#BlogTour #BookReview Rivals (Georgina Garrett 2) by Sam Michaels @Aria_Fiction

Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for Rivals by Sam Michaels, the follow-up to Trickster and the book that introduced readers to Georgina Garrett.

Thanks to Vicky at Aria for inviting me to take part in the tour and for my review copy. I hope you’ve been following the reviews and content posts by the other fabulous book bloggers taking part in the tour and will continue to do so next week.


cover173287-mediumAbout the Book

The streets of Battersea are about to get a new leader, one who will rule with an iron fist.

It’s the 1930s and Georgina Garrett has risen up from her tough beginnings to become the new boss of the Battersea gang. But not everyone is pleased with a female taking charge…

With rival gangs trying to steal her turf, untrustworthy men in her midst and her dad lost deep in the bottle, Georgina has a lot to tackle. With her friends and family in constant danger and those closest to her questioning her leadership Georgina must use her wits to show that she’s made for this job.

The Garrett name is one to be feared and Georgina will begin to change the face of Battersea forever…

Format: ebook (418 pp)                       Publisher: Aria
Publication date: 3rd October 2019 Genre: Historical Fiction, Crime

Purchase Links*
Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find Rivals on Goodreads


My Review

Rivals follows on from events in the first Georgina Garrett book, Trickster, and in order to bring new readers up-to-date there are by necessity references to key events in the previous book.  Therefore, although Rivals can be read as a standalone, I’d recommend readers who might want to follow the series to start with the first book.  I haven’t read Trickster and I’ll confess it took me a bit of time to work out the different relationships and who did what to whom in the first book.

In Georgina Garrett the author has created a powerful woman who is ruthless towards her enemies and will do whatever it takes to protect her family.  She’s certainly not afraid to take on the men at their own game. In fact, at times she feels the need to go beyond what they might be prepared to do to counteract the prejudice she experiences.

The world Georgina inhabits contains some distinctly unsavoury characters and even some of the more likable characters have secrets they will protect at all costs.  It’s a world of rival gangs out to protect their patches and involved in activities such as extortion, prostitution, illegal gambling, drugs, alcohol and weapons smuggling…and more besides.  Although Georgina reins in some of the more distasteful elements of the Wilcox operation, she’s still up to her neck in some pretty nasty stuff.  And she’s not afraid to get her hands dirty when necessary.

With all the twists and turns of the plot and the action-packed confrontations between rival gangs, there isn’t much space for the reader to get a sense of the period (the 1930s), aside from a few mentions of the depression, the rise of Hitler and German rearmament.  However, I guess murder, extortion and protection rackets go on regardless of the political backdrop.

Described by the publishers as ‘perfect for fans of Peaky Blinders, Martina Cole and Lesley Pearse’, Rivals will appeal to readers who like their crime thrillers dark, violent and populated with ruthless individuals.

I received an advance review copy courtesy of Aria Fiction, via NetGalley.

In three words: Gritty, dark, twisty

Try something similar: Five Days of Fog by Anna Freeman


Sam MichaelsAbout the Author

Sam Michaels writes gritty gangland sagas set in Battersea, South London, which is where she was born and bred, the council estates being her playground.

After leaving school at sixteen with no qualifications, Sam married soon after and had a son. The marriage ended quickly, and as a single mother, she worked in various retail positions until undertaking an Open University degree. This led to Sam becoming an analytical scientist and then into technical sales where she met her husband.

A few years later, they moved from Hampshire to Spain. It was then that her mother, the Sunday Times best-selling author, Kitty Neale, inspired Sam to put pen to paper. She now writes her novels in sunnier climates with the company of her husband, four dogs and six cats.

Connect with Sam
Website| Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

#BookReview Asylum Road (Jake Caldwell 4) by James L Weaver @LakewaterPress

Asylum RoadAbout the Book

Nearly two years ago, former mafia leg-breaker Jake Caldwell had ruthless drug lord Shane Langston staring down the wrong end of Jake’s pistol. Instead of pulling the trigger like he should have, Jake let the law handle it.

Now Langston’s escaped from a Missouri maximum security prison with a deadly goal – kill the men who put him there. With Langston’s crosshairs focused on Jake and his best friend, Sheriff Bear Parley, the duo must scramble to protect those they love and stop Langston’s bloody quest for vengeance.

As the hunt for Langston intensifies, Jake and Bear stumble upon a hard-nosed gang of bikers with their claws deep in murder, meth, guns and sex trafficking. Teaming up with some new allies to unravel the mystery and nail Langston, Jake finds himself caught up in a game of cat and mouse with some seriously deadly consequences.

This fourth instalment of the award-winning Jake Caldwell series will have you biting your nails to the nubs and praying you never have to make the trip to Asylum Road.

Format: Paperback, ebook (416 pp.)        Publisher: Lakewater Press
Publication date: 1st October 2019         Genre: Crime, Thriller

Purchase Links*
Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com
*links provided for convenience, not as part of any affiliate programme

Find Asylum Road (Jake Caldwell #4) on Goodreads


My Review

Regular followers of What Cathy Read Next will know me as a lover of historical fiction and literary fiction and may be surprised at the change of genre. However, I love this series and know I can rely upon it for some heart-pumping, full-on action when a change of pace is needed and your reading mojo is crying out for a gripping pageturner.

Asylum Road is the fourth in James L Weaver’s Jake Caldwell series. I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed all the previous books in the series: Poor Boy Road, Ares Road and Blackbird Road. Links from the book titles will take you to my reviews. Although Asylum Road can be read as a standalone, readers looking for a new crime series to follow would do well to start from the beginning.

Asylum Road follows straight on from the dramatic conclusion to the previous book. It has all the elements I’ve loved about the earlier books. In particular, it was a joy to be reunited with Jake and his buddy, Bear. Underneath the wisecracks and leg pulling there’s real respect and affection. They know they can rely on each other completely, not least because they both have the same things they wish to protect. Bear’s mighty appetite remains undiminished. As he tucks into a plate of his favourite eggs and bacon, Bear’s wife Audrey remarks, ‘I didn’t say a word. But your doctor said each piece of bacon you eat takes nine minutes off your life.’ ‘In that case’, responds Bear, ‘I should’ve died in 1782’.

The short chapters contribute to the feeling of pace and defy you not to keep turning the pages. Just one more chapter, then I’ll go to sleep…

In Asylum Road, the bad guys are really bad and involved not just in corruption, extortion, murder and drugs and weapons smuggling but in the heinous sex-trafficking of young women. As the body count grows, the book builds to a breathless climax and Jake faces a showdown he knows he can’t afford to lose because at stake are those most precious to him. Now it’s time ‘to do it his way.’

Although I’m happily married, I’ll admit to being a little bit smitten by man of action, Jake Caldwell, whose tough exterior hides a softer interior. As someone remarks, “Your wife is a lucky woman, Jake Caldwell”.

Asylum Road is another high-octane, gripping read from the pen of James L Weaver. Fellow enthusiasts of the series will be delighted to learn, as I was, that another book – Husker Road – is coming in 2020. What does the future have in store for Jake, I wonder?

I received an advance review copy courtesy of Lakewater Press.

In three words: Compelling, action-packed, gritty

Try something similar: The Mountain Man’s Badge by Gary Corbin (read my review here)


jamesAbout the Author

James L. Weaver is the Kansas City author of the Jake Caldwell series featuring IAN Thriller of the Year finalist Poor Boy Road and the sequel Ares Road from Lakewater Press. He makes his home in Olathe, Kansas with his wife of 19 years and two children. His previous publishing credits include a six part story called “The Nuts” and his 5-star rated debut novel Jack & Diane.

His limited free time is spent writing into the wee hours of the morning, playing parental taxi cab to his kids’ sporting endeavours, and binge watching Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Connect with James

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads