The Awakening Aten by Aiden K. Morrissey #TheAwakeningAten @AidenKMorrissey #RandomThingsTours @annecater #HistFic #Review

I am delighted to share my review for The Awakening Aten by Aiden k. Morrissey. My huge thanks to Aiden for my copy of his book and also to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for accepting my request to join the Blog Tour.

Let’s have a look and see what The Awakening Aten is all about…

he Awakening Aten envelops the reader in an Egypt of whispers and fears, of webs within webs, deceit upon deceit. Its themes of murder, intrigue, political and religious conflict, corruption, tomb robbing, war and executions are set against a background of fundamental ideological change.  

Ancient Egypt is seen through the eyes of two families; one royal, the other commoner. Yuya, whose tomb is in the Valley of the Kings, is a foreigner who rises from slavery to become Regent to an infant Pharaoh and thus, the most powerful man in the world’s wealthiest empire. His children and descendants will remain at the very heart of the country’s destiny. Kha is a tomb painter and builder who experiences both the despair of imprisonment and the horror of war. As Overseer of the King’s Works he restores the Great Sphinx, and inscribes the ‘Dream Stela’ placed between its paws, still visible today. Through tragic and deathly events his family and that of Yuya become entwined.  

This is the fictional tale of real people, whose possessions and artefacts can be seen in museums throughout the world. It gives a voice to those people, inspired by their personal items, buried with them 3,000 years ago.

PURCHASE LINK – Amazon UK

If you like ancient historical fiction novels that have a huge amount of factual detail incorporated, then you should consider picking up a copy of The Awakening Aten. It is set in 1420 BCE Egypt and it is the first in a planned 5 Book Series.

I enjoyed this story so much and rather than write a review about the story itself I am writing about the things that stood out for me. It is just that when I try and write a review on the story it sounds so confusing because it is such a big story, and I don’t feel able to do it justice. That makes it sound like the story is confusing, and actually, once you get into it flows wonderfully and makes complete sense!

The story has quite a large cast and the main characters have a mention in a handy list at the front of the book. What I liked about this list was that is was broken down into family groups. The author has also noted which characters are real or fictional.

The cast covers a diverse range of backgrounds from those facing death to the King. In between, there are priests, mercenaries, artists, builders and princes just to name a few. This is where that handy list comes in useful as I started to get to grips with them all.

The story itself charts the lives of the key characters, the roles they play as well as the everyday things. Here the author manages to weave individual stories that gradually build into a far bigger picture.

The research and knowledge are very evident and the inclusion of some very interesting notes from the author adds to that feeling that the details were right. I am not knowledgable in this era of history, I do know bits and pieces like most others but things just felt right as far as I was concerned.

The story itself had so many things going on and though it follows the lives of the main characters, I also felt as though I was getting a grand tour of ancient Egypt and all that was involved at the time. The story has a lot of drama and it is explored through various means. There is murder, corruption, power-struggles, religion, social etiquette, tombs, mummification… in fact, pretty much everything I would expect from this period and then a whole lot more!

This was such a fascinating and very insightful novel with some fabulous detail. Following different families as they made their way through the story. It has left me very eager to read the next in the series.

This is a book that has left me wanting to read more and it is one I would definitely recommend.

I am of Irish heritage and was the first member of my immediate family to be born outside of Ireland. My professional life has caused me to travel the world. I am now looking forward to settling in the North East of England, to concentrate on writing.

A graduate in Law from Leicester University, after working for some years in a commercial environment, I qualified as a Solicitor in 1981.

My career developed in an unusual way and I have lived and worked at various times in Italy, Brazil, the United States, India and Germany.

I have always had a love and fascination for history. A holiday in Egypt sparked a particular passion for Ancient Egypt, especially the latter part of the 18th Dynasty. A history, which Pharaoh Horemeb (Djeser-Kheperu-Ra circa 1319-1292 BCE) tried to destroy and which only came to light following the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb in 1922.

‘The Awakening Aten’ is the culmination of many years of research.

I have built up a substantial collection of academic books and novels on Ancient Egypt, its customs, traditions and daily life. I am fortunate to have been able to visit all of the major museums containing artefacts from Egypt throughout the world, as well as spending months in Egypt itself studying the funereal valleys and other sites. All of this supplemented by internet research.

This novel is the first in a plannned five book series, looking at the fictional lives of real people through a period of major political and religious change, spanning approximately 130 years.

My hobbies are reading, which I enjoy as much as I do writing, and taking bracing walks along the North East Coast and in the Northumberland Hills.

Website: http://www.aidenkmorrisey-author.com/

Twitter @AidanKMorrissey

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Meet Me In Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May @nicolamay1 @rararesources #Review

I am delighted to share my review for Meet Me iN Cockleberry Bay by Nicola May. My huge thanks to Rachel for acceprting my request to join the tour and also to Nicola for my e-copy of her latest book.

Let’s see what it is all about…

The cast of the runaway bestseller, The Corner Shop in Cockleberry Bay, are back – including Rosa, Josh, Mary, Jacob, Sheila, new mum Titch and, last but by no means least, Hot, the adorable dachshund.

Newly wed, and with her inherited corner shop successfully up and running, Rosa Smith seems to have all that anyone could wish for. But the course of true love never did run smooth and Rosa’s suspicions that her husband is having an affair have dire consequences.

Reaching rock bottom before she can climb back up to the top, fragile Rosa is forced to face her fears, addiction and jealousy head on.

With a selection of meddling locals still at large, a mystery fire and Titch’s frantic search for the real father of her sick baby, the second book in this enchanting series will take you on a further unpredictable journey of self-discovery.

Purchase Links – Amazon UK or US

This is the 2nd book in the series and I am so annoyed with myself that I didn’t read the 1st one. There are some fabulous characters that I am meeting for the first time though it is their second appearance. I would say that you are better to read in order, though this second book did read well as a stand-alone.

Rosa runs a corner shop and specialises in all things pet-related. She is really struggling with her home life and coming to terms with her husband working away during the week. This adds a fraught tension to their relationship and gradually rosa starts to spiral out of control until she finds herself at rock bottom.

This is such a great read and one that I found was relatable. We all have things going on in our lives and the doubts and insecurities are a real threat. The author has very realistically and sympathetically captured this with her storyline and characters.

Rosa is not an “all doom and gloom” character and it is only in her times of solitude does she step on the slippery slope. She has around her some wonderful friends who are there to keep an eye out for her and to help her when she needs it.

Hitting rock bottom and getting some “tough love” treatment is something that Rosa needs, it sounds harsh but sometimes you have to see what you have lost before you realise what you had. The story goes through various emotions as Rosa starts to take a good look at what she has achieved in her life.

This is a story that I thoroughly enjoyed and it took me along the “things are not always as they appear” route. The balance between Rosa and her problems are levelled out with the other characters and things in their lives and the parts they play.

After reading this book, it has left me curious as to the previous book. There are tantalising little snippets and hints back to the first that has sparked my curiosity… ok nosiness!

This is a story of emotion, drama, romance and life in general.

It’s one I would recommend!

Award winning author Nicola May lives in Ascot in Berkshire with her rescue cat Stanley. Her hobbies include watching films that involve a lot of swooning, crabbing in South Devon, eating flapjacks and enjoying a flutter on the horses. Inspired by her favourite authors Milly Johnson and Carole Matthews, Nicola writes what she describes as chicklit with a kick.

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The Secret – Violet’s Story by Eliza J Scott @ElizaJScott1 @rararesources #Review

I am delighted to be shgaring mny review for The Secret – Violet’s Story by Eliza J Scott. My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for accpeting my request to join the tour and also to Eliza for my e-copy of this book.

Having read the previous book I was eager to return back to the Life On The Moors series. Although I think this could be read as a stand alone novel, I think it is best read in series order.

Let’s have a look and see what it is all about…

It’s been two years since glamorous and ambitious Violet Smith fell head-over-heels in love with blacksmith Jimby Fairfax, and moved back home to the North Yorkshire village of Lytell Stangdale to be with him. 


Life couldn’t get much sweeter. Their romance is blooming and Romantique – the business she set up with Jimby’s sister Kitty, designing luxurious underwear and burlesque costumes with the odd wedding dress throw in – is thriving. 


But on a romantic weekend break, a face from her past triggers a series of events which send Violet into turmoil. She finds herself with no alternative but to reveal a secret she’s buried deep for the past sixteen years. A secret she hasn’t shared with anyone, not even her best friends, Kitty and Molly, and they share everything. 


With the revelation forcing a wedge between herself and Jimby, heartbroken Violet fears that he won’t ever be able to think of her in the same way again and won’t want anything more to do with her. 


As ever, Kitty and Molly rally round, offering their advice and support but Vi is worried that keeping her secret was just a step too far for Jimby. 
Will she succeed in showing him their love is strong enough to overcome it? 


The Secret – Violet’s Story is book 3 in the Life on the Moors Series. 

PURCHASE LINKS – AMAZON UK or AMAZON US

This is the third in the Life On The Moors series and I love it. The Secret is all about Violet, or Vi as she is known to everyone. She returned to the village of Lytell Stangdale a few years before and fell in love with Jimby, a childhood friend. The story that follows is one that caught my attention as I discovered more about Violet and what her secret is!

As soon as I started reading this book I felt that connection come back from the previous book, The Talisman – Molly’s Story. The friends that make up this series so far have been Kitty and Molly, so it was so nice to read about Violet. The warmth of the friendship that these women have is just a great thing to read about. They are supportive of each other in that wonderful “they have your back” sort of way. They have a more sisterly than friend relationship.

They know everything about each other, well almost! As Violet had been away at University she had a section of her life that she had not told anyone about. This I completely understood and also why she never said anything. I think it was quite plausible for her to hold this secret back. Something happens that makes Violet think it is time to explain, but will this drive Jimby away from her?

This is such a wonderful stroy that I happily immersed myself in, I happily read this while sat in the garden in the sun. The descritions of the surroundings, the village and the general characters were great. It didn’t take me long to get into the story and I loved that I was reunited within the characters of the story again. Emotions did come into play as I wondered what was going to happen and also the revelation of the secret.

If you love books about friendship, relationships within a gorgeous setting then this is a book, in fact it is a series that you should consider picking up.

It gets a Definitely Recommended from Me!

Eliza lives in a 17th-century cottage on the edge of a village in the North Yorkshire Moors with her husband, their two daughters and two mischievous black Labradors. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found with her nose in a book/glued to her Kindle or working in her garden. Eliza also enjoys bracing walks in the countryside, rounded off by a visit to a teashop where she can indulge in another two of her favourite things: tea and cake.

Eliza is inspired by her beautiful surroundings and loves to write heartwarming stories with happy endings.

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Come Back For Me by Heidi Perks #COMEBACKFORME @HeidiPerksBook @arrowpublishing #Review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for Come Back to Me by Heidi Perks. My huge thanks to Rachel Kennedy for arranging my advanced copy of the book and accepting my request to join the Blog Tour.

Before I go any further, let’s have a look and see what this Psychological Thriller is all about…

A shocking discovery. An island wrapped in secrets.You can bury the body, but the truth will always surface…

A tiny island community is stunned by the discovery of a long-buried body. For Stella Harvey, the news is doubly shocking, as the body is found in the garden of her childhood home. The home her family fled without explanation twenty-five years ago.

Now, questioning her past and desperate to unearth the truth, Stella returns to the Dorset island.


But she quickly finds that the community she left isn’t as welcoming as she remembers – and that people in it will go to any length to protect their secrets. But one thing rings true… You can’t bury the truth forever.

Fans of THE BAY, BROADCHURCH, THE COUPLE NEXT DOOR and Lisa Jewell’s THEN SHE WAS GONE will not be able to put this novel down.

Stella loved living on the island of Evergreen, growing up in this isolated community was wonderful. She was heartbroken when her parents decided to suddenly move and Stella not fully understanding why! It is only years later that she begins to learn the truth as she returns to her childhood home to discover who the newly discovered body is! She discovers that it is not the place she remembered it to be, the secrets run deep as the naivety of her childhood is challenged.

This is a story with two timelines and told by two main characters, Stella and her mother and alternates between the present day and back to 1993 when Stella was 11 years old. From these two characters, I gradually learnt about the other family members and friends as the truth of the story began to emerge. The truth is not obvious and the author teased with details, just allowing little snippets and glimpses to be revealed. I was never sure if, or who I could trust anyone, and as this is a psychological thriller, this mistrust works well. Also adding to the psychological aspect is the isolation of the island and also the community. There are only a handful of residents mentioned and they do have their part to play, what they also add is the general feeling of the community.

The setting of this community on an island adds to the air of mystery. It sounds idyllic with its beaches, cliffs and wooded areas. Visited only by tourists in the height of the season, accessible only by boat. This mystery and intrigue is mirrored by the sparse smattering of characters. While I loved the idea of the setting the characters I just could not take to, they felt cold and aloof and, never once did I feel I could trust any of them.

I did think I had this story worked out early on, haha yeah right! Me and thinking I have things right … definitely not a strong point of mine! As I got further in I found I was adding to my original theory as the author gradually teased me with little reveals and revelations along the way. I like this continual seeding of self-doubt and it added to the general feeling of suspense.

If you like psychological thrillers that are all about discovering past truths and uncovering secrets then you will enjoy this one. It has plenty of drama and disfuntional families with a dramatic setting adding to the suspense-filled air.

It is one I would definitely recommend.

Heidi Perks’ debut novel Now You See Her twice reached the Sunday Times bestseller list, first in hardback in July 2018 at No.9 and again at No.6 in paperback in March 2019 where it was a Richard & Judy Book Club pick for Spring 2019. Now You See Her has sold over 120,000 copies across formats to date and has received a staggering 200 five start reviews on Amazon from readers. It has also been optioned for TV from the production company behind BBC One’s ‘The Miniaturist’ and Channel 4’s ‘National Treasure’.

Heidi Perks worked as a marketing director for a financial company before leaving to become a full-time mother and writer. She is a graduate of the inaugural Curtis Brown Creative Online Novel Writing Course (the only creative writing school run by a literary agency). Follow Heidi on Twitter @HeidiPerksBooks and join in the conversation with #COMEBACKFORME.

You can get a copy from Amazon UK

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Hidden by Roger A Price @RAPriceAuthor #BOTBSPublicity #Review

I am delighted to share my review with you all for Hidden by Roger A Price. My thanks to Sarah at Book On The Brightside Publicity for my spot on the Blog Tour and to the Roger for my e-copy of his book.

Let’s have a look and see what it is all about…

Vinnie’s romantic holiday did not go as planned. There was an assault, his companion was threatened and the police asked them to leave.

And when Vinnie returns to his police job in Manchester, things don’t get much better, as he finds himself at the heart of an investigation that stretches from Manchester to all corners of Europe. Women are being trafficked into the UK and forced into prostitution, and while the police are diligent in their enquiries, they seem to have a rogue in their midst.

As events unravel, the lines between good and bad, police and criminals, seem to become more and more blurred… and the stakes for all involved are getting higher.

Hidden is Book 3 in Roger Price’s the badge and the pen series, but it can equally be read as a novel in its own right. Existing fans of Vinnie and Christine are bound to love it, but Hidden is also perfect for crime and police fiction lovers, and anybody who loves a fast-paced, gripping story.

The synopsis for this book indicates that this is going to be a tough crime and police procedural read. The investigation unfolds and the full extent of the depths people fall soon becomes apparent.

Vinnie is involved in the investigation into trafficked women and Christine, a journalist with wants to highlight this growing crime. The main focus is on Vinnie as he gradually starts to link things together and work out the details. While Christine tends to take ore of a backseat for the first half of the book. The second half however see’s her taking a more proactive stance as her enquiries for the story emerge.

The subject of human trafficking and prostitution is mentioned as it is obviously the basis of the story, the author, however, has not gone into too much detail. The emphasis is on the case and those that are trying to discover the truth behind those that run the business, the women and the premises Alongside the crimes is the corruption and this is a great way of adding an air of distrust. It left me wondering which way and how far corruption would spread.

Now, this Author has a career that gives him invaluable insight into policing, crime, investigations and the courtroom. his adds that extra something that I like in this type of book, the knowledge and experience shows.

The pacing of the story is good and this is helped by not having a huge cast list. Keeping those that are necessary means I don’t have lots of people to remember, it means I can just sit and read allowing the story to take me along.

This is a good read and is one that readers of police procedural, crime, thriller reads would enjoy. It’s one I would Recommend.

I was born in Bury, raised in Whitley Bay, and have lived in Lancashire since I was thirteen. Currently living in Preston, I served for over thirty-one years with the Lancashire Constabulary, the Regional Crime Squad and the National Crime Squad. I retired in the rank of detective inspector in charge of a covert unit, which received local and national acclaim for its successes in engaging those who openly sold Class A drugs, such as heroin and crack cocaine. 
Prior to this I led the C.I.D. in Preston for a short while and before that I was in charge of a dedicated informant unit. Previous experiences include work on many murder investigations and other serious crimes, as well as time spent on drug squads. I have served around the region, country, and overseas.
My work on the National Crime Squad took me across Europe and to the Far East. I have been commended on four occasions. I now write fiction based in-part on my experiences, and in-part from my fevered imagination.
My First novel, By Their Rules, was followed by A New Menace, before I joined Endeavour Media with a new ‘Badge & the Pen’ series of crime thrillers which brings together maverick DI Vinnie Palmer and sassy investigative news reporter, Christine Jones. Unlikely bedfellows who compliment each other as they seek the truth but from differing agendas.
The first in the series is Nemesis, where they hunt down an escaped psychopath, followed by Vengeance, where the troubles of Northern Ireland of twenty years ago remerge in the criminal underworld of north west England.
HIDDEN, is the third where Vinnie and Christine face the worst of criminals, as they hunt those responsible for people trafficking, forced servitude and prostitution, in a race-against-time thriller. 
I have also written an original returning police drama for TV which is going out on submission as we speak, via my agent Olav Wyper at SMA Talent Ltd. McCall and Stamp are trouble-shooters from the dark world of covert policing; solving problems where nothing is black or white: only grey!          

 
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Aside from following me on any of the above social media accounts, you can join my mailing list – I prefer the title Readers’ List – via my website, or my Facebook author page. You will receive a FREE short story and the odd newsletter from me. I don’t batter people’s inboxes, but I do make sure that any giveaways, notice of promos or exciting news goes to my Readers’ List first, so it makes sense to join.

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I Looked Away by Jane Corry @PenguinBooksUK #ILookedAway #review

I am delighted to be sharing my review for I Looked Away by Jane Corry. My huge thanks to Ellie Hudson from Penguin Books for sending me an ARC of Janes latest book.

Now, let’s see what it is all about…

THE GRIPPING NEW THRILLER FROM THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF MY HUSBAND’S WIFE AND THE DEAD EX

Every Monday, 49-year-old Ellie looks after her grandson Josh. She loves him more than anything else in the world. The only thing that can mar her happiness is her husband’s affair. But he swore it was over, and Ellie has decided to be thankful for what she’s got.

Then one day, while she’s looking after Josh, her husband gets a call from that woman. And for just a moment, Ellie takes her eyes off her grandson. The accident that happens will change her life forever.

Because Ellie is hiding something in her past.

And what looks like an accident could start to look like murder…

I am a big fan of Jane Corry and have read her previous books, I looked Away is amazing and my favourite one by her…so far!

This author has created such an addictive and emotional story that incorporates so many different elements. These have been brilliantly researched and woven together to create a stunning read.

It revolves and evolves around Ellie. Where to even start with this fabulous character… circumstances took her from a happy, carefree childhood so full of love and happiness that is until her world is totally upended. After a traumatic experience, she finds her life changes, what should be a new start turns sour. She finds herself in situation after situation, at times only barely coping, this is not how childhood should be. She feels lost, continually isolated and inadequate. These feelings over the years are gradually cemented and added to and it doesn’t help that she has never come to terms to deal with the grief that her original trauma stems from.

As I mentioned this author deals with some serious elements and she does them exceptionally well. Dealing with PTSD, emotional abuse, mental health and homelessness are definitely serious and often misunderstood. Now given the nature of some of the topics you may think that this book would be a sombre one, in fact, it is far from that. Instead, the author has created a flow and pacing that suits her story so well, it effortlessly flows and is an absolute page turner. I found myself wanting to get the bottom of what makes Ellie tick, to discover all about her life.

At the end of the book, Jane shares some personal experiences and also a section called “The Science Behind the story”, and also an insightful Q & A with Claire Pooley who specialises in trauma and is a psychotherapist and mental health nurse. I found these additions to be so interesting, they add an extras something special to the work that went into the story.

This book is such a good read on so many different levels. It’s emotional, poignant, insightful and thought-provoking, along with that I saw a glimpse into a different side of society.

I Looked Away is a book I would Highly Recommend!


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Cold As The Grave by James Oswald @SirBenfro @annecater #RandomThingsTours #Review

I am so delighted to be sharing my review for Cold As The Grave by James Oswald. I recieved my copy as part of the Blog Tour and my thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for accpeting my request to join.

Let’s see what the bookis all about…

The ninth book in the Sunday Times-bestselling phenomenon that is the Inspector McLean series, from one of Scotland’s most celebrated crime writers .

Her mummified body is hidden in the dark corner of a basement room, a room which seems to have been left untouched for decades. A room which feels as cold as the grave.

As a rowdy demonstration makes its slow and vocal way along Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, Detective Chief Inspector Tony McLean’s team are on stand-by for any trouble. The newly promoted McLean is distracted, inexplicably drawn to a dead-end mews street… and a door, slightly ajar, which leads to this poor girl’s final resting place.

But how long has she been there, in her sleep of death? The answers are far from what McLean or anyone else could expect. The truth far more chilling than a simple cold case…

Wow! 5 Stars! Will, that do? Is that enough for a review? I only ask because I am not sure quite how to articulate my thoughts into some sort of coherent review!!!!!

This is a police procedural with such a creepy and sinister undertone to it. A supernatural air adds to the atmosphere and reminded me of a Victorian gothic story with swirling mists, ominous shapes and shadows, but very much set in the present day.

Following DCI McLean around Edinborough because DCI’s sit at desks working on budgets and reports right? Well, that is where you would be wrong! He likes to get right in the thick of things, getting a feel for the case with his feet firmly on the ground. He is very much like a dog with a bone as when he gets his teeth into the case he does not let go and tenaciously hangs on till the end.

McLean is such a committed copper and his team around him have a similar ethic. In the background, there is a lurking menace, a character that he has a past with. A character with cogs constantly turning and finger in all the pies. While they don’t have a huge physical role as such it is their presence definitely is there. It felt a little like Moriarty to Holmes.

I loved the route the author took with this story, it kept me on my toes and constantly questioning what I thought. The way the victims met their demise was gruesomely brilliant, it sounds wrong to say that but, it was so different and added to the suspense and mystery. Definitely not your usual MOand that added such a wonderful tense feel to the investigations and the overall air of the story.

How the author would get to the ending had me a little concerned until I got there myself, and I am so happy to say he got it so right. I really should stop trying to see ahead as I am often wrong-footed!

Now I know this is quite a vague review to the story and I have picked out some of the things I loved about it. When I finished this book and tried to write a review I crossed and scribbled out so many things, they contained spoilers and hinted too much at what happened. In the end, I decided that picking out some of the key things that worked so well for me.

If you like your crime thriller reads that are dark, atmospheric, mysterious and ominous, with a storyline that has various elements that have been brilliantly drawn together, then this should really be on your ‘Must Read’ list!

Cold As The Grave by James Oswald is a book that gets an ‘Absolutely & Highly Recommended’ from Me!

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A Feast of Serendib by Mary Anne Mohanraj @mamohanraj @rararesources #cookbook #BookReview

I am delighted to share my view for a cook book that will definitley tickle your tastebuds. A Feast of Serendib by Mary Anne Mohanraj. Mary brings a delicious feast fantastic with her Sri Lankan background and other cultural influences to create an amazing cook book.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for accepting my request to join the tour and also to Mary for my e-copy of her book.

Dark roasted curry powder, a fine attention to the balance of salty-sour-sweet, wholesome red rice and toasted curry leaves, plenty of coconut milk and chili heat. These are the flavors of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka was a cross roads in the sea routes of the East. Three waves of colonization—Portuguese, Dutch and British—and the Chinese laborers who came with them, left their culinary imprint on Sri Lankan food. Sri Lankan cooking with its many vegetarian dishes gives testimony to the presence of a multi-ethnic and multi -religious population.

Everyday classics like beef smoore and Jaffna crab curry are joined by luxurious feast dishes, such as nargisi kofta and green mango curry, once served to King Kasyapa in his 5th century sky palace of Sigiriya.

Vegetable dishes include cashew curry, jackfruit curry, asparagus poriyal, tempered lentils, broccoli varai and lime-masala mushrooms. There are appetizers of chili-mango cashews, prawn lentil patties, fried mutton rolls, and ribbon tea sandwiches. Deviled chili eggs bring the heat, yet ginger-garlic chicken is mild enough for a small child. Desserts include Sir Lankan favorites:  love cake, mango fluff, milk toffee and vattalappam, a richly-spiced coconut custard.

In A Feast of Serendib, Mary Anne Mohanraj introduces her mother’s cooking and her own Americanizations, providing a wonderful introduction to Sri Lankan American cooking, straightforward enough for a beginner, and nuanced enough to capture the flavor of Sri Lankan cooking.

Purchase Links: Serendib KitchenPre Order Link

Several words spring to mind as I read this book – mouthwatering, delicious, tasty, do-able, yummy… I think you can see where I am going with this!

Before I start on the recipes I am going to mention all the other things that are included in this book. Mary has included little snippets from her life, her family and friends. Sri Lankan cookery has taken recipes from other cultures and they have been adapted over the years to fit with the food available. These little asides are included in the introduction to some recipes, as poems or in the fabulous Introduction at the beginning of the book.

Some of the recipes have little alternatives or tweaks that she has thoughtfully included, little adaptions that are handy to know and come from experience. Each recipe has a wonderful photograph, I like to see what an end product is so these are a very welcome addition.

Now then, the recipes…Wow! every course is catered for, starters, mains, vegetarian, fish, dessert and, drinks. I have tried a couple of dishes, only simple things as I am between shopping trips at the moment, and to be fair my little village shop does not carry a lot of the ingredients. Though in the list of main ingredients there are often alternatives, this came in very handy indeed.

The first thing I tried was the Chai Tea, this sounds a little bit random, but I buy Chai Tea so I reasoned that as I have everything I needed why not make my own! Much better than the shop bought one I get, I can see this is a recipe that I will be using quite often.

Next up was the Braised Pepper Chicken, a milder recipe that had ginger, garlic, cinnamon, cardamom, onions and tomato. A simple recipe to follow that makes use of my basic store cupboard ingredients. Very tasty and I served it with just simple boiled rice, though I do add a veg stock cube to the water while cooking.

I am looking forward to trying more recipes in this book. On my list for the future is Black Pork Curry, Beef Smoore, Beet Curry, Raita that is different from the one I usually make and, I definitely want to try the mango pickle. There are so many recipes that I would love to make and try though.

If you are looking for a cookbook that has a very good mix of recipes then this would be one that would be a good asset for your shelf. A mix of ingredients that are easy to source though I would have to travel a little further afield for some of them.

The recipes I tried were easy to follow and extremely tasty, it is a book I would definitely look to buy in its physical format. It is not just a cookbook, it has so many interesting extras and this makes it enjoyable to read and peruse through

It gets a Highly Recommended from Me!

Mary Anne Mohanraj is the author of Bodies in Motion (HarperCollins), The Stars Change (Circlet Press) and thirteen other titles. Bodies in Motion was a finalist for the Asian American Book Awards, a USA Today Notable Book, and has been translated into six languages. The Stars Change was a finalist for the Lambda, Rainbow, and Bisexual Book Awards.

Mohanraj founded the Hugo-nominated and World Fantasy Award-winning speculative literature magazine, Strange Horizons, and alsofounded Jaggery, a S. Asian & S. Asian diaspora literary journal (jaggerylit.com). She received a Breaking Barriers Award from the Chicago Foundation for Women for her work in Asian American arts organizing, won an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, and was Guest of Honor at WisCon. She serves as Director of two literary organizations, DesiLit (www.desilit.org) and The Speculative Literature Foundation (www.speclit.org). She serves on the futurist boards of the XPrize and Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.

Mohanraj is Clinical Associate Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and lives in a creaky old Victorian in Oak Park, just outside Chicago, withher husband, their two small children, and a sweet dog. Recent publications include stories for George R.R. Martin’s WildCards series, stories at Clarkesworld, Asimov’s, and Lightspeed, and an essay in Roxane Gay’s Unruly Bodies.  2017-2018 titles include Survivor (a SF/F anthology), Perennial, Invisible 3 (co-edited with Jim C. Hines), and Vegan Serendib. http://www.maryannemohanraj.com

Social Media Links – FacebookTwitterInstagramWebsiteSerendib Kitchen Website

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Monopoli Blues by Tim Clark & Nick Cook #RandomThingsTours @unbounders @annecater #NonFiction #WW2 #BookReview

I am delighted to be sharing Monopoli Blues by Tim Clark & Nick Cook with you all today. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for accepting my request to join the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this book.

Let’s have a look and see what it is all about…

In November 1944, Sub Lt Bob Clark, a twenty-year old agent with Britain’s top-secret Special Operations Executive, parachuted into northern Italy.

He left behind the girl he had fallen in love with, Marjorie, his radio operator. Captured by the enemy, Bob’s fate hangs in the balance and Marjorie won’t know for six months whether he is alive or dead…

Monopoli Blues recounts the story of Tim Clark’s journey to uncover the story of his parents’ war – and the truth behind the betrayal of his father’s Clarion mission to the Nazis.

When Tim Clark wanted to know more about his parents’ involvement in Special Operation during WWII, he thought it would be a case of simply asking them. His father was not forthcoming with details and his mother very similar. Neither spoke much of their involvement, only odd comments mentioned. The curiosity was sparked however, but a full conversation would never happen.

After the death of his father, Tim decided to embark on a research journey. It involved travelling, meeting with people and meticulously putting together the story of Monopoli Blues. All the pieces found and placed together like a jigsaw. Now when I say meticulous I really do mean it, dates, places, timelines, photo’s and information is amazing. Given all the information that is included I never once felt overwhelmed. The story that is told is so easy to follow and became very addictive reading.

While the story is one of his parents meeting and their life during the war, it is also one of the unknown, survival and courage. From a solid friendship and realtionship followed. The story gives a glimpse into the lives of two people who met during the war.

There are so many things I enjoyed about the story as well as the one about his parents. The photgraphs, snippets from letters, details of missions and other things that I was unaware of. This is where the background of both Authors helped. Bringing history and journalism together to create a fascinating read.

I found myself on the internet looking at various items that caught my curiosity in the book. I love it when this happens!

This is a fascinating book and it is one that I think lovers of WWII History will enjoy. It was a book I flew through and one I would Definitely Recommend.

Tim Clark spent a large part of his career working as a lawyer at one of the world’s leading firms specialising in M+A and corporate work in the UK and internationally, ultimately becoming Senior Partner. Since retiring as a lawyer, Tim has taken on board positions on a number of corporate, arts and charitable organisations, and senior advisory roles at a number of international think tanks.

Nick Cook is an author, journalist, broadcaster and entrepreneur. In 1986, he joined the world-renowned Jane’s Defence Weekly , initially as a reporter, rising quickly to become Aviation Editor, a position he held until 2005. His first novel, Angel, Archangel , was published in 1989 to critical acclaim. In 2001, Cook’s first non-fiction title, The Hunt For Zero Point , was published, reaching Number 1 in Amazon’s Non-Fiction charts. He has also written, hosted and produced two documentaries about the world of aerospace and defence – Billion Dollar Secret and an Alien History of Planet Earth . He lives and works with his wife and two children in London.

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Wolves at the Door by Gunnar Staalesen Translated by Don Bartlett #RandomThingsTours #NordicNoir @annecater #Review

I am delighted to be sharing my review of Wolves at the Door by Gunnar Staalesen and the translation by Don Batlett. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for my copy of the the book.

This is the second book by this author that I have read and I love his writing, atmospheric and addictive immediately spring to mind. Anyway, before I get too carried away let’s have a look and see what the book is about…

The wolves are no longer in the dark … they are at his door. And they want vengeance… The next instalment in the international, bestselling Varg Veum series by one of the fathers of Nordic Noir…

One dark January night a car drives at high speed towards PI Varg Veum, and comes very close to killing him. Veum is certain this is no accident, following so soon after the deaths of two jailed men who were convicted for their participation in a case of child pornography and sexual assault … crimes that Veum himself once stood wrongly accused of committing.

While the guilty men were apparently killed accidentally, Varg suspects that there is something more sinister at play … and that he’s on the death list of someone still at large.

Fearing for his life, Veum begins to investigate the old case, interviewing the victims of abuse and delving deeper into the brutal crimes, with shocking results. The wolves are no longer in the dark … they are at his door. And they want vengeance.

First off I am going to say that I am so glad there are translators, they give me a chance to read books that I would not otherwise be able to enjoy. Don Barlett doesn’t miss a beat when it comes to reading his translation of Wolves at the Door into English.

This is the latest instalment of the Varg Veum series. Varg is a Private Investigator and is looking into two old cases. The cases are based around those found guilty of child abuse. Now I will say straight off that while the author does not go into excessive detail, it does make the reading a little uncomfortable at times.

As Varg starts to gather the information he needs, he meets various characters and the job of trying to work out the who’s and the why’s begins. The problem with these other characters is that they all seem to have something to hide, or they are holding something back. This increases the tension as I was never sure who I could rely on for being truthful. Given that there are a few characters to follow, I found them easy to remember and to recognise. Varg has the same problem as I did when it came to working out who to trust. I was eagerly waiting for him to work through their stories and remarks so I could better understand the reasons and also the culprit behind the killings and also the attempt on Varg’s life.

The author is fabulous with his descriptions and it added to the slower style of the story adding suspense and a tense atmosphere. While the style of the story is slower the pace of it is not, I hope that makes sense!

I did take longer to read this book than I normally would. Rather than devouring it in one or two sittings, I read over several days. This is because my concentration levels at the time were not brilliant too many other things whizzing around my head. The bonus in doing this was that I was able to think about the story in between reading. I was able to mull over who I thought was behind it all, I had 3 people on my “Suspect list” and yes the actual guilty party was one of them. So I did not actually work it all out completely and I was not able to single out a definite character.

This is yet ano0ther fabulous Nordic Noir from an author who definitely keeps me on my toes. The story is like the cover, dark and atmospheric it is also full of suspense, surprise and with some wonderful descriptions. A book that crime and thriller readers will love.

It gets a “Highly Recommended” from Me!

One of the fathers of the Nordic Noir genre, Gunnar Staalesen was born in Bergen, Norway in 1947. He made his debut at the age of twenty-two with Seasons of Innocence and in 1977 he published the first book in the Varg Veum series. He is the author of over twenty-three titles, which have been published in twenty-six countries and sold over five million copies. Twelve film adaptations of his Varg Veum crime novels have appeared since 2007, starring the popular Norwegian actor Trond Epsen Seim, and a further series is currently being filmed. Staalesen, who has won three Golden Pistols (including the Prize of Honour) and the Petrona Award, and been shortlisted for the CWA Dagger, lives in Bergen with his wife.

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