The Wheelwrights Daughter by Eleanor Porter @elporterauthor @rararesources #histfic #bookreview

I am so delighted to share my review for The Wheelwrights Daughter by Eleanor Porter. My huge thanks to Rachel for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.

Let me show you what it’s about…

Can she save herself from a witch’s fate?

Martha is a feisty and articulate young woman, the daughter of a wheelwright, living in a Herefordshire village in Elizabethan England. With no mother Martha’s life is spent running her father’s meagre household and helping out at the local school whilst longing to escape the confines and small-mindedness of a community driven by religious bigotry and poverty.

As she is able to read and is well-versed in herbal remedies she is suspected of being a witch. When a landslip occurs – opening up a huge chasm in the centre of the village – she is blamed for it and pursued remorselessly by the villagers.

But can her own wits and the love of local stablehand Jacob save her from a witch’s persecution and death…

A brilliant and accomplished novel that perfectly captures the febrile atmosphere of Elizabethan village life in an age when suspicion and superstition were rife. Perfect for fans of Tracy Chevalier.

This is a wonderful historical fiction story that is set in latter half of the 1500’s during Queen Elizabeth’s reign. This is an era of history that is rife with witchcraft accusations and the deaths of people who are seen to be practising the devil’s work.

The author has created a tale around Martha, the daughter of a village wheelwright in Herefordshire. Her mother is dead and there are rumours around surrounding her and also of her death. Martha is a young woman who is a Christian and she also makes up poultices and uses plants for their natural healing properties. While things are good then she is of use, but when things start happening suddenly the tables turn and fingers point leaving Martha to become the villagers scapegoat.

The finger of blame is supported by a hellfire and brimstone vicar, he is supposedly a man of faith but he really is an odious character. While he preaches the word of God he is also using faith as a game of politics to curry favour with those higher up the ladder than himself.

This is a wonderfully written story and I loved the way the author worked it. The contrasts of opinions and how they are formed without being based on facts are good, essentially if a person takes offence at a comment or a look then accusations can be made.

This has some good research behind it and it has all the right feels to it. The only problem… there is a bit of a cliffhanger…arrgghhhh I want need to know what happens next, so I will be keeping my beady eye out for the next book.

This is a good read and it has a slower pace that fits the time, there is a good amount of drama and I love the dynamics between the characters and the over-riding fear that comes out in their blaming and suspicions. A book I would recommend to readers who like historical fiction novels.

Ellie grew up in Herefordshire and now lives near the Malvern Hills. She’s taught in Hong Kong, London and Birmingham and published poetry and short fiction. Her forthcoming novel THE WHEELWRIGHT’S DAUGHTER grew out of walks on Marcle Ridge where a 1571 landslip is still visible and marked on the map as The Wonder. The book tells the story of a world torn by division, where new beliefs jostle with tradition, where to be different can cost you your life. It introduces Martha Dynely, who refuses to be crushed, even when the horizon crumbles and buries her.

Follow Eleanor on Twitter or visit her Amazon Author Page

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Season of Darkness by Cora Harrison #histfic #historicalmystery #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for Season of Darkness by Cora Harrison, this is the first book in The Gaslight Series, as it has taken me a while to get to and read this book the second has also been published.

Let me show you what it is all about…

Introducing Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins as an unusual detective duo in the first of a brand-new Victorian mystery series.

When Inspector Field shows his friend Charles Dickens the body of a young woman dragged from the River Thames, he cannot have foreseen that the famous author would immediately recognize the victim as Isabella Gordon, a housemaid he had tried to help through his charity. Nor that Dickens and his fellow writer Wilkie Collins would determine to find out who killed her. 

Who was Isabella blackmailing, and why? Led on by fragments of a journal discovered by Isabella’s friend Sesina, the two men track the murdered girl’s journeys from Greenwich to Snow Hill, from Smithfield Market to St Bartholomews, and put their wits to work on uncovering her past.

I liked how the author used two Classic authors as for this story. The combination of Charles Dickens and Wilkie Collins as sleuths for this murder mystery worked well for me. There was a good atmospheric air to the story that gave a good vibe as I read.

Using these figures as sleuths gave me a feeling of a Holmes and Watson style mystery read. Dickens came across as aloof and reminded very much of Holmes, while Collins was more approachable and tries to work things on his own at times and is similar to Watson.

The murder of a maid has links to a Girls School that Dickens is heavily involved in as she was one of his pupils. Collins is a friend of Dickens and together they try to piece together the various clues that they find. They also have the assistance of another maid and together the three of them work their way through the mystery as to why the girl was killed and by whom.

This is a good story that I found quite addictive, it has some good twists and yes I did work some of them out but it didn’t take away from the enjoyment of reading. It is a book I think readers of the whodunit style of mysteries would like and it is one I would recommend. This is the first book in The Gaslight Series and I am looking forward to reading the next one.

The Woman Who Spoke To Spirits by Alys Clare #HistoricalMystery #BookReview

I am delighted to share my review for the first book in A World’s End Bureau Victorian Mystery Series, this first book is The Woman Who Spoke To Spirits by Alys Clare. This is the first time I have read a book by this author and I was delighted to see that there is a whole host of books by Alys for me to buy and read.

Let me show you what it is all about…

Introducing private investigators Lily Raynor and Felix Wilbraham in the first of the brand-new World’s End Bureau Victorian mystery series.

London, 1880. “I’m dreadfully afraid someone is threatening to kill my wife …” When accounts clerk Ernest Stibbins approaches the World’s End investigation bureau with wild claims that his wife Albertina has been warned by her spirit guides that someone is out to harm her, the bureau’s owner Lily Raynor and her new employee Felix Wilbraham are initially sceptical. How are the two private enquiry agents supposed to investigate threats from beyond the grave?

But after she attends a séance at the Stibbins family home, Lily comes to realize that Albertina is in terrible danger. And very soon so too is Lily herself …

This is the first book in A World’s End Bureau – Victorian Mystery series. The World’s End Bureau is owned and run by Lily Raynor in London in the 1880s. She has had some success with her business and is now finding it difficult to keep up with the admin side. She employs Felix Wilbraham to help on the clerical aspects, but soon he proves his worth and helps Lily in a series of investigations.

One such investigation comes by way of Ernest Stibbins who is concerned as to his wife’s safety. She is a medium and it soon becomes apparent to Lily that Albertina is indeed in danger. Along with this investigation, there is another that concerns a young man and an actress. While the cases are very different they both lead Lily and Felix on a route that takes them and the reader into various areas of Victorian London.

Being as this is the first in the series, it was good to get to know the two main characters as they got to know each other. I liked how there is mutual respect between them, especially as Felix is working for a female and this is an unusual thing at this time and for this profession.

The author has done a good job of creating an atmospheric read and delves into some unsavoury sides of the era. The murkiness and the ominous feelings at times provide an eeriness to the story. this is particularly good for the investigation into the Stibbins’s.

I did find the pacing of the story fluctuated, at the time it felt a little slow, but on the whole, it worked well. There was a good deal of intrigue and I was so very curious as to how the author would conclude the mysteries.

This was an enjoyable read and one that kept me intrigued throughout. I am looking forward to reading the next in the series to see how the author proceeds with not only Lily and Felix but also to see if she incorporates a couple of other characters that I think would make good additions to future investigations.

A good start to a series for mystery readers and a good atmospheric read and one I would definitely recommend.

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

Killing Pretties by Rob Ashman @RobAshmanAuthor #HighlyRecommended #CrimeThriller #BookReview

I am so excited to share my review for Killing Pretties by Rob Ashman. This is an amazing read and I cannot wait to read the next one that will be called – Twinkle, Twinkle.

Let me show you what it is all about…

Detective Sergeant Khenan Malice is a rubbish ex-husband, a crap father but a damned good detective. It’s a shame he spoils his only redeeming quality by being a bent copper.

Detective Kelly Pietersen joins the team to help find a missing woman. But Kelly has a secret…Damien Kaplan is a leading criminal barrister and a keen amateur potter. He also happens to be a serial killer with a chilling approach to creating his art. He’s married to Elsa, though she considers him more of a possession than a husband. She controls those around her using sex and procures men and women for her husband to play with but only after she’s finished with them first. Killing Pretties is his passion, having sex with them is hers. It is difficult to say which one is worse.

The missing woman brings all four crashing together – an incendiary mix that doesn’t end well.

This is one of those books that make you go “Wow!”, I say wow because there were several times I actually said more than just Wow and it is about the only word that wasn’t a swear word!!! 😉😱

Where to start… well… this is a police procedural that is so well written. This author knows how to write a baddie that’s for sure!

There are several key characters in this book, DS Malice (what an excellent name I might add), is not exactly a by the book copper, he is good but also not that squeaky clean as all is made clear in the story. He is joined by DC Kelly Pieterson, another good copper who has great gut instincts. These two are caught up in a missing person case and also the death of a local drug dealer.

The husband and wife team of Damien and Elsa Kaplan are great, but as the synopsis tells you, this is not the normal sort of husband and wife team.

At this point I know that I am re-hashing the synopsis , but, I am still try to get my head around trying to write a review that does this book the justice it deserves…

This is a crime thriller that does have a good psychological aspect to it, the Kaplan’s are very different and definitely add a macabre twist to the story. In some ways the synopsis is quite detailed in what you are going to get, but this is a story that is very much about the journey.

There is some details in the story that made me curl my toes, I do think this is one for a reader that likes a more hardcore crime thriller read, the details are relevant if a bit twisted.

The story fills in details of the past for the Kaplan’s and this is a great way of getting to know this couple and there vices. I like the team of Malice and Pieterson, they make a good combination and they seem to suit each other as far as being a team goes.

An absolutely, amazingly brilliant read that I found totally addictive, a must for hard-boiled crime thriller readers and the start of a new series , I cannot wait for more. Killing Pretties is a twisted read that I would Highly Recommend and you really need to go and yourself a copy ASAP!

Rob is married to Karen with two grown up daughters. He is originally from South Wales and after moving around with work settled in North Lincolnshire.

Like all good welsh valley boys Rob worked for the National Coal Board after leaving school at sixteen and went to University at the tender age of twenty-three when the pit closures began to bite. Since then he’s worked in a variety of manufacturing and consulting roles both in the UK and abroad.

It took Rob twenty-four years to write his first book. He only became serious about writing it when his dad got cancer. It was an aggressive illness and Rob gave up work for three months to look after him and his mum. Writing Those That Remain became his coping mechanism. After he wrote the book his family encouraged him to continue, so not being one for half measures, Rob got himself made redundant, went self-employed so he could devote more time to writing and four years later the Mechanic Trilogy was the result. 

Rob published Those That Remain, In Your Name and Pay the Penance with Bloodhound Books and has since written the DI Rosalind Kray series. These are Faceless, This Little Piggy, Suspended Retribution and Jaded which are also published by Bloodhound.

His latest work sees the introduction of a new set of characters – DS Khenan Malice and DC Kelly Pietersen. The first book in the series is titled Killing Pretties and the second is Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Lies. Both books will be published this year.

When he is not writing, Rob is a frustrated chef with a liking for beer and prosecco, and is known for occasional outbreaks of dancing.

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

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds – Living The Dream in rural Ireland by Nick Albert @Nickalbertautho @rararesources #memoir #recommendedreading #Bookreview

I am delighted to share my review for Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds by Nick Albert. This is a brilliant book to read and I would like to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.

Let me show you what it’s all about…

Nick and Lesley Albert yearn to leave the noise, stress and pollution of modern Britain and move to the countryside, where the living is good, the air sweet, with space for their dogs to run free. Suddenly out of work and soon to be homeless, they set off in search of a new life in Ireland, a country they had never visited. As their adventure began to unfold, not everything went according to plan. If finding their dream house was difficult, buying it seemed almost impossible. How would they cope with banks that didn’t want customers, builders who didn’t need work, or the complex issue of where to buy some chickens?

Buying links for UK – Kindle Paperback Audible (all via Amazon UK) or for Amazon US readers – Kindle Paperback Audible

Oh my goodness what a fabulous book this is. Following a diagnosis from his Doctor, Nick needs to drastically change his lifestyle. Stress had been a major part of his job and it has taken it’s toll. Along with his wife Lesley, decide to sell up and start somewhere new with a slower paced lifestyle.

Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds is a fabulous account of the journey this couple made to finally discover a new home and they decide on the move Ireland. This book is great fun to read and it had me smirking so many times. It was great to follow their journey around rural Ireland as they become the latest “blow ins” (newcomers) to a life in rural Ireland.

The first half of the book was great and is written in such an honest way. Mistakes, mishaps and misunderstanding are all laid out. The quirky workings of a different legal system, buyers market and trying to find builders are all really interesting.

The second half of the book had me in hysterics and laughing out loud so many times as I read about the antics of Nick, Lesley and also their dogs and chickens. There were actually a couple of moments where I actually had tears running down my face with laughter! Nick has recounted so many moments so vividly that as a reader I could see what he was telling me.

This book is brilliantly written and I loved the open and honest style in which it was presented. This is a wonderful read about a couple starting afresh in Ireland, getting used to the local flow and way of life. In some ways it is their innocent naivety as they start this new stage in their lives that adds such a wonderful feel to the book and it also had me willing them to succeed. I have never been to Ireland and so I could very much empathise with the couple as they came across many different things. Ireland is a place I would love to visit with my husband, and reading this book has made this a trip change from want to visit, to definitely must visit.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who likes a real life stories, and memoirs. To be honest I think this book would appeal to many readers and I would highly recommend it. It is amusing, honest, funny and heartfelt.

I enjoyed it so much that immediately after reading this first book I then immediately bought the second one and I can’t wait to see what happens to them next 🙂

Nick Albert was born in England and raised in a Royal Air Force family. After leaving College he worked in retail management for several years before moving into financial services where he quickly progressed through the ranks to become a training consultant. As a very passionate and reasonably talented sportsman, Nick had always wanted to use his training skills towards creating a parallel career, so in the mid 1980’s he qualified and began coaching sport professionally. After a health scare in 2003 and in search of a simpler life, he and his wife Lesley, cashed in their investments, sold their home and bought a rundown farmhouse in the rural west of Ireland – a country they had never before even visited. With little money or experience and armed only with a do-it-yourself manual, they set about renovating their new home, where they now live happily alongside a flock of chickens, two ducks and several unruly, but delightful dogs.
In 2017 Nick was signed to Ant Press to write a series of humorous memoirs about his life in rural Ireland. Fresh Eggs and Dog Beds (book one) was published in September 2017 and soon became an Amazon bestseller. Book two in the series was published on 1st June 2018 and book 3 in August 2019. Book four is due out in early 2020.
Nick is also the author of the twisty thriller, Wrecking Crew, the first in a series of books featuring reluctant hero Eric Stone.

Visit Nick on his Website Twitter Facebook InstagramYouTube

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City of Secrets by Misha Herwin @MishaHerwin #BookReview

I am delighted to share my review today for City of Secrets by Misha Herwin, this is the first book in the The Adventures of Letty Parker series and is aimed at Young Adult readers.

Let me show you what it is all about…

Letty Parker lives by her wits.

Estranged from her family, she sells pies on the streets of Bristol. But this is a Bristol full of dark secrets, peopled by gangs, monsters, dragons and gargoyles – and by creatures older than time.

When her friend and stepsister disappear, when members of Jeb’s gang vanish, Letty is plunged headlong into a conspiracy where homeless children are being spirited away to a place where a terrible fate awaits them.

These are the poor and the lost children of the streets whom no one seems to care about – except for Letty. But what if a rich child went missing? Would the authorities then act? Together, Letty and Jeb hatch a plan…

What a brilliant introduction to Letty Parker and the starting point for a series of books aimed at the Younger Reader. I am definitely not a young reader but I can honestly say that if I had picked up City of Secrets as a 9 or 10 year old I would have loved it, as it happens even now as a grown up reader I still loved it.

The author has created a fabulous character in Letty, she is joined by Jeb and his gang and also the somewhat lonely character of Gabriel. Letty is a pie-seller in Bristol, she is a street kid as such as she lives on her wits and needs to work to pay the rent on a small room. Some local children have been going missing in very mysterious circumstances, it is only when a young boy who Letty as just befriended also goes missing that she realises that something is amiss.

The author has created a fabulous story that has a Victorian feel to it. Carriages, gangs, murky alleys and dark, dangerous things that lurk in the shadows add to the ambience of the story. It is a story that has some wonderful descriptions and good dialogue that made me smirk on a few occasions.

Letty is a determined character who is stubborn and tenacious when she gets something in her head. This tenacious attitude will stand her in good stead as she faces her investigation.

There is an evil at work and this is investigated further into the story as Letty and Co start to dig further into the disappearances. The story has a good fantasy feel to it as various monsters, dragons and gargoyles become part of the story, yes there are gargoyles and this makes me very happy!

This was a wonderfully paced story that had me eagerly turning pages and has left me waiting and wanting to see what happens in the next book in the series called Bridge of Lies.

Even though it is aimed at a younger audience, I would say around 8-12 years, adults would also enjoy it, well I did! It is a fabuolous book full of adventure, fantasy and mystery, its exciting and a real page turner. I would definitely recommend it.

Image taken from Misha’s Amazon Author Page

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.

Follow Misha on Twitter Amazon Author PageWebsite

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

The Southern Belles by Katie Simpkins #TheSouthernBelles @FusionPress1 #TheBrightonBellesSeries @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #BookReview

I am delighted to share my review for The Southern Belles by Katie Simpkins. This is the fist book in The Brighton Belles series and it was one I really enjoyed.

My thanks to Emma at damppebbles Blog Tours for my spot on the tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book.

Ley me show you what it is all about…

Not Just Any Old Riches to Rags Story.

Heiresses, Evelyn, Georgia and Olivia Belle, nicknamed The Southern Belles by the tabloid press, have everything they’ve ever wanted. Then, suddenly, on Evelyn’s 30th birthday, their father dies in a tragic road traffic accident, leaving a massive hole in his business’ finances. With the world’s media, and the National Crime Agency looking on, their family home, cars and all other assets are sold at auction, leaving the sisters penniless, homeless and jobless.

Shunned by their celebrity friends, the Belle sisters must learn to fend for themselves for the first time in their lives. Evelyn, the eldest, knows how dire their situation is, and asks their father’s solicitor, who has kindly paid for their first two months’ rent on a rat-infested bedsit in Brighton, to look into their Father’s case, while they hunt for jobs to make ends meet, which inadvertently leads to them meeting new guys, falling in love, and learning along the way that the world doesn’t owe them a favour, and that money doesn’t buy you happiness.

This was such a good book to read after several darker or more serious books that I had been reading. The Southern Belles is a book that was a lighter read but one that also had some more serious aspects to it.

The Southern Belles is a riches to rags story that deals with making the most out of what you have got. The Belles are 3 sisters Evelyn, Georgia and Olivia Belle who are still reeling after the death of their father. When the reading of his will shows some worrying financial irregularities. These see the girls being kicked out of their home with very little money.

The story is about how the sisters deal with life in the real world. No celebrity friends, no spotlights, no yachts or high-life parties. The decisions they make from now on are based on what they can afford.

The old friends soon ignore them, well most of them do. There is one however who takes every chance she gets to have a dig, try to belittle and laugh when ever she can.

The sisters soon realise that they have to take opportunities where they can and find they have talents and abilities. They all find jobs and it seems that luck is on their side. Each sister is very different and family is the key to all their decisions. Some of these decisions will be tougher than others.

Through the story I quickly grew to like the girls and how they were different to how I expected them to be. They are not the stuck up rich girls I was expecting.

The story takes some surprising turns as I read about their successes, failures and also their love lives. Their is a goodromantic theme to this story as well as other topics.

It was an easy book to disappear into and I really enjoyed it. It has set the scene very well for more books in The Brighton Belles series.

If you are a fan of heartwarming stories that have a romantic feel as well as dealing with changes in life-style then this is a book you should consider picking up. I am looking forward to reading more in this series and I would definitely recommend it.

Katie Simpkins is the pseudonym for 42 year old dental technician Duncan Brockwell, from a town near Brighton, called Burgess Hill. Duncan works at Elite Dental Studios in his hometown during the day, and writes in his spare time. He is the author of The Southern Belles, his debut novel. Since writing The Belles, he has completed a further four novels, the first sequel to the Belles, The Varndean Vixens, two crime dramas, Blood Bunker and Blood Lust, a horror novel, Hellingly, set in an abandoned mental asylum, and is currently writing his first action / adventure called Trailblazer, set in the American Midwest in 1976, about an aging country singer who is being pursued  by the mob, the FBI and a nutty sheriff, while on tour with his band and getting to know his estranged daughter, Nancy. He is also attempting to write a comedy TV series script for The Southern Belles for a producer at Voyage Media.

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A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone @doug_johnstone @OrendaBooks @annecater #RandomThingsTours #OrendaBooks #BookReview

I am delighted to share my review for A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours and Orenda Books for my spot on the Blog Tour and my e-copy of this terrrific book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

After an unexpected death, three generations of women take over the family funeral-home and PI businesses in the first book of a brilliant, page-turning and darkly funny new series


The Skelfs are a well-known Edinburgh family, proprietors of a long-established funeral-home business, and private investigators. When patriarch Jim dies, it’s left to his wife Dorothy, daughter Jenny and granddaughter Hannah to take charge of both businesses, kicking off an unexpected series of events.

Dorothy discovers mysterious payments to another women, suggesting that Jim wasn’t the husband she thought he was. Hannah’s best friend Mel has vanished from university, and the simple adultery case that Jenny takes on leads to something stranger and far darker than any of them could have imagined.

As the women struggle to come to terms with their grief, and the demands of the business threaten to overwhelm them, secrets from the past emerge, which change everything… It’s a compelling and tense thriller and a darkly funny, warm portrait of a family in turmoil.

The really like the simplicity of this cover and as I again look at it after reading the book it is also so appropriate. The synopsis does a great job of setting the basics up for this story. This is the first in a new series by Doug Johnstone and I have to say I cannot wait to see what these feisty Sklef women get up to in further books.

This is a story that is about coming to terms with the death of a loved one who left one or two skeletons lurking behind him. Jim’s death leaves not only a big hole in the lives of his family, it also leaves a hole in the two businesses. One is a funeral directors the other is a private Investigation business.

Taking over two businesses throws up a few surprises, in fact surprise is something that each of the three Skelf women, in this story, have got to deal with. Some hit closer to home than others. In some respects this book is like reading interconnected stories, that have an individual feel at times but also are linked.

The individual stories gradually make themselves known and after a slower start I suddenly found myself finding my feet. There were a few characters to get my head around, but gradually I did and I was able to see the story rather than trying to remember who was who.

Dealing with grief at the same time as discovering secrets and trying to keep business running is a tall order. This is something the Skelf ‘s seem to take in their stride. These are strong women, who do have moments of doubt but continue on.

This is a really good read that has more than a few surprises tucked in the pages, very cleverly worked and quite a lot of facts scattered throughout that added some wonderful reading extras.

If you are a reader who likes crime and mystery reads then this will be right up your street, I am really looking forward to what happens next and what the author can weave into his next book. A Dark Matter gets a definitely recommended from me.

Doug Johnstone is the author of ten novels, most recently Breakers (2018), which has been shortlisted for the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year. Several of his books have been bestsellers and award winners, and his work has been praised by the likes of Val McDermid, Irvine Welsh and Ian Rankin. He’s taught creative writing and been writer in residence at various institutions – including a funeral home – and has been an arts journalist for twenty years. Doug is a songwriter and musician with five albums and three EPs released, and he plays drums for the Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers, a band of crime writers. He’s also playermanager of the Scotland Writers Football Club. He lives in Edinburgh.

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Going Dark by Neil Lancaster #BookReview

I am delighted to share my review for Going Dark by Neil Lancaster. This is the first book in the Tom Novak Thriller series. I read this book as I am on the Blog Tour for book 2 in the series and wanted to read this in order.

Let me show you what Going Dark is all about…

Tom Novak is a troubled soul with a dark and bloody past.

A former refugee, Royal Marine, and member of the elite Special Reconnaissance Regiment, he now finds himself struggling with the deadening routine of day-to-day policing.

When he is deployed undercover to infiltrate a gang of people-traffickers, things go badly wrong. Faced with an impossible choice, his cover is blown and he finds himself on the run from the Serbian mafia and even his fellow police colleagues.

With no-one to trust, and his enemies using all the resources of the state against him, Tom has only one option: to Go Dark.

Who are the police traitors feeding the Serbian mafia his every move? Is there anyone he can trust? Can Tom prove his innocence before it’s too late?

Going Dark is the debut crime thriller from former covert specialist Detective Sergeant Neil Lancaster, and the first in the Tom Novak series. If you enjoy gritty suspense, thrilling action and flawed heroes battling against the odds, then you’ll love Going Dark.

The synopsis for this book does a great job of giving you an idea about what the story is about. This is the first book in the Tom Novak series and it is nothing if engaging and fast paced.

The author has done such a great job of creating a character that I immediately liked. He is moody, quiet, emotionless and an absolute force to be reckoned with if you are on the wrong side of the law. He has a past that has in some ways denied him the things many of us take for granted and this has moulded him into the man he is now.

Given the fact that Tom is a dangerous man he is not a danger, he has a focus that is absolute and also has a range of ex-servicemen who he can call on, and call on them he has to. These are loyal people and they would not give their loyalty if it was not deserved.

The case that Tom works is a brutal and topical one and is the start of something far deeper than he ever expected it to become. The author has successfully, in my opinion, woven a story of corruption and trafficking. As I was reading this story I was acutely aware that the author seems to know his stuff, there were many details that are known through experience. It wasn’t until I read a bit about the author that my thoughts were proven to be true.

The story is so well paced and for the style, it is action all the way from the start to the end. There are a few characters that become memorable for all the right, or wrong reasons and I soon found several I immediately liked. The author got the balance right on so many levels for me and made this story a fabulous read.

I have to say I loved this book a huge amount. A bit of a mix of Jason Bourne, James Bond and Jack Reacher… What is it with all the “J’s”! Well forget the names startling with a ‘J’ look for the one that starts with a ‘T’ for Tom Novak! This was a brilliant action, thriller fast paced and brilliantly worked story that I thoroughly enjoyed. I am really looking forward to the next book in the series and seeing where the author takes me next. This booik is one I would Highly Recommend.

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

Archie and the Enchanter by Alexander Weir @weir_norman #childrensfiction #BookReview

I am delighted to share my review for Archie and the Enchanter by Alexander Weir. My thanks to Publishing Push and Alexander for getting in touch and sending me an e-copy of this fabulous childrens book.

Let me show you what it is all about…

This is for 8 – 12 year olds.

It takes place on Scotland’s wild West Coast where Archie discovers an ancient and supernatural set of bagpipes.

The magical bagpipes do impossible things. The music it makes is powerful.

Through its music, history begins to change.

It’s not the bagpipes but the chanter that is supernatural (the chanter is the part of the bagpipe that the piper uses to make music).

The chanter is probably more than 1,500 years old and yet looks brand new.

The name ‘chanter’ comes from the word ‘enchanter’ – and ‘enchant’ is what it does. The origins of the enchanter are shrouded in mystery. It disappeared before the Jacobite risings of 1715 and 1745. Perhaps the Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie, would have won through if the Enchanter had been around.

Then our hero, a scruffy little boy called Archie, found it, and this book is about what happened next.

Let me also share the introduction to this magical story…

Archie and the Enchanter – Introduction

‘No one knows where it came from. It was found in a heathery glen by a shepherd tending his sheep. The shepherd was keeping a wary eye on the horizon for Viking raiders and for a moment looked down. And there it was shining silvery at his feet.

What it could and would do was a constant source of amazement. It didn’t seem to age, and despite the passage of the centuries it always looked as shiny and new as it had been when it was found. It became a treasured possession of one of the Highland clans. Its ownership was kept a closely guarded secret although the Royal Stuarts knew about it and called upon it to be used in their quest for power.

Then it was lost. Everyone in the clan searched, but no one found it. The chanter entirely disappeared during Scotland’s troubled times at the close of the seventeenth century.

Who knows how the conflict at Culloden would have turned out if it had been there.’

This is a wonderful story to read and I can see it being a real hit with the age group it is aimed at.

Archie is a wonderful character and one that seems to get himself into mischief without trying, I say mischief but what I actually mean is gets dirty, ruins his clothes and just seems to attract dirt from wherever he goes, much to his mums annoyance. Archie goes to visit his Grandfather and while Grandfather is asleep Archie goes exploring and comes across a very old set of bagpipes, as Archie already plays this instrument he is immediately interested.

Archie finding the old bagpipes is just the start of the story really, as the story then changes tempo as Archie discovers what the pipes can do. What follows is a wonderful tale that not only delves into a little Scottish history, but also gives some facts about bagpipes and of course what Archie gets up to.

The bagpipes have a wonderful magical quality that has quite an impact on the small Scottish Community where Archie lives. The story also has a moral.

Archie is a wonderful character who I really liked, along with a few of the other people who I briefly met. The author has done a really good job of creating an exciting story and at the same time adding little snippets of information that help me learn something as I read.

The setting descriptions were good, enough to get a sense of place but not too much to take away from the story for a younger reader. It has excitement, magic and quite a few chuckle moments in it to keep you entertained, well it did me!

This is the first in a planned series and it is a great introduction, I got to meet Archie, his family and some of the local community. This is a really good start to the series and I think the age group of 8-12 years feels about right, though I think 8-10 is more appropriate.

It is a story that has a older feel to it, by this I mean it is not full of modern technology so maybe I mean more of a whimsical classic children’s’ style to it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I think children will enjoy it, I did and I would recommend it.

For Further Reading

If you head over to the Publishing Push Blog Site there is a great article that gives you a chance to read an excerpt of Archie and the Enchanter, there are also some really interesting facts and info there as well. You can follow the link HERE

You can order a copy of the book from Amazon

Alexander Weir is married, with two children together with his wife, and three dynamic go-ahead grandchildren. He lives in a small community in a remote part of Scotland’s Argyll Coast. As part of the community, he teaches art to the children in the community home school and, come evening time, they join him in the family room for ‘story time’. The imagination of the children has been captured in this tale, and author Alexander and his family, are keen to see Archie’s escapades being enjoyed by other children of similar ages too.

He has serialised both books and have been read on Argyll FM radio and covering Ulster, with an outreach across Kintyre, Knapdale, and Northern Ireland. In addition, he has introduced the books to children in Canada and Ireland – and received an enthusiastic response. Alexander is also the Editor of a quarterly Scottish Fellowship of Christian Writers literary magazine, called ‘WordWise’.

Alexander gained his MSc from London South Bank University, and has worked a varied career from Railway Manager, to Missionary, Vice Chairman of Savanne Winery in Tbilisi (Georgia), and Company Secretary, General Manager and Director for two London-based companies. He retired from Business Life in London in 2012.

His writing has not only focused on children’s historical fantasy. Alexander is also author of a peer reviewed medical research paper, and of two theological books, ‘A Question of Time’ and ‘A Question of Identity’.

For more information visit Alexander’s Website or visit him on Twitter Facebook

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