Book reviews, Dystopian fiction, humour, Science fiction

QualityLand by Marc-Uwe Kling – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Everything in QualityLand is geared towards optimizing your life. QualityPartner identifies your ideal mate, earworm personal assistants get you where you need to go and android drones know you need a six pack of beer at the end of a long day even before you crave one. Humans, robots and algorithms co-exist, everything is seamlessly corporatised, stratified and monetized. Your very name reveals much of what we need to know about you and your profile discloses the rest.

Peter Jobless is a down and out metal press operator, dumped by his long term girlfriend when she is alerted to a better option on her QualityPad. But Peter has another problem – he seems to be the only one noticing that his fellow Qualityland robot citizens are experiencing an existential crisis. There is a drone who’s afraid to fly. A sex droid with erectile dysfunction. A combat robot with PTSD. Instructed to destroy these malfunctioning A.I., Peter starts to suspect the technology that rules us all has a flaw, perhaps a fatal one. Not only that, these robots might be his only friends…
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MY REVIEW

Well where do I start?

Qualityland is a country renamed to fit with its ethos. Everything is the bestest it can be (yes I know that’s not a word), it’s the greatest, the loveliest, the beautifulist….language is now in the superlative…..always.

Peoples surnames have changed too, they now reflect the occupation of your father or mother, from Peter Jobless to Monica Sex-Worker and so, so many more. 

Also every consumerist need is fulfilled automatically by TheShop, before you know you need them (or not in some cases). Technology now runs the world, Androids are real people and have rights, they can even run for president! With drones and bitter driverless cars it’s non stop mayhem..

When Peter receives an item he doesn’t need or want he tries to return it and this is where some true hilarity begins. All he wants is to return an item and get some autonomy back into his life….is that too much to ask?

This reminded me a little of the humour in Incompetence by Rob Grant(he of Red Dwarf and Courgette leather shoe fame) and the dystopia of Rob Hart’s The Warehouse, but this has its own remarkable humour and it’s totally bonkers, hilarious and utterly terrifying in its plausibility. Brilliant.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers 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.

Book reviews, Crime thriller, Police procedural

A Famished Heart by Nicola White – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

THEY DID IT TO THEMSELVES

BUT SOMEONE WAS WATCHING

The Macnamara sisters hadn’t been seen for months before anyone noticed. It was Father Timoney who finally broke down the door, who saw what had become of them. Berenice was sitting in her armchair, surrounded by religious tracts. Rosaleen had crawled under her own bed, her face frozen in terror. Both had starved themselves to death.

Francesca Macnamara returns to Dublin after decades in the US, to find her family in ruins. Meanwhile, Detectives Vincent Swan and Gina Considine are convinced that there is more to the deaths than suicide. Because what little evidence there is, shows that someone was watching the sisters die…

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MY REVIEW

Set in 1982, Dublin and Detectives Vincent Swan and Gina Considine are called to the home of Berenice and Rosaleen MacNamara. Their desiccated bodies have been found by Father Timoney after doing a welfare check on the sisters.

They had been missing from church for a while and no one could remember seeing them lately. Both women had starved to death. But someone may have been watching…..

I really enjoyed the pacing in this tale, it’s a slow burn with plenty of character development and how they view events and their own lives, with an in depth plot that keeps you guessing. Beautifully evocative of 80’s Dublin, this tale of faith, family and death has a quiet sense of unease that keeps you hooked from start to finish. I loved it.

Thank you to Viper Books for the opportunity to take part in this blog tour, for the promotional material and a free copy of the book. This is my honest and unbiased review.

 

You can buy a copy here: https://amzn.to/2HXRbmS

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

 

Nicola White grew up in Ireland and New York and graduated from Trinity College, Dublin. She lived in London and Belfast before moving to Glasgow to work as a contemporary art curator, moving on to produce arts documentaries for BBC radio and television.

In 2008 she won the Scottish Book Trust’s New Writer Award, and began to publish short stories in a range of journals, anthologies and for broadcast on Radio 4. In 2012 she was Leverhulme Writer in Residence at Edinburgh University.

Her novel, In the Rosary Garden, won the Dundee International Book prize and was shortlisted for the 2014 Deanston (now McIlvanny) Prize. It was selected as one of the four best debuts by Val McDermid ‘New Blood’ panel at the Harrogate crime festival and was one of the Glasgow Herald’s 2014 ‘books of the year’.

She publishes non-fiction with The Dublin Review and has contributed essays to numerous visual art publications, such as the National Galleries of Scotland’s 2014 ‘Generation Reader’.

Nicola currently splits her time between Glasgow and the Highlands, which means she lives mostly on the A9. (Courtesy of Goodreads).

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Crime thriller, Police procedural

Avenge The Dead by Jackie Baldwin – Book Review and Giveaway

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

Sometimes murder is the only way to get even…

Four friends with dark secrets. One killer out for revenge.

DI Frank Farrell and DS McLeod are tasked with investigating the brutal murder of a defence solicitor’s wife in Dumfries.

It’s been over a year since they left the town after an investigation robbed them of a dear friend. But now they’re back and must find a way to move on.

 When the son of another defence solicitor is murdered, a strange tattoo etched on his body, the case takes them into darker, more disturbing territory.

It leads them back into the past – to a horrific fire in a cottage that took a woman’s life, to four friends harbouring dark secrets – and finally to a killer waiting patiently for revenge.

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MY REVIEW 

#3 in the DI Frank Farrell series but can be read as a stand-alone.

When the wife of a defence solicitor is found murdered, DI Farrell, DS Mhairi McLeod and DC Thomson begin their investigation. 

A second murder, this time the son of a different defence solicitor, things get even more complicated. Especially as there appear to be links to a case from 10 years ago.

While DI Farrell is struggling with guilt, he’s taken to drinking far too much which makes him pretty useless at times and Mhairi ends up pretty much taking over the case, while supporting him. Can they all work together to solve this murder mystery before anyone else dies?

This is a twisty police procedural with great, albeit flawed, characters, secrets and plenty of surprises to keep you gripped from start to finish. Thoroughly entertaining.

Thank you to Damppebbles Blog Tours 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 Jackie Baldwin:

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Jackie Baldwin is a Scottish crime writer. Her debut crime novel, Dead Man’s Prayer, was published by Killer Reads on 2nd September 2016. The second in the series, Perfect Dead was published on 15th June 2018. For most of her working life, she has been a solicitor specialising in Family and Criminal Law. She later retrained as a hypnotherapist. Married with a grown family, she recently moved from Dumfries to East Lothian.

 

 

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/JackieMBaldwin1

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

Website: http://jackiebaldwin.co.uk/

 

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK: 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07WP7YH36?pf_rd_p=f20e70b1-67f9-48d1-8c78-ba616030b420&pf_rd_r=YEKB6BDB3JPNE1EF73WN

Waterstones: 

https://www.waterstones.com/book/avenge-the-dead/jackie-baldwin/9780008383916

Hive.co.uk 

https://www.hive.co.uk/Product/Jackie-Baldwin/Avenge-the-Dead/24235324

Google Books: 

https://books.google.co.uk/books?id=VtCqDwAAQBAJ

Blackwells:

 https://blackwells.co.uk/bookshop/product/9780008383916

GIVEAWAY

WIN
An Avenge the Dead Prize Bundle featuring all three books in the DI Frank Farrell series signed by the author plus extra treats!

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

URL
https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/995da7e520/?

Terms and Conditions
The giveaway will end at 00:00 (GMT) on Sunday 15th March 2020 and is open internationally. The winner will be contacted by email on Monday 16th March 2020 and will need to provide their postal address which will be passed to Jackie Baldwin for dispatch of the prize. No personal information will be stored as a result of this giveaway. There is no cash alternative. Good luck!

Cover reveal

**COVER REVEAL** for The Gossips’ Choice by Sara Read

Welcome to the cover reveal for The Gossips’ Choice by Sara Read. But obviously here’s a little about the book itself first.

 

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

“Call The Midwife for the 17th Century” 

Lucie Smith is a respected midwife who is married to Jacob, the town apothecary. They live happily together at the shop with the sign of the Three Doves. But sixteen-sixty-five proves a troublesome year for the couple. Lucie is called to a birth at the local Manor House and Jacob objects to her involvement with their former opponents in the English Civil Wars. Their only-surviving son Simon flees plague-ridden London for his country hometown, only to argue with his father. Lucie also has to manage her husband’s fury at the news of their loyal housemaid’s unplanned pregnancy and its repercussions.

The year draws to a close with the first-ever accusation of malpractice against Lucie, which could see her lose her midwifery licence, or even face ex-communication.

 

NEARLY THERE...here’s a bit about the author……

 

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Dr Sara Read is a lecturer in English at Loughborough University. Her research is in the cultural representations of women, bodies and health in the early modern era. 

She has published widely in this area with her first book Menstruation and the Female Body in Early Modern England being published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2013.

She is a member of the organising committee of the Women’s Studies Group, 1558-1837 and recently co-edited a special collection produced to celebrate the group’s 30th anniversary. 

She is also the co-editor of the popular Early Modern Medicine blog. With founding editor Dr Jennifer Evans, Sara wrote a book about health and disease in this era Maladies and Medicine: Exploring Health and Healing, 1540-1740 (Pen and Sword 2017). 

Sara regularly writes for history magazines such as Discover Your Ancestors and History Today. In 2017 she published an article ‘My Ancestor was a Midwife’ tracing the history of the midwifery profession for Who Do You Think You Are? magazine in 2017. She has appeared on BBC Radio 3’s Freethinking programme and is often to be heard on BBC Radio Leicester and BBC Radio WM.

 

Follow Sara on Twitter @saralread

 

AND here it is in all it glory….the Cover of The Gossips‘ Choice

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Buy Link 

https://amzn.to/2REsxNv 

 

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