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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Afghan by Andrew Turpin #review

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

Such a fabulous and eye-catching cover!

Let’s see what the book is all about…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Sleeper by J D Fennell #review

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

So let’s have a look at the synopsis…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Facebook: JDFennellAuthor
Twitter: jd_fennell
Instagram: jdfennellauthor

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

Shiang by C.F.Iggulden @MichealJBooks #BookReview #Netgalley

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Today I have my thoughts on Shiang by C.F.Iggulden that is published today, the second in The Empire of Salt Series. I would like to thank Michael Joseph Books for my ecopy recieved via NetGalley, my thoughts are my own. You can purchase a copy of this book from good book shops and here is the link to purchase from AMAZON UK.

You can read my review of the first book Darien: Empire of Salt by C. F. Iggulden

Synopsis:

IF THESE STONES COULD SPEAK . . . THEY WOULD CALL FOR WAR.

In Shiang, the young king rules without dissent. Mazer swordsmen stand watch on every corner, looking for the first sign of rebellion. This city is a place of quiet and slow dignity, like a man eating rice with a razor pressed against his throat.

Yet with one sharp movement, order is overturned. The balance of centuries is undone in the sudden spill of blood – and in the darkness, something terrible returns to Shiang.

Far to the west, four Shiang masters approach the city walls of Darien. The sword saint and his companions have crossed a continent to bring an old man home for punishment. They will not be denied, even if the whole city stands in their way.

TWO ANCIENT CITIES. ONE FINAL WAR.

My Thoughts:

So this is the second in this series of books by Conn Iggulden. Shiang and Darien are ancient cities separated by many miles of rough, mountainous landscapes. So why anyone would want to make the journey across the mountains, especially in winter, must be for something important.

There are two groups making this journey, Hondo and his group are journeying to bring back a traitor, a man who disgraced the royal family in Darien, he now resides in Shiang. The other group is led by Gabriel and they are a more fearsome band, they are drawn to Shiang seeking power.

This is very much an action and well paced story, there are descriptions and histories that are filled in as the story unfolds. The journeys made by the two groups are interesting and the reasons for the trek was one that intrigued me.

This book gave me a chance to learn more about the ruling families and also how they rule. Also the way they use the power they posses.

Even though I did enjoy this story I found I was at a bit of a loss to find the links I would have expected between the first and second book. It did confuse me as I didn’t seem to have any memory of any of the key characters, once I kind of shrugged that off and decided to read it in the mindset of being more of a stand alone novel then I could enjoy the story. It was quite a long way in before I came across a character I could remember from the first book, he only makes a fleeting appearance.

So this book leaves me in a bit of a quandary, as part of a series I kind of expect characters to come back to me in the few chapters at least, but this wasn’t the case, this essentially left it as a book that had more of a stand alone feel.

I did enjoy the story and found it descriptive, it is full of action, a fair bit of blood, death and destruction, it also has magic, swordsmanship, warriors and honour. It is a book that I would recommend and I am still looking forward to the next in the series.

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

#BookReview |Bandit Country by Andrew Turpin @AndrewTurpin

51dVLYAL6mL._SY346_Bandit Country by Andrew Turpin, the third book in the Joe Johnson series.  Available from Amazon UK HERE in paperback of eBook format.  Buy the box set and read The Last Nazi, The Old Bridge and Bandit Country HERE.

Synopsis: 

A trail of high-profile sniper victims across Northern Ireland. Rising tension over the US president’s imminent visit. And the on-going bloody conflict driven by republican terrorists.
Ex-CIA war crimes investigator Joe Johnson quickly realizes there’s much more to it after he’s called to Belfast by a man who claims to be worried about the impact on his business of a long series of terrorist bombs and shootings.
The sniper’s body count rises, but with his motive remaining a mystery, fears mount as the president and UK prime minister’s visit for a G8 world summit draws nearer. 
Eventually, Johnson and his ex-MI6 colleague Jayne Robinson come to believe that the key lies in files, documents and secrets from nearly thirty years ago that certain high-flying public figures would rather remained unread.
Bandit Country—the third book in the Joe Johnson series—dives into the murky depths of historic conflicts between British security forces and the IRA, as well as the illegal US-based fundraising and weapons smuggling operations that armed the terrorists.
Meet Joe Johnson today and discover how he uncovers hidden truths from the past in an effort to prevent another devastating crime happening now.

My Thoughts:

Joe Johnson is back! This time in Northern Ireland. He has a freelance job offer that has connections to troubles in Northern Ireland from the 1980’s. Now 2013, the political stage has changed, Sinn Fein have political positions and there is a peace agreement in place.  Not all feel hopeful about the future and grassroots dissidents still make their feelings known with bombings and shootings, this affects business and is the reason why Joe has been called in.

I am a big fan of this series with Joe as the main protagonist, an ex-CIA war crimes investigator. This book feels a little bit different to the others, a slight step away from the war crimes investigations with more emphasis on events at the time of its setting in 2013, there are however many references to 1984, as well as other decades that are just as important.  Joe is soon in the thick of the action, his experiences, expertise and knowledge are all assets that he will need.

It is a story that covers many aspects of IRA, The Real IRA, Sinn Fein and also the thoughts and feelings of the people on the streets.  The mistrust, the distrust and the fear to hope things will actually change for the best as well as showing the frustrations of the dissidents at grass root level.

As the story moves forward the inclusion of arms shipments, smuggling and also US backers for the cause make an appearance as Joe tries to learn of an active sniper. This along with the added extra details that the author includes adds that believable factor I like in a story.  Things like how fast the helicopter flies rather than it just flying past, or why two guns of the same model have slight differences. These extras make me think that the author knows his stuff and done the research. The one thing I always enjoy with this authors work is the addition information he includes at the end of the story, where he found his sources, what books or sites he used. A great place for further reading and a great insight into the background of the book.

You could read this as a stand alone, it would work well I think, but I would definitely recommend reading the other books in the series. They give a great deal of information about Joe and importantly show his tenacious character.

This is a fast paced, action packed, thriller.  The author has created a balance of fact and fiction backed up with a huge amount of research and is the backbone of this book, add to that an amazing story that has been fictionally wrapped around events and you have a convincing read.  A Highly Recommended read from me.

About the Author:

0258_600MODERN THRILLERS WITH HISTORICAL TWISTS:

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

His first book in the Joe Johnson series, The Last Nazi, was published in August 2017, and the second, The Old Bridge, in January 2018. The third, Bandit Country, was published in February 2018.

Who is Joe Johnson? He’s an ex-CIA officer and former U.S. Nazi hunter with the Office of Special Investigations, part of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C.
Johnson has a passion for justice and a drive to investigate unsolved war crimes in different parts of the world. In particular, he is frustrated by the sectarian and religious conflicts that generally lie behind such crimes.

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

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

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

Follow Andrew on Twitter ~ Website 

The Joe Johnson Thriller Series: Books 1-3 (The Joe Johnson Thriller Series Boxset 1) by [Turpin, Andrew]

 

 

The Joe Johnson Thriller Series 

Available from Amazon UK

 

 

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

#BlogTour | #GlimmerOfHope by Steve McHugh @StevejMcHugh |#GuestPost #BookReview @annecater

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I am delighted to be part of the Blog Tour for “Glimmer of Hope” by Steve McHugh, the first in The Avalon Chronicles.  Available in various formats and you can get a copy HERE. I am over the moon to have a Guest Post by Steve, he discusses his “Getting published” experiences, I wasn’t sure if I would have time to read the book in time for the tour, I should have a little more faith in myself as I can also share my thoughts on the book I did have time to read 🙂 xx Thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the tour x

Synopsis:

From Steve McHugh, the bestselling author of The Hellequin Chronicles, comes a new urban fantasy series packed with mystery, action, and, above all, magic.
Layla Cassidy has always wanted a normal life, and the chance to put her father’s brutal legacy behind her. And in her final year of university she’s finally found it. Or so she thinks.
But when Layla accidentally activates an ancient scroll, she is bestowed with an incredible, inhuman power. She plunges into a dangerous new world, full of mythical creatures and menace—all while a group of fanatics will stop at nothing to turn her abilities to their cause.
To protect those she loves most, Layla must take control of her new powers…before they destroy her. All is not yet lost—there is a light shining, but Layla must survive long enough to see it.

Guest Post by Steve:

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Getting Published. 

Every author you ever speak to about how they became published has a different story. This is mine. 

I was 25 back in 2004 when my first child was about to be born, and I figured I should actually try this whole writing thing seriously. Turns out writing a book is hard. Who knew? 

It took me several years to get to a place where I had written something I actually thought worthy of publication, it was my second completed book, and was called Crimes Against Magic (spoilers, it did get published). 

I wanted to go the traditional publishing route. I just wanted to see my book in shops. I had no illusions about being a best-seller, or the next [Insert name of famous author here] I just wanted to write the best story I could, and get it out there. 

I sent query letters and synopsis to agents, making sure that I actually gave them what they asked for, and received quite a bit of useful feedback about why the book isn’t for them, but good luck. 

By 2011, I was beginning to feel a little downhearted. I’d spent the better part of a year trying to get the book published, I’d been writing other things in the meantime, and wondered whether or not Crimes was actually worthy of publishing. 

Several self-published friends of mine at the time spoke to me about how they’d been able to do well through self-publishing and that maybe I should look into it. 

Well, first I decided to send the book into the Amazon Breakthrough Novelist Award, and it ended up in the semi-finals (last 200 out of several thousand, I think). I found the whole process rejuvenated my thoughts that the book was worthwhile. I set about the self-publishing route. 

It took me a year or so to get the book properly edited, a good cover, and reading up on how to get your book noticed before I clicked upload and it was on Amazon. 

Then things got a bit unexpected. People started buying it. Quite a lot of people. 

By the end of the year, I’d published book 2, Born of Hatred, and by the January of the following year had 2 books that together had sold in the tens of thousands of copies. I was over the moon. 

Then things got even more unexpected. 

A publisher by the name of 47North (part of Amazon publishing’s own imprint) contacted me and asked if I’d be interested in working with them on relaunching the 2 Hellequin books, and also writing several more for them. I said yes. 

After the third book came out a year later, I also got an agent in the form of Paul Lucas at Janklow and Nesbit. 

So, in the end I did get my books in stores, and I did get an agent, and publisher, but I sort of took a detour to get there. And none of it might have happened if I’d never taken the chance on self-publishing the book. 

After 6 years of being published, by the end of 2018 I’ll have had 10 published books and 1 novella. It’s a staggering thing to consider that I’ve come all this way in such a short period of time, and that my journey from aspiring author to best-selling author was one with so many twists and turns, with so many lows and highs. But sometimes you have to take that chance, and sometimes it doesn’t pay off, but when it does, it can change everything in ways you can’t even imagine.

Follow Steve on Twitter ~ Blog ~ Facebook Author Page

My Thoughts:

This is my first experience with this author and what an absolutely brilliant introduction I had via Glimmer of Hope.  Layla is the main character in this book, a woman who has problems trusting and accepting people in her life.  She has a history and a story that is best kept secret, but she does have two good friends and she will need them as she discovers what this world and life holds in store for her.

Oh this book was a great read that hit all the right spots for me.  An Urban Fantasy with a whole range of legendary, mythological and folk-lore characters and above all magic, spirits and demons.  As Layla learns that there is more to her life than what she first imagined, she has hidden her past from others, but then others have also hidden parts of Layla’s past from her to protect her. She will discover that she does have a place and a role in life and believe when I say you don’t want to mess with her. The author has created a great mix of characters and has given enough details for the reader to see his “other” characters.

This is a fast paced, kick ass, saving the world, urban fantasy novel.  I did think it had a bit of a feel of being aimed at a YA audience. I am looking forward to continuing this journey  and read future books from The Avalon Chronicles, and also to start to read the Hellequin books. A great read that I would definitely recommend to those who like Urban Fantasy, Action and Fantasy genres, or a great start for those who want a bit of escapism.

If you want to see what others thought of this book, check out the dates and below

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Many thanks for reading my post, a share would be great if you liked it.  Get your own copy of this book HERE 🙂 xx

#BookReview : Night of the Taking by Scott Kaelen @ScottKaelen

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I am sharing Night of the Taking by Scott Kaelen today. This is a short introduction to his series The Fractured Tapestry. You can get a copy from Amazon UK along with many of his other books.

Synopsis:

The Volami opened the walls of their shining city of Midhallow and invited the surrounding tribesfolk to venture within. Decades later, the two races dwell together inside the city, not quite as equals, and watched over by the ever-present Retainers. A treaty, offered by the tribes to the Volami, was to seal their tenuous union during a long-held ritual. But it was a ruse. The celebrations became the bloodiest treachery the Volami would ever know, and set in motion events that would echo down the ages.

Night of the Taking is a short entry tale into the world of Verragos and the Fractured Tapestry series, and also serves as an introduction to characters which are destined to return later in the series.

My Thoughts:

This is a short, 28 pages, introduction into what I feel will be an exciting, maybe even an epic fantasy series.  It has the right vibes for me, I am always a little nervous when I read a really thrilling intro to a series like this.

Midhallow is a city where the Volami have opened and welcomed outlying tribes into.  They live side by side until a night of betrayal and bloodshed.

With a short and sweet novella like this it is difficult to write a full review, but I will share what I experienced without going into the story details.  What you get in this 28 pages is a real sense of emotion following an unexpected betrayal, it displays emotion, a sense of shock and disbelief and also anger that will lead on into future books.

There is a wonderful amount of detail and I was quite surprised at how quickly I got caught up in the story.  My only regret is that I finished it and would have quite happily read for many hours more if this is any indication of what is to continue.

So if you are looking for a new fantasy series then give Night of the Taking a look, it’s dark, descriptive, atmospheric and has all the hallmarks of being the start of a wonderful journey.  I have just bought the next book in the series and look forward to reading it  soon.   I definitely recommend this book.

About the Author:

A10I64KPHSL._SY200_  Scott Kaelen writes in the genres of epic fantasy, science fiction, horror, humour, spec-fic, contemporary fiction, poetry and non-fiction. His short stories include the dystopian urban sci-fi Moses Garrett and the apocalyptic horror The Lingering Remains. His current projects include a novel entitled The Blighted City – the first major release in the epic fantasy Verragos Tapestry series – and his second collection of poetry. As well as the pen, he is also modestly adept with the pencil; his work includes character concepts and sketches of famous personalities. His interests are all things sci-fi, fantasy and horror, as well as etymology, psychology, deep Earth history, palaeontology, geology, cosmology and computer RPGs. He’s also an ex-flosculator.

You can follow Scott on Twitter  Website

Many thanks for reading my post, a share would be great.  Better still go and get a copy of this book HERE 🙂 xx

#BlogTour : End Game by @Matt_Johnson #EndGame #RobertFinlay @OrendaBooks @annecater #BookReview

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I am delighted to be sharing m thoughts today on End Game by Matt Johnson. My thanks to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for my copy of this wonderful book and also for my spot on the tour.  This is the final book of the trilogy and you can purchase all the books from Amazon UK in either eBook or paperback.  BUYING LINK

Synopsis:

Robert Finlay seems to have finally left his SAS past behind him and is settled into his new career as a detective. But when the girlfriend of his former SAS colleague and close friend Kevin Jones is murdered, it’s clear that Finlay’s troubles are far from over. Jones is arrested for the killing, but soon escapes from jail, and Finlay is held responsible for the breakout. Suspended from duty and sure he’s being framed too, our hero teams up with MI5 agent Toni Fellowes to find out who’s behind the conspiracy. Their quest soon reveals a plot that goes to the very heart of the UK’s security services. End Game, the final part in the critically acclaimed Robert Finlay trilogy, sees our hero in an intricately plotted and terrifyingly fast-paced race to uncover the truth and escape those who’d sooner have him dead than be exposed.

My Thoughts:

This is the final instalment in the Robert Finlay series.  I do have a little confession here, and please don’t tell anyone, but I have not read any of the other books (hangs head in shame) but I have ordered them (raises head a little higher).  When an email from the wonderful Anne Cater dropped in I was not going to say no, reviews from other bloggers about the two previous books were wonderful and glowing, after reading End Game I can absolutely see why.

So to my thoughts, surely the fact that I immediately bought the other two books after finishing this one is testimony as to what I thought.  But in case you are not convinced by that…. With any book in a series, characters are important.  You follow them as they evolve and grow, you know their back stories, problems and history as well as their interaction with others (whether they play nicely in a group or not).  But as I have not had this experience (yes I know!) I found that the dynamics of the characters very evident, they have strong personalities and traits and have a great established believable feel about them.  It didn’t take long for me to remember them or to identify them within the story.

Right then to the plot, where to start, well there is an underlying plot from the previous stories, again something you would expect from a trilogy.  Matt has included great references to this and there is enough for this, late to the party reader, to get enough of an idea to understand.  It has also given plenty of intrigue and left me wanting to know more about the back stories, hence me the first two books.  For End Game, you are plunged into a world of British Secret Service and Police Investigations at an intense and breathtaking pace .  There are real life events that have been mentioned and incorporated into the story, I love this as it gives the reader a great reference point for the setting of a story.  These real events and also the authors own experiences give a real edgy feel to this story, the author knows his stuff.  It’s the lit details that add that extra element, these seemingly trivial little facts that are added are there because of the authors experience within the  military and police force.  This “insider” knowledge is what makes the story stand out and adds that important authentic and believable factor.

This was an absolute pleasure to read, it was intense and intricate in its plot and in the details but not at all confusing, fast paced and addictive.  The espionage aspect is devilish with a real edge of the seat feel.  A brilliantly woven tale and one that I Highly Recommend. Don’t just take my word for it, buy all three books and see for yourself.

About the Author:

Matt Johnson Author Picture.jpg  Matt Johnson served as a soldier and Metropolitan Police officer for twenty-five years. Blown off his feet at the London Baltic Exchange bombing in 1993, and one of the first police officers on the scene of the 1982 Regent’s Park bombing, Matt was also at the Libyan People’s Bureau shooting in 1984 where he escorted his mortally wounded friend and colleague, Yvonne Fletcher, to hospital. Hidden wounds took their toll. In 1999, Matt was discharged from the police with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While undergoing treatment, he was encouraged by his counsellor to write about his career and his experience of murders, shootings and terrorism. One evening, Matt sat at his computer and started to weave these notes into a work of fiction that he described as having a tremendously cathartic effect on his own condition. His bestselling thriller, Wicked Game, which was shortlisted for the CWA John Creasey Dagger, was the result. Deadly Game and now End Game, the final book in the Robert Finlay series, once again draw on Matt’s experiences and drips with the same raw authenticity of its predecessor.

The Robert Finlay Trilogy by Matt Johnson

Wicked Game      ~    Deadly Game      ~     End Game

Click on the title and it will take you to Amazon.UK website.

Since writing this post I am happy to say, my copies of the first two books are now here,  now I  have the full set 🙂29243814_10214155310511089_6356634460884041728_n

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give a share.  Or, go and buy yourself a copy HERE   🙂 xx

#BookReview : The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert @mimi_albert @penguinrandom @NetGalley #PublicationDay

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I am so delighted to be bringing you my thoughts on “The Hazel Wood” by Melissa Albert, it is due for publication today and available in various formats.  Published by Penguin it can be purchased from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the strange bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate – the Hazel Wood – Alice learns how bad her luck can really get. Her mother is stolen away – by a figure who claims to come from the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother’s stories are set. Alice’s only lead is the message her mother left behind: STAY AWAY FROM THE HAZEL WOOD.

To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother’s tales began . . .

My Thoughts:

When you think of fairy tales it is often woods, wolves, castles, princes and princesses with a happy ever after.  The Hazel Wood is nothing like that, it contains fairy tales but they are darker with an underlying feeling of dread to them.  The reclusive and mysterious author Althea Prosperine published her only novel Tales of the Hinterland.  Her granddaughter Ella has never met Althea, never read the book, but is aware of it.  In fact not many have met Althea or even have a copy of the book.  Ella and her mum Alice have to move around a lot, they keep their heads down, always try to keep ahead of the bad luck that seems to shadow them.  This story is how Ella and the reader learns about The Hazel Wood, the book and the bad luck.

This is a brilliantly woven story using the basic premise of a fairy tales.  Twisting them into a dark and brooding journey for the reader.  As we follow Ella and Alice there are things that are seen out of the corner of an eye that gives feeling of the supernatural that have mysterious darker undertones, shadows that linger, people that don’t quite fit in, this all adds to a feeling of tense suspense.  As the story unfolds there are several twists that I didn’t expect, they are clever and make this an extremely addictive read. There are several characters in this story and they are easily remembered and play their parts well, they have good backstories, and while I didn’t like all the characters I found them intriguing.

Once I started this story I could not put it down, the descriptions give a vivid and imaginative picture.  I loved the style of the writing, at times it had the fairy tale feel you would expect, but also a darker much more intense feel that was far removed from fairy tales.  I would like to see follow on from this book as there were several characters that I would like to know more about, and some that left me with questions. But overall it has been beautifully put together and is one I would absolutely recommend.

So if you like a dark and twisty fantasy read that has some roots in magical fairy tales then this is a book for you.  It is a young adult read, that an older adult loved.

I would like to thank NetGalley and the publishers for my eARC of this wonderful book, my thoughts are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

You can visit the author in Twitter and also find all the links to purchase the books HERE

 

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share.  Or go and grab yourself a copy of this brilliant book 🙂 xx

#BookReview : The Wait For Shadows by Karl Holton @KarlHolton

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I have been eagerly waiting to share my thoughts on “The Wait For Shadows” the 2nd book in The Shadows Series, by Karl Holton. Published by Thuja it is available to purchase in paperback and eBook format from Amazon UK ~ Amazon US 

Synopsis:

An assassin wants revenge but doesn’t know who to kill. 
A drug dealer wants revenge without the muscle to kill. 
a ‘wild beast’ can help them both. 
Can anybody stop it? 

The last six days in ‘The Weight of Shadows’ were just the beginning. 
Danny Benedict and the whole team must get ready — it’s day seven. 
The second book in the ‘Shadows Series’. 

Every morning you can watch the sunbeams glitter, 
certain you no longer need to wait for shadows. 

My Thoughts:

I have been looking forward to reading this 2nd book in the Shadows Series.  Would Karl keep up the fast paced, explosive read I had experienced in The Weight of Shadows ? Well I read this book in one sitting ! So yes it did live up to my expectations as I was once again transported into the murky double-crossing underworld of the secret services, the underhand dealing of gangs, the high-end criminals in organised international crime and all the fall out, action and adventure that goes with it.

I loved the way Karl has, at the beginning of this book included a list of the main characters giving a brief description of their role, this immediately jogged my memory and the story began.  We are taken into a scenario where some departments use the useful, but slightly illegal resources of a certain boss, he is one of those grey area bosses.  He has been involved in illegal practices that has made him a billionaire, but his resources are the only way some people can be found.  He is a rogue, but one of those good baddies. Along with Benedict, Wallace, Watkins, Paddy and Pip the story leads you into money laundering, drug dealing on an international scale.

The pacing of this book is fast, well-balanced and keeps in well with the style of the story.  There are chases, ambushes, snipers and assassins that will add to a body count as the team work their way through leads, dirty cops, sneaky sly secret service agents and hedge fund management. Benedict and Wallace have a great dynamic as they work together, both brash but can see the professionalism in each other.  I like this combination and look forward to more adventures with the duo.

I would recommend to readers that reading the first book in the series would be beneficial, there is mention of the previous story. Even though brief explanations are given, reading the first will give essential background.  I personally don’t think you would get the same enjoyment from this one if it is read as a stand alone.

So to finish up, this is a book I would highly recommend to readers of fast paced action and adventure, with corruption, double-dealing in the murky underworld, and high-end organised international crime world.  This is a great book that took me straight back to the world that I loved so much in “The Weight of Shadows”.  Now then Mr. Holton, when is the next book out 🙂

About the Author:

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Karl Holton’s first book, ‘The Weight of Shadows’ came out in July 2017. It is the first in a new crime thriller mystery known as the ‘Shadow Series. The second in the series ‘The Wait for Shadows’ came out in December 2017. Both are available on Amazon.

Karl previously worked in financial markets for over thirty years, before deciding that he had to write. He couldn’t leave this dream any longer.

He lives in the United Kingdom with his wife and two children.

Follow Karl on Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Website

My review  for “The Weight of Shadows

Purchase from Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

Many thanks for reading my post, please give it a share if you liked it.  Better still go and get a copy of this explosive thriller and see what you think xx