#BlogTour #Review Stilettos and Stardust by D.L Pitchford @dlpitchford #RandomThingsTours #StilettosAndStardust

Title: Stilettos and Stardust by D.L. Pitchford

Publisher: Straight on till Morningside Prints

Date Published: 19th May 2019

Genre: YA Romance

Description:

A modern day Cinderella with a twist…

When high school seniors Noah Barton and Eden Prince’s academic rivalry ruins a thermodynamics demo, their physics teacher decides to help them get along. By forcing them to be lab partners.

As graduation approaches, Noah and Eden are too busy figuring out college to deal with each other. Noah’s football-loving dad sabotages his chance to win a big scholarship. Eden’s traditional mother cares more about finding her a serious boyfriend than encouraging her dreams.

Winning big at the regional science fair is their last hope.

Will Noah follow in his astronaut mother’s footsteps? Can Eden show her parents the environment is more important than any relationship? Will Noah and Eden finally learn to work together?

Follow Noah and Eden’s budding romance in this emotionally charged, gender-swapped retelling of Cinderella.

Stilettos & Stardust BT Poster

Review:

I jumped at the chance to read Stardust and Stilettos as Cinderella is one of my favourite Disney movies and just reminds me of my childhood. There’s also the added bonus of being a gender swap retelling too which I’m always a fan of.

Poor Noah, his mum, a famous scientist and astronaut, dies after a mission gone wrong. He gets an acceptance letter for the same university as his mum went to but his father refuses to pay for it, determined to go he goes about trying to win the money.

His only problem standing between him and his goal is his high school competitor and nemesis Eden. He thinks she arrogant, selfish and basically insane.

They are forced to be lab partners but as they find themselves growing closer, is there more to their relationship than they first thought?

Now I went into this thinking it was going to be a light fluffy read but there’s actually a lot more emotional depth in this story.

It’s told from both Eden and Noah’s perspectives so you really get to know the characters a lot better and get both sides of the story.

Yes it does have the trope of a dead/seriously ill parent but I think the author makes this her own, really communicating her characters pain and the different ways people grieve.

I have to be honest it wasn’t until after I’d read it and really thought about it I got a few of Cinderella references but I wouldn’t have said this was an obvious retelling.

Stilettos and Stardust is a really emotional and compelling story and a must for fans of YA romance.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

YA and NA author D. L. Pitchford is best known for her brutally honest stories and realistic characters.DL Pitchford Author Pic

Throughout her childhood, art and literature were encouraged in every form. Pitchford fell in love with The Lord of the Rings, The Dark Is Rising, and Harry Potter. By age ten, she wrote her first fantasy book. Her love of writing grew exponentially.

In 2013, Pitchford received her BA in English, Writing, and Fine Arts from Drury University. During her studies, she focused on the human condition and penned the first scenes of her debut novel. IF WE HAD NO WINTER released April 2017 and has been commended for its gritty tone and character growth.

Pitchford lives with her husband and two sons in Springfield, Missouri, where she continues writing young and new adult novels.

Website: http://www.dlpitchford.com/

Twitter @dlpitchford

Author Page on Facebook

Instagram @dlpitchford

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#BlogTour #Review The Gemini Experiment by Brian Pinkerton @FlameTreePress @annecater #RandomThingsTours

Title: The Gemini Experiment by Brian Pinkerton

Publisher: Flame Tree Press

Publication Date: 30th May 2019

Genre: Science Fiction

Description:

In a secret lab, a team of doctors and scientists funded by a mysterious billionaire create the first human replica entirely from technology. The robot is prepared to host the digitized consciousness of Tom Nolan, a family man suffering from a terminal illness.

But when Tom’s replica escapes before the transfer can take place, he is faced with the horrors of an alter ego bent on death and destruction. When the experiment draws the attraction of spies, Tom is caught up in an international crisis with a showdown that could change the course of the world.

The Gemini Experiment BT Poster

Review:

Wow, where to start with The Gemini Experiment. I just couldn’t predict what would happen next while I was reading it!

Tom Nolan is your average guy with a good heart and happy family life, until he’s struck down with Lowrey’s disease which is a bit like motor neurons disease. He looking at a death sentence until his old friend offers him a chance at eternal life in the form of secret project funded by a mysterious billionaire.

He has his reservations but agrees, his likeness is used to create a prototype. Before they can put him into his new body they test it out with another person, a convicted felon who is dying of cancer.

The felon escapes inside the robot and commits crimes which are pinned on Tom. His hopes of being cured go down the drain but more sinister things are in play which could change the fate of humanity.

I started reading it, I thought to myself this would make such a good movie! There’s so much action, plenty of twists and good dollop of life or death situations. It’s not overly technical, so if like me you like sci-fi but don’t have the greatest knowledge of anything scientific I would definitely recommend it.

With regards to the robots, I also felt everything was explained well and I didn’t have any real questions.

I know this is science fiction but there were times where I thought to myself this actually might happen in the future! As the book went along though, I did think it got a little more out there and unrealistic but of course that’s just my opinion.

The Gemini Experiment is pure action packed sci-fi entertainment from beginning to end.

About The Author:

Brian Pinkerton tells stories to frighten, amuse and intrigue. He is the author of novels and short stories in the thriller, horror, science fiction and mystery genres.Brian Pinkerton Author Pic

His books include Abducted (a USA Today bestseller), Vengeance, Anatomy of Evil, Killer’s Diary, Rough Cut, Bender, Killing the Boss and How I Started the Apocalypse (atrilogy). Select titles have also been released as audio books and in foreign languages.

His short stories have appeared in PULP!, Chicago Blues, Zombie Zoology and The Horror Zine. Brian has been a guest author and panelist at the San Diego Comic Con, American Library Association annual conference, World Horror Convention and many other literary and genre events.

His screenplays have finished in the top 100 of Project Greenlight and top two percent of the Nicholl Fellowship of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Three of the scripts have been compiled in a collection, Unreleased.

Brian received his B.A. from the University of Iowa, where he took undergraduate classes of the Iowa Writers Workshop. He received his Master’s Degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. Brian lives in the Chicago area and invites you to visit him on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter and at http://www.brianpinkerton.com. Brian is also a cartoonist and his web site includes his deranged cartoon series, The Ruts.

#BlogTour #Review Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech @LouiseWriter @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours

Title: Call Me Star Girl by Louise Beech

Publisher: Orenda Books

Date Published: 18th April 2019

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Description:

Tonight is the night for secrets…

Pregnant Victoria Valbon was brutally murdered in an alley three weeks ago – and her killer hasn’t been caught. Tonight is Stella McKeever’s final radio show. The theme is secrets. You tell her yours, and she’ll share some of hers.

Stella might tell you about Tom, a boyfriend who likes to play games, about the mother who abandoned her, now back after twelve years.

She might tell you about the perfume bottle with the star-shaped stopper, or about her father …

What Stella really wants to know is more about the mysterious man calling the station … who says he knows who killed Victoria, and has proof. Tonight is the night for secrets, and Stella wants to know everything…

With echoes of the chilling Play Misty for Me, Call Me Star Girl is a taut, emotive and all-consuming psychological thriller that plays on our deepest fears, providing a stark reminder that stirring up dark secrets from the past can be deadly…

Review:

I want to thank Anne Cater for inviting me on this blog tour and Orenda books for providing me with a copy of Call Me Star Girl.

So this is actually the first novel I’ve read by Louise Beech and her first foray into psychological thrillers.

This was such a beautifully written and at times poignant story, which surprised me how emotionally invested I got with the characters.

We follow Stella for her last broadcast, going backwards and forwards in her life and how she ended up at this point. The mystery of the death of pregnant Victoria Valbon hangs over her, a man phones the station claims he knows what happened to Victoria that night. Stella wants to know what he know but what will happen when she knows everything?

Stella is a damaged individual, abandoned by her mother when she was twelve, she never knew her father. She’s determined to not bore anyone and flits from one relationship to the other not getting close, that is until Tom. Their relationship is intense, dark and even at times a little disturbing, constantly playing games with each other.

Then her mother reappears in her life. I can’t say I much liked her, hate would probably be too strong a word. As a mother I found it hard to compute abandoning your child for whatever reason, even now when son is a moody teenager 99% of the time!

My only complaint was I felt the mystery aspect was not the strongest in the overall story, in fact I found I wanted a little bit more from it, I’m greedy I know!

Call Me Star Girl is a beautiful and at times haunting story, that will chill you to your core.

call me star girl blog poster 2019

About The Author:

Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was aLouise Beech Author Photo Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her short fiction has won the Glass Woman Prize, the Eric Hoffer Award for Prose, and the Aesthetica Creative Works competition, as well as shortlisting for the Bridport Prize twice. Louise lives with her husband on the outskirts of Hull, and loves her job as a Front of House Usher at Hull Truck Theatre, where her first play was performed in 2012.

#BlogTour #Review The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl (translation by Don Bartlett) @ko_dahl @OrendaBooks #RandomThingsTours

Title: The Courier by Kjell Ola Dahl (translated by Don Bartlett)

Publisher: Orenda Books

Date Published: 21st January 2019

Genre: Thriller/Historical/Espionage

Description:

In Oslo in 1942, Jewish courier Ester is betrayed, narrowly avoiding arrest by the Gestapo. In great haste, she escapes to Sweden whilst the rest of her family is deported to Auschwitz. In Stockholm, Ester meets the resistance hero, Gerhard Falkum, who has left his little daughter and fled both the Germans and allegations that he murdered his wife, Åse, Ester’s childhood best friend. A relationship develops between them, but ends abruptly when Falkum dies in a fire.

And yet, twenty-five years later, Falkum shows up in Oslo. He wants to reconnect with his daughter Turid. But where has he been, and what is the real reason for his return? Ester stumbles across information that forces her to look closely at her past, and to revisit her war-time training to stay alive…

Written with Dahl’s trademark characterisation and clever plotting, The Courier sees one of Norway’s most critically- acclaimed authors at his best, as he takes on one of the most horrifying periods of modern history. With its sophisticated storytelling and elegant prose, this stunning and compelling wartime thriller is reminiscent of the writing of John Le Carré and William Boyd.

courier blog poster 2019

Review:

I want to thank Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me on this blog tour and providing me with a copy of The Courier.

The Courier is told using multiple timelines, 1942, 1967 and finally 2015. We follow the story of Ester, a young Jewish woman who risks her life to be part of the resistance. After a near miss with the police, Ester flees to Sweden leaving her life behind. Later she finds out that her friend was murdered and blamed on her partner, Gerhard Falkum.

Twenty five years later Gerhard is back, to reconnect with his daughter Turid but is that really why?

The terror and uncertainty of WWII really oozes from the pages of The Courier. It’s packed with vivid descriptions and fascinating characters that will transport you back in time while sitting in the comfort of your own home.

As many of you know if you’ve been reading this blog for a while, I love a novel that teaches me something. I had no idea that the Nazi managed to infiltrate countries like Norway and started persecuting Jews too.

I liked the character of Ester, she’s so strong, having to face such danger and heartbreak, having to run from her own country leaving behind her family and friends, determined to survive.

This is a really intricately plot novel but sometimes I felt that I got a bit lost between the back and forth of the timeline.

I’d recommend The Courier to anyone who loves a good historical spy thriller, full of tension, terror and intrigue.

About The Author:

One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Kjell Ola Dahl was born in 1958 in Gjøvik. He madeKjell Ola Dahl-Rolf-M-Aagaard his debut in 1993, and has since published eleven novels, the most prominent of which is a series of police procedurals cum psychological thrillers featuring investigators Gunnarstranda and Frølich. In 2000 he won the Riverton Prize for The Last Fix and he won both the prestigious Brage and Riverton Prizes for The Courier in 2015. His work has been published in 14 countries, and he lives in Oslo.

#BlogTour #GuestPost #NowhereGirls by Teuta Metra @Teuta_Metra @annecater #RandomThingsTours

Today I’m excited to bring you a guest post and extract from Nowhere Girls by Teuta Metra but first a little about the book:

Title: Nowhere Girls by Teuta Metra

Date Published: 8th February 2019

Genre: Literary Fiction

Description:

Friends Alba and Sara could not be more different. While Alba is forcing her way into the upper echelons of Albanian’s richest and most powerful, Sara is working more than one job as a struggling journalist. Both desperate to escape their corrupt country, they’re quickly dragged into a sordid world of politics and lies.

When tragedy strikes their friend Ina, the two women must come together to save her little boy. Can they put away their troubles and secure a better future for the child? Or will their past catch up with them?

NOWHERE GIRLS is a thrilling tale of love, lies and the lengths a woman will go to for freedom.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nowhere-Girls-Teuta-Metra-ebook/dp/B07NCY2Q26/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1549383008&sr=1-1&keywords=nowhere+girls+teuta+metra

Nowhere Girls Blog Tour Poster

Guest Post:

This is one of my favourite parts of the book. Ina sends her best friend Sara a letter from beyond the grave. Like many women in Albania, Ina is suffering at the hands of an abusive husband with no way to defend herself, no money and no support network. It’s easy for those living in other countries to expect a woman in her position to have somewhere to go – but in Albania, most women don’t have a voice. This letter was hard to write because I’ve known many women in her position. I needed to readers to understand her plight.

It’s also the turning point in the book. It’s this letter that forces Sara to work with Alba and rescue her godson from a country they all fear.

Dear Sara,

If you are reading this letter, then I’m already gone. I knew my luck would run out eventually with that man. Please don’t judge Ardit too harshly. He wasn’t always this bad, but life, the people he hung around with and the suffering we have endured have made him like that. He started drinking more in Thessaloniki. Things went from bad to worse when we arrived back in Albania. We lost everything in Greece because of the crisis – our jobs, money, our home. When we got back to Albania, he started gambling, telling me he would make everything right again. He lost us the last of our savings I’d somehow managed to gather in Greece. Any guilt or remorse he felt he just drank away, blotted it out. It made him forget how bad things really were.

I rang him one night. Johan was very ill with fever and I was afraid. His friends mocked him: you better run home to your wife. Your boss. He became more violent that night, and ever since then, the violence never stopped. He hit me hard. I ended up with a black eye and a cracked rib. I felt sorry for Johan. He cried and screamed, ‘Daddy, please don’t.’ That boy has seen things no child should see. I didn’t know how to walk away without making things worse for the children.

You were right, Sara, I rushed into marrying him and didn’t listen to anyone’s advice. I cheated. Yes, I cheated on him. Only once, I swear. He never found out. You’re the only one I’m telling my secret to. Please keep this to yourself. Don’t misuse my trust. I don’t want my children to ever find out. I often ask myself why I did it? At the time I saw it as an escape, I convinced myself that this handsome Russian man would rescue me and the children and whisk us away from our horrible lives. But in reality he only wanted one thing – and if I’m honest with myself, it was just nice to feel free and wanted for a short while. Afterwards I treasured that liaison, it was my secret revenge on Ardit. My own silent rebellion.

There’s something else I haven’t told him about. Alba has been putting money into my two grown children’s accounts. She is helping me a lot and, I must say, I never expected that from her. Perhaps I judged her poorly and she’s a lot kinder than I gave her credit for. This is why I kept it from you, Alba said you would be suspicious and I didn’t want to worry you.

Sara, here is the important part, if you’re reading this and something has happened to me – please look after Johan. He is your Godson and it pains me that the two of you never got to meet. I know we never managed to hold a proper baptism for him, but I’m sure God will forgive us under the circumstances.

I’m counting down the days until Ardit kills me. Isn’t that a terrible thing to say? I did what I could, I even told the police. I don’t know why I bothered. They laughed at me every time I went to the station, with black eyes and torn lips. There’s that whore again; they would say to one another. I wonder what she did this time to piss her poor husband off. I gave up expecting any help from them eventually.

My dear friend, I hope you are not crying. This letter wasn’t written to make you sad, but to ask for your help – you’re the only person who never pushed me away. I’m including 200 euros in this envelope – I know it’s not much but perhaps you can buy Johan a prom suit for his graduation. He’s seven now, but who knows how old he will be when you read this. I like the idea of Johan wearing something from me on his special day that I don’t expect to ever see, even if it’s only a pair of socks.

Please tell him that he had a mother who loved him very much. Take care of him, now that I am gone. And I love you too, so much. Never forget that. You were like my mother, my sister, my everything.

Ina x

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Now a fiction writer, Teuta Metra’s experience as an Albanian journalist has made her an expertTeuta Metra Author Picture on the struggles of women from her country. Author, journalist and teacher, Teuta now lives in The Netherlands with her husband and two sons. 

Twitter @Teuta_Metra

Website : http://www.teutametra.com/


#BlogTour #Review The Haunting of Henderson Close by Catherine Cavendish @flametreepress @Cat_Cavendish #RandomThingsTours

Title: The Haunting of Henderson Close by Catherine Cavendish

Publisher: Flame Tree Press

Date Published: 10th January 2019

Genre: Horror/Ghost Story

Description:

Ghosts have always walked there. Now they’re not alone…

In the depths of Edinburgh, an evil presence is released. Hannah and her colleagues are tour guides who lead their visitors along the spooky, derelict Henderson Close, thrilling them with tales of spectres and murder. For Hannah it is her dream job, but not for long. Who is the mysterious figure that disappears around a corner? What is happening in the old print shop? And who is the little girl with no face?

The legends of Henderson Close are becoming all too real. The Auld De’il is out – and even the spirits are afraid.

Amazon UK https://www.amazon.co.uk/Haunting-Henderson-Fiction-Without-Frontiers/dp/1787581020/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1548432764&sr=8-1

The Haunting of Hendeson Close Blog Tour Poster

Review:

After the breakdown of her marriage and her daughter moving abroad, Hannah lands her dream job, leading tourist round the legendary Henderson Close buried under modern Edinburgh. It quick becomes a nightmare when unexplained things start happening to Hannah and her friends George and Mairead. The ghostly going on get worse, it’s clear something evil has beenCatherine Cavendish Author Pic released. Can Hannah stop things before it gets any worse?

The Haunting of Henderson Close is fascinating ghostly read, that combines mystery with myths and legends.

There are two narratives, switching between modern day Edinburgh and the 19th century which I really enjoyed. The author does really well trying to get the atmosphere across of olden day Henderson Close, the ending stink, brutally and poverty of those less fortunate.

There is so much in this story, time slips, disappearing people, demons, intriguing characters and spooky goings on but I want to maintain that element of mystery for you so I’m not going to say too much more.

If you like a bit of a scare but not a fan of blood and guts, I would suggest you should pick this up as it’s not overly gory.

Honestly though, this is another book that I’ve read recently that I don’t quite know what to make of the ending, did I like it, did I not? The jury is out on that.

Overall The Haunting of Henderson Close is atmospheric and creepy read with an air of mystery that will keep you hooked from beginning to end.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: (From www.catherinecavendish.com)

Hello, my name’s Catherine Cavendish and I write horror fiction – frequently with ghostly, supernatural, Gothic and haunted house themes.

Out now – from Flame Tree Press – THE HAUNTING OF HENDERSON CLOSE. Ghostly horror set in Edinburgh’s Old Town.

Available now from Kensington-Lyrical – the NEMESIS OF THE GODS trilogy: WRATH OF THE ANCIENTS, WAKING THE ANCIENTS and DAMNED BY THE ANCIENTS – set in Egypt and Vienna and featuring the sinister Dr. Emeryk Quintillus whose obsession has stayed with him past the grave. 

My novellas COLD REVENGE, MISS ABIGAIL’S ROOM, THE DEMONS OF CAMBIAN STREET, THE DEVIL INSIDE HER and THE SECOND WIFE have now been released in new editions by Crossroad Press.

My novels THE DEVIL’S SERENADE and SAVING GRACE DEVINE have also been released in new editions by Crossroad Press, as have my novel of the Lancashire Witches – THE PENDLE CURSE – and my novellas, LINDEN MANOR and DARK AVENGING ANGEL.

I live with a long-suffering husband and a delightful black cat who has never forgotten that her species used to be worshipped in ancient Egypt. She sees no reason why that practice should not continue. Who am I to argue?

When not slaving over a hot computer, I enjoy wandering around Neolithic stone circles and visiting old haunted houses.

Twitter : @Cat_Cavendish

#BlogTour #Review The Siren And The Specter by Jonathan Janz @JonathanJanz #RandomThingsTours

Title: The Siren And The Specter by Jonathan Janz

Publisher: Flame Tree Press

Date Published: 6th September 2018

Genre: Horror

Description:

When David Caine, a celebrated sceptic of the supernatural, is invited by an old friend to spend a month in “the most haunted house in Virginia,” he believes the case will be like any other. But the Alexander House is different.

Built by a 1700s land baron to contain the madness and depravity of his eldest son, the house is plagued by shadows of the past and the lingering taint of bloodshed. David is haunted, as well. For twenty-two years ago, he turned away the woman he loved, and she took her life in sorrow.

And David suspects she’s followed him to the Alexander House.

You can pick up your copy here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Siren-Specter-Fiction-Without-Frontiers/dp/1787580059/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1533818999&sr=8-1&keywords=the+siren+and+the+specter

Review:

When famous writer and sceptic David Caine is invited by his old Chris and his wife Katherine to stay in America’s most haunted house, the Alexander House, he leaps at the chance and the opportunity to write his next book on it. His idol John Weir was last seen at the house, a man also famous for debunking ghosts and demons and he’s desperate to get to the bottom of what happened to him.

When David arrives he soon meets the neighbours Honey and Michael Shelby and their foul mouthed son Mike Jr and sweet daughter Ivy. Something is not quite right about them, in fact there something not quite right about the whole place.

Eerie things start to happen, voice singing in the night time, the temperature dropping for no apparent reason, the feeling of someone or something watching him which makes him even more determined to prove there is no ghosts within the house.

But David has his own ghosts to battle with in the form of his ex girlfriend Anna who committed suicide twenty years earlier. As he starts to explore the surrounding area he finds it’s very familiar, in fact he used to visit there with Anna years ago. Is it just a coincidence or is there something more? Will he get to the bottom of the mystery or will he lose his life in the process?

If like me you’re a bit of a wuss when it comes to anything scary, do not read this book at night time! I made the mistake of doing just that and spent half the night trembling under my covers.

I can honestly say there was never a dull moment in the story. The Siren and The Specter is packed with murder, mystery and the macabre and I found myself, even though I was terrified, wanting to read on. Jonathan Janz has a fantastic writing style that gripped me from the very beginning with it’s fantastically flawed characters and unnerving setting.

At first I didn’t like David that much. He’s a bit of a womaniser who always thinks he’s right and frankly a little bit pompous but as the story goes on you find out more his history which made me understand him a little bit more. Also the fact that he goes ghost hunting when he seems to be terrified of actually meeting a real ghost amused me no end.

The only warning I will is there are scenes of child neglect and talk of abuse which people may find a little upsetting (I know I did).

The Siren And The Specter is a twisted and creepy that I recommend to fans of haunted house mysteries and ghostly tales.

I’m actually looking forward to reading more of Jonathan Janz’s books even though this one scared the living daylights out of me!

Rating: 4/5

Check out the other amazing blogger on the tour here:

The Siren and the Specter Blog Tour Poster

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Jonathan Janz is the author of more than a dozen novels and numerous short stories.Jonathan Janz

His work has been championed by authors like Joe R. Lansdale, Jack Ketchum, and Brian Keene; he has also been lauded by Publishers Weekly, the Library Journal, and the School Library Journal.

His novel Children of the Dark was chosen by Booklist as a Top Ten Horror Book of the Year.

Jonathan’s main interests are his wonderful wife and his three amazing children.

You can sign up for his newsletter (http://jonathanjanz.us12.list-manage….), and you can follow him on

Twitter @JonathanJanz

Instagram @jonathan.janz