Flight of the Shearwater by Alan Jones @alanjonesbooks #historicalfiction #mustread #trilogy #SturmtaucherTrilogy #bookreview

It is an absolute pleasure to be sharing my review today for Flight of the Shearwater by Alan Jones. This is the second book in his Sturmtaucher Trilogy. I read the first book, The Gathering Storm back in August and it blew me away. It still stays with me and I was delighted when the author offered me the opportunity to read these fabulous and powerful books.

You can read my full review of The Gathering Storm HERE.

Flight of the Shearwater is the second book in the Sturmtaucher Trilogy: a powerful and compelling story of two families torn apart by evil.

‘With Poland divided between Hitler’s Germany and Stalin’s Union of Soviet Republics, the increasingly confident Third Reich flexes its military muscles northwards into Denmark and Norway, while the rest of Europe watches anxiously over its shoulders.

General Erich Kästner, in his key role in the Abwehr, is fast becoming aware of the mass expulsion of Jews and other minority groups from Germany and from northern Poland, to the new ghettos of the Generalgouverment area of southern Poland, and has an inkling of what the National Socialists’ have in mind for Europe’s Jews.

As Holland and Belgium fall, and the British are routed at Dunkirk, barely escaping across the channel, the seemingly impregnable France collapses under the Wehrmacht Blitzkrieg, sealing the fate of millions of Jews, now trapped under Hitler’s rule.

The Nussbaums, thwarted in their attempts to escape to Denmark, desperately seek other routes out of Germany but, one by one, they are closed off, and they realise they have left it all too late…’

PURCHASE FROM – AMAZON UK

MY REVIEW…

Once again I am absolutely blown away by the writing of this author. The five years he has spent researching this trilogy, in my honest opinion, was time very well spent.

I will admit to approaching this second book with some trepidation, I was so hooked by the first book, The Gathering Storm, and I wondered if I would like the second book as much. I have to say that it is another amazing book.

If you have read the first book you will be aware of the two main families. The Kastner’s are a well-respected family with links to the German Navy and Army. Their housekeepers and friends are the Nassbaum’s they are German Jews who have been under the protection of General Erich Kastner. As the Jewish are being persecuted more and more it is getting harder for them to remain safe. I would suggest that you do need to read these books in order.

Flight of the Shearwater continues the story of the Kastner and Nussbaum families. In some ways the writing in this second book feels a little different, and a very good different. While the author still keeps the style, the feelings and the observations, he also displays some wonderful descriptive passages. I won’t say too much about these passages and chapters, but the vivid imagery he builds up through his story-telling is simply amazing. I can close my eyes and I can see stormy seas, feel the chill, experience the dread and fear, I also got angry, frustrated and was appalled at what various characters find themselves experiencing.

While the story does focus more on the younger member of the families, there are some vivid and horrific events that are described. It keeps the reader up to date with events unfolding during the most turbulent time in world history. For families having to make decisions as to how best to give their children a chance for survival, when this chance also leads them into danger is an awful choice to make. It is working out which is the lesser of two evils.

Once again I am stumped for words when it comes to writing a review. Once again I want to shout about various aspects of the story, well the story as a whole actually!

This is a superb book in the trilogy. It held my attention as fully as the first one and in some ways even more so as I needed to know what was going to happen to the characters I have come to care about. This author knows how to bring several emotions out in a reader. Research is amazing and there is a good section at the end for further reading. The storytelling is sublime. It is another amazing read.

If you are interested in reading about WWII, the differing views of the Germans, the treatment of the Jewish people and how the war affected the lives of people then this is a trilogy you seriously do need to pick up. Yes, it is hard reading at times as you would expect, but there is a glimmer of hope.

A stunning first two books and it has left me wanting, no, needing to know what becomes of these two families and the others they have met. Again it is a book I cannot recommend highly enough.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR…

Alan Jones

Alan Jones is a Scottish author with three gritty crime stories to his name, the first two set in Glasgow, the third one based in London. He has now switched genres, and his WW2 trilogy will be published in August 2021. It is a Holocaust story set in Northern Germany.

He is married with four grown up children and four wonderful grandchildren.

He has recently retired as a mixed-practice vet in a small Scottish coastal town in Ayrshire and is one of the RNLI volunteer coxswains on the local lifeboat. He makes furniture in his spare time, and maintains and sails a 45-year-old yacht in the Irish Sea and on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. He loves reading, watching films and cooking. He still plays football despite being just the wrong side of sixty.

His crime novels are not for the faint-hearted, with some strong language, violence, and various degrees of sexual content. The first two books also contain a fair smattering of Glasgow slang.

He is one of the few self-published authors to be given a panel at Bloody Scotland and has done two pop-up book launches at the festival in Stirling.

He has spent the last five years researching and writing the Sturmtaucher Trilogy.

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

The Gathering Storm – (The Sturmtaucher Trilogy #1) by Alan Jones @alanjonesbooks #TheGatheringStorm #histfic #mustread #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review today for an amazing book. The Gathering Storm – (The Sturmtaucher Trilogy #1) by Alan Jones is a book that has completely blown me away. If you have an interest in history and historical fiction in the lead up to WWII in Germany, then you really do want to look this book up. It is a book I cannot recommend highly enough.

Book 1 in the Sturmtaucher Trilogy: a powerful and compelling story of two families torn apart by evil.

‘Kiel, Northern Germany, 1933. A naval city, the base for the German Baltic fleet, and the centre for German sailing, the venue for the upcoming Olympic regatta in 1936.

The Kästners, a prominent Military family, are part of the fabric of the city, and its social, naval and yachting circles. The Nussbaums are the second generation of their family to be in service with the Kästners as domestic staff, but the two households have a closer bond than most.

As Adolf Hitler and his National Socialist Party claw their way to power in 1933, life has never looked better for families like the Kästners. There is only one problem.

The Nussbaums are Jews.

The Sturmtaucher Trilogy documents the devastating effect on both families of the Nazis’ hateful ideology and the insidious erosion of the rights of Germany’s Jews.

When Germany descends ever deeper into dictatorship, General Erich Kästner tries desperately to protect his employees, and to spirit them to safety.

As the country tears itself apart, the darkness which envelops a nation threatens not only to destroy two families, but to plunge an entire continent into war.’

You can buy a copy of this brilliant book HERE – at the time of writing up this post, the book is at a ridiculously low price!!

My Review…

Since finishing this book two days ago, I am only now ready to pick up another book. The Gathering Storm is an amazing read, it has left me desperate to continue the other two books in this trilogy.

I have read books from different perspectives of World War II, but I think this is the first time I have come across a book that explores various different perspectives and that has so much excellent research.

The story begins in the years prior to the start of the war. Hitler is only just coming back into the public eye. He is making some speeches that are catching peoples attention. At this point, he is focusing on Germany’s lost power and how the Treaty of Versailles has made life for those living in Germany harder than it should be. Obviously being based on history, we know where the story is heading.

The Kastner’s are a German family, they have a good social standing. Erich is a respected General and his wife moves in favourable social circles. Their three children have good educations and have promising futures. They employ a German family to help with the house, children and domestics. The Nussbaum’s have been with the Kastner’s for two generations, they are German Jews.

As Hitler’s National Social Party garner more support the story and the perspectives really come into their own. Not all German’s are with Hitler and his subtle indoctrinated messages, others eye the changes with a critical and sceptical eye. No one at this point really understands what will happen in the coming years.

This is such an amazing book to read, I have read it over several days as I wanted to be able to absorb it properly rather than just race through it. This has meant the books has nagged at me and got under my skin. There are obvious emotions that I felt with the book, the obvious disbelief that people will blindly follow and completely change because someone has the ability to talk them into it. The obvious horror as living conditions and lives change. The profiteering from the pain and suffering of others and also the dictatorial direction the country was going in.

I realise that I have not spoken too much about the story, but I sincerely believe that this is a book that the synopsis that does a great job of doing what it is supposed to do. It worked so well for me, the synopsis lured me in and the author took up the reins and led me into the lives of the two main families. A story that shows different perspectives, treatments, living conditions, and how one man could bring so much destruction, distrust and abhorrent behaviours out.

This is a stunning book that I cannot recommend highly enough. If you have an interest in history, WWII, The Holocaust, and persecution then you really need to pick this one up. It is a fabulous and important story that at 800 pages long was simply an amazing read. It absolutely blew me away!

About the Author…

Alan Jones is a Scottish author with three gritty crime stories to his name, the first two set in Glasgow, the third one based in London. He has now switched genres, and his WW2 trilogy will be published from August to December 2021. It is a Holocaust story set in Northern Germany.


He is married with four grown up children and four wonderful grandchildren.


He has recently retired as a mixed-practice vet in a small Scottish coastal town in Ayrshire and is one of the coxswains on the local RNLI lifeboat. He makes furniture in his spare time, and maintains and sails a 45-year-old yacht, cruising in the Irish Sea and on the beautiful west coast of Scotland. He loves reading, watching films and cooking. He still plays football despite being just the wrong side of sixty.


His crime novels are not for the faint-hearted, with some strong language, violence, and various degrees of sexual content. The first two books also contain a fair smattering of Glasgow slang.


He is one of the few self-published authors to be given a panel at the Bloody Scotland crime fiction festival in Stirling and has done two pop-up book launches at previous festivals.


He has spent the last five years researching and writing the Sturmtaucher Trilogy.


To find out more, please visit his WEBSITE TWITTER

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

This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech @louisewriter @RandomTTours @OrendaBooks #jubilantjune #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review for This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech. This is an author who doesn’t stick to genres, she explores many emotions. She makes it impossible for me to write a review that comes anywhere close to doing her writing justice!

My huge thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for my spot on the tour and for arranging my e-copy of this book from the publisher, Orenda Books.

Sebastian James Murphy is twenty years, six months and two days old. He loves swimming, fried eggs and Billy Ocean. Sebastian is autistic. And lonely.

Veronica wants her son Sebastian to be happy, and she wants the world to accept him for who he is. She is also thinking about paying a professional to give him what he desperately wants.


Violetta is a high-class escort, who steps out into the night thinking only of money. Of her nursing degree. Paying for her dad’s care. Getting through the dark.


When these three lives collide, and intertwine in unexpected ways, everything changes. For everyone.


Both heart-breaking and heart-warming, This Is How We Are Human is a powerful, moving and thoughtful drama about a mother’s love for her son, about getting it wrong when we think we know what’s best, about the lengths we go to care for family and to survive.

“Though This is How We Are Human is fiction, the premise was inspired by my friends, 20-year-old
Sean, who is autistic, and his mum Fiona. Fiona had spoken to me about how much Sean longed to
meet a girl and have sex. No one talks about this, she said – the difficulties navigating romance often
faced by those on the spectrum. It ’s an issue that I wanted to explore. Fiona and Sean encouraged me
and guided me through the book; Sean regularly consulted on dialogue, rightly insisting that his voice
was heard, was strong, and was accurate. I cannot thank my extraordinary friends enough for their
help and support.” Louise Beech

My Review…

So here is my attempt at a review…

Whenever I pick up a book by this author I know I am going to be in for something special. even though I have not yet read all of her books, I have read enough to know that when I do read one it is going to leave me with tears, This Is How We Are Human is no exception.

The story explores the love a mother and what she will do to give her son as ‘normal’ a life as she can. The story gives a voice to Sebastian who has autism. This voice is the louder one, and opened up my eyes a lot. The story is about what a daughter will do to look after her father.

So, three main characters and each one unique, each one doing what they can, each one doing their best. Sebastian is 20, he has perfectly normal sexual desires, but as he doesn’t have a girlfriend his mother believes she is doing the right thing by hiring an escort for him.

The escort, is doing all she can to keep on top of her studies, look after her father and pay the bills. The only way she can do this is by taking on additional work in the evenings. It is not way she planned for her life to pan out, but needs must.

The three lives are very much intertwined as the author gradually weaves her story. She not only does a fantastic job of bringing them to life, but she also made me care about all three. The character and story of Sebastian is based on the experiences of people the author knew. As I read I was aware that Sebastian’s voice sounded genuine, it had some sort of real and authentic sound to it. This was because of Sean, the person behind the story.

Once again, the author has woven something special. While we try our best not to make assumptions, we try not to be prejudiced, we will and do fail at some point. As much as we try our best to right by other, or to help, there will be a time when we have to stand back. We have to allow life and the natural course of things happen.

This is a story that doesn’t really fit into a genre as such. It is a human interest story, it is a coming of age story, it is challenging the reader to see beyond the labels of society. It also gives some insight into autism, how not only those who are diagnosed with it live, but also how family and other people perceive autism.

This is a special story that has made me once again has me struggling to convey how unique this author and her writing is. I didn’t find this uncomfortable reading at all, I found it emotional and heartfelt. Warm and genuine. The author took a story and created something that was about the people rather than the sex or the autism.

Such an amazing book to read. It s a book that once I began I did not want to put down. I adored this and I would highly recommend it.

About the Author…


The author of Maria in the Moon, The Lion Tamer Who Lost and I Am Dust returns with a beautifully written, powerful and thought-provoking novel that will warm your heart.


Louise Beech is an exceptional literary talent, whose debut novel How To Be Brave was a Guardian Readers’ Choice for 2015. The follow-up, The Mountain in My Shoe was shortlisted for Not the Booker Prize. Both of her previous books Maria in the Moon and The Lion Tamer Who Lost were widely reviewed, critically acclaimed and number-one bestsellers on Kindle. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was shortlisted for the RNA Most Popular Romantic Novel Award in 2019. Her 2019 novel Call Me Star Girl won Best magazine Book of the Year, and was followed by I Am Dust.

Check out the other stops on the tour…

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

My Top Reads of 2020 – there have been many! #MeAndMyBooks #booklove #booklist #TopReads2020

With what is going on around the world, books have been my go to this year. My escape if you like. Lockdown, Pandemics, Testing Tracing, Rules, New Rules, Even more Rules… Everything we knew has altered and yet books have been a constant. So here is what has kept me entertained, intrigued and mystified throughout the most bizarre of years…

These are books that I read in 2020, I did hit my target of 200/200 books on the Goodreads Challenge. As I write this post I think I am on around 220 books. It seems that 2 and 0 are making themselves know this year!!!

Any regular visitors to my blog know that I chop and change genres that I read, so you can expect a mix of all sorts in this list.

Books I have Absolutely Or Highly Recommend this year…

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So 32 books, and it seems very unfair that I have not included the ones I would Definitely Recommend as they are also excellent. Those books are a mix of my favourite authors as well as new to me authors. They include fiction and non-fiction and they all have a place in any list, its just that my list would be well over 100 books long!

One last addition to the list is a very recent read. It takes my Top Reads up to 33!

After a, well… interesting year to say the least. I would like to take this opportunity to say thanks you to all of you wonderful folk out there who have shared, liked and commented on my posts. I appreciate every single one of you.

I wish you all a wonderful Christmas, and all the very best in the New Year.

Much love to all you fabulous book loving friends,

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Yvonne xx

Rough Magic: Riding the World’s Toughest Race by Lara Prior Palmer #nonfiction #memoir @EburyPublishing #NetGalley #bookreview

When I posted my weekly book updates on Monday about what I had read Rough Magic by Lara Prior-Palmer was one that caught a few peoples eye so I have decided that rather than leave it until next week I am bumping it up the list and posting my review today.

This is an amazing book and I loved it, let me show you more about it…

Synopsis…

The Mongol Derby is the world’s toughest horse race. A feat of endurance across the vast Mongolian plains once traversed by the people of Genghis Khan, competitors ride 25 horses across a distance of 1000km. Many riders don’t make it to the finish line.

In 2013 Lara Prior-Palmer – nineteen, underprepared but seeking the great unknown – decided to enter the race. Driven by her own restlessness, stubbornness, and a lifelong love of horses, she raced for seven days through extreme heat and terrifying storms, catching a few hours of sleep where she could at the homes of nomadic families. Battling bouts of illness and dehydration, exhaustion and bruising falls, she found she had nothing to lose, and tore through the field with her motley crew of horses. In one of the Derby’s most unexpected results, she became the youngest-ever champion and the first woman to win the race.

A tale of adventure, fortitude and poetry, Rough Magic is the extraordinary story of one young woman’s encounter with oblivion, and herself.

Purchase from Amazon UK – the paperback version is only £4.99 (this is an affiliate link)

My Review…

Wow! What an amazing story and an amazing adventure the author took me on as she recounts her decision to take part in the Mongol Derby. Not only is it the world’s wildest horse race, but it is also the loneliest and one of the most gruelling. Riders ride the equivalent to two marathons a day.

Most riders prepare and train for this race, not however Lara. She impulsively decides to sign up and she is only 19 years old. She doesn’t have any prep, she is unprepared but her impulsive nature is something that will carry her across the 100km. The Derby is in recognition of Ghengis Khan’s postal riders and the great distances they traversed.

This is a country where horses are revered, the safety and health of the horses are paramount and the horses are changed at each leg of the 25 legs of the race. Time penalties are given for a horse who has been overworked or has been ridden past the cut-off point for each day.

This is an amazing journey and one that I absolutely enjoyed as Lara filled in details of each stage and also her emotions and feelings as she rides. For someone that is so unprepared her journey is quite remarkable, it is the endurance of the rider that is the challenge and if they can last the course both mentally and physically.

A remarkable story of determination and as soon as I had finished it I wandered over to the internet to watch videos and put faces to the people mentioned. This is a story of an intrepid adventure that is fraught with danger and difficulty. That see’s Lara not only become the youngest person to win the race but also the first female!

An outstanding read that I would highly recommend.

I was going to put a link to the video’s I watched, but then I decided not to. Why? Well, not because I am mean, but I read the book then watched the video and it worked better this way. I was able to experience the whole race from Lara’s perspective and then watch snap shots of the race after the book. In my opinion this was the better order 🙂

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

I Am Dust by Louise Beech @OrendaBooks #20booksofsummer #mystery #suspense #mustread #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for I Am Dust by Louise Beech. THis is a book I have chosen to be part of my #20booksofsummer #readingchallenge and what a wonderful book it was.

Let me show you what it is about…

Synopsis

A haunted theatre
A murdered actress
Three cursed teenagers
A secret that devastates them all…

The Dean Wilson Theatre is believed to be haunted by a long-dead actress, singing her last song, waiting for her final cue, looking for her killer…

Now Dust, the iconic musical, is returning after twenty years. But who will be brave enough to take on the role of ghostly goddess Esme Black, last played by Morgan Miller, who was murdered in her dressing room?

Theatre usher Chloe Dee is caught up in the spectacle. As the new actors arrive, including an unexpected face from her past, everything changes. Are the eerie sounds and sightings backstage real or just her imagination? Is someone playing games?

Is the role of Esme Black cursed? Could witchcraft be at the heart of the tragedy? And are dark deeds from Chloe’s past about to catch up with her?

Not all the drama takes place onstage. Sometimes murder, magic, obsession and the biggest of betrayals are real life. When you’re in the theatre shadows, you see everything.

And Chloe has been watching…

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link)

My Review

I have just finished reading this book and there are two words that I think sum this book up “hauntingly beautiful” I wish I could leave that as my review, but as a Book Blogger I know I need to add more to it. The synopsis gives a very good idea as to the story, but, Oh there is so much more it than that!

The story is told in a time slip style. The past goes back to when three teens, Chloe, Jess and Ryan use a Ouija board to contact a dead actress. She was murdered while the show Dust was being performed. The now is the DW theatre, not as popular as it used to be, and there is exciting news that the show Dust will be performed once again.

The author did such an amazing job with this story, I loved the haunting atmospherics that added some amazing tension. The story started with some excitement as the teens started to use the spirit board, this was then built on over the course of the story. Mixed into this was the mystery about the dead actress, Morgan Miller, who wanted to kill her and why.

There is another mystery that also comes into play, and that is what exactly happened to the teens when they walked away from the board? Did it change them? Did they follow the warnings? Well these questions are just the tip of the ice-berg as the author took this reader deeper and deeper into this mystery.

I call this a mystery, and in some ways yes it is, but it is also has a wonderful supernatural theme to it, also there is the murder which adds a crime element, then there is the relationships between the teens, oh and there is also a heartbreaking aspect. I think what I am getting at is that this book crosses genres and that makes it a book that will engage so many different readers.

The story gradually wrapped me up, drawing me deeper and deeper into its pages. I found myself addicted and at times when I was not reading it, I almost felt it calling out to me to pick it up again. It is a beautifully written story, that is heartbreaking and haunting. I loved it from start to finish and those last few pages completely broke me and left me a sobbing wreck.

This is a book that I am pretty sure will be on my Top Reads of the Year list. It is an exceptional read and one I would Highly Recommend.

About the Author

Louise’s debut novel, How to be Brave, was a Guardian Readers’ pick in 2015 and a top ten bestseller on Amazon. The Mountain in my Shoe longlisted for the Guardian’s Not The Booker Prize 2016. The Sunday Mirror called Maria in the Moon ‘quirky, darkly comic, original and heartfelt’. It was also a Must Read in the Sunday Express and a Book of the Year at LoveReadingUK. The Lion Tamer Who Lost was described as ‘engrossing and captivating’ by the Daily Express. It also shortlisted for the RNA’s Romantic Novel of the Year and longlisted for the Polari Prize 2019. Call Me Star Girl hit number one on Kobo. It also longlisted for the Not The Booker Prize and won the Best magazine Big Book Award 2019. I Am Dust is out in 2020.

Links – WebsiteTwitterAmazon Author Page

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

The Curator by M.W. Craven #20booksofsummer #readingchallenge #mustread #bookreview

Today see me sharing another review from one of mt #20booksofsummer #reading challenge books. This is #10 on my list and is an absolute belter of a read. The Curator by M. W. Craven is the 3rd book in the Washington Poe series.

SYNOPSIS

It’s Christmas and a serial killer is leaving displayed body parts all over Cumbria. A strange message is left at each scene: #BSC6

Called in to investigate, the National Crime Agency’s Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw are faced with a case that makes no sense. Why were some victims anaesthetized, while others died in appalling agony? Why is their only suspect denying what they can irrefutably prove but admitting to things they weren’t even aware of? And why did the victims all take the same two weeks off work three years earlier?

And when a disgraced FBI agent gets in touch things take an even darker turn. Because she doesn’t think Poe is dealing with a serial killer at all; she thinks he’s dealing with someone far, far worse – a man who calls himself the Curator.

And nothing will ever be the same again . . .

*THE NEW THRILLER FROM THE WINNER OF THE CWA BEST CRIME NOVEL OF 2019 AWARD*
______________________

Purchase from Amazon UK – KindlePaperback (to be published dec 2020) – HardbackAudio (these are affiliate links)

My Review

I really don’t know where to start with my review for this awesome book. It’s the third book in the Washington Poe series and yes you do need to read them all just so you understand how and why Washington Poe and Tilly Bradshaw work so well together.

The synopsis, well, to be honest, I have only just read it! Why? It’s quite simple, I don’t need a synopsis for this series I will automatically buy the next book as soon as its available, this has been the case since I finished the first one. Oh yeah! the synopsis… it does give a good idea of what you are going to get, but it also comes nowhere near to the journey you are about to embark upon.

The characters of Poe and Tilly are exceptional, they have been brilliantly developed and the banter between the two is spot on. The author has definitely given these two their own voices and set of personal traits that fit them to a tee. Poe is occasionally acerbic, blunt and comes across as tough as nails but he is showing a more softer side when it comes to Tilly. She is naive, a computer genius and has no filter when it comes to speaking, this is explained more int he first book. This is where I suggest reading all the books in order.

As for the plot of the story, well there are a few things that immediately spring to mind and they are dark, twisted, devious and then some. This is such a cleverly executed plot that had me on my toes right the way through. I was wrong-footed many times.

A cracking story, exceptional characters and a storyline that just has to be read, I think this is going to be in my Top Reads of the Year list. This is a must-read book and series, if you haven’t read them already, and especially for crime thriller readers and those that like a mystery on the darker side. This is a book that I would give a massive thumbs up to and therefore it gets a Highly Recommended from me. For me, this is fictional deviousness at its very best.

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

The Moscow Whisper by Michael Jenkins #TheMoscowWhisper @FailsafeQuery @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours #thriller #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Moscow Whisper by Michael Jenkins. This is the 3rd book in this series and if you like spy and espionage books you are going to get on really well with this one. It is a cracking read. My thanks to Emma at damppebbles blog tours for my spot on the Blog Tour and for arranging my e-copy of this fabulous book.

Let me show you what it’s all about…

‘Sometimes you have to enter the death zone to save the innocent.’

A top-secret clique of former spies meet for dinner to hatch a plan to murder a competitor, not knowing that they are under surveillance from a covert arm of British Intelligence. Hours later, with bodies strewn across a terrace, a piece of secret intelligence reveals an international plot of colossal magnitude.

For disgraced agent Sean Richardson, this is the beginning of a deniable mission to infiltrate and disrupt a group of Russian mercenaries who are working clandestinely to take over a nation state.

Acting covertly as an illicit arms trafficker, Sean is dropped into a deadly cauldron of terrorism and high-tech weaponry that will take a nation down. As the bullets fly and the chaos rains in, can Sean take down the merchants of death…or has he finally met his match?

The third in a set of spy thrillers that have been expertly crafted with stunning plot lines, magnificent locations, and twists that leave you gasping for air. Perfect for fans of Frederick Forsyth, Robert Ludlum, Tom Clancy, and Scott Mariani. 

Purchase Links = Amazon UK (this is an affiliate link) Amazon US

This is the third book in the Sean Richardson series and, boy oh boy was it a cracking read. While the title gives the impression of it being set in Moscow, it is actually Russian mercenaries and arms dealers who provide the Moscow link.

This is an absolute cracker of a read and I have to say I feel for Sean as the author really does put him through his paces. Sean is an off the books operative for an exclusive group. Plausible deniability being something that is essential, but it doesn’t mean that Sean is working alone.

In this mission, he has help from old friends, but as this is the world of spies, double agents, rumours and lies, there is always a doubt as to who can be trusted. Money and power lead to corruption and this leads to sold secrets, backhanders and the like.

This is such a fast-paced book that is action-packed from start to finish. Sean is an excellent character and is teamed up once again with Jack, and an American agent Laura. I just can’t help but like Sean and I still do have my doubts about the other two, there is just something about those who make the decisions that leaves an uneasy feeling. Or maybe I am always backing the underdog, and this seems to be Sean’s default setting.

There are some other great characters in this story and I love some of their names, well nicknames. They add a good deal of variety and some have a very unique skill set to boot.

The details that the author brings to this story is so good, tactics and weaponry are just the tip of the ice-berg. When you read the authors bio you can see where his own knowledge adds a massive extra to the storytelling.

This is such an excellent read, fast, action-packed, intense thriller. For me, this book just has it all and I would highly recommend it.

I started climbing at 13, survived being lost in Snowdonia at 14, nearly drowned at 15, and then joined the Army at 16. Risk and adventure was built into my DNA and I feel very fortunate to have served the majority of my working career as an intelligence officer within Defence Intelligence, and as an explosive ordnance disposal officer and military surveyor within the Corps of Royal Engineers. 

I was privileged to serve for twenty-eight years in the British Army as a soldier and officer, rising through the ranks to complete my service as a major. I served across the globe on numerous military operations as well as extensive travel and adventure on many major mountaineering and exploration expeditions that I led or was involved in.

I was awarded the Geographic Medal by the Royal Geographical Society for mountain exploration in 2003 and served on the screening committee of the Mount Everest Foundation charity for many years. It was humbling after so many years of service when I was awarded the MBE for services to counter-terrorism in 2007.

Follow Michael on – TwitterFacebook or visit his Website

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The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary @OLearyBeth @QuercusBooks #20booksofsummer #fiction #bookreview

I am absolutely delighted to share my review for The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary. I have had this on my TBR since it came out last year and it is one of the books I am reading for #20Booksofsummer reading challange and it was blooming brilliant.

Let me show you what this book is all about…

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…
 

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. 

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

I am kicking myself for not reading The Flatshare sooner, it has been languishing on my TBR ever since it came out and it is such a brilliant read.

Tiffy has been living in her ex’s flat and finally decides to move out when he parades his girlfriend through his property. I have to say I took an immediate dislike to him and wondered why on earth Tiffy still lived there.

Her new place is a flat where she will rent the bed when the other occupant is not there!!!!! Yeah you read that right! He works nightshifts Monday to Friday and stays with his girlfriend at weekends. Tiffy works Monday to Friday in the day so actually it makes sense… sort of!

Now once I had got my head around the flatshare, and so had Tiffy and her friends it does actually seem to work. It gives Tiffy a chance to get her head straight after her long overdue split from her ex, much to the delight of her friends. This is where the real story comes out about her relationship and it is much darker than I had realised as I had not really read the synopsis properly! So everything was a revelation and a shock.

As flat mates, Tiffy and Leon, he is the other person in the flat, by the way, never meet, they are the proverbial ships that pass in the night. They instead communicate by post-it notes, leaving messages and gradually they get to know each other. This relationship works really well, several months go by before an unexpectedly embarrassing and hilarious bumping into each other finally happens.

The author has created such an addictive one sitting read that I was loath to put down for even a second. The way she created and worked this storyline is just brilliant, there is a nervous start as you would expect when two people live together, but this is where it gets interesting. They are strangers and therefore they find it easier to communicate with each other through the notes they leave. So as I read I got to know them and about their individual lives as they also got to know each other.

Woven into this getting to know each other storyline, there is also other plots that emerge. For Tiffy it is a darker thread, one that makes her realise about her past and gives her the chance to deal with how she will shape her future. For Leon it is about getting justice for his brother and again about how he wants his life to pan out.

This was a brilliant read and I adored everything about it, the pacing the characters the story just completely worked for me. There is a balance between the darker moments with funny occurrences and mishaps. There is a sense of friendship and of finding things that are right for each individual. It is a book that readers who are after a human interest storyline that has moments of humour injected into, it shows how an obsessive personality can change a person and how friends are there when needed.

Yeah, I loved The Flatshare and I would Highly Recommend it.

Purchase from Amazon UK (this is an Amazon affiliate link)

Beth studied English at university before going into children’s publishing. She lives as close to the countryside as she can get while still being within reach of London, and wrote her first novel, The Flatshare, on her train journey to and from work.
You’ll usually find her curled up with a book, a cup of tea, and several woolly jumpers (whatever the weather).

You can visit Beth on her Website or Twitter

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

From Venice With Love by Rosanna Ley #contemporaryfiction #romance #BookReview

I am so delighted to share my review for From Venice With Love by Rosanna Ley, this is a book I read a few weeks ago and it is absolutely gorgeous. A must for readers who love a story about family, relationships and romance.

Let me show you more about this book…

The best-selling author of The Lemon Tree Hotel returns with an enchanting new holiday listen about family bonds and following your heart, wherever it might take you….

With her marriage in danger of falling apart, Joanna returns home to the beautiful but dilapidated Mulberry Farm Cottage in rural Dorset, where her sister Harriet is struggling to keep the farm afloat and cope with their eccentric mother.

When Joanna discovers a bundle of love letters in the attic, written by a watercolourist named Emmy, she is intrigued and sets out to discover Emmy’s true story. Emmy’s letters take Joanna to the picturesque alleyways and bridges of Lisbon, Prague, and the most romantic place of all: Venice – where a whole new magical world seems to unfold in front of her.

Meanwhile, back at Mulberry Farm Cottage, a mysterious prowler adds to Harriet’s problems and interrupts her search for a perfect partner. Will she ever find true love? Where will Emmy’s mesmerising pathway lead? And more importantly, will Joanna and Harriet be able to rescue the cottage and finally be able to rediscover their sisterly bond? 

What an absolutely wonderful read this was, and a first by this author for me, even though I do own several of her books! This is the story of two sisters, the elder Henrietta lives in the family farm of Mulberry Farm Cottage in Dorset with the Audrey their mother. Joanna has been living and working in London but has just moved back to the family after her husband admitted to having an affair. Going home will give her the chance to look at her life and decide what she wants to do next.

This was such an amazing book to read, the author has such a wonderful way of describing the various settings in the book. If like me, you love to disappear into a different country or country, then this is a book you really want to pick up as her descriptions are so good.

The story itself is one of self discovery for various characters, yes, they are adults and therefore to a point they should kind of have an idea of what they want to do with their lives. But the thing is that they have had some major change in their lives and this has left them wondering what role they have within the family as well as what direction they would now like to go in.

Joanne discovers old love letters, these set her off on a trail and takes her to Venice, it also fits in with her job so she can combine two things in one. Her latest is to write some travel guides that have something a little different to them. The letters lead her on a wonderful journey that I thoroughly enjoyed.

I really want to go into more details about the sisters, their mother, then Owen and Nicholas, as well as the journeys that are made, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. It is such a wonderfully evocative book that I started to read and didn’t put down until I had finished.

The author looks at family dynamics, there is the odd secret that emerges. The expectations of others and also the expectations of the characters as well. There are problems, dilemmas, but also something slightly whimsical that has such a fabulous impact on the story. For Joanna, the journey she takes to discover more about the letters also, in turn, takes her on a journey. It was like the past was showing her a way to the future.

This is a slower-paced book and it is perfect for the pace of life on the farm and also for one of the other characters. The descriptions of Dorset and Cornwall, as well as other European cities, add to this ambling pace and it is wonderful.

I cannot say anything but good about this book, well I do have one bad point… it ended! I didn’t want it to end at all!

If you are a fan of slower-paced books that delve into family and how changes impact their lives then this is a book for you. If you like descriptions of settings then this is a book for you. It is a fabulous read and I absolutely adored it and I would highly recommend it.

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