Category Archives: Book Reviews

Hidden in Her Heart by Thomas Dellenbusch – Review

Title – Hidden in Her Heart
Author – Thomas Dellenbusch
Genre – Romance
Length – 118 Pages
Publication – 3rd June 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Translated Version from the popular German book series
of Movie-Length-Stories
A young, attractive single mother moves into a small Lower Bavarian village in the Summer of 1963. She is not looking for a job, nor is she looking to make friends. When the villagers discover that several men are visiting her regularly, they are horrified. They assume that this stranger is a prostitute, and look for ways to chase her away. The only one to take her side and stand by her is a young journalist living in the village. He suspects she is hiding here. But from whom or what? And is his support genuine, or was he sent to discover her secret?

Review

Romance?? Yes you read that correctly.. I’m reviewing a romance novella. Yes it’s not my genre but the more I read the more I actually quite enjoy it. I think the author just needs to get the balance of romance and plot right for me to enjoy the tale which Thomas Dellenbusch certainly has.

This isn’t the first book I’ve reviewed by Dellenbusch but the others were thrillers, this couldn’t be any more different. This was one of the main reasons I wanted to read this book.. I needed to see how well Thomas could turn his hand to a completely different genre, and let me tell you he didn’t let me down.

This is a very sweet tale about a woman with a past she’s running away from and a journalist with his own issues in life whose worlds collide.

It’s a tale about looking beneath the surface and not to judge a book by it’s cover.

I enjoyed the characters and how the relationship developed. It’s only 118 pages so it’s fast following but not rushed in my opinion and is perfect to read in one sitting if you have a spare couple of hours.

As much as I enjoyed the story I really thing this book is more about the author, it shows he’s able to write multiple genres and can even make someone like me enjoy a romantic story.

If you’re after a short read or something to cleanse the palate after some heavier reads then get this one, I hope you’ll enjoy it just as much as I did.

Credit to the author, I was intrigued by his characters immediately and that reason alone had me hooked.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

The Detriment by David Videcette – Review

Title – The Detriment
Author – David Videcette
Genre – Crime Thriller
Length – 358 Pages
Publication – 29th June 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

“The truth costs nothing, but a lie can cost you everything…”

June 2007: a barbaric nail bomb is planted outside a London nightclub, a spy is found dead in his garden, and a blazing Jeep is driven into Glasgow airport. Three events bound by an earth-shattering connection that should have remained buried forever.

From the author of ‘The Theseus Paradox’, the smash-hit 7/7 thriller based on true events, comes the sequel about a real-life mystery that threatens to destroy a nation. Detective Inspector Jake Flannagan must uncover how a series of astonishing events are inextricably linked, before the past closes in on him.

We all have secrets we say we’ll never tell…

What people are saying about author, David Videcette:

“Videcette has the hallmarks of being a dangerous storyteller.” – Crimesquad.com

“Combines police experience with an audacious stroke of imagination.” – Crime Fiction Lover

David Videcette is a former Scotland Yard investigator who has worked on a wealth of infamous cases, including the 7/7 London bombings. With twenty years’ policing experience, he is an expert on terrorism and organised crime. ‘

I can’t tell you the truth, but I can tell you another story…’

Review

After reading David Videcette’s debut The Theseus Paradox I knew instantly I had to buy this book. The author set the standard very high last time but definitely managed to give the reader another compelling story but also managed to develop the lead character Jake which is hard in such a fast paced thriller.

Ok so if you’ve read the previous book you’ll know about Jake. He’s a good guy and good at his job but at times he jumps before he thinks, always with the right intentions though. This is a theme explored during The Detriment where Jake gets deeper and deeper into trouble with his superiors when it seems he just can’t follow protocol… Like he’s addicted to action and can’t step back from it.

As a reader you get to see the real motivations behind Jake’s actions. He’s not trying to hurt anyone..he’s just trying to do everything in his power to help.

In this tale we learn a lot more about Jake and that for me was the best thing about this book as it makes him human and you really feel for him. He’s a tortured soul and deep down has some issues he needs to work through.

Besides the personal side of things there’s a big case to be handled based on real events. After a car bomb is found Jake’s skills are put to the test to get to the bottom of the attempted attack..is it really terror related? What are the motives?

While seeking the truth Jake uncovers some sketchy dealings within our own government which in turn just leads to more and more questions.

It’s a fast paced and engrossing tale that really leaves you contemplating the story, it won’t leave you easily.

Another thing I have to say I love about the book is the little discussion points the author suggests at the end of the tale and appendix where the facts are stated, this helps get the tale deeply ingrained with you leaving me without a shadow of a doubt I’ll buy the next book the author releases.

Jake will have a hard time coming back after the events in this books so I’m excited to see what happens next.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Somewhere in San Diego by Dennis Macaraeg – Review

Title – Somewhere in San Diego
Author – Dennis Macaraeg
Genre – Thriller
Length – 226 Pages
Publication – April 2016
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

A thriller about best friends, scientific data, hired guns and a harrowing race with a past lover to stay alive. Marine biologist Danny Maglaya must meet with his best friend and fellow scientist Blake Mason to upload the data demanded as ransom by the kidnappers of Blake’s fiancée. The task might have been simple, but every time the two scientists try to rendezvous, two contract assassins show up. With Danny and Blake’s phones hacked and each move they make monitored, the only way to survive is to outwit the men wanting to eliminate them. With an ingenious but risky solution, Danny teams up with his ex-lover to piece together secrets that only she, Danny and Blake know. A series of perilous events follows as Danny and his old flame, Valerie, race through San Diego County, solving clues about Blake’s whereabouts and about their possible future together. Will their love for each other be the catalyst for success or will the bitter pain of their breakup be a recipe for disaster?

Review

Before I get down to what I thought of the book have you read my review for Somewhere in the Shallow Sea? If not take a look.

Now while I think it works better if you read Somewhere in the Shallow Sea first it’s not 100% necessary.  Personally I would just so you can see the progression of not only the tale but also the author.

The plot follows the same sort of pattern as the previous book. Danny is a biologist who created a compound that can attract fish. While Danny and his friend Blake have been collecting data on their research Blake’s fiancée has been kidnapped.

The kidnappers want this information uploaded for all to see otherwise Blake’s fiancée dies.

So of course Danny wants to help. The only issue is he’s being hunted down by two assassins who seem to want him dead and the data destroyed.

What we get is a fast paced tale with twists and turns all the way as Danny tries to but the pieces together.

Again we have some romance for Danny, as much as I don’t like romance in my books this worked well and built up nicely so wasn’t forced on me as a reader.

What I really liked is the tale is fun and exciting and a super easy read.

Yes it’s a bit outrageous that this is the second kidnapping to involve Danny and that these assassins seem a little useless at times but that’s what give it a fun edge.

Overall for me this was an improvement on the last tale. The development worked better especially between Danny and Valarie.

If you’re looking for a fun action thriller rather than the dark gritty thriller then this is the book for you.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

My thanks go to the author for the chance to read/review their work.

Otho’s Regret by L. J. Trafford – Review

Title – Otho’s Regret
Author – L. J. Trafford
Genre – Historical Fiction
Length – 469 Pages
Publication – 24th July 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Having spectacularly grabbed the Imperial throne by way of a very bloody coup, new emperor Otho is horrified to discover that there is an emperor already in place. His name is Aulus Vitellius and he is relaxing himself in Germania whilst his two generals, the twisted Valens and the handsome but dim Caecina, march two colossal armies to Rome to claim his prize.

With negotiations between the two emperors becoming ever more entertainingly abusive, imperial secretary Epaphroditus has his work cut out trying to save Otho’s throne for him. Hopelessly outnumbered, all looks doomed until a series of unexpected victories give hope to the beleaguered secretary. With the eastern legions declared for Otho and en route to help, all they have to do is stop Valens’ and Caecina’s armies meeting.

Meanwhile, in Rome, a former palace slave, Antonia Caenis, has returned from Judaea with plans of her own…

Review

Otho’s regret is the third book in The Four Emperors series.

You can read my reviews of book one and two by clicking the links below to open a new window.

Palatine- Book 1

Galba’s Men – Book 2

So after the events of the last book Otho is now emperor. Now while he doesn’t seem to be the most natural at the role he does ooze charisma, he’s fair and likeable which people notice.. the issue is he’s not going to get much of a chance to prove himself.

Persuaded by his generals Vitellius decides he should be Emperor and they set out to take the throne by force if needs be.

Vitellius and his generals have very different reasons for their actions and the author did a great job of breathing life into each of them and developing them as much as she did. The two generals Valens and Caecina have to be my favourite additions to the series so far.

With armies on the march espionage is inevitable with both sides planting spies..the fun twist is there’s more than just two players in this tale…someone is lurking..someone has their own motivations to delay Valens and Caecina but you are kept waiting and wodering as the author builds this suspense keeping you hooked until the end.

One person who has made this series stand out for me is Philo. He’s trying to move on with his life after everything has happened to him.. he’s a little out of the loop with events in the palace but soon gets sucked back in.. he even ends up playing his part in the war that is coming. I can honestly say I don’t think I’ll ever love a character as much as Philo.

Epaphroditus surprised me this time around. I never really fell in love with him until now.. this tale shows a different edge to the character which I really enjoyed.

Trafford effortlessly manages to make the tale light-hearted and fun (especially when Sporus is around) but at the same time develops the uncertainty and fears that are brewing.. Building the suspense so much your heart pounds until everything starts to tumble-down around Otho.

I’ve had high expectations with The Four Emperors series which continues to deliver time and time again. It ticks all the right boxes for historical fiction. It’s descriptive but never too heavy, fun when needed but still deals with the serious side of events.

What Trafford has done superbly is make history fun and exciting with the perfect mix of fact and fiction. It’s books like this that keep my love of reading burning strongly, always stoking the furnace..pushing me further, raising that bar which each installment.

I can’t say I’m an expert.. I just know what I like.. and this book is a shining example of what a 5* star historical fiction book should be in my opinion.

My thanks go to Karnac Books for the uncorrected proof copy for review..This will have pride of place on my book shelf.

You can read more reviews on Goodreads and pre-order your copy of the book today on Amazon or purhcase direct from the publishers Karnac

Under the Approaching Dark by Anna Belfrage – Review

Title – Under the Approaching Dark (The King’s Greatest Enemy #3)
Author – Anna Belfrage
Genre – Historical Fiction/Historical Romance
Length – 432 Pages
Publication – 10th April 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Adam de Guirande has cause to believe the turbulent times are behind him: Hugh Despenser is dead and Edward II has been forced to abdicate in favour of his young son. It is time to look forward, to a bright new world in which the young king, guided by his council, heals his kingdom and restores its greatness. But the turmoil is far from over… After years of strife, England in the early months of 1327 is a country in need of stability, and many turn with hope towards the new young king, Edward III. But Edward is too young to rule, so instead it is his mother, Queen Isabella, and her lover, Roger Mortimer, who do the actual governing, much to the dislike of barons such as Henry of Lancaster. In the north, the Scots take advantage of the weakened state of the realm and raid with impunity. Closer to court, it is Mortimer’s increasing powers that cause concerns – both among his enemies, but also for men like Adam, who loves Mortimer dearly, but loves the young king just as much. When it is announced that Edward II has died in September of 1327, what has so far been a grumble grows into voluble protests against Mortimer. Yet again, the spectre of rebellion haunts the land, and things are further complicated by the reappearance of one of Adam’s personal enemies. Soon enough, he and his beloved wife Kit are fighting for their survival – even more so when Adam is given a task that puts them both in the gravest of dangers. Under the Approaching Dark is the third in Anna Belfrage’s series, The King’s Greatest Enemy, the story of a man torn apart by his loyalties to his lord, his king, and his wife.

Review

So we are back with Adam and Kit. I must admit I’ve missed these two. This is the third book in The King’s Greatest Enemy series, If you’ve not read the previous books you can read my reviews here –

In the Shadow of the Storm – Book 1

Days of sun and Glory – Book 2

Immediately I was struck by the cover of this book much more so than the previous two, the image and the colours used are definitely to my taste and suit the tale which is a mix of historical fiction and romance.

Hugh Despenser is dead..Finally Adam can relax! Nope.. not a chance.

King Edward II has been forced from the throne and his son Edward now rules as King Edward III. This king is young but he likes to keep those he likes close to him.. Adam included.. He’s sworn to the king and will serve him until the day he dies or is released from service.

There’s a lot of growing tension in this book. First and foremost some of the most powerful lords and businessmen don’t like the fact Mortimer and the Queen mother are acting as the king’s advisers, more so when it’s clear they are lovers even though both are still married! Add to this a brewing conflict with Scotland and a difference of opinion on how it should be handled means rebellion is on the cards.

One issue keeps bubbling to the surface..what to do with the old king? Well this is where Adam and Kit come in, I don’t want to spoil the tale at all but I really enjoyed their involvement in this part of the tale.

As the young king grows it’s clear to Adam that one day this king will not appreciate the input of the Queen mother and Mortimer but they have tasted power and it doesn’t look like they will give up control easily. He even starts to take his frustrations out on Adam during training but as the tale progresses I do feel the king learns Adam’s worth.

An old foe reappears in Kit’s life..and it spells trouble. Again I won’t spoil it but this foe drives a wedge between Adam and Kit by hitting them with a very sensitive issue indeed.

Of course Kit and Adam can get through anything..They may not make it out unscathed but as long as they have each other they will be fight and stay together. They each have their cross to bear during this tale and it can only make them stronger and more determined to be with each other and no other.

For me the book is certainly a 5* story, I won’t lie though..the romance was a little much for my personal tastes but the reason the story still warrants a 5* is because I can understand why it’s there.. the books wouldn’t be the same without it..I feel the book needs this romance and it certainly does build on the truly loving relationship and connection Adam and Kit have which brings that something extra to the tale.

For me this is the best installment in the series so far and it gives Adam more chance to shine. As much as I love Kit it’s Adam who leaves the lasting impressions on me during this books,  I loved the writing and there’s so much going on to really get you hooked in. Well worth reading.

For more information or to purchase check out Amazon or Goodreads.

Blood Moon by John David Bethel – Review

Title – Blood Moon
Author – John David Bethel
Genre – Crime Thriller
Length – 451 Pages
Publication – December 2016
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

On a hot, steamy afternoon in Miami, Cuban-American businessman Recidio Suarez is brutally beaten and abducted. Handcuffed, shackled and blindfolded, he has no idea why he has been targeted. What he discovers is heart-stopping. What he endures during almost a month of captivity compares only to the most horrendous stories of prisoners of war. He is tortured, and under the threat of death, and worse – the rape of his wife and torture of his children – Suarez is forced to hand over his multi-million dollar holdings to his captors.

Suarez survives and then spends the next few months staying one step ahead of the murderous pack. During this time, he and his lawyer, Nolan Stevens – a former Special Agent in Charge of the Miami Office of the FBI – are having difficulties convincing the Miami-Dade Police Department that a crime has been committed. Their efforts are complicated by Steven’s difficult history with the head of the MDPD Special Investigations Division, who is not interested in pursuing the case.

Review

Blood Moon is an intense thriller. Although the tale is a work of fiction it’s based on real events which made for a gripping tale as you didn’t really know which aspects were fact and which fiction.. it didn’t bother me not knowing..it just had the cogs in my mind ticking trying to imagine what it must have been like living any of the events portrayed in the book.

So the story follows Suarez who is kidnapped and forced to give everything up..his money, his house, his entire life basically. Suarez quickly works out there’s going to be no way they will let him leave alive..they want to get every last penny out of him they can and they will do anything for it.

What we get is a rather engrossing read but at times disturbing with its gruesomeness. What I really enjoyed was the reality hit you get.. the descriptiveness  of the mental and physical torture and also the lasting effects this has on Suarez, mind and body.. this really did make the story real to me.

As a reader I did feel frustrated at how no one put the pieces together, banks, friends and family etc but I think it shows the personal touch to life I feel we’ve lost over the years.. as long as something doesn’t affect them they continue along the same path. Suarez’s wife does believe her husband is in trouble but she just doesn’t know how bad things are and with her trust issues regarding the police I understood why she didn’t raise the alarm.

I must admit by the end of the book I really enjoyed the character of his wife she develops an exciting edge to her in the later stages of the tale.

There’s some really good twists in this tale that kept me hooked, after Suarez narrowly escapes death you’re invested in his recovery and you’ll find yourself exasperated with the lack of support he gets from those who should be helping him.. luckily his family and a close friend Nolan Stevens know he wouldn’t lie and help him come to terms a little with what has happened and set him on the path to get justice.

Before reading the book I sort of had ideas on how the plot would progress.. the end result was nothing like my thoughts, the events are so unexpected and dark but so riveting.  It’s that reality check moment again.. since the story is based on a real crime you sort of don’t want to love/enjoy the story as you feel a little bad but you do.. it’s certainly got some wow moments that stick with you.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

Scent of Death by Jonathan Ross – Review 

Title – Scent of Death
Author – Jonathan Ross
Genre – Thriller
Length – 310 Pages
Publication – 15th June 2017
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

James Goodwin uses his olfactory equivalent of perfect pitch to sniff out people’s emotions, from love to malice. He earns a handy living by uncovering corporate cheats, but he’s growing bored. When billionaire Garth Cotton asks him to cook up the world’s first love potion, James first smells a grand challenge, and accepts. But once on the high seas in Cotton’s mega-yacht, James smells treachery. He sniffs out secrets that land him and Cotton’s dazzling assistant, Samantha Heartgrave, on a timeline to death. To save himself and Samantha, James must exercise his gift of smell in ways he never dreamed possible.

Review

Scent of Death was a rather riveting read. I really enjoyed the plot and that the main character uses his gift of smell to earn a living.

James is bored of the same old work and is looking to challenge himself. When he’s offered the chance to help create the first true love potion he jumps at the chance without any thought.

What happens next is that impulsive decision comes back to haunt him. Garth Cotton isn’t all he seems.

James has been brought in solely to help make the love potion that has already been created smell appealing, in its current form no one would buy it, so from the off he clashes with the scientist who created the scent who resents James’s presence and involvement.

We also meet Samantha who James can’t figure out.. she’s a tough cookie to crack even for James.

Over time James comes to the conclusion he’s not going to get out of this alive but he doesn’t get much chance to get away.

It’s a fast paced tale which has an exciting, action packed ending.

What this author certainly does well is write the high octane story. It’s the spy action thriller without the spy.. you get average Joe Bloggs..well average as in not trained with weapons etc.

Overall its well written easy read, nice characters with fast but decent development with an unexpected but really enjoyable plot that is very intriguing indeed.

Here’s the blog exclusive, I reviewed for this author last year – The Jumbee’s Daughter. Now I enjoyed the tale but I thought things progressed a little fast at times. This story just felt better, the plot tighter. Yes there’s still a couple of times I felt things moved a bit fast for my taste but this book was much more my cup of tea, the development was just better. There was nothing wrong with the previous book but overall this book just ticked more boxes for me.

One thing I always try to do is support authors. While I received a free copy of the book for review I really enjoyed what to me is development from the author so I was very happy to purchase a copy myself today to celebrate the release.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.