With what is going on around the world, books have been my go to this year. My escape if you like. Lockdown, Pandemics, Testing Tracing, Rules, New Rules, Even more Rules… Everything we knew has altered and yet books have been a constant. So here is what has kept me entertained, intrigued and mystified throughout the most bizarre of years…
These are books that I read in 2020, I did hit my target of 200/200 books on the Goodreads Challenge. As I write this post I think I am on around 220 books. It seems that 2 and 0 are making themselves know this year!!!
Any regular visitors to my blog know that I chop and change genres that I read, so you can expect a mix of all sorts in this list.
Books I have Absolutely Or Highly Recommend this year…
So 32 books, and it seems very unfair that I have not included the ones I would Definitely Recommend as they are also excellent. Those books are a mix of my favourite authors as well as new to me authors. They include fiction and non-fiction and they all have a place in any list, its just that my list would be well over 100 books long!
One last addition to the list is a very recent read. It takes my Top Reads up to 33!
After a, well… interesting year to say the least. I would like to take this opportunity to say thanks you to all of you wonderful folk out there who have shared, liked and commented on my posts. I appreciate every single one of you.
I wish you all a wonderful Christmas, and all the very best in the New Year.
Much love to all you fabulous book loving friends,
I am delighted to share m,y review today for Finding Love at the Chriwtmas Market by Jo Thomas. I am a huge fan of this author and it is no real surprise to me as to how much I loved this book!So here is what it is all about…
Residential-home caterer Connie has had one online-dating disaster too many. Hurt in the past and with her son to consider, now she’s feeling hesitant. Then one of Connie’s residents sets her up on a date at a beautiful German Christmas market – with the promise she’ll take a mini-bus full of pensioners along with her…
Amongst the twinkling lights and smell of warm gingerbread in the old market square, Connie heads off on her date with a checklist of potential partner must-haves. Baker Henrich ticks all the boxes, but when Connie meets Henrich’s rival William, she starts to wonder if ticking boxes is the answer.
Will Connie’s wish for love this Christmas come true, and if so – with who?
If you are looking for a fabulous festive feel-good book then look no further than this one. Grab a big old mug of hot chocolate, put on your favourite Christmas jumper and snuggle into a warm blanket and settle down to read Finding Love at the Christmas Market.
Connie is a meal delivery driver and has made friends with the elderly residents at residents she delivers to. It was Elsie’s last wish that she return to her home in Germany and so Connie and the residents get in the minibus to carry out Elsie’s final wishes. Oh, and to make sure that Connie is ok when she meets Heinrichwho she met online and is now going to meet in person.
Connie is a woman who lives by her lists, but does ticking all the boxes mean she will succeed? The author throws a spanner in the mix in the form of William. While Heinrich is organised, neat and punctual, William is the exact opposite. So is it organised or chaos that will win the day?
Now, the residents sound like an amazing bunch and yes they older than Connie but this means they have experience and also a few hidden secrets. They are such an amazing bunch of characters and as I got to know them I got to adore their different personalities. Sharing their experiences of happy times definitely brought a lump to my throat.
I did mention earlier hot chocolate, I should also mention the gingerbread, this book just oozes delicious-ness with festive fare and the aroma of gingerbread. Once again the author has brought the sights, sounds and smells of the towns to life. Traditional and modern are mixed into this story along with rivalry, friendship, new acquaintances and fulfilling wishes and promises.
The spirit of Christmas in a more nostalgic sense is definitely here within these pages. It brings home that Christmas is about friends, families and making memories. It is a truly wonderful read that has a touch of humour, a dash of romance, a sprinkling of memories and is such a wonderful read that I cannot help but absolutely recommend it.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
Apologies for the radio silence over the last week or so. Things have been a busy, and I needed to step away from Social Media and instead wrap presents, cook, bake and find room in the freezer! Decorations and tree is up, cards finally written and posted and Blogging can once again resume. I do have a couple of reviews I have to share and I have also got my Top Reads of 2020 sorted! Should be up on Wednesday. Anyway…
I am delighted to share my review today for The Boy Between – A Mother and Son’s Journey From a World Gone Grey by Amanda Prowse and Josiah Hartley. This is a book that is such a heart-breaking, insightful, honest and also wonderful read. It is a book about depression from the side of the sufferer and the parent witnessing it.
**Before I share what the book is about I have something personal to say about my journey this year with depression, anxiety and panic attacks. It is perfectly fine to skip past this if you want to.**
I had seen this book around on various Book Bloggers Blogs and while I really wanted to read it, my head was just not in the right place. I could joke and say that it rarely is, because after all I do joke about stuff quite a bit. This is one of my defence mechanisms, the other is going quiet and retreating. With the pandemic this year and lockdown, it has been a real challenge for me. I mean lockdown played right into my anxiety and depression. Keeping myself away from crowds? Yeah no problem! Not meeting with others! Yeah got that one covered as well. Then when the lift of lockdown began I found myself struggling, a lot! People were everywhere, I felt overcrowded if there where more than 2 other people in a room with me. I suffered panic attacks, to the point where I had to take a short time off work and also started on antidepressants again.
I know I am not the only one that is/has suffered, and I know that many still struggle. I am very fortunate in the fact that I do recognise some of my triggers, but some came out of the blue and knocked me for six. The thing is, on the outside I appear fine, I have a laugh, I can be quite loud at times, some of my comments can be a bit rude and I do have a filthy sense of of humour. My point here is, often people see what’s on the outside and not what is going on underneath the mask or wall that is erected as part of my self preservation or defence system, often times it has a mind of its own and does its own thing, that’s fine until little cracks appear.
Luckily for me I am quite open about when I am struggling, I have told various people that “I’m having a moment” and they know to let me be, wait for me to come to them. It’s how I cope and also to make others around me aware that they need to back off and give me space. Space is my thing, it is my bubble, it is My space.
Up until now this has been sharing with people who I see, and not with all you guys out there in the virtual world. I did wonder whether to put this out there or not, I mean it is a personal thing, but also it is something that is not spoken about or shared enough, by not posting this I am adding to the stigma that still shadows mental health.
So this is where I am, now.
I set an alarm in the morning so that I don’t sleep for 12 to 14 hours at a time.
I look at what I can control rather than look ahead at all the what if’s, I mean they haven’t even happened yet!
Each day is another day.
I know I am not the only one and I know I am not alone. You are not alone either.
Bestselling novelist Amanda Prowse knew how to resolve a fictional family crisis. But then her son came to her with a real one…
Josiah was nineteen with the world at his feet when things changed. Without warning, the new university student’s mental health deteriorated to the point that he planned his own death. His mother, bestselling author Amanda Prowse, found herself grappling for ways to help him, with no clear sense of where that could be found. This is the book they wish had been there for them during those dark times.
Josiah’s situation is not unusual: the statistics on student mental health are terrifying. And he was not the only one suffering; his family was also hijacked by his illness, watching him struggle and fearing the day he might succeed in taking his life.
In this book, Josiah and Amanda hope to give a voice to those who suffer, and to show them that help can be found. It is Josiah’s raw, at times bleak, sometimes humorous, but always honest account of what it is like to live with depression. It is Amanda’s heart-rending account of her pain at watching him suffer, speaking from the heart about a mother’s love for her child.
For anyone with depression and anyone who loves someone with depression, Amanda and Josiah have a clear message—you are not alone, and there is hope.
Right from the off I am going to say that if you have any interest in mental health, the effects on the sufferer or those around then you really do need to read this book. It is very insightful and also incredibly helpful.
Mental health has been in the news a lot this year, people are aware more of the effects it can have on everyday life, but still, it is not understood by many. Reading this from the viewpoint of a mother and son felt like a very privileged position to be in. Being allowed into the thoughts and feeling of individuals from different sides of the fence was a very personal view from a readers point of view.
This is not the journey of just one person. While it is Josh who to live with depression it is also the family that have to witness him live depression. What was insightful was how people think they are helping, but actually, they are not. But how can you help if you don’t know what you are doing for the best. It is a vicious circle.
This book is such an honest and open account, from a mother and a son. It is full of emotion, love, anger despair, frustration and all of it from the real lives of real people. Opening up and allowing people to see the journey of a family as well as an individual gives a balance. There is no one side to this book.
This is such a, well I want to say fabulous read, this feels wrong in some ways as the experiences of Mandy and Josh are anything but fabulous! But it is such an engrossing book, honest, with moments of humour and giggles. It is a book I would definitely recommend.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be a amazing 🙂
It is an absolute pleasure to share my review today for Parish the Thought by H. Max Hiller. This is the 5th book in the Cadillac Holland Mystery series and I have been waiting so long for it to finally appear. It was a couple of years ago when Hiram invited to read his Holland Mystery books and I absolutely enjoyed them. Since then Hiram has found a new publisher with Indies United Publishing House, and I finally got to catch up wit Holland, Tony, Roux and a few more literary friends from Louisiana
So, here is more about the book…
Revenge may be a dish best served cold, but this is Louisiana, where everything gets a splash of hot sauce.
Detective Cadillac Holland is called upon to locate Senator Chester Donovan’s missing daughter-in-law. A pool of blood in the trunk of her Mercedes exposes unexplained deaths in a town once described as being a place “where there are more alligators than people, and the alligators are friendlier.” The solution to this mystery lies buried in the town’s sordid history, a story that changes with each telling. Detective Holland must find what is driving an innovative and vengeful killer before he becomes their next victim.
Purchase from Amazon UK or US (UK link is an affiliate link)
Oh what an absolute pleasure it is to catch up with Cadillac Holland as he is asked to investigate a missing person. This case is outside his jurisdiction as such but it is by special request that he has been asked to run the case!
Having read and thoroughly enjoyed the previous books in this series I was looking forward to seeing what the author had in store for his main protagonist. The case takes Holland to the Bayou, a close-knit community where generations of families have lived. Some families have the luxury of wealth, power and status. Others are not as fortunate! The family name is everything as is the businesses they run and the seats of power they inhabit. Alliances and allegiances are very evident throughout the story.
Now, the story. From previous experience, I do know that this author does like to take a twisted and often devious route to get from the initial question to the final answer. This is certainly the case for this book. What starts as a missing person case morphs into something much deeper and darker. Illegal activities are gradually brought to light and this keeps the goalposts moving as such. One question may be asked and answered leading to more questions appearing. Knowing what to ask, when to ask and who to ask is definitely the key.
Holland is a character who I really like, he has a past that is interesting and gives him some special skills that are needed if he wants t get to the bottom of this case. He does have back up in the form of family and very good friends, one of which is a dog. Then there is the food, the author has an interest in the food trade and this makes for some wonderful sounding dishes.
This is a story that is mystery and intrigue from start to finish. While there are bodies there is not so much blood and guts. It is a mystery first and then merges into something else. The author has chosen a specific route for the story to travel down and it highlights a very important subject. I think the author has definitely tackled this sympathetically and not gone into too much detail, but given enough for the reader to get it. There is an interesting section at the end of the books that discusses the issues and also further reading. I know this sounds vague, but it is part of the story and therefore I am not going to give away any spoilers.
The author has done another excellent job in creating a fabulous mystery story that I absolutely adored. I think this may just be my favourite one… so far. This is the 5th book in the series and yes it would work as a standalone, but I do think that reading in order is much better, as it is with many books in a series. It is one I would definitely recommend.
About the Author…
My relationship with New Orleans began with a job cooking in a cafe on Bourbon Street at the age of seventeen. My foodservice resume now includes many of New Orleans’ iconic music and dining destinations. I no longer reside in New Orleans full time but I keep to the expat creed of “Be a New Orleanian wherever you are.” A devoted reader of detective and crime novels, I have worked as a chef on a boat traveling the inland waterways since Hurricane Katrina and began thinking up stories about a detective living in post-Katrina New Orleans, which I now write in my spare time. My life is divided between working on the water and preserving a Victorian-era home in Hannibal, Missouri that I share with my wife and our rescue pets, which include a neurotic wolfhound/terrier mix and too many cats.
I am absolutely delighted to finally share my review on the last day for Bliss Uncovered by Tony Forder. I am a big fan of this Author and my reviews of his books have featured regularly on my Blog. If you have never read one of Tony’s Bliss books then this could be just the place for you to start. Bliss Uncovered is a prequel novella that begins at the beginning, so to speak. It is a great intro for readers new to Forder and Bliss as well as working really well for established fans.
My huge thanks to Sarah at BOTBSPublicity for my spot on the Blog Tour and to Tony for supplying a early review copy. Now, let me show you what this is all about…
The bestselling author of the stunning DI Bliss crime series is back – this time with a thrilling prequel novella.
A double life – a single truth.
Fresh out of uniform, DC Jimmy Bliss finds himself at the centre of an undercover sting. Enlisted by a crew of villains to crack a safe, he fears his cover is blown when he’s seen in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But on the night of the job, things run smoothly enough until the gang leader changes the location of the heist. As the job spirals out of control, Bliss has to trust his instincts and buy some time. There’s just one problem: he has no idea if his team know what has become of him.
As the situation escalates, Bliss finds himself at the mercy of a violent criminal who will do anything not to be caught.
Purchase from – Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link and may earn me a small commission)
I am always a little wary and dubious about prequels that appear when a series is well established. Some work and some almost do, thankfully this author definitely made this prequel work!
Set in the early years of Bliss’ career I found a man who is a little cocky, little too sure of himself and already has a target on him from those higher up, oh and he is also a little opinionated! While he hasn’t got all the moodiness and wise-cracking repertoire he has in the series, there are elements of him still there.
I liked how the author made this a stand-alone read, yes it is part of the Bliss series as all the books are, but taking a step back in time gave this reader a chance to see a character who is not quite so cynical, battle-worn or weary around the edges. There is more of a lighter side to him, and if you know this series then you will know to what I am referring.
The plot for the story is an undercover one, Bliss is one of the thieves in a gang planning a robbery. Bliss is one of the new members of the gang so tension and mentions of being completed trusted are expected. A novella that does have quite a lot packed into it and not just a crime thriller read.
A wonderful prequel and it was wonderful to see a lighter side of one of my favourite fictional characters. If you have not read any of the Bliss series then this gives you a great intro, but the main series does start a few years in time. Given my initial trepidation, I am delighted to say that I would definitely recommend this.
About the Author…
Tony J Forder is the author of the bestselling DI Bliss crime thriller series. The first seven books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, If Fear Wins,The Reach of Shadows, The Death of Justice, Endless Silent Scream, and Slow Slicing, will be joined in December 2020 by a prequel novella, Bliss Uncovered.
Tony’s other series – two action-adventure novels featuring Mike Lynch – comprises both Scream Blue Murder, and Cold Winter Sun.
In addition, Tony has written two standalone novels: a dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, and a suspense thriller set in California, called Fifteen Coffins, released in November 2020.
Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently working on Bliss #8, The Autumn Tree.
I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for The Villa of Dreams by Lucy Coleman. This is an author who is a regular on my blog and I do enjoy her books a lot. She also writes under the name Linn B Halton, and again the books are fabulous.
My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources fort my spot on the Blog Tour and also my e-copy of this brilliant book. Let me show you more…
Seren Maddison left behind a rainy Britain to follow her dreams and live and work in Lisbon. The vibrancy, the beautiful scenery and the sunshine, made her fall in love and she knew, instantly, that it would be her forever home.
International artist Reid Henderson has homes in Lisbon and London. Following his painful divorce, his dream is to turn his luxurious home into an art school and gallery.
When Seren and Reid first meet there is an instant attraction, but they are both people who have been hurt, and each have dreams that are so far apart, they aren’t even on the same page.
Can they enjoy one summer of happiness together, as life bestows a gift of memories to cherish for the rest of their lives? Or is their destiny to chart a path into the future, in a home where dreams can come true?
Seren and Reid may be about to discover that love is as much about what you are prepared to give up, as what you are prepared to keep hold of.
Let Lucy Coleman transport you away to sun-drenched Portugal where true love really can conquer all, and home is where the heart is. Perfect for all fans of Trisha Ashley, Holly Martin and Sue Moorcroft.
Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)
First up, how gorgeous is that cover?
Lucy Coleman has once again done a fabulous job as she transported me to Portugal. Seren decides that working for her father is, well, not working. She has only wanted his approval but when she realises that will never happen she decides that she must do what is right for her.
Seren and her friend Judi made a pact and it is now the right time for Seren to embark on her own plan. To save enough to buy a small place where she can earn enough to get by and still have the time for her art. The Almada area Portugal and the view from her little flat of the Christo Rei monument are exactly where she feels she needs to be.
Her job is hectic as she sets about organising a fashion show that incorporates art, fabric, music and photographs doesn’t give her much social time. She focuses on her job, getting to know some of the area and working towards her dream. A dream that didn’t take into account meeting, Reid.
This is a wonderful book that took me into the heart of Almada. This author really does know how to set the scene, from views to food, art, architecture, tradition and social views and opinions and for me this is what makes her books so good. The details to surrounding helped to sweep this reader up completely.
The plot for the story is one that gradually emerged. I learnt more about Seren, her home life and why her decision to move was the best thing. Starting afresh and in a new country is daunting and this did come across well as did the cultural differences.
The author provided a plot that wasn’t straight forward. Not wanting any romantic attachments is one thing but when the spark is there can you really do anything to stop it. More importantly, is how do you prove that your past has been dealt with?
A wonderful read and one for contemporary fiction and romance readers who like to be taken to a different country. Gorgeous and heart-warming but with an ominous will they / won’t they vibe. It is one I would definitely recommend.
About the Author…
Lucy Coleman is a #1 bestselling romance writer, whose recent novels include Summer in Provence and Snowflakes over Holly Cove. She also writes under the name Linn B. Halton. She won the 2013 UK Festival of Romance: Innovation in Romantic Fiction award and lives in the Welsh Valleys.
I am delighted to share my review today for Map’s Edge by David Hair. This is the first time I have read a book by this author and I am looking forward to reading more.
Let me show you a bit more about this wonderful fantasy read…
Follow a renegade sorcerer off the edge of the map, in a thrilling adventure perfect for fans of Scott Lynch, Brandon Sanderson and Sebastien de Castell . . .
Dashryn Cowl has run out of places to hide. The erstwhile sorcerer of the Imperial College fled the Bolgravian Empire when his high-flying family fell from grace, but the tyrannical empire is still hunting for him.
So when he gets his hands on a map showing a place outside the known lands rich in istariol, the mineral that fuels sorcery, he sees a way back to power. There’s only one problem: it means masquerading as an Imperial Cartomancer (an instant death sentence) and finding some dupes to help him mine the istariol in secret, no questions asked.
But somehow, amid the dangers of the road (floods and avalanches, beasts, barbarians and monsters), a strange thing begins to happen: Dashryn starts to care about his ragtag followers and their strange odyssey into the ruins of an ancient forgotten civilisation.
But his past won’t let him be: the implacable Imperial Bloodhound Toran Zorne has caught his scent, and Zorne has never yet failed to bring his quarry to ground.
At the edge of the map, there’s no going forward and no going back . . .
Purchase from Amazon UK ( this is an affiliate link)
This is my first experience with this author and what a wonderful experience it was. This is the first book in the trilogy and I very quickly found myself hooked. Often I find that there can be a lot of time spent setting up the scene and characters not so with this one.
The Empire rules the land and dominates through fear, force and magic. People are pressganged into submission and are keen to be seen to follow the rules.
A healer and his daughter live in the edge of the country along with those who wish to be left alone, forgotten keeping their heads down. The healer learns of a power source that could be the chance of starting over, not just for himself but for the rest of the ragtag bunch that make up the community living on the edge of the civilised world as they know it.
I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the idea of a dominating empire lording it over those seen to be weaker than them. It gave me a chance to cheer on the underdogs! But, are they underdogs? What I gradually learn is that not everyone is as they first appear, this gives a wonderful edge of uneasiness as I was never quite sure if I was cheering the right side on.
The author uses names that are pronounceable, this is a big thing for me as often I know the characters but cannot pronounce the name and this takes some of the personal side away from them. There was the odd one that I did pause over but I soon got them in my head. The names of the characters have a European feel to them, and I think this helped to cement the characters more. Certain names have a more Eastern European feel and look and this adds an ominous side to the character.
The story is one of action and adventure and one that I was really able to get my teeth into. The words are easy to follow and the author does give descriptions along the way so I was aware of what he was referring to, e.g. istariol – the source of the power. Along with various other place names, things are explained and histories are given along the route the characters make. Explaining the past as they travel makes it more part of the story rather than an aside.
There is action along the way, death and birth, reckoning, conspiracy and an uncertainty as to who to trust. Even the main characters make you wonder, are they really doing it for the greater good or are they looking after themselves and their ends. This again adds to the intrigue of the story.
As this is the first in the series, there is that almost cliff hanger to it. Yes this first story ends at a good place and it makes sense, but it also leaves a teaser.
This is a very accessible fantasy series that has a historical feel at times with mentions of flintlocks but then does have magic and politics of a ruling empire. It is a brilliantly paced story that has beasts, and otherworld animals, sorcerers, healers and good honest characters as well as a good amount of baddies.
A wonderful book that I flew through in a couple of days. I would definitely recommend this to those who are looking to start a new series, it has left me wanting to eagerly read the next one.
Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx
Welcome to my weekly book wrap up of what I’ve read over the past 7 days. It is a day later than usual as I had a Blog post yesterday, and you do know how I prefer to have one post a day!
So, once again this week has been a definite mixed bag of genres. I do like to mix things up 🙂
As always the links included are Amazon affiliate ones and may earn me a small commission, at no cost to yourselves. Alternatively check out your local or independant bookshops.
This is what I have read…
I adored Finding Love at the Christmas Market by Jo Thomas. Jo is one of those authors who I automatically read when I see a new book. This has all the lovely Christmas vibes, it atmospheric, festive and just a fabulous read. If you are a fan of Jo’s books then I know you are going to love it as much as I did.
I was so pleased when I received my approval for The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse from NetGalley. I have since signed up to the Blog Tour for this book so you will have to wait a while for my review! This is a brilliantly twisted story that I found very hard to put down. It is atmospheric, has an isolated location and is a cracking read.
This may look familiar if you visited my Blog yesterday as this was my review post! The Lies of Our Fathers by Jonathan Mark is a brilliant action packed, espionage, spy thriller that I absolutely adored. The second book in the trilogy that does read well as a stand-alone, but I do think as it is a trilogy it is best read in order.
This is someone who I have not heard of before, but I have seen some of the images and didn’t realise until I started reading this book. David King – Designer, Activist, Visual Journalist by Rick Poynor is a wonderful book to sit and flick through or to read over time. King was a journalist who fused art, design, illustration with activism in a very visual way. This is a great introduction to the man and if you like art, history and biographies then this one may well be of interest to you.
It is an absolute honour to be sharing my review and to be opening the Blog Tour today for The Lies of Our Fathers by Jonathan Mark. This is the second in the trilogy and the first time I have read a book by this Author and I thoroughly enjoyed this fast paced, action-packed read. While it does work well as a stand-alone I do wish I had read the first book! Typical of me 🙂
My huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for my spot on the tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book. Let me show you more about it…
Antioch 1098. A Crusader knight saves the lives of a Muslim family.
A city under siege by the army of the First Crusade. Sickened by the slaughter of Muslims, an English knight rescues a family and helps them escape. In the midst of battle he discovers a holy secret. When the tide is turned and the Crusaders find themselves besieged within the walls of Antioch, the same Muslim family must risk their lives to save the English knight.
Ankara 2000. An ancient bible is discovered.
An original version of the Gospel of Barnabas, supporting the Islamic view of Jesus and suppressed by the Christian church for centuries, is discovered by Turkish police in an anti- smuggling operation.
Iran 2005. A son hunts his terrorist father.
Richard Helford, MI6 agent, is searching for his father, a wanted terrorist. A search for the truth will take him from the Greek islands to the deserts of Iran, via Turkish occupied Cyprus. Embroiled in the bloody rivalries of Iranian politics, could his father be guilty of a murder that hurts Richard to the core of who he is? Richard must find the secret of the Crusader knight and the proof that the Gospel of Barnabas is not a forgery. Or will the assassination squads from the CIA and Mossad get there first?
What are The Lies of Our Fathers?
The second novel in the Barnabas trilogy.
Purchase from Amazon US or UK ( the UK link is an affiliate link)
First off I am going to mention the cover for this book, it was very eye-catching when I first saw it. Now I have read the book I realise how perfectly it fits! That is not all that fits, the title is spot on as well!
This is the second book in The Barnabas Trilogy, typically of me I didn’t read the first book so I can say this does work well as a stand-alone. But, yes I do wish I had read the first book as this second one is a cracking read. It is set over two time periods, the first takes the reader back to the crusades in Antioch 1098. Not much time is spent here as the main story is set in Iran in 2005.
What starts as a hunt for his father and the truth about an ancient scroll takes a definite turn into something much more unexpected for Richard Helford. He is an MI6 agent but is working off-grid as such and does not have the backing of the agency as he looks for his father David. The story leaps various countries as the cat and mouse chase begins and Richard tries to put together the pieces of an ancient puzzle.
It has been a while since I have read a book that involves lost artefacts and I have to say this one ticked all the boxes for me. Ancient artefacts usually have a religious base, this is certainly the case for this story as the hunt for a lost and ancient gospel hits fever pitch. Different religions factions are eager to get their hands on it. There are some who want it to use as leverage, others to prove a point and those that will not want it to see the light of day.
The author packs the religion, the politics into a story that is such a brilliant read and has a wonderful fluidity to it. There are several plots the at have been woven in together and yet I felt that I never felt lost. I admit it did take me a while to get my head around the characters, but then as I got used to them everything was good.
Because the author has injected religion and politics into the story, as well as government agencies then you just know that there is going to be a lot of conspiracy, mistrust and double-dealing. This sort of thing is right up my street and the author had me convinced… convinced that I couldn’t trust any of the characters that is! This again is something that worked really well for me, being off footed and not quite knowing who was working for who, who was telling the truth keeps the story flow moving along at a breakneck pace.
Sometimes you come across a story that you know would work really well as a film. As I was reading this book this is what kept springing to mind. I would love to see this as a film! There is also an interesting Afterward where the author explains briefly some aspects of religion and history with a list of books for further reading.
So, this is a cracking book. Fast-paced, action-packed, adrenaline-fueled, full of conspiracy and intrigue. I wanted to savour this book rather than read it at my usual speed, and yet I also never wanted to put it down! Fabulous read and one for action, thriller, conspiracy readers. It one I would absolutely recommend.
About the Author…
Jonathan Mark worked for nearly forty years in the City of London financial district, he retired early to pursue his long held ambition to write novels. He shares his time between Essex and Cornwall and travels around the world to research material for his books.
To kick start his writing career he completed an MA in Crime and Thriller writing at City University London. At the time, this course was the only creative writing MA in the country which focused on commercial crime fiction. The Last Messenger was the novel submitted to complete the MA.
My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot onthe Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book xx
I am absolutely delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers to open the Blog Tour for the totally scrumptious Christmas at the Little Waffle Shack by Helen J Rolfe. This is an author who is a regular feature on my site as I have read and reviewed several of her books. This latest one is just perfect for buying today (Sunday) and snuggling down to read this afternoon, or any time.
Let me show you more by starting with the cover…
Heritage Cove is in full swing for the festive season and as the temperature dips, who will be lucky in love this Christmas?
It’s December in Heritage Cove and along with the village Christmas tree, frosty mornings and the promise of the most wonderful time of the year, the new waffle shack is about to open. And its owner isn’t a stranger to the Cove, because after all this time, Daniel is back to make amends with his brother Harvey – as well as a few other locals he might have offended along the way.
Fairly new to the village, local blacksmith Lucy has kept up the pretence of being with her ex for the sake of his gran but she’s fed up with all the lies. Determined to come clean and live the life she wants to live, she’s devastated to find that her attraction to Daniel is tainted by the fact he’s hiding a few things of his own. And his secrets are ones she isn’t sure she’ll ever be able to get past.
Heritage Cove is full of friendship and community; it’s a welcoming place people visit and never want to leave. But will it work its magic for Daniel and Lucy?
A festive read packed with Christmas romance, love and second chances, this is Book 2 in a series of standalone novels set in Heritage Cove, the little village by the sea…
When a mystery log cabin is built no one in the village knows who it belongs to or what it will be. That is until Daniel meets the local blacksmith Lucy for a sign for his new shop, yeah you guessed it he will be making and selling waffles. Sparks aplenty with this story and not just from the forge either!
Daniel has a few hurdles to get over as not everyone will be thrilled at his return to the village. Villages being what they are comments are made and though most are meant for the best, some are definite warnings! Can a person really change and can they turn things around?
The author has such a wonderful way of describing her settings and also food. I mean waffles, toppings, sauces, icecreams and yes this book should not be read on an empty stomach! It seems that with all this mention of sweet things there is something that balances it out and this is the blacksmith’s descriptions. I liked how the author doesn’t just mention a piece of metal being shaped, but a specific material and why it was chosen, yeah I think there is some good research in this to add another plus to an already great story.
So, Christmas, Waffles, handmade gifts, friends, trees, decorations and animosity in the air between Daniel and his older brother. What actually happened in the past does eventually start to emerge, but finding the right time and place is problematic given the busy run-up to Christmas.
This is a gorgeous read that has plenty of Christmas feels, heartwarming moments, the tension between characters, sparks and sparkles galore and waffles… oh yes the waffles! Sorry! If you are after a festive fiction that you will not want to put down, well apart from to pick up a waffle, then this is a book that should be on your list. I absolutely recommend this one.
About the Author…
Helen J Rolfe writes romantic fiction and contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community.
Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries where she thinks her readers might like to escape to.