Unlocked by Soulla Christodoulou @schristodoulou2 @Bookreview

I am delighted to share my thoughts on Unlocked by Soulla Christodoulou, this is a beautiful short story that given it’s short length has so much to it.

I would like to thank Soulla for sending me an Advanced Reader Copy of Unlocked and to also like to add…

Happy Publication Day Soulla 💞

Let me show you what it is all about…

Helen, wallowing in pain and shunning the world and everyone around her, happens across an inspirational quote in her local store after leaving the house for the first time in weeks. Instantly, its message awakens something within her and she books a flight to a country she has always wanted to go.

In India the sounds, sights and colours of this spiritual place, evoke a new awareness within her and the promise of release from the agony of her husband’s infidelity. An impromptu encounter and an invitation to a local wedding open up an unexpected path and a flood of long-forgotten feelings.

Purchase link – Amazon UK

Helen has isolated herself after the breakdown of her marriage. Let herself go and become a recluse. A simple quote awakens something inside of her and she books a ticket to India.

Helen’s journey to India is a chance to be free of her self imposed confines. Her journey is not just a physical one, but one the heart, soul and mind.

The author has created such a captivating short story that is beautifully written. Within this short format there is a sense of hope and of starting to imagine a life being lived.

The author uses a few cultural references and at the end of the story these are explained in a little more detail. There is some wonderful vivid imagery that the author has carefully and superbly incorporated.

After I had finished Unlocked I had a wonderful sense of Helen being at peace. Also a little sad that it had finished, this is a story that I could have happily read in a longer format. The story is a tranquil and heartwarming read and I adored it and would definitely recommend it.

This is a beautiful story that has a perfectly matching and beautiful cover.

Born in London to Greek Cypriot parents Soulla Christodoulou spent much of her childhood living carefree days full of family, school and friends. She was the first in her family to go to university and studied BA Hotel & Catering Management at Portsmouth University. Years later, after having a family of her own she studied again at Middlesex University and has a PGCE in Business Studies and an MA in Education.

Soulla is a Women’s Fiction author and wrote her first novel Broken Pieces of Tomorrow over a few months while working full time in secondary education and is a mother of three boys.

She is a compassionate and empathetic supporter of young people. Her passion for teaching continues through private tuition of English Language and Children’s Creative Writing Classes.

Her writing has also connected her with a charity in California which she is very much involved in as a contributor of handwritten letters every month to support and give hope to women diagnosed with breast cancer. One of her letters will be featured in a book ‘Dear Friend’ out in September 2017.

When asked, she will tell you she has always, somewhere on a subconscious level, wanted to write and her life’s experiences both personal and professional have played a huge part in bringing her to where she was always meant to be; writing books and drinking lots of cinnamon and clove tea!

She also has a poetry collection, Sunshine after Rain, published on Amazon and is releasing her second novel, The Summer Will Come in Autumn/Winter 2017.

Follow Soulla on Twitter Website

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

Christmas at Ladywell by Nicola Slade @nicolasladeuk @rararesources #Bookreview #Giveaway (open Int)

Happy Publication Day Nicola 🙂

I am delighted to share my thoughts with you today for Christmas at Ladywell by Nicola Slade. I read this for the Blog Tour and wish to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my space on this Publication Day Push!

Let me show you what it is about…

A time for spilling secrets…

Having refurbished her inherited house and upcycled her whole life in the process, Freya – now happily married to Patrick, and with a small child – has to transform her tiny stone barn into a romantic hideaway for a mystery guest who is also looking for change. With Christmas only a week away, things don’t go according to plan…

In the past old uncertainties are resolved when an elderly woman seeks the truth of a legend on Christmas Eve and confesses to a deception; a Tudor wife listens to a story that must never be repeated and is given a precious relic that must never be displayed; and in the early nineteenth century an old woman tells a younger one the story of the hares at Ladywell.

Past and present are only a whisper apart when Freya learns of an astonishing discovery that will make Ladywell famous, but meanwhile her house is full of unexpected visitors, she has a turkey to cook – and a very special secret of her own that must be told.

Purchase links – Amazon – UKUS

This is a lovely novella and so a quick read. A story of a family that spans the generations and has a mysterious, magical and Christmas feel to it.

This is told in two timelines, there is the present setting as I get to know the family currently residing at Ladywell. Then there is the italicised sections that deal with the history of the area and the family through the years.

So a mix of two different styles as such, historical fiction and mystery as they are combined to create an enchanting and almost magical story. The present setting in Ladywell sounds lovely and a wonderful place to be at Christmas. While the past shows similarities and I gradually saw mysteries and secrets starting to emerge.

This is a charming read that has a folk lore-ish feel to the historical and a warm and generous family feel in the modern time. If you want a quick read then this is ideal, it had a nice flow and had some surprises within its pages and it is a short story that I would recommend.

Nicola Slade is an award-winning, bestselling author of historical and contemporary mysteries and romantic fiction, all set in and around Winchester and Romsey in Hampshire – which is where she lives. The House at Ladywell – a contemporary romantic novel with historical echoes – won the Chatelaine Grand Prize for Romantic Fiction at the CIBA awards in April 2019.

She is the author of the mid-Victorian Charlotte Richmond mysteries and the contemporary Harriet Quigley mysteries and The Convalescent Corpse, published November 2018, is the first in a new series, The Fyttleton Mysteries, set in 1918.

Media Links – WebsiteBlogTwitterFacebookPintrest


Now then! Are you ready for a chnace to win a copy of The Convalescent Corpse by Nicola? You are! Well, ideal 🙂

I read The Convalescent Corpse a while ago and you can see what I thought of it HERE 🙂

Giveaway to Win a .mobi or PDF of The Convalescent Corpse by Nicola Slade (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

ENTER HERE – Good Luck

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

The Bandit Queen by Natalia and Lauren O’Hara #PublicationDay #BookReview

38470105

I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts today on The Bandit Queen by Natalia and Lauren O’Hara. Natalia is the author and Lauren is the illustrator for The Bandit Queen. My thanks to Puffin Books for inviting me to read a copy of this book via NetGalley, my thoughts are my own.

It is published by Puffin Books in Hardback today, its available from Amazon UK.

Last year I read Hortense and The Shadow by Natalia and Lauren you can read my review HERE and buy a copy HERE

Synopsis:

“O Bandit Queen!” the bandits cried. 
“Little horror! Poison weed!
We’ll give you everything a queen could ever need…”

The bandits give their queen treasure, tigers, mischief and mayhem. But sometimes a little girl needs something more…

A book about finding family in unexpected places, from the creators of Hortense and the Shadow.

My Thoughts:

A1Ql4s8cyCL.jpg

The Bandits are a mad bunch getting up to all sorts of things such as pinching forks, shouting and crashing about until three in the morning. On one trip the Bandits steal things from an Orphan School, in one box is a baby. They care for her, spoil her, give her their version of an education and make her their Bandit Queen. She grows tired of their childish behaviour and goes to get a proper education, she then realises she misses her bunch of Bandits and they also miss her.

This is a fun read with rhyming sentences that would be great to be read out loud. At the beginning of the story there are a few onomatopoeia words, ideal for engaging a child when being read to, or for that child to sound out.

The story is engaging and while the Bandits are quite naughty they are also fun. At the end of the book there is almost a cliffhanger of sorts, it could be the end or there is the clue that there could be more to come. I like this as it is a way to encourage a child to think about what could happen next, giving them a chance to develop their own imaginative story.

The pictures in this book are fabulous, they are detailed and are relevant to each part of the story and are bright and vivid in their colour, while still holding a slightly whimsical style.

Last year I read Hortense and The Shadow by the O’Hara sisters and while that is a different style of book it does have some similarities, rhyming verse, good illustrations and a storyline that would appeal to young readers.

This is a book that I as and adult enjoyed and think would definitely appeal to readers from around 5 and up, perfect to be read aloud and one I would definitely recommend.

About the Author and Illustrator:

Natalia O’Hara (Author) 
Natalia and Lauren are two sisters from the North of England. In the daytime they edit scripts and design sets, and at night they draw and write together. As children they loved fairytales, animal fables and the stories their Polish grandmother told on snowy nights. Hortense and the Shadow is their first picture book.

Lauren O’Hara (Illustrator) 
Natalia and Lauren are two sisters from the North of England. In the daytime they edit scripts and design sets, and at night they draw and write together. As children they loved fairytales, animal fables and the stories their Polish grandmother told on snowy nights. Hortense and the Shadow is their first picture book.

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

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

51uWc1BrxhL

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

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

TWO ANCIENT CITIES. ONE FINAL WAR.

My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Confession by Jo Spain @SpainJoanne @QuercusBooks @ellakroftpatel #PublicationDay

51hOobwYylL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_

The Confession by Jo Spain and published by Quercus Books and will be available in paperback from 9th September, you can get your copy from AMAZON UK. I was lucky to be able to read an advance copy of the eBook version earlier this year. If you have not had the chance to read it yet then you should 🙂

Synopsis:

Late one night a man walks into the luxurious home of disgraced banker Harry McNamara and his wife Julie. The man launches an unspeakably brutal attack on Harry as a horror-struck Julie watches, frozen by fear.

Just an hour later the attacker, JP Carney, has handed himself in to the police. He confesses to beating Harry to death, but JP claims that the assault was not premeditated and that he didn’t know the identity of his victim. With a man as notorious as Harry McNamara, the detectives cannot help wondering, was this really a random act of violence or is it linked to one of Harry’s many sins: corruption, greed, betrayal?

This gripping psychological thriller will have you questioning, who – of Harry, Julie and JP – is really the guilty one? And is Carney’s surrender driven by a guilty conscience or is his confession a calculated move in a deadly game?

‘I can’t praise The Confession enough. Brilliant writing, great story… a really cracking read’ BA Paris, author of Behind Closed Doors and The Breakdown

An absolute cracker of a book, compulsive, deviously plotted and intense – I will be recommending this to everyone Elizabeth Haynes, author of Into the Darkest Corner

‘Has you addicted from the very first page. I found it impossible to put down’ Michelle Frances, author of The Girlfriend

‘Here is my confession: I’ve never read Jo Spain before but now I’ll be buying all of her books. The Confession is brutal and brilliant’ Fiona Cummins, author of Rattle

My Thoughts

When a stranger walks into a house, beats up the husband as the wife watches frozen, unable to do anything to help or stop the attack, you know there will or should be a pretty good reason for it.

Oh! This is a good read, a well paced psychological thriller. It is set over several years, filling in the background of the main characters. The chapters are told by different characters and from their own perspectives. They flit between times and places with quick succession. It did take me a few chapters to get to grips with this, occasionally loosing what time I was in, but its one of those books that, as you read you get to learn the style and format.

The characters themselves, I have mixed opinions on some and changes my opinion on others. This is a good thing by the way, for me it means the author has manipulated my feelings as I have read and therefore my opinion matches the character as they change, or you learn more about them. Now as for the plot, it is one of those deliciously deep and twisty ones that kept me guessing, even when things were being drawn together for the conclusion a few more sneaky twists were included in this slippery tale.

This is a book that I would definitely recommend to readers who like a good psychological thriller with twists that are revealed at the end with extra twisty bits. It also has elements that show the contrasts of two different social backgrounds, one poor and one rich, the haves and the have nots. A well written and executed read that kept me turning the pages avidly.

About the Author:

91IssqxXLHL._SY200_.jpg

Jo Spain’s first novel, With Our Blessing, was one of seven books shortlisted in the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller competition and went on to be a top-ten bestseller in Ireland. She has written two further in the series, featuring DI Tom Reynolds.
Jo has worked as a party advisor on the economy in the Irish parliament and is now writing full-time. She is currently writing a screen play for a brand new RTÉ crime drama series. Jo lives in Dublin with her husband and their four young children.

Follow Jo on Twitter
• Jo will be speaking at Bloody Scotland alongside Elly Griffiths and Sarah Pinborough on Sunday 23rd 2018.

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

Brand New Friend by Kate Vane @k8vane : #PublicationDay #Extract

Brand New Friend by Kate Vane.jpg

I am delighted to be sharing an extract today for “Brand New Friend” by Kate Vane on it’s Publication Day. This book is one I have on my TBR and I am looking forward to reading it at a later date. Kate very kindly got in touch and was aware that I was closed for reviews but wondered if I could host an extract. Call it chance or fate, but the date she suggested was available. If you would like to purchase a copy then please follow the universal link and choose your preference HERE. It is being launched at 99p/99c. After 10 June it will go up to £2.99/$3.99

Synopsis:

BBC foreign correspondent Paolo Bennett is exiled to a London desk – and the Breakfast sofa – when he gets a call from Mark, a friend from university in eighties Leeds. Paolo knew Mark as a dedicated animal rights activist but now a news blog has exposed him as an undercover police officer. Then Mark’s former police handler is murdered.

Paolo was never a committed campaigner. He was more interested in women, bands and dreaming of a life abroad. Now he wonders if Mark’s exposure and his handler’s murder might be linked to an unexplained death on campus back when they were friends. What did he miss?

Paolo wants the truth – and the story. He chases up new leads and old friends. From benefit gigs and peace protests, to Whatsapp groups and mocktail bars, the world has changed, but Mark still seems the same.

Is Mark the spy who never went back – who liked his undercover life better than his own? Or is he lying now? Is Paolo’s friend a murderer?

Extract:

Kate has allowed me to share the opening chapter of “Brand New Friend”

EXTRACT:

Paolo’s mind was still in Yemen when his phone rang.

‘It’s me. Mark.’

He’d been recording a report on the cholera outbreak for The World Tonight, trying, in cool BBC tones, to conjure the faces of the people, the stunning mud-brick buildings, the terror of the bombing. The stink of sewage, the pain of loss.

‘I need your help.’

He couldn’t get the story on TV because it failed the vital test – do we have pictures? Radio. How he loved radio! For a moment he had forgotten that he was in London, on a chill, grey day, in a dark wool suit.

Mark.

It was an unknown caller but he always picked up. The habit of years of reporting on the ground in the Middle East. You never knew who it might be, whether they would call again.

He wondered how many hundreds of Marks he had met in his life and why this particular Mark thought he should know who he was. He wasn’t going to identify him from his silence, so he said, a little tersely, ‘Mark who?’

‘That’s why I’m calling.’

The voice thought he should know what this was about and he didn’t. ‘Where are you?’

‘Leeds, of course.’ It was the tone of beatific patience as much as the location that made him realise. A tone that threw him straight back to the eighties. ‘You haven’t seen the news?’

‘I’ve been in the studio. Give me a moment.’ He was already searching for Mark’s name, tapping on a link.

‘Can you come? Now?’

Like he was still a student. We’re going the pub, or Nazams, or a party on Brudenell Road, or maybe Street, or Mount. That was then. Of course he couldn’t come now.

Yet as he read on, he felt the old tingle that told him this was a story, and he found himself saying, ‘Yes, I’ll come.’

About the Author:

kate vane author image.jpg Kate Vane writes (mostly) crime fiction. Brand New Friend is her fourth novel.

She has written for BBC drama Doctors and has had short stories and articles published in various publications and anthologies, including Mslexia and Scotland on Sunday.

She lived in Leeds for a number of years where she worked as a probation officer. She now lives on the Devon coast.

Follow Kate on:-  Website – Twitter – Facebook

Follow the tour and see what other Book Blogger think

blog tour final.jpg

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

#BlogTour : Abel’s Revenge by Ross Greenwood @greenwoodross @CarolineBookBit #PublicationDay #BookReview

Abel's Revenge - Ross Greenwood - Book Cover.jpg

I am delighted to be one of the opening hosts today for the Blog Tour for  Abel’s Revenge by Ross Greenwood to share with you.  I am delighted to be on the Blog Tour for this book organised by Caroline at Bits About Books. My thanks to Ross and Caroline for my copy of this book and my spot on the tour.  Abel’s Revenge is available in paperback and also eBook today. You can purchase a copy HERE.

Synopsis:

This is a story about a city. As with all others, it’s a place of violence. There are murderers, and they live among us.

This is also a tale about a couple — sometimes friends, occasionally lovers, but always partners. Dan and Olivia are fighting modern battles; the ones parents have over a lack of money, time or peace.

An escalating serial killer terrifies the streets and homes. The body count rises as their relationship crumbles. Society reveals its dark side, and no one is safe. Dan and Olivia experience this first-hand as danger closes in.

Will Abel’s reign of terror ever end?

Who will live and who will die?

My Thoughts:

The synopsis for this book is quite unique and it is not until I now sit and write my review that I really get it’s significance as I re read it, a story about a city.  This is a clever and a brilliant concept of the city being responsible for the actions of people.  Life in a city is what you make it.  If you don’t accept and embrace the diversity and opportunities it lays out before you, it will mess with your head.  A couple with two children, one parent accepts city life and loves her life, the other parent feels suffocated, out-of-place and struggles.  With their own problems to deal with the couple hear of a serial killer crime wave.  It is a crime wave that terrorizes the inhabitants of the sprawling urban streets, it has a name. Its name is Abel.

This is a cleverly thought out book, with dark depths and subtle moments of unexpected sarcasm and humour as it brings the city to life through those who live in it.  It shows us a typical family with the stress and strain of being parents, and trying to balance time between children, work and for themselves. We hear of their story as the city is in the grip of Abel, his actions are on the news and on everyone’s lips, this adds another worry to their lives.

Half way through this book is a newspaper article that gives the most perfect way of summarising events that have been escalating.  It’s a great way of taking the reader out of the cocoon and opening it up to give a wider general opinion, it expands the vision and lets the reader get more of a feel for what is being referred to as “The Abel Effect”.  It adds public opinion, fear and outcry as they feel the police are not doing enough to balance this is the police response and how they are dealing with this phenomenon.

It is at this inclusion in the story I made a note as I was reading, “this is bad, but I have an even badder feeling something sinister is going to happen”, okay I am not very articulate when I make notes, but I know exactly what I felt and what I meant. This is the point when you realise that the story is winding up again, upping the ante and giving this reader a real sense of dread.  The way I had no idea who the serial killer was, well  had several suspects and kept changing my mind but had no idea how this story was going to end.

This is a story that took me on a journey that was unexpected, even after reading I am still thinking about it.  It is deceptive and a brilliant read, a book I really wanted to race through to discover the whys and hows of the plot, but one that I slowed my reading for so I could really understand the story behind the story.

This is a definitely highly recommended read, not often I use definite and highly together, it is a psychological thriller that is powerful, brutal and honest.  A look into the mind of a serial killer as the crimes are committed and seeing the reasoning and justification behind them.  But also in contrast, how a family struggling in their relationship deal with the strains of living within a city. This is a book that I think would be brilliant for a brilliant Book Club pick, it has many aspects that I think could give some great discussions.

About the Author

Ross Greenwood  Author Image.jpg  Ross Greenwood was born in 1973 in Peterborough and lived there until he was 20, attending The King’s School in the city. He then began a rather nomadic existence, living and working all over the country and various parts of the world.

Ross found himself returning to Peterborough many times over the years, usually, so he says “when things had gone wrong.” It was on one of these occasions that he met his partner about 100 metres from his back door whilst walking a dog. Two children swiftly followed. And, according to Ross, he is “still a little stunned by the pace of it now.”

Lazy Blood book was started a long time ago but parenthood and then four years as a prison officer got in the way. Ironically it was the four a.m. feed which gave the author the opportunity to finish the book as unable to get back to sleep he completed it in the early morning hours.

Ross Greenwood’s second book, The Boy Inside, was picked up by Bloodhound Books, and in September 2017, Fifty Years of Fear was published. All his books are thought provoking, and told with a sense of humour.

Ross Greenwood hopes you enjoy reading them.
Please feel free to get in touch on Website ~ Facebook ~  Twitter

Other Books by Ross Greenwood

Lazy Blood (Sept. 2016) Amazon UK
The Boy Inside (Feb 2017) Amazon UK
Fifty Years of Fear (Sept.2017) Amazon UK

See what other Book Bloggers think of this book by following the tour

Blog Tour Poster Abel's Revenge - Ross Greenwood.png

Many thanks for reading my post, a share would be amazing.  Get your own copy of this amazing book HERE 🙂 xx

#PublicationDay : Ike & Kay by James MacManus #ikeandkay @jamesmac1x: @Duckbooks #BookReview

41bLNpSdZZL._SY346_.jpg

I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Ike & Kay” by James MacManus.  It is publication day today for this book by Duckworth OverLook and is available in various formats.  CLICK HERE for the link to purchase from Amazon UK.  I would like to express my thanks to Thogdin at Duckworth Overlook for my copy of this wonderful book.

Synopsis:

The secret affair at the heart of World War II

Ike and Kay is the absorbing new novel from the highly acclaimed author James MacManus. A compelling historical novel, it is a vivid reimagining of General Eisenhower and Kay Summersby’s infamous love affair in London during World War II.

In 1942, Kay Summersby’s life is changed forever when she is conscripted to drive General Eisenhower on his fact-finding visit to wartime London. Despite Eisenhower’s marriage to Mamie, the pair take an immediate liking to each other and he buys Kay a rare wartime luxury: a box of chocolates. So begins a tumultuous relationship that, against all military regulation, sees Kay traveling with Eisenhower on missions to far-flung places before the final assault on Nazi Germany.

The general does dangerously little to conceal his affair with the woman widely known as “Ike’s shadow,” and in letters Mamie bemoans his new obsession with “that Irish woman”. That does not stop him from using his influence to grant Kay citizenship and rank in the US army, drawing her closer still when he returns to America. When officials discover Eisenhower’s plans to divorce his wife they threaten the fragile but passionate affair, and Kay is forced to take desperate measures to hold onto the man she loves…

Based on the scandalous true story of General Eisenhower’s secret World War II love affair, Ike and Kay is a compelling story of love, duty, sacrifice and heartbreak, set against the backdrop of the most tumultuous period of the 20th century.

My Thoughts:

Firstly this is a story that is based on true events.  It is the story of how Kay Summersby became driver to General Eisenhower while he was on a visit to London during WWII.  A time when street signs were removed and London was in a black out, hence the need for drivers with knowledge of the area, the MTC (Motor Transport Corp) was in place and essential for the movement of visitors.

James has created a story that has a great balance for this reader, actual events with a romantic liaison.  It becomes evident that there is something going on between Ike and Kay as she transports him not only around London, but further afield into Europe.  She is a woman who is able to provide a stable environment that Eisenhower gradually starts to rely on.  It is not based just during the war, but also continues in the years after.  You get to see different sides to the man who goes on to become President.  My opinion at the start of the book about these two people changed by the time I got the end.  My heart went out to Kay as her role during the war and after changed, her role changed so much from the driver she originally started out as.  Ike was in a position asking where loyalties lay, were they with Kay or to his country.

There are author notes at the end that are interesting reading, they explain how no one actually knows the extent of the relationship between Ike and Kay.  The story that is told is one that has been researched and the author has used this research to then create a wonderful read of what may have happened.  I had no idea about Kay and her role so I tootled off to do a bit of research of my own after I had finished reading.  I found photographs and various articles that was great to be able to put an actual face to the lady behind the story.

This is a story I would definitely recommend to readers of historical fiction, romantic fiction based during WWII, it is a mix of emotion and heartbreak  as the characters come to terms with their feelings and how they are seen by others with documented facts . As this lady was someone I knew nothing about it was interesting to read on further about her, and I am grateful for being introduced to Kay.

About the Author:

51QTtUz2b2L._SY200_ James MacManus has worked in the newspaper business for 46 years.He is currently the Managing Director of the Times Literary Supplement.He began his career on The Daily Express in Manchester after leaving St Andrews University.He worked in the Express regional offices in Newcastle,Belfast and Dublin before leaving to join the Guardian in London in 1972.He became Paris correspondent of that paper in 1974 then Africa and Middle East correspondent between the years of 1974-1985.He did not begin writing creatively until became MD of the TLS in 1998.His first book,Ocean Devil, told the story of a young Englishman who was caught up in the Sino-Japanese war of 1936-45.George Hogg was an Oxford graduate who worked as a journalist and then schoolmaster during the ferocious conflict.He became a hero in China having led a school of ninety children to safety from the advancing Japanese in the bitter winter of 1944.Ocean devil; was made into a film directed by Roger Spottiswoode and starring Jonathan Rhys Meyer. MacManus’ debut novel On the Broken Shore was published by Harper Collins in April 2010 and launched in the US with the title the Language of the Sea in 2013.

Follow James MacManus on : Website  ~ Twitter

Many thanks for reading my post, please give a share or a like.  Or go and get yourself a copy of this book CLICK HERE 🙂 xx

#BlogBlitz : The Scent of Guilt by Tony J Forder @TonyJForder @Bloodhoundbook @sarahhardy681 #PublicationDay #BookReview

SCENT OF GUILT 1.2

I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts for the 2nd in the “D.S Bliss” series.  “The Scent of Guilt” by Tony J Forder is published by Bloodhound Books and available to purchase from today in eBook format from Amazon UK.  My thoughts on the 1st in the series “Bad To The Bone” HERE. My thanks to Tony and Sarah Hardy, for my copy of the book and my spot on the tour.

Synopsis:

Looking for an unmissable crime thriller?

Twelve years after he left Peterborough under a cloud, DI Bliss returns to the city and the major crimes team. Having spent years policing organised crime, Bliss is plunged straight into the heart of a serial murder investigation. 

Meanwhile, Penny Chandler has been promoted to DS and has been working in

London on the Met’s sexual crimes team. But when two rapes are reported on her old patch in Peterborough, Chandler volunteers to interview the victims. 

Chandler joins the hunt for the attacker and soon notices a possible link between the rapes and Bliss’s murder investigation.  Could the same man be responsible?

Just as both cases seem to stall, a call comes in from an ex-policeman who knows of unsolved cases in the USA with a similar MO. Bliss finds himself travelling to California to hunt for a killer whose reach may have stretched further than anyone could possibly imagine.

But in order to catch the murderer, Bliss must discover the killer’s motive. A motive which should have remained buried in the past… 

Also available in the DI Bliss Series: Bad to the Bone

Tony J. Forder is the acclaimed author of Degrees of Darkness and Scream Blue Murder. The stunning DI Bliss series are fast-paced police thrillers which will appeal to fans of authors like Michael Connely, Joy Ellis, Faith Martin, Robert Bryndza and Angela Marsons. 

My Thoughts:

The 2nd in the D.S Bliss series sees the story 12 years on from the first book Bad To The Bone.  D.S Jimmy Bliss makes a return to his old stomping ground and his old job.  With the investigation of a strange and brutal murder, Bliss and his team investigate.  D.C Penny Chandler makes a return to Peterborough.   The case she is working on, while  on secondment in London may have a link to her old mentors case.

This can be read as a stand alone, but it definitely helps if you have read the first to get a feel for the history and backstories.  I read this book straight off the back of Bad To The Bone so it was still fresh in my head.  There is a time difference of 12 years between the two stories, my reading difference was 12 hours so it did take me a while to get into this one. Once I got my head around this time difference I was off and running.

There are a few old faces, but also some new ones as you would expect.  This has a different feel, it is more darker, sinister and more intricate.  It has several plots running through it that twists together that has the investigators trying to work out the why’s and the who’s.  I do admit to having an inkling as to who the “who” was, but never completely convinced I was right.  The story had some surprising twists and went down routes I didn’t expect therefore keeping my interest right the way through. I liked the dynamic of Bliss and Chandler in the first book, and was pleased to see a return of that in this one. Bliss is investigating a much darker feeling story than the last one, and with Chandler being on secondment to a sex crimes department, you know this is going to be more sinister.  So be warned!

This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers who like police procedural crime, murder, mystery and thriller books.  Dark, brutal and sinister that will have you avidly turning the pages.

About the Author:

22365495_499399223774817_4544080396425244912_nTony J Forder is the author of the critically acclaimed crime thriller Bad to the Bone, the first in a series featuring DI Jimmy Bliss and DC Penny Chandler. The sequel, The Scent of Guilt, is available from 17 February 2018. A third book in the series is currently in progress.

Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This was intended to be a stand-alone novel, but Tony is now considering the possibility of a follow-up.

One book that will definitely see a sequel is Scream Blue Murder. This was published in November 2017, and received praise from many, including fellow authors Mason Cross and Matt Hilton.

Follow Tony on ~ Twitter ~ Website

See what other readers think of this book by following the Blog Tour

B L O G B L I T Z.jpg

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give a share.  Or go and get a copy of this book and see what you think 🙂 xx

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

35997403

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

Synopsis:

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

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

My Thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

About the Author:

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

 

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