Week in Review – 26 November 2017

I’ve been working on some things ready for next year I have some of my favourite authors secured for The Bookshelf in 2018, I’m literally bouncing off the walls with excitement over who I’ve secured. One will close out the year with the final bookshelf of the year and the others will be taking part in early 2018. It’s very exciting. Don’t forget anyone can take part just head here.

I’ve been busy with the mental health side of things again this week. The campaign I’ve been working on with my volunteering role went live this week at an event attended by Bristol’s Mayor and a number of other influential people from various organisations within the City. I had a great conversation with the Superintendent in charge of Mental Health for Avon & Somerset Police, it was great to meet someone in a position like this so passionate about mental health. This week I’ve appeared on Made in Bristol TV News and BBC Radio Bristol Breakfast, it’s been a busy week! The video we made for this campaign is below.

NaNoWriMo has gone really well, I hit the 50,000 words to complete it yesterday. For my first NaNo, I feel quite positive with how I went, especially as I finished early. When I started the month I didn’t think I would complete, but I’ve felt really inspired as I’ve written this novel and other than a few days where I’ve struggled to get the word count out I’ve really flown through it. I now need to backfill some areas of the novel that need more depth, and there are some additional chapters I want to add so I will set myself a new schedule and get on with it after my holiday.

It’s my birthday tomorrow and as always I’ll be running a giveaway, this year is probably my best yet, I tied it in with the release of a fantastic book so I hope you’re all ready for this! The post will go up at midday tomorrow and the Rafflecopter will stay open for a couple of weeks.

I go on holiday for a week next Thursday so the blog will go quiet for a bit. knowing me I will be about on Social Media, I can’t help myself(!) but there will be no posts until I get home. The plan is to have a nice relaxing week and to read loads. I really hope that pans out. More than anything I’m looking forward to sun, lots and lots of sun!

You Had Me At Hello - Mhairi McFarlaneThanks as always to everybody who voted in this month’s TBR Topple poll. I’ve had a great run of books from these polls so far, so I’m really looking forward to picking up this month’s winner. With 42.86% of the votes, the winner was, You Had Me at Hello by Mhairi McFarlane. I’ll be reviewing it next month and the new poll will go up when I get home from my holiday so will be slightly later than usual.

Here are this week’s book updates:

Currently Reading

What I’ve Read

New Books

Bought / Freebies

Book Post



This week I have reviewed:

Four Star: and a Sixpence for Luck by Lilac Mills.
Five Star: A Stranger in the Cove by Rachel Brimble and Kiss My Boots by Harper Sloan.

Other Posts

I had excerpts from Istanbul Days, Istanbul Nights by Leonard Durso and Become the Force by Daniel M. Jones. The Bookshelf this week featured the very lovely Danielle from Books, Vertigo and Tea.

Music Monday this week featured Bon Jovi with a Thanksgiving-themed song.

I also took part in the Brotherhood of the World Award.

Next Week on BrizzleLass Books

#Excerpt: Istanbul Days, Istanbul Nights by Leonard Durso @LeonardDurso @SmithPublicity

When I was approached about this book, I thought it looked like one I would definitely want to read, unfortunately as you all know my TBR is at breaking point and I had to decline a review copy. I wanted to share this book with you all though so today I have an excerpt for you and it is mesmerising.



Set in the historic city of Istanbul, Istanbul Days, Istanbul Nights by Leonard Durso chronicles the journey of ten dynamic characters from across the globe—each trying to navigate their way through life and love, whilst remaining hindered by their own unique cultural differences.

Istanbul Days, Istanbul Nights begins with the funeral for the husband of Katja, a choreographer at a local university in Istanbul. Following the tragic loss of her soulmate, she slowly becomes intertwined with each of her colleagues within the university’s performing arts department. She meets the theatre department chair, Michael, who envisions a year-end production involving all the departments in an updated bilingual musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. As they all work together to put on a stellar performance, several of the university’s staff, including Katja herself, find themselves on a path of newfound love. As one would expect, some couples find true happiness together—cultivating relationships that will enrich their lives forever—while others miss the opportunity for romantic involvement, crumbling under the pressures of establishing common ground when dating in a foreign country.


Back inside, things are really heating up between Jennifer and Deniz who seem to both be aware that they are competing and find they are both aggressive, competitive animals. The dancing, then, takes on a fairly suggestive, erotic tone and other faculty members are drawn in: female members becoming bolder, male members becoming aroused. A controlled wildness seems to spread across the floor, the air charged with sexual energy, and husbands and wives, boyfriends and girlfriends, and unattached members of both genders begin competing with each other for the floor. And İrem sees the physical manifestation of Michael’s theme for the play being acted out in front of her eyes and turns looking for him to see if he sees it, too. But he is, of course, nowhere to be found in the room and once she realizes this, confusion, then mild panic, takes over her.


Dave, meanwhile, draws Katja out onto the dance floor and she loses herself in the dance, forgetting about everything but the music, the gypsy flavored beat, her body taking on a life of its own, and Dave almost stands still watching. He thinks he would like to have this woman, though he knows it is almost an impossible wish, but cannot refrain from wishing it anyway.


And in the hundred or so people at the party, more than half are out dancing but Murat and Brenda only see each other. And Philip, surrounded by a few of the Prep Teachers, is pogoing away. Only İrem seems somewhat lost all of a sudden and walks the room looking for Michael. Then she spies the patio door and on a hunch, goes out to find him sitting on a chair gazing out to the Bosporus below. “There you are,” she says.


“Ah,” he goes. “I’ve been found out.”


“Were you hiding?” she asks, trying for a playful tone to hide what she senses is real concern.


“Not really,” he says. “I just needed some fresh air and to give these tired old feet a rest. And then, sitting here, I sort of got lost while watching the water roll by.” He smiles at her, though thankfully, because of the dark, she does not see how melancholy that smile really is. “It’s a fitting way to end the year, you know.”


“Aren’t you cold?” she asks.


“I hadn’t noticed,” he says, “until you brought it up, but yes, it is a bit cold out here.”


“Then why don’t you come back inside?”


“Hmmmm,” and he stands, though a bit reluctantly. “Might as well,” he says. “After all, I’m all out of whiskey here.”


“Well you can’t let that happen, can you?”


“Not on New Year’s Eve.”


And as they both head back in, they almost hold hands, or at least the impulse is there in each of them, but not knowing how the other would feel about it, they resist and just walk back side by side without touching until they come to the patio door where they bump into each other, and both over apologize. And as they enter, a feeling lingers in the air between them of a missed opportunity. And neither knows just how to handle, or even explain, that.


Meanwhile the rivalry between Jennifer and Deniz is taking on a new twist as the two women become more and more fascinated with each other and begin dancing around Meric rather than dancing with him and find themselves dancing together and being fascinated with their own aura and sexuality. Meric tries for some control but is virtually ignored on the dance floor as the women focus on themselves.

About Leonard Durso

Leonard Durso is a native New Yorker, who grew up on Long Island in the small town of Lynbrook. Istanbul Days, Istanbul Nights is his sixth published novel, with his previous works spanning thriller, drama, and contemporary fiction genres. Prior to taking on writing full-time, Durso was the Director of The English Language Institute at Nassau Community College, where he was influential in teaching the English language to immigrants living on Long Island, New York. He later went on to become the Director of the ESL Program at Dowling College. In 2008, after years of wanting to teach English overseas, he took on the position of Director of the English Language Program at Plato College of Higher Education in Istanbul. In 2016, he also spent time as a journalist writing for a national Turkish newspaper. Durso received his B.S. and M.F.A from Bowling Green State University as well as an M.A. from Teachers College, Columbia University. He currently resides in Izmir, Turkey.

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Book & Buy Links

TitleIstanbul Days, Istanbul Nights
Series: N/A
Author: Leonard Durso
Genre: Romance | Contemporary
Publisher: N/A
Publication Date: 28 August 2017
Review Format: N/A
Other Formats: eBook | Hardcover | Paperback
Pages: 290
Buy: Amazon UK | Amazon US | Waterstones | Foyles | SpeedyHen | Wordery