NOTE: Due to time constraints, I am currently taking on Cover Reveal & Book Blitz Assignments only.

Friday, 22 February 2019

#ReleaseDayBlitz :: Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr.

About the Book:
When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down. A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran's counselor, is caught up in the chase. Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa's patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers get there first, leading to Darfield's dramatic capture. Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge? Justice Gone is the first in a series of psychological thrillers involving Dr Tessa Thorpe, wrapped in the divisive issues of modern American society including police brutality and disenfranchised returning war veterans.

Book Links:
Goodreads * Amazon

The US justice system -  does it work?

Some facts about the US justice system are often overlooked, such as the fact that more than 90% of criminal cases never go to trial, and trial by jury is the exception rather than the norm. But when they do, does the trial process work?

In the novel, Justice Gone, two steps of a criminal trial are examined. The first is the Grand Jury proceedings. Many of us don't realize the extent of the state's influence in these hearings. The District Attorney decides what evidence can be admitted, selectively issues subpoenas, and basically runs the show, while the defense plays little or no part. Commonly, overzealous prosecutors will make a case for an indictment that might not be warranted, generating criminal trials for those who may very well be innocent of the charges.

On the other hand, if an indictment is sought against law enforcement officers, the shoe may very well be on the other foot. Law enforcement is on the same side of the fence as the DA, and consequently a conflict of interests is difficult to avoid. That is why indictments against police for using excessive force are rare.

The second step of the trial process is trial by jury, which decides whether to convict or not. And this is where the public and the media can play an unwelcome part.

The trial of O.J. Simpson lasted over eight months and was watched by over 100 million television viewers (comparable to the Super Bowl), and was a sign that even in 1995, the people of the United States had yet to bridge the divide over race, as well as raising doubts over the behavior of law enforcement. But most of all, it provided an intimate glimpse into the US justice system, from jury selection to the jury's verdict.

Although we had a celebrity athlete on trial and the finest criminal defense lawyers in the US - the "Dream Team," the real centerpiece was the jury. Although the trial took eleven months of testimony, it took the jury only four hours to acquit.

So, the question is: Was the verdict of 'not guilty' responsible, impartial and correct?

A poll gave the obvious result that most African-Americans felt that Simpson was innocent, while most Caucasians felt the opposite. Was the fact that 80% of the jurors were African-Americans influence the outcome, i.e. did they acquit Simpson solely due to he being the same race as they?

In my view, race didn't matter for this particular case, because the defense succeeded in raising reasonable doubt. Even if the jury believed Simpson murdered those people, according to the principles of American justice, he should not have been convicted.

The strongest piece of evidence the prosecution had was the DNA forensics, but chain of custody became a big issue. In fact, the handling of all the evidence by the police came under scrutiny, and rightly so. Later during the trial, with the jury absent, Mark Furhman, the detective who found the bloody glove and socks, invoked the Fifth Amendment against self-incrimination when asked "did you plant or manufacture any evidence in this case?"

Then there was the bloody glove found at the crime scene, which the prosecution challenged Simpson to try on. Simpson could not get his hand in.

In post-trial interviews, a few of the jurors said that they believed Simpson probably did commit the murders, but that the prosecution had failed to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. Three jurors together wrote and published a book called Madam Foreman, in which they described how their perception of police errors, not race, led to their verdict.

Even more controversial was the Casey Anthony case. Equal to the Simpson trial in terms of attention grabbing, the trial of Casey Anthony, who was accused of murdering her two-year-old daughter, was quite different. The big difference was that while the country was divided over Simpson's guilt, the public and the media overwhelmingly assumed Anthony was guilty, which in turn fueled the outcry over the not guilty verdict. One charge, that of first degree murder, was problematic, in that forensics experts could not determine the cause of the little girl's death, but in general the questions of how, why where and when were never answered satisfactorily. According to many legal experts, the not guilty verdict for Casey Anthony can be seen as a victory for the U.S. justice system, despite strong public opinion opposing it, mainly because it upheld the concept of reasonable doubt.

In an ABC News interview, juror Jennifer Ford said that she and the other jurors cried and were "sick to our stomachs" after voting to acquit Casey Anthony of charges that she killed her daughter. "I did not say she was innocent," said Ford,. "I just said there was not enough evidence. If you cannot prove what the crime was, you cannot determine what the punishment should be."

So is the flaw in the system reasonable doubt itself. How can legal experts exclaim victory, even if a guilty person is allowed to be released back into society?

It's because the opposite case, convictions of innocent people are not only possible, but probably occur at a rate that would alarm you.

Let us look inside John Grisham's true crime study, An Innocent Man, a revealing and well documented account of three separate trials, and the wrongful conviction of five men (perhaps the title should have been The Innocent Men). In one case, the police and prosecutor used forced "dream" confessions, unreliable witnesses, and flimsy evidence to convict Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz of murder and rape. After suffering through a conviction and eleven years on death row, Williamson and Fritz were exonerated by DNA evidence and released on April 15, 1999.  Similar narratives apply to the trials of Tommy Ward and Karl Fontenot, and the trial of Greg Wilhoit, namely horror stories of persecution, harassment, fraud, lying snitches, and fabricated evidence. If reasonable doubt had been applied, those men would have never been incarcerated on death row (this was in Oklahoma, where the death penalty still exists). Fortunately, these men were exonerated before they could be put to death.

One could surmise that so much of a trial outcome depends on the jury. That is why I dedicated a whole chapter in Justice Gone on the jury deliberations in the trial of Donald Darfield.


Whether it's a blessing or a curse, for court cases in the US, justice is in the hands of ordinary citizens.

About the Author:
N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).

In 1997, while visiting Lao People's Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.

Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc.

His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.

His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.
Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Follow the Author:
Website * Goodreads * Amazon



Thursday, 14 February 2019

#CoverReveal :: The Heart of You by Aarti V Raman

~ Cover Reveal ~
The Heart of You 
(A Geeks of Caltech Novel)
by Aarti V Raman


Mixed martial arts studio owner Kit Barranos has always been a fighter. He will fight for his family. For his friends. For anyone in need.

What he doesn't know how to do is fight for himself...

... Or the inconvenient and consuming desire he has for single mom Lily Fallahil.

Office manager, Lily has spent the last decade raising her son and proving her independence to her protective and overbearing brother, Drake.

She has no time for romance. Especially with Kit Barranos, who has a body to die for and eyes that rip at her soul.

When Kit reveals his heartbreaking secret to Lily - he has a brother he never knew about, one he considered his closest friend - it brings them closer, creates a bond neither can deny.

And paves the way for a steamy attraction that explodes between them.

But it isn't just Lily that Kit is slowly but surely falling for. It's her adorable son, Bret.

Navigating the holidays, their families and their feelings is no easy task.

Flawed and fiercely loyal, Kit and Lily have fought the odds and survived.

But, survival no longer seems enough.

Can they take a chance on each other, on their hearts... On a love that braves The Heart of You?

The Heart of You is Book Three of The Geeks of Caltech, a unique band of friends bonded by loyalty, brotherhood, and pain. The Geeks of Caltech are to die for and their women all they wish to live for!


COMING SOON!

About the Author:
Aarti V Raman lives in Mumbai, India and has been a commercial editor and business journalist for the better part of a decade.
She is an incurable romantic who has taken up the task of bringing Happily Ever After to life for the characters in her head. She has three traditionally published novels out, all contemporary romances from 2014-2016, with the next one slated for release in 2019.
She currently writes and self-publishes steamy contemporary romance for urban millennials with a global twist. Sometimes, there are guns and car chases too.
Her new contemporary romance series include GEEKS OF CALTECH and ROYALS OF STELLANGARD as well as standalone romances - all of which have become Amazon India and US bestsellers.
She has also appeared as speaker at lit festivals and events around India and also dabbles in poetry, while conducting creative writing workshops.

Contact the Author:
Website * Facebook Page * Twitter * Instagram


This Cover Reveal is powered by b00k r3vi3w Tours


Monday, 11 February 2019

#BookBlitz :: The Retreat by Mari.Reiza

~ Book Blitz ~
The Retreat by Mari.Reiza
 Coming of Age / Psychological Thriller 

About the Book:


An uncomfortable but fascinating ripening journey.
Ahmed has abandoned her. Nadia is gone the way Isabelle did before, her two fallen warriors. But Marie can still hear His voice clearly.
A deep call for justice takes hold in an impressionable teenage girl from a recently broken family during a religious retreat; what happens next will mark her life for years to come.
the Retreat is a story of men playing God, of hurt that doesn’t find its way out.







Find it on Amazon

About the Setting
The story moves back and forth in time and place. From Brussel's during Marie's early teenage years with her mother and siblings, to Zermatt where she's sent with the nuns on a fated ski trip. Years later in London, Marie is attempting to find a job and build a life with Ahmed who she met on a plane, when she's lured to a Victorian bathhouse and meets troubled Nadia. But the book begins and ends after Marie's London years, back in her natal Bordeaux. There Marie strikes the final blow in her prodigal daughter's return of sorts.

Meet Marie
Marie is cute with a sexy gap like a secret passage between her upper incisors. She was once a diligent student, before her estranged dad left them or was driven away, or they left and he failed to follow the family to Brussels. But soon after her ski trip trouble, she's labelled a rebel by her conservative single mother whose only hobby is work and only God is sacrifice, accused that her kind of righteousness gets them into trouble. Is God where Marie's fight started? She thinks when people have faith in nothing they're less dangerous. Why can't she marry well like her older sister or build a successful career like her brother? She tries shortly with Ahmed in London, until Nadia lures her back into her old destructive ways, eventually prompting Marie's return to her natal town where nothing has changed. There Marie feels blamed for her younger sister Lucie's depression, her marriage to old peasant Raoul and her recently found fervour to breed donkeys. Marie knows Lucie is angry against her and she's angry back. How many things have happened in Marie's short life! Has Marie inherited them in a way? Who has forced them upon her?

Meet Marie's Teacher and School Friends
Hélène is endowed with breasts big enough that she would still be liked even if she was ever forced iron on her smile. Hélène has been there for ages and is confident in and out of school premises, talking to the school’s staff, with colleagues of every race, sex, colour and nationality. She’s even fun. She is every classmate’s dream and every teacher’s pet, and the section’s headteacher is her father, her surname forever capable of favouring her. She's definitely trouble.

Martine emulates Hélène in every way she can, even if she falls desperately short of her goal: other than for her derrière extraordinaire, she seems a good for nothing girl, hardly a genius.

Monsieur Berger, the religion teacher, wears large Italian spectacles he claims to have bought in Rome whilst on a visit to the Pope and uses a few long strands of white hair to pretend he isn’t bold. His skin, especially around his hands and eyes, is wrinkly, pale and freckly, and his fingers tremble during his impassioned oratories, making him look like a Mayan idol whose touch unleashes visions from dubious gods. Monsieur Berger exclusively wears brown corduroys, paired with pale cashmere turtlenecks and shirts which look far too expensive for anyone vowing poverty like he insists he does. And he often delivers the full lesson with his zip undone. The rumour is Monsieur Berger was not always the religious type but has a florid past. Are clumsy Sister Perline and sour Sister Prudence covering for him?

Isabelle’s a very quiet girl, not as sexy-pretty as Hélène, but still deliciously put together down to every centimetre allocated to her face and body, except for her dark, luscious half-eyebrow. Where’s the other half gone?

Meet Ahmed
Ahmed is on his early twenties with captivating eyelashes, working in a bank in London. The day Marie met him she thought he was it; understood
that much of what she had been missing and actually required was in his love. She temporarily felt locked outside of her misery. But it turns out the man was tormented by the curse of ambition, like a prospector in the Wild West, ready to suppress every good bit of himself for no trouble to come his way. Ahmed had been put there to fill a void. Yet after a year they had been together he had not managed to modify a thing in Marie, nor to impress in her body one lasting imprint: nothing of him had endured.

Meet Nadia
The same thin, long neck as Isabelle. The same straight black mane of hair. The same thick, dark eyebrows; both eyebrows. Her hands, one slightly deformed. In the haze of the baths Marie thinks Nadia's stomach looks so tiny, her belly button so pretty. Her voice is gentle almost that of a ghost. 'Do you believe in God?' Nadia has lost a sister to a fire and her brother is angry. When she extends her sponge, Marie's ready to let the young woman invade her like a peacekeeping force.


If the book interests you, you can request for a REVIEW COPY in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:
Mari.Reiza was born in Madrid in 1973. She has worked as an investment research writer and management consultant for twenty years in London. She studied at Oxford University and lives off Portobello Road with her husband and child.

Find Mari at:
Twitter * Instagram






Friday, 8 February 2019

#BookBlitz :: Prisoner of Yakutsk by Shreyas Bhave

~ Book Blitz ~
Prisoner of Yakutsk by Shreyas Bhave
The Subhash Chandra Bose Mystery
Final Chapter 
8th to 10th February


About the Author:
What exactly happened to Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose?

• In 1945, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, Leader of the INA leaves Singapore to take a series of flights, and dies in Taiwan after his plane crashes near Formosa. Or so it seems.
• In 1947, Mr Mrs Singh, an illustrious army couple, both veterans of the Indian National Army, are last seen in Delhi, and then never again.
• In 1949, the plane carrying the first deputy Prime Minister of India, Sardar Vallabhai Patel, mysteriously disappears for seven hours.
• In 2012, following the fall of WikiLeaks, a female hacker of the notorious X group is on the run as most wanted by everyone from Interpol to the KGB
• In 2015, the millionaire CEO of a Fortune 500 company suddenly resigns and vanishes from the public eye.

A set of seemingly unconnected disappearances emerge to be woven into a single fabric as the answer to one leads to another… In this riveting narrative, bestselling author Shreyas Bhave, takes the reader on a thrilling adventure to solve the greatest mystery the Indian nation has known. 

Book Links:


Read an Excerpt:

At minus 5 degrees celsius, the cold is refreshing and a light hat and scarf are all that are required to keep you warm. At minus 20, the moisture in your nostrils freezes and it is difficult not to cough. At minus 35, the air is cold enough to numb exposed skin, making frostbite a constant hazard. And at minus 45 degrees, metal sticks to your cheeks and tears off chunks of flesh when you take off your sun goggles. Jay Rasbihari was not wearing any metal, just his fur coat, but the cold was such that even the plastic earphones in his ears felt painful as he tugged at them to listen to his contact from HQ. He waited for the connection to be established. The thermometer attached to his clothes showed minus 40. His ears had begun to sting. Next would be his legs. Nevertheless he stood still and waited.
                          “HQ to Jay.” His contact’s voice filled Jay’s ears. He opened his mouth to acknowledge the call but realized the cold had caused his throat to freeze. “Jay here.” He willed the words to escape his mouth. 
                       “Start the GPS on your phone so I can track you,” the voice from HQ instructed. For a moment Jay felt envious, thinking about his contact sitting somewhere in warm comfort. Such thoughts were dangerous, he knew. They sapped one’s will. He struggled to find his phone and struggled to enter the codes with his numb fingers. “I see you,” the voice from HQ confirmed. “Move forward.” Jay cursed as he lifted his leg and brought it forward. His foot sunk into the snow but he pulled it out and continued. Walking up the slope was a breathless challenge as he climbing at snail’s pace. “Okay, stop!” The voice from the HQ said once he was on the top of the small hill. Jay halted, struggling to catch his breath.
“Should be at your feet,” the voice said. The mist made it hard to see anything. Jay sank to his knees and groped. He could feel nothing but snow, all around him. “I don’t see it.”
                     “Of course you don’t.” Jay thought he heard amusement in the voice. “Mr. Jay, you’re going to have to dig.”


Book Trailer:


About the Author:
Shreyas Bhave's love for history since his childhood prompted him to write his take on the story of Asoka who was one of the towering figures in the history of India, which has been taken up as ‘The Asoka Trilogy’ by Leadstart Publishing. The first part of the trilogy called ‘The Prince of Patliputra’ has been published in January 2016 and the second part called 'Storm From Taxila' was published in 2018.

Connect with the Author:
Website * Facebook * Twitter


Monday, 4 February 2019

#BookBlitz :: Opera by Mari.Reiza

~ Book Blitz ~
Opera by Mari.Reiza
 Literary / Romance 

About the Book:





A wealthy arts patron receives a wrongly delivered letter at her secret address in Kensington. Her therapist recognises the intended recipient immediately, leading her into the hands of a defeated composer she will, together with her sweetest accomplice, help back into music. A passionate rendition of human resilience.








Find it on Amazon

About the Setting
There are three main settings. First, Ivanka's secret Kensington flat where she weekly receives her massage therapist Fer. She has instructed her doctor to send any correspondence to this address, helping her channel misery away from her everyday life. Second, a ruinous local mansion where Maria has caged himself, confined to the largest of its rooms, a boundless nest with a floor of sand and a central shiny black grand piano. Finally, a sophisticated high-class London Mexican restaurant resembling a theatre set where guests can pick a character and live only the fun parts. Here Ivanka regularly meets and plots with playfellow and long-life confidant Igor.

Meet Ivanka
Ivanka is a beautiful young woman born in Saint Petersburg, wedded to rich banker Alexey. But their marriage has only given birth to a story of misuse of wealth and human limitation. He doesn’t like losers. Neither does she. She couldn’t stomach grievers orbiting around them if her sorry news became public. It’s impossible to be naturally kind or forgiving with her pain, but in Maria she has seen something precious. She wants to bring it out in him though not the way Alexey did in her...  After all, was she not once the most wonderful music promoter, a genius in seeking talent? 

Meet Fer
Fer is slim as a river reed, looks so innocent-pretty despite his cut-rate-dental teeth and wobbly eyes always alert to never miss anything, so gay in his hideous rainbow shirt. He has been hired by Ivanka for his osteopathy services alone, yet  has from day one committed himself to deliver much more, channeling a constant flow of psychic vigour to every corner of her system in peril. He's drawn to her talk of Igor even if he doesn't understand who he is. He's full of childish excitement about Maria he recognizes as a musician in a popular band when he was growing up in Italy. Very few people seem to afford Fer a chance other than for what they want for themselves, but he knows Ivanka is his chance, that something in her will make things happen for him.

Meet Maria
A blue-eyed Viking. He looks like a haunted criminal under a witness protection program, a man who would slaughter, skin and bake your family dog, a man you don’t want to be telling you what he has down on his life tally... and what’s with all his leather neck chains and charms unable to hide his prominent Adam’s apple? The sight of him almost immediately wins Ivanka over. His mind has remained full of an old flame, of the grief of living with someone who’s not there, who had once sworn she didn’t mind him not being like other people and had him dream of fathering mermaids, of living under a waterfall. How could he ever get over that?

Meet Igor
Ivanka's prince. She finds him irresistible in a motherly way. She always did, since she was fourteen and he was a little boy and they were constantly bonding over one activity or another she set out for him in Moscow, when she first arrived from Saint Petersburg. Igor's a son of a famous actress and director, has tried and failed to follow in his father's steps. And he's wanted back in Moscow by his hysterically resentful, erotically hyper-charged Cuban ex-lover (married to an old Russian princess he has duped) who has offered Igor his last opportunity to rehabilitate their shared history or else...Igor can’t go back to Moscow. He can't ‘holiday’ around sad corners of the continent indefinitely either, like a fugitive. He’s stuck in a bad situation, one that would easily call for him to open a bottle of port every night and weep over his life, which he indeed does, repeatedly. He needs to secure work in London just to be safe. He needs Ivanka. And he would do anything to have her happy; he owes her for old times’ sake...   

If the book interests you, you can request for a REVIEW COPY in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:
Mari.Reiza was born in Madrid in 1973. She has worked as an investment research writer and management consultant for twenty years in London. She studied at Oxford University and lives off Portobello Road with her husband and child.

Find Mari at:
Twitter * Instagram






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