Saturday, 26 August 2017

#BlogTour: The Ashes of Berlin by Luke McCallin @noexitpress @mccallinluke #AshesofBerlin

Published in Paperback on 24th August 2017. My thanks to the author and the publisher for the review copy and Anne Cater for inviting me on the blog tour.

World War II is over, and former German intelligence officer Captain Gregor Reinhardt has returned to Berlin. He’s about to find that the bloodshed has not ended — and that for some, death is better than defeat. 

A year after Germany’s defeat, Reinhardt has been hired back onto Berlin’s civilian police force. The city is divided among the victorious allied powers, tensions are growing, and the police are riven by internal rivalries as factions within it jockey for power and influence with Berlin’s new masters. 

When a man is found slain in a broken-down tenement, Reinhardt embarks on a gruesome investigation. It seems a serial killer is on the loose, and matters only escalate when it’s discovered that one of the victims was the brother of a Nazi scientist. 

Reinhardt’s search for the truth takes him across the divided city and soon embroils him in a plot involving the Western Allies and the Soviets. And as he comes under the scrutiny of a group of Germans who want to continue the war — and faces an unwanted reminder from his own past — Reinhardt realises that this investigation could cost him everything as he pursues a killer who believes that all wrongs must be avenged… 

My Thoughts:

The Ashes of Berlin is the third book to feature former German intelligence officer Captain Gregor Reinhardt. I haven't read the others and found that this read well as a standalone with just enough of the back story present. However I most certainly will be going back and reading the other two. 

This is a difficult book to review because I really don't want to give to much of the plot away, this is something to be savoured by each individual reader, so I will keep it brief. It is post World War Two and Reinhardt is back on the police force and is investigating suspicious deaths. A position that could potentially put him grave danger.

The author has managed to capture a Berlin at a time when tensions were rife, everybody was unsettled and full of mistrust. Divisions amongst society still exist, for some the war isn't over. 

Reinhardt is excellently written and a perfectly drawn protagonist in the telling of this story, a character not without his faults and flaws, I liked him very much. Whilst full of mystery and intrigue and all the things that keep me entertained as a reader it is the characterisations that really make this story come alive. 

Excellently and meticulously researched and full of atmosphere, The Ashes of Berlin is a compelling and complex read. It really was a rewarding experience to read. This story has an excellent plot line and is a realistic and absorbing read. It doesn't go along at a hurtling pace but is more of a simmering plot that allows the palpable tension to breath of off every page. 

Really recommend this one.


About the Author:
Luke McCallin was born in 1972 in Oxford, grew up in Africa, went to school around the world and has worked with the United Nations as a humanitarian relief worker and peacekeeper in the Caucasus, the Sahel, and the Balkans. His experiences have driven his writing, in which he explores what happens to normal people - those stricken by conflict, by disaster - put under abnormal pressures. He lives with his wife and two children in an old farmhouse in France in the Jura Mountains. He has a master's degree in political science, speaks French, and can just get by in Russian. When he's not working or writing, he enjoys reading history, playing the drums, and heading into the mountains for a run.

Please do have a look at the other stops on the blog tour.



Friday, 18 August 2017

#BlogTour: Last Stop Tokyo by James Buckler @DoubledayUK #LastStopTokyo

Published by Doubleday/Transworld on 24th August 2017. My thanks to the publisher for the review copy and to Anne Cater for inviting me on to the blog tour.

The funny thing with suffering is just when you think you’ve suffered enough, you realize it’s only the beginning.

Alex thought running away would make everything better. Six thousand miles from the mistakes he’s made and the people he’s hurt, Tokyo seems like the perfect escape. A new life, a new Alex.

The bright lights and dark corners of this alien and fascinating city intoxicate him, and he finds himself transfixed by this country, which feels like a puzzle that no one can quite explain. And when Alex meets the enigmatic and alluring Naoko, the peace he sought slips ever further from his grasp.

After all, trust is just betrayal waiting to happen and Alex is about to find out that there’s no such thing as rock bottom. There’s always the chance it’ll get worse . . .

My Thoughts:

Last Stop Tokyo is the debut novel by exciting author James Buckler. I found it intriguing and highly compelling, I was drawn in by the writing style and hooked after the very first chapters. 

Alex is an English teacher and goes to Japan, as a means of escape. He has a craving for anonymity. Things however do not run smoothly for him, a spiral of destruction leads him into dire situations. 

He meets Naoko, who is a lady that he is almost compelled to, so drawn is he to her. What ensues is a gripping roller coaster of a read, that I was utterly beguiled by.

Tokyo itself is described in vivid detail, the bright lights of the big city, the noise and the hustle and bustle. There is always an undercurrent here though, one of imminent danger, a certain edge to the Tokyo that is described in this story. One where foreigners may not be fully welcomed. 

The unlikeable characters, give the story depth and dimension and a certain hazardous reality to events.

At 280 pages, Last Stop Tokyo, packs quite a punch, it has an excellent finale, and a build up to it that is enough to keep the reader sitting on the edge of their seat. Most definitely one of the most original and satisfying novels I have read this year.

I would love to read more from James Buckler in the future, a bright fresh talent. 

About the Author:

James Buckler grew up in the South West of England and currently lives in London. In the past he lived in America and Japan, where he worked as an English teacher, providing inspiration for Last Stop Tokyo. He studied Film at the University of Westminster and worked in film & TV for many years, most notably as a post-production specialist for MTV and BBC Films. Last Stop Tokyo is his debut novel.



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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

#BlogTour: Behind Her Back by Jane Lythell #BehindHerBack @janelythell @HoZ_Books

Behind Her Back is published by Head of Zeus on 10th August 2017. My thanks to the publishers and the author for the review copy and having me on the blog tour.

Liz Lyon is a television producer and busy single mum to a teenage daughter. She works at StoryWorld, the UK's favourite morning show. As both confidante and team leader, she is the person tasked with controlling the conflicts and tantrums that flare up off-air. Having just started dating again, she's also having to deal with a few conflicts and tantrums at home...
Following a blissfully peaceful two-week holiday in Italy, Liz has returned to find a new colleague has joined the station. Lori Kerwell has been brought in to increase the show's profitability. But Liz is not sure that's the only thing on Lori's agenda.
As Lori builds her power base with the bosses, Liz finds herself wondering what's really going on behind her back...
My Thoughts:
I am delighted to have been invited on the blog tour for Behind Her Back, which is the second in the StoryWorld series. I read the first Woman of the Hour last year, and you can see what I thought of that here. If you haven't read Woman of the Hour then I would suggest that you should, although Behind Her Back reads well as a standalone novel. 
I thoroughly enjoyed returning to StoryWorld and its many egos and characters. Once again the character of Liz Lyon jumps off of the page, a strong, independent woman who manages to hold down a highly pressured job whilst being a single mum. I like her a lot. Her work and home life are definitely split and I really enjoyed the scenes when she is at home with her daughter Flo in Chalk Farm. Home is where Liz can relax and feel at peace from the frenetic pace of her work life. 
Liz has just returned from holiday and changes are afoot at StoryWorld. There is a new member of staff Lori Kerwell and it is a sure thing that things aren't going to be plain sailing. Fizzy, who we met in Woman of the Hour has had her baby. Liz knows a secret about that and as such is in a tricky position. Fizzy has such a big ego and I still didn't find her particularly likeable, although certainly relevant and adds much weight to the story.  
Drama and tension ensue as the pace of the work environment is relentless and everyone seems to be looking out for and after themselves. I loved escaping back into StoryWorld, a place that is unfamiliar to me and yet the traits and dynamics of the characters are certainly ones I have come across in my working life. 
Once again Jane Lythell has written an absorbing, current and engaging story that just hooked me in with enough drama and tension of another day at the office. There is great insight in this book about issues many face, particularly work-life balance, single parenthood and the pressures on people to succeed in a competitive and highly lucrative workplace. 
Highly recommended. 

About the Author:
Jane Lythell worked as a TV Producer for fifteen years. This has provided much of the inspiration for Woman of the Hour. She lives in Brighton. She has also written two other novels, After the Storm and The Lie of You. She has also worked at the British Film Institute, BAFTA and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. She now writes full time.
You can find Jane here:

Twitter: @janelythell 
Facebook: Jane Lythell Author
Instagram: jane_lythell_writer
Blog: http://chroniclesofchloegreene.blogspot.co.uk/



Please do have a look at some of the other stops on the blog tour.