My Week In Books (w/e 17th October 2021) #booklove #bookupdates #mygarden #MeAndMyBooks

Hello and welcome to another weekly round up of books I have read along with some more garden updates as well. As the weather has been pretty good down here in Cornwall, Me and He have been getting on with more tidying up in the garden. For a while now we have both hated the bottom corner of the garden, an old metal shed that used to be the goose house had become a general dumping site. You know when you get stuff and not sure if you want it or not, so you hang onto it just in case! We decided enough was enough and, well you can see for yourself in the next couple of photos.

Before…

After – not only did the rubbish from the shed go, but also the shed as well. This means I have more space for planting 🙂

The ground still needs digging over properly, but I have put a couple of plants in already, new Victoria Plum tree as well as a few other plants that were being lost in the main flower bed. A slightly better photo from a different angle below…

Now, for the books I have read…

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When I am looking for something that is more light-hearted, but still has a great story line then Sue Moorcroft is one of the authors I go for. A Home in the Sun was a book I had on my list for reading in the summer, but it kind of got away from me. This was a gorgeous read as well as being very addictive. I am not saying too much about this one as my review will be out later this week.

I am on the blog tour for Fool’s Gold by Gillian Godden today, so you can read my full review on my Blog.

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I do love a dystopian thriller and No Child Of Mine by Olga Gibbs was a fabulous read. It has a strong Orwellian feel to it, it is a political thriller and a book that I enjoyed everything about. Full review at the end of the week as part of the Blog Tour.

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I do like non-fiction books about nature, the natural world and beyond. The Northern Lights – A definitive guide to Auroras by Tom Kerss was a wonderful softback book that I received through Amazon Vine. This book is a very informative and useful guide for all things Aurora. A history based on theories in centuries gone all the way through to modern science and thoughts. Every page has at least one photo of a person from history, a shot of auroras or of a chart or diagram. This is a fabulous little book for those like me who have an interest in the natural phenomenon. You can read my full review on Goodreads HERE

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At the beginning of September this year I virtually attended an online event held by HQ to showcase their #NewVoices. One of the authors was M A Kuzniar and she was talking about her book Midnight In Everwood. As I listened to her talk about her book I just knew it was one I wanted to read. One day a proof copy dropped through the letter box, my husband looked on rather bemused as I hugged the book, gave a few strangled squeals and danced with the book! (He isn’t a book reader, dear of him, so he doesn’t get it 🙂 ) This week I got a break in my reading schedule to pick it up and read it. I LOVED IT! This is a gorgeous retelling of the Nutcracker, Now, I love this story and I also adore the story of the Nutcracker. This is a magical and gorgeous book that loosely follows the original story and I could see the influences in Kuzniar’s retelling. Of course, as soon as I had finished it I went straight onto YouTube to watch The Nutcracker Ballet. Today I wondered if our newly refurbished theatre in Truro would be showing any ballets. Well, would you believe they have the St Petersburg Ballet performing the Nutcracker!!!! I can’t book tickets for this yet, but I do believe I may be going to watch this one in January 🙂

That’s me done for another week,

Once again another mixed bag of genres and styles.

Have a great week ahead,

Stay safe, Happy reading

Love Yvonne xx

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

Hollywood Bilker by Leopold Borstinski @Borstinski   @ZooloosBT  #HollywoodBilker #AlexCohen #ZooloosBookTours #histfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Hollywood Bilker by Leopold Borstinski. I have loved this series from the very first book and following the journey of the main protagonist Alex Cohen.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s Book Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book.

Is building another casino worth dying for?

Jewish gangster, Alex Cohen returns to America and settles in 1960s California to build a drug and prostitution empire in LA. When he gets a call from the mob to help the CIA invade Cuba, Alex must decide between family and his business associates.

If he helps Uncle Sam and the Mafia then he puts his life on the line fighting for freedom and the chance to rebuild his Havana casinos. If he refuses the favor then death will call on him, his ex-wife and their sons. Once he agrees to one accommodation then others are sure to follow, in a decade where even presidents, assassins and presidential candidates were whacked at a terrifying rate.

The sixth book in the Alex Cohen series is an historical thriller novel, which rips open Jewish organized crime involvement in Lee Harvey Oswald’s death and the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. Leopold Borstinski’s searing crime fiction lays bare the making of today’s USA.

PURCHASE LINKS – AMZON UK or US

MY REVIEW

This is the 6th book in the Alex Cohen series, a series I am loving and have with every book in the series. The series follows the life of Alex, his family, his friends, his enemies and his business associates. This 6th book sees Alex entering the 1960’s in America.

The previous book saw him high-tailing it out of Cuba, now the author has him rubbing the shoulders with the rich, famous and possibly infamous depending o which circles you mix within. With names such as Frank Sinatra, Marilyn Monroe, the Kennedy’s and Alex’s business background, well you know that these people are going to meet up in this authors series.

If you are new to this series then I would definitely recommend re4ading from the beginning, it gives you a better understanding of where Alex has come from, his background and his life growing up. Working his way up through the ranks of the racketeers and mobs of each decade of the 1900s.

With each book, the author uses names of new items that are relevant to the time, it sort of backs up Alex’s character and also keeps the reader in the time and moment.

Alex and his wife Sarah don’t see much of their family, and while Alex has hinted at retiring he has never done much about it. He is a careful man but also one that will take care of his own business. But, now as he is getting to the stage where he wants more family time he realises he needs to let some of his businesses go.

In this episode, the author has Alex rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous, glamorous parties, with special extras are his speciality. It gives him a chance to get in with the in-crowd of the time. While this story is full of action, dodgy deals, hidden agendas, it also had a slightly different edge to it. Alex still puts himself in the midst of things, still in danger and risking his life, but he has a future that he is now thinking about. I think this does show in this story, don’t think that Alex or the author have gone soft, they have not. Just pickier about what job is absolutely necessary.

This is yet another fabulous book that I loved, especially as it involves the golden era of Hollywood stars and politicians. If you are a fan of history in the US through the 1900s then this is a series that may very well appeal. I have loved it and look forward to reading the next 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.

Follow him on – Facebook Instagram Twitter

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour

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

Flight of the Shearwater by Alan Jones @alanjonesbooks #historicalfiction #mustread #trilogy #SturmtaucherTrilogy #bookreview

It is an absolute pleasure to be sharing my review today for Flight of the Shearwater by Alan Jones. This is the second book in his Sturmtaucher Trilogy. I read the first book, The Gathering Storm back in August and it blew me away. It still stays with me and I was delighted when the author offered me the opportunity to read these fabulous and powerful books.

You can read my full review of The Gathering Storm HERE.

Flight of the Shearwater is the second book in the Sturmtaucher Trilogy: a powerful and compelling story of two families torn apart by evil.

‘With Poland divided between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Union of Soviet Republics, the increasingly confident Third Reich flexes its military muscles northwards into Denmark and Norway, while the rest of Europe watches anxiously over its shoulders.

General Erich Kästner, in his key role in the Abwehr, is fast becoming aware of the mass expulsion of Jews and other minority groups from Germany and from northern Poland, to the new ghettos of the Generalgouverment area of southern Poland, and has an inkling of what the National Socialists’ have in mind for Europe’s Jews.

As Holland and Belgium fall, and the British are routed at Dunkirk, barely escaping across the channel, the seemingly impregnable France collapses under the Wehrmacht Blitzkrieg, sealing the fate of millions of Jews, now trapped under Hitler’s rule.

The Nussbaums, thwarted in their attempts to escape to Denmark, desperately seek other routes out of Germany but, one by one, they are closed off, and they realise they have left it all too late…’

PURCHASE FROM – AMAZON UK

MY REVIEW…

Once again I am absolutely blown away by the writing of this author. The five years he has spent researching this trilogy, in my honest opinion, was time very well spent.

I will admit to approaching this second book with some trepidation, I was so hooked by the first book, The Gathering Storm, and I wondered if I would like the second book as much. I have to say that it is another amazing book.

If you have read the first book you will be aware of the two main families. The Kastner’s are a well-respected family with links to the German Navy and Army. Their housekeepers and friends are the Nassbaum’s they are German Jews who have been under the protection of General Erich Kastner. As the Jewish are being persecuted more and more it is getting harder for them to remain safe. I would suggest that you do need to read these books in order.

Flight of the Shearwater continues the story of the Kastner and Nussbaum families. In some ways the writing in this second book feels a little different, and a very good different. While the author still keeps the style, the feelings and the observations, he also displays some wonderful descriptive passages. I won’t say too much about these passages and chapters, but the vivid imagery he builds up through his story-telling is simply amazing. I can close my eyes and I can see stormy seas, feel the chill, experience the dread and fear, I also got angry, frustrated and was appalled at what various characters find themselves experiencing.

While the story does focus more on the younger member of the families, there are some vivid and horrific events that are described. It keeps the reader up to date with events unfolding during the most turbulent time in world history. For families having to make decisions as to how best to give their children a chance for survival, when this chance also leads them into danger is an awful choice to make. It is working out which is the lesser of two evils.

Once again I am stumped for words when it comes to writing a review. Once again I want to shout about various aspects of the story, well the story as a whole actually!

This is a superb book in the trilogy. It held my attention as fully as the first one and in some ways even more so as I needed to know what was going to happen to the characters I have come to care about. This author knows how to bring several emotions out in a reader. Research is amazing and there is a good section at the end for further reading. The storytelling is sublime. It is another amazing read.

If you are interested in reading about WWII, the differing views of the Germans, the treatment of the Jewish people and how the war affected the lives of people then this is a trilogy you seriously do need to pick up. Yes, it is hard reading at times as you would expect, but there is a glimmer of hope.

A stunning first two books and it has left me wanting, no, needing to know what becomes of these two families and the others they have met. Again it is a book I cannot recommend highly enough.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

Alan Jones

Alan Jones is a Scottish author with three gritty crime stories to his name, the first two set in Glasgow, the third one based in London. He has now switched genres, and his WW2 trilogy will be published in August 2021. It is a Holocaust story set in Northern Germany.

He is married with four grown up children and four wonderful grandchildren.

He has recently retired as a mixed-practice vet in a small Scottish coastal town in Ayrshire and is one of the RNLI volunteer coxswains on the local lifeboat. He makes furniture in his spare time, and maintains and sails a 45-year-old yacht in the Irish Sea and on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. He loves reading, watching films and cooking. He still plays football despite being just the wrong side of sixty.

His crime novels are not for the faint-hearted, with some strong language, violence, and various degrees of sexual content. The first two books also contain a fair smattering of Glasgow slang.

He is one of the few self-published authors to be given a panel at Bloody Scotland and has done two pop-up book launches at the festival in Stirling.

He has spent the last five years researching and writing the Sturmtaucher Trilogy.

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

The Huntsmen by Tony J Forder @TonyJForder #TheHuntsmen #DSChase #crime #thriller #newseries #bookreview

Any regular visitors to my blog will probably be aware that Tony Forder is one of my favourite authors. I am always eager to read any of his new books, but more so when it is the start of a new series. So I am delighted to join with other Book Bloggers to open the Blog tour and to share my review.

The Huntsmen is the first book in the DS Royston Chase series and what a start to a series this one is!!!

ABOUT THE BOOK…

The Huntsmen, by Tony J Forder, is the first book in a new UK crime series, based in Wiltshire.

The opener introduces the reader to DS Royston Chase and his new partner, DC Claire Laney. Chase is a family man and good at his job, but his lack of filter when speaking (caused by a brain injury sustained on the job) can cause problems. Laney is winding down towards her retirement, is bitter about having risen to the rank of DI only to see herself demoted back down again. She presents as a copper who no longer cares, but we find out otherwise. The two are supported by PCSO Alison May, who is ambitious and keen to join the force as a PC or preferably a DC.

Multiple deaths following a road collision are hard enough to deal with. That the man responsible was the ex-Chief Constable of Wiltshire Police and a Knight of the Realm is worse still for those tasked to investigate the incident. But the real question they have to answer is: who was the now deceased naked female minor alongside him at the time?

DS Royston Chase is living life as an outcast in a small Wiltshire village, and is called to the scene. Paired with the bold and strident DC Claire Laney, Chase is given the task of closing the case quickly and quietly.

But when the minor’s DNA provides a familial link to a girl who vanished from her home twenty years earlier at the age of eight, Chase and Laney refuse to accept the coincidence. The pair start looking harder at the ex-cop’s life, at which point they encounter serious opposition. Perhaps deadly serious.

Because the establishment looks after its own, and soon it’s not only their bosses getting in the way of a thorough investigation. Chase and Laney find themselves seemingly at odds with everyone, fighting to save their own reputations as well as the case. But neither will rest until they identify their young victim, no matter what the cost…

MY REVIEW…

So when one of my favourite authors decides to write a new police procedural series, I automatically want to read it. I was nervous because I wondered if I would like DS Royston Chase as much as I do the character of DI Jimmy Bliss. I have to say right from the off that I do like this character and he is very different.

When DS Chase is called to attend a road accident, it is unusual. This is not the usual and the accident is not one anyone would want to attend. As the synopsis suggests the accident is just the start of a complex case. A case that reaches far, further than Chase would ever have believed.

Chase is a DS, he has been pushed sideways, into a rural station, he runs the show with help from PCSO May. As he is first on the scene as far as detectives go, and that he has already started the ball rolling by starting interviewing, his superiors decide that he will lead. This is not something they are too happy about, as a compromise they give him a partner.

Oh my days, DC Claire Laney has Chase wondering what planet she has just arrived from. Talk about opposites, bolshy, loud, blunt, borderline obnoxious or what! This first meeting of two people who are supposed to work together is not, well, is not how first meetings should go. This is a fabulous meeting that had me absolutely stunned and highly amused. Making an entrance or an impact is definitely what happened here. It is actually also quite clever because even though it should be a bit of a volatile combination, it really becomes an ice-breaker.

As for the case they are about to start out on, well they and I for that matter never imagined for one moment what the author had in store for us. This story is brutal, it is dark and it shows human depravity and how people think they have a right to do what they want. It was like going down a rabbit hole, the further I went the darker it got, and believe me there is no wonderland at the bottom of this rabbit hole.

I know the author can go into dark places with his writing, but this one takes it to a whole other level. The story introduces various characters, on the whole, they are not the nicest bunch, some are rich, powerful or successful and therefore believe they are above the likes of Chase and Laney and their investigation. Calling in expensive solicitors, trying to dodge questions or name dropping. This does not stop the investigation, it may hinder them, but Chase and Laney are too involved to let this get away from them. It seems they have more obstacles and doors closing in from of them, but tenacity and sheer bloody-mindedness from both of them keep it going forward.

Given that the case is one that is very hard reading at times, and also one that is heartbreaking and emotional, the author has managed to find a balance with some well-timed humour. It doesn’t detract from the case but does give the reader a chance for a pause, before getting right back into it.

This is a hard story, it is brutal and it is also very well written. Addictive and well-paced. If you are looking for a new crime series to start that is definitely on the darker side then this is one you really need to consider. A brilliant start to a new police procedural series and one that I am very excited about. It is definitely recommended. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

Tony J. Forder

Tony J Forder is the author of the bestselling DI Bliss crime thriller series. The first seven books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, If Fear Wins, The Reach of Shadows, The Death of Justice, Endless Silent Scream, and Slow Slicing, were joined in December 2020 by a prequel novella, Bliss Uncovered. The series continued with The Autumn Tree in May 2021.

Tony’s other early series – two action-adventure novels featuring Mike Lynch – comprises both Scream Blue Murder and Cold Winter Sun. These books were republished in April 2021, and will be joined in 2022 by The Dark Division.

In addition, Tony has written two standalone novels: a dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, and a suspense thriller set in California, called Fifteen Coffins.

The Huntsmen, released on 4 October 2022, is the first book in a new crime series, set in Wiltshire. It features DS Royston Chase, DC Claire Laney, and PCSO Alison May.

Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently working on the first book of an intended new crime series, whose working title is The Huntsmen.

Links
All of Tony’s links can be found on Linktree

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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

My Week In Books (w/e 26th September) #booklove #booknews #MeAndMyBooks

Some of you may have already seen this post, I mistakenly hit the wrong button and it went live yesterday afternoon. Don’t want you to think you were having a deja vu moments 😮😂

Welcome to my weekly wrap-up of books I have read. I know I seem to say this at the end of every month… but seriously… how are we in the last few days of September already!!!

You can tell we are starting to get into autumn now, I have noticed leaves starting to fall and most noticeably my veg garden is now empty. I am still picking raspberries but that is it as far as homegrown veg goes. Things took ages to get going and then suddenly its all over.

The flowers beds are still looking good, but not quite as colourful as they did a few weeks ago, dahlias, fuchsias, petunias and antirrhinums are still giving a good show. It is almost time to start pruning various shrubs and trees back and getting them back into some sort of shape again. Indoor cyclamen are starting to show new buds so they have been re-potted, just need to find some space on the window sills for them!

Right, so what have I read this week…

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When fellow Book Blogger NS Ford got in touch to see if I would review her book I immediately said yes, the synopsis looked right up my street. We Watch You is a wonderfully intriguing psychological thriller, a story of secrets and misdirection and one that I had a great time reading. Full review will be later this week.

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Any regular visitor to my blog will be aware that I do love Tony Forder‘s books. He has a new one called The Huntsmen and it is also the stat of a new police procedural series. My goodness this is a dark crime thriller featuring Detective Royston Chase, and Tony being Tony doesn’t hold back with this character or indeed the storyline. A dark, deceptive, twisted and addictive story.

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When I saw there was a Blog tour for Gill Paul‘s new book I immediately signed up, I didn’t read the synopsis either. The Collector’s Daughter – A Novel of the Discovery of Tutankhamun’s Tomb is a fabulous historical fiction story that I loved. This has a duel timeline, one being 1922 the other 1972, it is the story of Lady Evelyn Herbert. She was a real life figure and the author has fictionalised a story around the facts. Full review will be up next week.

Three fabulous books for me this week.

Have a wonderful week ahead,

Take care

Yvonne xx

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

The Farmhouse by L.B. Simpson @stimsonink @QuestionPress @zooloo2008 #TheFarmhouseOfPeaceandPlenty #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to be one of the Book Bloggers opening the Blog Tour today for The Farmhouse by L.B. Simpson. This is an atmospheric, gothic, mystery story that I really enjoyed.

My huge thanks to Zoe at Zooloo’s BookTours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book via Question Press.

The house, for all of its solitude, seemed incredibly noisy

The Farmhouse, having stood against time and history for nearly 160 years in the Virginia countryside, was forgotten and abandoned until Kyle and Jenny Dowling moved in during the summer of 1972.

The Dowlings, married just a year, were struggling to repair their broken marriage. It was to be the perfect place, away from it all, to heal their relationship. Jenny would write and Kyle would tend to minor renovations. The rent was cheap.

The realtor warned them, however, against staying beyond the final days of fall.

Purchase Link – AMAZON UK US

MY REVIEW…

This was a wonderfully atmospheric, slightly eerie story that was a quick read at just 125 pages long. The author didn’t hang about with setting the tone, right from the off, there is unease to the house that Kyle and Jenny first view.

For this couple it is the chance to try to rebuild their marriage, Kyle found this run down and unloved farmhouse in the middle of nowhere, a rural property that they plan on renting cheaply and decorate so an acceptable level for it to be sold on.

Jenny is a writer and Kyle is an ex-schoolteacher. Jenny is the more sensitive of the two and does notice things, movements on the periphery of her vision, shadows, noises and unexplained things. This adds to the atmospherics as the author focuses on Jenny and the story that the house is seemingly trying to get out.

The isolation of the farmhouse and the general run down and old decor certainly add to the story. The house is actually a character in its own right. I know if this was me, I wouldn’t agree to live here if my husband had suggested it. I wouldn’t have quite said on your bike, I would have grabbed the bike and pedalled away as fast as I could!

While this is a spooky story, I didn’t find it too far up the scare scale, it is a good medium and I think I would say there is more intrigue to the mystery. With a house that is very old, there is going to be a rumour or two. The area is devoid of additional characters so in some respect this does give it the feel of a locked-in mystery and it has been done well.

This was a wonderful read and one that I happily sat and read over 2-3 hours. It has a good suspense feel and is full of mystery. It is one I would happily recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

L.B. grew up in a one stop-light town in central Idaho. After earning a Bachelor of Art’s degree in cultural anthropology from California State University-Chico, she uprooted herself to begin a new life in Washington, D.C., where she began a varied career in professional communications in private business and education.

“I’ve always had a passion for photography, travel, writing, and history. I am thrilled to now be creating works of fiction that allow me to share these passions with others. One of my favorite parts of the writing process is the historical research required to bring authenticity to my characters’ lives.”

This is her fifth book and the second in her standalone series: Tales from the Parlor Room–a collection of gothic and ghostly tales.

She currently resides in Virginia where she enjoys cemetery walks, visiting abandoned and haunted places and working on more ghostly tales.

Follow her at – Facebook Instagram WebsiteAmazon Pinterest Twitter

Check out the other stops on the Tour…

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

My Week In Books (w/e 19th September) #booknews #booklove

Welcome to another weekly update of books I have read over the past week. It has been a week where nothing much has happened, a plod along week if you like 🙂

Here is what I have read…

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The Seamstress of Warsaw by Rebecca Mascull is a stunning story. The story of a man trying to find the truth of his life that leads him to the Jewish Ghettos of Warsaw during WWII. An absolutely amazing read, full review on Wednesday as part of the Blog Tour.

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The Farmhouse at Peace & Plenty by L.B. Simpson is a relatively quick read at 125 pages long. It is quite atmospheric not too spooky, more mysterious and intriguing. I’, not saying too much about this one as the review is up later this week as part of the blog tour.

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A Lifetime Ago by Jim Ody is another book that has the review later this week. This is the first book in the Hudson Bell series, an ex-detective now works as a consultant for the police. Using the skills he developed over the years as a detective, and with the help of Jez on the tech and computer side of things this duo make quite a team. Keep an eye out for the Blog Tour.

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The Unravelling by Polly Crosby is such an atmospheric and stunning story of a young girl and an elderly lady. Set on a desolate island where mystery and sadness leave questions to be answered. This is a gorgeous story and one that I adored. My full review will be next week as part of the Blog Tour.

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Freecycling For Beginners by Misha Herwin is another gorgeous story. It begins with a chair offered, tatty, old but still with a bit of life left in it. This chair is the opener for a wonderful story that allowed me to glimpse into the lives of others. Fabulous characters and an emotional story that I adored. Yes, you guessed it, full review as part of the Blog Tour next week.

Another week of fabulous reading and wonderful stories.

Wishing you all a great week ahead,

All the best

Yvonne xx

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

The Lion and The Unicorn by Tom Ward @TomWardWrites @unbounders @RandomTTours #dystopian #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Lion and The Unicorn by Tom Ward. This is a dystopian speculative fiction story that was very atmospheric.

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 Unbound.

A literary dystopia – speculative fiction rooted in the tradition of P. D.
James’s Children of Men, Orwell’s 1984, Blade Runner and The Plague Dogs, for
fans of Rachel Heng’s Suicide Club, Emily St John Mandel’s Station Eleven, and
John Lanchester’s The Wal
l

London, 2054. After a devastating global pandemic and a bloody revolution,
Britain’s new government imposes peace by stringently dictating the nation’s
cultural intake. In the quest to create better citizens, everything from the
television we watch to the clothes we wear is strictly policed. As part of the unit
tasked with upholding these so-called ‘Bad Taste Laws’, H. and his partner,
Bagby, have their work cut out.


When former reality TV star Caleb Jennings is found murdered, some suspect it
could be a simple vigilante slaying. But, as H. digs deeper into the killing,
Bagby’s association with old revolutionary figureheads is called into question.
With the help of Caleb’s estranged sister, the museum curator Kate Faron, H.
must navigate a Britain in which paranoia and suspicion of the unknown are
rife, all the while dealing with the mysterious tech behemoth Vangelis, new
revolutionary murmurings, and the legacy of Kate’s biologist parents.
Compelled by what he uncovers, H. begins to question his loyalty to the state at
a time when national stability couldn’t be more precarious.

MY REVIEW…

This is a story that is set in 2054, so not really that far in the future. A pandemic has struck and there has been a revolution. The author has built up a dystopian England where things are banned that are considered to be bad taste. A political thriller where citizens are dictated to, where certain clothes, music, film and alcohol are illegal.

This was a story I took my time over, there were various aspects of this story that did sort of remind of other novels or films. I think because of this the story came across being set in a darker, gloomy era. This does have quite a strong political aspect to it in regards to what is seen as being politically correct.

There are elements of Big Brother, global catastrophe, potential genocide, loss of habitat and wildlife. So not the most cheery of stories but my goodness it was very addictive. The story is set in this grim future with the main character of H. He and his partner work for the department that upholds the law regarding bad taste. As the synopsis mentions, Bagby does have connections to those involved in the past revolution, therefore eyes and fingers point his way when a body is discovered.

The story is one that reminded me of the old style PI stories of the 1930’s, for me H became someone in the style of Phillip Marlow or Sam Spade, it is just the atmospheric and style of the character that made me think this. It may seem quite odd that for me I got the dystopian vibe through some of the gadgets, but I still found myself thinking of the older style.

This is a mix of mystery, politics, thriller, dystopian and police procedural. Not too heavy on the future as such but enough to remind that it is indeed set in the near future. This is quite an accessible novel and one that may well dip into the sci-fi genre but please don’t be put off by it. I really enjoyed this, the pacing was great and it had quite an suspicious nature to it as I wasn’t sure who I could entirely trust. I liked H as a character and I really felt for him as he tried to put many different pieces of this everchanging puzzle together. As he found one piece the puzzle changed and he found himself on the back foot once again.

A riveting and very captivating story that I got on with so well. It is one I would definitely recommend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

Tom Ward is an author and features writer, writing for publications including
Wired, Esquire and National Geographic.


He has won the GQ Norman Mailer Award, the PPA New Consumer Magazine
Journalist of the Year Award, and has been shortlisted for The People’s Book
Prize. He is also a graduate of the Faber Academy.

Check out the other stops on the Tour…

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

The Red Planet: A Natural History of Mars by Simon Morden @alisonmenziespr @eandtbooks #nonfic #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Red Planet: A Natural History of Mars by Simon Morden. This is a non-fiction and is quite accessible and readable for the non-science minded among us 😉

My huge thanks to Alison at Eliot & Thompson Books for my advanced copy.

Before I get into my review I thought it would be a good idea to share a few facts.

Mars is the 4th planet from the sun, with Earth being the 3rd.

The diameter of Mars is approx. 4,222, Earths is approx. 7,926

Olympus Mons is one of the tallest volcanos found. It is 13.6miles high, Mount Everest is 5.5miles.

Earths largest volcano is Mauna Kea in Hawaii, it is 6.33miles high, although most of it is below sea level.

I did find this image of Mountains in the Solar System.

https://www.bing.com/images/

What makes Olympus Mons even more impressive is when you see a comparison between the size of Mars next to Earth…

See the source image
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mars,_Earth_size_comparison.jpg

And something that hadn’t even occurred to me until I was reading the book was that we have earthquakes, Mars, well it has marsquakes!

Now to the book…

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The history of Mars is drawn not just on its surface, but also down into its broken bedrock and up into its frigid air. Most of all, it stretches back into deep time, where the trackways of the past have been obliterated by later events, and there is no discernible trace of where they started from or how they travelled, only where they ended up.

As NASA lays it plans for a return to the moon and, from there, a manned mission to Mars, there has never been a better time to acquaint ourselves with the dramatic history and astonishing present of the red planet. Planetary geologist, geophysicist and acclaimed SF author Dr Simon Morden takes us on a vivid guided tour of Mars.

From its formation four and half billion years ago, through an era of cataclysmic meteor strikes and the millions of years during which a vast ocean spanned its entire upper hemisphere, to the long, frozen ages that saw its atmosphere steadily thinning and leaking away into space, Morden presents a tantalising vision of the next planet we will visit.

With a storyteller’s flair, piecing together the latest research and data from the Mars probes, the most up-to-date theories of planetary geology, and informed speculation as to whether there has been life on Mars, The Red Planet is as close as we can get to an eye-witness account of this incredible place. 

Purchase from Amazon UK or other independent Bookshops from Sept 2nd 2021

MY REVIEW…

What I know about the planet Mars, isn’t much and so I was quite interested when I got the chance to read an advanced copy of The Red Planet.

I do have an interest in life, the universe and planets. Natural history is something that belongs far beyond our planet. I have no science background so what I understand has to be, well, basic. When I saw this book I did a bit of a double-take when I read about the author. He is a sci-fi author who also happens to have degrees in geography and planetary geophysics, so it’s safe to say he knows what he’s on about.

I liked the way this book is laid out, a brief intro from the author and then a trip to the planet Mars. From then the author goes into how Mars was formed, what changes it went through and is still going through. The climate, geography, geology, atmosphere.

For a planet smaller than Earth, this red blob in the night sky seems to have been through it all. A planet that has had impacts leaving massive craters, with a dry dusty atmosphere, frozen areas and one of the largest volcanoes known, it makes earth’s largest volcano in Hawaii more like a peak in comparison.

Throughout this book I was aware that this was on the whole quite understandable, at least while I was reading it, it was. I understood enough to grasp what the author was explaining and for me that is a good thing. There were the odd bits that I just couldn’t grasp but part of me was expecting that as I went into this book. Unless you have more of a science background I think this is quite an approachable book. But even the scientists who have studied this planet for decades still cannot agree on some things. There are various theories surrounding how Mars came to be, what forces sculpted the planet we see, and where, how and when there was water.

If you have an interest in planets, and nature beyond our planet then this is a book that will really appeal to you. I found it fascinating and I really enjoyed reading it. I also found myself internet hopping as I read this book, looking up various items, viewing images and also looking at the most recent news. It is a book that I would happily recommend.

About the Author…

Dr. Simon Morden, B.Sc. (Hons., Sheffield) Ph.D (Newcastle) is a bona fide rocket scientist, having degrees in geology and planetary geophysics. Unfortunately, that sort of thing doesn’t exactly prepare a person for the big wide world of work: he’s been a school caretaker, admin assistant, and PA to a financial advisor. He’s now employed as a part-time teaching assistant at a Gateshead primary school, which he combines with his duties as a house-husband, attempting to keep a crumbling pile of Edwardian masonry upright, wrangling his two children and providing warm places to sleep for the family cats.

His not-so-secret identity as journeyman writer started when he sold the short story Bell, Book and Candle to an anthology, and a chaotic mix of science fiction, fantasy and horror followed. Heart came out to critical acclaim, and Another War was shortlisted for a World Fantasy Award, but with The Lost Art, things suddenly got serious. Contracts. Agents. Deadlines. Responsibility. Scary stuff. The Lost Art was subsequently a finalist for the Catalyst Award for best teen fiction.

As well as a writer, he’s been the editor of the British Science Fiction Association’s writers’ magazine Focus, a judge for the Arthur C Clarke awards, and is a regular speaker at the Greenbelt Arts Festival on matters of faith and fiction. In 2009, he was in the winning team for the Rolls Royce Science Prize.

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

My Week In Books (w/e 29th Aug 2021) #bookupdates #booklove #mygarden #MeAndMyBooks

And another month bites the dust… apologies but I was listening to Queen and this seemed appropriate when I typed it. But, August is all but over, where did you go?

the hobbit GIF

Had a chance to finally get back out in the garden again as we have some nice weather. The potatoes are now all dug up and stored in the shed. I am gathering some seeds from flowers that are coming to an end, picking runner beans and sweet peas on a daily basis and the tomatoes are finally starting to change colour. I do grow tomatoes outside so they do take a bit longer.

Here’s a few garden pics for you…

Now onto the books I have read this week…

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I was only planning on reading a couple of chapters of Starlight Cottage by K.T. Dady before going to bed, 1am saw me putting the books down! This is a gorgeous read that led me to the wonderful sounding Pepper Bay. I adored everything about this book and I cant wait to see where the author goes with this series. Full review soon as part of the blog tour.

#20booksofsummer – 18/20


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Lonely Planet publish many books and this one caught my eye. Best Day Walks Great Britain – Easy Escapes Into Nature. This is a reference book that gives plenty of ideas for walks around Great Britain, they are long or shorter, easier or harder. This book will give you some ideas for a day out, but I will mention that you will probably need a more comprehensive map such as an OS.


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Having recently helped out with the launch of the new digital publisher Embla, I decided to pick up one of their two new publications. Rachel Ryan’s Resolutions by Laura Starkey is the story of, Rachel and how she is trying to make changes and uses constantly tweaked new years resolutions list. This is contemporary fiction story that I enjoyed, light-hearted and I will post a full review closer to publication date.

#20booksofsummer – 19/20


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I own several books by Caroline Mitchell and The Midnight Man is the first one I have read… I know, I know! This is the second book that is due to be published by Embla and I adored the spooky, creepy eeriness of the story. This is a story that starts 25 years ago and then jumps to the present day when one of five teens go missing. A mix of urban legend, rumour and something more sinister are at play in this crime, thriller, mystery. I really enjoyed it, not too frightening but the suspense was definitely there.

As I finished The Midnight Man I also finished my #20booksofsummer reading challenge 😁

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All done for another week and another month.

Have a wonderful week ahead,

Take Care,

All the very best

Yvonne xx

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