Chasing the Italian Dream by Jo Thomas #contemporaryfiction @TransworldBooks @NetGalley #bookreview

I am delighted to share a review today for Chasing the Italian Dream by the fabulous Jo Thomas. I am a big fan of this author and her fabulous stories that transport me across countries. My huge thanks to Transworld Books for granting my request to read and review this publication via NetGalley.

A summer escape she’ll never forget . . .

Lucia has worked hard as a lawyer in Wales, aiming for a big promotion she hopes will shortly come her way. Finally taking a well-earned break at her grandparents’ house in southern Italy, the sunshine, lemon trees and her nonna’s mouth-watering cooking make her instantly feel at home.

But she’s shocked to learn that her grandfather is retiring from the beloved family pizzeria and will need to sell. Lucia can’t bear the thought of the place changing hands – especially when she discovers her not-quite-ex-husband Giacomo wants to take it over!

Then bad news from home forces Lucia to re-evaluate what she wants from life. Is this her chance to carry on the family tradition and finally follow her dreams?

My Review…

When overworked Lucia goes back to her old home in Italy for her annual 2 week holiday her grandparents have a bit of a surprise waiting for her. They are planning on giving up the family pizza restaurant that has been in the family for years. It would have been passed onto a son, but he died several years ago. The only other option is to leave it to Giacomo, Lucia’s ex-husband.

Once again this author has transp[sorted me into a glorious setting with amazing food and fabulous characters. The author has such an amazing feel for what she writes and an obvious love as it really does come across in her work. Chasing the Italian Dream is such an addictive read and there are some deeper issues that are delved into. Bucking the trend of the traditions, confronting truths, wobbling stereotypes and nudging preconceived ideas about how things should be are gently and wind brilliantly woven into this story.

The story is not just about Lucia, it is about many more people than that. There is obviously the Grandparents and Giacomo but there are several more that really do help build up the story. They add an interesting balance as well as some entertainment. I could almost smell the food and I definitely wanted to taste everything the author described, well maybe not quite everything!

From amazing food descriptions to little nuggets of information about pizzas, the making of them and various ingredients to a wonderful system of support, this book really does have all you want and then some. It is such a delight to settle down with and feel the warmth of not just the writing but also the heat of the ovens as I read this on a very cold and wet January afternoon.

This is a book that will be a hit with regular readers of this author and also those who really enjoy contemporary fiction and romance. So easy to sit and devour over the course of an afternoon and one I would definitely recommend.

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

The Stranger Times by C.K McDonnell @TransworldBooks #fantasy #bookreview

I am delighted to share my review today for The Stranger Times by C.K. McDonnell. This is a brilliantly mad and quirky book and was ideal for a bit of pure escapism. My huge thanks to Bantam Press for accepting my request to read via NetGalley.

Here is more about the book…

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There are dark forces at work in our world (and in Manchester in particular), so thank God The Stranger Times is on hand to report them . . .

A weekly newspaper dedicated to the weird and the wonderful (but mostly the weird), it is the go-to publication for the unexplained and inexplicable.

At least that’s their pitch. The reality is rather less auspicious. Their editor is a drunken, foul-tempered and foul-mouthed husk of a man who thinks little of the publication he edits. His staff are a ragtag group of misfits. And as for the assistant editor . . . well, that job is a revolving door – and it has just revolved to reveal Hannah Willis, who’s got problems of her own.

When tragedy strikes in her first week on the job The Stranger Times is forced to do some serious investigating. What they discover leads to a shocking realisation: some of the stories they’d previously dismissed as nonsense are in fact terrifyingly real. Soon they come face-to-face with darker forces than they could ever have imagined.

The Stranger Times is the first novel from C.K. McDonnell, the pen name of Caimh McDonnell. It combines his distinctive dark wit with his love of the weird and wonderful to deliver a joyous celebration of how truth really can be stranger than fiction.

My Review…

This is one of those weirdly, quirky, slightly eccentric, mad-cap books and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It one that was highly entertaining.

Hannah has left her husband, she is has gone from being a socialite as such married to a man with plenty of money but who doesn’t know how to keep it on his pants. She now searches the bargains in the food aisles and hoping she will soon find a job.

One interview is at The Stranger Times newspaper, a paper that reports weird and wonderful stories. Alien abductions, Elvis being alive, you know the sort! More esoteric rather than mainstream to say the least. But, it is a job. If the paper wasn’t weird enough then the other employees are definitely filling the void that is left, in a rather fun way.

The story itself is of two deaths. The first is that of a homeless man, the second is a suicide. Both are quickly dealt with by the police. One officer, however, is not convinced and neither are the staff at the paper. What follows is a mix of chases, strange occurrences, weird events and even weirder circumstances as the hunt for the truth pans out.

This is such a fun read and it was one that caught me by surprise as I didn’t read the synopsis before picking it up. I mean I did read it when I first looked at the book, that was several weeks before I started reading it though. The surprise was one that had me wondering what on earth was happening and wondering where the story was going, but through this, I still found myself eagerly turning the pages of this quirky and bizarre story that is a mix of urban fantasy and mystery.

I completely enjoyable read that had me sniggering to myself on several occasions. It has characters that I adored and I am really looking forward to seeing what this series hold in the future. A fun read and one that I would defiantly recommend.

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

#Nefertiti (Rai Rahotep #1) AND #Tutankamun (Rai Rahotep #2) by Nick Drake @nickfdrake @TransworldBooks @RandomTTours #RandomTTours #histfic #mystery #bookreview

I am delighted to share not just one but two reviews today! Yes, you read that right I have two book reviews. Both books are by Nick Drake and are the first two books in the Rai Rahotep series, Nefertiti and Tutankhamun.

Both books were read as part of the Blog Tour organised by Anne at Random Things Tours, my huge thanks to Anne for my spot and for arranging the copies of both books. I enjoyed these so much I immediately went and bought the 3rd book – Egypt!

These books are being re-published by Transworld and I am so glad of this because I had actually not come across them before.

I am including a link HERE to Nick’s Amazon Page so you can order all three books.

So, let me show you what the books are about…

Synopsis…

A MISSING QUEEN. A DARK GAME OF POWER.

With her husband, AkhenatenNefertiti – the most powerful, charismatic and beautiful Queen of the ancient world – rules over an Empire at the peak of its glory and domination.

Together, they have built a magnificent new city in the desert on the banks of the Nile and are about to host kings, dignitaries and leaders from around the Empire for a vast festival to celebrate their triumph.

But suddenly, Nefertiti vanishes.

Rahotep – the youngest chief detective of the Thebes division- can see patterns where others cannot. His unusual talents earn him a summons to the royal court.

With ten days to find the Queen and return her in time for the festival, Rahotep knows that success will bring glory – but if he fails, he and his young family will die…

Rahotep’s adventure continue in Tutankhamun and Egypt: The Book of Chaos

NEFERTITI – MY REVIEW…

From a slow start this book really picked up its pace and intrigue. When I say a slow start what I mean is that there is quite a bit of description and observation that sets the scene and also introduces the main protagonist Rahotep. He has been summoned by Akhenaten to the palace to look into the disappearance of his wife, Nefertiti. Sounds OK, but this has a time limit of 10 days. 10 days until Nefertiti is supposed to attend a public festival. If Rahotep fails it will cost him his life and also that of his family!

The first few chapters were very good at really giving the reader a chance to get to grips with some of the ways of life for this era in history. I say ways of life because there is so much distrust and a wrong word can have tragic and dire consequences. Rahotep has to work his way through a society that is all about being seen the right way and doing the right thing. People are devious, seem to be after their own gain and at times at any cost.

With the uncertainty of the people and the time limits on solving this mystery Rahotep definitely faces an up hill battle. Trying to work out who is telling the truth as he uses an investigative style of question and observational skills to work out the final truth.

This book was really intriguing and also I found it very addictive. I found myself quickly drawn in and I also found that the descriptions and observations were quite fascinating in giving the reader more insight into life, traditions, new ways, old ways and the current climate and feel of the population. I did feel that even though this slowed the story somewhat it was also a great addition for giving an all round reader experience.

A really intriguing and interesting mystery read that I quite enjoyed and I left me eager to continue with this series. It is one for mystery and also historical fiction readers and one I would recommend.

Synopsis…

A KING IN DANGER. A BATTLE TO STAY ALIVE.

On the shadowy city streets the cryptically mutilated bodies of several young people are discovered. These brutal acts are destabilizing a ruthless regime already unstable thanks to corruption and the appalling divide between rich and poor.

Meanwhile, Tutankhamun, at 18, has inherited an empire that should be at the height of power and glory. But he faces only a Court full of conspiracies and plotting, and a bitter struggle for power.

And when his own security is threatened by an intruder in the palace, he needs an outsider he can trust to track down the traitor. Rahotep receives a mysterious invitation to the labyrinthine halls of the Royal Palace.

But what he discovers at the dark heart of power will put his life, and his family, in grave danger. . .

Rahotep’s adventures continue in Egypt: The Book of Chaos. Have you read Nefertiti, his first adventure?

TUTANKHAMUN – MY REVIEW…

As soon as I had finished the first book, Nefertiti, I went immediately onto this one, the second in the series. As I still had the characters so fresh in my head it was very easy indeed to slip straight back into Ancient Egypt.

The previous book left off with a young Tutankhamun making an appearance. This book jumps forward a few years and I liked how the author made me aware of Rahoteps ageing, not old but slower and a bit achy than he used to be. Something we are all aware of! His mind is still sharp and once again his skills as a detective have been requested once again, and again he doesn’t have a choice int he matter!

This book was similar to the previous in some ways, as Rahotep is called to solve the mystery of objects being left in the palace to upset Tutankhamun. Even though he is the King it is Ay, the regent who runs the show. Ay is a character who is very unlikeable, he is cold, ruthless and conniving in every aspect possible. So, while the story had similarities as far as the mystery-solving went it was also different due to the power wrangling and the politics. It seems that everyone is out for their own benefit and this builds a wonderful feeling of distrust.

Another brilliant story in the series, this felt like a much quicker read compared to the first, but I think this is because I was already aware of the characters and also how the writer includes a good amount of detail about the way of life. Not just the way of life, but also politics, foods, social class and hierarchy.

I have enjoyed the first two books and so I have also bought the next one and I am looking forward to reading that as well. This is a really good series and one that would appeal to readers of historical fiction set in Ancient Egypt, as well as readers of mysteries. Ideal for me as it mixes two of my favourite genres and it is one I am more than happy to recommend.

Check out the other stops on the Blog Tour…

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