Alexandria: The Quest for the Lost City by Dr Edmund Richardson #nonfiction #NetGalley @BloomsburyBooks #history #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Alexandria: The Quest for the Lost City by Dr Edmund Richardson. There is something about ancient and lost cities that does interest me so when I saw this book on NetGalley I did request it.

For centuries the city of Alexandria Beneath the Mountains was a meeting point of East and West. Then it vanished. In 1833 it was discovered in Afghanistan by the unlikeliest person imaginable: Charles Masson, deserter, traveller, pilgrim, doctor, archaeologist, spy, and eventually one of the most respected scholars in Asia, and the greatest of nineteenth-century travellers.

On the way into one of history’s most extraordinary stories, he would take tea with kings, travel with holy men and become the master of a hundred disguises; he would see things no westerner had glimpsed before and few have glimpsed since. He would spy for the East India Company and be suspected of spying for Russia at the same time, for this was the era of the Great Game, when imperial powers confronted each other in these staggeringly beautiful lands. Masson discovered tens of thousands of pieces of Afghan history, including the 2,000 year old Bimaran golden casket, which has upon it the earliest known face of the Buddha. He would be offered his own kingdom; he would change the world, and the world would destroy him.

This is a wild journey through nineteenth-century India and Afghanistan, with impeccably researched storytelling that shows us a world of espionage and dreamers, ne’er-do-wells and opportunists, extreme violence both personal and military, and boundless hope. At the edge of empire, amid the deserts and the mountains, it is the story of an obsession passed down the centuries.

Pre-order Link – Amazon UK

My Review…

I am rather partial to picking up the odd history book and Alexandria appealed to me when I read the synopsis. That first paragraph referring to a man who, I initially thought was a bit of a rogue, has quite a remarkable life.

Charles Masson decided that he didn’t want to be in the East India Company, years of bad pay, awful work and no chance of raising his position basically up and walks out. Unbeknownst to him, this would be the start of a very remarkable life.

The author has got a wonderful way of approaching the story of Masson and has made it very addictive. The story charts what is known of Masson, the people he met, the politics of the time as well as the East India Company. There are loads of references and these have been listed at the end of the book so it makes it much easier reading.

I have to say that the author changed my opinion of Masson, originally I thought him a bit of a rogue, this then changed to him being a man obsessed with finding Alexandria beneath the mountains. To finally feeling quite sorry for him.

His quest to find one of the cities called Alexandria becomes all-consuming. He travels, talks to people, spends all his money and on occasion risks his life. He is robbed beaten, imprisoned, starved and on the brink of death but still, his pursuit continued.

Yes, this is a non-fiction book, and yet it felt like a really fascinating action and adventure read. This is very much down to the skill of the author as he has created such a readable historical account. I adored reading this and it has also led me on to my own further reading about Masson and Alexander.

One for history fans, such an informative book that was great reading. One I would definitely recommend.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Opposites Attract by Camilla Isley #romcom #funread #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Opposites Attract by Camilla Isley. I had seen this book and the reviews during a blog tour and decided that it was one I would enjoy. I enjoyed it so much I read it in one sitting back in February. Yeah! I am still trying to catch up with posting my reviews of my purchased books.

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First law of magnetism: opposite poles attract.

Single mom Vivian has been burned by love once before, and her job as a divorce lawyer has presented enough evidence to convince her there are no good men left in New York City.

The worst offender is her new neighbor: Dr. Lucas Keller, a couple’s therapist whose piercing blue eyes and flawless dark hair are just as annoying as his bad temper.

But when Luke starts poaching Vivian’s clients by saving their marriages, she makes it her mission to force him out of the building to save her practice. But it’s Luke who gives her the perfect opportunity when he proposes an unexpected bet.

With their offices at stake, Vivian and Luke play the field of love in a fierce battle of wits that quickly turns hot and personal, especially when Vivian’s daughter gets involved. Now, taking down Luke has become more than business for Vivian. It’s become a pleasure—and soon, Vivian and Luke will realize how pointless it is to fight the laws of attraction.

My Review…

If you are looking for a rom-com that provides a wonderful escapism read then this is one that should be on your list.

Lucas and Vivienne don’t exactly hit it off on their first encounter. She barges past him to get on the subway and he ends up missing out on the office he had his eye on. As if his day hadn’t got off to the ideal start, it then seems to get worse.

Having offices next door to each other doesn’t make for the calmest and relaxing work area. But as the title suggests, opposites attract, but do they really. It seems that every time these two meet there is a barb. They do bury the hatchet in the form of a bet, the winner gets the corner office, the other leaves the building.

Now while there is some animosity between the two, they are adults and a third party almost forces them to be civil to each other. There are some serious moments and this adds more of a depth to the story. Overcoming problems of past and present is something that the author has weaved into her story.

I really enjoyed this tale and devoured it easily in one evening. Quite a quick read but one that did have me sniggering as well as giving me a lovely heart-warming feel. One for those looking for a bit of light-hearted, fun, escapism in their reading and one for the rom-com fans.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Summer Serendipity at the Twist and Turn Bakery by Helen J Rolfe @HJRolfe #PublicationDay #contemporaryromance #bookreview

When Helen Rolfe messaged me to ask if I would would like to read her latest Heritage Cove book, Summer Serendipity at the Twist and Turn Bakery, it was a no brainer. Absolutely! Delighted to! It’s Heritage Cove and of course it is one of Helen’s books!

So, I am delighted to share my review today and would like to wish Helen a very Happy Publication Day 🙂

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It’s summer in Heritage Cove, the picturesque village by the sea. Join some of your favourite characters and welcome new faces in this uplifting, romantic read brimming with character, community and friendship…

The Heritage Bakery is finally getting the makeover it deserves, with sisters Jade and Celeste modernising the place and putting their own stamp on it while retaining all the charm of days gone by. But Jade has far more planned than a brand-new kitchen and fancy cake designs. She’s ready for an even bigger change in her life. It’s almost time to take the next step and she knows just what to do to make that happen.

Etna owns the village tea rooms and when she hears that local man Harvey is looking for a labourer to help him renovate the bakery after being let down at the last minute, she suggests to her nephew Linc that it may just be the change he needs to get his head straight. Linc arrives in the Cove willing to give it a go and he works hard, but what he hadn’t envisaged was anything bordering on a romance – not with his track record or what he’s involved in right now.

When a tall, dark, handsome stranger appears in the village and turns Jade’s world upside down, will it be enough to make her abandon her plan before she even sets the wheels in motion? And has Linc missed his chance to tell her how he really feels?

It’s almost time for the wedding of the year for one of the village favourites and the annual Wedding Dress Ball. But when the sun begins to set, will anyone else be lucky in love?

This summer read is Book 3 in a series of standalone novels set in Heritage Cove, the little village by the sea…

A wonderful romantic treat, perfect for fans of Sarah Morgan and Ali McNamara
.

Purchase Link – AMAZON UK

My Review…

What a treat it was to come back to Heritage Cove and catch up with all the locals once again. It is such a fabulous community and the author really captures the sense of belonging and offers such a warm welcome.

This is the 3rd book in the series and I have read them all and loved them. You could read each one as a stand-alone, as they do work well but in my opinion, you would be missing out on some fabulous stories about the unique residents and the bonds they have.

This store starts, as the title suggests, at the bakery run by my sisters Jade and Celeste. The story focuses on Jade and the intro doesn’t leave her in the best of moods. Hoping for a lie-in, she is rudely disturbed by a lot of noise. The refurb has started earlier in the day than she had arranged. Armed with a hangover she confronts the rude intruder.

Well, I have to say I would have been very much the same as Jade, I am not a morning person but I may make an exception if I was met by the gorgeous Linc! He is the nephew of Etna, the owner of the Tea shop. He is just odd-jobbing trying to work out if or where he is going to settle.

One thing you learn is how welcoming the Cove is, especially when there is a family link (or Linc!!!) Plans for the refurb of the bakery, alterations to the Waffle Shack, other odd jobs and offers of various kinds have been woven into this gorgeous story.

The author has once again created such a wonderful story but one where there is a secret or two that is lurking waiting to be told. These secrets mixed in with the goings-on in the cove, a wedding, the odd night at the pub with the regulars and of course the scrumptious mentions of food give the reader a whole lot to enjoy.

A gorgeous, family and community centred story that was an absolute joy to read. It had me grinning like a loon several times. A heartwarming and wonderful story that fans of this author will adore. One for readers of contemporary fiction and romance, and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Helen J Rolfe writes romantic fiction and contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community.

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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.

Helen J Rolfe also writes for Orion Books under the name Helen Rolfe.

Born and raised in the UK, Helen graduated from University with a business degree and began working in I.T. This job took her over to Australia and it was there that she finally turned to what she loved and studied writing and journalism. She spent a while freelancing for women’s health and fitness magazines, volunteered with the PR department of a children’s hospital where she wrote articles and media releases, and eventually began writing fiction in 2011. And now, she thinks she may just have found her dream job.

Helen currently lives in Hertfordshire, UK, with her husband and their children.

Helen loves to hear from readers so please don’t hesitate to get in touch. She can be found at – Website Facebook Twitter Instagram

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

The Crazy Season by Jim Ody @Jim_Ody_Author @zooloo2008 @QuestionPress

I am delighted to share my review today for The Crazy Season by Jim Ody. This is the first time I have read a book by this author and after reading his latest book, it will not be the last time! It was a brilliant read.

Joel Baxter is infamous for solving weird and bizarre cases that others avoid. So, when he receives an email from a teenage boy Tim saying his town is cursed, he cannot turn it down.

“…I will more than likely be dead when you read this. There is nothing I can do about it. It’s the curse, and we’ve hit The Crazy Season.” Every 20 years, there are a handful of unexplained teenage deaths and it’s started again.

With the help of his straight-talking friend Melody, they set out to get to the bottom of the alleged curse. Everybody in Black Rock has secrets and nobody wants to speak.

The closer they get to truth the more Joel and Melody realise that their involvement is far from coincidental.

Purchase Links – AMAZON UK US

My Review…

This is the first time I have read a book by this author and I loved the tense and suspense ridden atmosphere he has created in this first book in the Joel Baxter series. I do own several of this author’s books and it is only now that I have got around to reading one. Yes, I am kicking myself for this lapse!

A journalist, Joel is used to strange and unusual events, it’s what he is known for. So the email he receives really catches his attention. With the help of his best friends sister Melody, they go off in search of the truth behind the curse of The Crazy Season not realising what exactly they are walking into.

Right from the start, this author caught my attention and what a start it was. It sort of sets the feel of the story that follows. It is one with more to it than first meets the eye. As the chapters progressed I discovered more not only about Joel and his wife Cherry but also got more of a glimpse into what exactly Joel does. He is a journalist as such but not the manic story hungry one looking for the latest headlines. He is more about trying to help find the truth and in turn, it helps others. This also helps him. Melody, well Melody is Melody, she is blunt and outrageous in what she says, but underneath her bluster, there is a caring and thoughtful women. I liked her a lot and she made me laugh several times!

The story of the curse is one that was intriguing and the author really knows how to spin a tale. More questions than answers and false leads with the feeling of Joel and Melody going around in circles, hearing similar stories but not quite getting anywhere as far as the truth goes. It’s a mysterious story with plenty of intrigues, to say the least.

The answers, or really that should be the breadcrumbs are not revealed until a lot further into the story. Up until this point, the author gives plenty for the reader to discover and think about. Introducing new characters and adding subtle hints along the way. Once things start to connect you begin to realise how well this story has been thought about. Not only that but there is something else lurking in the background.

This was such a wonderful story to read, mysterious, full of suspense and quite atmospheric. At times it had a noirish tinge to it and I really enjoyed the slower pace of the journey. It is one I would definitely recommend and I will be keeping an eye out for the next one in the series.

About the Author…

Jim writes dark psychological/thrillers, Horror and YA books that have endings you won’t see coming, and favours stories packed with wit. He has written over a dozen novels and many more short-stories spanning many genres.

Jim has a very strange sense of humour and is often considered a little odd.  When not writing he will be found playing the drums, watching football and eating chocolate. He lives with his long-suffering wife, three beautiful children and two indignant cats in Swindon, Wiltshire UK.

Social Media Links – Twitter Facebook Amazon

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Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland @JessicaRedland #boldwoodbloggers @BoldwoodBooks @rararesources #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers opening the blog tour today and to share my review today for this third book in a series, Family Secrets at Hedgehog Hollow by Jessica Redland. This is a fabulous series and one I am loving, each book gives an insight into the lives of those who reside there and also visit.

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Every family has its secrets, and at Hedgehog Hollow there is no exception…


It was always Samantha’s dream to run her beautiful rescue centre, Hedgehog Hollow, full-time. But just as her wish comes true, she becomes a victim of her own kindness when she finds herself with a house full of guests – all with their own problems and secrets – looking to her for support.

When her self-absorbed cousin, Chloe, unexpectedly turns up at the farm – swiftly handing over her baby to Samantha to care for – trouble is definitely brewing. Especially as Chloe won’t tell anyone why she’s left her husband, James…

As Samantha juggles new hedgehog arrivals, family dramas and her own health challenges, it soon becomes clear that she needs to start putting herself first for once. Little does she know that life-changing secrets from the past are about to unravel and turn their lives upside down…

Return to glorious Hedgehog Hollow with top 10 bestseller Jessica Redland for a heartwarming, emotional but uplifting story of family, friendship and moving on from the past.

Purchase Link – Amazon

My Review…

Oh my goodness this was a fabulous and also emotional 3rd book in the Hedgehog Hollow series. I have adored each book as I have followed the journey of the characters.

This story focuses on Sam and Chloe, their story alternates and fills in some important events in Chloe’s life, it also goes a good way to understanding her behaviour and gradually why she has upped and left her husband landing on Sam’s doorstep with a baby in tow.

How Sam has the patience and energy to deal with all that is going on in her life is beyond me! The woman never stops and never thinks of herself, always there for others. With the running of the hedgehog rescue centre, additional family staying in the house and then Chloe’s arrival she is run ragged. Something is going to give, quite how and what I will leave you to discover.

Over the course of the series, Chloe has been the demanding princess type, everything has been about her and how important her life is. This latest chapter of the series shows that there is more to Chloe than anyone realised and this is based on events in her teens. A secret that is so big that it threatens to tear her marriage apart.

Sam has her own problems and the author gives her quite a lot to cope with. Sam is a character who is always busy has miles of patience and she is a character that can take a lot of pressure. The author got the balance right for when the pressure gets too much.

This is another gorgeous instalment of the series and it is one that has a much more serious tone to it. Once again the author has created a story that is truly addictive and of course has gorgeous bundles of hedgehog-iness! A fabulous read and one for fans of contemporary fiction and stories about families and their trying times. And we have been left with such a tantalising teaser for the next book!!! It is a series and a book that I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Jessica Redland writes uplifting stories of love, friendship, family and community set in Yorkshire where she lives. Her Whitsborough Bay books transport readers to the stunning North Yorkshire Coast and her Hedgehog Hollow series takes them into beautiful countryside of the Yorkshire Wolds.

Social Media LinksFacebook Twitter Instagram Bookbub Newsletter

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Don’t Ask by Paul Carroll @paulcarrollink @RandomTTours #RandomTTours @matadorbooks #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Don’t Ask by Paul Carroll. This was a fabulous read and one that really caught my attention.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my wonderful copy of this book.

A DNA ancestry test opens up a Pandora’s Box of secrets.

When Elsa Watson takes a DNA ancestry test out of idle curiosity she little imagines the devastating consequences she is about to unleash.
Two families become reluctantly entwined as inconvenient truths and long suppressed memories resurface.

A #whodunnit with a difference, Don’t Ask visits the glam rock Seventies, Britpop, Operation Yewtree and #metoo within its alternating past and present chapter structure.

Purchase link – Amazon UK

My Review…

This really was a fabulous book to sit and read over a couple of days. The synopsis does mention some things that may be a trigger for some readers with the #metoo and Operation Yewtree, a police investigation into child abuse by TV personalities.

Given that this story does contain some hard to read themes, the author has approached it with care. For me, the story is about family and finding out the truth. A simple DNA test that you buy off the shelf to discover your ancestry is the catalyst for the story. A simple test to discover your heritage and where your roots hark back to. Sounds great until you discover that you have a close relationship with someone else.

Using this as the basis the author has woven a story that I found to be compelling reading. Family secrets are at the heart of the story and also embarrassment, shame and guilt. The author has taken the story to include many twists and turns that kept me guessing even when I knew some of the answers. Having the answers is not enough and the author has given an intriguing route for the reasons why. This does involve some unpleasantness, but it is kept in context and not embellished or over dramatised in my opinion.

The story involves different generations of two families, their backgrounds are told across a timeslip style. They flit back and forth between time and character. There is no warning or indication about these switches, but to be perfectly honest, once I got to know the characters I soon found it very easy to follow.

Discovering that you don’t know all about your family must be very hard. The author gives a feel of loss as the characters involved are discovering their truths. The story was a slow-paced one and this helped with getting to know the characters and how they have changed over the years, the memories that have been suropressed and their relationships with each other.

This is a novel that I really got on with and I do think the author has hit the balance well with the themes he has included. A mix of contemporary fiction and a mystery as the truth is finally revealed. The story of two families and their everyday lives is rocked by a simple and innocent DNA test. A sad story but one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Paul Carroll has been drawn to ink and the written word since launching a rock fanzine in his late teens.

Born and bred in Leeds, Paul crossed the Pennines in the mid-70s to study English Language and English Literature at the University of Manchester. 

Chasing a job in journalism he stumbled into the world of PR and ten years after starting his career set up his own PR consultancy, Communique PR, in Manchester.

There he worked on many well-known brands including Boddingtons, Heineken, Thorntons Chocolate, Chicago Town Pizza, Big D peanuts, Co-op Funerals and Manchester Airport.

These days, Paul concentrates on his writing.

Paul’s books are full of dark humour and satirical takes.  His writing has been compared to that of Ben Elton, Nick Hornby and Jonathan Coe in tackling serious contemporary issues in a highly engaging and entertaining way.

Don’t Ask (Matador 2021) is Paul Carroll’s fourth novel, following A Matter of Life and Death (Matador, 2012), Written Off (Matador, 2016), and Trouble Brewing (Matador, 2017).

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

My Week In Books (w/e 1st May) #booklove #bookupdates #MeAndMyBooks

Hello and welcome to another weekly update of books I have read over the past week. It is a day earlier than usual as I have another busy week ahead with reviews to publish.

Here is what I have read…

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I have several books on my kindle by Jim Ody, however, his latest book The Crazy Season is the first one I have read, I do plan on changing this as The Crazy Season was a fabulous read. A strange email, mentions of a curse, murders and two wonderful truth hunting characters make this an intriguing and suspenseful read. My full review will be part of the upcoming Blog Tour.

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What an absolute pleasure it was to return to Heritage Cove as I read Summer Serendipity at the Twist and Turn Bakery by Helen Rolfe. This is the 3rd book in the series and it is set in, yeah you guessed it, the bakery. The story focuses on Jade, one of the owners of the bakery. Another wonderful escapism read that I adored with a wonderful sense of community and some fabulous descriptions.

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From warm and sweet I then delved into the cold and frozen with Adam Croft and his latest book In Cold Blood, the third book in his Rutland Crime Series. A relatively quick read at around 230 pages but it is packed full as DI Caroline Hills and her team try to find the truth behind a frozen body under the viaduct. A tense, snappy police procedural that I really enjoyed.

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What an absolutely stunning Young Adult book What Beauty There Is by Cory Anderson was. It was such a wonderful book to immerse into and one that had such beautiful, almost lyrical writing. A story of youth, full of danger and mystery. One that I adored from start to finish, my full review will follow.

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The synopsis for Comatose by Jane Badrock is short, snappy and very intriguing. A car crash, two victims, one survivor is just the start of this police procedural. DS Karen Thorpe has her work cut out for her with this investigation as she hits many brick walls. A mysterious and highly addictive crime thriller that I will share as part of the upcoming blog tour.

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This is a book for those who like photographic art and images of structures with a historical presence. Abandoned London: Discover the hidden secrets of the city in photographs by Katie Wignall is a collection of 150 images of buildings, structures, machinery from the past. They lie forgotten and unloved. This was a wonderful and yet quite a sad book to flick through, I say flick but I did have a PDF copy via NetGalley and I do think it would be much nicer to have it as a physical book. I really enjoyed this book and it is one I would definitely recommend.

Well there you go,

Happy reading and have a wonderful week ahead.

Yvonne xx

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx

Cuban Heel (Alex Cohen #5) by Leopold Borstinski #CubanHeel #AlexCohenSeries @borstinski @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for the latest Alex Cohen book, Cuban Heel (Alex Cohen #5) by Leopold Borstinski. I have read and loved everyone of these books and this one has moved on another decade to the 50s.

My huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.

Would you work with the devil to build a paradise on Earth?

Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen joins long-time friend and business partner, Meyer Lansky to recreate Las Vegas in 1950s Havana. When dictator President Batista gives them the opportunity to build their dream casino complexes, Alex must choose between dancing with this devil or being in debt to the Italian mob.

If he takes the mafia money then he will be tied to the men who planned his earlier downfall and removed his mentor, Lucky Luciano from the syndicate. If he refuses their investment then he will be beholden to the tinpot generalissimo and his bloated ego. But Alex knows that there is more at stake than mere gelt–now he has his family surrounding him and they will suffer the ultimate price if he makes a bad decision.

The fifth book in the Alex Cohen series is a historical thriller novel, which tears at the heart of the Jewish mob’s role in pre-revolution Cuba. Leopold Borstinski’s piercing crime fiction gives each reader the shocking skinny into the building of modern America.

Purchase Links – Amazon UK US – Direct from Leopold’s Website

My Review…

The setting is the 1950s, the place in Cuba and this is the 5th book in the Alex Cohen series. The author has created a series that follows the life, relationship, work and family of Jew, Alex Cohen. A man who had nothing and who has turned a profit from his various wheelings and dealings, oh and the occasional murder!

Cuba is the new Vegas for Alex’s business colleague Lansky Meyer. A country that will see the gambling empire that Meyer to possibly come to fruition. A place that he can call his own and is free from the mobs and bosses, as well as Hoover and the FBI.

Alex is a hustler, he has worked with and alongside the big bosses and now that he is back with his wife Sarah he wants a more settled life. While he is still in the thick of things, he is thinking more about the impact things could have on his family. In the past, he has been very much an act now think later guy. As he has aged and gained experience he is looking at a different lifestyle and that Cuba may provide that.

As this series does contain references to historical events, I was aware of the troubles that await Alex as Cuba, or Castro makes himself known. Being “in bed” with a president doesn’t make it a safe place when Castro makes his move.

Once again, the author has completely had me hooked on what happens next with Alex. Even though he is a rogue, I do have a soft spot for him as I have followed him from his beginnings and arrival in the US. Each decade the author takes his characters into have historical references and these are worked well in the stories.

Again Alex is at the forefront and he has certain roles, not just as a father and husband but also as a businessman. Wanting to leave certain parts of his past in the past is not easier. He is a man with a reputation and this means he is the man to go to. I do like how the author keeps him in the thick of things and never makes things plain sailing. The action and drama of Alex’s life never stop and this makes this such an exciting series.

A series that I adore and if you like historical fiction, gangsters, action, mobs and dubious dealings then this is one for you. I would definitely recommend this series and also this latest book.

About the Author…

Leopold Borstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial journalism, business management of financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a Philosophy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

Social Media – Twitter Facebook Instagram Website

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The Nirvana Effect by Brian Pinkerton @BrianJPinkerton @RandomTTours @FlameTreePress #dysotpian #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Nirvana Effect by Brian Pinkerton. I really enjoyed this dysotpian futuristic novel and it was a very addictive read.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this book from Flame Tree Press.

No one goes out anymore.


Society is sheltered indoors. The economy is in ruins. People spend their lives addicted to a breakthrough virtual reality technology, desperate for escapism in a troubled world. The Nirvana Effect has taken over.


Aaron and Clarissa are members of a subculture of realists who resist the lure of a fake utopia. They watch in horror as the technology spreads across the country with willing participants who easily forgo their freedoms for false
pleasures. When the young couple discovers a plot to enforce compliance for mind control, the battle for free will begins.

What started as a playful diversion turns deadly. The future of the human race is at stake.

Purchase LinkAmazon UK

My Review…

I do love a good dystopian story that has a certain amount of believability to it, or one that you can understand how things get to the point they do. The Nirvana Effect is a book that has that certain amount of believability to it and it is one that had me hooked.

This is based on the idea that people can chill out and experience a calm and tranquil state. They can experience new adventures and take part in activities or travel the world without ever leaving their sofa. Sounds ok, I mean we already have VR devices, we use mobile devices and computers to escape from everyday life. Video games are played around the world, movies are watched, books are read and often on a small screen. So is it such a far fetched idea that at some point there could be a chip implanted so that these feeds are automatically sent into a chip inserted into your body!

I like how the author has taken the basis of having various different subscription feeds sent directly to your brain. He has then rather cleverly expanded on this theme so that he draws the reader into a state where everyday life is harder to deal with and the escape is into a virtual reality that can become more real than real life.

He then goes further as he introduces theories from those who are against the chip, as well as from the corporation, management and business. Government and politics are also brought in and these various angles give two clear sides showing a for and against balance.

The characters in the story are from a range of backgrounds and this gives another set of viewpoints to consider. Technology is everywhere in our modern society and this is the next step up to the “Big Brother” style regime. The key characters have their part to play in how and why they are avoiding the chip implants, or why they see dangers ahead in how the chips could be used.


I really adored this story, it has been well thought out and not over the top with tech terminology making it very accessible for a lot of readers. It is a story that I found gripping and it has a certain amount of suspense and tension in it. A good amount of conspiracy always goes down well in this sort of story. Overall I thoroughly enjoyed this and would definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

Brian Pinkerton tells stories to frighten, amuse and intrigue. He is the author of novels and short stories in
the thriller, horror, science fiction and mystery genres. His books include The Gemini Experiment, Abducted (a USA
Today bestseller), Vengeance, Anatomy of Evil, Killer’s Diary, Rough Cut, Bender, Killing the Boss and How I
Started the Apocalypse (a trilogy). Select titles have also been released as audio books and in foreign languages. His short stories have appeared in PULP!, Chicago Blues, Zombie Zoology and The Horror Zine.


Brian has been a guest author and panellist at the San Diego Comic Con, American Library Association annual conference, World Horror Convention and many other literary and genre events. His screenplays have finished in
the top 100 of Project Greenlight and top two percent of the Nicholl Fellowship of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Three of the scripts have been compiled in a collection, Unreleased. Brian received his B.A. from the University of Iowa, where he took undergraduate classes of the Iowa Writers Workshop. He received his Master’s Degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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Gone: A search for what remains of the world’s extinct creatures by Michael Blencowe #nature #environment #LeapingHarePress @alisonmenziespr #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for by Gone: A search for what remains of the world’s extinct creatures by Michael Blencowe.

This is a stunning and poignant book that I received from Alison Menzies PR for review. My huge thanks to Alison for my gorgeous copy of Gone published by Leaping Hare Press.

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Dynamic naturalist Michael Blencowe has travelled the globe to uncover the fascinating backstories of eleven extinct animals, which he shares with charm and insight in Gone.
 
Inspired by his childhood obsession with extinct species, Blencowe takes us around the globe – from the forests of New Zealand to the ferries of Finland, from the urban sprawl of San Francisco to an inflatable crocodile on Brighton’s Widewater Lagoon. Spanning five centuries, from the last sighting of New Zealand’s Upland Moa to the 2012 death of the Pinta Island Giant Tortoise, Lonesome George, his memoir is peppered with the accounts of the hunters and naturalists of the past as well as revealing conversations with the custodians of these totemic animals today
 
Featuring striking artworks that resurrect these forgotten creatures, each chapter focuses on a different animal, revealing insights into their unique characteristics and habitatsthe history of their discovery and just how and when they came to be lost to us
 
Blencowe inspects the only known remains of a Huia egg at Te Papa, New Zealand; views hundreds of specimens of deceased Galapagos tortoises and Xerces Blue butterflies in the California Academy of Sciences; and pays his respects to the only soft tissue remains of the Dodo in the world. Warm, wry and thought-provoking, Gone shows that while each extinction story is different, all can inform how we live in the future. Discover and learn from the stories of the:
 
·         Great Auk. A majestic flightless seabird of the North Atlantic and the ‘original penguin’.
·         Spectacled Cormorant. The ‘ludicrous bird’ from the remote islands of the Bering Sea. 
·         Steller’s Sea Cow. An incredible ten tonne dugong with skin as furrowed as oak bark. 
·         Upland Moa. The improbable birds and the one-time rulers of New Zealand. 
·         Huia. The unique bird with two beaks and twelve precious tail feathers. 
·         South Island Kōkako. The ‘orange-wattled crow’, New Zealand’s elusive Grey Ghost. 
·         Xerces Blue. The gossamer-winged butterfly of the San Francisco sand dunes. 
·         Pinta Island Tortoise. The slow-moving, long-lived giant of the Galápagos Islands. 
·         Dodo. The superstar of extinction. 
·         Schomburgk’s Deer. A mysterious deer from the wide floodplains of central Thailand. 
·         Ivell’s Sea Anemone. A see-through sea creature known only from southern England. 
 
A modern must-read for anyone interested in protecting our earth and its incredible wildlife, Gone is an evocative call to conserve what we have before it is lost forever.

Purchase LinkAmazon UK

My Review…

I had planned on reading this book over a couple of days, instead, I found myself quite addicted to the author’s journey and search for the remains of extinct creatures. How sad this title is “Gone: A search for what remains of the world’s extinct creatures”!

Michael Blencoe describes his love of natural history from his childhood and how exciting the world seemed. As he grew he had that realisation that there were things that once lived and thrived in the world that had now gone. The only thing that remains of these creatures is to be found in museums, collections, photographs and diaries and accounts during the travels of explorers and scientists over the past few centuries.

As I try to write a review for this book I realise that I am caught up in a bit of a vicious circle. Many Victorian Collectors contributed to the extinction of many species. But, without the collections, we would not be able to see what once lived free!

This book is broken down into an introduction followed by 11 chapters, these chapters look at a different species that is now extinct. The author introduces each animal and gives a brief history of it and also of how it was discovered and then what led to its extinction. He also includes his search for any remains that are to be found in museums and also tried to visit the spot where the animal lived or was last seen. There are further reading and other useful extras in the back of the book.

This is such a sad book to read in the respect that the creatures mentioned will never be seen again, but it also highlights the impact humans have had on the natural world. It is something that is very relevant in today’s society as more and more animals are being brought to the edge of extinction. Several species no longer exist in the 50 years that I have been around.

While it is a sad book as it deals with loss, it is also very addictive reading as I discovered more about the different birds, mammals and sea creatures that have been used in this book. The authors’ obvious love of the living world and his interest is quite infectious as I read, and, as I said I found it impossible to put it down until I had finished it.

It is a lovely presented book with some gorgeous colour plates in it. At just under 200 pages long it is one doesn’t take long to read. This is a book that readers of natural history would enjoy, it also crosses somewhat into history and is the authors account of his own journey. It is a book I would definitely recommend this book if you have an interest in nature.

Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be amazing 🙂 xx