Blog Tour for ‘American Dreams’ by Kenneth Bromberg

With thanks for Anne Cater at #RandomThingsTour and @flametreepress for sending me a copy of this book to review and chat about.

BOOK BLURB

In 1904 Czarist Russia, Max, a four-year-old Jewish boy, witnesses his mother’s rape and murder by Russian soldiers. After the boy’s father extracts terrible revenge, father and son escape to New York and settle on the Lower East Side, a teeming melting pot of recent immigrants. Max meets a young Polish girl, Sophie, and the two children become inseparable playmates. By the time they are teenagers, Max excels at both school and sports, Sophie has become a stunningly beautiful young woman, and friendship has grown into love. Their plans are shattered when Sophie is forced to marry a local crime boss and once again, Max must simply watch as the most important person in his life is taken from him. In response, he begins a ruthless and violent climb to the top of the New York underworld.

If you like Mario Puzo’s The Godfather and Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy, you will love this debut novel. Published July 2019 by Flame Tree.

MY REVIEW

I read this book over a weekend and found it completely addictive. Kenneth Bromberg has created an epic tale spanning generations, from 1912 to the late 1940s. At the heart of the novel is a story of immigration and war, albeit on a large scale or a personal one, its devastating consequences and the struggles of immigration on the families that must uproot themselves. It’s a story of survival, no matter what you must sacrifice.

The novel focuses on the lives of three immigrants, Max, Sophie and Jonathan who arrive at different times in America to begin new lives after tragic circumstances. These three lives interconnect in ways they would never have dreamed of over the next 40 years, from organised crime to the glitz and power of emerging Hollywood studios.

It’s clear the author has an interest in the Mafia and its organisation; there are strong Mario Puzo vibes of ‘The Godfather’ influencing the core of the narrative, but this is very much Bromberg’s imagining. The central thread all comes from organised crime in America at the time and its effects and consequences on those caught up in it. However, there’s a real human story driving the plot as well, and it’s full of abuse, love, lust, terrible consequences, power, violence, patriarchal dominance and family bonds.

Max Zalensky is a fascinating character and the author cleverly keeps a ‘liking’ and interest for him (for me) throughout the novel, despite the horrific lifestyle he chooses to lead. This is one of those clever books that shows you the misunderstandings and makes you scream at the page. Max and Sophie’s relationship is particularly frustrating, and I found it sad to see it lead to the inevitable conclusion; it is fascinating to see how these people become who they are at the end of the book. I love the study of human nature in this context, and exploring what different people will do, or not do to survive.

I enjoyed the writing style and narrative structure over a lengthy time for our three focus characters, each constantly rooted to each other, but seemingly living separate lives. Bromberg weaves these stories seamlessly and it all finally crashes together in the shocking conclusion.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this and I’m really happy to share the publication of it with other book fans. It would also adapt well as a screenplay, the narrative lends itself naturally to that form and it was a very cinematic read throughout for me. So all in all, this is an epic, violent study of survival in despairing circumstances. It’s a mafia novel and it’s a story of war and Hollywood behind the glamour.

An absorbing, addictive and bold story of early 20th century crime fuelled America.

Type: General adult fiction, thriller, mafia, graphic violence, sexual assaults, war, abuse.

MEET THE AUTHOR

Kenneth Bromberg grew up in the beach cities of Southern California with a passion for tennis, American history, and literature. He attended the University of California, Los Angeles, after which he worked for several years as a bartender. He eventually returned to UCLA to pursue an MBA and become a certified public accountant. After retiring from accounting, Kenneth fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming a novelist. His first work, American Dreams, is based upon stories told by his grandmother who immigrated to New York from a small Jewish village near Kiev in the first years of the 20th century.

Click on the link above to purchase via Amazon UK

BLOG TOUR ‘Fixed Odds’ by William McIntyre

With thanks to @cerisanne for the tour @Best_Defence @sandstonepress #BlogTour and to William McIntyre for the witty story.

THE BLURB

George ‘Genghis’ McCann has stolen – and lost – a priceless masterpiece. Snooker champion Oscar ‘The Showman’ Bowman is charged with betting fraud.

With a second baby on the way, and promises of great rewards if he wins Bowman’s case and recovers the painting, defence lawyer Robbie Munro has never been so tempted to fix the odds in his favour.

THE AUTHOR

William McIntyre

William McIntyre is a partner in Scotland’s oldest law firm Russel + Aitken, specialising in criminal defence. William has been instructed in many interesting and high-profile cases over the years and now turns fact into fiction with his string of legal thrillers, The Best Defence Series, featuring defence lawyer, Robbie Munro.

Based in Scotland and drawing on his thirty years as a criminal defence lawyer, there is a rich vein of dry-humour running through the series, which William describes as an antidote to crime fiction featuring maverick cops chasing serial killers, emphasising that justice is not only about convicting the guilty, but also about acquitting the innocent.

MY REVIEW

This book is the fifth book in a series based around Robbie Munroe, a criminal defence lawyer and well… ‘it all starts with a dog’. Sounded good to me!

I’d not come across these books before, so it was read as a standalone for me, which works absolutely fine. You obviously lose the character developments, but you do, obviously, get a new plot. I was initially surprised when I started reading, as I didn’t expect the humour. It’s sarcastic, witty and enjoyable, which engaged and hooked me into the story right from the start. There’s a great, immersive and chatty style to the narrative which makes it easy and accessible to read. Not the typical court-room drama I’d been expecting; it’s an entertaining read, with steady pacing throughout… and it all starts with a bit of a ‘balls up’ of a burglary and leads into a story of fraud, theft, deceit, lies and a dash of bribery along the way.

So, Robbie Munroe is our MC, and he seems a genuinely decent chap in both his professional and personal life; he certainly has some ups and downs to deal with. He’s sometimes outwardly sloppy but underneath he’s smart and really good at his job – loved ‘watching’ him work, making a few ‘interesting’ decisions that raises eyebrows with the opposing team and chuckled many times along the way.

What I loved the most about this book was the characters and the family dynamics with Robbie, his home life (he’s in a relationship with a previous employee and there’s another baby on the way), his brother (a sport’s broadcaster) and father (who has retired from police service). There’s also a secretary, who I want to come and work for me – lol!

I’m really interested now in starting at the beginning of this series – a great portrayal of the justice system in Scotland by an intelligent, witty legal thriller writer. Bravo!

OTHER BOOKS IN THE SERIES

Many thanks again to Ceris Jones & Sandstone Press for the review copy: https://sandstonepress.com/ TO VIEW PREVIEW FURTHER, SEE AMAZON LINK BELOW

BLOG TOUR ‘The Misfit Tribe and the Secret of Mystery Island’ by B.J. Rowling and D.G. Lloyd

With thanks to Sarah – Book on the Bright Side @BOTBSPublicity and @olympiapub for the blog tour.

BLURB

Some secrets are best kept hidden… and some are just too magical not to share. Teenagers, who unexpectedly acquire a vast collection of magical, mystical powers and abilities, find an ancient map. This map leads them on a quest for buried treasure to a mysterious island filled with hidden secrets, booby traps and a ruthless villain who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. What could possibly go wrong? A lot!

AUTHORS

B.J. Rowling, a native of England, is an author, screenwriter, producer and cousin of Harry Potter author J.K.Rowling. D.G. Lloyd is an American-Australian author, screenwriter, producer, actor and script coverage analyst.

DEDICATION

“We’re all misfits in one way or another. Our lives are an adventurous unfolding story, just like the lives of the main characters in ‘The Misfit Tribe’. Characters who D.G. Lloyd and I are hoping readers are able to relate to in some form or fashion, and with a bit of luck, are also inspired by. So, with that said, take a break, sit back, open the book and prepare youselves for a thrilling ride of mystical and magical misadventures.” – B.J. Rowling

REVIEW

‘The Misfit Tribe’ are a group of youngsters who are taken to Mackinac Island, where back in 1812 an attack of American soldiers happened by British and Indian forces. Their visit to the island, however, is not about visiting a memorial sight, but getting involved with a ‘Geocache Treasure Adventure’ for a large cash prize. Added to this outing is the previous discovery by J.J, (one of the younger Misfits) of some artefacts from their relative’s desk; these become vital and link to the supernatural elements that look set to become a part of this series.

So, we have mysterious objects, a group of engaging youngsters and an island setting. It’s not long until the children are joined together on a quest to solve the puzzles, defeat the chasing bad guys, find the treasure and find themselves along the way. J.J also needs to find the treasure to help his parents from losing their family home; he also needs to repair the relationship with his older brother. There’s a mix of personalities in the ‘tribe’, the aforementioned ‘at odds’ brothers, the tech savvy kid with the backpack of helpful items, the eating, annoying kid that gets caught up with the baddies and the love interest between the older brother with one of the misfit girls, amongst others.

It’s a puzzle adventure featuring a cast of teenage children with supporting adult roles around them. It has banter and bonding within the group as they are pulled together on a quest to find a hidden treasure. There’s a series of riddles to solve to get to the next step and these steps are fraught with challenge, threat and danger. There’s a nasty bad guy, who also has a nasty henchman sidekick – so the odds are even more stacked against them! There’s teen angst and romantic longings – and we watch the group form and bond then ultimately learn to understand and respect each other. The pacing is steady through with bursts of speed at moments of danger.

Okay, overall this book didn’t work for me personally, but hang on, let me explain… I always stress that reading is personal and subjective, that what I say may not matter at all to the next reader, and should not. I’m also, more importantly, not its target reader AND there’s also the fact I love ‘The Goonies’ and there were lots of similarities that I struggled to get past. The writing style is tell and not show, I could definitely feel the screenwriters’ vibe in the writing style, but personally I enjoy more descriptive narratives. So, these are very personal reasons why the book didn’t charm me. This does not mean it won’t be an enjoyable adventure for its target readership.

So, coming into this book with fresh, i.e. ‘non-Goonie eyes’ you’ll find the enjoyment of the puzzles, and the entertaining dialogue of the teenagers. I’m going to give it to my 12 year old niece to read to see what she thinks.

Overall, thanks so much for sending me a copy of this book and for the place on the blog tour. This is a puzzle, adventure story with mystical elements where a group of youngsters’ bond and become empowered with supernatural elements to create ‘The Misfit Tribe’.

AMAZON LINK AND EXTRACT LINK BELOW

BLOG TOUR: ‘Come Back for Me’ by Heidi Perks

With thanks to Rachel Kennedy for organising the tour; the publishers at Arrow Publishing/Penguin Random House and to Heidi Perks for the fabulous thriller read.

A shocking discovery. An island wrapped in secrets. You can bury the body, but the truth will always surface…

BOOK BLURB

A tiny island community is stunned by the discovery of a long-buried body. For Stella Harvey, the news is doubly shocking, as the body is found in the garden of her childhood home. The home her family fled without explanation twenty-five years ago.

Now, questioning her past and desperate to unearth the truth, Stella returns to the Dorset island. But she quickly finds that the community she left isn’t as welcoming as she remembers – and that people in it will go to any length to protect their secrets. But one thing rings true…

You can’t bury the truth forever.

THE AUTHOR

Heidi Perks

Heidi Perks’ debut novel ‘Now You See Her’ twice reached the Sunday Times bestseller list, first in hardback in July 2018 at no.9 and again at no.6 in paperback in March 2019 where it was a Richard & Judy Book Club pick for Spring 2019. ‘Now You See Her’ has sold over 120,000 copies across formats to date and has received a staggering 200 five star reviews on Amazon from readers. It has also been optioned for TV from the production company behind BBC One’s ‘The Miniaturist’ and Channel 4’s ‘National Treasure’.

Heidi Perks worked as a marketing director for a financial company before leaving to become a full-time mum and writer. She is a graduate of the inaugural Curtis Brown Creative Online Novel Writing Course (the only creative writing school run by a literary agency). Follow Heidi on Twitter @HeidiPerksBooks and join in the conversation with #COMEBACKFORME

MY REVIEW OF ‘COME BACK FOR ME’

My first book by Heidi Perks and I was hooked from the start. I love a good mystery and the gripping opening scene had so many questions popping into my head. Our MC is Stella, who grew up on the island of Evergreen, a tiny island and intricate community, but dramatically left during a ferocious and fearsome storm when she was eleven years old with her parents, elder brother and sister. What an opening hook!

Stella grew up to be a relationship/family councillor, but she always remembers the mysterious and dramatic departure from her home and has grown up with so many unanswered questions about why they had to leave. Shortly after the book begins, a news station reports a body has been found on Evergreen – it turns out it’s in the garden of Stella’s old family home. Stella begins a quest to find out the truth of what happened; she has to know why her family had to leave so suddenly and dramatically. The narrative switches back and forth from past to present as we try to work out what happened, and whose body has been discovered. I enjoyed the slow reveal of events on the island and what led to the ensuing tragedy and why. A great puzzle of a read!


I was hooked and loved joining Stella on her journey – there’s a great and varied selection of characters to meet and a suspenseful underscore pinning the narrative as Stella returns to the Island, albeit far from welcome. There’s an array of island folk, some more likeable than others. I loved the watchful menace of some and the controlled dialogues of others; all these aspects building the suspense and added to our challenges of finding the truth. There’s also some emotional character pulls that I enjoyed which added some lovely depth to the overall character arc for Stella.

The setting is fabulous – you can’t beat an isolated island location, particularly dramatic and atmospheric when the weather changes and the storm comes in. This is certainly a crucible of a place that has been slowly simmering for a long while. Superb thriller devices take you on a puzzle of a journey with Stella, as gradually the past unfolds and we watch its effect on the present.

I’m not that sure about the ending working completely for me; this is minor and I’ll say no more and let readers’ decide for themselves but it didn’t have quite enough developed character motivations in place for me – but all reading is subjective, so it’s just my personal opinion. I had a few chats in the past with authors about the challenge of writing the ending of their novels; such a difficult task to please everyone! This makes the book fabulous for a book group. Don’t let that stop you picking up this book; it’s a really minor personal opinion. Reading this book is 100% worth it and you’ll have a great time!

Definitely a strongly recommended read despite my slightly mixed feelings about the ending. An atmospheric, truth-seeking thriller read set within an isolated community of watchful eyes.

I’m off to read ‘Now You See Her’ and Heidi Perks is definitely on my must-read author list. Happy Days!

Check out all these other fabulous Book Bloggers on the tour #TEAMHEIDI
LINK BELOW TO AMAZON AND A FREE EXTRACT

Other books by Heidi Perks

Charlotte is looking after her best friend’s daughter the day she disappears. She thought the little girl was playing with her own children. She swears she only took her eyes off them for a second.
Now, Charlotte must do the unthinkable: tell her best friend Harriet that her only child is missing. The child she was meant to be watching.
Devastated, Harriet can no longer bear to see Charlotte. No one could expect her to trust her friend again.
Only now she needs to. Because two weeks later Harriet and Charlotte are both being questioned separately by the police. And secrets are about to surface.
Someone is hiding the truth.
So what really happened to Alice?

June Reading Wrap Up

Seriously how did June disappear so quickly? Saying that, it could have been because I spent a lot of it stuck between the pages of my books.

I definitely need to get out and about in July… possibly.

Overall, 19 books read this month and as always here’s my speedy thoughts on this month’s bunch…

The ‘Air Awakens’ series – really enjoyed the first three books, and then it dragged for me. Overall though, a creative, fun fantasy YA series. 4 YA stars.

‘One Last Greek Summer’ – I read this with the Pigeonhole community and it was a light, summery group read. 3.5/4 stars.

‘Stoker’s Wilde’ – a review read via Netgalley and surprisingly fun. Mixing literary characters of Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker into a Gothic mystery. 4 stars

‘The Peculiar Charm of Miss Jane Austen’ – a Netgalley review read, and it didn’t overly work for me, some fun elements and ideas. I believe this is going to be a time-travelling series. 3 stars.

‘The Art of Dying’ – I enjoyed this murder mystery sequel novel set in 1850s Edinburgh, full review previously on the blog. 4.5 stars.

‘Death and the Harlot’ – loved this fun crime read set in 1759 London whose MC is a prostitute named Lizzie Hardwick (full review on this book and the art of a good-story on my blog feed) 5 stars for pure entertainment and historical detail.

‘The Corpse Played Dead’ – the second Lizzie Hardwick novel and another really fun read! Bring on some more! Rounding up to 5 stars for pure enjoyment grading.

‘The Misfit Tribe and the Secret of Mystery Island’ – read this for a blog tour and sadly it didn’t work as it was too similar to ‘The Goonies’. A sad 2 stars.

‘The Sorcery of Thorns’ – enjoyable, creative and magical YA read. Just tipping into 4 stars on my YA scale.

‘Truthwitch’ – another magical action fantasy read, and the first in a series; fun! 4 YA stars.

‘Blood Orange’ – I’m still thinking about what went wrong for me with this one. I think my expectation was high, from other reviews but it didn’t all come together for me. Weird ending and lots of unlikeable characters with little to balance them. 3 stars.

‘We Hunt the Flame’ – really enjoyed this, loved the evocative language and the central characters, great YA magical fantasy read. 4 YA stars.

‘The Missing Years – full review on blog as part of a June Blog tour celebrating the publication of this thriller, mystery. Really enjoyed it. Lacked pace of some novels, but I enjoyed taking my time reading it. 4.5 stars.

‘The French Girl’ – again not a pacey read from Lexie Elliott but entertaining, nicely plotted and created. Tipped into 4 stars.

‘Wicked Saints’ – despite it waning for me in the middle, I enjoyed this debut YA novel – bloody, gothic dark fairy-tale with themes of deception, desire, greed, lies, religion and the exploration of monstrosity. Some great character complexity and subversion, which redeemed it for me. Just tipping into 4 YA stars.