wonderful and you just want the best for her but Alexander gives us a healthy dose of realism in that she gives both highs and lows. Some things are so soul-crushing, I just want to hug Alba but you know that she is going through this route because she’s chosen music. And to be fair this ending won’t have you crying like a baby in sorrow, so, it’s got a satisfying ending.

Alexander enthrals with her descriptions of music and food, and for me, well, I delighted in the musical descriptions but I do think that if you’re not a fan of heavy descriptions you may not appreciate this paint brushing of each scene before you.

Alba deals with issues from the past that follow her, whether they arise from family or past lovers and I loved watching her handle things differently as she grows up and oh, that ending. ❤

If you are interested in reading a book about a woman following her dream against the odds, that has believable romance subplots, and a healthy dose of humanity, I definitely recommend reading The Last Concerto. Four cups of coffee from me!

 

About the Author

HarperCollins Author Page
Sara Alexander attended Hampstead School, London, and went on to graduate from the University of Bristol, with a BA hons in Theatre, Film & TV. She followed on to complete her postgraduate diploma in acting from Drama Studio London. She has worked extensively in the theatre, film and television industries, including roles in much loved production such as Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows, Doctor Who, and Franco Zeffirelli’s Sparrow. She is based in London.

 

GIVEAWAY ALERT

I happen to have an extra copy, thank you HQ Stories, so you know that means? GIVEAWAY TIME! [UK Only this round guys] Comment on here for an extra chance to win a copy, follow/RT on twitter for the ‘first’ chance!

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The Return of King Lillian Review


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GoodReads:
The Return of King Lillian is a mythic journey tale – a metaphysical fantasy for dreamers and nonconformists of all ages.
So, why the manly moniker in tandem with the womanly name?
“The Firstborn Child of The Emperor-King Inherits the Ruling Crown, the Title of Emperor-King and All Powers Thereof.” (Item 37, The Royal Manual)
Enter Lillian, the firstborn child of said Emperor-King. Cast out of her Kingdom by malevolent forces, mysteriously waylaid by Destiny, the spirited, self-reliant Lillian sets off on an exuberant journey to find her way home and claim her birthright. As she travels through marvelous and mystical lands in search of her origins, Lillian encounters and befriends a kaleidoscopic cast of characters. Most of the tale is told by Lillian herself, as she chronicles her extraordinary adventures.
The audiobook of The Return of King Lillian is performed by the author, Suzie Plakson.
This is probably one of my favorite retellings ever now. I do have a soft spot for retellings in general but Plakson just knocks it out of the park for creativity. Lillian is such a bright, enigmatic, and innocent character with a heart so full and pure that I cheered her on from page one. This has a bit of a ‘Princess Bride’ meets ‘Wizard of Oz’/’Alice in Wonderland’ feel. It’s whimsical in all the best ways and though beautiful and lush with some darker moments it can fit a wide range of ages as far as reader audience goes.

Honestly, this was an incredible read.

Lillian writes in her book, and to her book, so as you read it’s as if she’s writing to you. She writes as she speaks so that makes from some creative spelling and word choice and it’s a lot of fun in that way. Also, this has a feel of the old fantasies and tales, there’s a character going on a long quest with a bunch of adventures along the way and a great slew of companions and character interactions.I’ll expand on this more when I write up a review on my blog but needless to say I completely love this book.

^ This was my GoodReads review, and to expand on it, this book really stuck with me. I mean I think about it randomly when someone asks about retellings. Obviously, there are some great ones out there but I just felt this was one of the more creative ones and it left me yearning in a pretty nostalgic manner. This harkened me back to again The Princess Bride [in terms of style, not content] where I chuckled, but more than that fleeting style comparison, it reminded me of the older books such as The Wizard of Oz, or Alice in Wonderland as I stated in the GoodReads review. There’s this sense of exploration of new lands and adventures, and a hero travelling through a world but instead of focusing on the world, we see bits of it as we go, piecing it together and focus on the adventures.

Lillian is a great protagonist and I loved her, and it’s not completely without heartache but it was little enough to be almost refreshing in that sense. She overcame quite a few things, and there was sadness, but that wasn’t the main focus of Lillian’s thoughts, she was carrying forward most of the time, toward a goal.

Not to mention, how many times can we recount a retelling or adaptation of The Emperor’s New Clothes and Plakson just completely blows me away. [I’m a HUGE Andersen fan so I can be picky]

I was also lucky enough to be gifted an audiobook copy from the Maestro herself, and I’ve delighted in listening to it with my daughter. In fact, this was an audiobook first and the fact that she has turned it into an equally beautiful novel on paper, that there’s no difference and they both flow flawlessly says a lot about her talent with words.

Thanks to NetGalley and the Publisher for a chance to read this in exchange for my honest review.

In Truth, Madness – Blog Tour

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In Truth, Madness is the fictional story of a correspondent driven to despair by the Middle East and South Asia. A reporter strives to find the truth. The more truth they find, the more maddening the world becomes.
Meet Malek Khalil. In his mid-40s, Malek is a brilliant reporter with decades of experience in the field. If there has been a war, natural disaster or political crisis, Malek has been there and will be there. But the years of conflict reporting have taken their toll and Malek is slowly unravelling. His colleagues, Neeka and Justin, have noticed a change in him. Neeka should know, she has been his producer for decades and knows him better than he knows himself. Justin the cameraman has shot his material for just as long. Together they make a formidable team. But they are only as strong as each other – and Malek is fast going down the rabbit hole. 
Born a Muslim but an atheist to his core, Malek undertakes a voyage that takes him around the world and back in time to ancient Babylon as he finds himself arguing with a God in whom he doesn’t believe. 
The novel takes place throughout Middle East, South Asia and London where the backdrop of war, religion, political skullduggery and love play out to take the reader on a journey through some of the most dangerous parts of modern culture and the ancient world. 

Book Information: 
Publication Date: August 21, 2018
BINDING: Demy PB
SIZE: 216 × 135 mm
CATEGORY BIC: FA
ISBN: 978-1-911586-90-6
FORMAT: Paperback
ALTERNATIVE EDITION 978-1-911586-91-3
PRICE: £10.99 

PRAISE 

“Life on the road was never this much fun! All reporters should time travel!” – Adrian Finighan. Senior anchor, Al Jazeera English 

“A darkly comic tale artfully blending mysticism and current affairs’ – Arwa Damon Senior International Correspondent”

My Review

 

It’s always great when someone uses their knowledge to enhance a story and Khan used his experience and knowledge to such a great advantage to bring us this book. In Truth, Madness reads a lot like speculative/contemporary fiction but it keeps throwing curveballs with the inclusion of the book and the fantasy undertones. There’s this question put to Malek now in his 40s whether there’s a god, he’s staunch in his lack of belief. But what happens to his lack of faith when he’s suddenly and seemingly given the power to determine a person’s fate, or at least weigh in.

And is this really such a heavenly gift?

Up to a certain point, it all flows together in supreme cohesion but eventually Khan guides and Malek toward the deeper depths of his novel and it’s at that point where it almost felt like I was reading another book. Still, it was so enjoyable and the whole time you are as much in the dark as Malek, you may have hints or inklings but there’s no sure way of knowing the truth. What’s real and what’s fake? Is this a mental breakdown from seeing the many horrid truths there are in the world or is this something greater than Malek?

He has a huge spiritual journey and not just in the faith of possible religion but in his own personal growth and it’s interesting to see how his life evolves, including his relationships with those he works with.

I really enjoyed this read and found myself being put through a read that I both appreciated for its honesty of the world and its problems and the heart it had in its faith, which rested quite a bit on humanity.

Thank you to Unbounders and Anne Cater for a copy of this to review honestly as part of the blog tour.

About the Author

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Having kickstarted his career in the heady world of 1990s independent magazine publishing with work on Dazed and Confused, and launching seminal style title 2nd Generation, Imran Khan jumped into the mainstream with BBC London – hosting radio shows on popular culture, arts and news as the millennium approached. Despite having a face for radio, in 2001 he produced a series of short documentaries for BBC Newsnight, Britain’s leading current affairs programme. His work was noticed in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks and Channel 4 commissioned the award-winning film “The Hidden Jihad”, which he wrote and presented. Imran subsequently moved full-time into TV news, working as a BBC producer and correspondent reporting from Lebanon, London and Qatar, with freelance stints in Afghanistan and Iraq. 
He became a correspondent for Al Jazeera English in 2005 and is known for his extensive reporting from Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Palestine and Libya, as well covering the Arab Spring and the conflict in Syria. He continues to work as a correspondent for Al Jazeera English, dividing his time between the Middle East, South Asia and London.

 

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Station Fosaan – Blog Tour

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Blurb:
Scientists and their families stationed on the remote planet of Fosaan were promised a tropical vacation-like experience. But Fosaan, devastated from an apocalyptic event nearly 300 years ago, is full of lethal predators and dangerous terrain. Earthers are forbidden to go beyond the safety zone of their settlement and must not engage the remaining reclusive Fosaanians, native to the planet. 16-year-old Quinn Neen is about to do both of those things.
During an unsanctioned exploration of the planet, Quinn discovers a Fosaanian girl named Mira stealing food from his family’s living unit. But before he can convince her to show him around, scientists are taken captive, leaving Quinn and the other young Earthers at the mercy of space raiders.
Quinn must go from renegade to leader and convince Mira to become an ally in a fight against an enemy whose very existence threatens their lives and the future of Earthers stuck on Fosaan and at home.

Book Information:
Title: Station Fosaan
Author: Dee Garretson
Publication Date: February 14th, 2017
Genre: YA Sci-Fi/ Space Opera/ Post-Apocalypse
GoodReads Link

Where to Buy

Amazon US | Barnes&Noble | Indiebound

 

My Review

I love when I’m pleasantly surprised by a book and Station Fosaan did that for me! Don’t get me wrong, I did pick this book to be on the tour for, but it’d been so long I wondered if I was going to want to read it just as much as I had the first time I read the blurb.

I did.

And.

It was such an enjoyable read! Quinn was a sixteen-year-old who loved science and when faced with a pretty girl who just appears in his house, Mira, he’s a bit taken with her. What I love though is that it’s not ‘insta-love’ he’s a boy curious about the native girl in his kitchen, and he develops a crush. It’s sweet, and it’s natural feeling the way Garretson wrote it. Since the tale is from his point of view in first person, the crush is quite one-sided as he has no idea what she’s feeling or thinking and again I really appreciated that. Also, he’s not completely stuck on her, which when faced with some dangerous moments. I like that Garretson had Quinn preoccupied with keeping safe versus ‘mooning’ over Mira.

Mira is fascinating and I can’t wait to find out more about her. This is the first tale in the Torch World Series and the ending leaves you wanting to jump right into the next one.

The planet is fascinating and I loved to dislike Ansun, but on the same token, I was completely on board for learning as much as I could about the natives of the planet and not just them but the natural wildlife and the history, I wanted more.

Overall a really solid start to this YA Sci-Fi/Space Opera series, I’ve already gotten the prequel and the second book in the series off Amazon and plan to go jump into the series again!

Thank you to Reeds&Reels for a chance to read and review this in exchange for my honest review as part of the blog tour.

 

About the Author

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Dee writes middle grade, young adult and adult fiction under her own name and also writes for the Boxcar Children series under the original author’s name. She lives in Cincinnati, Ohio with her family in a book-cluttered house surrounded by a semi-wild garden. Her two cats Piper and Poppy are her writing companions and the stars of Skype visits with book clubs. When Dee is not writing or reading, she is most likely watching old movies, cooking treats to go along with book reading or trying to learn to make jewelry.

Author Links

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

 

Giveaway!

Giveaway GoodiesA paperback copy, a key chain/backpack clip and a signed bookmark.  *North America Only*

Click Here or on the Pic to be directed to Rafflecopter for the Giveaway

 

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This blog tour was organized by R&R Book Tours

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The Wild Book – Blog Tour

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Blurb:
The Wild Book is the YA debut of one of Mexico’s foremost authors: a wondrous adventure story of a boy who goes to live with his kooky, book-obsessed uncle in a library where books have supernatural powers.
Thirteen-year-old Juan’s summer is off to a terrible start. First, his parents separate. Then, almost as bad, Juan is sent away to his strange Uncle Tito’s house for the entire holiday! Who wants to live with an oddball recluse who has zigzag eyebrows, drinks fifteen cups of smoky tea a day, and lives inside a huge, mysterious library? As Juan adjusts to his new life among dusty shelves, he notices something odd: the books move on their own! He rushes to tell Uncle Tito, who lets his nephew in on a secret: Juan is a Princeps Reader, which means books respond magically to him, and he’s the only one who can find the elusive, never-before-read Wild Book.
But will Juan and his new friend Catalina get to The Wild Book before the wicked, story-stealing Pirate Book does? An unforgettable adventure story about books, libraries, and the power of reading. Shy and uncertain, Juan learns from his uncle what makes him special, and how to embrace his uniqueness.
Featuring both a child of marital separation and a blind character, The Wild Book offers an opportunity for parents to introduce their children to the important issues of divorce and disability. Braille books are a major plot point, and there is no line drawn between the disabled and abled: we are all just lovers of stories.

The Wild Book is a YA debut by one of Mexico’s best-known authors.

It has sold over 1.3 million copies in Spanish.

Book Information:
Written by: Juan Villoro
Translated by: Lawrence Schimel
Published by: HopeRoad Publishing
Genre: MG Fantasy – Translated Fiction [Age Range 10 – 14]
Publication Date: September 21, 2019
Price: £8.99
Format: Paperback Original, Ebook available

My Review

This was such a lovely read, I was so happy to get a chance to read this, it was a wave of nostalgia for me. I had not read this before but for me, it was reminiscent of The Magician’s Nephew; in the way that it was a boy discovering more than he thought possible and for the simple fact that it felt like I was discovering magic all over again as I had as a child while reading.

MG fiction can be a great way for authors to give children messages about the real world while enchanting them and Villoro does a great job with this. Juan’s world is changing as he knows it, and though he is at first upset to be separated from his mother, he is thrown into a world that is both magical and filled with the small little lessons/steps to accepting change.

Villoro and Schimel bring such a whimsical tale to the table, the style as I mentioned earlier was enchanting for me.

By far my favorite character was Juan’s Uncle Tito. I also LOVED that in the end, it was probably him and Juan both that learned the greatest lessons. The library filled with books full of promise and adventure and Juan dealt with problems that many children face and the ending was perfect for this book.

Uncle Tito learns that there is more than the wonder of books, that people can be just as wonderful to have in your life and Juan on the flip side learns the wonder of books and that they can be wonderful and transport you to people.

I highly recommend this book for children who love magic no matter their age number of 10 or 100. Five cups of coffee from me!

Thank you to Anne Cater and HopeRoad Publishing for a copy of the book and being part of the tour in exchange for my honest opinion.

 

About the Author

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Juan Villoro is Mexico’s most prolific, prize-winning author, playwright, journalist, and screenwriter. His books have been translated into multiple languages. Several of his books have appeared in English, including his celebrated 2016 essay collection on soccer, God Is Round (Restless Books). Villoro lives in Mexico City and is a visiting lecturer at Yale and Princeton universities.

 

About the Translator

Lawrence Schimel is an award-winning author and translator of books. He lives in Madrid and New York City.

 

About the Publisher

HopeRoad, set up in 2012, specialises in writers and writing from and about Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. Their aim is to give a voice to writers and stories that might otherwise be missed by the mainstream book trade.

 

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