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

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

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

ABOUT THE BOOK…

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

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

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

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

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

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

MY REVIEW…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

Tony J. Forder

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this book from Unbound.

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

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


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

MY REVIEW…

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

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

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

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

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

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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

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


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

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Three Words for Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb @Hazelgaynor @msheatherwebb @Harper360UK @RandomTTours #historicalfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Three Words For Goodbye by Hazel Gaynor & Heather Webb. This is a beautiful and gorgeous read and one I absolutely adored.

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for arranging m advanced copy and for my spot on the Blog Tour.

Three cities. Two sisters. One chance to correct the past.


Hazel Gaynor and Heather Webb have reunited for the third time with another unforgettable historical novel following
their award-winning bestseller Meet Me in Monaco. In THREE WORDS FOR GOODBYE, estranged sisters Clara and
Madeleine Sommers take a journey across Europe inspired by Nellie Bly, one of the first investigative journalists, who set out to circumnavigate the globe in less than eighty days. This inspired co-written novel is already earning top praise from Kristin Harmel, who said: “I loved being swept away to 1930s Paris, Venice and Vienna” while Gill Paul compares the novel to “reclining in a comfortable beach chair with warm sun on your skin and a glass of champagne at your elbow.”


New York, 1937: When estranged sisters Clara and Madeleine Sommers learn their grandmother is dying, they agree to
fulfil her last wish: to travel across Europe—together. They are to deliver three letters, in which Violet will say goodbye
to those she hasn’t seen since traveling to Europe forty years earlier; a journey inspired by famed reporter, Nellie Bly.
Clara, ever-dutiful, sees the trip as an inconvenient detour before her wedding to millionaire Charles Hancock, but it’s
also a chance to embrace her love of art. Budding journalist Madeleine relishes the opportunity to develop her
ambitions to report on the growing threat of Hitler’s Nazi party and Mussolini’s control in Italy.


Constantly at odds with each other as they explore the luxurious Queen Mary, the Orient Express, and the sights of Paris and Venice, Clara and Madeleine wonder if they can fulfil Violet’s wish, until a shocking truth about their family brings them closer together. But as they reach Vienna to deliver the final letter, old grudges threaten their reconciliation again. As political tensions rise, and Europe feels increasingly volatile, the pair are glad to head home on the Hindenburg, where fate will play its hand in the final stage of their journey.


Perfect for fans of Jennifer Robson, Beatriz Williams, and Kate Quinn, Gaynor and Webb have written a meticulously
researched narrative filled with colourful scenes of Europe and a stunning sense of the period. This unstoppable
historical fiction author duo will have readers enthralled as the sisters explore the luxurious Queen Mary and ride the
long-haul rail to take in the sights of Paris and Venice.

Purchase from – Amazon UK Book DepositoryKobo Waterstones

MY REVIEW…

A couple of years ago I read and absolutely adored Meet Me in Monaco, when I saw Three Words For Goodbye I immediately wanted to read it.

This is the story of sisters Clara and Maddie, they were close growing up but they are drifting as adulthood takes them in slightly different directions and they discover their own interests. Their Grandmother, Violet decides that the girls need something they can do together. A trip to Europe to hand-deliver three letters will give the sisters a chance to get to know each other again and hopefully rekindle their bond.

This is such a poignant and heartfelt story. the letters are the last thing Violet wants to achieve, her health is failing but she wants the girls to have the adventure she and her sister had. The letters are important to Violet as they are to people who have a special place in her heart, the girls will also discover more about themselves and their family along the way.

The chapters are alternated between Clara and Maddie, and it doesn’t take long to see the different personalities that emerge as I got to know them. There is also the occasional chapter from Violet, and she just fills in small details and kept me up to date with her health.

Alternating the chapters between two different personalities was a great way of seeing things from different perspectives. Clara sees the world as an artist, while Maddie as a journalist. One has a dreamy sort of look, the other more as it is. Clara is more reserved while Maddie is the impulsive one. It is easy to see how their personalities have caused issues for the sisters, but there is still a closeness to them, while it may be subtle, it is there.

This story was an absolute pleasure to read, there was the occasional lump in the throat moment, but I adored following the women on their travels and experiencing the world just before the outbreak of WWII. Opinions and expectations are brought into the story and this adds a nice touch to it, especially with the differences of the girls.

Set in 1937 it is one for fans of historical fiction and if you have read any of either authors books then you know you are in for a treat. I adored it and I would definitely recommend it.

ABOUT THE AUHTORS…

HAZEL GAYNOR is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of When We Were Young & Brave, A Memory of Violets and The Girl Who Came Home, for which she received the 2015 Romantic Novelists’ Association Historical Romantic Novel of the Year award. Her third novel, The Girl from The Savoy, was an Irish Times and Globe and Mail bestseller, and was shortlisted for the Irish Book Awards Popular Fiction Book of the Year. In 2017, she published The Cottingley Secret and Last Christmas in Paris (co-written with Heather Webb). Both novels hit bestseller lists, and Last Christmas in Paris won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award. Hazel’s novel, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, hit the Irish Times bestseller list for five consecutive weeks. Hazel was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015. Her work has been translated into fourteen languages and is published in twenty-one countries worldwide. She lives in Ireland with her husband and two children.

HEATHER WEBB is the USA Today bestselling, award-winning author of The Next Ship Home, Rodin’s Lover, Becoming Josephine, and The Phantom’s Apprentice, as well as two novels co-written with Hazel, Last Christmas in Paris , which won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association Star Award, and Meet Me in Monaco, a finalist in the 2020 RNA Awards as well as the 2019 Digital Book World Fiction awards. To date, Heather’s works have been translated
into fifteen languages worldwide. She is also passionate about helping writers find their voice as a professional freelance editor, speaker, and adjunct in the MFA in Writing program at Drexeul University. She lives in New England with her family and one feisty bunny.

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The Ticklemore Tavern by Liz Davies @lizdaviesauthor @rararesources #PublicationDay #contemporaryfiction #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Tickelmore Tavern by Liz Davies. This was such a lovely story to settle down with and read.

My huge thanks to Rachel for arranging my advanced copy of the book for an unbiased review.

Violet makes her own gin.
Logan Cassidy sells it in his pub, The Ticklemore Tavern.


It should have been a match made in heaven, especially since the pair of them fancy the socks off each other, and they are both young, free and single.
Except…


Logan’s mum, Marie, doesn’t think Violet is good enough for her son. No woman is, or ever will be. And when she becomes ill, Logan is torn between looking after his mum or following his heart.
However, neither Logan, nor Marie, has taken the sheer force of nature that is Violet into account. What Violet wants, Violet gets.
Usually…


But maybe not this time, eh?


Purchase Links – Amazon UK US

MY REVIEW…

I absolutely adored the story of Violet and how she met and makes friends with Logan. As the synopsis tells you, Violet makes gin and supplies the Logan, landlord of The Ticklemore Tavern. She has started this new business and has built up a nice selection of flavours. On the off chance, he will stock her gin she stops by the tavern. Talk about a purple whirlwind on legs, she bowls him over with her rather unusual and slightly flirty sales pitch. She is a character I knew I would really like, and of course, Logan doesn’t sound too bad either!

This is a wonderful story about friendship, gin and getting on in life. Almost everyone in the local community is aware of sparks between Violet and Logan, especially as he is a local and many want to see him happy and settled. There is however a spanner in the works, that spanner has a name, Maria and she is Logan’s overly, overprotective mother. Talk about a dragon or what! Now while the author does paint her out to be a party pooper there is also a balance that is struck with the odd comment. This hints at something else at play.

I really enjoyed how this local community is brought together, Hattie is hilarious and is about as subtle as a brick, she is such a brilliant character and is almost the matriarchal figurehead. She is the one that will say what is need when necessary especially when there is a snifter of gin on the go.

The author has created such a wonderful story. A couple trying to find a way to run businesses and keep family happy. About a mother who thinks she is going to be left alone and about a community that know when to intervene. A gorgeous feeling story that is timed perfectly as it slowly runs into the autumn season, and as we are currently in an autumnal feeling summer it feels rather appropriate.

I adored everything about the story, the wonderful and varied range of gins mentioned, the characters some of the food mentions and of course the story of Violet and Logan. This is definitely one for those who love a heartwarming contemporary fiction and romance tale and it is one I would definitely recommend. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

Liz Davies writes feel-good, light-hearted stories with a hefty dose of romance, a smattering of humour, and a great deal of love.


She’s married to her best friend, has one grown-up daughter, and when she isn’t scribbling away in the notepad she carries with her everywhere (just in case inspiration strikes), you’ll find her searching for that perfect pair of shoes. She loves to cook but isn’t very good at it, and loves to eat – she’s much better at that! Liz also enjoys walking (preferably on the flat), cycling (also on the flat), and lots of sitting around in the garden on warm, sunny days.


She currently lives with her family in Wales, but would ideally love to buy a camper van and travel the world in it.


Website Twitter Facebook

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The Best, Most Awful Job: Twenty Writers Talk Honestly About Motherhood edited by Katherine May @_katherine_may_ @eandtbooks @alisonmenziespr #nonfic #motherhood #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Best, Most Awful Job edited by Katherine May. A book that features 20 women writers who have each wrote about motherhood, the good, the bad and the heart breaking.

My huge thanks to Alison for arranging my copy from Eliot & Thompson Publishers.

Motherhood is life-changing. Joyful. Disorientating. Overwhelming. Intense on every level. It’s the best, most awful job.

The Best, Most Awful Job brings together twenty bold and brilliant women to speak about motherhood in all its raw, heart-wrenching, gloriously impossible forms.

Overturning assumptions, breaking down myths and shattering stereotypes, these writers challenge our perceptions of what it means to be a mother – and ask you to listen.

Contributors include:

Michelle Adams – Javaria Akbar – Charlene Allcott – MiMi Aye – Jodi Bartle – Sharmila Chauhan – Josie George – Leah Hazard – Joanne Limburg – Katherine May – Susana Moreira Marques – Dani McClain – Hollie McNish – Saima Mir – Carolina Alvarado Molk – Emily Morris – Jenny Parrott – Huma Qureshi – Peggy Riley – Michelle Tea – Tiphanie Yanique

You can purchase a copy HERE

My Review…


This is a book of experiences from 20 writers, their experiences of motherhood. Being a mum myself I was intrigued by this title. The Best, Most Awful Job. Yes, being a mum is one of the best things but why is it also the most awful? This book is an open and honest selection of accounts from women who are mothers and from however their path to motherhood was.

The book explored things that are not spoken about after the birth of your child, you know, things down below, will they ever be the same again or how on earth will I ever be able to walk normally! Obviously, things do return and you do walk normally, but often these are not spoken about.

Some of the stories are very poignant and how while pregnant you tend to lose your identity and are often asked “How’s Mum doing?” then after the birth, you are then ignored as people asked about “baby”. I remember knowing loads of mums at school but often didn’t know their names. I was one of the many who became so and so’s Mum.

The 20 authors are from a range of backgrounds and ethnicities. Different countries and cultures. Yet some things are the same no matter where you are from. There are stereotypes and stigmas in all aspects of society and there are some that are very much worse than others.

I can remember with my first child, being in hospital and being treated well as I was a married young mum. The unmarried young mum, who was similar in age discharged herself after two nights as she was not given the same level of support. This was in 1989, and I still remember feeling so sorry for her, but afraid to say anything as the midwife at the hospital tended to be older and if I am honestly quite scary. I will say that by the time I had my final child things had improved, younger more patient-centred midwives were around and they had no prejudice at all.

This book looks at motherhood from the perspective of each authors viewpoint. Whether it is a step mum, mum with a disability, mixed-race mum, and many others. I will not mention them all as I want to leave plenty for other readers to discuss.

After reading this book I understand the title much more. Yes, being a mum can have some awful moments, but there are also many, many of the best moments ever.

This is a book that anyone can read, it will be eye-openeing for some, it will make others nod knowingly but most of all it brings the doubts, worries and stereotypes out in the open. We discuss many things and this is another thing we must talk about more, be more open about and not keep the horrible bits hidden. Being open and discussing things makes life so much easier.

A fabulous collection of experiences and it was a pleasure to read. Some are very sad, others warm and hopeful and others make a stand. It is a book that I would definitely recommend.

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Gold Digger by Gillian Godden @GGodden @rararesources #boldwoodbloggers @bookandtonic @BoldwoodBooks #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Gold Digger by Gillian Godden. This was a brilliant read that I absolutely adored. This was originally published as GOLD.

My huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book via NetGalley.

Money talks…

And blonde bombshell Julie isn’t afraid to ask for what she wants. With her mother locked up for murder, all Julie cares about is protecting her younger sister, Frankie. But penniless and alone on the streets of Liverpool, Julie realises that there’s only one sure fire way to make cash fast – the oldest trade.

The men mean nothing to Julie, until she meets Ralph Goldstein, an ex-con who’ll do whatever it takes to make his way to top. And the only man Julie can trust.

Separately, Ralph and Julie’s lives are filled with risk and danger. But when they meet, their blend of personality and ambition could be the best thing that ever happened … or the worst.

Will their pasts be their downfall, or will they make it big…together?

A brilliantly dark and gritty story about one woman’s fight for survival. Perfect for fans of Kimberley Chambers, Caz Finlay and Heather Atkinson.

This book has previously published as GOLD

Purchase Link – HERE

My Review…

this is the first time I have read a book by this author and I am looking forward to reading more by this author. This book was p[previously published as Gold.

The synopsis gives a good idea about who Julie is, and how she is very protective of her sister. The run-up to why Julie takes to the trade she does is told early on in the book. In fact, that opening was an indication as to how gritty this author writes.

Ralph, now he was a bit of a dark horse. With a criminal record, I soon realised that he is not squeaky clean, he and his friend Paddy have ambitions. What I did see was several sides to Ralph, hardworking, loyal and with an edge to him.

The book alternates between Julie and Ralph. They are completely unknown to each other, For a good part of the book, I got to know each of the characters. An important journey as it gave a good idea of their backgrounds and why they have chosen the routes in life they have. It is past the halfway point when things start to slide.

As the synopsis indicates, the two do meet. The combination of the two makes for a great team. They do have a ruthlessness to them it is a story of two people who have both suffered.

This is one for those who like a grittier, urban setting story. One that involves criminals and various criminal acts, it is after all a gangland crime thriller. It is also one I read in one day, once I started I found it really difficult to put down. Thoroughly enjoyed this, the two main characters are excellent and the story totally addictive. I would definitely recommend this one.

About the Author…

Gillian Godden is a brilliantly reviewed writer of gangland fiction as well as a full-time NHS Key Worker in Hull. She lived in London for over thirty years, where she sets her thrillers, and during this time worked in various stripper pubs and venues which have inspired her stories. She has signed a six-book contract with Boldwood for a new series – the first title of which Gold Digger will be published in July 2021. In addition Boldwood will be reissuing her five backlist titles over the next few months.

Social Media Links

Twitter @GGodden

Instagram @goddengillian

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The Viking Chief’s Marriage Alliance by Lucy Morris @MillsandBoon #historical #romance #bokreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Viking Chief’s Marriage Alliance by Lucy Morris. It has been many, many years since I last read a Mills & Boon book and I have to say I really enjoyed this one.

The Viking Chief's Marriage Alliance (Mills & Boon Historical) (9780008912789)

A challenging wife

For a warrior Viking

When Thorstein Bergson rescues a beautiful woman from a storm-tossed longship, he little expects to broker a powerful marriage alliance with her. This high-status ice queen is not the comfortable wife the warrior chief is seeking. But maybe the bittersweet pain in Gyda’s eyes hides another woman beneath? The one he tasted that first night when she’d kissed him with such pent-up longing…?

My Review…

It’s not often I pick up this sort of romance read, but I am so glad I chose this one. It is a relatively quick read and one I read over one evening.

Gyda has not had the best of married life, and now as her husband has died she is leaving to try a fresh start. Her belongings are lost in a shipwreck near the Northumberland coast. She is rescued by a local chieftain Thorstein Bergsen.

Both Gyda and Thorstein have been married before, both are wary of each other. Gyda is seen as aloof and wealthy, Thorstein as rude and surly. But as much as both characters are opposite there is some attraction, they cannot however trust each other. They have been wronged in the past and are unwilling to be put in that position again. It seems presumptions are the name of the game in this story, but the author does work this very well.

I did really enjoy how the author built up this story, marriages of convenience for beneficial gains can be successful. The author didn’t choose this route for our out main characters, instead, she gave them both a past that made them wary and untrusting. That is until they do not have a choice.

While this is a historical-based story it is also a romance and one that the author has woven some magic with. Not only is there an interesting storyline, but there is also some wonderful descriptions of life, scenery and becoming part of a community. Then of course there is the romance, a wonderful will they/won’t they tense build-up that had me addictively turning the pages.

A wonderful historical romance and one that I was glad to have picked up to read. A chance to read a Viking romance that has more to it than first meets the eye, a story with intrigue, betrayal and a gorgeous sounding leading man! I liked it a lot and I would definitely recommend it.

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Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest by Suzanne Simard #memoir #nature #ecosystem #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Finding the Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest by Suzanne Simard. This is a wonderful book that looks at the relationship of trees and also a mix of the author’s memories growing up.

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From the world’s leading forest ecologist who forever changed how people view trees and their connections to one another and to other living things in the forest–a moving, deeply personal journey of discovery.

Suzanne Simard is a pioneer on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence; she’s been compared to Rachel Carson, hailed as a scientist who conveys complex, technical ideas in a way that is dazzling and profound. Her work has influenced filmmakers (the Tree of Souls of James Cameron’s Avatar) and her TED talks have been viewed by more than 10 million people worldwide.

Now, in her first book, Simard brings us into her world, the intimate world of the trees, in which she brilliantly illuminates the fascinating and vital truths–that trees are not simply the source of timber or pulp, but are a complex, interdependent circle of life; that forests are social, cooperative creatures connected through underground networks by which trees communicate their vitality and vulnerabilities with communal lives not that different from our own.

Simard writes–in inspiring, illuminating, and accessible ways–how trees, living side by side for hundreds of years, have evolved, how they perceive one another, learn and adapt their behaviors, recognize neighbors, and remember the past; how they have agency about the future; elicit warnings and mount defenses, compete and cooperate with one another with sophistication, characteristics ascribed to human intelligence, traits that are the essence of civil societies–and at the center of it all, the Mother Trees: the mysterious, powerful forces that connect and sustain the others that surround them.

Simard writes of her own life, born and raised into a logging world in the rainforests of British Columbia, of her days as a child spent cataloging the trees from the forest and how she came to love and respect them–embarking on a journey of discovery, and struggle. And as she writes of her scientific quest, she writes of her own journey–of love and loss, of observation and change, of risk and reward, making us understand how deeply human scientific inquiry exists beyond data and technology, that it is about understanding who we are and our place in the world, and, in writing of her own life, we come to see the true connectedness of the Mother Tree that nurtures the forest in the profound ways that families and human societies do, and how these inseparable bonds enable all our survival.

My Review…

I have been reading this book over the past week or so and it was such an interesting and eye-opening book.

Dr Suzanne Simard has learnt her trade over years of observations, discoveries and research. Born and raised in the rainforests of British Columbia, she has natural respect and a relationship with the trees. this comes across in this book as she recounts her childhood with memories, stories and also how she gradually worked to become the leader in the field she is today.

What started as a childhood curiosity bloomed into something more. Through experiments, research, and a certain amount of bloody-mindedness she brought her findings to all who would listen. The book documents how she found the symbiotic relationship between the soil, enzymes and naturally occurring biology and the trees. While there is a certain amount of science, it is been given in layman’s terms making this a very accessible and easy to understand the book.

I like how this book is laid out. Chapters are a mix of memories, experiences and also the findings of her research. This makes it more manageable and keeps the book flowing rather than getting hung up in great swathes of science.

This is such an interesting book and as I was reading I could feel the excitement as discoveries were made, and also the heartbreak and upset as things failed or that sometimes trees had to be destroyed to be able to see the impacts of pesticides.

A wonderful read and one that has led me onto further reading on the internet. Looking at interviews and talks about the relationship of trees to the world around us.

This is a book for anyone who has an interest in the natural world, in relationships between nature and it is one I would definitely recommend.

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

Last Seen by Joy Kluver @Bookouture #NetGalley #debut #crime #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Last Seen by Joy Kluver. I read this one at the end of March this year and it is a debut and so start the Detective Bernadette Noel series.

My thanks to Bookouture for my e-copy that I read via NetGalley.

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I can see her, shouting with laughter as she swings as high as she can, her beautiful blonde curls flying out behind her. I can feel her tiny hot hand in mine, and my heart aches. My little girl. If only I’d listened to my gut. Then maybe she’d be safe here with me…

When five-year-old Molly Reynolds is snatched from the park in the small village of Otterfield, Detective Bernadette ‘Bernie’ Noel throws herself into the search, sick with worry for the quiet, sensitive little girl and her distraught mother.

Wasting no time, Bernie finds a small green cardigan under a bush in the park. It still has the smiley face sticker Molly won that week at school. It’s the first in a chain of clues – and Bernie can’t shake the feeling that it was left deliberately, as a message.

But Bernie encounters a wall of silence. Otterfield is a close-knit community, yet no one in the village seems to care that Molly is missing at all. Why?

And then Bernie makes a chilling discovery: twenty-five years ago, another little girl went missing from the area. Her name was Sophie, and all they ever found of her was her teddy bear, hidden under a bush. Now Bernie knows she’s in a race against time to save Molly’s life.

Bernie’s team work round the clock to find a connection between the two girls, and just when they think they’re making progress a devastating tragedy strikes at the heart of the case. Molly’s family have been hiding a secret, and now their little girl is in greater danger than ever.

Can Bernie outwit the most warped criminal she has ever faced and bring Molly home safe, or will another innocent life be lost?

A completely addictive crime thriller with mind-blowing twists that will have you reading late into the night. If you like Val McDermid, D.S. Butler or Angela Marsons, you’ll love Joy Kluver.

My Review…

I have to say that I am delighted to see that this is the first book in a planned series because I thought this book was brilliant.

The author has woven a story that had me hooked from the first few pages, if I hadn’t had to go to work it would have easily been a one-sitting read. When a child goes missing from a park you would expect locals to go out of their way to help. Why then does it take longer for them to gradually rouse themselves?

This along with some other clues is the start of a mystery thriller that introduces Detective Bernadette (Bernie) Noel and her team racing to make the links to find the girl. Time is of the essence in a missing person case and trying to drag information and help is a real waste of time but is also an integral part of this storyline.

I do like a story that has a sense of distrust and that hints at past events. This story has those and not just for the local community. The author weaves various threads of her tale and I really enjoyed it as they were gradually drawn together.

This debut, this is a fabulous read and one that had me eagerly turning the pages as I not only wanted to know more about the crime but also about the investigating team. They are a definite mix of characters and each has specialities. Although as I have alluded to, there is something about some of them that hints at things being amiss.

I adored this story and it is a series I am looking forward to and discovering more about some key characters. A story that takes a dark turn, has several surprises and kept me on my toes. One for crime, thriller and mystery readers and one I would definitely recommend.

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

Alexandria: The Quest for the Lost City by Dr Edmund Richardson #nonfiction #NetGalley @BloomsburyBooks #history #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Alexandria: The Quest for the Lost City by Dr Edmund Richardson. There is something about ancient and lost cities that does interest me so when I saw this book on NetGalley I did request it.

For centuries the city of Alexandria Beneath the Mountains was a meeting point of East and West. Then it vanished. In 1833 it was discovered in Afghanistan by the unlikeliest person imaginable: Charles Masson, deserter, traveller, pilgrim, doctor, archaeologist, spy, and eventually one of the most respected scholars in Asia, and the greatest of nineteenth-century travellers.

On the way into one of history’s most extraordinary stories, he would take tea with kings, travel with holy men and become the master of a hundred disguises; he would see things no westerner had glimpsed before and few have glimpsed since. He would spy for the East India Company and be suspected of spying for Russia at the same time, for this was the era of the Great Game, when imperial powers confronted each other in these staggeringly beautiful lands. Masson discovered tens of thousands of pieces of Afghan history, including the 2,000 year old Bimaran golden casket, which has upon it the earliest known face of the Buddha. He would be offered his own kingdom; he would change the world, and the world would destroy him.

This is a wild journey through nineteenth-century India and Afghanistan, with impeccably researched storytelling that shows us a world of espionage and dreamers, ne’er-do-wells and opportunists, extreme violence both personal and military, and boundless hope. At the edge of empire, amid the deserts and the mountains, it is the story of an obsession passed down the centuries.

Pre-order Link – Amazon UK

My Review…

I am rather partial to picking up the odd history book and Alexandria appealed to me when I read the synopsis. That first paragraph referring to a man who, I initially thought was a bit of a rogue, has quite a remarkable life.

Charles Masson decided that he didn’t want to be in the East India Company, years of bad pay, awful work and no chance of raising his position basically up and walks out. Unbeknownst to him, this would be the start of a very remarkable life.

The author has got a wonderful way of approaching the story of Masson and has made it very addictive. The story charts what is known of Masson, the people he met, the politics of the time as well as the East India Company. There are loads of references and these have been listed at the end of the book so it makes it much easier reading.

I have to say that the author changed my opinion of Masson, originally I thought him a bit of a rogue, this then changed to him being a man obsessed with finding Alexandria beneath the mountains. To finally feeling quite sorry for him.

His quest to find one of the cities called Alexandria becomes all-consuming. He travels, talks to people, spends all his money and on occasion risks his life. He is robbed beaten, imprisoned, starved and on the brink of death but still, his pursuit continued.

Yes, this is a non-fiction book, and yet it felt like a really fascinating action and adventure read. This is very much down to the skill of the author as he has created such a readable historical account. I adored reading this and it has also led me on to my own further reading about Masson and Alexander.

One for history fans, such an informative book that was great reading. One I would definitely recommend.

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