Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw #Audiobook #Review

I am delighted to share my thoughts on Pygmalion by George Berard Shaw. I listened to the Radio 4 Full Cast Version via Borrowbox and my local library.

I love the film “My Fair Lady” and Pygmalion is a book I have been meaning to read for a while now so when I saw this recent version I couldn’t resist.

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

  • Shaw wrote the part of Eliza Doolittle – an east-end dona with an apron and three orange and red ostrich feathers – for Mrs Patrick Campbell, with whom he had a passionate but unconsummated affair. From the outset the play was a sensational success, although Shaw, irritated by its popularity at the expense of his artistic intentions, dismissed it as a potboiler. The Pygmalion of legend falls in love with his perfect female statue and persuades Venus to bring her to life so that he can marry her. But Shaw radically reworks Ovid’s tale to give it a feminist slant: while Higgins teaches Eliza to speak and act like a duchess, she also asserts her independence, adamantly refusing to be his creation.
  • Cast and credits
    Pygmalion
    Henry Higgins……………………Alistair McGowan
    Eliza Doolittle……………………Morgana Robinson
    Alfred Doolittle……………………Al Murray
    Colonel Pickering……………………Hugh Fraser
    Mrs Higgins……………………Siân Phillips
    Mrs Pearce/Maid……………………Charlotte Page
    Mrs Eynsford-Hill……………………Georgie Glen
    Clara Eynsford-Hill……………………Maeve Bluebell Wells
    Freddy Eynsford-Hill…..……………………Tom Forrister
    Nepommuck……………………David Sturzaker
    Ambassador……………………John Dougall
    Ambassador’s wife……………………Sarah Ridgeway
    Bystander……………………David Sterne
    Written by Bernard Shaw
    Produced and directed by Emma Harding

    The ‘B’ Word
    Bernard Shaw……………………Alistair McGowan
    George Alexander……………………David Sturzaker
    Mrs Patrick Campbell…..……………………Charlotte Page
    Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree……………………Richard McCabe
    Charlotte Shaw……………………Georgie Glen
    Merivale……………………Philip Fox
    Gurney/Fishman……………………Simon Ludders
    Bell……………………Charlie Clements
    Maid……………………Sarah Ridgeway
    Written by Alistair McGowan
    Produced and directed by Emma Harding
  • Published by:BBC Digital Audio
  • Duration:2 Hours 38 min
  • Fiction/Non-Fiction:Fiction
  • Genre:Classics, Performing Arts
  • Target Audience:Adult
  • Released:31 Oct 2018
  • File Format:MP3 (27MB)
  • ISBN:9781787531536

I adore My Fair Lady and for me, Audrey Hepburn is Eliza Doolittle. What I know as the film My Fair Lady forms part of the play by Shaw in which Professor Higgins has a bet that he can teach and train a cockney flower girl to sound, look and act like a lady. That section of the story is a play to be shown and in which a certain “B” word will be used for the first time on stage. I do hope that makes sense! 🤔

So if you like this is a story of two parts. There is the stage play where I got to meet the actors and, it also includes some backstage banter and part the opening night reactions, then there is the play itself with the characters of Eliza and Professor Higgins. Does that make any more sense…I think not!!! 😬😜😀

How about I just tell you about how I found the listening side of it instead of trying to explain the story!

This is such a wonderful audio to listen to with a fabulous cast adding the voices to the various characters who bring the story to life. As this is a version that has a full cast it was very easy for me to follow the changes of character.

The story of Eliza and her transformation is one I absolutely adore and I was completely addicted to it. As it just over 2 and 1/2 hours long I was able to do some weeding and listen to it easily in one afternoon.

This is such a wonderful version to sit and listen to, mesmerising and very addictive. If you are new to listening to plays or audio books then this would be a very good place to start.

It is one I would definitely recommend!

And then I sat down and watched the film… 😁💖

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

Becoming by Michelle Obama #Audiobook #Review

I am delighted to share my review for the Audiobook version of Becoming by Michelle Obama.

I have had my eye on this for a while and as I had a credit left on Audible I decided that this was a book I would like to listen to, rather than read.

So let’s have a look and see what it’s all about…

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Listening Length: 19 hrs 3 min

An intimate, powerful, and inspiring memoir by the former First Lady of the United States.

In a life filled with meaning and accomplishment, Michelle Obama has emerged as one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. As First Lady of the United States of America—the first African-American to serve in that role—she helped create the most welcoming and inclusive White House in history, while also establishing herself as a powerful advocate for women and girls in the U.S. and around the world, dramatically changing the ways that families pursue healthier and more active lives, and standing with her husband as he led America through some of its most harrowing moments. Along the way, she showed us a few dance moves, crushed Carpool Karaoke, and raised two down-to-earth daughters under an unforgiving media glare. 

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.

Well as you can see from the synopsis this book has a running time of 19hours and I will tell you something, it didn’t feel like that long. Her voice is one of those really pleasant ones, it makes it easy to listen to her and it’s full of emotion.

I had Michelle accompany me on a 7hour drive to my parents house and back again, she was with me as I was weeding the garden and when she had finished telling me her story I genuinly missed her voice.

Becoming is the story of Michelle Obama, she relates her childhood growing up in Chicago, through college and university and to becoming one of the most famous women in our time.

As I listened to Michelle I was surprised to hear that she is not the confident person I thought she was. She shared her worries, fears, nerves, doubts and concerns. She comes across as so strong and yet she is like the rest of us exactly like the rest of us.

I adored listening to the anecdotes and stories from her childhood and these carry on into adulthood. She is super proud of her roots and shares some wonderful memories. I smiled and laughed at many and also had a lump in my throat at others. In fact at one point I had to pause the book because I was driving and I could feel tears welling up, not a good thing when you are on the motorway.

Michelle comes across as such a warm and genuine person. This is evident from the stories and the causes she supports and also from the the sound of her voice. I could here anger and frustration as well as humour, sorrow, and amusement. It felt that she was talking directly to me rather than at me.

I adored the fact that she was very open and honest as she told me about her life. It was refreshing to see the more vulnerable side as well. To be able to see her not as a First Lady, but as a daughter, wife, mum or work collegue.

An absolutely fabulous book to listen to and the most brilliant choice of audiobook to spend my spare credit on!

I absolutely recommend Becoming by Michelle Obama.

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

Perfect Crime by Helen Fields @AvonBooksUK #NetGalley #review

Today I am delighted and excited to be sharing my review for Perfect Crime by Helen Fields. This is Book #5 in the DI Callanch Crime Thriller series. My huge thanks to Avon Books UK for approving my request on NetGalley for an e-copy. I read this book wayyyyy back in January and finally, I can share my thoughts 🙂

Anyone who reads my blog may be aware that I am a huge fan of this author and the Perfect series. I think I may have just found my favourite one…

so far…

Let’s see what it’s all about…

Synopsis:

Your darkest moment is your most vulnerable…

Stephen Berry is about to jump off a bridge until a suicide prevention counsellor stops him. A week later, Stephen is dead. Found at the bottom of a cliff, DI Luc Callanach and DCI Ava Turner are drafted in to investigate whether he jumped or whether he was pushed…

As they dig deeper, more would-be suicides roll in: a woman found dead in a bath; a man violently electrocuted. But these are carefully curated deaths – nothing like the impulsive suicide attempts they’ve been made out to be.

Little do Callanach and Turner know how close their perpetrator is as, across Edinburgh, a violent and psychopathic killer gains more confidence with every life he takes…

An unstoppable crime thriller from the #1 bestseller. The perfect read for fans of Karin Slaughter and M. J. Arlidge.

My Thoughts:

Di Luc Callanch and DCI Ava Turner are investigating murders, that at the beginning look like suicides. They seem unconnected and random. I have learnt from experience, that this author does not do unconnected and she does not do random. What she does do is clever, devious and intriguing.

As I have read every one of the books in this series I have got to know the various characters and their traits. It was great to get to know a little more about them and see the ways in which they work together as a team. Working as a team has, in the past been a little tense as the pecking order is established and trust is gradually built on. Perfect Crime sees the old faces again as well as a couple of newcomers. One has made a previous appearance, I am reserving judgment on this one at the moment. The other definitely goes out on a limb…

The one thing I really like about this series is the way friendships and past stories have been built up over time. Luc and Ava… well I could seriously bash their heads together. Their friendship has always hovered on a precarious tightrope of emotion. This story shows a more personal side to each of them as the investigations take precedence over “normal life”. Luc delves into his past, he is trying to quash his demons that have had a way of always hanging around, but in doing so he leaves himself vulnerable and open to trouble that also threatens Ava.

The investigation is wonderful and well paced. I really enjoyed the false leads and was wrong-footed in a spectacular way when I finally discovered who was responsible. The author really does have a knack for leading the reader down blind alleys and leaving a trail of red herrings.

There are so many things I want to say about this book, and all are good. It has a twisted and devious plot with details about suicide and the help that can be sought. It plays on the vulnerability of those who are the lowest point in their lives. Adding in sinister characters who exploit perceived weakness in others makes this a deceptively dark read.

I adore this series and would recommend it to anyone who has not yet read any. This is a police procedural series that also incorporates personal life details of the main characters. It is something that is expanded on with each book and builds up a relationship with the reader.

If you love crime, thriller books and have not yet read this series then Why the hell not? If you have read the series, then you are in for a real treat with this one. It is deceptive, sinister and devious making for a cracking read. It gets a Highly Recommended from me.

And… I cannot wait for the next one PERFECT DARK 🙂

About the Author:

Helen can be found on Twitter @Helen_Fields for up to date news and information. A former barrister, Helen now writes a Scottish set crime series – D.I.Callanach and D.I. Ava Turner. Her debut novel Perfect Remains and the second in the series Perfect Prey are Amazon best sellers. Her next book ‘Perfect Death’ is due out on 25 January 2018. She currently commutes between Hampshire, Scotland and California, and lives with her husband and three children.

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

The Migraine Relief Plan by Stephanie Weaver @sweavermph @rararesources #review

Today I have something a little different to share with you. The Migraine Relief Plan by Stephanie Weaver is a book that I definitely wanted to read as part of the Birthday Blog Tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. My huge thanks to Rachel for accepting my request to be on the tour and also to Stephanie for the book.

Let’s have a look and see what the book is about…

The Migraine Relief Plan: An 8-Week Transition to Better Eating, Fewer Headaches, and Optimal Health

In The Migraine Relief Plan, certified health and wellness coach Stephanie Weaver outlines a new, step-by-step lifestyle approach to reducing migraine frequency and severity.

Using the latest research, her own migraine diagnosis, and extensive testing, Weaver has designed an accessible plan to help those living with migraine, headaches, or Meniere’s disease. Over the course of eight weeks, the plan gradually transitions readers into a healthier lifestyle, including key behaviors such as regular sleep, trigger-free eating, gentle exercise, and relaxation techniques. The book also collects resources—shopping lists, meal plans, symptom tracking charts, and kitchen-tested recipes for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner—to provide readers with the tools they need to be successful.

The Migraine Relief Plan encourages readers to eat within the guidelines while still helping them follow personal dietary choices, like vegan or Paleo, and navigate challenges, such as parties, work, and travel. A must-have resource for anyone who lives with head pain, this book will inspire you to rethink your attitude toward health and wellness.

Purchase LinkClick Here

As a hereditary sufferer of migraines, I was eager to read this book. My father found that acupuncture worked for him as well as having an allergy test to see what foods were his triggers. I found some of the same foods triggered my migraines, but I also discovered that hormones had a part to play as well. In some respects I am very lucky as I don’t suffer from them often, but when I do…

This book is a lifestyle guide, it has a great introduction about the authors’ experiences. I think that knowing the author had first-hand experiences made me more willing to pay attention. I am a believer that you don’t truly know what someone experiences until you experience it yourself, you can empathise and offer support but it’s never quite the same.

The book is quite intensive and packed full of so many useful advice, tips and ideas. Taking small steps rather than jumping in at the deep end and ditching the stuff in cupboards and fridge seems to me to be a very sensible approach. The focus is on building up a regime that is manageable and more importantly maintainable. Often diets and lifestyle changes fail as there is too much too soon and the novelty wears off.

There are lots of tips throughout this book, and while I did find some that were useful there were some that did not really apply to me. This is not a criticism in any way, as each sufferer is different, therefore there will be things that are more relevant to some.

Now to the recipes, they have an American feel to them as I would expect given the author is herself an American. There is a range of snacks, lunches, desserts, dressings, and sauces, some of these have a budget rating.

The book is a guide, it is about a change to not only your diet but also the lifestyle. It starts as an 8-week plan but encourages a longer period for better results. This is a well laid out book. It is not a cure-all, and it does not report to do that, it is a guide of things that can help people to manage and maintain a lifestyle. It looks at a whole-body approach rather than just pinpointing one specific area, so health, fitness, sleep as well as diet are dealt with.

I think if you are looking for this sort of approach that could help with reducing symptoms and works alongside your already prescribed medications then I think this book will be beneficial. I found it interesting and I did take quite a lot of things from it that I can easily work into my own lifestyle. It is a book I would recommend.

Stephanie Weaver, MPH, CWHC, is an author, blogger, and certified wellness and health coach. Her recipes have been featured in Cosmopolitan, Bon Appetit, Cooking Light, Parade, and more. She lives in San Diego, CA. 

Social Media Links Facebook TwitterInstagram

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

#BookReview : Bad To The Bone by Tony J Forder @TonyJForder @Bloodhoundbook

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I am bringing you the first in the “DI Bliss” series,”Bad to The Bone” by Tony J Forder.  This is available in paperback and eBook format, published by Bloodhound Books April 2017.  BUYING LINK

Synopsis:

Looking for an unmissable crime thriller?

A skeletal body is unearthed in a wooded area of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. DI James Bliss, together with DC Penny Chandler, investigate the case and discover that the young, female victim had been relocated from its original burial site.

A witness is convinced that a young female was struck by a vehicle back in the summer of 1990, and that police attended the scene. However, no record exists of either the accident or the reported victim. As the case develops, two retired police officers are murdered. The two are linked with others who were on duty at the time a road accident was reported.

As Bliss and Chandler delve deeper into the investigation, they start to question whether senior officers may have been involved in the murder of the young women who was buried in the woods.

As each link in the chain is put under duress, so is Bliss who clashes with superiors and the media.

When his team receives targeted warnings, Bliss will need to decide whether to drop the case or to pursue those responsible.

Will Bliss walk away in order to keep his career intact or will he fight no matter what the cost? 

And is it possible the killer is much closer than they imagined?

My Thoughts:

This is set in and around Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, UK.  DI Bliss and DC Chandler are called to investigate a jumble of bones that have been unearthed.  A local bone expert is called to give initial thoughts and they discover that this is not the first time that these remains have been buried.

I have read a couple of Tony’s books and one thing I find is the addition of important extra observational details, these add a good amount of believable and realistic feel to the story. The characters of Bliss and Chandler are really likeable, they both have great backstories, though not your usual stereotypical ones.  Tony has given them a great working dynamic with a mentor and student aspect to them, also giving them their own support system for each other.  The fast pace of the plot starts off quite simply, but by the end you realise that this is not a simple story.  It is complex with twists, turns, red herrings and scenarios I really didn’t expect to come across.  I love it when this happens! Given the complexity of the story, Tony keeps it all under control and kept my attention from the very first page to the very last one. There are several other characters in the story, some of these are more like extras. They have their roles to play but he does not go into too much extra detail with them, this meant it was easier to follow as I didn’t get to caught up with the minor players.

A great read that I found more enjoyable as I lived in Peterborough about 20 years ago, this is where the research and extra details become such an important part of any book, for me it reminded me of the area I knew.  I also liked the way Tony has given Bliss a love of music, various song titles crop up through this book, I am assuming that some aspects of the author have made an appearance here. I also now have George Thorogood’s song stuck in my head with the title of this book 🎶 😁

A book I definitely recommend to readers of police procedural crime, thriller, murder and mystery.  I am looking forward to The Scent of Guilt, Book 2 in the series very soon.

About the Author:

Bloodhound-Author-Meet-89Tony 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 second book in the series will be released in 2018, with a third currently in progress.

On 19 September 2017, 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.

On 8 November, Bloodhound Books will publish Tony’s new fast-paced action thriller, Scream Blue Murder. This is the first novel in an intended series, and has received praise from both Mason Cross and Matt Hilton.

Some years ago, Tony won a short story competition judged by an editor from Pan Books. The story, Gino’s Bar and Grille, went on to be published in Dark Voices 2, part of the celebrated Pan Book of Horror series. Three further short story sales followed: Book End, published in Dark Voices 4, Character Role, in FEAR magazine, and finally A Grim Story, which featured in A Rattler’s Tale. It was the start of Tony’s publishing journey.

Tony is signed to Bloodhound Books for a minimum of four books, but believes there is much more to come.

Follow the author on Facebook  |  Twitter

Many thanks for reading my post, please give a share if you liked it.  Or go and get yourself a copy of this first in a series of books 🙂 xx

#BookReview : Valentine’s Day at The Cafe at the End of the Pier by Helen Rolfe @HJRolfe @orionbooks

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I have a novella by Helen Rolfe to share with you today.  “Valentine’s Day at The Cafe at the End of the Pier” is the first in a series of up coming stories published by Orion Books.  It is available to purchase in eBook format.  Click HERE for Amazon UK link. At the time of writing this book is currently #free

Synopsis:

Searching for love? You’ll find it at The Café at the End of the Pier…

When Jo’s beloved grandparents ask for her help in running their little café at the end of the pier in Salthaven-on-Sea she jumps at the chance.

The café is a hub for many people: the single dad who brings his little boy in on a Saturday morning; the lady who sits alone and stares out to sea; the woman who pops in after her morning run.

Jo soon realises that each of her customers is looking for love – and she knows just the way to find it for them. She goes about setting each of them up on blind dates – each date is held in the café, with a special menu she has designed for the occasion.

But Jo has never found love herself. She always held her grandparents’ marriage up as her ideal and she hasn’t found anything close to that. But could it be that love is right under her nose…?

My Thoughts:

Jo is given the chance to leave her job and relocate to help out in a cafe run by her grandparents, Molly and Arthur. With Valentine’s Day looming on the horizon Jo learns the story of her Grandparents’ engagement.
This novella is the “perfect lunch time read”. It is a beautifully told little story, it has charm and warms the heart in a lovely way. For being a novella it made an impact, enough for me to pre-order the next two books in this series.
A definite recommended read from me, it’s perfectly charming and totally yummy. I have the next two books in the series on pre-order and I am looking forward to see what happens next.

About the Author:

CATLKB - authorpic1Helen J Rolfe writes contemporary women’s fiction and enjoys weaving stories about family, friendship, secrets, and community. Characters often face challenges and must fight to overcome them, but above all, Helen’s stories always have a happy ending.

Location is a big part of the adventure in Helen’s books and she enjoys setting stories in different cities and countries around the world. So far, locations have included Melbourne, Sydney, New York, Connecticut, Bath and the Cotswolds.

Born and raised in the UK, Helen graduated from University with a business degree and began working in I.T. This job took her over to Australia and it was there that she studied writing and journalism and began writing for women’s health and fitness magazines. She also volunteered with the PR department of a children’s hospital where she wrote articles and media releases. Helen began writing fiction in 2011 and hasn’t missed the I.T. world one little bit, although the I.T. skills have come in handy of course, especially when it comes to creating and maintaining a website.

After fourteen years of living in Australia, Helen returned to the UK and now lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and their children.

To learn more about Helen and her writing, find her at: Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Website

The following books in the series are available for pre-order on Amazon UK.

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give a share.  Or go and get your own copy 🙂 xx

 

#BookReview : Bone by @YrsaDaleyWard : pub by @PenguinBooks

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“Bone” by Yrsa Daley-Ward. Available in paperback and eBook format.  Published by Penguin UK.

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (26 Sept. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846149665
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846149665
  • Amazon Link

Synopsis:

‘You will come away bruised.
You will come away bruised
but this will give you poetry.’

Raw and stark, the poems in Yrsa Daley-Ward’s breakthrough collection strip down her reflections on the heart, life, the inner self, coming of age, faith and loss to their essence. They resonate to the core of experience.

‘yrsa daley-ward’s ‘bone’ is a symphony of breaking and mending. an expert storyteller. of the rarest. and purest kind – daley-ward is uncannily attentive and in tune to the things beneath life. beneath the skin. beneath the weather of the everyday.’ nayyirah waheed. author of salt. and nejma

‘Sharing is her form of survival … A powerful collection of a woman facing tumultuous inner and external battles head on, delivered with a hard-hitting directness, yet with inflections of optimism throughout’ i-D Magazine

My Thoughts:

Now I admit not to reading modern poetry often, so I was really pleased to be sent this book.  The poems I read are mostly older classics, or the more well known mainstream ones. I am not up to date on poetic jargon so I am going to simply state what I found and thought, basically just the same as if I were reviewing a novel.

So this is what I consider to be a book of contemporary poetry.  I dipped in and out of this book over several days, reading a few shorter poems or one of the longer ones.  I found that the length of the poems range from short ones with only a couple of lines, to multiple verses over several pages.

I did find the poems interesting to read, though I admit to not understanding all of them. As I read I was aware that these are a mix of sad, emotional and feel they are very personal to the author, using her own experiences as a base.

This is a book I did enjoy and would recommend to readers of modern poetry, with some interesting and personal reflections.  I feel I was more experienced with the modern style I would have appreciated, or maybe understood more.

I was lucky enough to be drawn as a winner of this book on a giveaway run by Penguin Books.  There was a question asked as part of National Poetry Day.  The question was:  “What is your favourite poem ?”  My response was a poem I had to learn at school when I was around 11 years old.  We had to learn where every comma, colon, capital letter as well as every word by heart.  I remember at the time finding this very tedious.  But it is a poem that has stuck with me through the years.  That poem was called “The Listeners” by Walter De La Mare.  It begins :

‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller,
   Knocking on the moonlit door;
if you would like to read the full poem I have included a link here to The Poetry Foundation

About the Author:

413BuaEDjlL._SY200_Yrsa Daley-Ward is a writer of mixed West Indian and West African heritage. Born to a Jamaican mother and a Nigerian father, Yrsa was raised by her devout Seventh Day Adventist grandparents in the small town of Chorley in the North of England.

Follow Yrsa Daley-Ward  Twitter

I was lucky to be picked as a winner of this book, “Bone” by Yrsa Daley-Ward, a competition run by Penguin UK on National Poetry Day.  The question from Penguin was “What is your favourite poem?”, now I know that it is a random draw, but my favourite poem was

#BookReview The Price of Silence by @D_GordonSmith published by @severnhouse via @NetGalley

“The Price of Silence” by Delores Gordon-Smith is available in hardback and also eBook.  Published by Severn House Publishers and available for purchase.

Synopsis:

A thrilling World War One spy story from the author of the acclaimed Jack Haldean series.

Working for the British Government as a secret agent, Anthony Brooke wants to expose the people responsible for blackmailing innocent people and gruesome murders. But when the gang plots a kidnap, Anthony finds himself in the race to reach the little girl before they do. However, Milly will not be easy to retrieve, for she is in a Belgian convent, in German-occupied territory.

To rescue her, Anthony must go behind enemy lines, crawl under the wire, face ruthless German guards and break into a convent. But, even if he can save her, what possible use could an orphan girl be to a violent gang? Anthony must find out soon, as countless more lives than just the little girl’s are in danger…

This is Dolores Gordon-Smith’s tribute to John Buchan and the Thirty Nine Steps, now celebrating its centenary. All references and similarities are intentional.

My Thoughts:

A story set in London in the main during World War I.  Anthony Brooke is recruited to work for the British Intelligence Service.  What begins as a murder enquiry takes a decidedly nasty turn, as a viscous blackmail plot is uncovered, as well as kidnapping.  A perilous trip into Belgium to gather more information leads to more questions than answers.

A very enjoyable murder / mystery read, with the back drop of WWI.  It includes mentions of how lives have been changed, the living conditions, the economic climate and the suffering, not just here but also in Europe and especially in Belgium.  This was a section I found really interesting, how the lives of people are touched by war.  As women are leaving paid service as maids, cooks, cleaners etc to work in factories, particularly the munitions factories, it show the change in the social side of the country.  Better wages for factory jobs, also better working hours with more time off.  This is not the view of all, the old stalwarts who remain in service see this as a lack of respect and loyalty.

The plot has been cleverly thought out and put together and twisted around actual historical figures and events, the author has let her imagination well in this respect.  It has a very convincing and mysterious plot with many twists and turns. I did like the characters and found them memorable quickly, even when the plot caused them to change their names for undercover work.  It is set at a very good pace than is consistent throughout.  The descriptions of settings had been executed to a good standard giving  a good insight into the various locations.

 

As I read this I had a sense of Agatha Christie’s Captain Hastings in Anthony Brooke, not exactly the same but similar in some instances.  It also had a similar feel and structure to it, and came across as very logical, a sleuthing mystery.  I did see that this is the authors tribute to John Buchan’s;  39 Steps, but it was many years ago that I read that book, so I cannot comment on this.

I would recommend this book to readers who like a period crime / mystery read.  Some good historical elements, characters, plot and well written.  This is my first meeting with this author and it will not be my last.

I wish to express my thanks to Severn House Publishing, Delores Gordon-Smith and NetGalley for approving my copy of this eARC.  My views expressed are my own and are unbiased.

 

Book Details:

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Severn House Publishers Ltd; First World Publication ed. edition (10 July 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0727887262
  • ISBN-13: 978-0727887269
  • Amazon UK
  • Amazon US

About The Author:

I live in a small town near Manchester with my husband, five children, three cats and two dogs. I’ve always been fascinated by the Twenties.

The four years of the First World War had ripped away the old securities and expectations and, when it was over, things were never the same again. Everything changed, from politics to fashions. Skirts rose to the knee and women cropped, bobbed or shingled their hair. Music took a new direction; listen to the clarinet solo of Rhapsody in Blue, the urbane, polished sophistication of Cole Porter and Noel Coward, the wistful longing of Jerome Kern and the “crazy rhythm” of Jazz.

Popular fiction (Agatha Christie, P.G. Wodehouse and Dorothy L. Sayers are three of my favourites) reflected the new age. The classic detective story, where an ordered world is plunged into chaos and then re-invented, is the perfect vehicle to celebrate the energy of this brave new world.

Follow the author on Twitter  Website

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#BlogTour : The Fallen Agent by @olivertidy org: @CarolineBookBit

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The Fallen Agent released on 10th October 2017.  

I am really excited to be part of the blog tour for this book.  My thanks to Caroline  for allowing me a spot.

Synopsis:

Jess Albion has recently started a new life on the other side of the world with a new identity. She used to be MI5. Then a job went bad, someone died and she was made an example of in the British courts. But MI5 look after their own. Or they did until rumours of a planned Al Qaeda biological terror attack on London started circulating. Now someone in the British security services is giving agents up in return for information. No price, it seems, is too high to save London from the ultimate threat.

When Jess’s fresh start is compromised she has a choice to make: run and hide and spend the rest of her life looking over her shoulder or go looking for the threat and snuff it out. On her own, she’d run, but she has Nick on her side.

The Fallen Agent is a story of love and hate, of loyalty and betrayal, of revenge and callous disregard for human life in the pursuit of satisfaction.

My Thoughts:

Well where to start with this book.  First off I absolutely loved it.  It is a book that I am finding very hard to review without giving away any spoilers.

It starts with a murder, but of the wrong person.  From there the reader is transported to New Zealand, this is the new home of the intended victim.  Jess Albion has been given a new identity and a new life.  It is not one she had ever envisioned for herself, but her past still visits her in her dreams and nightmares.  These dreams soon start to become reality, all she had left behind of her own life comes rocking up and smashing her door down.

With the help of Nathan, her colleague in MI5, they intend to try and discover the truth behind not only the way she had been disgustingly mistreated at MI5, but also how a rumour of a possible biological terrorist on London. This begins a dangerous game of cat and mouse, lies and double crossing for the search for verifiable information on this possible threat.

As I said from the outset, I do not want to give anything away.  It is a deep and well constructed thriller that has action and intrigue from the get go. It has that “edge of your seat” feel to it, with a pace that suits and is maintained throughout, a real page turner to see what will happen next. The characters in this book are a definite mixed bunch,some I really, really liked, then there are some real “slime balls” that I despised, others that I just down and out loathed, and then the odd surprise where I changed my mind about them.  Is it wrong to like a baddy just a little bit ? The plot of the story is quite big for the size of the book, there are a good amount of twists, that keep you guessing and at no point did I feel confused while reading.

If you like espionage, crime, thriller, backstabbing action packed, creative and well written book then you will not go wrong with this.  It ticked so many boxes for me, and it is my hope that other readers will feel the same way.

Author Bio:

Oliver Tidy Author Image

                                                                                         Crime writing author Oliver Tidy has had a life-long love affair with books. He dreams of one day writing something that he could find in a beautifully-jacketed hard-cover or paperback copy on a shelf in a book shop. He’d even be happy with something taking up space in the remainder bin, on a pavement, in the rain, outside The Works.

He found the time and opportunity to finally indulge his writing ambition after moving abroad to teach English as a foreign language to young learners eight years ago.

Impatient for success and an income that would enable him to stay at home all day in his pyjamas he discovered self-publishing. He gave it go. By and large readers have been kind to him. Very kind. Kind enough that two years ago he was able to give up the day job and write full-time. Mostly in his pyjamas.

Oliver Tidy has fourteen books in three series, a couple of stand-alone novels and a couple of short story collections. All available through Amazon (clickable link to Am Author Page). Among his books are The Romney and Marsh Files (British police procedurals set in Dover) and the Booker & Cash novels, a series of private detective tales set in the south of England and published by Bloodhound Books.

Oliver is back living on Romney Marsh in the UK. His home. He still wakes in the night from time to time shouting about seeing his books on a shelf in Waterstones.

For more on Oliver Tidy and his books, check out his website: https://olivertidy.com/

Or follow him on:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/olivertidy
FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/Oliver-Tidy-467297426793288/

Book details:

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1586 KB
  • Print Length: 310 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B075QHKG8P
  • Amazon Link

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#Book Review : Interpretation by Dylan Callens @TheNitzsch

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Synopsis:

Carl Winston awakens to find his son, Liam, screaming with fear. Trying to understand why, Carl tries to soothe him. Neighbors gather in front of Carl’s apartment to help – until they see him. The crowd cowers back, afraid of this monster. 

Carl runs. His life of luxury is ripped away. Forced beyond the city limits, Carl sees a land bereft of life. Traveling in search of answers, his quest comes to a sudden halt when he collapses. As darkness shrouds him, a figure hovers from above. 

Traveling along the same route, Eva Thomspon finds Carl and nurtures him back to life. Together, they continue the journey, finding out that their lives have too much in common to be a coincidence. As their affection for each other deepens, an unknown nemesis attempts to remove their only source of happiness – their love for each other.

Interpretation is a dystopian fiction that explores hope and happiness in the bleakest of conditions and what happens when it’s torn away.

My Thoughts:

This is a dystopian novel set in America.  All is good for Carl and Liam, living the “American Dream” with all the mod cons and living in essence the perfect life.  “Too Good To Be True” is a phrase that jumps to mind.  When Carl starts experiencing random memories, he knows something is wrong, especially after one such episode causes a blackout.  When he awakens he realises things are not as he thought, his first thoughts are for his son, Liam.  But Liam is scared of his dad and will not come anywhere near him. Carl needs answers, why has this happened and what is going on?  His only clue is to travel north for answers.  It is on this journey he meets and befriends Eva, she is also in the same situation as Carl. Together they will find out the truth.

Technology and advancement of it are the basic premise of this plot, how we are so reliant on technology.  It is similar to plots that have been played out in many books and films over the years.  It has a feel of H.G. Wells and George Orwell but with an almost cinema-graphic feel to it, like Westworld or the Matrix.

The one thing I really liked was the way the book was laid out, chapters between Carl and his journey alternated with that of a computer system running protocols, bios and updates.  I don’t want to say too much about this for fear of spoilers.  It is set at a very good pace, and I found it a very addictive page turner.

This is a psychological dystopian novel.  It does a very good job of playing on technological fears for the future, as well as discussing human perceptions, ir their Interpretation of what they believe.  This is something that has been discussed for decades, and I am sure for more decades to come, as our advancement in a computer based systems increases then so does our reliance on it.  The story of Carl, Liam and Eva has been very well intertwined into the story, and the fact that the reader learns what is going on, often before the characters.

I think this is a book for people who like dystopian genres.  This for me has the feel of a modern story but with classic science fiction roots.  It was a very enjoyable read.  I would like to thank the author for bringing this book to my attention. My thoughts expressed here are honest, unbiased and my own.

 

Dylan Callens’ Bio:

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Dylan Callens lands cleanly. That would be the headline of a newspaper built with an anagram generator. And although Dylan is a Welsh name meaning god or hero of the sea, he is not particularly fond of large bodies of water. His last name, Callens, might be Gaelic. If it is, his last name means rock. Rocks sink in the sea. Interestingly, he is neither Welsh nor Gaelic, but rather, French and German. The inherent contradictions and internal conflict in his life are obvious.

Purchase Links:

Amazon:  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073V7LSRV

B&N:  https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/interpretation-dylan-callens/1126732112?ean=2940154727843

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/ebook/interpretation-7

iBooks:  https://geo.itunes.apple.com/us/book/interpretation/id1258997726?mt=11

 

Author Links:

Website:  www.cosmicteapot.net

FB:  https://www.facebook.com/heaveninctheseries/

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/TheNitzsch

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14739202.Dylan_Callens

Amazon Author:  https://www.amazon.com/Dylan-Callens/e/B01C6KR8P6/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

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