The Mash House by Alan Gillespie Blog Tour/ Tartan Noir/ Crime Debut Novel/RandomThingsTours

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Cullrothes, in the Scottish Highlands, where Innes hides a terrible secret from
his girlfriend Alice, a gorgeous, cheating, lying schoolteacher. In the same
village, Donald is the aggressive distillery owner, who floods the country with
narcotics alongside his single malt; when his son goes missing, he becomes
haunted by an anonymous American investor intent on purchasing the
Cullrothes Distillery by any means necessary. Schoolgirl Jessie is trying to get
the grades to escape to the mainland, while Grandpa counts the days left in his
life.
This is a place where mountains are immense and the loch freezes in winter. A
place with only one road in and out. With long storms and furious midges and a
terrible phone signal. The police are compromised the journalists are scum, and
the innocent folk of Cullrothes tangle themselves in a fermenting barrel of
suspicion, malice and lies…

MY THOUGHTS:

OMG hard to believe this is a debut novel and what a great debut it is. I read this book in two days, such was the quality of the story and once gripped it would not let me go. This book had everything you want in a good crime novel and more.

Jessie a teenage girl, whose parents are divorced, is looking after her grandfather who is dying of throat cancer.

Donald who runs the family distillery, a front for drug running, is a mean gangster who stops at nothing and married to Morag who is equally ruthless.

Alice a teacher at the local school borders on the edge of being a psychopath and her husband Innes, manager of the local hotel has a dark past.

Valentine a journalist who will do anything for a story, including seduction. Add into the mix police corruption and other people looking to cash into the drug market you have what you would call a potboiler.

You would think with all this and more going on you would the author and/or the reader would lose the plot and and up confused. But no the quality of Alan’s writing , the concise plotting and the short chapters make for a satisfying read that draws to a great finale.

I’m glad this book landed in my hands and I would recommend this book and author to anyone who loves great crime writing. All the stars from me and I look forward to reading more by Alan.

Thanks to Alan for the story

Unbound for the ARC

Anne Cater for the tour invite.

THE AUTHOR:

Alan Gillespie is a writer and teacher from Fife, Scotland. He has studied at the
Universities of Stirling, Glasgow and Strathclyde. His articles and stories have
appeared in the New York Times, the Guardian, the Herald, Northwords Now, New
Writing Scotland, and elsewhere. In 2011 he was awarded the Scottish Emerging
Writer’s residency at Cove Park. The Mash House is his first novel.
@afjgillespie

Gender Euphoria by Laura Kate Dale/ Blog Tour/Transgender Voices @RandomThingsTours

ABOUT THE BOOK:

‘Gender Euphoria really up-ends the baked-in narrative about pain and unhappiness.
Instead, these young writers look at life through the other end of the telescope and, whilst
acknowledging the obstacles thrown in their path, find the things to rejoice about being set
free of the shackles of gender conformity… This book will inspire you’
Christine Burns
GENDER EUPHORIA
Stories of joy from trans, non-binary and intersex writers
Edited by Laura Kate Dale
‘Every page is a little present! A timely reminder of the value of trans lives and the urgent
need to improve the conditions in which we are made to live them’ Abigail Thorn
● This groundbreaking anthology brings together an eclectic cohort of trans, nonbinary, agender, gender-fluid and intersex contributors to share their
experiences of “gender euphoria” – bringing stories of joy, belonging and
positivity to the conversation around transition
● Moments of gender euphoria include an agender dominatrix being called
‘Daddy’, an Arab trans man getting his first tattoos, and a trans woman
embracing her inner fighter
● Gender Euphoria reached its funding target in less than a week, and has over
1,000 backers
So often, the stories shared by trans people about their transition centre on gender dysphoria:
a feeling of deep discomfort with their birth-assigned gender, and a powerful catalyst for
coming out or transitioning. But for many non-cisgender people, it’s gender euphoria which
pushes forward their transition: the joy the first time a parent calls them by their new chosen
name, the first time they have the confidence to cut their hair short, the first time they truly
embrace themself.
Gender Euphoria seeks to show the world the sheer variety of ways that being non cisgender
can be a beautiful, joyful experience. What each of the book’s essayists have in common are
their feelings of elation, pride, confidence, freedom and ecstasy as a direct result of coming
out as non-cisgender, and how coming to terms with their gender brought unimaginable joy
into their lives.

MY THOUGHTS:

Well this was a book I would never pick up in a book shop. The main reason being where it would probably be shelved. So when the chance to go on this tour curiosity got the better of me. One main reason was because I know the author Roz White who is a trans woman; and apart knowing her as a person I know nothing of transgender people.

So I opened this book with some trepidation, not knowing what to expect and would I have some hidden prejudices. But I was presently surprised by what I read. The fight they face to identify with the gender they feel comfortable with and not what they were assigned at birth.

They face the fear of coming out to family and friends and how these may react to the news. Also they face prejudice from work colleagues and religious leaders. For many transgender or non-binary people the path is easier than others; eg. the so called liberal west. In many places and counties the way of life and religion make the journey harder to navigate’

Many feel euphoria when they make the change to the gender they feel comfortable with and when they are addressed by parents and friends by their new name and chosen sex.

Thanks to Laura for editing this book and to all the contributors for their stories.

I feel this book was humorous, tragic and life affirming in turns. But above all it is Educational. Another reason I wanted to read this book is because I have a nephew who is transitioning and I feel that this will be good resource for him

About the Editor
Laura Kate Dale is a full-time video game critic, video creator, podcaster and author. Her first
book was Uncomfortable Labels, a memoir about growing up at the intersection of being a
member of the LGBT community and living with autism, and she writes regularly on the theme
of transgender rights and experience. She can be found tweeting at @LaurakBuzz, where
she has over 53k followers.

The Cursed Girls by Caro Ramsey Blog Tour Dysfunctional Family Dark Secrets, Suicide, Murder? RandomThingsTours/ Anne Cater

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Megan Melvick has returned home after a three-year absence to visit her dying sister, Melissa, for the last time. As she approaches the grand Scottish country estate where she grew up, the memories come flooding back. Just what did happen on the night of Melissa’s wedding five years before? Where has Megan and Melissa’s mother disappeared to? And why does Melissa whisper that solitary word before she finally slips away: Sorry.

In order to overcome her demons, Megan must confront her painful recollections of that terrible night, the night of Melissa’s wedding. The night somebody died. But can she really trust her memories? And who is so determined that she should forget?

MY THOUGHTS:

Apart from the Prologue which is a shock to the system this is not a fast paced book, but it is a wild ride on the dark side of family relationships. This is told through multiple perspectives mostly Megan and Carla; who tells her story through absentia, being dead. But how did she dire? Was murder involved and if so who was responsible?

Firstly we have Megan returning to her family home to say her last goodbyes to her dying sister who is suffering from severe anorexia. Megan finds many memories crowding in on her, not least her Grandfather’s suicide and the way she has treated her sister in the past. Not kindly, but her sister’s last words to her is Sorry, when Megan is the one who should be the one apologizing.

Caro weaves a tale of deceit, treachery and betrayal. With superb writing and consummate story telling with not a wasted word or misplaced character.

A slow burn of a read but what a superb read and being a stand alone makes a change from her series. Grab a copy and dive in!

THE AUTHOR:

Caro Ramsay was born and educated in Glasgow. She has been writing stories since she was five years old, developing a keen interest in crime fiction and a passion for the genre that lead her to write Absolution, her first novel.

Stephen From the Inside Out/ Susie Stead/Blog Tour/ Mental Health Stephen’s Story/Lonely Voice @RandomThingsTours

ABOUT THE BOOK:

This is the raw, unconventional true story of how one woman, while trying to ‘do good’ to a local
man with complex psychological needs, ends up in an unorthodox friendship and finds herself
charting his life. Part biography, part social history, part memoir, Stephen, From the Inside
Out follows the journey of a man named Stephen and his connection to Susie, who became his
friend and wanted his story to be heard. ‘Stephen told me his life was a complete waste of time – yet
he changed mine,’ said Susie. ‘I want people to catch sight of the warmth, beauty and complexity
that was hidden behind his protective façade.’
‘The story of Stephen and Susie was a fabulous winner of our 2019 Impress Prize,’ said Jeffrey
Collyer, CEO of Impress Books. ‘This is a story that is incredibly important for our world and I feel
privileged to have worked with Susie on it.’
Frank, tragic, yet at times hilarious – this book not only tells a compelling and important story but
will be vital reading for anyone who cares about mental health in our contemporary world.
‘Susie weaves Stephen’s life story with that of changing attitudes to mental health in the UK. As you
read it is impossible not to feel anger, compassion, and rage at the way people like Stephen have
been treated […] It takes you into a world few of us know much about and you will emerge, as I did,
far richer for the experience.’ – Dr Michael Mosley, science presenter, journalist, and author
Stephen, From the Inside Out will be published 2nd April 2021. It is available for pre-order and will be
available from all major booksellers, as well as independent bookshops. For more information, please
email Jeffrey Collyer at jeff@impress-books.co.uk

MY THOUGHTS:

This was an outstanding read and approached a difficult subject, mental health from a different perspective. Most books on this subject are looking in and in some cases looking down on.
Susie has approached this subject in a different way. She introduces Stephen and in meeting him learns a lot about him and his life. How he views his world and how it views him.
People who suffer from mental health problems see the world differently from so called normal people. Is that because they’re many different types of mental health and many people suffer from a combination of more than one, eg. Autism and Schizophrenia; and are also misdiagnosed.
What is different about Stephen’s story it is told from his perspective, looking out and trying to make sense of a world at times seems confusing and cruel and frightening.
This book will give an insight into the world of mental health and the frustrations it causes so called normal people. Susie teaches us as she learns to traverse the minefield that is mental health.
Susie has written a book that in someway lets have an insight into a difficult world. But more importantly gives Stephen a voice as he looks out from the inside. She wraps up this book in such a way that has you angry, frustrated and happy all in the space of a few words. Though at times a very sad book it also gives glimpses of humour along the way. Stephen lives in a black and white world with no understanding of the grey areas most of us inhabit. Bur this can be crossed by a, to Stephen’s mind, with a logical answer. When he tells a nurse he would like to stab her she counters that if he did who would feed him. In Stephen’s words “Fair point”
A beautiful book that the reader will love, highly recommended and thankyou Susie for telling Stephen’s story.

THE AUTHOR:

Susie Stead is an award-winning writer with an MA in Dramatic Writing and twenty years’ experience
writing and producing drama and short films, including collaborations with people with lived
experience of mental illness. She is also a freelance accredited mindfulness teacher. Stephen from
the Inside Out is her first book.

Into the Mouth of the Lion by A.B. Kyazze/ Blog Tour/ Angola/ Civil War/ @RandomThings Tours

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Angola, 2002. In the last days of a vicious civil war, it is a dangerous landscape
rife with rebel soldiers, land mines, corruption and deception. A suspicious
explosion kills a beloved nurse, while another humanitarian worker goes
missing.
Lena Rodrigues, a young photographer, flies out to Angola’s highlands to piece
together the reasons behind her sister’s disappearance. But will she have the
strength to bear witness to the truth, before she gets entangled in the
country’s conflict for minerals and power?

MY THOUGHTS:


This was an outstanding read. A book that raises more questions than are answered. The main question is what would you do?
Suppose you had a sister you were estranged from, who you hadn’t spoken to in more than a decade. A sister who walked out on her own mother’s funeral. You know, the last you heard she was working with refugees in war torn Angola. A civil war that has been raging for over two decades and at the time of the story is nearing its end. A sister who has ignored her nearest and dearest, Who left all behind to pursue her own dreams and to hell with everyone else.
What would you do if you heard she was involved in an accident and was missing. Would you wait for news and whatever it may be and face the consequences. Or would you do what Lena does an go to Angola to search her sister?
This is a book that raises the questions of greed, selfishness but also the fact, that no matter what blood is thicker than water and you must do what the heart tells you and over ruling the head.
A book of love, loss, greed and the spectre of white privilege. A masterful story wrapped up in beautiful prose that tugs at the heartstrings and totally involves the reader. You will be invested in the story of Lena and her sister DJ. A book I heartily recommend to every lover of a good story. 
THE AUTHOR:

AUTHOR DETAILS
A.B. Kyazze is a British-American writer and photographer. She spent more
than 18 years writing and taking photographs in humanitarian crises across the
globe in Africa, Asia and the Balkans. Into the Mouth of the Lion is her debut
novel. She recently published short stories in The Great Lakes Review, Byte the
Book and The National Anthology of Flash Fiction 2019 (UK). She also writes book
reviews and articles, and teaches creative writing classes for children.
@abkwriting

The Transparency of Time by Leonardo Padura / Blog Tour Crime in Translation/ Cuba @RandomThingsTours.

Mario Conde is facing down his sixtieth birthday. What does he have to show for his decades on the planet? A
failing body, a slower mind, and a decrepit country, in which both the ideals and failures of the Cuban
Revolution are being swept away in favour of a new and newly cosmopolitan worship of money.
Rescue comes in the form of a new case: an old Marxist turned flamboyant practitioner of Santería appears on
the scene to engage Conde to track down a stolen statue of the Virgen de Regla—a black Madonna. This sets
Conde on a quest that spans twenty-first century Havana as well as the distant past, as he delves as far back
as the Crusades in an attempt to uncover the true provenance of the statue.
Through vignettes from the life of a Catalan peasant named Antoni Barral, who appears throughout history in
different guises—as a shepherd during the Spanish Civil War, as vassal to a feudal lord—we trace the
Madonna to present-day Cuba. With Barral serving as Conde’s alter ego, unstuck in time, and Conde serving
as the author’s, we are treated to a panorama of history, and reminded of the impossibility of ever remaining
on its sidelines, no matter how obscure we may think our places in the action.
Equal parts The Name of the Rose and The Maltese Falcon, The Transparency of Time cements Leonardo
Padura’s position as the preeminent literary crime writer of our time.

MY THOUGHTS:

I read this not knowing it was book nine in a series. I had no problem reading and enjoying this book.

Padura’s detective, Mario Conde, is a former policeman, now making a living as an itinerant buyer and seller of books, scouting out old collections containing titles that have some monetary value. Conde also writes, though never to his own satisfaction. He also takes on the occasional bit of private investigation work.

The Transparency of Time looks to the past and the future with an equally critical and affectionate eye. Conde has been approached by a newly reappeared school friend, Bobby, now a dealer in art and antiques, whose home was stripped by his con man lover. Bobby is particularly concerned about the loss of a statue of the Virgin de Regla, a Black Madonna who is popular in Cuba. Bobby has recently been initiated into Santería, identifies his Madonna with Yemayá, the primary mother figure in Santería, and claims that she has cured him from a near-fatal cancer. Conde takes on the job—the terms Bobby offers are well above Conde’s usual pay rate—but Conde gradually finds himself wondering how accurate and how complete Bobby’s story actually is. This narrative is accompanied by another that moves back in time, imagining a history for Bobby’s Madonna.

The Transparency of Time is a novel that rewards on many levels. It fulfills reader expectations for the mystery genre, but is also character-driven, offers a Cuban’s view of contemporary Cuba, and has historical sweep folded in due to the missing Madonna.


Leonardo Padura Fuentes (born 1955) is a Cuban novelist and journalist. As of 2007, he is one of Cuba’s best known writers internationally. In English and some other languages, he is often referred to by the shorter form of his name, Leonardo Padura. He has written movie scripts, two books of short stories and a series of detective novels translated into 10 languages. In 2012, Fuentes was awarded the National Prize for Literature, Cuba’s national literary award and the most important award of its kind.

The Puma Years by Laura Coleman A Memoir of Love and Transformation in the Bolivian Jungle /Blog Tour@RandomThings

ABOUT THE BOOK:

In this rapturous memoir, writer and activist Laura Coleman shares the story of her liberating journey in the Amazon jungle and falling in love with a magnificent cat who changed her life.

Laura was in her early twenties and directionless when she quit her job to backpack in Bolivia. Fate landed her at a wildlife sanctuary on the edge of the Amazon jungle where she was assigned to a beautiful and complex puma named Wayra. Wide-eyed, inexperienced, and comically terrified, Laura made the scrappy, make-do camp her home. And in Wayra, she made a friend for life.

They weren’t alone, not with over a hundred quirky animals to care for, each lost and hurt in its own way: a pair of suicidal, bra-stealing monkeys, a frustrated parrot desperate to fly, and a pig with a wicked sense of humor. The humans, too, were cause for laughter and tears. There were animal whisperers, committed staff, wildly devoted volunteers, handsome heartbreakers, and a machete-wielding prom queen who carried Laura through. Most of all, there were the jungle—lyrical and alive—and Wayra, who would ultimately teach Laura so much about love, healing, and the person she was capable of becoming.

Set against a turbulent and poignant backdrop of deforestation, the illegal pet trade, and forest fires, The Puma Years explores what happens when two desperate creatures in need of rescue find one another.

MY THOUGHTS:


This was an outstanding book. The likes of which I’ve never read before. It is a memoir, but much more than just than that. It tells the story of Laura, who tiring of mundane jobs decides to backpack in Bolivia. Whilst there she comes across a flier that tells her about a wildlife park looking for volunteers and decides to give it s go. Another way to fill in a few weeks.
This is where the story really takes off and Laura finds herself having to put up with hardships and learning to care for wild animals. Not only wild but damaged in someway. A book that you learn along with Laura as she faces not only her fears but the fears of the animals she is caring for and trying to understand how they feel. Laura finds herself caring for a puma named Wyra. It is a tale of caution and learning to trust one another.
A book that teaches you as you read. It tells the story of hardships, Forest fires, the illegal animal trade. It tell a tale that makes you angry, sad and despairing of the effect mankind is having on the environment and the natural world.
A tale of Laura, the natural world and maybe all is not lost and we can change the path we seem set upon.
The writing is of an exceptional quality with not a wasted word and is all tied up in a bundle of food for thought. Highly recommended! (

THE AUTHOR:

‘m a writer, activist and artist. My pronouns are she/her.

My first book, THE PUMA YEARS, will be published 1st June 2021 by Little A. Proceeds from this book are going to support Comunidad Inti Wara Yassi (CIWY) in Bolivia: https://www.intiwarayassi.org

In 2007 I went to Bolivia, and started volunteering with CIWY, an NGO that manages three wildlife sanctuaries and gives homes to animals rescued from illegal wildlife trafficking. It was this work, the communities and the stories that I found there, that, in 2012, inspired me to start the UK-based charity ONCA: https://onca.org.uk Panthera onca means jaguar. Bridging social and environmental justice issues with creativity, ONCA promotes positive change by facilitating inclusive spaces for creative learning, artist support, story-sharing and community solidarity.

In 2018, I moved to the Isle of Eigg in Scotland with my friend and companion, a dog called Nelo. It was here that I decided to write about my experiences in Bolivia, namely about how a small, desperate puma named Wayra changed my life. This became THE PUMA YEARS.

I live and write by the sea, and I am represented by Rocking Chair Books: