#BlogTour : The Winter’s Child by @cassandrajaneuk : published by @Legend_Press

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I am delighted to be part of the blog Tour for “The Winter’s Child” by Cassandra Parkin, published by Legend Press and available to purchase now in paperback or eBook.  I would like to say a big thank you to Imogen Harris for allowing me a spot in the tour.

Synopsis:

Five years ago, Susannah Harper’s son Joel went missing without trace. Bereft of her son and then of her husband, Susannah tries to accept that she may never know for certain what has happened to her lost loved ones. She has rebuilt her life around a simple selfless mission: to help others who, like her, must learn to live without hope.

But then, on the last night of Hull Fair, a fortune-teller makes an eerie prediction. She tells her that this Christmas Eve, Joel will finally come back to her.

As her carefully-constructed life begins to unravel, Susannah is drawn into a world of psychics and charlatans, half-truths and hauntings, friendships and betrayals, forcing her to confront the buried truths of her family’s past, where nothing and no one are quite as they seem.

A ghostly winter read with a modern gothic flavour. A tale of twisted love, family secrets and hauntings.

 

My Thoughts:

This is a heartbreaking, emotional and haunting story of Susannah, John and Joel.  Susannah and John are husband and wife, Joel is their son and went missing several years ago.  The story begins with Susannah sceptically going to see a fortune teller at a local fair, there she is told she will be reunited with her son by Christmas, and her journey will be hard. Christmas is only a few months away.  Susannah is quite vocal in her views of clairvoyants, fortune tellers and the like, she believes they are charlatans, fake and just after money from the vulnerable .

From this point on we are taken on a roller-coaster of a journey that is haunting and emotional.  The story takes the reader backwards and forwards through time, to Joel story as he was growing up, the life of the family and then life after Joel’s disappearance.  The downward spiral of hopelessness, grief, desperation and loneliness.  The story does not contain a large cast, and it is right that it doesn’t, it adds to the personal side of the story.  The personal tragedy is played out and along with this there are the usual rubber-neckers and interfering people who pray on the vulnerable victims by sending false leads and hurtful vile comments.  What appeared at first seemed to be a simple story, soon starts to twist and turn in some unexpected angles that I did not see coming.

The pacing is perfect timed and fits so well. There were several aspects of this book that I really liked in addition to the plot and characters, the blog inclusion was one of them as well as the great narrative that built up and expanded the visual side, I had clear pictures in my head.

I would recommend this book to readers of contemporary fiction, who also like elements of a psychological nature, family dynamics, loss, desperation and hope.  It is well written and developed, a real page turner all the way through.

 

About the Author:

71d1vu10v-L._UX250_Cassandra Parkin grew up in Hull, and now lives in East Yorkshire. Her short story collection, New World Fairy Tales (Salt Publishing, 2011), won the 2011 Scott Prize for Short Stories. Her work has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies.
The Summer We All Ran Away (Legend Press, 2013) was Cassandra’s debut novel and nominated for the Amazon Rising Stars 2014.

The Beach Hut (Legend Press, 2015) is her second novel.

Visit Cassandra at Website or on Twitter

 

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Legend Press (15 Sept. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1785079034
  • ISBN-13: 978-1785079030

Purchase from Amazon UK

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it give it a share.

Better still buy the book.

 

 

#Book Review The Things We Learn When We’re Dead by @claidlawauthor #Giveaway

The things we learn COVER FINAL

“The things We Learn When We’re Dead” by Charlie Laidlaw is available in paperback and also on eBook.  Published by Accent Press.

Synopsis:

On the way home from a dinner party she didn’t want to attend, Lorna Love steps into the path of an oncoming car. When she wakes up she is in what appears to be a hospital – but a hospital in which her nurse looks like a young Sean Connery, she is served wine for supper, and everyone avoids her questions. It soon transpires that she is in Heaven, or on HVN. Because HVN is a lost, dysfunctional spaceship, and God the aging hippy captain. She seems to be there by accident. Or does God have a higher purpose after all? At first Lorna can remember nothing. As her memories return – some good, some bad – she realises that she has decisions to make and that she needs to find a way home…

My Thoughts:

Lorna Love is almost a lawyer, working for a prestigious and old firm, her Dad is agnostic, her mum a Catholic, Suzie is her best friend and wants to be an actress.  Now throw in the odd boyfriend, going to heaven, meeting God and meeting his second in command, who is a chain smoker.  Did I forget to mention that heaven is actually a spaceship, and God is a hippy wearing a track suit, or that the spaceship is over-run with hamsters who keep chewing the wiring?

So the main protagonist is Lorna, she has just died.  After waking from the accident to find herself in a spaceship, it is not an everyday occurrence, obviously! Her memories are hit and miss, and as they return we learn of her life up to the point of her accident.  She has what I would call a fairly normal life, education, growing up, university, social life and such, but I found it really interesting to read, captivating and at times sad.  When Lorna meets God she finds he is nothing like she expected, at times he is quite an odd character, but during the course of the story he explains his role and he seems to fit in a quirky sort of way.  Lorna has been taken to heaven for a reason, she will not be told that reason until her memories have sorted themselves, up to this point she wanders round the ship and meets some of the crew.

This is an interesting book to read, I found myself captivated by the characters and the main plot of the story, it is a gentle paced book that takes you through the journey of Lorna’s life, she has had her ups and downs but seems to be moving forward.  It is told in two timelines as such, the main emphasis is on her own life story, as well as her experiences on the ship, a little bit abstract but for me it worked.

When the author approached me to see if I was interested in reading a copy of this book, I was intrigued by the phrase of it being a “retelling of the Wizard of Oz”.  I admit to being baffled by this as I was reading the book, but it didn’t matter as I was enjoying it.  Then suddenly I hit that “I Got It” point of the story, then the phrase made perfect sense and is  very clever.

I would definitely recommend this book to readers of contemporary and general fiction, yes I am aware there is a sci-fi element to it, but it is not overly sci-fi at all.  It is a poignant, funny, sad, philosophical and it will make you think.

I would like to thank Charlie for sending me a copy of his book.  My thoughts expressed here are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

  I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault.  That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father.  That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.

I was brought up in the west of Scotland (quite near Paisley, but thankfully not too close) and graduated from the University of Edinburgh.  I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.

I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist.  I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics.  I interviewed motorbike ace Barry Sheene, Noel Edmonds threatened me with legal action and, because of a bureaucratic muddle, I was ordered out of Greece.

I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries.  Highlights included being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, being given an armed bodyguard by the PLO in Beirut (not the same person with a gun), and visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa.  What I did for the rest of the year I can’t quite remember.

Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then.  However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini.

Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve still to listen to Oh, Mein Papa.

I am married with two grown-up children and live in East Lothian.   And that’s about it.

 

Author Links: Website     Facebook   Twitter

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 397 pages
  • Publisher: Accent Press; UK ed. edition (21 Sept. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1786150352
  • ISBN-13: 978-1786150356
  • Amazon UK   Amazon US

Giveaway:

Charlie has very generously agreed to provide a signed copy of his book to one lucky winner.  This is open to UK only, the winner will be contacted and their details passed onto the author who will then send out the book.

 Rafflecopter Giveaway Click Here

 

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, give it a share.  Better still buy the book.

#BookReview : The Ornatrix by Kate Howard pub by @Duckbooks

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The Ornatrix is available for purchase in Hardback, Paperback or eBook.  Published by Duckworth Overlook in July 2016.

 

Synopsis:

Flavia was born with a birthmark covering her face, in the shape of a bird in flight. A dyer’s daughter, she grows up in a little house in the woods, far away from prying eyes. Ashamed of the mark, her mother makes Flavia hide her face behind a veil on the rare occasions she is allowed to be seen in public. But on the night before her younger sister’s wedding, Flavia does something drastic, something that will draw her into a much wider and stranger world than she could have imagined: the convent of Santa Giuliana, just outside the city walls.

There she meets Ghostanza, a courtesan turned widow, whose white-lead painted face entrances Flavia, and whose beauty and cruelty are unmatched. Flavia becomes her ornatrix: her hairdresser and personal maid. But as white-lead paint rots the flesh below it, the bustling city, and Santa Giuliana, is rotting below the shimmer of wealth and privilege. And Flavia is drawn into a world of desire and jealousy that has devastating consequences.

Set in sixteenth-century Italy and rich in description and character, Kate Howard’s stunning debut novel is perfect for fans of Patrick Süskind’s Perfume, Kate Mosse’s The Taxidermist’s Daughter and Jessie Burton’s The Miniaturist. Painted against a vivid historical landscape with themes and characters relevant today, it tackles issues of belonging, female identity and the perception of beauty and cannot fail to move.

My Thoughts:

This book delves into the world of beauty and how beauty is perceived.  It is set in 16th Century Italy, at a time when it was fashionable for women to paint their faces in a lead based white paste called “cerussa” and the aim for the perfect face was all consuming.

This is something that Flavia, the main protagonist, would love to achieve.  Having been born with a birthmark in the shape of a bird on her face.  It was looked upon by her parents as being shameful and a mark of the devil, therefore Flavia spent most of her childhood hidden inside, or when going to church, wearing a veil.  Her life changes in many ways, one of the most significant is her meeting and working for Ghostanza.  Falvia becomes her personal hairdresser and maid, she becomes her “Ornatrix”.

This is a story I really enjoyed.  It’s a story that has a message.  It gave me something  to think about after reading.  Also I have learnt something from reading it.  I really liked the character of Flavia, at times she was petulant, jealous, and wilful, but given her history and her experiences it fitted well. It also fitted in with peoples perceptions of those who are different.  Difference seemed to give people the right to ridicule, mock and be extremely prejudiced.  The story also discusses the way cerussa was made, the long processes of having make up applied and the health dangers that came with using the products.  Also there is a character, I will not mention the name, who offers a voice of reason along with his views of beauty being on the inside and not on the outside.

Initially I found Flavia a little difficult to warm to, but this actually makes sense, she is a defensive, guarded character, but as her story comes out  I found myself understanding her and liked her, though not at all times.  There are several other characters from different backgrounds, these give a nice balance and show the the various opinions of society and class distinctions, giving a diverse range of viewpoints.  The settings were wonderfully described, giving me a indicators of sights, sounds and smells that helped build a vivid picture.

This story captivated me and kept me turning the pages.  Many themes discussed are still relevant today, particularly the lengths people will go to for beauty though the methods are different, also the prejudice shown for people who are considered different by society, we all know this still occurs though not to the lengths discussed in the book.

I would definitely recommend this book to readers of historical fiction.  I really liked the  inclusion of society, class and a girl trying desperately to find her place in the world.  I also think it would make a really good Book Group discussion read, there are some great talking/ debating points here.

 

I was sent his book by the publisher Duckworth Overlook , my views expressed are my own and are unbiased.

 

About the Author:

Kate Howard has lived in Italy for many years, but now lives in Brighton. She works at the University of Sussex.
The Ornatrix is her first novel.

 

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd (14 July 2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0715650971
  • ISBN-13: 978-0715650974

Purchase from : Amazon UK   | Amazon US |

 

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, please give it a share.  Better still go and buy the book.

#BlogTour : No Bodies by @robertcrouchuk : tour org by @CarolineBookBit

No Bodies - Robert Crouch - Book Cover

It is my pleasure to be on the blog tour for “No Bodies” by Robert Crouch.  I would like to thank Caroline at Bits About Books  and Robert for allowing me a spot.  This is the 2nd in the “Kent Fisher Mystery Series” of books.  It is available as a paperback and as an eBook.  It is Independently Published.

Synopsis:

No motive. No connection.

Why would environmental health officer, Kent Fisher, show any interest in finding Daphne Witherington, the missing wife of a longstanding family friend?

The police believe she ran off with Colin Miller, a rather dubious caterer, and Kent has problems of his own when a young girl who visits his animal sanctuary is rushed to hospital.

When enquiries into Colin Miller reveal a second missing wife, Kent picks up a trail that went cold over a year ago. But he’s struggling to find a connection between the women, even when he discovers a third missing wife.

Is there a killer on the loose in Downland?

With no motive, no connection and no bodies, Kent may never uncover the truth.

My Thoughts:

When I first agreed to be part of the blog tour for this book  I was aware it was the second in a series.  Now I am kicking myself for not reading the first.  I will now never have the full experience of reading the first book, as some of the plots and outcomes follow through to the second one. Though this book did read as a stand alone very well , I urge anyone reading this post to download No Accident on their kindle, I honestly believe it will be time well spent.

It did take me a few chapters to get going with this, and to understand the characters as they have already been established in the 1st book, No Accidents (hint, hint), but once I got going I found an extremely addictive and intriguing story, a story that I could have dived straight into if, yes you guessed it, I had read the first book (I am still annoyed with myself about this).  So, Kent Fisher is an EHO (Environmental Health Officer) and is asked by a local counsellor, Colonel Witherington to look into the disappearance of his wife Daphne.  If you are wondering why the Colonel would ask this, it becomes evident if you read the first book (can you see a theme forming here?).  Kent and his co-worker and friend Gemma Dean, do as requested.  They combine their secret investigation into Daphne as well as doing their routine jobs.  What they discover as they are checking out fast food outlets, food providers and the like, are more puzzles and questions than there are answers, and much more than they originally bargained for.  Tempers are frayed and a past incident has never fully been resolved.

This book has so many plots and sub stories running along side each other, with the author putting many interesting and varied angles into this story, they kept me gripped from start to finish, and did not want to put it down at all.  The characters of Kent and Gemma have been very well developed, you realise that they have been friends for quite a while as the dynamics between them work very well.  There are some other really great characters that cover a range of personalities that gives a real enjoyment to the reader.

Robert has used a lot of his own knowledge from his days as working as an EHO, and has included procedures and protocols, all twisted around the plots to provide his own slant on this crime / mystery story.  It almost had a classic mystery feel to it at times, and it wasn’t until I read the author bio that I saw why.

I would definitely recommend this book to readers who like crime / mystery .  Also please read the first book as I am sure it will add to the reading of this story, it will give you a better understanding into the dynamics, characters and and previous story lines.  Though as a stand alone this one did read very well, but took me a few chapters to get a going, but once I did there was no stopping.

 

Author Bio:

Robert Crouch Author Image  Inspired by Miss Marple, Inspector Morse and Columbo, Robert Crouch wanted to write entertaining crime fiction the whole family could enjoy.

At their heart is Kent Fisher, an environmental health officer with more baggage than an airport carousel. Passionate about the environment, justice and fair play, he’s soon embroiled in murder.

Drawing on his experiences as an environmental health officer, Robert has created a new kind of detective who brings a unique and fresh twist to the traditional murder mystery. With complex plots, topical issues and a liberal dash of irreverent humour, the Kent Fisher mysteries offer an alternative to the standard police procedural.

Robert now writes full time and lives on the South Coast of England with his wife and their West Highland White Terrier, Harvey, who appears in the novels as Kent’s sidekick, Columbo.

Links:

Author Website | Facebook Page | Twitter

Book Details and Links:

  • Paperback: 375 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published (17 Oct. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1549844121
  • ISBN-13: 978-1549844126

To buy “No Bodies” from Amazon UK

To buy “No Accident” the first on the series from Amazon UK

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, give it a share.  Better still go and buy the books.

#CoverReveal : You’re Next by Michael Fowler @caffeinenights #BlogTour organised by @CarolineBookBit

You're Next - Michael Fowler - Book Cover

Welcome to the cover reveal for “You’re Next” by Michael Fowler. Publish date of 9th November 2017.

The Synopsis:

It is the opening day of Detective Sergeant Scarlett Macey’s biggest case of her life – ‘The Lycra Rapist’ is standing trial for a series of brutal rapes.

But things don’t go according to plan – the trial collapses – and James Green is freed.

Scarlett is determined his freedom will not last long and immediately begins planning his downfall.

Meanwhile James Green has his own plans for revenge, and driven by feelings of hatred begins to pick out those who brought about his downfall – priming them for the kill.

Scarlett has faced many villains in the past, but never one quite as terrifying as James Green…

Available for Pre-Order from: Amazon UK  |  Amazon US

About the Author:

 Michael Fowler Author Image Following retirement, after thirty-two years as a police officer, working mainly as a detective, Michael returned to the deadly business of murder, as a writer. His past work brought him very close to some nasty characters, including psychopaths, and gruesome cases, and he draws on that experience to craft his novels: There is nothing gentle about Michael’s stories.

His landmark novel Heart of the Demon, published in 2012, introduced Detective Sergeant Hunter Kerr. Michael has since written five novels and a novella featuring Kerr. He also released the first DS Scarlett Macey book in 2016. Michael is also the author of a stand-alone crime novella and a true crime thriller.

Michael has another side to his life – a passion for art, and has found considerable success as an artist, receiving numerous artistic accolades. Currently, his oil paintings can be found in the galleries of Spencer Coleman Fine Arts.

He is a member of the Crime Writers Association and International Thriller Writers.

Follow the author on his Website  |

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you like it, give it a share, or even better go and pre-order this book.

#BookReview : Behind the Lie by Amanda James @akjames61 : @HQDigitalUK

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This book was published 21st April 2017 by HQ Digital and is available as an eBook.

Synopsis:

Who can you trust, when you can’t trust yourself?

Holly West has turned her life around. She’s found a successful and loving husband in Simon and is expecting twins. She is definitely a woman who has taken back control of her future.

Until she gives birth, only for one twin to survive. Holly can’t let it go.

Holly’s world is in a tailspin and suddenly she can’t trust herself or anyone else. No one believes her, not her husband or her best friend. Because she thinks she knows the truth…her son is still alive and she won’t stop until she finds him.

My Thoughts:

Well what a book, I do admit to falling for the synopsis, and it did it’s job and did not disappoint.  We meet Holly and Simon West, husband and wife and expecting twins.  But they only take their daughter Iona home, their son, who was to be called Ruan, didn’t survive. Holly has had a troubled past, and when she starts to think and then believe Ruan is actually alive her husband and her best friend Demi start to believe her past is not quite her past and believe she is suffering from depression, well some people try to be supportive.

There are a quite a few characters in the story that have known Holly and Simon before they were married, and they have different opinions that are expressed throughout, this gives a really good background to the characters and the dynamics between them.  The plot was good, but I do admit to being correct on a few thoughts as I was reading, but to be perfectly honest that really didn’t matter as I was more interested in how Holly dealt with the situations as they arose.  It was Holly on her journey that was intriguing me as well as my being a witness as she transformed from a self doubting, beholden to her husband type of woman, to a strong, resilient woman who is willing to put her family first regardless of the risk.  There were also a few things I didn’t expect and and a couple of great twists.  It was all told at a good pace that kept me frantically reading until the last page.

This is a book that would appeal to readers of contemporary fiction as well as general fiction, who like an element of mystery and thriller with a little dash of romance.  I will definitely be reading more by this author.

I would like to thank Mandy James for accepting my request via NetGalley to read and share my thoughts on her book.  My thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

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Amanda James (aka Mandy) was born in Sheffield and now lives in Bristol with her husband and two cats. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, singing, and spending lots of time with her grandson. She also admits to spending far too much time chatting on Twitter and Facebook! Amanda recently left her teaching role to follow her ambition to live her life doing what she most enjoys—writing.

Follow Mandy on Facebook | Blogspot | Twitter

Book Details:

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 775 KB
  • Print Length: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HQ Digital (21 April 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English

Purchase from Amazon UK

Many thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it give it a share.

#BookReview : Fools and Mortals by @BernardCornwell : published by @HarperCollins

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“Fools and Mortals” by Bernard Cornwell. Published by Harper Collins. Publication date 19th October 2017.

Synopsis:

A dramatic new departure for international bestselling author Bernard Cornwell, FOOLS AND MORTALS takes us into the heart of the Elizabethan era, long one of his favourite periods of British history.

Fools and Mortals follows the young Richard Shakespeare, an actor struggling to make his way in a company dominated by his estranged older brother, William. As the growth of theatre blooms, their rivalry – and that of the playhouses, playwrights and actors vying for acclaim and glory – propels a high-stakes story of conflict and betrayal.

Showcasing his renowned storyteller’s skill, Bernard Cornwell has created an Elizabethan world incredibly rich in its portrayal: you walk the London streets, stand in the palaces and are on stage in the playhouses, as he weaves a remarkable story in which performances, rivalries and ambition combine to form a tangled web of intrigue.

My thoughts:

Set in Elizabethan England, at a time when static playhouses are still in their infancy, as the days of players touring the country will gradually decline.  The story focuses on one playhouse and it’s players known as the Lord Chamberlain’s Men.  It is here where the reader in introduced to Richard, a small time actor who has followed his estranged brother to London.  His brother is the script writer William Shakespeare and scripts are becoming a valuable commodity.  Because the audiences are now going to the playhouse then there is a need for more plays.  It is at this time that William is creating A Midsummer Nights’ Dream and also Romeo and Juliet.

Richard is where the focus of this story lies, we are told why and how he decided to follow his older brother to London as well as his experiences of acting, living and social conditions  This is at a time when the playhouses are being targeted by the Pursuivants, who have the belief that what they the players do is all a lie, cheat and are generally considered to be rogues and criminals, luckily for us Queen Elizabeth and other notable aristocracy of the time were big supporters and so we have access to theatres today.

This is a really good read with a lot of historical research.  Cornwell is well-known for his historical fiction books, they tend to be more battle based.  This is a shift away from that style, this is has a real different feel to his previous works.  It is lighter and entertaining, but still shows the huge amount of research as his other books.  There are many characters to get to know, but once that is done the story becomes very addictive and a page turner.

Cromwell has included a very interesting “Historical Notes” addition at the end of the book, here he discusses the origins of the playhouse as well as the historical figure he has used in the story.

If like me you like historical fiction genres, then this is a book I would recommend.  It has a great cast of characters, that will lead the reader through jealous rivalries, romance, betrayal as well as having some great historical content.  I would like to thank NetGalley and Harper Collins for my eARC copy of this book.  My views expressed are my own and are unbiased.

Book Details:

  • ISBN: 9780007504114
  • Imprint: HarperCollins
  • On Sale: 19/10/2017
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Pages: 384

Links:

Author Website

Harper Collins UK

Purchase from :  Harper CollinsAmazon UK   | Amazon US

About the Author:

1227 Born in Essex in 1944 Bernard Cornwell was adopted at the age of six weeks by two members of a strict fundamentalist sect called the Peculiar People. He grew up in a household that forbade alcohol, cigarettes, dances, television, conventional medicine and toy guns. Not surprisingly, he developed a fascination for military adventure. As a teenager he devoured CS Forester’s Hornblower novels and tried to enlist three times. Poor eyesight put paid to his dream, instead he went to university to read theology. On graduating, he became a teacher, then joined BBC’s Nationwide, working his way up the ladder to become head of current affairs at BBC Northern Ireland, then editor of Thames News. In 1979, his life changed when he fell in love with an American.

Judy couldn’t live here, so I gave up my job and moved to the US. I couldn’t get a green card, and for 18 months the only thing I could do was write novels. The result was his first book about 19th century hero, Richard Sharpe, Sharpe’s Eagle.

Today he has 20 Sharpe adventures behind him, plus a series about the American Civil War, the Starbuck novels; an enormously successful trilogy about King Arthur, The Warlord Chronicles; the Hundred Years War set Grail Quest series; and his current series about King Alfred.

Bernard Cornwell owns houses in Cape Cod and Florida and two boats. Every year he takes two months off from his writing and spends most of his time on his 24 foot Cornish crabber, Royalist.

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#BookReview : Far From the Turquoise Room by Kate Rigby : Book won in giveaway by @NeverlandBT

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This book was published 3rd November 2011 and is available in paperback or eBook. I have had this book sat on my TBR mountain for a little while, I was fortunate to win it as part of a giveaway competition run by NeverlandBT in July of this year.

 

Synopsis:

Told from both daughter and father’s perspectives, Far Cry From The Turquoise Room is a coming-of-age, riches-to-rags tale of loss, resilience, and self-discovery. It is also about the passage of childhood into puberty.

My Thoughts:

It is told from the perspective of father and daughter.  The father, Hassan, is a successful business man, his daughter is Leila, is the youngest of two daughters.  Now at this point I really do not want to give anything away, so I apologise for my vagueness. But, a tragedy befalls the family, this story charts the way that Leila and her father deal with it, how the family dynamics have changed, also for Leila growing up and becoming a teenager.  At times it is heartbreaking, emotional and also annoying, I will explain that it is a good annoying, this is because of the decisions that the characters take.  There is a good range of emotions that run through this story and the characters have chances to make different decisions, but due to their stubbornness, they don’t.

I thought the characters were well written and the author has managed to keep the inflections of Hassan’s speech, he is Iranian. The idea of the story I found to be very good and it was a very compelling read.  As I made my way through this book I was desperate to get to the end, in a good way, so I could discover the outcomes, but at the same time didn’t want it to end.  It was a simple, addictive but very well written story line.

I would happily recommend this book to readers of contemporary fiction.  I also think it would make a great choice for Book Clubs / Groups, there are a range of themes in the book that would make for some very interesting talking discussions.

 

About the Author: 

71cb1R6JS5L._SY200_ Kate Rigby has been writing for over thirty years. She realized her unhip credentials were mounting so decided to write about it in ‘Little Guide To Unhip’. However she’s not completely unhip. Her punk novel, Fall Of The Flamingo Circus was published by Allison & Busby (1990) and by Villard (American hardback 1990). Skrev Press published her novels Seaview Terrace (2003) Sucka! (2004) and Break Point (2006) and other shorter work has appeared in Skrev’s avant garde magazine Texts’ Bones. Thalidomide Kid was published by Bewrite Books (2007) and is now available on Kindle. She has had other short stories published and shortlisted and has put together a collection of these in ‘Tales By Kindlelight’. She has many other fiction titles on Kindle and is planning to get her previously published titles back into paperback as well as previously unpublished titles.

Details about Kate’s work can be found at her Website
Or her occasional blogs can be found Here.

Mant thanks for reading my post.  If you liked it, give it a share. 

 

 

 

#BlogTour : #TheWatcher by Monika Jephcott Thomas #ClinkStreet

The Watcher Cover

The Watcher” by Monika Jephcott Thomas.  Published by Clink Street Publishing on 10th October 2017, available in paperback an eBook.

Synopsis:

It’s 1949 when Netta’s father Max is released from a Siberian POW camp and returns to his home in occupied Germany. But he is not the man the little girl is expecting – the brave, handsome doctor her mother Erika told her stories of.

Erika too struggles to reconcile this withdrawn, volatile figure with the husband she knew and loved before, and, as she strives to break through the wall Max has built around himself, Netta is both frightened and jealous of this interloper in the previously cosy household she shared with her mother and doting grandparents.

Now, if family life isn’t tough enough, it is about to get even tougher, when a murder sparks a police investigation, which begins to unearth dark secrets they all hoped had been forgotten.

My Thoughts:

This book has several stories running together.  There is that of Max, a prisoner of war in a the Siberian concentration camp of Gegesha, his experiences whilst there an also how he deals with being back home.  Then there is the story of Netta and her childhood and also of Erika as she deals with the day-to-day living with a man who has been through an extreme and traumatic event.  Then how these three very different people have to deal with change and how they have changed in themselves.

So Max is married to Erika, together they have daughter Netta.  The story is told from perspectives of all, Max has returned home after 4 years in the camp, he has severe flashbacks during dreams as well as while awake.  The relationship between himself and his wife and daughter is hard, and all have to adapt to the change in him.  As well as this there has also been a murder, a woman known to the family and local people.

This is a time-slip story, and flits between Max and his memories in the camp, and also how life in Germany after the second world war has changed, food is scarce and money is tight.  Max, Erika and Netta live in the attic of his parents house, even though both husband and wife are doctors they cannot afford their own house, money is spent on the clinic they run.  The story as I have said is told from different perspectives, but is mainly focused on Netta, a time when children are seen and not heard, but children have a habit of hearing things they shouldn’t, this is very much the case for Net.

It took me a little while to get into this book, it took a few chapters before I understood the style and characters, but once I had got a feel for it I enjoyed it.  The characters and plot I found to be well described, I thought the descriptions of Max and his treatment and experiences as a prisoner of war had been done well, not too overbearing or graphic, though still uncomfortable reading at times.  It had a what you would expect and nothing that describes concentration camps should be easy reading, but it had been done sympathetically to the subject.  Towards the end the various threads of the plot started to come together and as this happened this pacing definitely quickened.

This is a book that readers of historical fiction and mystery genres would read, I would recommend it. It is a very interesting look at life in Germany post war, as well as relationships within family and also socially.

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Clink Street Publishing (10 Oct. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1912262029
  • ISBN-13: 978-1912262021

 

About The Author:

Monkika Jephcott Thomas.jpgMonika Jephcott Thomas grew up in Dortmund Mengede, north-west Germany. In 1966 she moved to the UK and, after a thirty-year career in education, delved into the therapeutic world where she has over twenty years experience as a counsellor and psychotherapist, gained with a wide variety of clients and presenting conditions.

By 1998, she and her partner Jeff established the Academy of Play & Child Psychotherapy (APAC). This has grown to become the largest provider world-wide of post-graduate training for Play Therapists and Practitioners in Therapeutic Play Skills, in partnership with several universities and colleges.

Monika and Jeff became founder members of Play Therapy UK. Monika was elected President of Play Therapy International in 2002. Their work culminated in the official recognition of the play therapy profession in 2013, an endorsement of their devotion to help the twenty per cent of children in the world who have emotional, behavioural, social and mental health problems by using play and the creative Arts.

Her professional background has given her insight into the effect of traumatic events not only on those directly experiencing them but also on their families and the generational impact.

Links:

Author website Click Here

Buy from Clink Street Click Here

Clink Street Publishing Homepage Click Here

Home page for Authoright Click Here

Buy from Amazon UK Click Here

 

Many thanks for reading my post, if you like it, please give it a share.

 

 

 

#BlogTour : The Second Son by Andy Blackman

The Second Son CoverThe Second Son published by Clink Street Publishing on 5th October 2017.

I would like to thank  Rachel Gilbey for allowing me a spot on the tour for this amazing book.

Synopsis:

As the second son of the Duke of Hampshire, Grenville St John Hampton isn’t likely to inherit his family’s title or estate, leaving him pondering an empty, aimless future. During the summer break from university, he impulsively decides to go backpacking with one of his oldest friends, Johnathan; their destination is Belize.

One sultry night on the Central American coastline, Grenville and Johnathan meet Tom. A game of darts takes a vicious turn. Realising he has nothing to look forward to back at home, Grenville decides to stay on in Belize with Tom, in pursuit of adventure. Together, the new friends establish an import business, and for the rst time in his life, Grenville has a sense of purpose.

But back in England all is not well. The sudden death of his brother leaves Grenville with an unexpected – and now unwanted – inheritance, with new consequences and responsibilities. He will return to claim the family’s seat with a dark secret in tow.

Andy Blackman is the author of For the Love of Grace (published by Clink Street, 2016).

My Thoughts:

Occasionally you come across a book that exceeds all expectations, The Second Son is one of them.  The synopsis is alluring and at the same time vague and almost understated, it gives the basic details but what is told within the covers is quite an amazing story.

The main protagonist is Grenville St. Louis Hampton, second son of the Duke and Duchess of Hampshire.  He has a more carefree nature with no expectations piled on him, unlike his brother Stephen who will carry the mantle of family tradition.  This burden of a future title is Stephen’s, and he does not carry it well, he does not see the point of Greville and mostly ignores him.  Grenville follows the family tradition of schools that have always been attended by the family, but takes a gap year with best friend Jonathan and they visit Belize.  There they meet Tom, he becomes their saviour and when Jonathan returns homewithout his friend, Tom becomes Grenville’s mentor.  Tom teaches him about his import business as well as more practical survival skills, and his business is not completely above-board.  After spending a few years in Belize, Grenville is to go home, his brother killed in a car accident and so the title of successor falls to Grenville.

Grenville still wants to help Tom with his business, so the two form a sort of business plan that they will set up in the UK, this gives Grenville something useful, practical to do as well also helping his friend. When he returns to the UK he has his work cut out for him, not only dealing with the estate but also setting up a business.  This he does not do alone , he calls on two old school friends, Jonathan and also Hugo, they begin a journey, and what a journey it is.

When I began this book I was not really that taken with Grenville, I cannot put my finger on what exactly it was, but as his character grew and changed I started to warm to him and actually ended up really liking him.  The characters in this book are really well-developed, the bad guys are real sleazy, lowlife slime balls that I instantly loathed, the good guys, yes you guessed it, I really liked them, even when they have their shady moments.  The characters, their surroundings and the dialogue are very appropriate and are well worked.

The plot, well… I am keeping sch-tum on this one, it is impressive and is absolutely nothing like I expected.  Even now as I write this review (24 hours after reading) I still feel a little lost and really want to read more, yes I am suffering from “book hangover”, so my order for to Amazon for a copy of “For the Love of Grace” is now on its way.   For The Love Of Grace deals with Tom and his mother, and how Tom ends up in Belize.  I have read The Second Son without reading For The Love Of Grace, and I found that it works well as a stand alone, but curiosity of Tom and Grace’s story has intrigued me.  So because of this I would suggest reading both.

This is a book that I would recommend to readers of contemporary fiction who like mystery, intrigue and is very well written.

Book Details: 

About the Author:

After serving in the British Army for over twenty-five years in the Parachute Regiment, Andy Blackman today lives in Bedworth, Warwickshire and works within in the IT sector. In his spare time he can be found visiting his three daughters and grandchildren. His previous novel, For the Love of Grace, was published in 2016.

Many thanks for reading my post.

 

 

 

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