Saturday 17 September 2022

Blog Tour - The Mensch - Leopold Borstinski



Alex Cohen has always been a man of integrity, honour and noble character, or Mensch, despite being a gangster, so what a fitting title for the final novel in this exceptional series.

Throughout his career Alex has rubbed shoulders with many well known historical figures from Fidel Castro to Frank Sinatra, but he knows that his career is coming to a close and he has several loose ends that require tying up. As he grows older he knows that he no longer instills fear in people like he used to and he's also aware that the FBI are still sniffing around, so severing ties and making businesses legitimate are very high on his list of things to do - but will he manage to get everything done in time?

The Mensch is another cleverly written book which has actual events weaving through it's pages, making it a compelling read. I've learned a lot about the history of organised crime and I'll now be seeking outother books on this subject - well everyday is a school day isn't it?

I've absolutely loved this series right from the get go. Alex is a bad guy but with a heart of gold and it's for that reason that I always find myself liking him more and more. I'm sorry to have to say goodbye to him but I'm happy I wasn't left with a feeling of having unfinished business, as the author deftly pulled everything together for a very satisfying conclusion and even threw in a few unexpected twists along the way.

I honestly can't recommend this whole series enough. If you enjoy historical fiction, crime novels or just have an interest in gangsters, then this fabulous series could be just what you're looking for.

You can follow the rest of the tour with these great blogs:

 With kind thanks to Zoe at Zooloo's Book Tours for my stop on the tour and author Leopold Borstinksi for my review copy.


Sunday 4 September 2022

The Maids of Biddenden - GD Harper


I always enjoy reading historical fiction and even more so if it's inspired by real life so when I heard about The Maids of Biddenden I instantly knew it was a book that I wanted to read and I'm so pleased that I did. This book is stunning!

The Maids of Biddenden were twins Mary and Eliza Chulkhurst who were born into a wealthy Kent family in 1100, but they were no ordinary twins as they were conjoined. Said to have been joined at the shoulder and the hip, back in these times  their existence simultaneously horrified and amazed the common person and they were often thought to have been seen as a sign of the devil or an evil omen sent to expose some sin or even witchcraft in the local community. Needless to say that life wasn't easy for them right from the start but the girls soldier on and soon they find that they arer no longer just surviving, they are positively thriving!

I fell in love with Mary and Eliza right off the bat. Meeting them when they were just 6 years old and hidden away from sight being cared for by the local nuns, it was clear that despite their unfortunate condition, they both had their own individual personalities. They think that everyone is born like them and that one day they will go through a 'splitting' after which they will each be able to live their lives independently. The day that they realise that this procedure is never going to happen and that they are different was so exquisitely written it actually broke my heart to read it.

This is one of the best fiction based on fact novels I've ever read. GD Harper has managed to perfectly blend local legend and his imagination together in such a seamless fashion that doesn't feel in any way cumbersome to read. We have no way of knowing their real story but I'd love to think that their lives played out as told in this book. The sisters were an inspirational pair who showed courage, strength and tenacity. They overcame adversity and wanted to give back to their community and if the local folklore is to be believed, they founded a charity and to this day Biddenden cakes are given out and can also be purchased as souvenirs. The authors notes at the end of the book were particularly fascinating and they added to my overall enjoyment of the book, which then lead me to our favouorite search engine to seewhat else I could discover.

If historical fiction is your thing - actually no, forget that,  not just historcial fictions fans - I think The Maids of Biddenden has a universal appeal for anyone who appreciates a great book and loves to lose themself in a fantastic story!


                                                About the author

Photo courtesy of GD Harper

I now live in East Sussex, not far from Biddenden in Kent, which is the setting for my latest novel, The Maids of Biddenden, set in the 12th century. My next novel is also historical fiction, set in Kent in the 16th century.

I became a full-time author in 2016. My writing was placed third in the Lightship Prize for first-time authors and has won a 2016 Wishing Shelf Award Red Ribbon, been shortlisted for the 2021 Impress Prize, longlisted for the 2017 UK Novel Writing Competition, the Wishing Shelf 2018 awards, the 2020 Page Turner Writer Award, the 2021 Flash 500 Award, the 2021 Impress Prize and the 2021 Exeter Novel Prize.

You can find out more about GD Harper, his books and connect with his using the links below:


With kind thanks to author GD Harper for my review copy.

Sunday 17 July 2022

Blog Tour - The Liar's Promise - Mark Tilbury


Today I'm part of the blog tour for the relaunch of The Liar's Promise by the fabulously twisted author Mark Tilbury. I read this book for the first time back in December of 2017 and I still remember the Tall Man, albeit not fondly! Here is my review from back then.

When Mel takes her four year old daughter Chloe to the local theatre, she is stunned when Chloe starts screaming, refusing to go any further than the foyer because she's afraid of the 'Tall Man' and she doesn't want to die. Nothing will calm her down so Mel takes her home, manages to calm her daughter down and settle her into bed, but this unsettling incident is just the beginning of a very eventful night!

Over the course of the next few days Chloe's behaviour changes dramatically, she draws pictures, talks about horrific events in the first person and makes frequent references to the 'Tall Man' who is coming to kill them.

Not knowing who to turn to she decides to talk to Charles Honeywell, the headmaster at the school where she works, unaware that he is very closely connected to the events that her daughter is talking about and by speaking to him about it she has potentially made the situation a whole lot worse.

I won't tell you any more about the plot but what I will say is that I'm pretty sure that you won't be able to put this book down, I know I couldn't!

After I read The Abattoir of Dreams I knew that Mark Tilbury was a talented author who was capable of freaking me out with his writing but I had no idea just how far he could get under my skin, and he did just that with The Liar's Promise. This book was so creepy I was convinced that I was going to have nightmares each night as I was reading it before turning off the light and snuggling down under my duvet. All sorts of disturbing images were flying around my head, the Tall Man, an innocent looking child's doll, an array of coloured freezers. . . . . nope I'm not going back there again as I've only just managed to get the images out of my head.

I absolutely loved this book, despite the fact that it freaked me out so much, which is a testament to the author's writing. It's a fast-paced book that will drag you kicking and screaming to places that you never want to go, it's gruesome, it's sick, it's twisted, it's dark, it's disturbing and I can't wait to see what comes next from this outstanding author!

Needless to say Mark has gone on to write several fantastic books since then and if you haven't read any of them yet you really should! 

You can follow the rest of the tour with these fantastic blogs:


Sunday 3 July 2022

The Cottage on Winter Moss - Allie Cresswell


Dee is an author who has known huge success with her work but is now finding herself struggling to find a new story to tell. Her situation is made worse by the fact that she is no longer happy in her relationship with actor Ivor. Currently out of work, he is more than happy to let Dee support him while he galavants off to who knows where, doing who knows what and even landing her with a dog to take care of. Dee has been pushed to her limit and decides that it's time to move on, so she packs a bag and her new four-legged companion, Bob and hits the road. With no actual destination in mind, she finds herself in a small out of the way village near the sea, where she's fortunate enough to find a cottage to rent for the winter. Hopeful of finding the inspiration she so desperately seeks she sets out to explore the local area and very soon the elusive story comes to her but at what cost to the locals of Journey's End?

This is the first novel that I've read by this author and I was blown away by it. The dual timeline story was a clever blend of historical fiction and modern day literarture with a wonderful sprinkling of lyrical prose. The descriptions of the landscape were so vivid I could picture them clearly as well as smelling the salty sea air and struggling to see through the mist and rain. The more I read, the more it felt like the landscape was a character in its own right and very reminiscent of Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens.

The characters were so well drawn and developed that I felt like I knew them all personally and that I'd been welcomed into their tight knit community along with Dee. I came to care about them all and was especially happy for little Bob who was clearly living his best life running around in all the open space sniffing everything in sight!

The Cottage on Winter Moss is a superbly written novel which will appeal to a mulitude of readers but especially if you love family sagas, historical fiction, dual timeline and literary fiction. Don't be put off by the length of the book, it's over 500 pages, but it's not padded out with unnecessary text like other books I've read in the past. It's a truly spellbinding read and I can't recommend it highly enough. It's a novel which deserves to be savoured and my only regret is that I didn't read it slower! I don't know how Allie Creswell and her books have gone under my reading radar but I will definitely be seeking out her other books in the future.

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                                                 About the author

Photo taken from authors website


Allie Cresswell is the recipient of two coveted One Stop Fiction Five Star Awards and three Readers' Favorite Awards.

Allie was born in Stockport, UK and began writing fiction as soon as she could hold a pencil.

Allie recalls: 'I was about 8 years old. Our teacher asked us to write about a family occasion and I launched into a detailed, harrowing and entirely fictional account of my grandfather's funeral. I think he died very soon after I was born; certainly I have no memory of him and definitely did not attend his funeral, but I got right into the details, making them up as I went along (I decided he had been a Vicar, which I spelled 'Vice'). My teacher obviously considered this outpouring very good bereavement therapy so she allowed me to continue with the story on several subsequent days, and I got out of maths and PE on a few occasions before I was rumbled.'

She went on to do a BA in English Literature at Birmingham University and an MA at Queen Mary College, London.

She has been a print-buyer, a pub landlady, a book-keeper, run a B & B and a group of boutique holiday cottages. Nowadays Allie writes full time having retired from teaching literature to lifelong learners.

She has two grown-up children, two granddaughters and two grandsons, is married to Tim and lives in Cumbria.

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You can find out more about Allie, her books and connect with her using the links below:



With kind thanks to author Allie Cresswell for my review copy in exchange for an honest review.