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.

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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.

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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.

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Games People Play by Owen Mullen @OwenMullen6 @rararesources @BoldwoodBooks #boldwoodbloggers #thriller #crime #NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Games People Play by Owen Mullen. I do like this authors books and this latest one is a cracking read.

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

When a baby is stolen from a Scottish beach, private investigator Charlie Cameron reluctantly agrees to take the case.

While her parents are just yards away, thirteen-month-old Lily Hamilton is abducted from Ayr beach in Scotland. Three days later, her distraught father turns up at private investigator Charlie Cameron’s office. Mark Hamilton believes he knows who has taken his daughter. And why.

Against his better judgment, Charlie takes the case—and when bodies are discovered, he suspects this may not be an isolated crime. Is there a serial killer whose work has gone undetected for decades? Is baby Lily his latest victim? Charlie won’t be able to give up on this case. Memories and guilt from his childhood won’t let him…

Owen Mullen is a best-selling author of psychological and gangland thrillers. His fast-paced, twist-aplenty stories are perfect for all fans of Robert Galbraith, Ian Rankin and Ann Cleeves.

Purchase LinkAmazon

My Review…

With a very dramatic prologue opening this story I found myself quickly drawn into this authors latest book. A story of a missing child is only the very start of describing the storyline for this opener to a new series featuring Charlie Cameron, a Private Investigator.

When mark, the father of missing 13 month old Lily turns up on Charlie’s doorstep asking for help alarm bells start to ring. Why would Mark asked for Chalire’s help when the police are already active in the case? Deep down Charlie knows he should walk away, it brings memories back they Charlie still hasn’t dealt with.

A missing child, dark secrets, and devious and intriguing “other events” that make up this story are brilliantly worked together to give the reader quite an intense reading journey. This is a slow burner and one that involves quite a few characters that did take me a while to get my head around.

The author has woven a tale that involves the past and there are secrets involved that need to be worked through. I do like the slower pacing of this story as it gives the reader a chance to get completely absorbed. Alongside the missing child, Charlie still has other cases that are brought to him. Being a Private Investigator is what Charlie is, so taking on several cases is what he does. It is mentioned in the story that it is often a feast or famine type of business, and it is definitely a case of a feast with several to juggle. Good job he has a couple of friends to give a helping hand.

As I mentioned this is a novel that has various threads, one of which is Charlie himself, his personal life and gradually more of his past. This is interwoven into the other plots. It does mean that the investigations do alternate, for me, it gave a more complete character, showing his working and home life balance.

This is a brilliant book that is a mix of crime, mystery and personal life and one that I thoroughly enjoyed, I do like the slower pace of this story. At times I did want it to move on quicker but that was because I was impatient to get answers to the questions. Forcing myself to slow my reading was great because it meant I could get into the storyline. This is one for those who like a slower-paced crime, mystery read and one I would defiantly recommend. It has left me looking forward to reading more in this series.

About the Author…

Owen Mullen is a highly regarded crime author who splits his time between Scotland and the island of Crete.  In his earlier life he lived in London and worked as a musician and session singer. He has now written seven books and his first gangland thriller for Boldwood, Family  will be published in January 2021.

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Judas Horse by Lynda La Plante @ZaffreBooks @NetGalley @LaPlanteLynda #compulsivereaders @Tr4cyF3nt0n #crime bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Judas Horse by Lynda La Plante. It has been a while since I have read a book by this author and I was delighted to get a spot on the Blog Tour. My huge thanks to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for my spot on the tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book.

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Not all killers can be tamed… The thrilling second book in the Sunday Times bestselling Detective Jack Warr crime series. 

Wild mustangs are difficult to rope, their lead stallion wary and protective of his herd. To capture that special stallion takes time. He is separated, roped, and lead back to the ranch. Once tamed, he is sent back into the wild. And before long, he will lead the entire herd back to the ranch. He is given the name ‘Judas Horse’. When Detective Jack Warr identifies an informer, the terrified man begins to give details of a massive robbery planned by a team of unscrupulous and dangerous men. These men have already orchestrated many audacious robberies, leaving terrified victims in their wake. And they have already killed to get what they want. Detective Jack Warr and his team must use their informant as a ‘Judas Horse’ to draw in the unsuspecting robbers, so that they go ahead with the planned robbery. However, one false move, and more blood will be spilled . . .

My Review…

This is the second book in the DC Jack Warr series and I can say it works very well as a standalone, I have not read the first one.

It has been a while since I have read any of this authors books, and I am delighted to see that she has lost none of her magic when it comes to writing. There is something mesmerising about her writing and the ability to draw the reader into a story so quickly.

Jack Warr is a character I already have a soft spot for. He is one of those intrinsically good guys, but there is something a little more to him. He shows not only great instincts when it comes to his work, but has a way with people, they either respect him or think he is above himself.

The story sees Jack join a team that has run out of ideas for a series of burglaries. Jack has superiors who believe in him and his abilities to get to the bottom of cases, so he becomes the ideal officer to send to the wealthy area of Chipping Norton.

The ability of the author to create such a complex and yet easy to understand the story is something else. There are layers upon layers to the story that seems to get deeper and deeper the further the story goes. It takes a while for all the threads to emerge and for them to get linked. This means the reader gets a wonderful story that is full of intrigue, plots, subplots and as if this isn’t enough there are some wonderful personal stories that have been woven in as well.

This was such a brilliant crime novel to read and has made me realise how much I used to enjoy reading this authors books. I thought that Jack was such a good character and is one that has more to him than meets the eye. I can’t wait to get to know him more. This is one for police procedural fans and lovers of crime thrillers. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it.

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Bobby March Will Live Forever by Alan Parks @AlanJParks @blackthornbks @RandomTTours #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Bobby March Will Live Forever by Alan Parks. My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my copy of this fabulous book from Black Thorn Books.

Harry McCoy investigates the suspicious overdose of a rock legend and the disappearance of a young girl in this gripping thriller

WHO IS TO BLAME WHEN NO ONE IS INNOCENT?

There’s a heatwave in Glasgow and the drugs trade is booming. The whole force is searching for missing thirteen-year-old Alice Kelly. All except Harry McCoy, who has been taken off the case after a run-in with the boss, and is instead sent alone to investigate the death of rock-star Bobby March, who has just overdosed in the Royal Stuart hotel.

The papers want blood. The force wants results. McCoy has a hunch. But does he have enough time?

  • Themes include inner-city poverty, gang warfare, the rise and fall of rock & roll stardom, illegal narcotics distribution and the growth of the IRA, seen through the eyes of his good-cop-in-a-gray-world, Detective Harry McCoy.
  • Will appeal to fans of Ian Rankin, Denise Mina, Peter May, William McIlvanney and
    Val McDermid, as well as TV series such as Idris Elba’s Luther

My Review…

This is the 3rd book in the Harry McCoy series and the first time I have read a book by this author. This book does work really well as a stand-alone, but I do wish I had read the previous 2 books. I have got them on order, so it kind of shows how much I enjoyed Bobby March Will Live Forever!

So, let’s start with the basics. This is a police procedural set in Glasgow during the early 70s. McCoy is a DI who in theory should be heading the investigation for a missing girl but instead has been pushed out to investigate other crimes being committed. The reason for him being pushed out, well let’s call it a rather nasty power-hungry DI. The reasons for the animosity are made clear.

As this series focuses on McCoy, it is his cases that take a more prominent relevance in the story. While Bobby Fisher is mentioned in the title, and McCoy does investigate, the story is secondary in some respects to all the other things that are going on. The author does such a great job of weaving various threads of various subplots into a really addictive story.

The other great thing the author achieved int his story was really encompassing the era of the story and of the region of its setting. Giving an atmospheric, smoky, crime-ridden world where the line between bent and straight is fine. I do like the fact that he used the local vernacular during conversations, again it helps to cement the area well in the reader.

This is a book that has a noirish feel to it, atmospheric with great characters that I soon either liked or loathed. Although it is a police procedural it didn’t always feel like it as there were a few “off the books” things going on as well. I know, another vague-ish review but I really don’t want to give anything away.

This is a cracking read and I cannot wait for my first two books in the series to arrive. I already have the 4th book sat waiting to be read as well!

Brilliant characters, cracking storyline and one that I would definitely recommend if you like crime and thriller reads that have a police presence with some dodgy dealers then this is a series you want to take a serious look at.

About the Author…

Alan Parks has worked in the music industry for over twenty years. His debut novel Bloody January was shortlisted for the Grand Prix de Littérature Policière. He lives and works in Glasgow.

Bobby March Will Live Forever is the third Harry McCoy thriller.

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Can You See Me Now by Trisha Sakhlecha @TrishaSakhlecha @RandomTTours @panmacmillan #mystery #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Can You See Me Now by Trisha Sakhlecha. This was a fabulous book and I would like to say a huge thank you to Anne Cater at Random Things Blog Tours for my spot on the tour and for arranging for my copy from the publisher Pan MacMillan. It wasn’t until I read Trisha’s bio below that I realised that this book is based on an actual event!

From Trisha Sakhlecha,Can You See Me Now? is a gripping psychological suspense thriller about a young Indian woman, now a government minister, whose past secrets are about to reverberate into the present and shatter her life. Perfect for fans of Lisa Jewell and Erin Kelly.

Fifteen years ago, three sixteen-year-old girls meet at Wescott, an exclusive private school in India.
Two, Sabah and Noor, are the most popular girls in their year. One, Alia, is a new arrival from England, who feels her happiness depends on their acceptance.

Before she knows it, Sabah and Noor’s intoxicating world of privilege and intimacy opens up to Alia and, for the first time, after years of neglect from her parents, she feels she is exactly where, and with whom, she belongs.

But with intimacy comes jealousy, and with privilege, resentment, and Alia finds that it only takes one night for her bright new world to shatter around her.

Now Alia, a cabinet minister in the Indian government, is about to find her secrets have no intention of staying
buried . . . 

My Review…


I absolutely adored this book and the author has done such a brilliant job of creating a story that is full of intrigue and mystery.

The story is told in two different timelines. One is the present the other is 15 years ago while three girls were at a prestigious school in Delhi. The girls are Sabah, Noori and Alia. Alia is the newest member of the group and for the first time in her life, she feels that this is a group to which she should belong.

The past is one that builds a picture of school life for the girls and shows the dynamics between the three of them. Building on their characters and personality traits, the author gradually weaves in an air of mistrust and jealousy. Close friendships are only close when secrets and trust are kept intact, but when a comment is let loose then cracks start to form.

In the present, Alia is a politician, a position she has worked hard to for over the years, Sabah is a documentary filmmaker wanting her next story. There are things in the past that have never been fully revealed. Yet there are some things that are starting to surface.

This is such a brilliantly addictive read. I really enjoyed the dual timeline format of this story. The author used it to great effect, providing links and also reasons for mistrust in the present. The mystery behind an event in the past was one that was gradually teased out. There were several little subplots that gave more suspicions and doubt and it wasn’t until much later int he story where things were finally brought to a conclusion.

Very enjoyable from start to finish. Gripping throughout and one I think readers of crime, mystery thrillers would enjoy. One I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Trisha Sakhlecha grew up in New Delhi and now lives in London.  For her new novel, she draws upon a true story – a famous scandal that erupted at her own high school and which changed India.  She works in fashion and is a graduate of the acclaimed Faber Academy writing course. In the past, Trisha has worked as a designer, trend forecaster, and lecturer.  She is the author of Your Truth Or Mine? www. trishasakhlecha.com or on Instagram @trishasakhlecha Critical acclaim for Tisha Sakhlecha

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The Kindness of Psychopaths by Alan Gorevan #TheKindnessofPsychopaths @AlanGorevan @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #crime #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to be one of the Bloggers to be opening the Blog Tour today for The Kindness of Psychopaths by Alan Gorevan. This is such a brilliant book and I wish to say a huge thanks to Emma at damppebbles for my spot on the blog tour and for arranging my e-copy of the book.

Here is more about it…

How far would you go for those you love?

When Valentina López Vázquez vanishes from her home one morning, it’s obvious that she was taken by force. What happened to her next is not so obvious.

The disappearance forces two men on a gruelling search for the truth: Barry Wall, Valentina’s frantic husband, and Joe Byrne, the nihilistic detective in charge of the investigation.

They are locked on a devastating course that will take them to places darker than they ever dreamt – places without limits…

Don’t miss this page-turning thriller. Perfect for fans of Shari Lapena, Peter Swanson, Jennifer Hillier, and Linwood Barclay.

Purchase Links – Amazon UK or US

My Review…

Wow, this is an absolute belter of a book and one that once I had started I just could not put down. The title does hint at this having a psychological element, the synopsis hints at crime. What you get is an awesome read that has so many twists and turns making this such an addictive read.

Joe Byrne is a detective, as got to get to know him over the course of the story it is a wonder how this man manages to keep going. He isn’t going to win Mr Popularity, and this makes him a bit of a loner as he bounces from situation to situation. Each more extreme than the last that eventually leads the reader to the finale.

What starts off as a missing person soon morphs into something else. Joe has a little bit of an issue when it comes to where his moral compass points, don’t get me wrong I can see the reasons behind his decisions, but, still! I do like this character a lot, he is a maverick.

This is such a cleverly written thriller, it moves from event to event drawing the reader in further and further. Never sure who to believe, what their individual motives are. The story moves along over alternating timelines, the first part of the book jumps in time and is a great way of introducing the characters.

I am being so vague about this review, in fact, it is such a good book I just want to tell you all about the excellent plot, the brilliant storyline, the fabulous characters and that ending! Talk about a fitting title to a story or what!

This is a story that is quite complex but flows so well, the author has done such a great job of twisting in various elements and in such a way that as I was reading I could easily follow. There are so many little details dropped in along the way that gradually make sense by the time you get to the end of the book.

This is a brilliant read and one for readers who love a crime, mystery thriller read with a psychological thread. It is one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author…

Alan Gorevan is an award-winning thriller writer and intellectual property attorney. He lives in Dublin.

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Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner @LisaGardnerBks @arrowpublishing @rachel90kennedy #crime #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Before She Disappeared by Lisa Gardner. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and my huge thanks to Rachel Kennedy at Arrow Publishing for advanced copy of this brilliant book.

Let me show you more…

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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Lisa Gardner, a propulsive thriller featuring an ordinary woman who will stop at nothing to find the missing people that the rest of the world has forgotten

Frankie Elkin is an average middle-aged woman, a recovering alcoholic with more regrets than belongings. But she spends her life doing what no one else will–searching for missing people the world has stopped looking for. When the police have given up, when the public no longer remembers, when the media has never paid attention, Frankie starts looking.

A new case brings her to Mattapan, a Boston neighborhood with a rough reputation. She is searching for Angelique Badeau, a Haitian teenager who vanished from her high school months earlier. Resistance from the Boston PD and the victim’s wary family tells Frankie she’s on her own–and she soon learns she’s asking questions someone doesn’t want answered. But Frankie will stop at nothing to discover the truth, even if it means the next person to go missing could be her.

My Review…

The synopsis gives a great intro as to who Frankie Elkin is, and I have to say she is a character who I really like. She has her vulnerabilities and it is through the course of the story that you gradually learn more about her.

Frankie is someone who doesn’t really fit in, she is not able to stay in one place for long. A drifter who is seeking the truth behind people who have gone missing. She has swapped the addiction of alcohol for finding people. For someone that doesn’t quite fit, she does seem to be able to make unlikely acquaintances and has discovered that not being a figure in authority makes her more trustworthy as such. Maybe trustworthy isn’t the right word, but people open up to her more. I think her character is one that uses truth and honesty about her alcoholism and uses it in everyday situations.

Her latest case choice is that of a missing schoolgirl, a bright girl who didn’t get into trouble and always attends class and has a good future ahead of her. Why then would she disappear. The case has gone cold and Frankie decides that she want s to help.

I hadn’t realised that there were people who actually do this in real life. Not for monetary gain or fame but just to help families find closure or to reunite them.

The story of Frankie and her involvement is one that takes time, it is a good paced story and one that I found myself eagerly turning pages for. The characters cover a mixed bunch, some have more involvement than others, but there aren’t any hangers-on so it makes the flow so good. The main premise is finding a missing girl, but the story is a lot more than that as Frankie soon discovers. It is a story that gradually unearths more than she originally bargained for.

I do like how the author has woven Frankie’s story around that of the missing girl’s case and this is where some of the other characters come in and are worked well. Being a recovering alcoholic gives her an in if you like, AA is a support group so it does stand to reason that there will be a character that will go the extra step.

This is a cracking story and one that I found really addictive. It is a crime mystery but not of the blood and guts kind. There is a mix of gangs, police, friendly faces as well as discovering Frankies mysterious past. It is a book that I would definitely recommend and I am looking forward to reading more of this author’s previous books.

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Map’s Edge by David Hair #fantasy #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for Map’s Edge by David Hair. This is the first time I have read a book by this author and I am looking forward to reading more.

Let me show you a bit more about this wonderful fantasy read…

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Synopsis…

Follow a renegade sorcerer off the edge of the map, in a thrilling adventure perfect for fans of Scott Lynch, Brandon Sanderson and Sebastien de Castell . . .

Dashryn Cowl has run out of places to hide. The erstwhile sorcerer of the Imperial College fled the Bolgravian Empire when his high-flying family fell from grace, but the tyrannical empire is still hunting for him.

So when he gets his hands on a map showing a place outside the known lands rich in istariol, the mineral that fuels sorcery, he sees a way back to power. There’s only one problem: it means masquerading as an Imperial Cartomancer (an instant death sentence) and finding some dupes to help him mine the istariol in secret, no questions asked.

But somehow, amid the dangers of the road (floods and avalanches, beasts, barbarians and monsters), a strange thing begins to happen: Dashryn starts to care about his ragtag followers and their strange odyssey into the ruins of an ancient forgotten civilisation.

But his past won’t let him be: the implacable Imperial Bloodhound Toran Zorne has caught his scent, and Zorne has never yet failed to bring his quarry to ground.

At the edge of the map, there’s no going forward and no going back . . .

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My Review…

This is my first experience with this author and what a wonderful experience it was. This is the first book in the trilogy and I very quickly found myself hooked. Often I find that there can be a lot of time spent setting up the scene and characters not so with this one.

The Empire rules the land and dominates through fear, force and magic. People are pressganged into submission and are keen to be seen to follow the rules.

A healer and his daughter live in the edge of the country along with those who wish to be left alone, forgotten keeping their heads down. The healer learns of a power source that could be the chance of starting over, not just for himself but for the rest of the ragtag bunch that make up the community living on the edge of the civilised world as they know it.

I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the idea of a dominating empire lording it over those seen to be weaker than them. It gave me a chance to cheer on the underdogs! But, are they underdogs? What I gradually learn is that not everyone is as they first appear, this gives a wonderful edge of uneasiness as I was never quite sure if I was cheering the right side on.

The author uses names that are pronounceable, this is a big thing for me as often I know the characters but cannot pronounce the name and this takes some of the personal side away from them. There was the odd one that I did pause over but I soon got them in my head. The names of the characters have a European feel to them, and I think this helped to cement the characters more. Certain names have a more Eastern European feel and look and this adds an ominous side to the character.

The story is one of action and adventure and one that I was really able to get my teeth into. The words are easy to follow and the author does give descriptions along the way so I was aware of what he was referring to, e.g. istariol – the source of the power. Along with various other place names, things are explained and histories are given along the route the characters make. Explaining the past as they travel makes it more part of the story rather than an aside.

There is action along the way, death and birth, reckoning, conspiracy and an uncertainty as to who to trust. Even the main characters make you wonder, are they really doing it for the greater good or are they looking after themselves and their ends. This again adds to the intrigue of the story.

As this is the first in the series, there is that almost cliff hanger to it. Yes this first story ends at a good place and it makes sense, but it also leaves a teaser.

This is a very accessible fantasy series that has a historical feel at times with mentions of flintlocks but then does have magic and politics of a ruling empire. It is a brilliantly paced story that has beasts, and otherworld animals, sorcerers, healers and good honest characters as well as a good amount of baddies.

A wonderful book that I flew through in a couple of days. I would definitely recommend this to those who are looking to start a new series, it has left me wanting to eagerly read the next one.

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