COVER REVEAL: I Can See The Lights by Russ Litten

Welcome to The Irresponsible Reader’s part in the Cover Reveal for Russ Litten’s I Can See The Lights! Pretty pictures ahead.

But first, some words. The kind of words that you’d find in a . . .

Book Blurb

The prose poems in I Can See The Lights are earthy and raw, but also incredibly sensitive. It’s pretty much guaranteed that more than one of them will bring you to tears. Characters are vividly brought to life, and stark but warm environments evoked in a down to earth, yet almost painterly manner by Russ Litten’s uncompromising voice.

Tales of home, of un-belonging, of strife at sea—of a northern city’s beating heart. Told in a mesmeric, stripped-down tone, this collection is a work of genius.


Author Bio

Russ Litten is the author of the novels Scream If You Want To Go FasterSwear DownKingdom and the short story collection We Know What We Are.

As one half of the electronic storytelling duo Cobby and Litten, he has released three spoken word/electronica albums My People Come From The SeaBoothferry and Pound Shop Communism</b.

He has written for TV, radio and film and has worked as a writer in residence at various prisons and youth offender units. I Can See The Lights is his first poetry collection.


Without further ado…

The Cover


Now, that’s a good match between title and cover image—I honestly can’t think of a better way to evoke that title (and I’ve tried a little).

You can get your hands on this cover (and the prose poems behind it!) on the 10th of February. Keep an eye on the website for Wild Pressed Books for details (or their Twitter feed).



My thanks to Love Books Group for the invitation to participate in this reveal and the materials they provided.

Love Books Group

EXCERPT from Shattered Bonds by Faith Hunter: “My Eddie is in trouble!”

SHATTERED BONDS by Faith Hunter, copyright Faith Hunter.

My cell chimed. Beast and I followed Eli to my gobag in the mud room, the small bag hanging on the rack with other winter gear. He swiped the screen, tapped in my security code, and started back to the office, saying, “Molly, it’s Eli—”

Angie Baby screamed, “My Eddie is in trouble! My Eddie! No! No!”

Beast growled, showing killing teeth. My/our heart did a fearful, arrhythmic bump-and-pause, and then raced too fast. Again, I searched for the connection to Edmund. Gone. Severed. As if it had been cut out with a knife. It was a strange sensation, as if a part of my own body had been instantly amputated and I kept searching for it, feeling something but … not the missing part. Ed was mine. Ed was gone.

Molly’s voice came over the phone and my attention swept to the cell. “Sorry, Jane. Angie woke up screaming from a bad dream. We’ve been trying to calm her down, but she grabbed my cell and called.” In the background, we heard the sound of Angie Baby’s screams diminish in volume and the crooning of her father’s flute magic, calming her.

“Eli here. Jane’s big-cat at the moment. Angie may not be having a dream.”

“What’s happening with Ed?” Molly asked, a trace of fear in her tone.

“We don’t know, except that Jane heard Ed through the vamp-binding. Alex is searching for him.”

In the background Angie’s screams crescendoed, the pitch so high it hurt Beast’s ears. She turned her ear tabs down against the noise and thought, Kits… Kits in trouble. Ed in trouble.

“Eli, I—. This is … Has Ed been killed? He and Angle have a blood bond. I don’t know what to do if… ?” Molly’s voice trailed away, uncertainly.

I/we nodded Beast’s head up and down, then back and forth, an uncertain yes / no gesture. We stared at Eli, snarling and licking our jaw, hoping he would understand that this was really not right.

“Jane and Beast are upset too,” he said.

“I think we’ll come visit,” Molly said.

“We have the room,” Eli said.

“Yeah. I’ve seen the sales brochures,” she said wryly.

In the background, the screaming stopped. Evan said, “She’s asleep. Pack fast. More snow is coming.”

Into the cell, Molly said, “We’ll probably have to keep her in magically induced sleep but expect us after nine tonight.”

“The county brined the street but the drive is frozen,” Eli said. “Call if you get stuck.”

“Will do.” The call ended.

From the office, I heard the Kid’s voice in quiet conversation with Grégoire, Blondie’s and Alex’s voices barely loud enough to pick out, even with Beast’s ears. Grégoire was in France with Edmund. Good. That meant up-to-date info. I / we trotted to him.

“Send me everything you have,” Alex said.

“Oui. My people do so now. Dieu vous garde en sécurité.”

“You too, dude.”

I heard a connection end and felt a smile tug at my Puma lips. Only Alex would call a royal-born, centuries old, powerful vamp dude.

 

 


Read the rest in Shattered Bonds by Faith Hunter—how can you not?.


My thanks to Let’s Talk! Promotions for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including the book via NetGalley) they provided.

BOOK SPOTLIGHT (and Giveaway): Shattered Bonds by Faith Hunter

Today I welcome the Book Tour for the hot-off-the-presses Jane Yellowrock novel, Shattered Bonds by Faith Hunter. Along with this spotlight post, I have a tantalizing excerpt to share. Then, I’ll be giving my take on the novel a little later. Those links’ll work when the posts go live in an hour or two.

Oh, and don’t forget to scroll down to the bottom of this post to enter a Giveaway for probably the coolest prizes I’ve hosted a Giveaway for.

Book Details:

Book Title: Shattered Bonds by Faith Hunter
Publisher: Ace Books
Release date: October 29, 2019
Format: Paperback/ebook
Length: 400 pages
ISBN: 9780399587986

Book Blurb:

Jane Yellowrock must dig deep and find strength within herself if she is to survive in the latest novel in this New York Times bestselling series.

Jane Yellowrock is vampire-killer-for-hire, but her last battle with an ancient arcane enemy has brought her low. She seeks retreat in the Appalachian Mountains to grieve the loss of her friends, and to heal—or to die—from the disease brought on by her magic.

But malevolent elements in the paranormal community still seek to destroy Jane, and a terrifying foe stalks her, even into the safety of the hills. With nowhere to run and her body failing, the rogue-vampire hunter and her inner Beast must discover a way to defeat this new threat, and find a form that gives her a chance to fight another day.

About Faith Hunter:

Faith HunterFaith Hunter is the New York Times and USAToday bestselling author of the Jane Yellowrock series, the Soulwood series, and the Rogue Mage series, as well as the author of 16 thrillers under pen the names Gary Hunter and Gwen Hunter. She has 40+ books in print.

Faith collects orchids and animal skulls, loves thunderstorms, and writes. She likes to cook soup, bake homemade bread, garden, and run Class III whitewater rivers. She edits the occasional anthology and drinks a lot of tea. Some days she’s a lady. Some days she ain’t.

For more, see www.faithhunter.net
To keep up with her, like her fan page at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/official.faith.hunter

Faith Hunter’s Social Media:

Official Faith Hunter Facebook fan page ~ Goodreads ~ Twitter ~ Website

Purchase Links for Shattered Bonds:

Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble ~ The Book Depository ~ Indiebound ~ Audible

Giveaway!

Prizes include a necklace made by Faith Hunter, Amazon gift cards, and copies of Shattered Bonds! Open to US residents only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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(in case the Rafflecopter widget doesn’t appear, just click here)

My thanks to Let’s Talk Promotions for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including the book via NetGalley) they provided.

COVER REVEAL: The Final Trail (The Trail Series Book 5) by AA Abbott

Welcome to The Irresponsible Reader’s part in the Cover Reveal for AA Abbott’s The Final Trail—the final installment in The Trail Series, which looks like a heckuva ride all things considered. And you can get the whole thing now, no waiting between entries! Pretty pictures ahead.

But first, some words.

In particular, words that you’d find in a . . .

Book Blurb

Family feuds just got bloodier… A gripping thriller, and a great story of death, revenge and vodka.

To save glamorous Kat White’s life, Ben Halloran killed his gangster father. Now his brother wants to even the score.

The gripping Trail series of British crime thrillers reaches its dramatic conclusion in this compelling page turner.


That sounds pretty good right there, but I’d need a few more details, myself—by a nice coincidence, I have a few more:

Birmingham has well and truly been put on the crime thriller map with the success of the TV series Peaky Blinders but for bookworms amongst us the popular Trail Series has long brought readers into the modern day 21st century with its tense storylines, murder and intrigue set in and around the city.

The Trail series features a vodka business, a cancer cure and obsessive killers. Every book is a good read in its own right – each is a great crime story with terrific twists to keep the tension mounting – but together, they follow the same characters over several years.

The Trail series author AA Abbott also known as Helen Blenkinsop, has been compared with the likes of Ruth Rendell, John Grisham and Jeffrey Archer.  She lived and studied in Birmingham for nearly 20 years and her passion and love for the city became the inspiration for the Trail series.

Now, after four successful editions the last storyline will be revealed in the publication of THE FINAL TRAIL which will be launched in Birmingham on 28th October.

In the last book …”Glamorous Kat White has built a successful craft vodka brand in Birmingham, but she has an uneasy relationship with her business partner, Marty Bridges. Her mother had previously supplied with poisonous vodka. Marty doesn’t trust Kat, resents having to depend on her for commercial success, and isn’t thrilled that his eldest son wants to marry her. That’s not his biggest problem, though. He’s trying to develop a cancer drug with Kat’s brother, Erik, and it’s draining money he doesn’t have. Just as he finds an investor with pockets deep enough to fund their research, Erik is lured to the former Soviet Union and thrown into jail. Meanwhile, Ben Halloran, who killed his father to save Kat’s life, is faced with the twin risks of a murder charge and his brother’s deep-seated desire for revenge. Can Ben escape with his life and liberty? And can Marty save both Erik and his business – and learn to trust Kat?”

Helen said “I’ve been writing about these amazing characters for over 5 years, so you can imagine, they have become a part of my life. It’s been a great journey and they have come through so many storylines that it feels right for them to achieve their dreams at last.”

Most of the action in THE FINAL TRAIL takes place across the city and features the famous Rose Villa Tavern and 1,000 Trades in the Jewellery Quarter; The Mailbox, home to the BBC in Birmingham, Holloway Head by the famous Pagoda Island and locations in Harborne and Edgbaston.

Helen addedIt’s going to be very sad to launch the last book as the stories and characters have built up such a following but it will give me the opportunity to weave new and exciting tales – I have so many ideas buzzing in my head.”

THE FINAL TRAIL is a perfect read for those who like a fast-paced crime thriller combined with suspense, humour and plot twists.  It’s ideal to take away on holiday and provides a great read during the autumn/winter nights.

THE FINAL TRAIL will be available to order from Amazon in e-book, paperback and  dyslexia-friendly format from Monday 28th October 2019.


That’s right! Not only do you get to see the Cover Revealed today, you can jump right over and order the book and start seeing what’s behind the cover right now. (and you might as well as get the other four while you’re at it).

This book weighs-in at 170 pages and is available today from Amazon UK and US (I’m not sure about other Amazons). You can pick this up in Paperback or Kindle Editions.

Without further ado…

The Cover


That’s a nice looking cover, isn’t it? I dig the colors, the cover as a whole just screams creepy crime drama to me. Which is the point, right?

Now, I’ve done my part—I’ve revealed the cover. Now it’s your turn. Knowing what the cover looks like, put it on your shelf/kindle. Go click on the link for Amazon UK and US and get this ordered.


My thanks to Love Books Group for the invitation to participate in this reveal and the materials they provided.

Love Books Group

XYZ by William Knight: A Grouchy Computer Programmer Struggles to Find his Place

XYZ

XYZ: One Man, Two Kids, Ten Devices and an Internet-Sized Generation Gap

by William Knight

Kindle Edition, 216pg.
2019

Read: October 11, 2019

I’m one of the original computer geeks…

I was in the first intake for Computer Science O Level at my local college, and I signed up for a computer programming degree when the rest of the world was still using slide rules and copying documents in purple ink…

I was part of a small wave of silicon-brained cool kids that was destined to become a tsunami. My generation was going to make the world a better place and in record time. We had ideas of perfect information, total transparency, evidence-based-government and university for all. We were the builders of Utopia and the founders of global prosperity…

I hadn’t then realised the destiny for which I was headed. It was nothing more than fun. Fun to spend 10p on a video game and bash the console into submission. Fun to program pretty patterns on a screen and load games from a floppy disk, and fun to be part of the BBC’s Micro Live phenomenon, when the broadcaster sponsored its own computer as part of its remit to educate the masses.

And it remained fun until it became a trap, when computers ceased to be the promise of progress and instead became the terrorists of truth. Somewhere along the way, I turned from God of Silicon to an anorak-wearing dweeb, and from dweeb to a lonely fifty-five-year-old bastard. One at the end of his career, hopelessly out of touch, and unable to operate his own phone.

WTF happened?

What becomes of someone who saw himself as one of those who’d bring in a technological utopia and finds themselves trying to survive in the era of smart phone-ubiquity and social media dumpster fire? Well, judging by our protagonist, Jack Cooper—you get (at best) a curmudgeon who feels alienated in the industry he helped establish, estranged from your family, and hoping to remain relevant and productive (and employed!) long enough to retire.

We meet Jack on his first day at a new employer—a personal finance app corporation. He’s had a number of first days at various corporations lately, and his daughter is concerned that if he’s not careful this could be the last one. Despite his wide-ranging experience lately, he’s still in for a giant dose of culture shock and unclear expectations when he gets to work. Even after a period of acclimation, he’s still feeling like a fish out of water amidst these young people more focused on the internal chat program, employee fulfillment/empowerment, and lack of accountability than they are on actually producing something useful and on-time.

In other words, things aren’t going well for him. But at least he can go home and drink to excess at the pub across the street, right?

Meanwhile, he and his wife are separated (he’s still paying the mortgage on their home, in addition to the rent on his flat), he’s not speaking to his son (Jack can’t accept his life as a furry), and his relationship with his daughter is on the precipice of disaster. Which makes that drinking to excess a lot more tantalizing.

Then, while in a meeting with his superior about his job performance, he finds himself telling her how attracted to her he is. Jack’s last chance is looking pretty slim indeed.

This is a novel clearly in the vein of Professor Chandra Follows His Bliss/A Man Called Ove, where a grumpy older man clashes with a world that’s changing faster than he’s ready for it. Yes, that’s right, Gen Xers are now old enough to get our own books like this, which is depressing enough to suck the fun out of this book. Typically, these books are written from a Third-Person POV, but XYZ is a First-Person Narrator. This puts the reader firmly in his cantankerous, drunken, obstinate, and angry head. Honestly, it’s a little easier to have any sympathy for these types of characters when you’re not drowning in their anger (or at least steeping in it), but seeing it from the outside.

Still, there is plenty of fun to be had in this book. A lot of it is fun at Jack’s expense—laughter is the best way to react to his cringe-worthy behavior, otherwise, you’d end up being pretty censorious. Although you won’t be able to avoid judging Jack a little bit. There are times (the Prologue is a great example) when Jack’s loathing of the cultural moment (particularly in tech corporations) comes through stronger than the humor and it’s hard to take (and I agree with Jack in almost every bit of his counter-cultural thinking).

But, as with Ove/Chandra and the rest of the type, Jack manages to find a measure of acceptance for those around him, and is even able to do some work on repairing familial relationships (I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say either of those things, that’s sort of how this kind of book works). As this happens, the book is at it’s strongest and easiest to enjoy/relate to. I do wonder if that portion of the novel is a bit rushed—we get plenty of time to watch Jack make a train-wreck of his professional and personal lives (which weren’t in great shape before he makes it worse), it’d be nice if we could see him get his feet back under him a bit more clearly.

On the whole, it’s a fun book—a great combination of humor, heart, and growth. Sure, some of the edges could be a bit smoother, but on the whole, this is an entertaining read. It can be easily read by a wide-range of readers—those of us who played Space Invaders when it was near the cutting-edge of technology, as well as those who can’t get over its primitive design and game-play. It’s charming, it’ll make you smile, it’ll give you a feel or two (to use a phrase Jack would hate). Recommended.


3 Stars


My thanks to Love Books Group for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including the book) they provided.

Love Books Group

BOOK SPOTLIGHT: XYZ by William Knight

Today I welcome the Book Tour for William Knight’s XYZ. We’ll kick it off with this spotlight post and then I’ll be giving my take on the novel here in a bit. But like I said, let’s start by learning a little about this here book, okay?


Book Details:

Book Title: XYZ: One Man, Two Kids, Ten Devices and an Internet-Sized Generation Gap by William Knight
Release date: July 13, 2019
Format: Ebook/Paperback
Length: 216 pages

Book Blurb:

From a former Guardian and BBC writer, and author of The Donated, comes a hilarious story of mid-life crisis, family, technology, and coping with the modern workplace.

Jack Cooper is a depressed, analogue throwback; a cynical, alcoholic Gen-Xer whose glory days are behind him. He’s unemployed, his marriage has broken down, he’s addicted to internet hook-ups, and is deeply ashamed of his son Geronimo, who lives life dressed as a bear.

When Jack’s daughter engineers a job for him at totally-lit tech firm Sweet, he’s confronted by a Millennial and Zoomer culture he can’t relate to. He loathes every detail – every IM, gif and emoji – apart from Freya, twenty years his junior and addicted to broadcasting her life on social media.

Can Jack evolve to fit in at Sweet, or will he remain a dinosaur stuck in the 1980s? And will he halt his slide into loneliness and repair his family relationships?

About William Knight:

William KnightWilliam Knight has written for the Guardian, the Financial Times and the BBC, among many other publishers. He is a journalist and technologist currently living and working in Wellington, New Zealand.

A graduate engineer, he’s chased a varying career starting in acting, progressing to music, enjoyed a brief flirtation with handbag design, and was eventually wired into technology in 1989.

By 2003 his non-fiction was being regularly published in Computing newspaper in the UK, and he has since written about the many successes and failings of high-technology

The Donated (formerly, Generation), his first novel, was conceived from a New Scientist article in 2001 and was ten years in development. Subsequent novels, XYZ, Foretold, The Fractured, will be available, he says, “Sometime in the future. Hopefully not as long as ten years.”

William Knight’s Social Media:

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Website



My thanks to Love Books Group for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including the book) they provided.

Love Books Group

Don’t Get Involved by F J Curlew: Hardship and Joy in Kyiv


Don't Get Involved

Don’t Get Involved

by F J Curlew

Kindle Edition, 255 pg.
2019

Read: October 7-9, 2019

…Are you okay?’

‘I will be. The first layer of gauze has been wrapped around the pain.’

‘Gauze?’

‘Grandpa said that grief was like a wound. Time was like a dressing. A piece of gauze. At first the blood, the pain, flows through. Then, as the dressing gets thicker and stronger the flow stems, until it can no longer be seen. Sometimes a scab breaks. The blood seeps through again with a memory, but the dressing holds. With time.’

This book Kyiv, Ukraine in 2001, a time of unrest and change. The author lived there for awhile in 2001, and found her inspiration from that experience for this book. That gives it a level of authority, confidence, and authenticity than would probably have been present otherwise.

There are two stories that run throughout this book—there’s a little bit of overlap here and there, but primarily, they’re independent. The first of these focuses on three street kids (beggars) who come into possession of a very large amount of a controlled substance. This is easily one of the biggest things to happen in their young lives and will have a significant voice about whether they escape this life they’re in or find themselves in something worse.

The other storyline focuses on a Scottish teacher, Nadia, who has just arrived to help meet the large educational meet they have. The tone and overall feel of this storyline is so different than the other that you may find yourself wondering why they’re in the same novel—but given a little patience, you’ll see why. Nadia is befriended by an Australian teacher in Kyiv for the same reason and she meets and is pursued a young Ukrainian man with plenty of charm.

It’s not easy to see where this gives you a Crime Novel, but there is one here—just not the kind anyone’s used to. I’m not sure I’d have given it that label, probably opting for “General Fiction” instead, but that’s the way it’s being marketed, and I can see it. There’s also a flash of magical realism or fantasy (I could make the case for either label) but there’s a foundation laid for it so that when the flash comes, it’s easy to accept. This is typically the kind of thing that annoys me in Crime Fiction, but Curlew prepares for it well—and it’s such a nice way for things to go, that I enjoyed it.

Back in February, I blogged about Seraphina’s Lament by Sarah Chorn. It’s a fantasy novel and nothing like this book at all. But much of it was inspired by the Holodomor—a genocide that took place in Ukraine in the 1930’s. Part of Don’t Get Involved‘s narrative is shaped by and reacts to the Holodomor. I never would have predicted that I’d read one book exposing me to this horrific time this year, much less, two widely divergent works. I’d be glad for this book for this reason alone.

None of these characters have easy lives—even those that chose to be in Kyiv. But there are moments of lightness and joy for all of them, as well as darker realities. It’s a good reminder that there is joy to be found in all kinds of circumstances if you will look for them. One of the kids, in particular, is gifted at this.

There is one sex scene that is longer and far more detailed than is necessary, but otherwise, Curlew will let that happen behind closed doors. There are suggestions and hints about child prostitution, but nothing explicit—this is not done for exploitation, but to show the harsh conditions and the extreme actions these kids have to take to survive.

I will admit that I spent a lot of time early on wondering why I was reading this novel, while I liked the characters and was curious about their lives, I just didn’t get the book. But it grew on me slowly and without me really noticing. Ultimately, I found it to be pretty effective and affecting and I was wholly invested in it. I’m not entirely certain I liked the way the storylines resolved, but that’s just taste—and I’m pretty sure I would’ve complained if she’d gone that way.

I ended up enjoying this novel a lot more—and in more ways—than I expected to early on. The setting, characters and story are just different enough from what I usually get that I think it’ll stick with me longer than some novels, too. I do recommend this to readers of all types for a change of pace and an exposure to things you won’t easily find elsewhere.


3.5 Stars


My thanks to F J Curlew for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including the book) provided for it.