Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Suspense, Thriller

Razia by Abda Khan

Today I’m delighted to be the final spot on the Random Things Tours #BlogTour for Razia by Abda Khan.

From the exclusive residences of Knightsbridge to the filthy brick kilns of Lahore, Razia reveals the human cost behind a world of glamour and wealth. Written by the lawyer, domestic violence campaigner and novelist Abda Khan, it gives a unique insight into global power and corruption as they impact on one young woman’s life. Did you think that slavery is something that only happens to other people in faraway places and distant times? Read Razia, and think afresh.

Farah is a young lawyer living and working in London. She’s just ended a long relationship, and her parents are looking for a husband – whether Farah wants one or not. So far, so normal. But at a work dinner, hosted by a dangerously powerful man, she comes across a young woman called Razia, who Farah soon realises is being kept as a domestic slave.

The novel follows Farah’s daring investigations from the law courts of London to the brick kilns of Pakistan, uncovering the traps that keep generations enslaved. She encounters deep-rooted oppression and corruption everywhere she turns; when the authorities finally step in, their actions have tragic results.
Farah teams up with a human rights lawyer, Ali, and the two become close… but can she trust him; can they help Razia and others like her; will they ever discover the explosive secret behind these disastrous events?

Razia is a literary novel based on years of research, but with the pace and intrigue of the best kind of thriller. Abda writes with authority, sympathy and a heart-stopping plot that will have readers gasping until the very last page.

This is Britain’s darkest secret, made human. This is Razia’s story.

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‘The Home Office estimates that there are currently around 13,000 slaves in the UK, though other sources suggest this is a gross underestimate).’ – Can you even imagine it?  When you hear the word slave you think of the past before those oppressed and forced into servitude were made free.  I know that is naive and  that possibly, at times, I look at the world through rose-tinted glasses but I was shocked when I read this.  I mean this is in the UK! Really!  I was compelled to read more and so I embarked on Razia’s story.

Abda’s careful consideration and research is evident throughout the novel.  It is a thrilling yet disturbing read.  She shows us the stark contrast of the very rich, powerful and corrupt, to the victims who suffer at their hands; the victims who desperately need someone to fight their corner. Farah is a muslim women raised in the UK.  She is strong, independent and has a loving family behind her who are willing to let her live her life the way she sees fit… within reason.  She is supported and has been raised with empathy and kindness.  As she begins to uncover more and more about Razia and the suffering she has experienced it puts her own difficulties and concerns into perspective and she embarks on a dangerous journey from London to Pakistan as she seeks to bring justice and freedom for Razia and her family.

Abda brings the streets of Pakistan to life showing both great poverty and wealth.  For a young muslim woman there is danger around ever corner and as Farrah seeks to take on the rich and powerful she risks everything to help Razia.

It is an interesting journey, and at times chilling, as you see just how brutal human beings can be to one another.  I did enjoy this novel and it took me somewhere that I have never been before and made me question the things that are sometimes hidden away from view.  Corruption is an evil that can seep it’s way into the most powerful and it take bravery to take it on.

Published to coincide with World Day Against Trafficking in Persons on 30 July, Razia is a novel that reminds us that slavery is still very much a part of our present no matter how much we try to keep it buried in the past.

About the author

Abda Khan

1-8Abda Khan is an author and lawyer, and a passionate advocate for women’s rights. She won the Noor Inayat Khan Muslim Woman of the Year Award 2019 and was highly commended in the 2017 NatWest Asian Women of Achievement Awards in the Arts & Culture category.

Her first novel, Stained, was published in 2016. She writes fiction that deals with challenging and often taboo subjects, such as rape and ‘honour’ abuse (as featured in her novel Stained), and modern day slavery in Razia.
Abda also undertakes voluntary work as a Trustee with Birmingham & Solihull Womens Aid, as a mentor, and as a Lloyd’s Bank Women of the Future Ambassador. She is dedicated to bringing awareness to the issues she writes about, and to empowering others, as a speaker engaging with schools, youth groups, women’s organisations, community groups, prisons, and community radio and television. – excerpt taken from Unbound

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Adult Fiction, Debut, Giveaway, Literary, Review, Summer Reads

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd

Today I’m delighted to chat about the wonderful debut novel from Alyson Rudd, the First Time Lauren Pailing Died. AND there is a giveaway at the end so do keep reading. 🙂

I remember a time when if fate had allowed I could have died.  It was many years ago now but the details are still as clear as if it happened only yesterday. It was Mother’s Day and I was cycling over to my parents house. I fell off my bike. I can still see myself falling and feel how I seemed to tumble in slow motion as I lost control of my bike and it toppled over. It was pretty busy that day and I fell to my right, straight into the path of the cars travelling alongside me. I still realise how lucky I was that the driver of the car was not distracted at that very moment or driving too fast. If he had been then Mothers Day could have ended very differently indeed and many things that now exist in this world, including my rather wonderful son, would not be here.

The possibility leaves me with a chill every now and then when I think of it. We all have those moments when life stands at a very obvious crossroads and can veer off into different directions. Of course we may not always notice them but they are often there. I found this a very interesting aspect of The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd. It’s something that has always fascinated me. Sliding Doors, a 1998 film staring Gwyneth Paltrow and John Hannah that looked at different choices or situations taking us on different paths leading to a very different or possibly ultimately the same outcome – questioning if our fate is set to be the same no matter what route we take. It is a question that has been explored many times on stage, screen and in the written form and always inspires pause for thought.

In The First Time Lauren Pailing Died Lauren Pailing is a girl with an ordinary childhood but there is also something quite unusual about her which we discover as we gradually get to know her.  I loved the historical details weaved into the story as we watch her grow up as a much adored only child.  It brought back memories from my own childhood.

Alyson explores the different realities of Lauren’s life and what happens after she dies as a thirteen year old girl. I found her technique fascinating and loved the way the story was built around the parallel timelines.  She portrayed reactions to grief and loss in an incredibly touching and, at times, heartbreaking way.  The only constant between each life was the disappearance of Peter Stanning and gradually as the story unfolds we begin to understand what happened to him.  There are so many comparisons I could equate this story to but Alyson has created something wonderful and unique.  Because although at times the story can be sad, dark and thought provoking,  there is always a sense of hope and that resounding feeling that we leave our mark on this earth, no matter how short or long our stay here.

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died is published now by HQ and is available in Hardback, eBook and Audiobook, and would make a fantastic read this summer.

GIVEAWAY…

Now,  I have a hardback copy of this beautiful book to giveaway.  To be in with the chance to win please like AND comment on this post before Friday evening at 8pm UK time.  Your comment could just be to say hi but you need to do both to have your name put in the hat. 🙂  I’m afraid this giveaway is just for residents in the UK.

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The First Time Lauren failing Died by Alyson Rudd

Synopsis

Lauren Pailing is born in the sixties,

And a child of the seventies.

She is thirteen years old the first time she dies.

Lauren Pailing is a teenager in the eighties, becomes a Londoner in the nineties. And each time she dies, new lives begin for the people who loved her – while Lauren enters a brand new life, too.

But in each of Lauren’s lives, a man called Peter Stanning disappears. And, in each of her lives, Lauren sets out to find him.

And so it is that every ending is also a beginning. And so it is that, with each new beginning, Peter Stanning inches closer to being found…

Perfect for fans of Kate Atkinson and Maggie O’Farrell, The First Time Lauren Pailing Died is a book about loss, grief – and how, despite it not always feeling that way, every ending marks the start of something new.

About the author

Alyson Rudd

Alyson Rudd was born in Liverpool, raised in West Lancashire and educated at the London School of Economics. She is a sports journalist at The Times and lives in South West London.

She has written two works of non-fiction. The First Time Lauren Pailing Died is her first novel.

Find out more by visiting the HQ Stories website here.

Thanks so much to the lovely HQ Stories team for my review copy and for inviting me to discover more about their amazing titles at Destination HQ.

Thanks so much for reading.

 

 

 

Adult Fiction, Bookish Post, Debut, Fiction, Giveaway, Literary, Publisher Showcase

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd ~ Giveaway!

Last month I was lucky enough to visit #DestinationHQ for their summer showcase. The event has now been running for two years and I’ve been lucky enough to attend on both occasions. It’s a great evening where we get to hear about some fantastic new books and meet some equally fantastic authors (plus the lovely people at HQ). Oh and I get to enjoy this view…

There are some great titles coming this year, many of which I look forward to talking about on my blog over the coming weeks and months. One that immediately stuck out for me was The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd. Not only does it have the funkiest cover I have seen in quite some time but it also sounds incredibly intriguing. I’ll share the synopsis with you in a moment but suffice to say my ears pricked up when I heard that Lauren dies… lives again, dies… lives again, and so on. My interest was definitely piqued.

This is Alison’s debut novel and when I listened to her speak (having the nerve-wracking job of kicking off the author pitches) I was struck by how unassuming she was. Her story stood out and I immediately wanted to know more. At these events there are quite often proofs or advance reading copies of the books being chatted about. Unfortunately I missed out on the one of those on that evening but team HQStories responded to my desperate plea for a copy and, well to cut a long story short, I have ended up with two of these beautiful books. Now, even I, book hoarder extraordinaire, cannot justify keeping two copies and so I am going to give the extra away to one of you lucky lot. Generous gal aren’t I?

So if you fancy being the lucky recipient of this rather fabulous novel then read on dear reader and all will be revealed.

But first here is the synopsis…

Lauren Pailing is born in the sixties,

And a child of the seventies.

She is thirteen years old the first time she dies.

Lauren Pailing is a teenager in the eighties, becomes a Londoner in the nineties. And each time she dies, new lives begin for the people who loved her – while Lauren enters a brand new life, too.

But in each of Lauren’s lives, a man called Peter Stanning disappears. And, in each of her lives, Lauren sets out to find him.

And so it is that every ending is also a beginning. And so it is that, with each new beginning, Peter Stanning inches closer to being found…

Perfect for fans of Kate Atkinson and Maggie O’Farrell, The First Time Lauren Pailing Died is a book about loss, grief – and how, despite it not always feeling that way, every ending marks the start of something new.

The First Time Lauren Pailing Died by Alyson Rudd has been sitting in my tbr pile since then. My reviewing pile has been pretty full of late but she has been whispering to me, urging me to pick her up and discover how Lauren died, how she came to live again and who the mysterious Peter Stanning is?

I am right in the middle of reading it now and it’s every bit as wonderful as I imagined it. Quirky, unusual with a very distinctive voice, at the moment I can’t see what where this story will go but Lauren has certainly got a hold of me and I am absolutely loving it!

So, a few weeks ago, as I stood at @DestinationHQ listening to the authors speak, my reading list gradually growing and growing, I realised what a fortunate young(ish) lady I am. This may no longer be my day job but I absolutely love it and I love writing about these wonderful books! And I also love that I’m now able to share this wonderful novel with you guys with a giveaway.

How do I win a copy!? I hear you cry. It’s simple… just like this post and pop a comment down below. If you’d like to give me a follow and share this post too then that would also be fabulous. That’s it except…

* This giveaway is open to residents of the UK only. One winner will be drawn at random on Monday 15th July 2019. Good luck!

About the author

Alyson Rudd

Alyson Rudd was born in Liverpool, raised in West Lancashire and educated at the London School of Economics. She is a sports journalist at The Times and lives in South West London.

She has written two works of non-fiction. The First Time Lauren Pailing Died is her first novel.

Find out more by visiting the HQ Stories website here.

Thanks so much to the lovely HQ Stories team for my review copy and for inviting me to discover more about their amazing titles at Destination HQ.

Thanks so much for reading.

Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Summer Reads, Suspense, Thriller

Don’t Tell Teacher by Suzy K Quinn

Today I am thrilled to be hosting the blog tour for Don’t Tell Teacher by Suzy K Quinn.

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Ever since Tom started his new school, something’s changed. He doesn’t seem like my little boy anymore, and I’m frightened…

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For Lizzie Riley, switching her eight-year-old son Tom to the local academy school marks a fresh start, post-divorce. With its excellent reputation and outstanding results, Lizzie knows it’ll be a safe space away from home.

But there’s something strange happening at school. Parents are forbidden from entering the grounds and inside, there are bars across the classroom windows.

Why is Tom coming home exhausted, unable to remember anything about his day? What are the strange marks on his arm? And when Lizzie tries to question the other children, why do they seem afraid to talk?

Tom’s new school might seem picture-perfect. But sometimes appearances can be deceiving…

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A chilling psychological thriller for anyone who loved Behind Closed Doors, Sometimes I Lie and The Couple Next Door.

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Oh. My. God.  That was the only words that came to mind after I finished this very excellent thriller.  It literally had me on tenterhooks throughout. Lizzie is running from Ollie, her violent ex-husband.  Both she and six year old Tom are moving on and starting again where he can no longer hurt them.  Starting again isn’t easy though but Social Services has secured Tom at the local academy school, a school that has excellent reputations – and should be a safe haven for Tom.  There’s a lot of things that start to ring alarm bells for Lizzie though and she begins to feel that the happy, healthy child she knows and loves is disappearing.  Something is going on inside those walls and she’ll do anything to get to the bottom of it.

I read this pretty much in one sitting.  It was absolutely gripping and, as a mother of a young boy, absolutely terrifying but I just could not look away.  There is a sense of menace and tension running throughout and so many twists and turns!  I was absolutely stunned as the ended unfolded and things became clearer.  I honestly did not see it coming.  I felt so wretched for poor Lizzie and what she was going through.  The School and it’s slightly sinister staff added so much suspense and a little fear to be honest.  We send our children off to a place where we expect them to be protected and what if that trust was abused?  Social Services and their difficult job was also very well portrayed in exhausted, work stretched Kate.  Without wanting to give to much away I will say that the small note she held towards the end sent an absolute chill down my spine.

This is a chilling read that was completely absorbing and one that I thoroughly recommend.

Don’t Tell Teacher is available on both Audiobook and eBook.  The paperback edition is published today! (July 11th 2019).  Go get it!

About the author

Suzy K Quinn

91d4yprsxEL._SY200_Suzy K Quinn is a British fiction author, and writes in three different genres: psychological thriller, comedy and romance.

She was first published by Hachette in 2010 with her debut novel Glass Geishas (now Night Girls), then self-published a romance series, the Ivy Lessons, which became an international bestseller and a #1 Kindle romance bestseller in the US and UK.

After her second daughter was born in 2013, she self-published the Bad Mother’s Diary series, which also went on to become a #1 Kindle romantic comedy bestseller.

Suzy K Quinn’s novels have been translated into 7 languages and her books have sold over ¾ million copies worldwide.

Suzy lives in Wivenhoe, Essex, with her husband Demi and two daughters, and travels to Mexico every year to write and study Mayan story telling.

Suzy loves her family, friends and readers, but when pushed to add more to the list, she also loves travelling, food and alcohol.

Visit Suzy’s website for more info on her numerous books (and a free one!) www.suzykquinn.com
You can follow Suzy on Facebook at www.facebook.com/suzykquinn
You can follow Suzy on Twitter at @suzykquinn

 

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Thriller

One Way Out by A. A. Dhand

Today I’m delighted to be hosting the final day of the blog tour for the incredible One Way Out by A A Dhand.

The much-anticipated new Harry Virdee thriller from rising star A.A Dhand….

Bradford is Dhand’s city – he grew up there, studied there. He knows these streets as well as anyone. Tensely paced and characteristically meticulously plotted, One Way Out takes you into the dark heart of a city under siege..

A bomb detonates in Bradford’s City Park.

When the alert sounds, DC I Harry Virdee has just enough time to get his son and his mother to safety before the bomb blows. But this is merely a stunt.

The worst is yet to come.

A new and aggressive nationalist group, the Patriots, have hidden a second device under one of the city’s one hundred and five mosques. In exchange for the safe release of those at Friday prayers, the Patriots want custody of the leaders of radical Islamist group Almukhtareen – the chosen ones.

The government does not negotiate with terrorists. Even when thousands of lives are at risk.

There is only one way out.

But Harry’s wife is in one of those mosques. Left with no choice, Harry must find the Almukhtareen, to offer the Patriots his own deal.

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Oh. My. Goodness!  This book was amazing!  I read it on the train, couldn’t put it down and almost missed my stop!  It was completely absorbing and an absolutely thrilling read.   Right from the beginning the tension is there as we open on a bright, sunny day with families enjoying a film in the park.  Children are playing, there is laughter and fun being had, until that is, a security message flashes up on the screen just before all hell breaks lose.  Extremists are holding the city to ransom and Harry Virdee is drawn into a desperate hunt to find the leaders of a radical Islamist group.  There are of course many layers to this story and everything is not always as it seems.   A. A. Dhand brings a different perspective on racial relations, religious tensions and extremism to the streets of Bradford. It has you wondering who the bad guys actually are.

I absolutely loved Harry.  I loved him commitment and love for his family.  I was rooting for both him and his wife Saima.  And oh how I adored his mother.  Dhand shows us the conflict that often is faced both in and outside of family life and he made me really care about these characters.   Harry’s wife is in one of the mosques held under siege, the countdown is on and he suddenly needs his estranged family more than ever.  Life just became one big nightmare.  He needs to keep his head and more than anything he needs to find all four of the wanted men.  This is a complex, engaging thriller that I had be completely on the edge of my seat.  I completely lost track of time as I read on and on, each chapter drawing me further into the story.

Thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and introducing me to this fantastic author.  I can’t wait to read his previous novels.

One Way Out by A. A. Dhand was published by Bantam Press on June 27th 2019 and is available in Hardback or eBook.

About the author

A A Dhand

1-9A.A. Dhand was raised in Bradford and spent his youth observing the city from behind the counter of a small convenience store. After qualifying as a pharmacist, he worked in London and travelled extensively before returning to Bradford to start his own business and begin writing. The history, diversity and darkness of the city have inspired his Harry Virdee novels.

 

 

You can follow A A Dhand on Twitter at @aadhand

Find out more on his website here.

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Family Drama, Fiction, Relationship Tales

The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick

Today I’m delighted to be hosting then HQStories blog tour for The Library of lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick

A librarian’s discovery of a mysterious book sparks the journey of a lifetime in the delightful new novel from the bestselling author of

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper.

Librarian Martha Storm has always found it easier to connect with books than people―though not for lack of trying. She keeps careful lists of how to help others in her notebook. And yet, sometimes it feels like she’s invisible.

All of that changes when a book of fairy tales arrives on her doorstep. Inside, Martha finds a dedication written to her by her best friend―her grandmother Zelda―who died under mysterious circumstances years earlier. When Martha discovers a clue within the book that her grandmother may still be alive, she becomes determined to discover the truth. As she delves deeper into Zelda’s past, she unwittingly reveals a family secret that will change her life forever.

Filled with Phaedra Patrick’s signature charm and vivid characters, The Library of Lost and Found is a heart-warming reminder that even the quietest life has the potential to be extraordinary.

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For anyone who read and love The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, you’ll know exactly how wonderful Phaedra’s novels are. You won’t be disappointed with The Library of Lost and Found.  For those who have yet to discover Phaedra, don’t wait another minute.  I loved Arthur, and now Martha has found her way into my heart.  Lovely Martha who would always help anyone but eventually found the courage to finally utter that one word that can be the hardest of all. ‘No’.  And finally begin to put herself first.

The first thing that grabbed me about this was the title.  The word Library always does it for me.  It promises adventure, stories, enchanting characters, new lives sought and found, and old demons conquered.  And there it is all wrapped up within the pages of this enchanting novel.  Martha is so ordinary and yet extraordinary. She is remarkable in  her own special way and her tale was equally joyous and heartbreaking.  I absolutely adored this novel.  It left me feeling uplifted and full of hope.  Just wonderful.  Time with this author is well spent indeed!

The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick was published on the 27th June and is available in paperback, eBook and on Audiobook.

Thank you so much to the lovely team at HQ Stories for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and for my review copy.  It was a joy to read.

BLOG TOUR BANNER

Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Historical Fiction, Literary

JSS BACH by Martin Goodman

Today I’m so thrilled to be hosting the blog tour for extraordinary JSS Bach by Martin Goodman

J SS Bach is the story of three generations of women from either side of Germany’s 20th Century horror story – one side, a Jewish family from Vienna, the other linked to a ranking Nazi official at Dachau concentration camp – who suffer the consequences of what men do. Fast forward to 1990s California, and two survivors from the families meet. Rosa is a young Australian musicologist; Otto is a world-famous composer and cellist. Music and history link them. A novel of music, the Holocaust, love, and a dog. The author’s writing is a wonderland, captivating and drawing the reader in to the presented world. Time becomes no object as a literary universe unfolds and carries the reader through eighty years, where emotions are real and raw and beautifully given.


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This is such an extraordinary novel and a beautiful piece of literary based on very real events.  A novel that is both beautiful and yet heartbreaking at the same time.  There is no shortage of books inspired by the holocaust and the horrors endured by the Jewish community living in Germany and beyond, but I feel that it is a story that needs to be told again and again and again.  Martin Goodman approaches the subject in a unique and beautiful direction.   This is not only an example of the evil that can be found in our world but also of the beauty.  Otto endured so much when taken to a concentration camp where he spent the early war years.  Through his story Martin explores the despicable treatment that the Jewish community faced in what the Nazi’s considered the need for ‘purity’.  How does one endure so much hate?  For Otto an escape into his love of music literally saves his life but in doing so also entwines his path with that of the wife of a German Nazi officer, the effects of which will be felt throughout the rest of his life.

This is an absolutely stunning novel that tackles this heavily covered subject with new vigour and fresh perspective.  The ripples of what happened during this time in history need to be remembered, now more than ever.  An absolutely stunning piece of writing that I thoroughly recommend.

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Thank you so much to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.  I am again stunned by the quality and beauty of the books you bring to me.

JSS Bach by Martin Goodman is published by Wrecking Ball Press 

About the author

Martin Goodman

1-5Martin Goodman was born in Leicester, and has lived and worked in China, Qatar, the USA, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy and France. Travel forms a large part of his writing: both for strictly travel-related books and also for novels and biographies. His first novel ON BENDED KNEES was shortlisted for the Whitbread prize, and his most recent biography SUFFER AND SURVIVE won 1st Prize, Basis of Medicine in the BMA Book Awards 2008. He is the Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Hull. He lives in Hull, London and the French Pyrenees. ‘Such narrow, narrow confines we live in. Every so often, one of us primates escapes these dimensions, as Martin Goodman did. All we can do is rattle the bars and look after him as he runs into the hills. We wait for his letters home.’; ~ The Los Angeles Times

Website : http://www.martingoodman.com/
Twitter : @MartinGoodman2

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