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

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

Synopsis:

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

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

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

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

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

My Thoughts:

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

About the Author:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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#PromoPost & #BookNews : The Betrayal by Anne Allen @AnneAllen21 @rararesources

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This is another book I have not time to read for the blog tour, but have it on my wish list to read in the future.  The Betrayal is Book 6 in The Guernsey Novels by Anne Allle.  My thanks to Rachel of Rachel’s Random Resources for a spot to help share the word of this book.  Purchase link for this book CLICK HERE

### HOT OFF THE PRESS##

A Triple Celebration and a Price Reduction!

For this week only, until 18th February, the price of books 2-6 of The Guernsey Novels is only £1.99/$2.99, with book 1, ‘Dangerous Waters, remaining at 99p/99c

This is in celebration of Anne Allen’s birthday, the 6th anniversary of the publication of ‘Dangerous Waters’ and the recent publication of book 6, ‘The Betrayal’.

Synopsis:

Treachery and theft lead to death – and love

  1. Teresa Bichard and her baby are sent by her beloved husband, Leo, to England as the Germans draw closer to Guernsey. Days later they invade…
  2. Leo, of Jewish descent, is betrayed to the Germans and is sent to a concentration camp, never to return.
  3. Teresa returns to find Leo did not survive and the family’s valuable art collection, including a Renoir, is missing. Heartbroken, she returns to England.
  4. Nigel and his twin Fiona buy a long-established antique shop in Guernsey and during a refit, find a hidden stash of paintings, including what appears to be a Renoir. Days later, Fiona finds Nigel dead, an apparent suicide. Refusing to accept the verdict, a distraught Fiona employs a detective to help her discover the truth…

Searching for the true owner of the painting brings Fiona close to someone who opens a chink in her broken heart. Can she answer some crucial questions before laying her brother’s ghost to rest? 

Who betrayed Leo?

Who knew about the stolen Renoir?

And are they prepared to kill – again?

About the Author:

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Anne Allen lives in Devon, by her beloved sea. She has three children, and her daughter and two grandchildren live nearby.  Her restless spirit has meant a number of moves which included Spain for a couple of years. The longest stay was in Guernsey for nearly fourteen years after falling in love with the island and the people. She contrived to leave one son behind to ensure a valid reason for frequent returns.

By profession, Anne was a psychotherapist, but long had the itch to write. Now a full-time writer, she has written The Guernsey Novels, six having been published and the seventh, The Inheritance, is due out in 2018.

Social Media Links – Website:  Facebook: Twitter

Other Books in The Guernsey Books Series.

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See what other bloggers on the tour think of this book.

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

#BookReview : Zenka by Alison Brodie @alisonbrodie2

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I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Zenka” by Alison Brodie. This book is available as an eBook and can be purchased from Amazon UK and Amazon.Com.

Synopsis:

Devious, ruthless, and loyal.

Zenka is a capricious Hungarian with a dark past.

When cranky London mob boss, Jack Murray, saves her life she vows to become his guardian angel – whether he likes it or not. Happily, she now has easy access to pistols, knives and shotguns.

Jack discovers he has a son, Nicholas, a male nurse with a heart of gold. Problem is, Nicholas is a wimp.

Zenka takes charges. Using her feminine wiles and gangland contacts, she will make Nicholas into the sort of son any self-respecting crime boss would be proud of. And she succeeds!

Nicholas transforms from pussycat to mad dog, falls in love with Zenka, and finds out where the bodies are buried – because he buries them. He’s learning fast that sometimes you have to kill, or be killed.

As his life becomes more terrifying, questions have to be asked:

How do you tell a mob boss you don’t want to be his son?

And is Zenka really who she says she is?

My Thoughts:

Jack Murray is a London organised crime gang boss.  Zenka is a Hungarian girl he saved, she know follows Jack everywhere.  She is his self-confessed guardian angel. News reaches Jack that he has a 26-year-old son, Zenka wants to help bring them together.  The son is Nicholas and he couldn’t be more different from Jack. Nicholas is caring, gentle supportive and a nurse, and to be honest a bit of a push over.  Zenka is aware of his character as she has been watching him, so a series of”events” are put in place to “toughen him up”!

Oh I loved this book so much.  A gangland boss with all the criminal elements you want to find in a story like this, a bit of an ugly lovable rogue.  Add into that the gentle nurse and you just know things somewhere along the way are going to go awry.  Then there is Zenka, I loved her character, her mannerisms and attitude. These elemants have been thrust together along with many other events and wrapped into a plot that I adored.  At times a little tongue in cheek, funny and some serious moments. This had me grinning like an idiot one moment, shocked at another and then at the end I had leaky eyes…..what the hell!!!

The characters were a great mish-mash of ratbags and villains, as well as those working legitimately to get on in life.  You will meet Zenka, Jack, Nicholas, Jason and Mrs Blanchflower who have a great range of traits making them memorable. There are others that you will make you own mind up about as you go.  But Zenka was my favourite by far,she comes across as very deadpan and it works at times hilariously, Alison has included letters to Zenka’s friend Alina, these give a little added extra to Zenka and are brilliantly amusing.

This is a story that is full of coincidences, but it has been put together so well that I didn’t care if these coincidences seemed a little too coincidental, they added to the pacing and the humour.

I would recommend this book to readers who like a crime, fiction, mystery that at times is humorous.  It is so well put together that I could not put it down.  I LOVED it and Highly Recommend it, a real corker of a read.

I wish to thank Alison for sending me a copy of Zenka.  My thoughts expressed here are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

51qW2E5DznL._SY200_  Alison Brodie is a Scot with French Huguenot ancestors on her mother’s side.
Alison has lived all over the world, including Kansas City, Athens and Basque country.
Her first novel – “Face to Face” – was published by Hodder & Stoughton and became Good Housekeeping’s Pick of the Paperbacks.
Alison has now gone Indie!
“Brake Failure” has 28 five-star reviews from professional book bloggers + “Masterpiece of humor” -Midwest Book Review
“ZENKA” is releasing 6 November, 2017.

Follow Alison on Twitter Website ~

Many thanks for reading my post, if you liked it please give it a share.  Better still, go and buy a copy of this great book xx

 

 

#BookReview : Fear by Dirk Kurbjuweit : #GrippedByFear : @orionbooks : @NetGalley : #PublicationDay

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Fear by Dirk Kurbjuweit and translated by Imogen Taylor. It is available for purchase in various formats and is published by The Orion Publishing Group.

Synopsis:

You’d die for your family. But would you kill for them?

Family is everything. So what if yours was being terrorised by a neighbour – a man who doesn’t listen to reason, whose actions become more erratic and sinister with each passing day? And those you thought would help – the police, your lawyer – can’t help you.

You become afraid to leave your family at home alone. But there’s nothing more you can do to protect them.

Is there?

My Thoughts:

This is quite a different book. It is based around the authors experiences of being stalked. We are told from the outset of the crime that has been committed, who committed it and who the victim was.

It is written from the viewpoint of the main protagonist, Randolph. The author states at the very beginning that Randolph is a version of himself.

So initially we start in present day when Randolph has just phoned the police to report the murder. We are then taken back to Randolph’s childhood, his years growing up in a still divided Germany, how he met his wife Rebecca and his life after. These details, for me, provide the main crux of the story, they are wrapped around the events leading up to and including the murder that takes place.

The murder was the result of Dieter, the neighbour and his unhealthy obsession with Randolph and Rebecca’s family. Dieter has accused them of abusing their children Paul and Fay. He is initially friendly towards the family when they move into the flat above him, but soon things change and he begins a reign of terror.

So essentially there are two stories running in this book, that of Randolph and his life story, then, that of Dieter and his terrorising of the family. There is a huge amount of information in this book and explores a vast array of topics, such as, status, class and culture, as well as lots of observational accounts of living in a divided Germany at a time of great change. It is a good genre spanning book with crime, thriller, psychological aspects and fiction.

This book is written as an account of events, it is set at a good pace with well described and developed characters. I would recommend this book to readers of Crime and Thriller, Psychological Thriller and also Fiction.

My thanks to Orion Publishing and NetGalley for my copy of this eARC.  My views are my own and are unbiased.

Praise for the Book:

What critics are saying about FEAR:

‘I’m intrigued by Dirk Kurbjuweit’s novel FEAR, about a stalker living downstairs’ – LIONEL SHRIVER, THE OBSERVER

Remarkable’ – THE OBSERVER

‘Addictive… There’s a twist at the end that is worth waiting for’ – INDEPENDENT

‘A terrifying study of a family threatened by the tenant living downstairs’ – WOMAN&HOME

‘Brilliantly done to play on every parents’ deepest fears’ – FIONA BARTON, bestselling author of THE WIDOW

What readers are saying about FEAR:

‘Thought-provoking, intelligent and genuinely chilling. It’s quite possible that we are all just a few provocations away from cold-blooded murder’ – ELIZABETH HAYNES, author of INTO THE DARKEST CORNER

A terrific, original thriller – I loved it’ JOANNE HARRIS

‘FEAR makes us sympathetic to violent revenge, accessories to murder’ – HERMAN KOCH, author of THE DINNER

‘I loved it. So rich and claustrophobic’ – RENEE KNIGHT, author of DISCLAIMER

‘The most original thriller of the year’ – NETGALLEY

‘Expertly constructed, highly entertaining and thought-provoking’ – Cloggie, Amazon reviewer

‘If you’re looking for a thriller with psychological insight, I highly recommend this one’ – Marjorie, Amazon reviewer

‘Not your usual thriller’ – Fiona, Amazon reviewer

About the Author:

Dirk Kurbjuweit is deputy editor-in-chief at German current affairs magazine Der Spiegel, where he has worked since 1999, and divides his time between Berlin and Hamburg. He has received numerous awards for his writing, including the Egon Erwin Kisch Prize for journalism, and is the author of seven critically acclaimed novels, many of which, including FEAR, have been adapted for film, television and radio in Germany. FEAR is the first of his works to be translated into English.

 

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

#BookReview : Sleigh Rides and Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair by @Heidi_Swain : @simonschusterUK

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I am sharing my thoughts today on “Sleigh Rides & Silver Bells at the Christmas Fair” by Heidi Swain, available in paperback or eBook, published by Simon & Schuster UK.

Synopsis:

When Anna takes on the role of companion to the owner of Wynthorpe Hall, on the outskirts of Wynbridge, she has no idea that her life is set to change beyond all recognition.

A confirmed ‘bah humbug’ when it comes to Christmas, Anna is amazed to find herself quickly immersed in the eccentric household, and when youngest son Jamie unexpectedly arrives home it soon becomes obvious that her personal feelings are going all out to compromise her professional persona.

Jamie, struggling to come to terms with life back in the Fens, makes a pact with Anna – she has to teach him to fall back in love with Wynthorpe Hall, while he helps her fall back in love with Christmas. But will it all prove too much for Anna, or can the family of Wynthorpe Hall warm her heart once and for all…?

Join Anna for a festive journey festooned with sleigh rides and silver bells and help her discover her happy-ever-after.

My Thoughts:

Anna does all she can to avoid Christmas and when the job as a companion comes up at Wynthorpe Hall it is perfect.  She is met with a very warm welcome from the owners and also the staff, in fact at times it is hard to see a difference between staff and family as they all just seem to bimble along in a wonderful warm way, everyone helps out with whatever is required.  Anna trying to be professional, unknowingly lets her guard down and fits right in.

Oh my goodness, this is such a deliciously warm, snugly and cosy read.  The characters are as welcoming to the reader as they are to Anna on her arrival.  As the story unfolds you get to meet all the characters and all their quirky ways and also their friendly and open warmth as you read about how they arrived at the Hall, what they do and their relationships with each other.  But there is also a serious side to the story that involves the owners three sons who you will meet further in, Christopher, Archie and Jamie.  They have different lives and responsibilities and the story line takes in various problems and run in between them in its stride.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book as I followed Anna and the other characters to the run up to Christmas at the Hall, there antics are hilarious at times and I found myself reading with a daft grin on my face.  A book that I could not put down, very well paced with a brilliantly written cast.

This is my first experience of reading this author, yes I am kicking myself for this, I will definitely be reading more.

If you want a heartwarming festive treat, then this is the book to read.  It is a book that was comfortable and relaxing and is ideal for readers who like a festive fiction, women’s fiction and romance.

 

About the Author:

A1v63L0h5XL._SY200_  Although passionate about writing from an early age, Heidi Swain gained a degree in Literature, flirted briefly with a newspaper career, married and had two children before she finally plucked up the courage to join a creative writing class and take her literary ambitions seriously.

A lover of Galaxy bars, vintage paraphernalia and the odd bottle of fizz, she now writes contemporary fiction and enjoys the company of a whole host of feisty female characters.

Heidi can be found at the keyboard at all hours of the day and night and quite often scribbling longhand in her car during her lunch break. She lives in stunning south Norfolk with her wonderful family and a mischievous cat called Storm.

Her debut novel, The Cherry Tree Cafe, was published on July 16th, 2015 and became an Amazon bestseller.

Follow the author on Twitter  ~  Website

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK (5 Oct. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1471164853
  • ISBN-13: 978-1471164859
  • Purchase from Amazon UK  ~ Amazon US

Many thanks for reading my post, feel free to share. 

Better still, go and buy this book xx

#BlogTour : Love, Secrets & Absolution by K.L.Loveley @K_L_Loveley : @_globeflower_

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I am pleased to be part of the tour for “Love, Secrets & Absolution” by K.L.Loveley, available in paperback and eBook.  Published by GlobeFlower Books.  I would like to say a big “Thank You” to Anna-Lisa Hasedzic at Globeflower and Allie for a copy of this wonderful book.

Synopsis:

People in the village gossip about Grace’s son, Alfie.

He’s a lonely boy full of secrets, lies, and obsessive thoughts.

How far can a mother’s love go? Will she ultimately sacrifice her life for his?

Set in Nottinghamshire, this family drama follows the lives of Grace and Alfie as he transforms from a naïve, young boy into a teenager spiralling out of control.

Love, Secrets, and Absolution is a coming of age story with a difference.

Deceit, betrayal, love, and addiction, a family falling apart in the midst of teenage angst and torn loyalties; will anybody find absolution?

My Thoughts:

Grace and Paul had been trying for sometime to have a baby before she finally falls pregnant.  Alfie makes his appearance in the world and as he grows up and takes in his surrounding and other, he realises that he is not quite the same as other children.  Paul is aware that his son is a little different, Grace loves her son regardless.  Set during a time of miners strikes in Nottinghamshire, money is tight, nerves are frayed and emotions run riot, the reader is allowed into this little family group and gets a very unique perspective of how the family works, observing the stresses, strains as well as the happy times and milestones.

This is a wonderful read that had me hooked from the very first few paragraphs to the very last sentence.  Told from the perspectives of Alifie and Mum Grace, from his arrival in the world through his early years, schools and university, and also wonderful diary entries from Grace.  I loved the reasoning, experiences, observations and thoughts from both of these characters, but especially from Alfie.  He is a vulnerable, easily led and naive boy trying to find his place in the world, wanting to belong and find his “normal” place in society.

It also touches upon how schools, Doctors and health professionals didn’t diagnose Alfie, but also how Grace didn’t push for a diagnosis.  A very insightful and poignant read, that was emotional at times and very believable, having to remind myself several times that these were not real but characters.  The author has used her experiences from nursing and observing people in various situations to add that all important extra detail to this story.

This is a great read that I would definitely recommend to readers who like General Fiction, Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction with some wonderful detailing on family dynamics, social attitudes and factors, as well as mental health issues.

My views expressed here are my own and are unbiased.

About the Author:

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K.L Loveley is an exciting new author from Nottinghamshire, in England. Her debut novel ‘Alice’ is at times, a gritty but true to life story of a woman who finds herself in desperate straits.

The author’s love of writing began with a gift of a five year lock up diary at the age of seven and she has never stopped writing since. In addition to writing novels, the author writes poetry and will be sharing some of these on her blog.

She lives with her husband in a quaint village in Nottinghamshire and enjoys walking and cycling in the famous Sherwood Forest. The author and her husband own a narrowboat, and spend time navigating the British waterways. She spends many cosy evenings on her boat writing additional novels which will be released in the future.

To date, the author has enjoyed 40+ years working as a Nurse for the NHS , the latter twenty years as a Practice nurse in Primary care. During this time she has gained valuable knowledge and skills, which she has been able to transfer and use in her writing when related to medical and social issues.

K.L Loveley is a prolific reader, and reads a wide variety of genres. Some of her favourite bestselling authors include, Joanne Harris, Jodi Picoult, Marian Keyes, John le Carré, Maeve Binchy , Jojo Moyes and Philippa Gregory. She actively reviews the books that she reads on her blog klloveley.com and on GoodReads.

The author uses a pen name, K.L Loveley, aka Katie Lily Loveley. She felt compelled to use these names of her female ancestors, as a unique way of keeping their memory alive. Katie Loveley was the birth name of her maternal great grandmother. Lily, the Christian name of her paternal Grandmother. Alice, the main protagonist of her debut novel, was the name of her maternal grandmother. However, all of the characters in her stories are purely fictional.

She is currently working on a new novel which she hopes to publish in the near future.

Follow Allie on Twitter ~ Website  ~ Facebook

Details for Globeflower Books: Hybrid Publisher Agency – We nurture our authors and enrich our readers

Website: www.globeflower.co.uk

Twitter: @_Globeflower_

Facebook: The Globeflower Agency & Globeflower Books

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Globeflower Books (31 Oct. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1999829409
  • ISBN-13: 978-1999829407
  • Purchase from Amazon UK  ~ Amazon US

Many thanks for reading my post.  if you liked it, please give it a share.  Better still go and buy the book xx

 

#BlogTour : Blackmail, Sex and Lies by Kathryn McMaster @TrueCrimeNovels with @rararesources : #BookReview

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I am delighted to part of the blog tour of “Blackmail, Sex and Lies” by Kathryn McMaster.  I wish to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my spot. This book is  available as a paperback or an eBook.  *Today is the last day to grab this book at a reduced price *

Synopsis:

The young Scottish socialite, Madeleine Hamilton Smith was swept off her feet by Pierre Emile L’Angelier. She thought him handsome, charming, attentive. However, things soon soured between the pair.

However, once he had seduced her, he became controlling, manipulative. While she tried desperately to withdraw from the toxic and abusive relationship he started blackmailing her; threatening to expose her indiscretions to her family and her new fiancé which would have ruined her within her strict, Victorian era society.

She felt trapped, desperate even. Suddenly, the threats were silenced by his unexpected death.

Did Madeleine Smith murder Pierre Emile L’Angelier or did he commit suicide?

For 160 years, people have believed Madeleine Smith to have been guilty of murder. But was she? Could she have been innocent after all?

This Victorian murder mystery, based on a true story, takes place in Glasgow, Scotland, 1857.

My Thoughts:

Kathryn has used some of the 200 letter between socialite Madeleine Hamilton-Smith and Pierre Emile L’Angelier and created a fictionalised them for a riveting read.  It documents the relationship between Madeleine and Emile in 1850’s Scotland.  Madeleine is the naive daughter of strict architect James Hamilton.  Pierre, or Emile as he is referred to, is from French parents and not in the same social league as Madeleine, but he is desperate to climb the social ladder. The two begin a secretive relationship that is doomed from the start.

This is the sort of book that I really love to read, historical, Victorian and including documentation to provide a wonderful basis for a very addictive read.  A few of the letters have been included and provide a wonderful and personal insight into the lives of the two main protagonists.  It captures and reflects their own actions as well as those around them.  It shows a darker side to romance.  A side where the ends justify the means as far as Emile is concerned.  He does not want to be married to a penniless woman, he wants one that can support him.  The more I read of Emile, the more I disliked him, but also I found myself wanting to shake some sense into Madeleine, she really was a soppy doe eyed naive girl, but at the same time I did feel sorry for her.

It has scandal, vulnerability and calculated manipulation that ultimately leads to a death, but was it murder, suicide or a cover up ?  It is well written and engaged this reader from the outset.  I always like the inclusion of the differences between social class and the living conditions of the period I am reading, this book did that.  As well as having a great story line and a pace suitable for the style of book.

This is a book I would recommend to readers who like true crime, Victorian Historical Fiction, with references to Victorian Social and family Values.  A really good read.

About the Author:

 Blackmail - kathryn mcmasterKathryn McMaster is a writer, entrepreneur, wife, mother, and champion of good indie authors. She co-owns the book promotion company One Stop Fiction (www.onestopfiction.com), where readers can sign up to receive news of free and discounted 4 and 5 star reviewed books. She is also a bestselling author of historical murder mysteries set in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Her debut novel, “Who Killed Little Johnny Gill?” was well received. All her novels are based on true stories, and she melds fact with fiction, writing in the creative nonfiction style. She lives on her 30 acre farm in the beautiful Casentino Valley, Italy for 6 months of the year, and during the other half of the year, on the small island of Gozo, Malta.

www.kathrynmcmaster.com

https://twitter.com/TrueCrimeNovels

https://www.facebook.com/kathrynmcmaster.author/

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Drama Llama Press; 1st edition (14 Sept. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8894122859
  • ISBN-13: 978-8894122855
  • Purchase from  – Amazon UK – Amazon US

Many thanks for reading my post. If you liked it, please give it a share.  Better still, go and buy yourself a copy.

#12DaysofClinkStreetChristmas : Outremer by D.N.Carter : @Authoright @AuthorightUKPR @gilbster1000 #BookReview #Blogtour

 

 

Many thanks to Rachel at Authoright for the invite to take part in the “12 Days of Clink Street Christmas”. My post today is for “Outremer” by D.N.Carter.  This book is available in hardback, paperback or as an eBook.

 (Check out the calendar at the bottom of this post for more information.)

Synopsis:

Who Controls The Past Controls The Future
An epic love story must overcome religious divide and a plot to eradicate two blood lines, as the Crusades and the search for the ancient mysteries of the Holy Grail gather momentum.
Raised by his father in La Rochelle, France, Paul Plantavalu is known for his artistic nature, inquisitive mind and Christian faith. He also has an unshakable love for his Muslim childhood friend, Alisha al Komaty. Courageous and outspoken, she returns Paul’s love. But their path is paved with obstacles; religion, war, political chaos and a mysterious enemy determined to destroy their family lines.
Sometime between 1110 AD and 1120 AD in the aftermath of the first crusade, a small band of nine knights — the founding knights Templar — recover ancient precious artefacts left by a former, advanced civilisation, beneath the City of Jerusalem. Ruthlessly guarded, the secrets revealed by this discovery are highly prized by powerful and dangerous forces far and wide; the repercussions of their capture are inextricably linked to Paul and Alisha. As Paul starts to experience dark and vivid dreams and the fragile balance of peace starts to crumble, it will fall to an enigmatic man known as Kratos and his female warrior protégée Abi Shadana, to safeguard Paul and Alisha.
Paul and Alisha’s love story weaves between the threads of our reality and other realms — from the Druids to the Sufi mystics, the Magi of the East, the secret political arm of the Knights Templar and the Isma’ilis, the Assassins. Knights and pilgrims alike will witness some of the darkest battles ever fought. The discovery of a unique sword’s lethal power and whispered connections to King Arthur and the Holy Grail lead Paul and Alisha to question if their lives ever be the same again.
The first of a four-part series, Outremer is an historical epic, which sweeps across England, Scotland and France, to Syria, Jerusalem and Egypt. Discover the truth — and crack the ancient code — behind the great mysteries of the High Middle Ages for yourself.

My Thoughts:

This is a huge book, not just in length, but also in detail, content, description, plot and research.  The research alone that has gone into this book is in itself vast.  If you want a book that takes you through the history of the Knights Templar and the events of the high middle ages then this is a must read.  Also included is a vast array of things relevant to the time and their connections through history, and includes Christianity, Muslims, Islam, Egyptology, symbolism, paganism, Arthurian Legend, folklore and astrology, this list only just scratches the surface. It is the first in a planned series of four books, and feels to be just the tip of the iceberg.  I am so excited about this upcoming series after reading this first instalment.

All of the above and more have been cleverly wrapped around the love story of Paul from a Christian family and Alisha from a Muslim one.  In theory these two families should be enemies,at the time of crusades when Muslim and Christian are at war.  But this is not the case, the families have been friends for many years, and respected by some of the highest ranking Grand Masters, but why is this information not available to all, and known only by a select few.   Paul and Alisha’s story is one that is destined to be. But one that some would like to wipe out, to stop and erase the bloodline. While we learn this story as it happens, we also meet an old man, he has a story and tells it at the local inn to a mixed background audience.  He tells the story of Paul and Alisha, but it is after it has happened, a few years later in fact.  The audience initially believe he is telling a tall tale, but there are things for some of the audience that ring true, and as he tells his tale he fills in the history.  Not just of the families but of all things from all ages and many countries, he has details of dates, people, places, events, and then religions, legends, myths and facts.  He has detailed documents to prove the information he gives.

I could write so much about this book, there is so much information in it, from various sources and backgrounds.  It is almost like reading a history lesson as it happens.  The descriptions for the settings and the people have been really well done.  I really like the way the two stories complement each other.  One as it happens, the other in the future. There are many characters in this story, the major players quickly become identifiable, and after a few appearances so do the smaller re-occurring players.

The historical content in this is huge, at times I did find myself overwhelmed by it, and at times I got confused by my lack of understanding.  But to be honest, the parts I found confusing didn’t take anything away from the story or my enjoyment of it. There are some very interesting elements in this, some of which have previously been brought up in Dan Brown books, there is a reference to his work in the bibliography, and not all of the theories in Brown’s books I understood either and yet still loved them.

So if you want a serious book about the high middle ages, and are ready for an amazing journey, then this is the book for you.  I would definitely recommend this to readers of Historical Fiction, readers of History and mention that it contains some historical romance.  It is a well researched, well presented and a real epic of a book.  I eagerly await the next instalment.

About the Author:

After strange and vivid experiences whilst living in Cyprus as a child, author D N Carter has been fascinated by the history, myths and legends of the Middle Ages and mankind’s past. As he got older travels to Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, the Languedoc region of France and the deserts of Arabia fuelled his enthusiasm. While not decoding maps and mathematical codes D N Carter enjoys adventure sports from parachuting to microlight flying. Today he divides his time between East Anglia in the UK and the south of France with his family.                    Visit the author – Website

Book Details:

  • Paperback: 658 pages
  • Publisher: Clink Street Publishing (9 May 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1911525255
  • ISBN-13: 978-1911525257
  • Amazon UK

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Clink Street 12 Days of Christmas.

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#BookReview : #Melokai by @RosalynKAuthor

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Today I am delighted to be sharing “Melokai : In the Heart of the Mountain”, Book One by Rosalyn Kelly. It is available as an eBook, but I would suggest spending the extra on the paperback version.  I was sent an eARC of this book from the author for my consideration.  My views expressed here are my own and are unbiased.

Book Details:

Synopsis:

She thinks it’s the end, but it’s just the beginning.

“Trouble will come from the east. A wolf will claim the throne.”

Legendary warrior Ramya has successfully reigned over Peqkya as Melokai for twelve years. Prosperous, peaceful, and happy, her people love her… or so she thinks.

But Ramya’s time is up. Bracing herself for the gruesome sentence imposed on all Melokais who have served their purpose, she hears instead a shocking prophecy.

Is the sudden appearance of a mysterious cave creature from the east the trouble the prophecy speaks of? Or is the threat something darker, more evil? And what of the wolves… does the ferocious war with their kind mark the end for Peqkya?

Before Ramya can answer, she and her fearless warriors must first crush a catastrophic rebellion that threatens to destroy her and devastate her beloved nation.

My Thoughts:

This books starts with action from the outset and does not let up.  Melokai Ramya is told that “A wolf will claim the throne”, her throne no less.  The story that follows introduces several other races of people and their interactions with each other. Some of the races have trade agreements and tentative alliances that seem on the face of it, to work.  There is however an underlying discord, one that will threaten the fragile peace of all the races.

This is a great read.  Rosalyn has created a world that has vivid descriptions of not only the people but also the landscape.  Each race has its own distinctive physical characteristic, this compliments the land they live in, each land is also unique to each race.  Within the races there are factions that are unhappy and strange alliances are formed, they want change to those in power and also to the restraints that are placed on them.

I am always a little hesitant when I read fantasy books like this.  I spent a lot of time a few years ago, reading many books of this genre, some were great but I also found quite a few were lacking.  I am happy to say that Melokai falls into the first, it really was a great read.  It has a lot of attention to detail, not only has Rosalyn described the details of each race and their corresponding landscape, she has done it so I can visualise them.  For me this is an important feature especially in a fantasy book. The character list is very large, and this is why I suggest buying the paperback rather than the eBook version as there is a great list of people and places, as well as a map.

The story has been written in such a way that you are gradually introduced to the various races, it has been done that it makes sense and gives a great flow to the story.  This is all wrapped around a plot that is in essence a power struggle, but it has a real sense of depth.  There are many elements in this book that make for really interesting, intriguing and addictive reading.  This is the first book in a series, with the second due next year (2018), I for one am really going to be keeping my eye out for this.

This is a book is one I would highly recommend to readers of Epic Fantasy, with lots of different other elements.  It is a well paced book, very well written and a fantastic read.  I would like to thank Rosalyn Kelly for sending me a copy of this book.

About the Author:

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Rosalyn Kelly grew up in the magical New Forest ​in the south of England and has lived around the country ​as well as in the Middle East, and travelled all over the world.

She studied English Literature and Language at Oxford Brookes University before embarking on a PR and marketing career.

After ten years telling the stories of international brands and businesses, she decided the time had come to tell her own and her debut novel MELOKAI was written in 2016 after quitting her job, going travelling for four months and then writing solidly for the following four.

The inspiration for her epic fantasy trilogy came when she was trekking in the mountains of Nepal’s stunning Annapurna Sanctuary.

When she’s not putting her heart and soul into book two of the In the Heart of the Mountains trilogy, she daydreams about where to travel to next, paints with acrylic, reads voraciously and writes book reviews on her blog.

Follow the author on Twitter or on her Website
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#BlogTour : The Prisoner’s Wife by Gerard MacDonald : @AuthorightUKPR @gilbster1000 @Authoright #BookReview

Today I am pleased to be sharing my thoughts on the blog tour for “The Prisoner’s Wife” by Gerard MacDonald.  Available in hardback or as an eBook. 

Book Details:

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312591802
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312591809
  • Purchase from Amazon UK

Synopsis:

From the CIA headquarters to the danger zones of Morocco and Pakistan, undercover agent Shawn Maguire is embroiled in a sinister conspiracy and an unlikely romance in this exhilarating debut spy thriller.

Shawn Maguire, unemployed American spy, has been paid to find a young Iranian now being interrogated in one of the CIA’s black prisons. The prisoner’s location remains unknown – he may be in Fes, Cairo or even Peshawar – but Shawn has every confidence that he’ll find his man eventually. Based on his time as an agent, it’s an assignment he knows he can handle. But there’s one person he’s not sure even he can handle: the prisoner’s wife.

The Prisoner’s Wife is a political thriller ripped from today’s headlines; a tense trip through the murky worlds of state–sponsored terrorism, nuclear politics, secret American jails and lawless rendition. Conspiracies abound in this sophisticated and suspenseful novel, with its crackling dialogue and evocative, lawless landscapes. Maguire is a first-rate protagonist, complicated and heroic, and writer Gerard Macdonald does an expert job of capturing the casual ambivalence of the American intelligence officers in their rendition campaigns and keenly observes the cynical manner in which operatives prop up or depose criminal leaders depending on Americas own needs.

My Thoughts:

Shawn Maguire is an ex American spy who has problems with whiskey, women and a whole lot of other things.  As he is unemployed he takes on a job that will call on his previous experience to find a missing man, Darius Osmani.  During this he will meet Danielle, to see what she knows of her husbands disappearance.  The journey will take them to Morocco, Egypt and Pakistan, with a lot of twists and danger.

Now I have to admit that I really struggled to get going with this book.  The information was intense, a mass of names, places, agencies, and back stories.  But I persevered, there was hints of things I liked, conspiracy, underhanded and illegal government agency involvement and with that obvious corruption.  As the story progressed  I found I was becoming quite addicted with it, the pace quickened, or maybe it was reading that quickened as my understanding improved, and with this the story began to unfold. When I had finished I had thoughts of an almost Jack Reacher style character with strains of John Le Carre, and it makes an interesting mix.

There are many characters with Shawn being the main protagonist, who initially I wasn’t that taken with, but did have a change of heart by the time I got to the end of the book.  They do become recognisable the more you read.  Back stories are discussed as the current story unfolds, it does add another angle and gives some good depth to the main characters.

This is a book I think that readers that like political thriller, action, government conspiracy and manipulation would enjoy.

About the Author:

Author Gerard Macdonald lives in West London and is currently working on a short series of political fiction books.   Author Website

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