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.

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The Black Fox by Gordon Bickerstaff #TheBlackFox @GFBickerstaff @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #conspiracy #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers to be opening the Blog Tour and sharing my review today for The Black Fox by Gordon Bickerstaff.

My huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles Blog Tours for my spot ont he tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous action-packed crime thriller.

Incredible conspiracy.

Intricate espionage.

Spy story.


Zoe Tampsin is resourceful, smart and Special Forces-trained, but she has been given an impossible mission.

She has to protect scientist, Gavin Shawlens, from assassination by the CIA, and discover the secret trapped in Gavin’s mind that the CIA want destroyed.

As the pressure to find Shawlens escalates – the CIA send Zoe’s former mentor to track her down and her fate seems sealed when he surrounds Zoe and Gavin with a ring of steel. With each hour that passes, the ring is tightened, and the window for discovering Gavin’s secret will shut.

Zoe is faced with a decision that goes against all of her survival instincts. If she is wrong – they both die. If she is right – she will discover the secret and become the next target for assassination.

Run for your life…

Purchase Links – Amazon UK US

My Review…

This is the first time I have read a book by this author and I want to give myself a stern talking to for not reading any of his books sooner. This is a crazy action-packed, conspiracy fuelled thriller that kept me hooked from start to finish.

The main lead for this story is Zoe, she is one tough cookie and knows how to handle herself in a fight. She is a clever main character who has a whole load of skills, and I am sure that there are some that I have yet to discover with other books. Her brief is to kidnap Gavin, a scientist, who has been under her watch and disappear.

What starts off as a storyline that had a simple beginning the author then jets off into a full-blown chase to the death, that involves the US and its various agencies and departments on British soil. Dodging, ducking and diving traps and lures to discover why on earth the US are willing to risk everything to get their hands on this scientist.

This is one for those, who like me, love a bit of conspiracy, a dash of espionage and a sprinkle of double-crossing within governmental agencies. I was very surprised that when I started to write this review I looked at the page count, 330 of them and the amount of detail that is included is astonishing. There are so many double-crosses, twists, foiled plans and side steps I have to take my hat off to the author for keeping track of everything and still creating a story that has a fabulous flow.

The characters are superb, Zoe as I have mentioned is a one-woman wonder. Comes across as being tough as nails but does has a slight softness to her. Gavin is a nerdy guy, but he has problems with his memory and this adds another dimension to his story. There are additional characters as you would expect, but I will let you meet them yourself.

This is a book that would appeal to those who like fast-paced, action and adventure stories that involve a superbly worked plot and has full-on chases and explosive scenes. I adored this from start to finish and I would definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

I was born and brought up in Glasgow, Scotland. I studied biochemistry, and I’ve worked in several Scottish universities where I did research on enzymes, and taught biochemistry. After thirty years of teaching and research I retired my academic pen, and took of a mightier fiction pen.

I live in central Scotland with my wife and we enjoy reading, writing, and walking in the hills.

The Lambeth Group books follow the secret government investigations of agent Zoe Tampsin. A strong female protagonist with courage, determination, and guile. She is assisted by specialist consultant, Gavin Shawlens.

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The Fall of Koli by M.R. Carey @michaelcarey191 @Tr4cyF3nt0n #compulsivereaders @orbitbooks #fantasy #dystopian #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for The Fall of Koli by M.R. Carey. I am also gutted that this is the final book in The Rampart Trilogy.

My huge thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my book with the publisher Orbit Books.

The Fall of Koli is the third and final novel in the breathtakingly original Rampart trilogy – set in a strange and deadly world of our own making.

The world that is lost will come back to haunt us . . .

Koli has come a long way since being exiled from his small village of Mythen Rood. In his search for the fabled tech of the old times, he knew he’d be battling strange, terrible beasts and trees that move as fast as whips. But he has already encountered so much more than he bargained for.

Now that Koli and his companions have found the source of the signal they’ve been following – the mysterious “Sword of Albion” – there is hope that their perilous journey will finally be worth something.

Until they unearth terrifying truths about an ancient war . . . and realise that it may have never ended.

My Review…


The Fall of Koli is the final book in the trilogy and as much as I was eager to read it there is also a sadness knowing this is it.

Having previously read and loved the first two books I didn’t even think about reading the synopsis before I began. The title gives an indication that the story is coming to an end, but how that end is arrived at was something that I was strangely nervous about.

If you have read the previous books then you know that this is set in the future, it has several characters that join the main character Koli. Koli is an exile from his village and has to survive the wilderness. Not your average forest, this one has trees and plants that are as fierce and carnivorous as wild animals.

While Koli is making his journey, the village he has left behind has not been forgotten by the author. Spinner’s character is used skillfully to keep the reader up to date with what is happening in Mythen Rood.

The world the author has created is one that is full of awe, wonder and danger. Old technology is prized, even more so if it still works. One piece of tech is Monono. There are also weapons and medical equipment.

The final book sees the author filling in gaps, linking stories and also going back to finally give the reader the full picture. Explanations about some of the tech, what a strange signal is and also to give such a wonderful conclusion.

I am aware that this review may be vague, but if you have not read the previous books then there should be no spoilers.

M.R. Carey has created a world of characters having adventures that I adored. Each book has been an addictive read, from building blocks of the first book, through to more explanations and travels in the second until the final stunning conclusion of the final one.

An absolutely amazing trilogy from start to finish and it is one I would very absolutely recommend to those who like dystopian and fantasy genres.

About the Author…

M.R. Carey

Mike Carey is the acclaimed writer of Lucifer and Hellblazer (now filmed as Constantine). He has recently completed a comics adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, and is the current writer on Marvel’s X-Men and Ultimate Fantastic Four. He has also written the screenplay for a movie, Frost Flowers, which is soon to be produced by Hadaly Films and Bluestar Pictures.

Also writes as Mike Carey 

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Here are all three books in all of their gorgeous-ness

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Danger Close by Cameron Curtis #DangerClose #CameronCurtis @inkubatorbooks @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #crimefiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Danger Close by Cameron Curtis. This was such a fab read and I wish to say a huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for my spot on the tour and for arranign my e-copy of the book.

He wanted peace. But war would always find him.

Ex-Delta Force sniper Breed has spent most of his life at war and now he’s trying to make some time for peace. But when a veteran from his old unit is beheaded in El Paso, Breed feels duty bound to bring the killer to justice. A feeling that only grows stronger when his friend’s widow and son are also murdered.

As he uses all his specialist skills to uncover the truth, Breed finds himself working with some unlikely allies – a devious CIA operative, and a determined Latina reporter who is investigating the trafficking of underage girls. Together, they uncover a conspiracy to launch a massive attack on US soil.

The terrorists are confident – they have powerful friends in the Mexican cartels and US law enforcement. But they have reckoned without one thing—Breed.

Danger Close – the first in the stunning Breed action thriller series. Perfect for fans of Lee Child, Jason Kasper, David Archer.

Purchase Links – Amazon UK US

My Review…

If you like a good action-adventure book with various threads then Danger Close is one that should be on your radar. Ex-military sniper Breed wants to know more when an old colleague of his is found beheaded on his ranch. Local law enforcement is ok but doesn’t have the knowledge that Breed does when it comes to looking at the terrain, looking for signs and clues and also there is, of course, the fact that Breed spent years working alongside him. What the police think are leads make no sense to Breed.

This book in some ways has a slight Jack Reacher style to it, in as much as an ex-military is out looking for justice so if you like those types of books then I think this one will be a good one to keep an eye out for.

I liked how the author wove Breed into the investigation along with a couple of other characters. There is some suspicion as to what really happened and why not only the man but also his family were killed. Being close to the Mexican border there is the obvious drugs, crime, cartel angle but Breed gradually finds out more when he teams up with a journalist and also an Agent to get to the bottom of the mystery.

I did find that the flow of the story kept me eagerly turning the pages and this added to the suspense and intrigue that was gradually built up. Adding in backstories, people trafficking, corruption, drugs, terrorism and also a race against time increases the tension. I really liked the characters, Breed is the main protagonist and I am glad to notice that this book is the first in a series. I am looking forward to getting to know him more, maybe he has a first name!

There are plenty of surprises, a good amount of twists that kept me guessing and I really enjoyed reading this. I liked how the characters were gradually introduced over several chapters as there is a good amount of names. I also noticed that the author does include quite a few specs as far as weaponry was concerned, not overly so but enough to make them stand out a little.

This was a really good intro into a new series, and I think it is one that would appeal to crime, thriller, mystery readers as well those that like specifically trained ex-military turning their skill set towards discovering the truth. It is a book that sort of dips into a couple of different genres and I would definitely recommend it.

About the Author…

Cameron Curtis has spent thirty years on trade floors as a trader and risk manager. He was on the trade floor when Saddam’s tanks rolled into Kuwait, when the air wars opened over Baghdad and Belgrade, and when the financial crisis swallowed the world. Having written fiction as a child, he is the author of the Breed Series of action thriller novels published by Inkubator Books. The first, DANGER CLOSE is scheduled for launch in February 2021. The second, OPEN SEASON, will be released in May.

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Map’s Edge by David Hair #fantasy #bookreview

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…

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Synopsis…

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)

My Review…

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.

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The Lies of Our Fathers (The Barnabas Trilogy #2) by Jonathon Mark #TheLiesOfOurFathers @jonmark1956 @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #actionthriller #bookreview

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…

Synopsis…

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)

My Review…

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.

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The Phoenix Project (DI Jack MacIntosh #1) by Michelle Kidd #ThePhoenixProject @AuthorKidd @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #crimethriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Phoenix Project by Michelle Kidd. This is a fabulous break necked action packed read that was such a fabulous read and a brilliant start to a series.

I would like to thank Emma at damppebbles blog tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book.

Let me show you more about this book…

Synopsis…

How long can the past remain buried?

A simple message in a local newspaper. A set of highly sensitive documents left in the back of a London black cab. Both events collide to cause Isabel Faraday’s life to be turned upside down. Growing up believing her parents died in a car crash when she was five, Isabel learns the shocking truth; a truth that places her own life in danger by simply being a Faraday. Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh of the Metropolitan Police races against time to save her, and at the same time unravels long forgotten secrets involving MI5, MI6, the KGB and NASA. Secrets that have lain dormant for twenty years. Secrets worth killing for. With kidnap, murder and suicides stretching across four continents, just what is the Phoenix Project?

The Phoenix Project is the first Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh novel.

If you like a gripping page turner, with plenty of surprising twists, buy The Phoenix Project today to discover its secrets.

Purchase from Amazon UK ( this is an affiliate link)

My Review…

Wow, this is a fabulous break necked, action-packed read if ever there was one. This book was laid out so that I found it very easy to keep up with the numerous characters and also the ever-evolving plotline.

The synopsis is quite intriguing and gives little away apart from that fact that nothing is what it appears to be. the truth is not quite what it seems and this adds wonderfully to the overall tension and sense of suspicion right the way through the story.

Isabel Faraday is about to get her whole world turned upside down as she is told some shocking truths about who her parents are. This leads Isabel from London to France, things happen so fast she has barely time to get her head around what she has been told before she is plunged into a dangerous situation.

DI Jack Macintosh is one of the people who like to get the answers to all the questions and it is just as well because this case is about to go global with ramifications that will shake people at the top.

This was such a brilliantly fast-paced book that I just couldn’t put down. There are a couple of reasons why I think this worked so well for me. Firstly I do read quite a few thrillers that have conspiracy and governmental agencies involved, this one focused more on finding the truth rather than trying to work around agencies.

Also, there is not too much tech-speak or weaponry mentions. While this does work for me in books it is also nice to just get on with the story and not get caught up with what gun, what calibre and all the velocity stuff, instead I was able to get completely involved in the mystery unravelling. Believe me when I say there is a lot to unravel and the author has tackled this so well.

Cover-up, conspiracy, false identities, top-secret projects and finding out the real truth is what this story is all about. It would be very easy to get confused with the different threads and theories that are mentioned in this story but I never felt this at all. Everything followed and flowed really well and it made for such an enjoyable experience.

I really enjoyed this book and if you like crime, thriller, conspiracy and mystery reads then this is one you should definitely add to your list. A brilliant book that I would absolutely recommend.

About the Author…

Michelle Kidd is a self-published author known for the Detective Inspector Jack MacIntosh series of novels.

Michelle qualified as a lawyer in the early 1990s and spent the best part of ten years practising civil and criminal litigation.

But the dream to write books was never far from her mind and in 2008 she began writing the manuscript that would become the first DI Jack MacIntosh novel – The Phoenix Project. The book took eighteen months to write, but spent the next eight years gathering dust underneath the bed.

In 2018 Michelle self-published The Phoenix Project and had not looked back since. There are currently three DI Jack MacIntosh novels, with a fourth in progress.

Michelle works full time for the NHS and lives in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. She enjoys reading, wine and cats – not necessarily in that order J

Bibliography:

The Phoenix Project (DI Jack MacIntosh book 1)

Seven Days (DI Jack MacIntosh book 2)

The Fifteen (DI Jack MacIntosh book 3)

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The Trials of Koli by M.R. Carey @michaelcarey191 @OrbitBooks #TheTrialsOfKoli @Tr4cyF3nt0n #CompulsiveReaders #Bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to be able to share my review today for The Trials of Koli by M.R. Carey.

My huge thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for my spot on the tour and for arranging my gorgeous copy of this second book in the trilogy.

This is a fabulous trilogy and yes you really should read them in order, it is a trilogy and therefore the first book is the start of the story, this book is the middle and the next is the end – makes sense to read them all doesn’t it? 😉

Let me show you what The Trials of Koli is about…

Synopsis…

The Trials of Koli is the second novel in M R. Carey’s breathtakingly original Rampart trilogy, set in a strange and deadly world of our own making.

Beyond the walls of Koli’s small village lies a fearsome landscape filled with choker trees, vicious beasts and shunned men. As an exile, Koli’s been forced to journey out into this mysterious, hostile world. But he heard a story, once. A story about lost London, and the mysterious tech of the Old Times that may still be there. If Koli can find it, there may still be a way for him to redeem himself – by saving what’s left of humankind.

Get your copy HERE (this is an affiliate link)

My Review…

I have been looking forward to reading this second book in the Rampart Trilogy. It continues the story of Koli as he makes his way towards a radio signal in London. His travelling companions are Ursual and Cup and together they make their way through the wilds, try to avoid others and also survive the danger in the world that the author has created.

The story flits back and forth between Koli as he journeys towards London and also of Spinner. Spinner is back home and this is where the author quickly recaps the first book but from Spinner’s viewpoint. It also continues her story and the villagers after Koli’s disgrace and departure. I like this as it keeps the reader in touch with what happens at home while Koli is away.

I thought the first book was great and while it did have that first book in a series feel it was still addictive. This second in the trilogy is absolutely brilliant and I adored it. I slowed my reading down for this book so I could savour the story. It is a story that is full of hidden dangers and of how society is surviving in an uncertain future in small pockets and communities.

The author paints a vivid picture of a future that still has everyday problems but also a future that has very little technology. The tech that is still in use is highly prized and gives the user a certain status. It is this tech that not only helps but also adds danger to having it as there is always those that want what they haven’t got.

Over the generations, stories have been passed down of what was but it is what is happening now that has people dealing with new challenges. I like the way the author has simplified some of the words that are used, it gives more of an innocence to the characters and it didn’t take me long to fall back into their speech and way of talking.

I absolutely adored this book and it is with great anticipation that I look forward to the next book, but also sad that it is the final one in the trilogy. A brilliant book and one that I would definitely recommend.

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The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart @AndreaGStewart @orbitbooks @Tr4cyF3nt0n #compulsivereaders #fantasy #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart. This is the first book in The Drowning Empire series and was an excellent start and has left me eagerly waiting for the rest of the books. This is a fantasy book, but it is very accessible and would suit many readers.

My huge thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of the book from Orbit Books. Before I get to carried away let me show you what The Bone Shard Daughter is about…

Synopsis…

In an empire controlled by bone shard magic, Lin, the former heir to the emperor will fight to reclaim her magic and her place on the throne. The Bone Shard Daughter marks the debut of a major new voice in epic fantasy.

The emperor’s reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire’s many islands.

Lin is the emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people. 

My Review…

I have been looking forward to reading this book for so long and I was not disappointed. This is the first book in The Drowning Empire and I am so excited to see where this series goes in the future.

As I started this book I was introduced to the main cast, I was aware of them having an Oriental feel to their names. When I got to the end of the book I discovered the author is of Chinese/ American heritage. I do like Eastern folklore, magic and legend and this book has the feel of some of those elements.

There are a few characters to get to know as I mentioned earlier. There is Lin, the Emperor’s daughter and in theory, should be the next Emperor when her father retires or does. But he doesn’t show much time for Lin or in showing her how to work the Bone Shard magic. He is such an odd character, a recluse who seems to be paranoid and is searching for something.

Then there is Jovi, he is the best smuggler ever and he has posters of him for his arrest. He is a character that I really liked, while he seems cold, he is actually more compassionate than I first realised. He’s a smuggler but one that has a moral sense of right, Iknow that sounds bizarre but it is true and his character works really well.

Then there is the Governors daughter, Phalue. She is aware of the suffering of the people and does what she can to help. But in the eyes of her girlfriend, it is not enough, that Phalue doesn’t truly understand the suffering. I did feel for this character as she struggled with the love she has for her father but also the love of her girlfriend.

Finally, there is Sand, I first thought this was a very strange character, but actually, as the story progresses, she becomes more prominent, and her true role is just starting to emerge.

Often with first books in a series I find they are slower to get going as characters, backstories and threads begin the process of being started and plotted for the adventures and stories that will follow. With this book, that process seemed to progress really quickly, yet I never felt it was rushed, and I quickly found myself drawn into a story that has an epic feel to it.

The chapters are quick and rotate between the various main characters, I think this really helped with adding backstories, brief snippets of history, some geography and also a little of the politics. There is a general feeling of unrest in the people of the various Islands. They are hungry, have to work long hours for little p[ay and live in awful conditions. Yet the residences of the EMperor and the Governor is that of opulence and ignorance.

I really adored this story and I thoroughly enjoyed being transported in this story of magic, moving islands, strange occurrences and meeting some wonderful characters. I am really excited about this series and I would definitely recommend it to readers of fantasy and also to readers who are looking for a new series to being.

About the Author…

Andrea Stewart is the Chinese American daughter of immigrants, and was raised in a number of places across the United States. Her parents always emphasized science and education, so she spent her childhood immersed in Star Trek and odd-smelling library books. When her (admittedly ambitious) dreams of becoming a dragon slayer didn’t pan out, she instead turned to writing books. She now lives in sunny California, and in addition to writing, can be found herding cats, looking at birds, and falling down research rabbit holes.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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

Island of Fear by Misha Herwin (Adventures of Letty Parker #3) @MishaHerwin #PublicationDay #youngerreaders (8-12) #adventure #LettyParker #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review on Publication Day for Island of Secrets by Misha Herwin. This is the 3rd book in the Adventures of Letty Parker series and it is a right riveting read, full of adventure, pirates and secrets.

My huge thanks to Misha for my e-copy of the Island of Fear, my review is my own, unbiased and honest. Also, Happy Publication Day Misha xxx

Synopsis

When Letty Parker is asked by her best friend, Hepzibah, to solve a family mystery she willingly agrees. She has no idea that investigations will lead the Letty Parker & Associates Detective Agency team across the high seas to the exotic isles of the Caribbean.

Letty, Jeb and Mango, are soon fighting for their very lives in a world where pirates rule the seas, evil plantation managers hold the land, and the forests are filled with duppies and dark magic.

My Review…

This is the 3rd book in the Letty Parker series, Letty and her associates find lost things and people. Letty is a streetwise kid who has a small group of friends and one of these is not well. Hepzibah has asked Letty to find her long lost brother Simeon who was sent away as a boy because he was out of control.

While Letty is focusing on her searching for clues her friend Jeb is in a spot of bother. You can rest assured that wherever Jeb goes, Mango is not that far behind. This is why they are all now together on a ship leaving Bristol set for Jamaica.

I was really pleased to be able to catch up with the streetwise Letty and her little gang. Set in Bristol with a Victorian backdrop but with more danger lurking in the shadows. Monsters are real as are other dark things.

I love this Gothic feeling series that at times has a steampunk feel to it, it has all the feel of a Victorian city but with a wonderful twist. The characters are really good and I do like Letty, Jeb, Mango, Hepzibah and also a few of the new characters that have a part in the story. Not all of the characters are good and there are some that are evil and dangerous. This adds to a sense of dread and fear especially if you are a younger reader.

A wonderful series that young, as well as adult readers, will enjoy. It is a mystery series with a fantasy alter universe feel and it works so well. It has a storyline that has a sense of foreboding, is addictive and just a great book to settle down and read over the course of an afternoon. I would suggest reading the series in order as there are some things that happened in the past that make more sense if you read in order. A brilliant next book in the series and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Image and Bio taken from Misha’s Author Page on Amazon

Misha Herwin was born in England of Polish parents. English was not her first language but once she learned to speak it, she has never stopped. At twelve she wrote and staged her first play in a theatre made from a cardboard box. Since then things have improved and her plays have been both performed in England and Jamaica, where she lived for a while. As Misha M Herwin she has written two novels “Picking up the Pieces” and “House of Shadows”, both published by Penkull Press. “Dragonfire” “Juggler of Shapes” and “Master of Trades” are her fantasy trilogy for kids. “City of Secrets” is her most recent book and is the first in a fantasy adventure series for children. Her stories for adult readers have appeared in a number of anthologies including “A Fairy’s Story,” in “Bitch Lit”, and “The Satan Stones” in “Ancient Wonders,” by Alchemy Press. Her latest “The Loop Line” is in “The Darkest Midnight in December”. Her children are grown up and she lives in Staffordshire England with her husband in a house with a dragon in the garden. 

Social Media Links – BlogTwitterAmazon Author Page

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