Category Archives: Book Reviews

Renegade (A Ryker Returns Thriller Book 1) by Rob Sinclair – Review

Today I’m reviewing Renegade by Rob Sinclair. It also happens to be publication day!!!

Let’s ger started!

Here is the blurb –

He’s back and better than ever.

James Ryker, a veteran intelligence agent now freelancer, working for the secretive Joint Intelligence agency on an op-by-op basis, finds himself embroiled in a complicated mission that will test him to his limit.

When a simple surveillance mission goes awry and the key target is kidnapped in broad daylight in a busy London square, Ryker knows he has his work cut out.

Ryker is tasked with figuring out what went wrong. But when his good friend Sam Moreno disappears without a trace, the mission becomes more personal than he could have imagined.

Torn between toeing the government line, and finding the answers he needs, Ryker realises there’s only one way to find those responsible and to punish them… His way.

Genre – Spy Thriller

Review

Where to start! God it feels good to have Ryker back. Fans of the author will know the roots of James Ryker, an intelligence agent whose had more than his fair share of trauma in his life… but guys like Ryker only give up when their dead.

The story starts on what seems like a simple mission for Ryker but nothing ever goes simple does it? A surveillance mission turns to kidnap..and worse.. but why?

To ramp up the pressure Ryker is also feeling watched…paranoid.. but so should trust your gut sometimes…or is he just getting too old for the game? and there’s not just bad guys to watch for now…he’s on home soil.. everyone has a camera these days.

Ryker goes out on the limb to find out who is behind the kidnapping and why, and the JIA who he works for aren’t the only ones looking to track him down after he kind of goes rogue, MI5, MI6 you name it..he’s pissed them off some how.

To top off the pressure a close acquaintance of Ryker’s goes missing. This friend has a strong connection to Ryker.. let’s be fair, not many can call Ryker a friend and stay alive for long.

The connections explode in this action packed story as Ryker painstakingly puts the pieces together. It’s gruesome and awesome at the same time..

It’s another cracking read in the life of James Ryker by the author who is a wizard with the wordplay, the flow is so bloody good I found myself reading at midnight, hours had gone by without me noticing.

Renegade can certainly be read is a standalone if you are new to the author and it’s credit where credits due to the author on that, his plot lines are so easy to follow it’s effortless to jump in whilst at the same time have such riveting action that you can’t help but get hooked and see the time and attention the author has clearly put into the story.

For me it was great to be back with Ryker but the addition of Moreno blew my mind, I honestly didn’t think we would see her again and what a comeback!

The writing is a pure joy to read and I love how I drifted off reminiscing about other Ryker adventures along the way!

It’s a brilliant return of an established character, fans will love it.. quite honestly everyone will love it.

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

BLOG TOUR – Double Identity by Alison Morton

Today is my turn on the blog tour for Double Identity by Alison Morton.

Let’s ger started!

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Thriller

Deeply in love, a chic Parisian lifestyle before her. Now she’s facing prison for murder.

It’s three days since Mel des Pittones threw in her job as an intelligence analyst with the French special forces to marry financial trader Gérard Rohlbert. But her dream turns to nightmare when she wakes to find him dead in bed beside her.

Her horror deepens when she’s accused of his murder. Met Police detective Jeff McCracken wants to pin Gérard’s death on her. Mel must track down the real killer, even if that means being forced to work with the obnoxious McCracken.

But as she unpicks her fiancé’s past, she discovers his shocking secret life. To get to the truth, she has to go undercover and finds almost everybody around her is hiding a second self.

Mel can trust nobody. Can she uncover the real killer before they stop her?

Review

Double Identify follows Mel in the aftermath of her fiancé’s death.  What at first seems a tragedy suddenly becomes a nightmare as foul play is detected.

Mel is considered suspect number one so sets about discovering the truth and in turn clear her name.

It soon becomes very clear Mel had no part in this and subsequently her skills and expertise as former military are soon noted and she drafted in to put an end to this case once and for all but doing so puts her in serious danger.

In a shocking twist an emotional event nearly pushes Mel over the edge, and she has to use all her strength to keep it together.

Something I’ve always enjoyed about the authors work is the use of strong female leads and boy does Mel pack a punch! There’s more than one bruised male ego in this tale..

Characters wise I really enjoyed the ensemble, each played their part and were all very likable.. even the bad guys!

I bang on about flow a lot in my reviews and Alison Morton knows how I like my books. Clear easy flowing chapters enabled me to devour this one.

For me it just worked, just the right amount of twists to keep you engaged, just the right amount of characters to not overwhelm you and detailed enough to allow you to fall in love the characters and their development.

Another cracking read from Alison Morton!

Even though the author has moved away from her previous Roma Nova series with this one you have that same feel for the characters and I instantly felt at home.

5/5 Stars

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

My thanks go the author, publisher and Emma @ damppebbles blog tours for helping arrange the blog tour.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review but will certainly be adding this to my collection 🙂 .

About Alison Morton:

Alison Morton writes award-winning thrillers series featuring tough, but compassionate heroines. She blends her deep love of France with six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, historical, adventure and thriller fiction. On the way, she collected a BA in modern languages and an MA in history.

Grips like a vice – a writer to watch out for” says crime thriller writer Adrian Magson about Roma Nova series starter INCEPTIO. All six full-length Roma Nova thrillers have won the BRAG Medallion, the prestigious award for indie fiction. SUCCESSIO, AURELIA and INSURRECTIO were selected as Historical Novel Society’s Indie Editor’s Choices.  AURELIA was a finalist in the 2016 HNS Indie Award. The Bookseller selected SUCCESSIO as Editor’s Choice in its inaugural indie review.

Now Alison continues to write thrillers and drink wine in France with her husband.

Other works

The Carina strand
INCEPTIO where New Yorker Karen Brown is thrown into a new life in mysterious Roma Nova and fights to stay alive with a killer hunting her
CARINA, a novella, Carina’s first mission abroad. What could go wrong?
PERFIDITAS, six years on, where betrayal and rebellion are in the air, threatening to topple Roma Nova and ruin Carina’s life.
SUCCESSIO, where a mistake from the past threatens to destroy the next generation.

The Aurelia strand
AURELIA, in late 1960s Roma Nova, Aurelia Mitela battles her life-long nemesis, silver smuggling and is forced to choose between her love, her child and her country
NEXUS Mid 1970s, London, where a simple favour for a friend becomes a chilling pursuit across Europe
INSURRECTIO, where Aurelia Mitela struggles against a manipulative tyrant grabbing power. But it may already be too late to save Roma Nova…
RETALIO, a classic tale of resistance and retribution – the endgame between Aurelia and Caius

Extras
ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories from AD 370 to the present

Contributions
‘A Roman Intervenes‘ in 1066 Turned Upside Down
How Galla Mitela, Roma Novan imperial councillor, attempts to stop the Norman invasion of England. One of a series of possible alternative outcomes of 1066.

‘The Mystery of Victory’ in Rubicon (HWA/Sharpe Books)
What did happen to the Altar of Victory in the dusk of the Roman Empire?

‘The Idealist’ in Betrayal (Historical Fictioneers, 2020)

Non Fiction
Military or civilians? The curious anomaly of the German Women’s Auxiliary Services during the Second World War.

The 500 Word Writing Buddy: 35 Inner Secrets for the New Writer

Social Media:

Connect with Alison on her Roma Nova site: https://alison-morton.com

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

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

Alison’s writing blog: https://alisonmortonauthor.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/alisonmortonauthor/

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5783095.Alison_Morton
Alison’s Amazon page: http://Author.to/AlisonMortonAmazon

Newsletter sign-up: http://eepurl.com/ckNeFL

BLOG TOUR! – Yearn to Fear by Chas Murrell

Today is my turn on the blog tour for Yearn to Fear by Chas Murrell.

Let’s ger started!

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Spy Thriller

The greatest scientific invention of modern times…
Capable of curing humanity…
But more adept at controlling it…

Sydney scientist, Marcus Hall, is developing a radical 5G Wi-Fi receiver for CSIRO. With access to secretive Lamarr computer chips – this technology promises billions to repair Australia’s ravaged economy. On a caffeine boosted whim, he inadvertently discovers a therapeutic breakthrough in neuroscience. Or so he thinks…
His seemingly trustworthy lab partner, Henry, is an unlikely Australian spy. His official duty is keeping tabs on the project and their Lamarr chips. But the whole project is now classified top-secret.
Marcus remains blissfully unaware of the many secrets surrounding him, until he witnesses the graphic murder of a colleague. Could this event reveal Henry as a master deceiver and ruthless double agent? Will the scientific discovery be fatal for Marcus, those he loves, and the one he yearns for? Marcus faces a soul tearing dilemma: is the only means of stopping the carnage to weaponise his prototype?
Foreign intelligence agencies realise the top-secret breakthrough is priceless. One particular spy leads the race to seize the invention. A psychological master of the long game, espionage, and extortion, his only rule according to Kung Fu: Win.
Friend and foe alike confront this psychotic mastermind. All will FEAR him, but is their FEAR real? Only the next six minutes will tell… 

Review

While working on a 5G Wifi receiver Marcus stumbles upon another use for the technology, the frequency produced by the chips allows the listener to fall asleep peacefully, and to have the most amazing dreams.

What he and those closest to him soon discover the possibility the chips could produce other emotions within the listener, which is where the title of the book comes in. The invention at first is all about love, and explores the physical act but also the raw emotional connection you can have with friends and family…things start to unravel when they consider other emotions such as fear.

The fear factor is ramped up as the spy angle on the story kicks in. Not everyone in the company is working for the good guys and this seemingly harmless invention soon leads to the first murder.

One thing I really enjoyed is the book is set in a period after COVID19, but COVID is referenced, it’s impact and the need to look into new technologies.

The book is heavily plot driven and the characters very emotional due to the connection with the invention..it has the ability to increase those emotions already within you.

The writing style flows well but there is some very interesting chats regarding how the invention works within the ear and brain for those who like a bit of background to go with their plot.

Once the spy stuff really kicked in the book dailed up a notch and as there’s more to come I’m eager to see where things go and how the character development will progress.

4/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or on Amazon!

My thanks go the author, publisher and Emma @ damppebbles blog tours for helping arrange the blog tour.

I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

About Chas Murrell:

Chas Murrell has been a Police Officer, Senior Fire Commander, Customs Coastwatch surveillance mission co-ordinator, heavy machinery mechanic, emergency medical technician/ instructor, film extra, and General Manager of an event company. He has published academic papers on liquid hydrogen and held a worldwide provisional patent for a nonlinear mathematical calculation. He survived Australia’s largest gas BLEVE in 1987, and has provided operational support to some of Australia’s largest natural disasters in North Queensland.

On a personal level he has suffered from relentless and debilitating migraines all his life, is father to four and pop to two. He and his artistically entrepreneurial wife live in Tasmania, which looks very much like Scotland and they wouldn’t have it any other way. A direct descendant of Robert the Bruce (King of Scots), history runs deep in Chas’s veins, along with a profound knowledge of both World Wars. You may even come across him online playing World of Tanks.

In his Australian spy thriller books you will get to know Chas’s knowledge of technology, intrigue, crime, espionage, weaponry, banter, romance and even whisky… yet above all, there is believability and no loose ends.

Social Media:

Website: https://www.chasmurrell.com.au/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Chas-Murrell-Author

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/murrellchas

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/chasmurrellauthor/

BLOG TOUR – Masters of Rome by Gordon Doherty and Simon Turney

Today is my turn on the blog tour for Masters of Rome, book 2 in the Rise of Emperors series by Gordon Doherty and Simon Turney.

Let’s ger started!

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction

As competition for the imperial throne intensifies, Constantine and Maxentius realise their childhood friendship cannot last. Each man struggles to control their respective quadrant of empire, battered by currents of politics, religion and personal tragedy, threatened by barbarian forces and enemies within.

With their positions becoming at once stronger and more troubled, the strained threads of their friendship begin to unravel. Unfortunate words and misunderstandings finally sever their ties, leaving them as bitter opponents in the greatest game of all, with the throne of Rome the prize.

It is a matter that can only be settled by outright war…

Review

When last we were with Constantine and Maxentius their friendship was fractured, their childhood connection  and long standing respect hanging by a thread as they both struggle to gain power within the empire.

War is coming.. but neither side want to admit it or is ready to make the first move.

Doherty and Turney cowrite perfectly, each depicting the role of an emperor and the struggles they faced… money, religion, love, betrayal, murder.. its all there!

I’ve been a big fan of both authors since I caught the reading bug and Masters of Rome didn’t disappoint, it’s a real talent to make history come alive, to add passion..and the knowledge and talent of both authors shines through.

For the action fans there’s some brilliantly depicted military actions on Constantine’s part that I just loved..things could have turned out very differently.

The story really helped me as a reader see the fragility of those in power.. sometimes there is no right decision.. someone will always be unhappy.. but as Maxentius learns the hard way you can only run away from your troubles for so long, sooner or later it will come back to bite you in the arse and towards the end of the book you see the wolves biting at his heals leading to one of the worst decisions he could ever make.

The most interesting bit for me was the advisors both Constantine and Maxentius took guidance from.. They were so heavily relied upon and actually had more power/control than the emperors themselves really.. the trust they had in these individuals must have put a major strain on the relationship.

Both emperors suffer from grief, leading to some rash actions but you could really feel how the events could have played out this way. Mental health is a massive topic these days.. I can’t imagine the mental health of these rulers was all that good to be honest, you really feel for them. I don’t think either really wanted war.. but they are left with little option in order to take the power they truly believe is theirs.

For someone like me who loves the period but doesn’t know a lot of the history it’s great to have it come to life so majestically and what I always appreciate even more is the author notes which clarify where they may have deviated from facts, or made assumptions as there are things we just will never know for sure.. I think that’s why I love the genre.. there’s scope to weave a wonderful tale into history as we know it.

Wonderfully written, powerful, raw emotion. Simply WOW!

Looking forward to the next instalment in the series.

My thanks go to Netgalley and the publisher for a review copy. I’ve purchased a copy myself too.. Had it pre-ordered.. I just couldn’t say no to being able to read the book early 😊

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!


About the authors

Simon Turney is the author of the Marius’ Mules and Praetorian series, as well as The Damned Emperor series for Orion and Tales of the Empire series for Canelo. He is based in Yorkshire.

Follow Simon

Twitter: @SJATurney

Instagram: @simonturney_aka_sjaturney

Website: http://simonturney.com/

Gordon Doherty is the author of the Legionary and Strategos series, and wrote the Assassin’s Creed tie-in novel Odyssey. He is based in Scotland.

Follow Gordon

Twitter: @GordonDoherty

Instagram: @gordon.doherty

Website: https://www.gordondoherty.co.uk/


Follow Aries

Twitter: @AriesFiction

Facebook: Aries Fiction

Website: http://www.headofzeus.com

BLOG TOUR – One Night in Beartown by Nick Jones!

Today I’m taking part in the blog tour for One Night in Beartown by Nick Jones!

The extra special news is this is also the first review my two daughters have played a part in writing 😊

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Children’s Fiction

From the award-winning duo that brought you Sarah’s Shadow comes another magical adventure…

When bear-mad schoolgirl Sandy Lane has her beloved teddy bear Berisford confiscated at school, she dreads the thought of going a whole night without his cuddles.

Little does she know that a bear-rilliant night awaits her, involving Berisford, a bear statue and many other wonderful friends!

Review

One Night in Beartown is the tale of Sandy, a little girl who loves bears. One bear in particular.. her teddybear Berisford.

At school a mean little boy makes fun of Sandy and the commotion leads to the teacher confiscating Berisford!

Sandy is heartbroken at the thought of not being with her bear but little does she know the amazing night she’s about to have.

Beartown has some magic about it and on very special occasions this magic helps all the teddy bears and bear statues in town come to life.. for one night only!

Berisford makes his way to Sandy and together they have a night that she will never forget and neither will the mean boy!

What my girls enjoyed about the book were first and foremost the illustrations by Si Clark. I loved the style and so did the girls. The cover certainly grabs your attention.

When asked about the plot my girls loved how in the end Sandy is happy, so even though her favourite teddy was taken away things were ok. Oh and the mean boy learns it’s not nice to be mean to someone!

For me the story was a nice easy read. My two are 6 years old and like to read themselves and there was no major stumbling blocks with the use of language for them.

The overall message of the book was nice, ignore bullies, it’s ok to be without those you love, things will be ok.. and hey who doesn’t want to believe in a little magic. It’s what you need as a kid.

Length wise the story was the perfect read to settle down at night, not too long but more than enough to keep the girls interested.

When asked if the girls would read it again it was a resounding yes!

5/5 Stars!

My thanks go to the author, the publisher and Rachel’s Random Resources for having me on the blog tour and for allowing my children to have a review copy of the book!

To find out more head to Goodreads, Amazon, Full Media or Nick Jones Author.co.uk-

Author Bio –

I’m Nick Jones, an award-winning author originally from Bristol but now living in Congleton, Cheshire. I write books for kids and I’ve also written several joke books for adults. My first book, Gagged and Bound – A Book of Puns, One-liners and Dad Jokes, was a best-seller under Puns and Wordplay on Amazon UK, and two sequels soon followed. You can download a FREE collection of my jokes here.

In December 2017, I tried something different: a children’s picture book about a girl who loses her shadow. Illustrated by the super-talented Si Clark, Sarah’s Shadow has proved popular with kids and parents alike. In 2018 it won Best Children’s Picture Book in the 2018 Book Awards on international book review site Readers’ Favorite. My claim to fame is that the same award was previously won by none other than Jim Carrey, the Hollywood actor-cum-children’s author! Sarah’s Shadow also won Runner-Up in the Book Excellence Awards and received a Purple Dragonfly Book Award as one of the best picture ebooks for children aged 6+.

In 2020 I ran a Kickstarter campaign during lockdown to fund my next book, One Night in Beartown. It was inspired by the Bearmania event that took place in 2011. Thanks to amazing support from businesses and individuals in Congleton and beyond, I raised £4,000 to illustrate and print the book. It was published on 1 December and you can buy it on my online shop, on my publisher’s website or as an ebook on Amazon. For updates, please follow me on social media or subscribe to my newsletter!

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/nickjonesauthor

https://www.facebook.com/NickJonesAuthor

https://www.instagram.com/nickjones_author/

The Forbidden Zone by Tom Trott

Today I’m going to be reviewing The Forbidden Zone by Tom Trott.

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Supernatural/Paranormal Suspense

Every summer camp has its campfire stories, and that’s all they are: stories. But not here.

On the surface, Boys Club Camp is just like every other British summer camp: strict officers, woodland games, and night-time pranks. But Tommy remembers that summer in ’97, the year he turned thirteen, when he was the only one plagued with those little niggling questions: Why does the sound of howling cut through the cold night air? Why are the officers so obsessed with the legacy of Boys Club’s long-dead founder? Why aren’t boys allowed in the east woods?

A scream heard in the night led Tommy and his friends on a journey of discovery, to solve a mystery a hundred years in the making: what is the real purpose of Boys Club? The answer could only be found in the dark heart of the woods: the Forbidden Zone. Now an adult, Tommy needs to understand what they found there. It is his last hope of saving their lives.

Review

The Forbidden Zoneis the retelling of events that transpired when Tommy attended Boys Club Camp in 97.

Things start as you’d expect as the boy’s setup camp, dig trenches and such. We get to know the boys and the officers a little better.

Tommy been coming to camp for a while now and he’s kind of outgrown it. I actually quite liked Tommy. He knows where his strengths and weaknesses are and from my own experience as a boy scout the author showed how difficult it can be for a young boy in an environment when you need to show physical skill when your talents lay elsewhere. It’s hard to feel like one of the group at times.

Side note, I still remember my first day at camp.. slipping on a cow pat as soon as I got off the bus…not my finest moment I must say.

I loved how the author described the different camp events such as tent inspection which I recall myself very well and the frustration your tent mates would have if you let the side down. All  these little events add some depth to the character of Tommy, you like him and things progress fairly ok for him, at times it actually seems like this year is going to be his best yet, but that vibe never leaves you.. it’s the suspense as you know at any moment something has to happen right?

Well the title says it all. The Forbidden Zone is an area near camp out of bounds to the boys but there’s some troubling events connected to the area that are quite unexplainable at first.

It’s all about the build-up here as Tommy discusses his worries with his friends at camp and they agree to keep an eye on things. Things start to get creepy to say the least, officers are taken ill, friends start to act strange, and this is where things really get interesting as the author adds the supernatural edge to the tale.

Character development and plot flowed nicely together. When you look back you can see just how much time is given to the character development and it pays off as you feel a kind of personal connection with the boys. Tommy wants you to learn how he became the man he is.

I really don’t want to spoil the ending at all but its rather good I must admit. The history of Boys Club merges with the present and causes one hell of a headache for Tommy that he will never forget…Well he might forget..as the supernatural events progress there’s every chance Tommy may loose himself..it’s a rather confusing mad dash for the Tommy at the end, and you feel this confusion with him..who can be trusted? And what can he do to stop this evil from ever hurting anyone else?

I very much recommend the book, but maybe not if you are planning to go camping..

4/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or on Amazon!

My thanks go to the author for supplying a review copy, I’m glad to say I purchased my own also. I pride myself on doing fair honest reviews and I put my money where my mouth is 🙂

Publication Day for Preserved by Fiona Sherlock

Today to celebrate the release of Preserved by Fiona Sherlock I’m going to be giving it my blog treatment. I do hope you enjoy the review!

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Crime Thriller

She’s stuck in the past, the killer wants to immortalise his future. When a local farmer announces on social media that he has discovered a bog body in Ardee, the world’s historians are keen to explore the secrets of the life and grisly death of the victim. Antique journalist January Quail is fighting to keep her newspaper job and uncovers far more than she bargained for.

The victim is actually a recent murder, and January uses her nose for the truth to investigate the County Louth town. From shopkeeper to the publican, everyone is a suspect, but when the Gardai can’t find the killer, can January?

Once she sets down the liqueur glass, January gains the confidence of the lead garda investigator. Within days, the case unravels into a much more dangerous situation with a killer on the loose.

Despite the risk, January is electrified that this newest discovery has come at the perfect time to inject some colour into her flailing career. January relinquishes her old ways to fight for survival, abandoning her antiques column and vintage corsets to solve a cryptic crime that has the experts puzzled. This woman who longs to lives in the past must now fight for her life in the present.

Review

January Quail is a difficult character to read, she holds the cards close to her chest. There’s family pain hidden deep and her life seems to have stagnated a little. She’s good at her job as a reporter but she’s not really going anywhere.. she’s not pushing herself…she needs something to get her teeth into.

Luckily for her the perfect story develops. A bog body has been found, bodies like this can have real historical significance and she’s the best reporter for the job since this wouldn’t be the first bog body she’s handled.

Very quickly it turns out the body has been misidentified as a bog body… it’s a recent murder.. and the killer is out there.

January sets out to learn what she can and quickly deduces this case is a right mess, things don’t add up.. Why did the killer put so much effort into how the body was preserved? Because they wanted it found, but why?

While on the case January is under pressure from Alf, her current boss at the paper. Some compromising photos of a well-known individual were sent to the paper.. he wants a story but January just isnt the one to be told what to do.. she’s got her own style of getting the job done.

The pressure increases as a second body is found, are the two bodies linked? And if so how?

There are more twists thrown in regarding the first body as the life of this victim unfolds before you.. and it’s not a fun life..

The conclusion of the story wraps the pieces up nicely but January won’t be the same after this, the events have changed her physically and mentally.

Character wise I like January, she’s a tough egg and can stand on her own two feet.. but you know there’s emotions hidden.. she’s just not ready to face her past.

There’s quite an ensemble of characters we meet along the way, each are written well, you can clearly recall them in your head, their professions, their outward personas. The development of each of the characters flowed well which helped keep the final identify of the killer unknown right until the end for me.

A very enjoyable thriller 🙂

4/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

My thanks go to the author and Rachel from Rachels Random Resources for letting me celebrate publication day with day!

Author Bio –

Fiona Sherlock is a crime writer from Bective, in Ireland. Her murder mystery games are played across the world.  She also writes poetry and prose but cannot stay away from a good murder.  After spending a decade in Dublin working in public relations and journalism, she moved to the country for mid-day fires and elderflower champagne.

Social Media Links –

http://instagram.com/fionasherlock

https://www.facebook.com/DionysisDiary

https://twitter.com/fionasherlock

Spear Havoc: 1066 – Alternative Histories by C.R. May – Review

Today I’m going to be reviewing Spear Havoc: 1066 – Alternative Histories by C.R. May.

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction/Alternative History

The year 1066 is arguably the most famous in English history. Assailed on all sides, King Harold and his doughty army finally fall to a last gasp Norman assault.

It is perhaps the very first of those fights against the odds which have entered the national psyche, of which Agincourt, Rorke’s Drift and Dunkirk are but a few.

But what if Harold Godwinson had prevailed on that blood soaked ridge? Or the invasions of Harald of Norway and William of Normandy had never taken place at all?

Here, bestselling author C.R.May presents twelve short stories, each outlining widely differing ways which could easily — and in some cases should have — produced an entirely different timeline, alternative futures which would have had a dramatic effect on the world in which we live today.

Review

I’m a big fan of “What if” when it comes to history. One little event could have changed the course of history forever and that fascinates me.

What C.R. May delivers is a collection of short stories based around the events of 1066 in which the author shows his talent as a storyteller but also how knowledgeable of the period he is.

The accounts are very detailed when it comes to names and places. The events themselves are plausible and I loved the arguments/evidence put forward with each to help you see yourself how real these events could have been.

It’s a quite fun read if you enjoy the subject, I know I do, but any fan of history or alternative history would certainly enjoy this.

I’m definitely a fan of the author, his style is very much “detail”, you are going to get sucked into the vivid detail of each event and for me they just got better as the book progressed, each adding it’s own wow factor.

Another plus for me is the chapter length and flow, it’s perfect for someone like me who has a short lunch break at work and needs a reading fix, and the author commentary after each tale helps keep things fresh and intriguing.

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

Stocking the bookshelves – Feb/March

One of my aims for 2021 was to plan my reading a bit more than I used to so I thought it would be good to share what you can expect from David’s Book Blurg over the next 2 month!

Do any of these take your fancy? What are you reading? Let me know!

Spear Havoc: 1066 – Alternative Histories by C. R. May

The year 1066 is arguably the most famous in English history. Assailed on all sides, King Harold and his doughty army finally fall to a last gasp Norman assault.

It is perhaps the very first of those fights against the odds which have entered the national psyche, of which Agincourt, Rorke’s Drift and Dunkirk are but a few.

But what if Harold Godwinson had prevailed on that blood soaked ridge? Or the invasions of Harald of Norway and William of Normandy had never taken place at all?

Here, bestselling author C.R.May presents twelve short stories, each outlining widely differing ways which could easily — and in some cases should have — produced an entirely different timeline, alternative futures which would have had a dramatic effect on the world in which we live today.

I’ve been wanting to read this one for ages, and I’m glad to say I finished it last week so look out for my review soon!


Gangsta Granny by David Walliams

Our hero Ben is bored beyond belief after he is made to stay at his grandma’s house. She’s the boringest grandma ever: all she wants to do is to play Scrabble, and eat cabbage soup. But there are two things Ben doesn’t know about his grandma.

1) She was once an international jewel thief.

2) All her life, she has been plotting to steal the Crown Jewels, and now she needs Ben’s help…

This year my girls turn 7 and have started to take more of an interest in reading, I want my blog to be a true reflection of my reading so thought it would be fun to record any children’s books to that we read together.


The Forbidden Zone by Tom Trott

Every summer camp has its campfire stories, and that’s all they are: stories. But not here.

On the surface, Boys Club Camp is just like every other British summer camp: strict officers, woodland games, and night-time pranks.

But Tommy remembers that summer in ’97, the year he turned thirteen, when he was the only one plagued with those little niggling questions: Why does the sound of howling cut through the cold night air? Why are the officers so obsessed with the legacy of Boys Club’s long-dead founder? Why aren’t boys allowed in the east woods?

A scream heard in the night led Tommy and his friends on a journey of discovery, to solve a mystery a hundred years in the making: what is the real purpose of Boys Club? The answer could only be found in the dark heart of the woods: the Forbidden Zone.

Now an adult, Tommy needs to understand what they found there. It is his last hope of saving their lives

This one just jumped out at me, as a young lad I spent time at camp myself and never really liked it.. Will this bring back bad memories? Ha


One Night in Beartown by Nick Jones, Si Clark (Illustrator)

When bear-mad schoolgirl Sandy Lane has her beloved teddy bear Berisford confiscated at school, she dreads the thought of going a whole night without his cuddles. Little does she know that a bear-rilliant night awaits her, involving Berisford, a bear statue and many other wonderful friends!

Another one for the kiddos and me. G especially loves bears! Will she love Beartown?


Preserved by Fiona Sherlock

When a local farmer announces on social media that he has discovered a bog body in Ardee, the world’s historians are keen to explore the secrets of the life and grisly death of the victim.

Antique journalist January Quail is fighting to keep her newspaper job and uncovers far more than she bargained for. The victim is actually a recent murder, and January uses her nose for the truth to investigate the County Louth town. From shopkeeper to the publican, everyone is a suspect, but when the Gardai can’t find the killer, can January?

Once she sets down the liqueur glass, January gains the confidence of the lead garda investigator. Within days, the case unravels into a much more dangerous situation with a killer on the loose.

Despite the risk, January is electrified that this newest discovery has come at the perfect time to inject some colour into her flailing career. January relinquishes her old ways to fight for survival, abandoning her antiques column and vintage corsets to solve a cryptic crime that has the experts puzzled. This woman who longs to lives in the past must now fight for her life in the present.

This one had me at bog body..I already need to find out what happened!


Masters of Rome (Rise of Emperors Book 2) by Simon Turney & Gordon Doherty

As competition for the imperial throne intensifies, Constantine and Maxentius realise their childhood friendship cannot last. Each man struggles to control their respective quadrant of empire, battered by currents of politics, religion and personal tragedy, threatened by barbarian forces and enemies within.

With their positions becoming at once stronger and more troubled, the strained threads of their friendship begin to unravel. Unfortunate words and misunderstandings finally sever their ties, leaving them as bitter opponents in the greatest game of all, with the throne of Rome the prize.

It is a matter that can only be settled by outright war…

To say I’m a fan of Turney and Doherty would be an understatement! I can’t wait to get to grips with this installment!


Yearn to Fear by Chas Murrell

Sydney scientist, Marcus Hall, is developing a radical 5G Wi-Fi receiver for CSIRO. With access to secretive Lamarr computer chips – this technology promises billions to repair Australia’s ravaged economy. On a caffeine boosted whim, he inadvertently discovers a therapeutic breakthrough in neuroscience. Or so he thinks…
His seemingly trustworthy lab partner, Henry, is an unlikely Australian spy. His official duty is keeping tabs on the project and their Lamarr chips. But the whole project is now classified top-secret.
Marcus remains blissfully unaware of the many secrets surrounding him, until he witnesses the graphic murder of a colleague. Could this event reveal Henry as a master deceiver and ruthless double agent? Will the scientific discovery be fatal for Marcus, those he loves, and the one he yearns for? Marcus faces a soul tearing dilemma: is the only means of stopping the carnage to weaponise his prototype?
Foreign intelligence agencies realise the top-secret breakthrough is priceless. One particular spy leads the race to seize the invention. A psychological master of the long game, espionage, and extortion, his only rule according to Kung Fu: Win.
Friend and foe alike confront this psychotic mastermind. All will FEAR him, but is their FEAR real? Only the next six minutes will tell…

This one just seemed interesting and fresh, I tend to stick mainly with historical fiction novels and this one seemed quite suitable for a change of pace.


Double Identity by Alison Morton

Deeply in love, a chic Parisian lifestyle before her. Now she’s facing prison for murder.

It’s three days since Mel des Pittones threw in her job as an intelligence analyst with the French special forces to marry financial trader Gérard Rohlbert. But her dream turns to nightmare when she wakes to find him dead in bed beside her.

Her horror deepens when she’s accused of his murder. Met Police detective Jeff McCracken wants to pin Gérard’s death on her. Mel must track down the real killer, even if that means being forced to work with the obnoxious McCracken.

But as she unpicks her fiancé’s past, she discovers his shocking secret life. To get to the truth, she has to go undercover—and finds almost everybody around her is hiding a second self.

Mel can trust nobody. Can she uncover the real killer before they stop her?

I’m a big fan of Alison Morton, this is a move away from her established work so I’m exciting to see if this will live up to the high standards set, I know it will 😊


Blog Tour – Family by Owen Mullen

Today I’m taking part in my first blog tour of the year! I’m going to be reviewing Family by Owen Mullen.

I’m a big fan of the author so jumped at the chance to get involved!

Here is the blurb –

Family – might be the death of you…

The Glass family business is crime, and they’re good at what they do. Vengeance took Luke Glass behind bars – but now he’s free and he’s never going back. Luke wants out of the gangster life – all he has to do is convince his family to let him go.

His brother holds the reins of the South London underworld in his brutal hands – nobody tells Danny Glass no and expects to live – not even DCI Oliver Stanford, bent copper and one of the Met’s rising stars. The way Danny sees it, his younger brother and sister Nina owe him everything. The price he demands is loyalty, and a war with their arch enemy gives him the leverage he needs to tie Luke to the family once more.

Luke can’t see a way out, until Danny commits a crime so terrible it can’t be forgiven. Love turns to hate when secrets are unearthed which pit brother against brother. Left with no choice but to choose a side, Nina holds the fate of the family in her hands.

In the Glass family, Owen Mullen has created a crime dynasty to rival the Richardsons and the Krays. Heart-pounding, jaw-dropping with non-stop action, Family is perfect for fans of Martina Cole, Kimberley Chambers and Mandasue Heller.

Review

Family is the tale of Danny, Luke and Nina Glass. As young children they were forced to fend for themselves and turned to the life of crime… Danny found he quite enjoyed the gangster life and has built up quite an empire with the support of his sister Nina.

Nina is less brash than her brother but is certainly a Glass through and through. She may look good but those teeth are sharp!

Luke on the other hand is a little different. He’s been in prison for the murder of Albert Anderson a rival who dared to go a step too far. He’s always followed his bothers lead but it’s time for that to change.

Each family member has their own agenda and their bond will be tested..it’s not a matter of will the bond break.. but when … and who will be standing at the end.

As Luke is finally released from prison after serving his time it’s a new life he’s after.. but Danny won’t let his brother go that easily and wants to bring him back into the fold.

Times a healer they say…but no one forgets..soon events force Luke back into a world he no longer wants to be part of. An adversary is out for payback.

Matters escalate quickly with a rival gang out for blood and Danny doesn’t give an inch. The hard-hitting plot just keeps serving as the brutality level is ramped up to the max when Danny plans to put an end to things… in the most gruesome and flashy way he can, even if this means harming innocent bystanders. It’s all one big show to Danny.

Luke’s whole world comes crashing down as events spiral, secrets are revealed and the bone chilling reality hits home.. but don’t forget.. Luke is a Glass! It won’t be over until there’s a bullet in his head.

Owen Mullen is quite the wordsmith, it’s brutal and vivid. Lets be fair we all know a gangsters favourite method of getting rid of someone involves a little bit of torture. These scenes weren’t overdone, they added to Danny’s character and his meltdown.. he’s a loose cannon from the start.

Luke’s character develops very well, but what makes it hit the high note is how the author manages to makes his feelings come alive.. you feel that adrenaline rush with Luke..every heart pounding moment you live it with him.

Overall a very enjoyable read. Yeh it’s gut wrenchingly horrid at times what these gangsters will do for power and control but damn it’s a compelling story and I just loved how everything tied together nicely at the end, all those bits of thread woven throughout the tale pulled tight to give the reader that wow moment they are looking for.

Being a fan I had high hopes for this book and Owen Mullen delivered! Mullen constantly delivers high-pressure, fresh and exhilarating tales.

The only downside to the book is that it had to end.. the good news is there’s already a new book planned for July!!

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

My thanks go to Owen, Boldwood Books and Rachel’s Random Resources for having me on the tour. I already had the book ordered but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to join in on the tour 😊


Do follow the tour and check out the other amazing reviews!


Author Bio –

When he was ten years old, Owen Mullen won a primary schools short story competition and didn’t write another word for four decades. One morning he announced he was going to write a book. He did. Since then he has written seven. Owen was born in Coatbridge, a few miles from Glasgow, where the Charlie Cameron stories take place, and where he ran a successful design and marketing business. A late developer, he has a Masters degree from Strathclyde University which he got in his forties. In his earlier life he lived in London and worked as a musician and session singer. People tell him he enjoyed himself and he has no reason to doubt them. The journey from rocker to writer has been a fascinating experience and the similarities between the music and book industries, never cease to amaze him. His passions are travel, food and Arsenal Football Club. A gregarious recluse, he now splits his time between Scotland and the island of Crete, along with his wife, Christine.

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