Darkest Hour by Rachel Churcher @Rachel_Churcher @rararesources #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for Darkest Hour by Rachel Churcher. This is the third book in this series and it is just getting better, more intriguing and addictive with each each book. It is a series that really should be read in order. My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

Bex Ellman and Ketty Smith are fighting on opposite sides in a British civil war. Bex and her friends are in hiding, but when Ketty threatens her family, Bex learns that her safety is more fragile than she thought.

The Battle Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence.

Purchase Link

Darkest Hour is the 3rd book I have read in the Battleground series. The first book was mainly about Bex, the 2nd about Ketty and the 3rd book joins them both together again. Now these two young girls are not friends, Ketty was a trainer at the Recruit Training Service, a government run organisation. Bex was a recruit until she decided to turn to the rebels side.

The series is set in the UK and is set in the future after Brexit and Scottish Independance. Britain has isolated itself and all those living in Britain are under a Big Brother style regime. Ketty has gained promotion and has moved to London whereas Bex and her friends are in a safe house.

This is such a brilliant series and feels very topical given the state of the British Goverment at the moment with Brexit looming ever closer. There is a divide between people as well as the UK and there is an ever present feel of a country that is struggling.

I love the way the author describes the very different ways in which propaganda is used to justify people being taken prisoner and held as terrorists. The author balances it well with the side of the terrorists/ rebels that are trying to overthrow and reveal the truth behind the government forces actions.

Bex is on the run and holds a huge amount of guilt for those she has left behind at training camp and also at a previous safe house. She struggles to come to terms with her emotions. The author delves into this characters fears and guilt well, even little victories have a price to pay. Ketty however is constantly frustrated at not being able to find Bex and her friends. She is always one step behind, but there is also an added pressure of having to prove her worth and show that she is worthy of her new promotion. She also ups in the game in this one, and the bait is dangled very provocatively to tempt the rebels into a false move.

The author weaves a good amount of suspicion and corruption into her stories. But this book has something else that has started to creep in, its realisation. The realisation that is unsettling that maybe things are not quite right.

This is a series that should be read in order, there are so many details that explain where this series is up to. Histories and backgrounds as well as different perspectives and points of view have been explored and each book paves the way to the next. I cannot wait to see where the author goes next.

This is a book, in fact a series that is set in the future and has a great dystopian, big brother vibe to it. It is aimed as a Young Adult / Teen but this adult is loving it and Highly recommends it. Roll on December when the next book is due out 🙂

achel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.

Follow Rachel on – TwitterInstagramGoodreadsBlog

See what other Book Bloggers think and check out their stops on the Blog Tour…

Many thanks for reading my post 🙂 xx

Raven’s Wand by Steve Hutton #20booksofsummer #bookreview

I am delighted to be finally sharing my review for Raven’s Wand by Steve Hutton. I say finally because the publishers, Boddington & Royall sent me a copy of this book several months ago and it has taken me until now to read it, many apologies to them for the lateness of the this review. And to also add, Yes you were right, I did enjoy it! 😊

I have included this book in the #20 Books of Summer Reading Challenge. It seems quite appropriate, and definitely unplanned, that this is the 13th book I read in the challenge! 😲

So, let me show you what it is all about…

Raven’s Wand sees two opposing secret societies waging a war of belief behind the skin of Victorian Britain. One uses magic to heal the world, while the other twists it into abominations and war machines. It is 1886 and a battle is about to be waged; Knight Superior Krast of the Illuminata is prepared for victory but fate is not wholly on his side.

Many years later, the survivors of that dreadful day will meet again. Kolfinnia has a great task set before her and, with the aid of the Raven wand, she dares more than she ever dreamed possible. A tale of two clashing worlds. The world of Kolfinnia and those who wish to eliminate her and all of her kind. Raven’s Wand is Book 1 in The Dark Raven Chronicles. Book 2: Flowers of Fate will be published Autumn 2016

The setting of 1886, Victorian Britain is absolutely spot on for this story. It is an era that still believes in the mysteries of the occult, witchcraft, superstition and traditional beliefs, it gives the perfect platform for witches and magic. On the flip side of the era coin is the the progression of industry, power, politics and propaganda. This is where the Illuminata come in, rounding up witches and destroying covens.

The story is focused around the Wildwood coven and of Knight Superior Krast. They both value the two sleeping dragons, the witches to protect them and Krast to possess them and their power.

I loved the contrast of the two sides to this “good ‘v’ evil” style story. The witches are very much at one with nature and is in harmony with living things, they nurture the young to understand their position in all things and their role in the world. Krast and the Illuminata however, well they want to possess and control things. The witches and the two hidden dragons have a power that can be harnessed and controlled, this has a double whammy as such, it means that Krast gets stronger and also the witches are destroyed. He builds great machines that cause devastation and destruction giving an almost steampunk vibe to the story.

The author has woven a fabulous story that just has a fantastic feel to it. He has successfully mixed in various things like, superstition, tradition, legend and folk lore into his tale. A nature ‘v’ man-made element is quite strong and so are the beliefs and politics that come with that, both believing they are right. It is one of those books that simply drew me in from the very beginning and had me eagerly turning the pages.

The characters are just wonderful, a maniacal power hungry Krast against the gentle coven, but don’t think for a moment that the witches are a walk over, they are most certainly not! The characters are very memorable and there are a few, but honestly, I found them easy to keep up with. the other thing I liked was that there were no strange names that I had to try and get my head around, this was great and also fitted with the time and setting of the story. The characters have traits and characteristics and as you get to know them you soon work out which side of the fence they sit, well most of them you do!

The setting is again another great contrast, the busy hustle bustle, smoke filled and noisy city of London is very different to the more rugged, tranquil, natural setting of the South West, an area that is full of legend, myth and folklore.

This is the first book in the series and it definitely wowed me. It is such an easy book to disappear into with a story that captured me and kept it’s hold. It moves along at a good pace and has a good amount of tension, intrigue, mystery and surprise.

In case you had not yet worked it out… Yes I loved this book a lot, a fantasy with wonderful characters, story-lines, settings and contrasts. These made it wonderful reading and has definitely left me wanting to know what happens next.

Raven’s Wand get a Definitely Recommended from Me!


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

Book 13 of 20

Q & A with Childrens Author Stuart Reid

I am very excited to welcome Stuart Reid onto my Blog today, I hope you are ready for bogies, snot, bottom burps and bums…I kid you not! If I say that this author has described as the “Billy Connolley for kids” that should give you some indication of how this post today is going to go!

Stuart is an author of the Gorgeous George books for Children, he is a regular at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and tours schools bringing his books to children everywhere. . I admit I had great fun writing up this post. I hope you all enjoy it…


I don’t know about you, but for me I love Book Covers! Want to have a look at a couple of Stuart’s? (I apologise for reducing the synopsis for each book!)

Gorgeous George and the Zigzag Zit-Faced Zombies

Sneezing, sniffing, snoring and snots! Zombies, zebras and zits! 

Must…..have….bogiieeeeeeeeeeeeeees!

Bogies, baddies, bagpipes and bums! Farting, false teeth and fun!

A must read for children (and anyone else) who love crude, rude, exciting, silly, sometimes smelly and humorous books.


I must admit the kid in me is sniggering sssoooooo much 🙂 🙂

Okay now for the Q & A (aka – author interrogation!) – make yourself comfy…

1.When was the moment that you realised you wanted to write children’s books?

​I’ve always loved writing. When I was 16, becoming a sports journalist would’ve been my dream job (basically being paid to watch football) but I studied Business Management instead because I thought it was sensible. After 25 years in business, I was running a 300-bedroom hotel in Dubai; I had a large house, a maid, a gardener, a swimming pool and two 4×4’s and I realised that I wasn’t happy. Work was unfulfilling and the credit crunch made things much harder. My wife persuaded me to start writing again… anything that would make me happy… and I began writing about people, situations and weird stories that I laughed at when I was 9 years old. I regressed back into my childhood and have never been happier.

I think being happy is your work is important, but still WOW…

2.Where did the idea of taking your books direct to your audience come from?

In 2009, I decided to give up my job… along with my salary, my car, my house, my healthcare and my pension… to start writing children’s books, so my family and I returned to Britain where I finished my first book. I was luckily enough to find a small publisher who agreed to publish the first book but he said “You’ll never make any money being a children’s author” so I started working as an area manager in retail again (which was soul-destroying). I realised that my target market meet together five days a week, forty weeks of the year… if I could tick the education box for the teachers, the reading inspiration box for the parents and the enjoyment and excitement boxes for the kids, then I might have a product that schools could benefit from. Six months after my first book was released my diary was so full with bookings from schools, libraries and book festivals that I was able to give up my proper job again and become a full-time children’s author. Since then, I have hosted over 1,500 events throughout the Uk and Ireland, as well as Dubai, Abu Dhabi, India, Hong Kong and Australia.

Finding your target audience was obviously important!

3.Is there a special standout moment from your books or from your performances?

Yesterday I was boarding a flight in Australia, returning from the Adelaide Festival, when an Emirates check-in staff member asked for my ticket and passport. She looked at the passport and then asked, ‘Are you the author? Were you performing at the Fringe? You asked my husband up onto the stage to be a lady elephant!’ – I nearly wet myself laughing. I also hosted an event in the Middle East with a group of boys from a royal family and almost started a riot. After one of my Edinburgh Fringe events last year, one of the parents described me as ‘Billy Connolly for kids’ – which is a massive compliment but one which I felt wholly inadequate to justify (didn’t stop me putting on my posters though). Writing scenes in my books where kids can help me bring the stories to life is great. Young volunteers help the audience visualise certain chapters by throwing false teeth at me, becoming snot zombies, enacting the water and the mountains and the tents around Justin Bieber’s campsite, as well as unleashing the two cheeky chimpanzees that amuse the crowd and terrorise the elephants.

Audience participation appears to be a key factor and also increases the fun!

4.Its obvious children love these performances from the video. I also noticed the adults loved it as well. Is this something you expected?  

​The more I’ve toured, and met mums and dads and teachers, the more I’ve found that most people still hold onto their inner child… the little person they once were that enjoys silliness, that laughs uncontrollably and helps them realise that it’s okay to have fun. Life can often be challenging but people need to laugh more, to enjoy life as much as possible and never take themselves too seriously. We’re only on the planet for a visit!

Yep, I have many silly, hysterical moments, and thats all I am saying about that lol

5.As I am a lifelong bookworm, I have to ask what were your favourite childhood books?

When I was about nine, I was hooked on a mystery series entitled Alfred Hitchcock’s The Three Investigators, where my love of an abstract adventure came from. Before that, the first book I remember reading by myself was Roald Dahl’s The Twits, and loved the monkeys gluing the furniture on the ceiling and Mr Twit pulling off the birds’ legs (which sounds a big gruesome nowadays). I also remember a hilarious book called Fungus the Bogeyman, as up until that point, I never knew you could put bogies in a book! And as a teenager, To Kill A Mocking Bird was the first book I ever read twice.

I remember The Twits and have heard of but never read Fungus.

6. And because I am nosy, what are your favourite books as an adult?

​I am obsessed with Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series, and have recently started another Stephen King phase. My two teenager daughters are brilliant at recommending books too. I’ve just finished You by Caroline Kepnes, although it was a wee bit rude so I will be having words with that daughter! I couldn’t put John Green’s The Fault In Our Stars down, and it was the first book where I’ve actually cried buckets. Me Before You was very good and I shed a tear or two with RJ Palacio’s Wonder. I still enjoy reading children’s and young adult books, as I need to be aware of market and like to recommend books to little readers and their teachers.

Never too old to read children’s books!

7. And yes, I’m very nosy! What are your interests and hobbies away from books?

​I love cooking and will always be experimenting in the kitchen – creating new tapas dishes is my favourite thing right now. My wife and I love to travel, so if she’s not joining me on my book tours, we try to squeeze in a cheeky wee holiday or weekend break every couple of months. And although my stage shows are quite energetic, and my fitness levels are okay, I don’t play football anymore, as I’m scared of breaking my leg and not being able to perform on stage. Playing FIFA on the PS4 is the best sport I can manage these days.

8. Apart from bringing stories to a younger readers, what are your future aims or dreams for your books?

​If I was to allow myself to have a dream for my Gorgeous George books,it would be a movie or television series, with a young Rupert Grinch playing George, an older, balder Robert Carlisle wearing an enormous ginger moustache would play Grandpa Jock. A younger version of Letitia Wright (from Black Panther) would be Barbara and Allison would be played by the Game of Thrones actress Maisie Williams, if she had a time machine go back to being a kid again. The adventures would be a mixture of live action, bright animation and full-on CGI, with Simon Cowell as the villain in Giant Geriatric Generator. We’d need a cast of hundreds for the Zig-Zag Zit-faced Zombies story and Simon Pegg & Edgar Wright and Woody Harrelson would have feature too, with time-warp trouser trumpets, aliens, Loch Ness monsters, piles and piles of pink poo, a parody of A Christmas Carol would need to be the festive adventure and there’s also a love story for Grandpa Jock too. But to be honest, I haven’t really given it much thought.

Oh I agree no thought at all hahaha

9. If I could wave a magic wand what would you wish for?

​Wow… you mean apart from the last answer? Well, I suppose I want every kid in the world to see one of my live events, and to feel inspired enough to want to read more books, more often. And not just my books, but any good book. And to learn to love reading, and to share that love of reading with their own children. My books are yucky… they are about boogers, bums and big bottom burps and my characters will never grown up… but I know that every little reader will, and they’ll leave Gorgeous George behind and read other books, better books and more intelligent books but I’d love it if my books were the inspiration for that. Oh, and world peace.

My love of reading started as a child and has been with me ever since!

10. Now the 3 W’s – What is next? Where Will it be? And When will it be?

​It’s already shaping up to be another busy year. My diary is full for months with a short tour of N.Ireland, followed by my first gigs at the Brighton Fringe, then the launch of Book no.8 Gorgeous George and the Incredible Iron-Bru-Man Incident in July. My sixth year at the Edinburgh Fringe is in August with 60+ appearances there, more school events, Book Week Scotland and my first tour of schools in Qatar. There is also the possibility of hosting events in Australia again with Perth Fringe in January 2020 and back across to Adelaide again in February. It’s great to be so busy… I think I have the best job in the world!

Wowsers…very busy and I wish you all the very best. I agree, it does sound like you have the best job!!


Many thanks for reading my post, a like or share would be appreciated so much 🙂 xx

The Hunted by Tarn Richardson @TarnRichardson #free #ebook

If anyone asks me about my favourite books, I always mention The Darkest Hand Trilogy by Tarn Richardson. This is fabulous Dark Fiction that absolutely blew me away. A blend of historical fiction, fantasy and religious conspiracy.

Why am I letting you know about this, I hear you ask!

Well Tarn Richardson also has a novella, a prequel to the series and it’s called The Haunted. It is an amazing action packed, full speed intro to Poldeck Tacit and the best bit is that it’s FREE!

Yep!

You heard me right!

A FREE download over on Amazon!

Do yourself a favour go and get a copy. It is 48 pages long so grab a coffee and have a read.

In the bustling streets of Sarajevo in June 1914, the dead body of a priest lies, head shattered by the impact of a fall from a building high above. As the city prepares for the arrival Archduke Franz Ferdinand, grim-faced inquisitor Tacit Poldek is faced not only with the challenge of discovering why the priest has been killed but also confronting other menaces: the demon rumoured to be at large in the city and the conspirators of the Black Hand organisation who plan to assassinate the Archduke. 


With terrible danger only ever one step away and his private demons silenced only by a strong drink, THE HUNTED introduces us to the damaged soul that is the unorthodox Catholic inquisitor Tacit Poldek. It is a world both like and unlike our own but in which the Inquisition, is alive and well yet existing in the shadows; in which history is poised to take dangerous and unpredictable paths; where evil assumes many horrific forms, from werewolves to the institutional slaughter of the trenches; and the threat to humanity (in all senses of the word) – and to love – is ever constant.


THE HUNTED is the
FREE prequel to Tarn Richardson’s gritty and compelling DARKEST HAND TRILOGY featuring the brilliant but flawed inquisitor Tacit Poldek.

Amazon UK Link

Happy Reading folks!

Tarn Richardson – #TheDarkestHand @TarnRichardson @RedDoorBooks – #CoverReveal #BookNews

I have been a huge fan of Tarn Richardson’s The Darkest Hand Trilogy and I am so excited and delighted to be welcoming you all to have a look at the fabulous new look covers for this fabulous and Highly Recommended trilogy. Tarn has recently moved to Red Door Publishing and I wish him all the best for this new journey.

I first became aware of this fabulous trilogy when I read the short prequel called The Hunted. This is action packed from the very start and was when I first got to meet inquisitor Poldeck Tacit. This prequel is available free for download from Amazon and is the start to an absolutely amazing trilogy. If anyone asks me about some of the best books I have read, this series always gets a mention! Get your free copy of The Hunted HERE

In the bustling streets of Sarajevo in June 1914, the dead body of a priest lies, head shattered by the impact of a fall from a building high above. As the city prepares for the arrival Archduke Franz Ferdinand, grim-faced inquisitor Poldek Tacit is faced not only with the challenge of discovering why the priest has been killed but also confronting other menaces: the demon rumoured to be at large in the city and the conspirators of the Black Hand organisation who plan to assassinate the Archduke.

With terrible danger only ever one step away and his private demons silenced only by a strong drink, THE HUNTED introduces us to the damaged soul that is the unorthodox Catholic inquisitor Poldek Tacit. It is a world both like and unlike our own but in which the Inquisition, is alive and well yet existing in the shadows; in which history is poised to take dangerous and unpredictable paths; where evil assumes many horrific forms, from werewolves to the institutional slaughter of the trenches; and the threat to humanity (in all senses of the word) – and to love – is ever constant.


After reading The Hunted I wondered how on earth this author could maintain such a frenetic pace in a full length book? Well not only did he deliver a story he did it in a very intricate way.

The Damned follows and I realised what sort of journey I was on. Referred to as Dark Fiction, for me this series covers many genres. Historical fiction, fantasy, crime, thriller, alternative history, if you love reading any of these or like mystery, thriller and suspense then this is for you as well.

Here is a snippet of one of my reviews…
“I fell in love with a little e-book called “The Hunted”. It had so many things going on its 45 pages, I couldn’t help but wonder how it would transfer into a longer book, nevermind a trilogy of them. Tarn Richardson has brilliantly put together a huge story with a vast array of memorable and unique characters. I have loved some, loathed some and have been very wrong in my opinion of some. For me this shows what a great author he is, he has managed to bring his characters and his books alive for me in the words he has written. It is like reading a film. There has been a huge amount of research gone into this book and it shows, through the way he has intertwined his world into our own world history.”

The Fallen and then The Risen just cemented my love for this trilogy and I was gutted when I realised that I had come to the end of my journey with Polek and the other fabulous characters. This trilogy for me was simply sublime reading, it ticked so many boxes because of the many genres it spans. The attention and research to historical events is brilliant and very evident. There is conspiracy and intrigue at every turn as Poldeck battles his own demons and investigates others. This is a trilogy that was perfect for me and I think deserves far more attention than it has had. It is my sincere hope that as Tarn has now moved publishers The Darkest Hand gets the notice, attention and acclaim that it deserves.

So let’s have a proper look at the covers …

Now when it comes to covers I am one of those that tends to prefer the cover of a book I see. So for me I loved the original ones, but I to say that I am impressed with these new ones. I love that the original main colour was kept and the imagery is very suited to each book and link in to the main story. I will definitely be buying these new copies when they are published.

Tarn Richardson was brought up in a remote house, rumored to be haunted, near Somerset. He has worked as a copywriter, written mystery murder dinner party games and worked in digital media for nearly twenty years. He lives near Salisbury in England. The Damned is his debut novel, the first in a series of three featuring tortured Inquisitor Poldek Tacit.

Having grown up in Somerset, he now lives in Salisbury with his wife, the portraiture artist Caroline Richardson.

Social Media links – Website Twitter

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

Sleeper – The Red Storm by J. D. Fennell #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for Sleeper – The Red Storm by J. D. Fennell, I was a lucky winner to receive a copy of this book via DHH Literary Agency, so a massive thank you to them. This is the second book in this fast paced series, and I enjoyed it just as much as I did the first book! You can read my review of the first book Sleeper HERE

So, let’s have a look and see what it is all about…

Praise for Sleeper: ‘Sleeper is an exciting tale full of pace and surprises. J.D. Fennell can write up a storm.’ James Patterson

1943.
 Sleeper spy Will Starling has been drafted in to the SOE, joining forces with the French Resistance in the fight against the Nazis; but Will’s memory is fractured and only occasional flashbacks reveal fragments of his past. Despite this, he has not forgotten his pledge to find and rescue his sister, Rose – if she is still alive. When his mission in France is compromised, Will suspects he’s been betrayed.

Back in London he hears that VIPER are in league with the Axis powers and are developing a new and deadly weapon. As he and MI5 agent Anna Wilder set out to destroy it, their every move is anticipated by their enemies. Who is the mole in the British Secret Service? As they close in on VIPER’s Swiss headquarters, it seems no one can be trusted. Are Will and Anna able to prevent the unleashing of the Red Storm that will bring mass destruction on a scale even the Nazis haven’t dreamt of?

While Will tries to save the world, Rose has become the key to VIPER’s future plans and is drugged to dull her kinetic powers. But Rose faces danger from an unexpected enemy and her time is running out.

So, this is the second in the Sleeper series, the first book was a great introduction to the main protagonist and hero, Will Starling. This second book continues and the impetus to stop VIPER is getting more urgent and of paramount importance.

I have to say I really enjoyed the first book and the second is fabulous. The setting is the early 1940’s and sees Will, a specially trained teen, flying from London to France to help with the Resistance. Will still has a problem with his memory, it’s only when something triggers certain memories does he start to recall things. There is still a lot he has to recall…

So essentially this is a two birds, one stone mission…save Rose and defeat VIPER…!!! Yeah, that’s not going to be easy. Rose is Wills sister, these siblings have a certain skill set. When I say you wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of either of them I really do mean it. Rose is very special and her skills in the wrong hands, well…

I really enjoy this story, at times it has the feel of a young James Bond and I think this is why the setting and time of the story work so well, well they do in my opinion. I do occasionally get a feel of a steampunk aspect to the story, I loved reading his genre quite a few years ago, and it does have some basic elements of that style.

This is a mix of espionage, spy, save the world thriller that has been done in a really good way. It is full of fast-paced action, loads of adventure and by the edge of your pants thrills and spills, throw in a couple of secret agents, some double-crossing and you have an. explosive and exciting read.

There is a good sense of urgency to plot and this adds to the quick pace of the story, with some brilliant details and also some historical events to keep the reader in the right time. By the end of the book I still want more, yes the story came to a satisfactory conclusion, I hope there is more to come in this series.

This is a book that I would recommend to readers who like action-packed, fast-paced, adventure, espionage and save the world from the evil organisation type of books. It gets a highly recommended from Me!

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

The Afghan by Andrew Turpin #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for The Afghan by Andrew Turpin. I have been a fan of this Author’s Joe Johnson series and this latest instalment takes the reader back to where it all began for Joe.

Such a fabulous and eye-catching cover!

Let’s see what the book is all about…

A Cold War attack by Soviet helicopters on an Afghan village. A knife-edge CIA operation that goes wrong. And a vengeful mujahideen tribesman, armed with Stinger missiles. 
When CIA officer Joe Johnson is handed the tough task by his boss of capturing a Soviet helicopter and forging better contacts among the mujahideen, he unknowingly finds himself up against a sinister KGB rival who wants him dead.
But after coming under fire, Johnson comes to suspect that his difficulties stem not just from the Soviets—but from a traitor on his own side.
To extricate himself from the web of deceit in which he finds himself, Johnson comes to rely on a female colleague from Britain’s MI6, Jayne Robinson, to whom he grows unexpectedly close.
As pressure mounts on Johnson from CIA headquarters at Langley and politicians in Washington, DC, the story reaches a climax during a life-or-death shootout in Jalalabad.
The Afghan, set in 1988, is a thriller that forms a compelling prequel to the Joe Johnson series as a whole. It also creates the backdrop for book four in the series, Stalin’s Final Sting, set in Afghanistan, New York City, and Moscow in the present day.

Having read the three previous books by this author, and enjoying them all, I have to say it was nice to have a slightly different feel to the latest book. It took me on a journey back in time to the days when Joe worked for the CIA. It is a prequel to the series, also an intro to the 4th book Stalin’s Final Sting, and yep I have that one as well.

So, Joe is caught in the conflict between Russia and Afghanistan 1988 in a complex plot that pulls in a myriad of elements and deceptions. To be honest I expect deception and mistrust when the CIA is involved in anything!

The story see’s the meeting of Joe and MI6 agent Jayne Robinson. This aspect of the story I really enjoyed as the two form a friendship that extends into the future, so it was good to see how they first met.

One thing that I have come to expect from this author is the meticulous attention to detail. This is a large part of his books and they are brilliantly wrapped into each story in such a way that keeps each story flowing and not getting bogged down with an overload of facts and info. This story is no exception.

The action for this is relentless and Joe finds himself in a minefield of political pressure, a country in turmoil, arms deals, KGB, CIA and undercover double crossing. With all this going on, it creates a fast paced and intense flow to the story. It keeps the tension and the suspense building.

As always there is a fabulous section after the story ends, in this section the author presents his research and bibliography.

If you are after a gritty action packed read then you will find it in this authors books. The Afghan is the perfect place to start for a series that I highly recommend.

P.S…The Afghan is FREE on Andrew’s Website !

Andrew is a former journalist who has always had a love of writing and a passion for reading good thrillers. Now he has finally put the two interests together.

His first book, The Last Nazi, was published in August 2017, and the second, The Old Bridge, in January 2018. The third, Bandit Country, followed in February 2018. In January 2019 the fourth, Stalin’s Final Sting, was published along with a prequel to the series, entitled The Afghan.

The themes behind these thrillers also pull together some of Andrew’s other interests, particularly history, world news, and travel. They explore the ways in which events and human behaviors deep into the past continue to impact on modern society, politics and business. 

All of Andrew’s books draw strongly on these themes. They feature Joe Johnson, an ex-CIA officer and former U.S. Nazi hunter with the Office of Special Investigations, part of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
Johnson has a passion for justice and a drive to investigate unsolved war crimes in different parts of the world.

Andrew studied history at Loughborough University and worked for many years as a business and financial journalist before becoming a corporate and financial communications adviser with several large energy companies.

He originally came from Grantham, Lincolnshire, and lives with his family in St. Albans in Hertfordshire, U.K.


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Sleeper by J D Fennell #review

Today I am delighted to be sharing Sleeper by J D Fennell. This is the first in the Sleeper series and I am looking forward to reading the next one Sleeper – The Red Storm.

So let’s have a look at the synopsis…

Sixteen-year-old Will Starling is pulled from the sea with no memory of his past. In his blazer is a strange notebook with a bullet lodged inside: a bullet meant for him. As London prepares for the Blitz, Will soon finds himself pursued by vicious agents and a ruthless killer known as the Pastor. All of them want Will’s notebook and will do anything to get it. As Will’s memory starts to return, he realises he is no ordinary sixteen-year old. He has skills that make him a match for any assassin. But there is something else. At his core is a deep-rooted rage that he cannot explain. Where is his family and why has no one reported him missing?Fighting for survival with the help of Mi5 agent-in-training, Anna Wilder, Will follows leads across London in a race against time to find the Stones of Fire before the next air raid makes a direct hit and destroys London forever.

Will Starling is on a mission when something makes him disobey orders. The result is him fleeing for his life and guarding what he has discovered in his search for truth.

Set in 1940’s London, this book definitely falls into the “fast-paced” category. Will has a specific skill set, though these skills do catch him unawares as he tries to remember who he is, who he should trust. It was great to learn about Will as he remembered things about himself, a great way to put the reader on an even keel with a character.

Now the plot, it’s just great full of deception and twists that kept me on my toes every step of the way. A race against the bad guys to keep an artifact from falling into the wrong hands gave a wonderful cat and mouse, ducking and diving chase across London.

This has the feel of a younger verion of Jason Bourne or Jack Reacher feel to it and I will say a hint of Indiana Jones. It has elements that I like in all the above and I thoroughly enjoyed this quick, fast paced, action packed book.

A brilliantly paced teen spy, thriller with a great plot. It’s one I would absolutely recommend.

J. D. Fennell
Photo and Bio taken
from Author’s Amazon Page

J.D. was born in Belfast at the start of the Troubles, and began writing stories at a young age to help understand the madness unfolding around him. A lover of reading, he devoured a diverse range of books – his early influences include Fleming, Tolkien, Shakespeare and the Brontës.

He left Belfast at the age of nineteen and worked as a chef, bartender, waiter and later began a career in writing for the software industry.

These days he divides his time between Brighton and London, where he lives with his partner and their two dogs.

Facebook: JDFennellAuthor
Twitter: jd_fennell
Instagram: jdfennellauthor

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Godlefe’s Cuckoo by Bill Todd @williamjtodd #damppebblesblogtours #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review today for Godlefe’s Cuckoo by Bill Todd as part of the Blog Tour with Emma at #damppebblestours My thanks to Emma for the invite and also to Bill for my e-copy of his book.

Synopsis:

Danny Lancaster has been missing since the fishing boat exploded. Police are closing their inquiry but Wanda Lovejoy continues her campaign to find the truth. An evil man kept alive by machines nurses a corrosive hate. As drugs and disease pull his dying mind apart he throws his crime empire into a scorched earth quest to find one man. If Danny Lancaster isn’t dead he soon will be.

Purchase link – Amazon UKAmazon US

My Thoughts:

This is set around Brighton and provides a dramatic backdrop to an action-packed read. A book with a fair sized cast of characters with individual roles that you will soon come to recognise as the story unfurls and the how’s and why’s of each character becomes more obvious.

A good amount of concentration was required by me and my so very tired brain when I started this book. The author really does lay down the groundwork for this book well, it involves the characters and describes various aspects of who they are, what they do. Any connections to each other are tenuous at best and it is not until the second half of the book that the author gradually starts pulling these connections together. This builds up a real sense of intrigue and initially caught me unawares until I realised the style of the writing.

The chapters are quick and flit between the characters, this was actually really good for me as it meant I was able to remember them,  rather than focusing on one then moving on. I did find the first half slower paced, but as I had mentioned being tired, but then suddenly the author seemed to kick up a gear, or my brain felt slightly better and awake. The vagaries and groundwork of the first half started to come together and things started to add up and it really did turn into a fast action riddled read. It is at this point I realised how important the groundwork was in the first half. 

I am not going into the plot as the synopsis does a great job in a very small space of a few lines. These few lines do give a sense of what to expect, drugs, evil man, missing person, search for the truth with a threat of death. The plot involves all of the above and then some. It had me hooked and turned an already interesting and intriguing good read into a great action read.

This is a book that I think readers of crime, thriller and mystery books would really enjoy. Even though it is part of a series it can definitely be read as a stand-alone, although I am intrigued by Danny Lancaster and I am looking to get the earlier books to discover more about him and what makes him tick. It is one I would happily recommend.

About the Author:

Bill with grandson Theo

I’m a journalist and travel writer who has visited more than 40 countries from the white wastes of Arctic Finland to the ancient deserts of Namibia. Love a good wilderness. I received the Ed Lacy travel award in 2007.
I’ve written six crime thrillers featuring soldier-turned-investigator Danny Lancaster and was startled and delighted to be voted one of the 100 best crime authors in the WH Smith readers’ poll in 2015. I’ve also written three short factual military histories. I live to write although keyboard time has been cut lately with the arrival of grandson Theo.

Author links: 

Twitter – FacebookWebsite Instagram Amazon Author Page

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#BlogTour : Joshua N’Gon Last Prince of Alkebulahn by Anthony Hewitt @Antonmarks : @rararesources : #BookReview

Joshua1

Today I have a YA book to share with you “Joshua N’Gon : Last Prince of Alkbulahn” by Anthony Hewitt as part of the blog tour.  My thanks to Anthony for my copy of the book and also Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the tour. You can get a copy from Amazon UK and it is available in paperback or eBook format.

Synopsis:

When a secret world of ancient alien kingdoms and evil corporation’s clashes with adolescents, school, and homework. You won’t be able to put down this wild adventure of discovery, friendship, and coming of age!

What would you do if you discovered you were descended from ancient alien African royalty and you could hold the key to save your friends, family, and the world from evil destructive forces?
Joshua N’Gon seemed like an ordinary boy. Raised in a loving foster home in north London and a gifted student at the St Augustine private school. But as he grew older, a thirst for meaning and true purpose began to grow greater and greater…

With Great Power, Comes Great Responsibility

On Joshua’s tenth birthday he received mysterious packages from his birth parents. Parents who had left him as a baby under mysterious circumstances. Opening the packages, he would find gifts that would forever change him both mentally and physically. Magical technology unlike anything he had ever seen and the best part, only he could use it. But his secrets would not stay that way for long. Evil forces were gathering and they would stop at nothing to acquire the powerful science behind his amazing inventions

With the help of his two best friends, Brick and Mina, Joshua sets out to develop his abilities, find his real parents and stop the Technology Billionaire Kanu Umbekwi from subjugating the planet.

Buckle up and get ready to go on an exciting thrill ride, full of suspense, mystery, and alien technology with Joshua N’Gon:The Last Prince of Alkebulahn.

My Thoughts:

Joshua N’Gom is an average student, is loyal to his small group of friends and generally a good kid. One thing is a little different about him though, he has an ability to build advanced technological objects. When I say advanced, I really mean advanced!

This is aimed at a 12-16 age group and is extremely fast paced and non stop action. Quick chapters with occasional timeline changes keep the action moving as well as giving some much-needed back-stories to a couple of the characters.

There are quite a few characters to get your head around so it does take a while to remember them but, as the story continues they do become recognisable. The plot is one that gradually unveils itself as the story unfolds, it would have been helpful if I had read the synopsis before reading the book. Yeah I’m one of those who read the synopsis when I am first approached for a tour and then that’s it.

This is a sci-fi fiction read and it’s audience is definitely a young teen that will be more used to gamer language and references. As i am definitely not in this age range I did find some of the terminology confusing. Although I didn’t understand it all I do recognise the part it plays in this story and it adds an authenticity to it.

This is the first in a series of books and it is an enjoyable read, it does have that first in a series feel to it as the scene is set for what is to come. I do think this will be a series that the target audience will really enjoy and would find it exciting. So for the age range and the subject I would say this is a book I would recommend.

About the Author:

Joshua Ngon - Anton Marks Image.jpg

Anton Marks is a self-published author based in London.  His self-styled Urban Fantastic genre is speculative fiction using crime, action adventure, horror, sword and soul and sci-fi to highlight the black experience through the lens of the extraordinary. At present, he has eight books in the Amazon Kindle store, Dancehall, Bushman, Bad II the Bone, In the Days of Dread, 69, Messiah, Chauffeur and a Young Adult Sci-Fi/Fantasy novel called Joshua N’Gon: The Last Prince of Alkebulahn written as Anthony Hewitt. The second in his Bad II the Bone Series Good II be Bad is due in 2018.

Join him on his journey at http://www.urban-fantastic.com.

Social Media Links –  Pintrest –  Facebook – Twitter – Goodreads

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Joshua Ngon Full Banner.jpg

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