Category Archives: Unbound
America Über Alles by Jack Fernley
What an incredible idea for a storyline, April 1945. Berlin and the Russians are closing in on Hitler and the war seems lost or is it? Hitler brings in General Robert Ritter Von Griem and the flying ace Hannah Reitsch. Hitler has a new weapon. One that will change the course of history. America Über Alles by Jack Fernley (aka: Wayne Garvie) is an intriguing book that I was not sure about before I started and now I am already looking forward to book two.
So what would happen if Hitler could go back in time and change the course of history and one of the allies fighting against Germany in WWII would be on the opposite side. That is quite a scenario for a storyline and Jack Fernley pulls this off quite brilliantly.
Now go back to 1776 George Washington and his army are struggling in the War of Independence against the British. Now there is a German influence on the side of George Washington in the form of a large group of German mercenaries. Now the war is beginning to turn in favour of Washington’s men but at what price. Who are these Germans fighting for Washington and what is their ultimate ambition? The course of history could be about to change forever if two of the leading Germans get their way at any cost.
This book was a complete surprise to me, in the way that it was nothing like I thought it was going to be. Thoroughly readable and thought provoking. Jack Fernley has pulled a master stroke with America Über Alles.
Thank you to Unbound and for the review copy of America Über Alles by Jack Fernley (aka Wayne Garvie)
America Über Alles was published by Unbound and was published on 3rd May 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.
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Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear by Lev Parikian
Men and birds, (the feathered type). What is it about why we become keen birders. I don’t just mean feeding our garden birds but actually going birding and trying to find birds in their natural habitat. Oh it does not end there, then we have lists and hi-tech bins and scopes that cost thousands not to mention cameras and then there is the lists. The birds you have seen in a calendar year. Lists for garden and your local patch and then you go chasing those very special rare birds that arrive on our shores during the Spring and Autumn. Welcome to the world of an avid birder. Yes, I have been there. Seen it and got the t-shirt. I want to introduce you to Lev Parikian. Lev is a very notable conductor and a birdwatcher. In Lev’s new book Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear (Unbound) he takes us through his story of when he was young he loved going birding and seeing new birds (or not as it transpires) and then he stopped only when he was fifty did his loves of birding return. This is his story of a year of birds, family, music and a look back through his younger days.
My library is stuffed full of bird books and stories of that writers birding year, some are really good and entertaining and some just do not cut it at all with me for a number of reasons. But Lev Parikian’s book is just that most wonderful read it is a riot of laughs and nostalgia. Starting in January 2016 this is his story of a lapsed birdwatcher aiming to see 200 birds in a year, that is REALLY seeing 200 birds in a year not ones he thinks he is seeing. Yes, Lev I have been there too.
When Lev was twelve-years-old he loved birds and birdwatching but like any keen young birder there is that urge to think you have seen a bird that in the cold light of day was not the bird you thought it was. Claiming to see a bird when actually you did not. But then after a few years and growing up the birding stopped and other things in life took over, like his love of music which in life became much more than an interest. Then of course there is cricket and girls.
There is something uniquely different about the way Lev has gone about writing about his birding year. His absolute pleasure at discovering his love of the outdoors and his love of seeing and finding birds again really shines through. But there is still that target of wanting to see 200 birds in a full calendar year. Does Lev actually achieve his target?
Sometimes seeing something really very special is something that should be shared with someone close to you. You will experience that in this glorious read. Together with Lev we travel the length and breadth of this beautiful country seeking birds in their own natural habitat. From woods to estuary and the lowlands to the highlands and a barrel of laughs along the way.
What shines through for me is the love Lev has for his family and his music and that he has found the real beauty in nature again. It is a gift for each of us to enjoy and treasure. I just loved Why Birds Suddenly Disappear and it now takes pride of place along with the very best nature books in my library. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Thank you to Lev Parikian and Unbound for the review copy of Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear.
Why Do Birds Suddenly Disappear is published by Unbound and was published on 17th May 2018 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and through your local independent bookshop.
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Dead Writers in Rehab by Paul Bassett Davies
I have read more books than I can remember over the years and yet here is one by Paul Bassett Davies that I cannot place into any genre. Dead Writers in Rehab deserves a genre all for itself. It is a literary wonder. A brilliant and clever piece of writing if I saw one. A novel that was funded by donations through Unbound.
The first thing I have to say about Dead Writers in Rehab is that when I was approached a while back about this book I was to be honest not at all sure what I would make of this book that I first thought was very strange. But I am so pleased I read Paul’s book. It is just fabulous. It has everything a reader is looking for. It is ambitious and entertaining in every sense. I really could not put this book down. A novel in which the key character Foster James awakes to find himself in a rehab. But this is no ordinary rehab. Imagine waking to find you are not just in a rehab but a rehab with dead authors. Now add voices to these dead authors such as Dorothy Parker, Ernest Hemmingway, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Samuel Taylor Coleridge to name but a few. At firs the author who narrates his story is confused what is going on and is he really dead or sort of dead? I love humour in a story and this is one of the funniest books I have read in a long time. Even for Foster James his way of finding out and coming to terms with the famous dead writers he is sharing this place with is just brilliant. His past has always been troubled and is no stranger to institutions. Hard living comes with a price and he is now paying for it. As much as this is a book packed full of great wit and humour there is in the story a real story in itself. Foster James is a literary star himself so he should be at home among some of the literary greats who have long since died yet he does not know how or why he is here, but he is. Hidden in this outstanding novel is a story of people and of love and of life. There is much to this story than I am going to tell. You need to grab a copy and settle in for a weekend with a book that is just pure literary genius. Unique and different but one worth investing in. If you love books you will love Dead Writers in Rehab. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
Thank you to Natalie Galustian (DHH Literary Agency) for the review copy of Dead Writers in Rehab.
Dead Writers in Rehab by Paul Bassett Davies is published by Unbound and was released on 4th May 2017 and is available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.
Blind Side – Jennie Ensor
The Last Word Review
London July 2005, a moment in time that all of us will recall and never forget. In her debut thriller Blind Side Jennie Ensor has written a stunning gripping psychological thriller that is set just before the terrorist attacks on 7/7.
For Georgie our leading character things could not be going any worse now after a fling with one of her best friends Julian she has met a Russian man called Nikolai and Julian is not best pleased to say the least as he is being rejected. Now Georgie has to cope with the venomous Julian. But for Nikolai he has a past that he does not like talking of and that is his time in the Russian army and the war in Chechnya and the sheer brutality of that war that is still haunting him. But there is something that Nikolai is holding back from Georgie something that could destroy them both. But what is it?
Set at a time when London and its inhabitants were trying to cope with the 7/7 terrorist atrocity there are a number of themes running through the story and questions of relationships with the leading characters as well as secrets and lies. Trust is something that is earned and can quickly be destroyed. But what price love? Does love really conquer all in the end? Both Georgie and Nikolai’s lives could not be so worlds apart but they have been brought together is this fate that has brought them together?
For a debut novel this is a brave topic as the time it is set in, but what Jennie Ensor brings is a thrilling psychological story that I really enjoyed and raced through. If you enjoy a thriller with a number of themes running through the story, then Blind Side is one not to be missed.
For more on Jennie Ensor talking about her debut novel Blind Side see the recent guest post that appeared on my blog recently Here
My thanks to Jennie Ensor and Unbound for the review copy ahead of publication.
Blind Side by Jennie Ensor and published by Unbound on 23 July and is available through Amazon for Here
Dead Babies and Seaside Towns by Alice Jolly
Review Date: 8 November 2015
Author: Alice Jolly
Release Date: 2 July 2015
ISBN –10: 1783521058
ISBN – 13: 978-1783521050
Available in Hardback and Kindle
The Last Word Review
A deeply personal moving memoir that not only is full of hope it is just so beautifully written
Anyone might be forgiven to mislead the title of Dead Babies and Seaside Towns by Alice Jolly as fiction book. It is anything but that. A deeply moving and very personal memoir of Alice and her husband account of losing a child but not giving up on hope that one day they would succeed in having a baby.
Through miscarriages and failed IVF treatment Alice and her husband Stephen lost four babies in the space of four years. Dead Babies and Seaside Towns is the story of how they coped through this time and the consideration of going through the adoption process and then how they decided on surrogacy. At the time Alice Jolly called this ‘a desperate measure for desperate times’.
This is a very emotional read and is so beautifully written that Jolly’s prose reads like a fictional story. As a reader you become totally immersed in both Alice and Stephens attempt in ‘completing’ the family that they so both desperately wanted.
As commercial surrogacy illegal in the UK both Alice and Stephen had to look to in the United States before finally finding a woman who would help them have a baby. Through the pages of Dead Babies and Seaside Towns you read the dilemma’s the couple faced on a daily basis as they looked at the options available.
As you read through every page, at times Alice Jolly takes us through some incredibly personal accounts and some very painful aspects it is written with such beauty and intelligence that the message that it carries will resonate far beyond the book. It is a memoir that some will be moved to tears by the immense detail and courage in writing this book, though Jolly’s dark humour does come through the book which I liked. As much as this is a powerful memoir a happy ending for the couple as it results in the birth of baby named Hope. When I realised the baby was going to be called Hope it lifted my heart and therein lies the true crux of Dead Babies and Seaside Towns, it is one of hope.
For the many thousands of women who have gone through similar experience the sheer pain of losing a child this is a book that I would recommend but also urge as many men to read this account from Alice Jolly. I have learnt so much through pages of Alice Jolly’s deeply moving memoir. A book that when you first pick it up should be hard and painful to read as heavy as a sad heart. But it is nothing like that, yes there are times as Jolly goes through the painful experience of losing a child but the whole basis of this book is uplifting. Here is Alice Jolly pouring her heart out through the pages of Dead Babies and Seaside Towns a book that when you start you will find it incredibly difficult to put down. I spent a long night refusing to do just that and finally closed the book only to find it was 3.30 in the morning.
I whole heartedly recommend Dead Babies and Seaside Towns
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Meet the Author
Alice Jolly is a novelist, playwright and teacher of creative writing. Her two novels (What The Eye Doesn’t See and If Only You Knew) are both published by Simon and Schuster. She is completing a third novel. Her articles have been published in the Guardian, the Mail on Sunday and theIndependent and she has broadcast on Radio 4. Four of her plays have been professionally produced by The Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham. Two of these plays were funded by The Arts Council. Her monologues have been performed in London and provincial theatres and she has recently been commissioned by Paines Plough (‘The National Theatre of New Writing’). She teaches for The Arvon Foundation and on the Oxford University Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. She has lived in Warsaw and in Brussels. She has three children – a son who is twelve, a daughter who was stillborn and a daughter who was born to a surrogate mother in the United States. Her home is now in Stroud in Gloucestershire and she is married to Stephen Kinsella.