Book reviews, Classic Fiction

The Magic Carpet by Jessica Norrie – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Outer London, September 2016, and neighbouring eight-year-olds have homework: prepare a traditional story to perform with their families at a school festival. But Nathan’s father thinks his son would be better off doing sums; Sky’s mother’s enthusiasm is as fleeting as her bank balance, and there’s a threatening shadow hanging over poor Alka’s family. Only Mandeep’s fragile grandmother and new girl Xoriyo really understand the magical powers of storytelling. As national events and individual challenges jostle for the adults’ attention, can these two bring everyone together to ensure the show will go on?

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MY REVIEW 

The Magic Carpet is set in a London school, where young children of 8 years old are turning fairy tales into a school performance.

They have been told they can make any changes they like and include anyone they want to.

So we follow the children to their homes and meet their families…..all from different backgrounds and it’s really a beautiful way of hearing all these stories. The different cultures, religions and languages and how they managed to make their lives in London.

There are grandparents, single parents, good and bad marriages and some sadness as there’s not always a happy ending….

A lovely diverse group of children and adults and not forgetting the difficult job the teachers do with almost limitless patience.

The final performances the children have created are thoughtful and show how the young really hold the power to change the world and our perceptions of it. Moving and thought provoking.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here 

 

https://amzn.to/2NgfAbQ

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Jessica Norrie was born in London and studied French Literature and Education at Sussex and Sheffield. She taught English, French and Spanish abroad and in the UK in settings ranging from nursery to university. She has two adult children and divides her time between London and Malvern, Worcestershire.

 

She has also worked as a freelance translator, published occasional journalism and a French textbook, and blogs at https://jessicanorrie.wordpress.com

 

Jessica sings soprano with any choir that will have her, and has been trying to master the piano since childhood but it’s not her forte.

 

She left teaching in 2016. The Infinity Pool was her first novel, drawing on encounters while travelling. Her second novel The Magic Carpet is inspired by working with families and their children. The third is bubbling away nicely and should emerge from her cauldron next year.

 

The Magic Carpet is available at https://tinyurl.com/y2gk2g7q

The Infinity Pool is available at getBook.at/TheInfinityPool

 

Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/wordsandfictions/

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jessica_

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Book reviews, Science fiction

Jaffle Inc by Heide Goody & Iain Grant – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Alice works for Jaffle Tech incorporated, the world’s biggest technology company and the creator of the Jaffle Port, the brain implant that gives users direct access to global communications, social networks and every knowledge source on the planet.

Alice is on Jaffle Standard, the free service offered to all people. All she has to do in return is let Jaffle use a bit of her brain’s processing power. Maybe it’s being used to control satellites. Maybe it’s being used to further space exploration. Maybe it’s helping control self-driving cars on the freeway. Her brain is helping Jaffle help the world. And Jaffle are only using the bits of her brain she doesn’t need…

But when a kind deed goes wrong, Alice gains unauthorised access to her entire brain and discovers what she has been missing out on her entire life: music, art, laughter, love… 

Now that she has discovered what her mind is truly capable of, how long will the company bosses let her keep it?

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MY REVIEW 

Oh my, where do I start…..?

Alice works for Jaffle Inc, they developed a brain port that gives everyone access to information, eliminated the dementia epidemic and blindness. In return you agree to Jaffle using the unused part of the brain for data processing, everything from traffic to terrorists….

There are many levels of Jaffle, from Jaffle Lite, cleaners and janitors to Jaffle Freedom where you have access to your full brain…..all at a cost!

Everyone is bland, doing their job and living a life of structure and beans….

But then Alice helps Rufus Jaffle with a brain virus issue and as a result she ends up with his memories, and access to her brain……oh and a blue whale.

She then notices colours, smells and taste…..she starts to laugh for the first time….she also experiences anger and emotions for the first time.

With the building supervisor, Herberg she finds out about a new upgrade due which will reduce people to basic drones…….Can they stop the upgrade? How can the blue whale help?

Alice is a great character, wild and wacky and a reformed lover of bacon. Hattie is just brilliant and as for wiggler, never underestimate a pig.

This is full of humour, the whale with a tail is hilarious, it’s a clever tale of large corporations making decisions that affect human lives with little respect or consideration, just for power and greed. At times slightly bizarre but this science fiction tale is an immensely enjoyable read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

you can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2QbWaqP

 

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Book reviews, Crime thriller, Police procedural

Irony In The Soul by Pete Adams – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Recuperating from his past mission, disturbed but driven D.I. Jack Austin returns to work amid a personality clash with a retired colonel – who happens to be his new Chief Constable. 

When the Constable is kidnapped – and returned in pieces – DI Austin’s hapless hunt for the culprit begins. He investigates a string of cryptic murders including a beheaded minister, a drowned woman in a Hijab, and a band of terrorists with explosives.

Meanwhile, Austin battles a grievous inner conflict. Will he thwart the perpetrator, or become a conspirator himself?

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MY REVIEW

This is Book 2 in the Kind Hearts and Martinets series featuring DCI Jack Austin.

The story revolves around a domestic terrorist plot to cause civil unrest and political upheaval…..and some rather gruesome murders.

So Jack ( Mr Malacopperism himself) and his team investigate in their unique style. Jack is just recovering after being shot while solving a previous case, and recently back at work. He is such a character, slowly coming to terms with the death of his wife 3 years ago, PTSD and a new romance with Mandy. He really is a crisis magnet!

This is a serious thriller, but full of humour and tomfoolery from Jack, his nicknames for everyone are non stop and he tends to vocalise his thoughts which gets him into awkward moments. A fun thriller with a dark edge. Can’t wait for the next in the series.

Thank you to Damppebbles Blog Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review. 

You can buy a copy here 

 

https://amzn.to/32LwiDR

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Pete Adams is an architect with a practice in Portsmouth, UK, and from there he has, over forty years, designed and built buildings across England and Wales. Pete took up writing after listening to a radio interview of the writer Michael Connolly whilst driving home from Leeds. A passionate reader, the notion of writing his own novel was compelling, but he had always been told you must have a mind map for the book; Jeez, he could never get that.

Et Voila, Connolly responding to a question, said he never can plan a book, and starts with an idea for chapter one and looks forward to seeing where it would lead. Job done, and that evening Pete started writing and the series, Kind Hearts and Martinets, was on the starting blocks. That was some eight years ago, and hardly a day has passed where Pete has not worked on his writing, and currently, is halfway through his tenth book, has a growing number of short stories, one, critically acclaimed and published by Bloodhound, and has written and illustrated a series of historical nonsense stories called, Whopping Tales.

Pete describes himself as an inveterate daydreamer, and escapes into those dreams by writing crime thrillers with a thoughtful dash of social commentary. He has a writing style shaped by his formative years on an estate that re-housed London families after WWII, and his books have been likened to the writing of Tom Sharpe; his most cherished review, “made me laugh, made me cry, and made me think”.

Pete lives in Southsea with his partner, and Charlie the star-struck Border terrier, the children having flown the coop, and has 3 beautiful granddaughters who will play with him so long as he promises not to be silly.

 

 

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Peteadams8

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pete.adams.9256

 

 

Purchase Links:

 

Amazon UK: 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Irony-Soul-Nobody-Listens-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RKSZFDW/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=irony+in+the+soul+pete+adams&qid=1567504752&s=gateway&sr=8-1

 

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Irony-Soul-Nobody-Listens-Martinets-ebook/dp/B07RKSZFDW/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=irony+in+the+soul+pete+adams&qid=1567505144&s=gateway&sr=8-1

 

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Irony-Soul-Pete-Adams/9781076813374?ref=grid-view&qid=1567505170007&sr=1-1

 

Google Books: 

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=tdQUxwEACAAJ&dq=irony+in+the+soul+pete+adams&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiUzIz2s7TkAhWPXsAKHTlGCKYQ6AEIKjAA

 

Publishing Information:

Published by Next Chapter Publishing in ebook and paperback formats on 28th June 2019.

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Book reviews, Historical fiction, Thriller

A Shadow On The Lens by Sam Hurcom – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The Postmaster looked over my shoulder. As I turned to look I saw a flicker of movement from across the street. I felt unseen eyes peer at me.

He walked away without another word. I watched as he climbed onto his bicycle and sped away down the street. I turned back and looked over my shoulder.

Someone had been watching us.

  1. Thomas Bexley, one of the first forensic photographers, is called to the sleepy and remote Welsh village of Dinas Powys, several miles down the coast from the thriving port of Cardiff. A young girl by the name of Betsan Tilny has been found murdered in the woodland – her body bound and horribly burnt. But the crime scene appears to have been staged, and worse still: the locals are reluctant to help.

As the strange case unfolds, Thomas senses a growing presence watching him, and try as he may, the villagers seem intent on keeping their secret. Then one night, in the grip of a fever, he develops the photographic plates from the crime scene in a makeshift darkroom in the cellar of his lodgings. There, he finds a face dimly visible in the photographs; a face hovering around the body of the dead girl – the face of Betsan Tilny.

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MY REVIEW 

Betsan Tilney has been murdered and her body burnt. Due to the local villagers superstitions, her body is being kept in an abandoned church. They feel the Death is the result of the demon, Calon Fawr.

Thomas Bexley, a forensic photographer is sent to document the evidence, but he is unwell with a fever and starts to see things …including a shape over the body in one of his photographs …or is it just a flaw?

He visits Bethan’s mother and while unwell he is certain she told him, “Do not look for her with your eyes”….

Will Thomas find the killer, or is there something even darker walking in the village?

This is a creepy, gothic supernatural mystery in the vein of Poe and Lovecraft, there are even rats scratching in the ceiling….if like a historical, supernatural mystery then you’ll love this.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review.
You can buy a copy here

https://amzn.to/2AjpWiL

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Sam Hurcom was born in Dinas Powys, South Wales in 1991. He studied Philosophy at Cardiff University, attaining both an undergraduate and master’s degree. He has since had several short stories published, and has written and illustrated a number of children’s books. Sam currently lives in the village he was raised in, close to the woodlands that have always inspired his writing. 

 

A SHADOW ON THE LENS is Sam’s debut novel.

(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Book reviews, Crime thriller

The Quiet Ones by Theresa Talbot – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

If only someone had listened…

When the supposed suicide of famous Scottish football coach Harry Nugent hits the headlines, the tabloids are filled with tributes to a charitable pillar of the community that gave so much back to sport and to those less fortunate.

But something isn’t right. Normally celebrities are queuing up to claim to have had a very special relationship with the deceased, but investigative journalist Oonagh O’Neil is getting the distinct impression that people are trying to distance themselves from Harry.

Oonagh’s investigation leads her to uncover a heartbreakingly haunting cover-up that chills her to the core… and places her in mortal danger from those willing to protect their sadistic and dark secrets at any cost…

Perfect for fans of Patricia Gibney, Angela Marsons and Cara Hunter
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MY REVIEW 

“I want you to tell me what it’s like to die “

Harry Nugent is found, by his wife, hanging from a bannister….all looking like suicide, until they find his tongue has been cut off and stuffed back in his mouth.

A police investigation begins with DI Alec Davies and his team and rumours start to circulate that Harry may not have been the person the public believed him to be.

Journalist, Oonagh O’Neill sees a colleague writing the obituary and thinks there may be more to this story and so she starts her own investigation……but then two more bodies are found, with similar mutilations!!  As Oonagh gets closer to the answers, she is in danger herself….can the guilty be brought to justice finally?

This is a difficult read at times due to the subject matter. It deals with the abuse of young boys by a well respected football coach…..(something that has been in the news quite recently)….and that it was kept quiet by others around him. 

This tale by Theresa Talbot is written showing sensitivity and compassion for the victims, and while it is a tough subject this brilliant thriller is a compelling read. 

Thank you to Aria Fiction for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour, for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Theresa Talbot is a freelance writer, journalist and radio presenter, perhaps best known as the voice of Traffic and Travel on BBC Radio Scotland and as the host of The Beechgrove Potting Shed. Prior to working with the BBC she was with Radio Clyde and the AA Roadwatch team. Theresa worked in various roles before entering the media as an assistant in children’s homes, a Pepsi Challenge girl and a library assistant. She ended up at the BBC because of an eavesdropped conversation on a no.66 bus in Glasgow. Her passions include rescuing chickens, gardening, music and yoga.

 

Follow Theresa: 

Facebook: @TheresaTalbotBooks

Twitter: @Theresa_Talbot

 

Buy links:

 

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Tqo8Ns

 

Kobo: https://bit.ly/2Z0KtCq

 

iBooks: https://apple.co/2Mdbzod

 

Google Play: https://bit.ly/33y0Aez

 

Follow Aria 

Website: http://www.ariafiction.com

Twitter: @aria_fiction

Facebook: @ariafiction

Instagram: @ariafiction

Book reviews

Platform Seven by Louise Doughty – Book Review

 

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Platform Seven at 4am: Peterborough Railway Station is deserted. The man crossing the covered walkway on this freezing November morning is confident he’s alone. As he sits on the metal bench at the far end of the platform it is clear his choice is strategic – he’s as far away from the night staff as he can get.

What the man doesn’t realise is that he has company. Lisa Evans knows what he has decided. She knows what he is about to do as she tries and fails to stop him walking to the platform edge.

Two deaths on Platform Seven. Two fatalities in eighteen months – surely they’re connected?

No one is more desperate to understand what connects them than Lisa Evans herself. After all, she was the first of the two to die.
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MY REVIEW 

I was lucky to read this via The Pigeon Hole, as a daily staves.

I found this to be a slightly unsettling read, as while its focus is on Lisa and her thoughts, she is actually a ghost. She had died on Platform 7.

She watches a man do the same and it’s so tense as she knows what he’s about to do, but can do nothing to help. She knows how he’s thinking, as she had been in the same situation.

I like the way it tells of the effects of these suicides by train have on the people who work on the stations and the poor sods of the British Transport Police (although from personal experience, I know it’s actually a lot worse and lasts for years).

We learn of Lisa’s life and the controlling people she was involved with and it is quite a bleak subject at times, but is written in such an emotional way it offers hope.

A compelling and thought provoking read.

Thank you to Pigeonhole for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

Book reviews, Fantasy

Children Of Sinai by Shelley Clarke – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

How would you feel if you got caught up in a secret so vast it threatened everything the world had come to believe?

That’s what happened to John Milburn, computer science lecturer, orphan, husband and father, who lived an ordinary life in Haverhill, Suffolk, England. 

That is, until the dreams started…

From the idyllic calm of Cambridge, John Milburn is drawn to the dust and the heat of Jericho. 

Thrown into danger and intrigue, he discovers more than he’d bargained for. 

‘A wowser of a tale that is exciting and thought-provoking with a cast of characters you’ll fall in love with. Inspired by Biblical events, historical finds, theories and the author’s own strange imagination.’

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MY REVIEW 

Set in the present day, but with a prophecy from ancient Egypt. 

This tells of John, a husband and father to twin girls……but then he has a dream about ancient Egypt, and twins that are to be protectors.

A very clever mix of fact, some biblical events and fiction, with so much happening it keeps you hooked from start to finish.

It jumps between the two timelines, but in such a way as to keep it easy to follow, even with its twist and marvellously imaginative plot. An engaging read.

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

Author Bio –

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Shelley Clarke was born into a naval family in Kent in 1958, and consequently moved house a lot as a child. She had ambitions to follow in her father’s footsteps and join the Royal Navy, and to become a carpenter, but these were not female occupations at that time. So she learned to type… which has come in jolly handy for putting her stories first onto paper, and now onto screen. 

Shelley is a keen painter, poet, and karaoke enthusiast; she loves mad family get-togethers, hates olives, ironing and gardening, and currently lives in Devon with her husband Kev, and their two Tibetan Terriers Nena and Pepi, who make them smile every day.

Shelley often forgets she is a grown-up. 

Children of Sinai is Shelley’s debut novel. The story had been bouncing around her head for many years, and putting it down on paper has been the hardest thing she’s ever had to do. She certainly could not have got through this experience without a lot of cursing and chocolate!

 

Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/childrenofsinai/?modal=admin_todo_tour

https://twitter.com/Shelley62628484
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Purchase Links: 

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Children-Sinai-Following-dreams-change/dp/1798931206/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Children-Sinai-Following-dreams-change/dp/1798931206/

 

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Police procedural

Bloodline by Pamela Murray – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

When a young boy discovers a man’s body lying in a doorway, DI Burton and DS Fielding are called to the scene.

Believing the man was homeless, the police are shocked to discover the true identity of the victim; a Detective Constable from London who was working undercover.

But when the DNA from the victim is linked to a cold case Burton and Fielding find themselves looking into another unsolved murder.

And as the case unfolds, the detectives are faced with unpicking through a web of lies and deceit. But can they solve the murders before any more blood is spilt?

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MY REVIEW 

The second novel by Pamela Murray to feature DI Burton.

When a homeless man is found dead, DI Burton and his partner DS Fielding begin the investigation. But after the pathologist completes his investigation, they find out the man wasn’t homeless, but an undercover cop, Alan Blackburn.

So, DS Fielding and DC Summers decide to go undercover to continue DC Blackburn’s and investigate a dubious organisation that employs the homeless.

DI Burton and the team investigate the murder. This leads to another murder case from 30 years ago…..can they find the link and solve both cases

A gritty, tense and utterly gripping thriller.

Thank you to Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review. 
You can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/32B4FgA

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Pamela Murray is from the North East of England, and has spent most of her life living in Boldon. She began writing at an early age when she and her school friend used to write stories for one another. The writing continued on and off over the years, but was only recently reignited when the same school friend introduced her to the local writers group she was in.

Pamela had intended to enter Journalism after leaving school but found herself going to work in a Public Library instead, and has always had more than a passing interest in books and literature.

When not writing, Pamela is passionate about Cinema and her three grandchildren. She has also appeared as a Supporting Artiste in two episodes of the hit TV crime series “Vera”.

Book reviews, Historical fiction

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott – Book Review #TheSecretsWeKept

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PUBLISHERS BLURB

TWO FEMALE SPIES. A BANNED MASTERPIECE. A BOOK THAT CHANGED HISTORY.

  1. A celebrated Russian author is writing a book, Doctor Zhivago, which could spark dissent in the Soviet Union. The Soviets, afraid of its subversive power, ban it.

But in the rest of the world it’s fast becoming a sensation. 

In Washington DC, the CIA is planning to use the book to tip the Cold War in its favour.

Their agents are not the usual spies, however. Two typists – the charming, experienced Sally and the talented novice Irina – are charged with the mission of a lifetime: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago back into Russia by any means necessary.

It will not be easy. There are people prepared to die for this book – and agents willing to kill for it. But they cannot fail – as this book has the power to change history.

Sold in twenty-five countries and poised to become a global literary sensation, Lara Prescott’s dazzling first novel is a sweeping page turner and the most hotly anticipated debut of the year.
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MY REVIEW 

Based on the real person, Boris Pasternak, this is a possible story of how the famous novel, Dr Zhivago was smuggled out of the Soviet Union.

The CIA believed this to be an anti USSR novel and would be great propaganda.

Set in the 1950’s during the Cold War, this tells of Boris and his muse and lover, Olga. She is arrested and kept captive while the authorities want the details of Boris’ book. It tells the truth of the Russian Revolution and so is deemed subversive…

Part love story and part spy novel, with women taking a major part in the story, as the typing pool, women who were masters at getting information from various sources, mainly gullible men!

Also sometimes completing simple letter drops and at others more dangerous missions. These characters, Olga, Irina and Sally were my favourites and show you underestimate women at your peril!

Amazingly immersive writing by Lara Prescott, a real time thief of a novel. Brilliant historical fiction and a must read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here 

 

https://amzn.to/2ZUybkk

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

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Lara Prescott was named after the heroine of Doctor Zhivagoand first discovered the true story behind the novel after the CIA declassified 99 documents pertaining to its role in the book’s publication and covert dissemination.

She travelled the world – from Moscow and Washington, to London and Paris – in the course of her research, becoming particularly interested in political repression in both the Soviet Union and United States and how, during the Cold War, both countries used literature as a weapon.

Lara earned her MFA from the Michener Center for Writers. She lives in Austin, Texas with her husband.

 

Website : http://www.laraprescott.com/

 

Twitter : @laraprescott

 

 

 

 

 

Book reviews, Psychlogical thriller

The Devil Upstairs by Anthony O’Neill – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Rosemary’s Baby meets Ambrose Parry’s The Way of All Flesh in this macabre thriller – a devilishly brilliant allegory set in modern day Edinburgh by the author of the highly acclaimed Dr Jekyll & Mr Seek.

Cat Thomas relocated to Edinburgh, fleeing death threats related to her job as a fraud investigator in Florida, her 18th century Dean Village flat is utterly idyllic except for one thing- The Devil Upstairs.

Cat lies awake, delirious from lack of sleep, dreaming of ways in which to get rid of the utterly inconsiderate neighbour who keeps her awake every night with loud music and wild parties, desperate for a solution, she joins a work friend at a witches conclave and is blissfully surprised when the noise suddenly stops.

But when the Devil upstairs is found dead and Cat’s seemingly perfect man arrived in his place, the problems she thought were solved come back to haunt her in new and unexpected ways.

Impeccably plotted, intricately nuanced and shot through with darkly wicked humour, The Devil Upstairs perfectly captures the shadowy beauty and mystery of Edinburgh’s architecture, atmosphere and history, giving literary voice to its well renowned status as a “haunted” city.

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MY REVIEW

Cat Thomas has moved to Edinburgh, from Florida. She has found the perfect flat and for a while it is an idyll. But then her neighbour comes home and Dylan Moyle or Tur-Moyle as he is known, makes her life hell. Constant noise all night to the extent she spends some nights in a nearby hotel, just to get some sleep.

She’s started her new job, as a fraud investigator for ABC bank and is befriended by Agnes, a fiery Scot with a penchant for the Goth. Chatting about witches and general spooky stuff, Agnes invites Cat to a get together of her group, the conclave, for a game. 

Tired and stressed, Cat agrees….takes part in a weird aptitude test, while drinking Irn-Bru and breathing in sulphurous air…….just who is sitting in the velvety blackness?

She wakes up in her own bed, not really knowing what’s going on…Agnes says she was just drunk! But then Tur-Moyle is found dead in the flat upstairs, torn apart! There are more murders, anyone who upsets or threatens Cat, seems to end up dead.

What follows is a clever mix of Ira Levin and Dennis Wheatley, with strange violent events, a charming, mysterious new neighbour and creepy, whispering ‘tourists’…..

This captures the damp, foggy atmosphere of a chilly Edinburgh, and the general inconsiderate nature of some people in general……a chilling reminder of Be Careful What You Wish For and its consequences…utterly brilliant.

My thanks to Jaz at Black & White Publishing for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 

Anthony O’Neill was born in Melbourne and lives in Edinburgh. He is the author of Dr Jekyll & Mr Seek, his sequel to Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde; Scheherazade, an Arabian Nights homage; The Lamplighter, a psychological horror; The Empire of Eternity, a history-mystery involving Napoleon and Egyptology; The Unscratchables, a satire featuring dog and cat detectives and the Dark Side, a crime novel set on the far side of the moon, Film rights to The Dark Side have been sold to 20th Century Fox.

Book reviews, Uncategorised

The Introvert by Michael Paul Michaud – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A vacuum salesman by day, the introvert lives a quiet life alone with his dog until a work relationship and a dark secret from his past team up to create an uncomfortable imbalance in his otherwise ordered life, one that soon finds him squarely at the center of a murder investigation. 

With his thoughts continually urging him to make people “red and open” and to “achieve it” with his girlfriend Donna, what follows is a sometimes brutal, oftentimes hilarious, and absurdist account of the life of one very anti-social and unexpected anti-hero.  

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MY REVIEW 

Our unnamed protagonist, The Introvert, is a vacuum cleaner salesman, good at his job due to his direct manner on the telephone. 

Donna, the admin assistant likes him as he’s quiet and doesn’t babble……little does she know he doesn’t really understand people and uses the company manual, The Company Culture Handbook as his reference guide…..following the rules such as ‘always diffuse discomfort ‘….

He lives with his dog, Molly……he gets angry sometimes and wants to make people red and open……but he has breathing exercises his counsellors taught him, that helps…..until his landlord mistreats a dog!

This has humour at its darkest, to make you cringe at the same time as laugh, you know you shouldn’t!….and animal rights at its heart….weird and wonderful.

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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I am an American-Canadian citizen, a criminal prosecutor, and author of BILLY TABBS (& THE GLORIOUS DARROW) (bitingduckpress) and THE INTROVERT series (Black Opal Books). I have a B.A. in English from McMaster University, an Honors B.A. in Political Science (summa cum laude) from McMaster University, a J.D. from The University of Western Ontario (with an international exchange completed at Washington & Lee). I have won awards for both my community service and my work as a criminal prosecutor. I am a member of Crime Writers of Canada and International Thriller Writers. I also strive to maintain a strong social media author presence, including at facebook.com/michaelpaulmichaud, and have made regular appearances on SiriusXM’s Canada Talks. I am an unabashed and unapologetic zealot of Twin Peaks. Literary influences are primarily Orwell, Dickens, Vonnegut, Dostoevsky.

 

I was inspired to write The Introvert after reading Crime and Punishment (Dostoevsky) and The Stranger (Camus). It has been likened to Dexter and American Psycho meeting Office Space and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. I also consider it the most unorthodox of animals rights books. Every dog lover should read them.

 

Facebook author page https://www.facebook.com/MichaelPaulMichaud/

The Introvert Book Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheIntrovertBook/

The Introvert Confounds Innocence Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/TheIntrovertBook2

Twitter: MichaelPMichaud

Instagram: MichaelPMichaud

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michael-michaud-04439311/

Goodreads page for The Introvert:https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32808811-the-introvert

Goodreads page for The Introvert Confounds Innocence: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44490433-the-introvert-confounds-innocence

Book reviews, Womens fiction

Reunion by R V Biggs – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB

One random, violent act is enough to change Sarah Macintyre’s life forever.

Left unsettled, and yearning for a new beginning, Sarah is unsure of what to do with her life. But one day she discovers an anonymous letter hidden amidst a pile of unopened mail.

The note, however, contains nothing more than a confusing riddle.

Intrigued and excited, Sarah’s hunger for a new life compels her to search for the author to understand the puzzle and solve the mystery.

Embarking on a journey that will shape the rest of her life and that of her family, Sarah uncovers a past of which she had no knowledge, a present she must find a path through, and a future filled with intense grief and utmost joy.
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MY REVIEW 

Reunion is the follow up novel to Song of the Robin by R V Biggs and follows the life of Sarah Macintyre.

This tells of Sarah’s journey after leaving the hospital, but due to some slightly odd experiences, she doubting her own sanity and she wonders if she’s dreaming.

She then receives a letter, in amongst Christmas post, but the brown envelope gives her a feeling that something is about to happen. As she reaches for it, the letter moves…maybe these odd events are real after all.

The tale is about Sarah’s search for the letter writer and the meaning of the letters contents…..

Can Sarah come to terms with her new life and her abilities ?

An absorbing tale of love, tragedy, Faith and the supernatural. Not a quick read, but one to slow down and savour. Thought provoking.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

R V Biggs lives in a small ex-mining village near Wolverhampton, England, with his wife Julie, and Mags the black lab. He has four grown up children and six grandchildren.

Walking with the dog is a favorite pastime and much of the story line for his first novel was developed during these lengthy outings.

Robert worked for 35 years in telecommunications but changed career paths to a managerial supporting role within a local Mental Health NHS trust. It was during the period between these roles that the concept for Song of the Robin was born.

Robert is a firm believer that destiny and co-incidence exist hand in hand and this conviction extends to his writing. He has a passion for holistic well-being and after first-hand experience of the potential healing powers of Reiki, a form of energy therapy, took a Reiki level 1 training course to heighten his spiritual awareness. Robert’s experiences in these areas helped conceive the ideas that led to Song of the Robin and its sequel Reunion, novels with central themes of fate, love and the strength of family. His writing however is not fantasy but is set in modern times involving real people living real lives.

 

Twitter @RVBiggs

 

Book reviews, Police procedural, Thriller

The Death Of Justice by Tony J Forder – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

To keep a secret hidden you must bury the truth

One night. Two shootings. Two victims.

When DI Bliss arrives at the scene of the second murder, he recognises the same three-shot pattern as the first. But there is one major difference: the second victim has been decapitated, the head nowhere to be found. When a second headless corpse is discovered the following day, Bliss and his team realise the killer is on a spree – and he’s not done yet. 

After Bliss links the killings and forms a task force with officers from Lincolnshire, they uncover further disturbing news: the murders are not the first in the series – there are four more headless victims, and the Lincolnshire team believe they know why. Not only that, they are also convinced that more potential victims are on the killer’s list. 

In a race against time to save further loss of life, Bliss constantly finds himself one step behind and chasing shadows. In order to flush out the hired assassin, he and his team have no choice but to put their own lives at risk. But will everyone survive?

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MY REVIEW 

This is Book #5 in the DI Bliss series. 

When Kelly Gibson’s body is found, shot three times, DI Bliss and his team are called in to investigate. Kelly was a colleague from the communications suite…

We again meet DI Bliss, DI Mia Short, DS Chandler, DS Bishop and DC Ansari, as the investigation starts, another murder takes place…..again 3 shots, but the head is missing!

As more murders are committed, the team are in a race against time with a Killer always seemingly one step ahead…but how? Is there a leak on the team?

This is a brutal case with links at an old case……but why has it taken so long for this retribution?

Another gripping thriller from Tony J Forder, with a compelling plot that also shows the vulnerable side of the characters. Brilliant.

Thank you to Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review. 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Tony J Forder is the author of the critically acclaimed, bestselling crime thriller series featuring detectives Jimmy Bliss and Penny Chandler from the Major Crimes unit in Peterborough. The first four books, Bad to the Bone, The Scent of Guilt, If Fear Wins, and The Reach of Shadows, will soon be joined by The Death of Justice, which will be published on 9 September 2019.

Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This is a stand-alone serial-killer novel. Another book that was written as a stand-alone was Scream Blue Murder. This was published in November 2017, and received praise from many, including fellow authors Mason Cross, Matt Hilton and Anita Waller. Before it had even been published, Tony had decided to write a sequel, and Cold Winter Sun was published in November 2018.

Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK, and is now a full-time author. He is currently working on a new novel, and has also begun writing Bliss #6.

 

Links

Website: https://www.tonyjforder.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tonyjforder/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TonyJForder @TonyJForder

Amazon Author: https://www.amazon.co.uk/l/B01N4BPT65

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16166122.Tony_J_Forder

 

Book reviews, Fantasy, Historical fiction, Science fiction

Ten Thousand Doors Of January by Alix. E. Harrow – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

In the early 1900s, a young woman searches for her place in the world after finding a mysterious book in this captivating and lyrical debut. 

In a sprawling mansion filled with peculiar treasures, January Scaller is a curiosity herself. As the ward of the wealthy Mr. Locke, she feels little different from the artifacts that decorate the halls: carefully maintained, largely ignored, and utterly out of place.

Then she finds a strange book. A book that carries the scent of other worlds, and tells a tale of secret doors, of love, adventure and danger. Each page turn reveals impossible truths about the world and January discovers a story increasingly entwined with her own.

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MY REVIEW

January Scaller, 7years old and lives with her father’s employer, Mr Locke. He is a wealthy man who is a collector of antiquities and items from around the world. January’s father, Julian is Mr Locke’s Agent, who searches for these items and in return January is cared for and even has a nursemaid.

January finds a diary and writes stories to keep herself amused, she is bored and lonely. One day she runs off and finds a Door, going through it, she finds  another world…..She returns, Locke finds her, throws her diary away and locks her in her room for days until she learns to behave……so she does, for ten years. But she still has the silver coin she found in the other world…

I don’t want to say too much about the actual plot, other than it is utterly mesmerising.

A beautifully written piece of literary fiction, with magic, alternate worlds, and even a vampire. A tale of movement, of not standing still, of taking chances in a world where you don’t feel you fit in….what is behind the next Door?

“Those of you who are more than casually familiar with books—those of you who spend your free afternoons in fusty bookshops, who offer furtive, kindly strokes along the spines of familiar titles—understand that page riffling is an essential element in the process of introducing oneself to a new book. It isn’t about reading the words; it’s about reading the smell, which wafts from the pages in a cloud of dust and wood pulp. It might smell expensive and well bound, or it might smell of tissue-thin paper and blurred two-color prints, or of fifty years unread in the home of a tobacco-smoking old man. Books can smell of cheap thrills or painstaking scholarship, of literary weight or unsolved mysteries.”

I haven’t read a book like this before, it is a masterpiece of storytelling by Alix E Harrow. It will touch a nerve for anyone who loves books, as we know each one opens a door to another world. An absolute must read. 

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here 

 

https://amzn.to/34xhdHz

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

I’ve been a student and a teacher, a farm-worker and a cashier, an ice-cream-scooper and a 9-to-5 office-dweller. I’ve lived in tents and cars, cramped city apartments and lonely cabins, and spent a summer in a really sweet ’79 VW Vanagon. I have library cards in at least five states.

Now I’m a full-time writer living in with my husband and two semi-feral kids in Berea, Kentucky. It is, I’m very sure, the best of all possible worlds.

My debut novel–a historical fantasy called THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY–will be out in Fall 2019 from Orbit/Redhook. 

(Courtesy of Goodreads)

Book reviews, War fiction

Trial By Battle by David Piper – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Trial by Battle by David Piper – 

A quietly shattering and searingly authentic depiction of the claustrophobia of jungle warfare in Malaya described by William Boyd as ‘A tremendous rediscovery of a brilliant novel. 

Extremely well-written, its effects are both sophisticated and visceral. Remarkable’, and VS Naipaul as ‘one of the most absorbing and painful books about jungle warfare that I have read’ and by Frank Kermode as ‘probably the best English novel to come out of the Second World War.’

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MY REVIEW

This tells the tale of Second Lieutenant Alan Mart, only 21 and posted to India, and the loud, overbearing Lieutenant, Acting Captain Sam Holl. Alan is being put through training and Holl believes War makes a man, but Mart is not exactly the warrior type.

Holl is a hard drinking, loutish man who contracts malaria, but even that doesn’t stop him from getting on the ship as they are sent to fight the Japanese. Their training  certainly hasn’t prepared them for what coming……

An incredibly written, brutally honest tale of war and its effects on the men fighting, the boredom, constant fear and the horrors they see. Stunning and emotive. 

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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David Piper was best known as director of the National Portrait Gallery, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. The novel is based on his time serving with the Indian Army in Malaya where he was captured by the Japanese and spent three years as a POW. His son, Tom Piper, was the designer of the hugely successful Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation of ceramic poppies at the Tower of London to commemorate the First World War Centenary.

 

ABOUT THE BOOKS

“If poetry was the supreme literary form of the First World War then, as if in riposte, in the Second World War, the English novel came of age. This wonderful series is an exemplary reminder of that fact. Great novels were written about the Second World War and we should not forget them.”

WILLIAM BOYD

‘It’s wonderful to see these four books given a new lease of life because all of them are classic novels from the Second World War written by those who were there, experienced the fear, anguish, pain and excitement first-hand and whose writings really do shine an incredibly vivid light onto what it was like to live and fight through that terrible conflict.’

JAMES HOLLAND, Historian, author and TV Presenter

‘The Imperial War Museum has performed a valuable public service by reissuing these four absolutely superb novels covering four very different aspects of the Second World War. ‘ ANDREW ROBERTS

In September 2019, to mark the 80th anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, IWM will launch a wonderful new series with four novels from their archives all set during the Second World War – Imperial War Museums Wartime Classics.

Originally published to considerable acclaim, these titles were written either during or just after the Second World War and are currently out of print. Each novel is written directly from the author’s own experience and takes the reader right into the heart of the conflict. They all capture the awful absurdity of war and the trauma and chaos of battle as well as some of the fierce loyalties and black humour that can emerge in extraordinary circumstances. Living through a time of great upheaval, as we are today, each wartime story brings the reality of war alive in a vivid and profoundly moving way and is a timely reminder of what the previous generations experienced.

 

The remarkable IWM Library has an outstanding literary collection and was an integral part of Imperial War Museums from its very beginnings. Alan Jeffreys, (Senior Curator, Second World War, Imperial War Museums) searched the library collection to come up with these four launch titles, all of which deserve a new and wider audience. He has written an introduction to each novel that sets them in context and gives the wider historical background and says, ‘Researching the Wartime Classics has been one of the most enjoyable projects I’ve worked on in my years at IWM. It’s been very exciting rediscovering these fantastic novels and helping to bring them to the wider readership they so deserve’.

Each story speaks strongly to IWM’s remit to tell the stories of those who experienced conflict first hand. They cover diverse fronts and topics – preparations for D-Day and the advance into Normandy; the war in Malaya; London during the Blitz and SOE operations in occupied Europe and each author – three men and a woman – all have fascinating back stories. These are Second World War novels about the truth of war written by those who were actually there.

 

The Four titles are:

 

From the City, From the Plough by Alexander Baron – A vivid and moving account of preparations for D- Day and the advance into Normandy. Published in the 75th anniversary year of the D-Day landings, this is based on the author’s first-hand experience of D-Day and has been described by Antony Beevor as ‘undoubtedly one of the very greatest British novels of the Second World War.’

 

Alexander Baron was a widely acclaimed author and screenwriter and his London novels have a wide following. This was his first novel.

 

Trial by Battle by David Piper – A quietly shattering and searingly authentic depiction of the claustrophobia of jungle warfare in Malaya described by William Boyd as ‘A tremendous rediscovery of a brilliant novel. Extremely well-written, its effects are both sophisticated and visceral. Remarkable’, and VS Naipaul as ‘one of the most absorbing and painful books about jungle warfare that I have read’ and by Frank Kermode as ‘probably the best English novel to come out of the Second World War.’

David Piper was best known as director of the National Portrait Gallery, the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge and the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford. The novel is based on his time serving with the Indian Army in Malaya where he was captured by the Japanese and spent three years as a POW. His son, Tom Piper, was the designer of the hugely successful Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation of ceramic poppies at the Tower of London to commemorate the First World War Centenary.

 

Eight Hours from England by Anthony Quayle – A candid account of SOE operations in occupied Europe described by Andrew Roberts as ‘As well as being one of our greatest actors, Anthony Quayle was an intrepid war hero and his autobiographical novel is one of the greatest adventure stories of the Second World War. Beautifully written and full of pathos and authenticity, it brings alive the terrible moral decisions that have to be taken by soldiers under unimaginable pressures in wartime.’

 

Anthony Quayle was a renowned Shakespearean actor, director and film star and during the Second World War was a Special Operations Executive behind enemy lines in Albania.

 

Plenty Under the Counter by Kathleen Hewitt – a murder mystery about opportunism and the black market set against the backdrop of London during the Blitz. ‘With a dead body on the first page and a debonair

  

RAF pilot as the sleuth, this stylish whodunit takes you straight back to Blitzed London and murder most foul. Several plausible suspects, a femme fatale, witty dialogue, memorable scenes and unexpected twists – it boasts everything a great whodunit should have, and more. Andrew Roberts.

 

Kathleen Hewitt was a British author and playwright who wrote more than 20 novels in her lifetime. She was part of an artistic set in 1930’s London which included Olga Lehman and the poet Roy Campbell.

 

Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, Science fiction

Neon Empire by Drew Minh – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Rare Bird Books and California Coldblood Books are proud to bring you the remarkable debut novel from social media maven and marketing expert Drew Minh,

Neon Empire.

Imagine a city fueled entirely by social media.

Rising out of the American desert, this city is a real-world manifestation of a social media network where fame-hungry desperados compete for likes and followers. The bloodier and more daring posts pay off the most. As crime rises, no one stands to gain more than the city’s architects—and, of course, the shareholders who make the place possible.

This multiple-POV novel follows three characters as they navigate the city’s underworld: Cedric Travers, a has-been Hollywood director; A’rore, the city’s lead social media influencer whose star is fading; and Sacha Villanova, a tech and culture reporter.

Bold, colorful, and seductive, Neon Empire is a radically inventive

new thriller for the social media era. It’s due to publish on July 9, 2019.

Thank you so much for your time.
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MY REVIEW 

Set in the near future, this is an artificial world in a city called Eutopia…which sounds to me how I imagine Vegas to be….with all the famous European landmarks in one, bright, neon, strobe lit place. Full of social media celebrities and ‘influencers’ vying for supremacy and a complete lack of scruples.

Eutopia is bright, flashy, decadent and so so seedy…..an upmarket Blackpool! Everything is an advert, a marketing opportunity…….scary in that we are not far off that now.

The story follows 3 main characters on their travels through this almost psychedelic world, there is a plot, with a missing person, politics and money but it really is about this dystopian world where money and fame drive everything, the real and manufactured events to raise those ratings… very clever and utterly terrifying.

Thank you to California Coldblood Books for the opportunity to read this for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 

Drew Minh is a digital strategist living in Los Angeles, CA. He has previously published short stories and nonfiction in 3AM, Word Riot, Litro UK and many others. NEON EMPIRE (coming out September 10, 2019) is his debut sci-fi novel.

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Police procedural

Endgame by Daniel Cole – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

A locked room. A dead body. A secret that went to the grave.

When retired police officer Finlay Shaw is found dead in a locked room, everyone thinks it’s suicide. But disgraced detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes isn’t so sure.

Together with his former partner Detective Emily Baxter and private detective Edmunds, Wolf’s team begin to dig into Shaw’s early days on the beat. Was Shaw as innocent as he seemed? Or is there more to his past than he’d ever let on?

But not everyone wants Wolf back – and as his investigation draws him ever deeper into police corruption, it will not only be his career on the line – but the lives of those he holds closest as well..

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MY REVIEW 

This is the third of the Ragdoll trilogy and while this can be read as a stand-alone, but it would really be useful for the background story to have read the previous novels. 

This is a locked room mystery. Finley Shaw, a retired police officer is found dead in a sealed room..a single shot to the head. This is first classed as a suicide, but is it?

Detective William ‘Wolf’ Fawkes arrives at his friend Shaw’s home to take a look for himself…..and is arrested. He comes to an arrangement with the Commissioner, in return for information about the wanted drug Lord, Dubois, he will work this ‘suspicious’ death of his friend as his last case.

The story revolves around Wolf, DCI Emily Baxter, who he has a history with, and the Police Commissioner Christian Bellamy. With flashbacks to 1979 to find answers as to who would kill Fin..and why!

If you enjoy a crime thriller, with humour, twists, immensely likeable characters and a clever, imaginative plot, then you’ll love this.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here

https://amzn.to/2HUW6VY

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

At 33 years old, Daniel Cole has worked as a paramedic, an RSPCA officer and most recently for the RNLI, driven by an intrinsic need to save people or perhaps just a guilty conscience about the number of characters he kills off in his writing.

He has received a three-book publishing and television deal for his debut crime series which publishers and producers describe as “pulse-racing” and “exceptional”. 

Daniel currently lives in sunny Bournemouth and can usually be found down the beach when he ought to be writing book two in the Nathan Wolfe series instead.

Ragdoll is his first novel. (Courtesy of Goodreads)

Book reviews, Family drama, Thriller

The Boxer Boys by Nick Rippington – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Some Family feuds just won’t go away… For 40 years the Dolans and the Marshalls have lived side by side on the same rundown housing estate in east London.

While teens Gary Marshall and Arnie Dolan forge a close friendship, fighting constant battles to survive both on the streets and closer to home, the relationship between their parents is complicated and, at times, toxic. Gradually family secrets emerge which have their roots in the early 80s… and Gary and Arnie realise their entire upbringing was built on lies.  
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MY REVIEW 

 

This is a box set of three novels by Nick Rippington. 

First: 

 

CROSSING THE WHITEWASH

Gary Marshall and Arnie Dolan have been friends since they were 13 years old, and had named themselves the Boxer Boys.

Gary had dreams of being a professional footballer, but after a night out, a series of events put an end to his dream.

This tells of their lives to the present day, their friendship, the laughs and their criminal and sometimes violent activities.

As they grow up, lives change, but then the past catches up with Gareth.

A thriller full of humour, sport and action.

 

SPARK OUT (prequel)

This is set in the 1980’s , the politics, music and the Falklands War.

Mo Dolan, is a really nasty piece of work and really wants to be a big time gangster type. Violent and brutal. Will his son end up the same?

Lots of descriptive writing the political atmosphere of the time and about the horrors of the Falklands War. A thriller with a political edge.

 

DYING SECONDS(sequel)

Again the story revolves around the violent Dolan crime family. 

Gareth, who used to be Gary is working for a welsh newspaper as a sports journalist after moving on from his earlier way of life. But then his father is murdered, his old friend Arnie Dolan has been arrested. Is he responsible or was some one else responsible? And why?

Again, set with a backdrop of politics (Brexit) and sports with the murder mystery too in a totally engrossing read.

Thank you to Sarah at Book On The Bright Side for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook. This is my honest, unbiased review.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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NICK RIPPINGTON is one of the victims of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal you never hear about. 

As the newspaper’s Welsh Sports Editor, he was made redundant with two days notice when Rupert Murdoch closed down Europe’s biggest-selling tabloid in 2011. 

On holiday at the time, Nick was never allowed back into the building, investigators sealed off the area with crime scene tape and seized his computer, which contained all the secrets to his Fantasy Football selections.

Handed the contents of his desk in a black bin bag in a murky car park, deep throat style, Nick was at a crossroads – married just two years earlier and with a wife and 9-month-old baby to support. Options were limited but self-publishing was booming. Having hit on an idea for a UK gangland thriller taking place against the backdrop of the Rugby World Cup, in 2015 he produced Crossing The Whitewash.

The book was praised by many, received an honourable mention in the genre category of the Writers’ Digest self-published eBook awards and more than 25 five-star reviews on both sides of the pond. 

Almost two years after Crossing The Whitewash came the second in the Boxer Boys series, a prequel called Spark Out, which was released in paperback on July 1 and for Kindle on July 10, 2017. The book received an award for best cover of 2017 with the Chill With A Book website, along with a readers award, before receiving the IndieBRAG medallion from a prestigious site covering Independent writers and publishers throughout the world.

The third book in the Boxer Boys series Dying Seconds, a sequel to Crossing the Whitewash, was released in December 2018.

Married to Liz, Nick is now a full-time back bench designer on the Daily Star sports desk and has two daughters – Jemma, 36, and Olivia, 8. A Bristolian at heart, he lives near Ilford, Essex. In the past he has worked for the Sunday Mirror, Wales on Sunday and Media Wales in Cardiff as an executive editor.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/buckrippers

Twitter: @nickripp

Goodreads Author Page:https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14194075.Nick_Rippington

 

Blog: On the website – Say Hello to My Little Friends

 

Website: http://www.theripperfile.com

 

Amazon Author Page in the UK: 

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Nick-Rippington/e/B0135YST78

 

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Book reviews, Crime thriller, Historical fiction

Code 17 by Francis Booth – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Code 17 by Francis Booth

Code 17 was originally a musical idea.

Ten years ago I made an album that paid homage to the theme music of 1960s British TV spy series like The Man from UNCLE, The Baron and Department S, and to films like Modesty Blaise and The Ipcress File. The music on the album was from an imaginary TV series called Code 17, featuring the glamorous art dealer/spy Lady Laura Summers. She was imagined as a cross between Sharron Macready of The Champions, Emma Peel of The Avengers and Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward of Thunderbirds, though none of these women was the lead character in their own show.

Ten years later I thought I could make a novel out of Code 17 and Lady Laura – a fast-paced, female-led thriller set in the art world of Swinging 1967 London. I kept to the format of a twelve-episode TV series and tried to imagine each chapter as a self-contained thirty minute episode, split into short, cinematic scenes; I imagined our heroine getting into deep water in every episode but always getting out of it before the credits rolled.

I hope you can imagine it that way too.

You can hear the music at https://www.mixcloud.com/planckmusic/code-17/

And watch the promotional video here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfZsXqxch5I

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MY REVIEW 

Lady Laurencia Artemisia Claudia Summer or Lady Laura as she prefers, is an upper class art dealer……she is also a dealer in art forged by her friend Muffie…

Lady Laura is also gay, she is to marry Jonny, to keep up appearances, but on the wedding day, he is shot and with his dying breath he says ‘Code 17’….

Code 17 turns out to be a clandestine group of wealthy, powerful men who right wrongs their own way….

Lady Laura believes a woman to have shot Jonty, confirmed by her father as he tells her of the secretive Code 17…she wants revenge for Jonty and decides to find out more herself.

What follows is a romp through 1967….with its pop art, money and fashion. It’s a fast paced adventure in the vein of the Avengers….bowler hats and swords,there’s even a catsuit…. Lady Laura reminded me distinctively of Joanna Lumley’s Purdy…..

Lots of twists, with references to art and literature too. Great characters and a fun read.

Thank you to Anne Cater and Random Things Tours for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the book. This is my honest, unbiased review

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

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Francis Booth’s novels are all available as eBooks and paperbacks on Amazon. They include:

  • The Watchers series of Young Adult fantasy novels: The Charlotte Strain and The January Legacy;
  • The Nevermore novel sequence Nevermore, Evermore, Gone Before and Nothing More, a series of dark revenge tragedies;
  • Code 17, a fast-paced, female-led thriller set in the art world of Swinging Sixties London.

Francis is also the author of several academic books on modern literature and culture, also available on Amazon:

  • Amongst Those Left: the British Experimental Novel 1940-1960 (to be published by Dalkey Archive Press);
  • Everybody I Can Think of Ever: Meetings That Made the Avant-Garde;
  • Girls in Bloom: Coming of Age in the Mid Twentieth Century Woman’s Novel;
  • Text Acts: Twentieth Century Literary Eroticism;
  • Comrades in Art: Revolutionary Art in America 1926-1938.

As a translator, Francis Booth has published English versions of the Marionette Plays of Maurice Maeterlinck and produced libretti adapted from Akutagawa, Strindberg and early Sanskrit and Buddhist texts, several of which have been set to music and recorded.

Francis also produces music under the name Tektonix, all of which is on YouTube and at mixcloud.com/planckmusic. He is currently at work on Code 17.1, the sequel to Code 17.

 

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Book reviews, Historical fiction, Science fiction

A Superior Spectre by Angela Meyer – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

 

“A brilliant, deeply unsettling work.” Books + Publishing

 

Jeff is dying. Haunted by memories and grappling with shame, he runs away to a remote part of Scotland with a piece of beta tech that allows him to enter the mind of someone in the past. Instructed to only use it three times, Jeff – self-indulgent, isolated and deteriorating – ignores this advice.

In the late 1860s, Leonora lives in the Scottish Highlands, surrounded by nature. Contemplating the social conventions that bind her, her contented life and a secret romantic friendship with the local laird are interrupted when her father sends her to stay with her aunt in Edinburgh. But Leonora’s ability to embrace her new life is shadowed by a dark presence that begins to lurk behind her eyes, and strange visions.

A Superior Spectre is a novel about curiosity, entitlement and manipulation. It reminds us that the scariest ghosts aren’t the ones that go bump in the night, but those that are born and create a place for themselves in the human soul.

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MY REVIEW

Jeff leaves his life behind in Melbourne, Australia to travel to Scotland with his Andserv robot helper and companion. He is dying, but has declined medical treatment.

He has, and uses tech that assigns you a hosts mind in the past, where you can see and feel what they feel, but they are unaware. He visits Leonora in the 1860’s…..in her mind …a time travelling parasite. I have to admit to disliking Jeff, as he was a self-indulgent, yet self pitying man whose desires control everything he does…with little thought for the effect he is having on Leonora’s mind.

Leonora is a simple kind soul, with a secret romance with the local laird, William. But her life is one of hard work and oppression as a woman in the 1860’s. The descriptive writing really brings this to life.

Jeff uses his invasion of Leonora’s mind to pass his own desires to her…..an abuse,  of male domination and as a result she feels she is possessed. It also shows society’s double standards when it comes to female sexuality, and promiscuity is seen as a mental illness.

A beautifully written, almost poet mix of historical, gothic fiction and sci-fi with real atmosphere and both likeable and reprehensible characters. Thought provoking and something rather special. I’m sure this will be a favourite amongst Book clubs everywhere. A definite must read.

Thank you to Ruth Killick Publicity for the opportunity to read this marvellous book for free. This is my honest and unbiased review.

You can buy a copy here 

https://amzn.to/2N0LKrO

 

About the author:

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Angela Meyer’s Joan Smokes won the inaugural Mslexia Novella Competition in 2019. Her short fiction has been widely published, including in Best Australian Stories, Island, The Big Issue, The Australian, The Lifted Brow and Killings. By day she works as a publisher for Echo Publishing, an Australian imprint of Bonnier Books UK, and in this role has discovered and developed a range of award-winning, globally published and bestselling talent, including global number one bestselling author Heather Morris. A Superior Spectre, Angela’s debut novel, is already shortlisted for a number of prestigious awards.

Angela Meyer is @literaryminded on Twitter and Insta. @literarymindedblog on Facebook. You can find her online at literaryminded.com.au where there are also some book club questions for A Superior Spectre.

Saraband is @SarabandBooks