Friday, 25 September 2020

COVER REVEAL/PROMOTIONAL SPOTLIGHT - RED EYE ARMAGEDDON SERIES - SEASON THREE EPISODE ONE BY CLAIRE C. RILEY & ELI CONSTANT

 

RED EYE THE ARMAGEDDON SERIES

SEASON THREE EPISODE ONE

A new location brings new terror as Rose and Sam find themselves at the mercy of Barrett’s crew, the Sins.

Now separated from both Sam and Nolan, Rose is a caged animal, terrified but determined to find the people she cares about the most. But how much can one person take?

More than ever, Rose would give anything to be sat in a boring office back in England right now.

Sam’s secret is never safe; that’s a reality she’s learning to live with. Barrett has protected her up until now, yet surrounded by his so-called family, she wonders how long it will be before he turns on her… 

Sam longs for the days when her biggest problems were a failed relationship, too many carbs, and a sprained ankle.

Life has never been easy, not before the zombies and certainly not after. But even with the dead rising, it is the living that cause the most problems. It’s the humans that elicit the most fear, that make the apocalypse bloodier, that kill anyone necessary to survive.

Between humans, zombies, and the desire for brains,

the world’s getting darker by the hour.

And the two unlikely friends

need one another more than ever.

That doomed red-eye flight seems a lifetime ago

 

Seriously you need to start this epic zombie apocalypse thriller written by USA Today Bestselling Author Claire C. Riley and Victoria Cage Author Eli Constant.
You can check out my reviews of Red Eye Seasons 1 & 2 via my
A~Z Review Listings page and looking under either of the authors surnames!

START THE SERIES TODAY

US: http://bit.ly/3cuc4o7RedEyeSeries

UK: http://bit.ly/2RVhxL7RedEye

 

ADD IT ON GOODREADS NOW!


EPISODE RELEASE DATES 

Episode One – October 8th
Episode Two – October 22nd
Episode Three – November 12th
Episode Four – November 26th

 

EXCERPT 

“Ain’t she pretty,” Nathan said.

I kept my face blank staring at Rose. It wasn’t hard. I’d perfected my poker face when I was a kid, refusing to let my old man see how shit-scared he made me feel. “She’s not my type,” I said casually, standing up. I’d had to squat down to see who Nathan was holding like an animal in the small cage. “Can we get back to business now?”

Nathan looked at Rose for a second, mouth quirking. “Sure thing, brother.”

We’d talked business for a while, but the conversation had strayed back to Rose in the cage… and Sam.

“I’ll trade you this one”—he pointed at Rose—“for the bitch you’re playing house with. God knows the boys will pay more for a grown-ass woman with a body like that.”

“You’re relentless,” I muttered, dropping the papers I’d been looking at—photos and write-ups of all the new girls Nathan had acquired since last time I’d been around. We’d already gone over the important shit.

“You know me…when I see something I want.”

“You get a little fucking obsessed?” I shrugged, face neutral.

“Hey, if she won’t work on her back, then she can strip. I’d be satisfied with that. And I’ll still give you the Brit snatch in the cage.” Nathan walked over and kicked the metal bars firmly, the sound echoing loudly in the small room. Rose hunched further into a ball.

When he turned back to me, he was full-on grinning, a maniacal, hungry look in his eyes. I’d seen that look before, and it spelled nothing but trouble for Rose.

“Not interested.” I glanced at the door, making it obvious that the conversation was over. “If that’s all, I’ll be heading back to Stash’s.”

“Sure, sure, Barrett. That’s all.” His smile faltered a little. “All for now.”

Nathan, despite appearances, was a cruel, brutal man. If he set his eyes on something, he usually found a way to get it. That’s why I’d been so determined to talk to him about Sam before he saw her. Look how that had fucking worked out.

Well, to get to Sam, he’d have to go through me. Even a fucking psycho like him would think twice about pushing me.




 


Saturday, 19 September 2020

REVIEW - MY NAME IS SELMA BY SELMA VAN DE PERRE

  

Title: My Name Is Selma
Author: Selma Van De Perre
Publisher: Bantam Press, Random House UK, Transworld
Genre: Biographies, Memoir, History
Release Date: 17th September 2020

BLURB from Goodreads
Selma van de Perre was seventeen when World War Two began. Until then, being Jewish in the Netherlands had been of no consequence. But by 1941 this simple fact had become a matter of life or death. Several times, Selma avoided being rounded up by the Nazis. Then, in an act of defiance, she joined the Resistance movement, using the pseudonym Margareta van der Kuit. For two years 'Marga' risked it all. Using a fake ID, and passing as Aryan she travelled around the country delivering newsletters, sharing information, keeping up morale - doing, as she later explained, what 'had to be done'.

In July 1944 her luck ran out. She was transported to Ravensbrück women's concentration camp as a political prisoner. Unlike her parents and sister - who, she would later discover, died in other camps - she survived by using her alias, pretending to be someone else. It was only after the war ended that she was allowed to reclaim her identity and dared to say once again: My name is Selma.

Now, at ninety-eight, Selma remains a force of nature. Full of hope and courage, this is her story in her own words.

Goodreads Link

PURCHASE LINK
Amazon US (no link yet)
Amazon UK

REVIEW
I’ll be totally honest I feel drawn to books about the survivors of the Holocaust. I feel very strongly that their stories must be told and never ever forgotten, so when I saw this book and the picture of Selma, “the Ravensbrúck survivor” and “Jewish Resistance fighter” “today” at age 98 I felt compelled to read about her life as well as her many near deaths too.

I think the fact the cover image is Selma’s face makes it so powerful and almost irresistible, I know I would have to pick it up from a book store shelf to learn more about the remarkable woman who was a Jewish Resistance fighter who also managed to survive Ravensbruck too!

The book begins with Selma hiding hoping to evade capture. Sadly, she is found by an SS Guard and thrown into the last wagon. Selma doesn’t know any of the women she is in the wagon with. It turns out the women in the wagon are asocial, meaning they have done something the Germans do not like. It ends up being a bit of good luck for Selma as these women worked in the kitchen which means they have had access to food and have managed to smuggle more with them than those in the other wagons. When the women bicker about how to share or ration their food it is Selma that speaks up and ends up being chosen to take care of and distribute the food, in an attempt to make it last for their journey. It’s whilst on the long train journey that Selma writes a not to her best friend Gretchen, she tells her friend she is in a cattle wagon on her way to Ravensbruck or Sachsenhausen. She throws the note through a gap in the slats of the wagon hoping it reaches her friend but not knowing if it ever will.

The book then reverts to the past and gives some background about Selma and her parents and siblings. Selma’s father was an actor so they moved around a lot for his work. His work was also sporadic so Selma was used to life changing rapidly. When he was in work they could live, eat and dress well. However. when work was scarce they wore hand me down clothes, made do, and ate what their mother could get her hands on to cook for them. Maybe it is this type of life of having to adapt to her surroundings that helped Selma exist and survive Ravensbrusck. Though Selma and her family were Jewish, they weren’t regular attenders at their church. The most religious thing about Selma and possibly the only clue to her Jewish heritage was the fact she wore a Star of David necklace. Some would say lucky for Selma, she didn’t have the typical Jewish hair and looks so easily passed as a German.

Several times in the book, Selma refers to herself as lucky. As she works distributing messages and leaflets within the Jewish Resistance, she comes really close to being captured. Selma’s part of the resistance ends up being caught, yet once again she is not identified as Jewish and is put with political prisoners. Selma has many brushes with death, even when liberated from Ravensbruck, she narrowly misses being in one of the vehicles that is blown up when mistaken for a vehicle full of fleeing German Army personnel.

I don’t want to reveal everything about Selma’s life as you need to read it all in the words and order Selma chooses to divulge it in the book. It is her story to tell. You may think that when Selma is liberated from Ravensbruck her suffering is over, but it is far from finished. Selma may have been freed from Ravensbruck but she has no where to live, no money, just nothing.

Selma naturally revisits her old home and discovers the odd neighbour here and there that is still in the area. Selma is desperate to know what happened to her dear father and her mother and her younger sister Clara. Unfortunately, the reality is devastating. Selma still manages to pick herself up and get on with her life. Her two brothers fought and are both now in England.

This book tells how the war and Nazi regime progressed. First what could be considered small things were taken away from Jewish families, like not being allowed into the same cinema as others, not being allowed out. Then losing their businesses and property. All perhaps things the Jewish people could survive or cope with alone but the way things escalated because of one mans idea’s of perfection, that same man’s feelings of hate towards a race of people would be unbelievable, and you would think it a fictional story if you didn’t know that it is fact and the people in these books are real, their losses real, their suffering real. The more I read about the era, the more I learn, then look at the world around us and shockingly see similarities, the beginnings of possibilities of all these atrocities happening again.

I found it interesting to learn that the Red Cross visited different camps run by the Nazis, obviously only shown certain areas and healthy prisoners. Red Cross parcels were regularly sent to these concentration camps. However, in reality it was extremely rare for any of the parcel contents to ever make it to those in need. The guards were the ones that benefited from the Red Cross parcels not the prisoners existing in the horrendous conditions hidden from the visiting Red Cross. How could the truth be so easily hidden?

I also read the sad story of the Resistance member that revealed information in the hope it would save Selma and his other colleagues. Of course, the Nazis did not keep to their end of the deal, lives were lost and the Resistance member survived the war and ended up being labelled a collaborator, despite having suffered greatly himself.

Though I have read quite a few of these survivor stories there is always more to learn. I didn’t know Ravensbruck gave their prisoners numbers but did not tattoo them onto them as other camps did. I think I have read a lot about Auschwitz and not so much about the women only camp of Ravensbruck. I had also read about “The White Rose” but perhaps not so much about the Jewish Resistance. I know it is a very dark period of history but these stories must be told, these people must be remembered, then at least they did not die in vain.

Selma truly is an inspirational, remarkable woman, but through her words in the book she strikes me as someone who would shrug off an accolade or praise for what she did. Selma tells her story in a matter of fact way, how it all happened. Selma made and lost friends along the way. After the war she did her best to trace family and friends tracing what happened to them, visiting them if they too survived and mourning the ones that didn’t. I am honestly thankful to Selma for telling her story, so that younger generations can learn the truth and pass on her story into the future too. Selma doesn’t make out she is/was anything special, she just tells her story and that of those around her throughout her journey. As she says in the little introduction of the book she has shared her story as a tribute to all those who suffered and died. The ironic thing is all through her journey through the resistance and in Ravensbruck she was not identified as Jewish. She was arrested and held as a political prisoner, under an assumed name and false identity papers. Did being a political prisoner as opposed to being a Jewish prisoner save her life? Who knows, maybe it did. I imagine anytime those identity papers were called for, examined were extremely anxious times for Selma. She must have been continually on edge, and she states in the book she trusted no one with her true name and heritage. It wasn’t until everything was over that Selma reclaimed her real birth name in the hope it may help her trace her family and friends.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing this book were that it was an amazing account of a brave, courageous woman who survived the atrocities around her by living one day at a time. Trying her best to hold on to a shred of hope. Despite the odds she survives Ravensbruck. Her life story and those like her should be told, and retold, handed down the generations so they are never forgotten or repeated.

To sum up this book takes you through a whole range of emotions. From dread and being on the edge of your seat as Selma describe how she evades being almost caught on many occasions. There’s horror at the conditions she has to live in, anguish when she is so ill, it seems she will die in the camp, to elation when Ravensbruck is liberated, relief she isn’t in the wagon that is bombed yet at the same time despair for those poor women to have survived the war and a concentration camp to be bombed and killed during their liberation by those on their own side of the war. I say this about lots of the books I read about those that survived the Holocaust but Selma’s story is one of courage, bravery and yes as Selma herself says luck and it must be read, and talked about. It’s a message, memories of an horrendous time that should never be forgotten.


 

 

 

Friday, 18 September 2020

REVIEW - STORIES OF HOPE BY HEATHER MORRIS

 

Title: The Stories Of Hope
Author: Heather Morris
Publisher: Manilla Press, Bonnier Books UK
Genre: Biographies & Memoir, Health Mind, Body, Non-Fiction
Release Date: 17th September 2020

BLURB from Goodreads
In Stories of Hope, Heather Morris takes us on an inspirational journey through some of the defining experiences of her life, including her profound friendship with Lale Sokolov, the tattooist at Auschwitz-Birkenau and the inspiration for her bestselling novel.

Heather Morris will explore her extraordinary talents as a listener - a skill she employed when she first met Lale. It was this ability that led Lale to entrust Heather with his story, which she told as the novel The Tattooist of Auschwitz and its bestselling follow up, Cilka's Journey. Now she shares her inspiring writing journey, exploring how she learned to really listen to the stories people told her, some of which she has shared with millions of readers in her fiction.

An essential companion to The Tattooist of Auschwitz and an inspiring manual for life, Stories of Hope will examine and explore Heather's extraordinary writing journey, in the form of a series of tales of the remarkable people she has met, the incredible stories they have shared with her, and the lessons they hold for us all.


PURCHASE LINKS
Amazon US (not yet available)

REVIEW
Having read The Tattooist Of Auschwitz, and Cilka’s Journey both by Heather Morris I was really excited to read more. I had read somewhere on social media, or online that she was in the process of gathering information from three sisters about their Holocaust story and naturally presumed that was what this book was about.

I think the cover of this book is very fitting with the photographs featured on the cover and an aged looking paper bearing the title of the book. The cover also features the fact that Heather is the best-selling author of The Tattooist Of Auschwitz. The cover also has the by-line of “Finding Inspiration In Everyday Life” which is what Heather has done when she is sharing her own stories of her own life and when she talks about the different times she sat with her great grandfather and he told her about all the different objects he had collected over the years.

The only way I can really describe the book is that it’s kind of like two books in one really. There are sections that instruct you how to listen, both to people and your surroundings. I think to some it could come across a little like “telling granny how to suck eggs” in parts. I guess you could even say it is a tiny bit overly preachy in some of these sections too. Whilst I read these sections, I will be totally honest I didn’t enjoy them all and think some of them could have easily been left out of the book with little detriment to it.

The sections of the book I loved were the parts where she described how she came in to contact with Lale. Those first few meetings in his home, with the horrible coffee and the awkwardness that after one of his dogs accepted Heather enough to give her its ball, turned into an acceptance of her and a loving friendship. The outings that they went on to the cinema where Lale easily chose actress Natalie Portman to be the one to portray his beautiful wife Gita should a movie be made of their story. Though it took Lale much longer to choose Ryan Gosling to be the one to represent him. The amusing flirtations that Lale had with Heather daughter, to the event that Heather attended where women were at one side of the room and the men to the other. Lale introduced her to his friends and fellow Holocaust Survivors who immediately shared their own tales of Lale and Gita. They were also eager to tell Heather their own stories of families, and friends lost during the Holocaust, along with the different concentration camps they were kept in. Arguing and squabbling like children about who had the worst time in which concentration camp and the little stories of a small kindness that helped them live through to another day.

Heather reveals she also worked at a hospital, and I found one story she shared quite poignant as it was the loss of a child. Heather reveals how she would dress babies in outfits brought in by their parents, place toys, cards, and photographs with them. In this particular tale a bereaved father has two marbles that his ow father had given him as a child and he wanted to pass on one of the marbles to his son, but was finding the decision of which one to choose impossible and he asks Heather to choose. Her kindness is not forgotten and we learn her choice of marble colour turns out to have been quite apt later for the young bereaved couple.

Heather reveals how she heard about the three sisters, a last-minute, spur of the moment journey to meet one of them, enabled thanks to the understanding of her day job boss, whose story is going to be her next book. Heather mentions that without her family and friends understanding she wouldn’t have been able to write these books. She also reveals the toll listening and writing about these different Holocaust stories have taken on her. She explains that survivors deal with this awful period of the past differently. Some with have spoken to their families, where others will have never talked about the numbers tattooed on their arms. Luckily for the following generations some want to tell their stories, they want them to be remembered and continue to be passed on. It is a time in history and in their lives that in my opinion should never be forgotten. I think Heather is doing something invaluable for both the survivors of the holocaust who wish to tell their stories and for us, the readers of her books. Heather discloses the process she uses for the books. For example, with Lale she didn’t take notes, she would rush home and write down all she remembered as soon as she got home. Then as she does with all the stories, she is told she fact checks everything for the date, time and name of SS Officers and Survivors are correct. It was really engrossing reading how the research and writing of the Survivors are all different. As with Cilka’s Journey, Heather had to check, birth documents and family documents to back up what she was being told. Heather describes passing the house where Cilka used to live. There are things in this book that Heather describes that really make the hairs on your arms, and back of your neck stand up. Heather has also visited Auschwitz she describes being able to pin point the different barracks and areas in the camp that Lale described to her in such detail with ease whilst she was there.

I feel I need to add in a little more about this book, I had seen on social media people that had read it and were saying they really hadn’t enjoyed it. I came across these comments quite accidentally as I usually try my best to avoid what others think about a book when I know I do want to read it for myself. Some of the things said really had me second guessing whether I would enjoy the content of the book or not. For anyone unsure of reading it, having seen some negativity about the book, my advice would be to read the book for yourself. Even if you don’t like the bits suggesting questions to ask to have meaningful conversations, or the pointers on learning to really listen, there is so much more to the book. It tells you more about Heather the woman who was initially taught to be able to sit and listen well to others by her great grandfather. You get more of an idea of what Heathers life has been like as well as how writing these powerful, emotional, harrowing stories affects her and her own family too. Its certainly a book worth reading.

My immediate thoughts upon finishing the book were that it was an enjoyable enough read, though not what I had initially thought it would be. I loved the parts about Heather and her great grandfather, who taught her the value of listening. I also adored the recollections Heather shared about her time with Lale, the stories about the research she needed to do about Cilka. Here is also a very poignant story about an incident that occurred whilst Heather was working at a hospital that I found highly emotive. The book ends on the promise of the story of 3 sisters, which I can't wait to read.

To sum up, I really enjoyed certain parts of the book where as other parts I admit to finding a little irritating. Having said that for those who wish to learn how to listen to the world and people around them then those parts of the book will also be more interesting to them. Perhaps those sections are aimed at the younger generation that perhaps haven’t been around their elders to actually listen too. As an only child when my family visited my grandparents I was used to sitting, spending time with them and really listening to them, hearing the stories of their pasts. As Heather says in her book perhaps some would look at that as a duty of respect for your elders, though I loved spending time with them, reminiscing about how different their own childhood were. How my grandparents first met etc. I found it all fascinating. Perhaps they are the ones responsible for my fascination with people’s histories, memoirs and their own family stories. On the whole I would say, overall, I enjoyed the book quite a lot.