Today I will be sharing an extract for my spot on the blog tour for The Nine Lives of Jacob Fallada by Neil Randall. And if you are in the UK you can be in the running for a giveaway!
The whole world against him
The Nine Lives of Jacob Fallada is the story of an outsider, a lonely, misunderstood young artist who chronicles all the unpleasant things that happen to him in life. Abandoned by his parents, brought up be a tyrannical aunt, bullied at school, ostracized by the local community, nearly everyone Jacob comes into contact with takes an instant, (often) violent dislike towards him. Like Job from the bible, he is beaten and abused, manipulated and taken advantage of. Life, people, fate, circumstance force him deeper into his shell, deeper into the cocoon of his fledgling artistic work, where he records every significant event in sketches, paintings and short-form verse, documenting his own unique, eminently miserable human experience. At heart, he longs for companionship, intimacy, love, but is dealt so many blows he is too scared to reach out to anybody. On the fringes of society, he devotes himself solely to his art.
Purchase Link here.
Promise Me No Promises
Jacob Fallada leaned back on a park bench, closed his eyes, and listened to the familiar yet somehow disconcerting sounds of children at play: the shrieks, excited voices and high-pitched laughter. It took him back to his own childhood, to those dark, confusing days where all he sought was peace, quiet, and solitude, where this kind of raucous scene was pure torture, a rolling kind of purgatory he could never quite escape. It’s odd, he thought to himself, how something so synonymous with innocence, the happiest, most carefree times of life were associated with his own bleakest memories, the most sickening of emotions, as if his sensory apparatus had been reversed, as if black was white, as if he were subject to a completely different set of emotional criteria than ordinary, everyday people. And although he could easily identify the root causes for this, he still wasn’t sure why he had been destined to feel so isolated and conflicted all the time.
When he opened his eyes again, he was startled to see someone standing right in front of him, a slender, casually dressed yet decidedly smart, well-to-do woman in her late twenties.
“I’m sorry, but I really need to have a word with you.”
“That’s right. I’m a young mother. My two children are playing just over there in the sandpit.” She gestured towards the sun-drenched play area. “Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen you down here a hell of a lot. And I don’t like it one bit.”
Jacob blinked in confusion. He had no idea what this woman was trying to say. This was, after all, a public place, a place he had come to frequent in the summer months, to sketch, jot down notes, read, relax, gather his thoughts. He had as much right to be here as anybody else.
“I am, in fact, speaking on behalf of a dozen or so concerned mothers who don’t like the idea of such an unkempt loner staring at their children for hours on end, who don’t want to put them at risk of being accosted by someone who could very well be on the sex register.”
Only then did Jacob realise exactly why she had approached him.
“Now, we don’t want to have to call the police. But if you don’t leave here, this minute, I’ll be forced to—”
“Maureen, no,” said a petite, middle-aged woman in glasses, who had literally appeared out of nowhere. “Not to be clichéd, but you’re barking up the wrong tree. This young man is an artist. I’ve seen him down here with his sketchbook countless times before. I’ve sat next to him on this very bench, and he didn’t even know I was there, so absorbed was he in his drawing. He isn’t some deviant stalking local children. If anything, you’re the one harassing him, interrupting his work.”
Maureen’s cheeks reddened; she became incredibly flustered, incredibly quickly.
“Oh, my word. I…I’m terribly sorry.” She swallowed hard and shifted her weight. “It’s just…it’s just that you hear such awful things these days, and, not to be rude, but you look so, so down-at-the-heel, pretty much like every mother’s worst nightmare. I just assumed you were a…a, you know.”
So effusive were her apologetic words, so horrified did she look at her mistake, Jacob found himself apologising in return, just as effusively, saying that he understood perfectly well why she had reacted in the way she did, almost conceding the fact that he did indeed resemble the popular image of a career paedophile.
“Really, it’s nothing,” he assured her, “a misunderstanding, just one of those things.”
After graciously accepting his apology, Maureen scuttled away, joining a group of young mothers gathered by the climbing-frames, no doubt awaiting a full account of her exchange with the dubious stranger who had so enflamed their maternal anxiety.
Jacob turned to the woman in glasses.
“Thank you for that,” he said, ruefully shaking his head. “For interceding, I mean. I don’t know what it is, but that kind of thing happens to me quite often.”
“It’s because you’re different,” she said, carefully folding her pretty floral-print dress and sitting next to him. “It’s because you’re an artist, someone who lives an alternative lifestyle that everyday people just can’t understand. Normal Joes and Josephines fear those who want to create, express themselves, who are not driven by money and material possessions. Put simply, your mere existence makes them question theirs.”
Jacob took a moment to consider her words. Not one to overthink things too much, the reasons why he did what he did, he nonetheless thought she had summed up his situation, and that of anyone who seeks to be creative in the modern world, to dedicate themselves to an artform, particularly well indeed. For that reason, he felt an instant connection, a bond, a sense of solidarity. Rarely had anyone taken the time to try and understand him, his way of life and motivations.
“I, myself, am a bit of a weekend artist,” she told him. “Not that my work is easy to define, categorise, put into any kind of box. I tend to splice genres, mix things up—part painter, part writer, part candlestick maker.”
“Really?” said Jacob, laughing at her amusing play on words.
“Yes. In fact, I was thinking of taking my sketchbook down to the promenade tomorrow morning, near where the fishing boats are moored overnight. Not to be presumptuous, but would you like to perhaps meet up? We could carry on our discussion about art and artists, why we spend all our time in front of a canvas or hunched over a sheet of writing paper.”
“Erm, yes,” he replied, a little wrong-footed by her suggestion—strangers rarely spoke to him, let alone made arrangements for a second meeting. “Yes, I would.”
“Good.” She smiled and got to her feet. “I’ll see you then…then. Ha! Oh, and my name’s Rhea, by the way.”
Shyly, she offered him a slender hand with black painted nails to shake.
“And I’m Jacob, Jacob Fallada.”
That night, Jacob found it almost impossible to sleep. He was far too excited by what amounted to both a regulation date and an artistic assignation with an incredibly intriguing woman. Perhaps this whole thing was fated, he thought to himself.
Perhaps I was destined to be in the park at that precise hour of the morning. Perhaps, perversely, being accused of being a potential child rapist was part of the whole karmic process, to bring me closer to Rhea, a fellow artist, someone who understands the inner workings of my mind, someone I can talk to freely and openly, perhaps even show my own body of work. Perhaps all the pain and rejection of my early life was leading up to this one point.
In this irrepressible state, he tried to remember every aspect of Rhea’s appearance: the dark, tangled hair that rested at a shoulder’s length, the pale, almost porcelain skin, the curious greeny-blue eyes that lurked behind her stylish designer glasses, the quite disarming white-toothed smile, petite, almost painfully thin frame, which belied the dynamo-like energy generated by what clearly was a fierce intelligence, the simple floral dress, shoes with straps, the black nail polish. All in all, Jacob Fallada had never met anyone like Rhea before.
About the Author:
Neil Randall is the author of seven published novels and a collection of short stories. His work has been published in the UK, US, Australia and Canada.
**UK Only Giveaway**
Win one of 3 Copies of The Nine Lives of Jacob Fallada
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
Today I help end the blog tour for Only the Lonely by Joanne Nicholson where I will be sharing my review! I enjoyed this one and will be looking at what else she has written!
After Tiffany is orphaned on the night of her 18th birthday, she discovers, as the sole heir to her parents’ estate, she has inherited a frozen embryo from when her parents did IVF to have her. Feeling lost, alone and longing for a sense of family, Tiffany can’t bring herself to destroy or donate the embryo. Instead, she decides to be impregnated with her biological twin.
A legal battle ensues over whether the embryo is a person or property and the ethics of whether it is acceptable to give birth to your own sibling.
Set in Australia, this contemporary fiction novel is full of emotion, dilemmas and unexpected friendships, as Tiffany forges a new life without her parents.
Author: Joanne Nicholson
Published: June 12, 2019
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: June 30-July 7, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4.5 stars
I read the book description for Only the Lonely, and jumped at the chance to be on the blog tour as it was just so unique! There are so many consequences (both positive and negative) to the many decisions to the various characters that occur throughout the course of the novel.
Tiffany loses both of her parents on the night of her eighteenth birthday. Losing parents at a young age is tough (I lost my father at nineteen) and worse yet is that she is an only child, and she basically has no one. As she works to come to terms with the cause of her parents’ death and works to move on, facing a legal battle, she discovers that that there is a frozen embryo frozen from when her parents did IVF to have her. In essence, this embryo could have been her twin. She decides she wants to be impregnated with the embryo, and thus begins a second legal battle for Tiffany to deal with.
I don’t know if embryos are actually kept long term in fertility clinics, but if they did I could see this situation possibly happen as the first generation of IVF babies are now becoming adults.
The chapters are short and Only the Lonely is a quick read that will have you thinking about everything that happens throughout the novel. I connected with Tiffany and was rooting for her to win her case. She faces a roller coaster of emotions throughout the novel and we see her grow over the course of the story. I would not have been able to make the decision she did at nineteen years old and face everything that she did. The novel also shows the side of the fertility clinic, the court case and the media spectacle that erupts due to the uniqueness of the situation.
I never lost interest in Only the Lonely as I wanted to know what was going to happen and how the judge’s decision would affect Tiffany for the rest of her life no matter what the decision was. Unfortunately, I could not give the novel five stars due to a direction the novel goes with a friendship that Tiffany develops. I could see everything but that friendship happening in reality.
This novel is recommended and after reading about the other novels Nicholson has written, I will be reading more by her.
About the Author:
Joanne Nicholson is an Australian author who enjoys boating, exercising, reading, writing, music and spending quality time with family and friends.
Joanne’s career began in advertising and marketing. After a hiatus to raise her four children, she owned an indoor play centre, worked in property management and bookkeeping. Joanne gave these up to focus on her passion for writing.
She has published the contemporary women’s fiction novels: ‘Intuition’, ‘In Another Life’ and ‘Positive’, as well as a YA novel ‘Music Score’ and several short stories. Her latest novel is ‘Only the Lonely’.[Top]
Today I will be sharing an extract for my spot on the blog tour for Missing in Wales by Jenny O’Brien.
**If you are in the UK, there is an awesome giveaway going on!**
Missing in Wales, the first in an exciting new Welsh-set crime series by Jenny O’Brien, author of The Stepsister. The next in series, Stabbed in Wales, will be available soon.
Alys is fine – don’t try to find us
Izzy Grant is haunted by the abduction of her newborn daughter five-years ago. When a postcard arrives from her missing partner, the man she believes is responsible, saying they’re fine and asking her not to try to find them, she knows she can’t give up hoping. Then she sees a face from her past. Grace Madden. Just where did she disappear to all those years ago? And is there a connection between her disappearance and that of her child?
DC Gabriella Darin, recently transferred from Swansea, is brash, bolshie and dedicated. Something doesn’t fit with the case and she’s determined to find out just what happened all those years ago.
Chapter 1: Izzy, woken from her sleep, discovers that both her baby and boyfriend are missing.
The fire had died back to nothing, the embers just a pale glow in the grate. She turned her head to glance out of the window, her hand instinctively pulling the woollen blanket around her shoulders, a shiver snaking its way across her spine. The last time she’d looked out, the sun had been streaming in through the pane but all that was visible now was the dense grey of twilight. The phone rang, slicing through her sudden fear. She struggled to sit, her neck stiff from the arm of the sofa. A million excuses chased through her mind.
They’ve been delayed, a puncture or, knowing Charlie, he’s run out of petrol.
Her hand lifted the receiver to her ear before gently replacing it. She’d learnt the best way to treat cold callers was by doing exactly that. No comment. No words. Nothing.
She pulled the throw tighter over her shoulders, her eyes now on the clock on the mantelpiece, her mind in a tangle.
Two hours? How the hell could she have slept for so long? Quickly followed by the worst thought of all – he must have had an accident. Even now he’s in some anonymous hospital bed and as for Alys…
Her stomach clenched when there was no need – she’d just ring his mobile. Reaching out a hand, she quickly tapped in the well-remembered number.
The person you are trying to reach is currently unavailable. Please leave a message after the tone.
She was scared now, really scared. He never left his phone switched off even if it was only to check on the football scores. They’d been gone hours. She had no idea where the hell he could have taken her. Alys would need a feed and a nappy change. There was nowhere he’d go, not with a newborn.
She heaved a sigh at her foolishness and, for one long moment, relished the feel of wool against skin as she tried to laugh her fears off. She wasn’t his keeper. They’d got held up. Something had happened, something silly that she couldn’t guess at and, in a minute, she’d hear the creak of the gate and the turn of the key.
The moment passed. The minutes continued ticking and her sliver of calm disintegrated.
In a sudden burst of movement, she leapt from the chair and ran up the stairs.
That’s it. They came in earlier, hours earlier and even now they’re both curled up in their beds, not wanting to wake me.
But her cot was empty, apart from the pale-yellow blanket folded neatly over the end, just the way she’d left it that morning. Their bed was empty too; the duvet flung back any old how, the sheets cold, wrinkled, uninviting.
Outside. Maybe he’d pulled up and decided to close his eyes. Maybe it was like the last time when he forgot his keys and, if Alys had fallen asleep in the car, he might have decided not to wake me.
She remembered the last time. His sheepish grin when she shook him back into the land of the living, which developed into their first big row and ended in a swift coupling against the back of the sofa.
There was post on the mat but she just stepped over it. She wasn’t in the mood for bills and flyers. She just needed to know that Alys was safe.
The air was cold, wiping the smile from her face. There was barely a glimmer of light as twilight switched to dusk. They were far enough away from everyone for darkness, when it hit, to mean exactly that. There wasn’t even a visible moon or any stars to light the way. She took a second to drag air into her lungs, the smell from the winter-flowering jasmine around the door filling her senses, but there was no joy to be had from the scent. Her eyes adjusted enough to see the outline of the gate and the telegraph pole next to it. There was no car, no indication that he’d returned. There was nothing apart from the empty track leading up to the house.
She stayed awhile, a scream building in the back of her throat. Something was wrong, dreadfully wrong – something that she had no way of putting right.
She finally wandered back into the hall, leaving the front door open, the throw trailing in her wake. She was cold down to the bone, but it wasn’t the type of cold that the warmth from wool was going to solve. Her hand stretched towards the phone for a third time, her arm brushing against her breasts, now heavy with milk. She hesitated, her gaze resting on the first nine. Was she overreacting? Was this the paranoid response of a new mum? Maybe. Probably. Hopefully.
About the Author:
Jenny O’Brien was abandoned in Dublin at the tender age of 17 by her parents when they decided to move to Wales. It was only on the completion of her studies that she was finally able to join them.
She’s an avid reader and book blogger in addition to being a RoNA book judge.
She writes for both children and adults with a new book coming out every six months or so.
In her spare time she can be found frowning at her wonky cakes and even wonkier breads. You’ll be pleased to note she won’t be entering Bake-Off. She’s also an all-year-round sea swimmer.
Jenny currently resides on the island of Guernsey with her husband, children and cats. She works as a nurse and writes in her spare time.
Readers can find out more about Jenny from her blog: https://jennyobrienwriter.wordpress.com
Win a signed copy of Missing In Wales and the chance to be a character in the next book STABBED IN WALES.
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.[Top]