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For The Love Of Grace by Andy Blackman– Review – #Blogival2017

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Today is my third and final post as part of Click Street’s #Blogival2017.

I’m going to be reviewing For The Love of Grace by Andy Blackman, here’s the blurb.. 
Genre – Thriller
Length – 211 pages
Publication – Sept 2016

Grace Backer had a life full of tragedy. But despite everything, she raised her son, Tom, with her secret intact. Tom is a prodigal child, destined to escape the slums of the East End of London for a better life; circumstances will make him flee his loving mother and their home much sooner than expected. Tom starts a new life in Odessa, Russia, and with the help of new-found friends starts a business. At last, he is finally accepted into a new and loving family, but one which holds its own dark secrets. A chance meeting with the son of a duke of the realm leads to close friendship and a new business partnership. When Tom decides to move his company to London and have his regal new friend run it, the firm thrives. However, not everything is as it seems, and Tom?s business soon conceals dangerous secrets of its own. Years later, when Tom finally decides to return to London, he is a wanted man, one hunted by the intelligence agencies. If he is finally to be reunited with his beloved mother and his best friend, he must fight to put the past behind him. But keeping secrets is never easy.

 

Here’s my thoughts –

So the book mainly follows the life of Tom Backer..he’s not had the easiest start in life but he’s smart..very smart. Unfortunately life has more to throw at him and his life is turned upside down again and again.

This was quite an interesting story that bounces around the timeline a little to give you glimpse into the past to learn more about Tom but also is mother Grace.

The story for me had two distinct storylines.. The first being Grace, her part of the story was emotional and intense,  she was by far my favourite character. The second tale being Tom’s which is action focused and gripping at times, I didn’t fully warm to him, he adapts too easy to his situations but I think this is down to the fact he’s clearly a gifted human so sees things differently than the others might.

This is a tale of passion and vengeance, at times things flow too easily for my own tastes but I enjoyed following Tom’s journey of destruction. There’s a good twist at the end of the book which I really enjoyed and it really tied things up for me.

There’s certainly enough meat on the bones with this one for me to be interested to see where the author goes next.

My thanks go to Authoright for having me on the Blogival again this year 🙂

Purchase from Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Love-Grace-Andy-Blackman/dp/1911110535/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1472152533&sr=8-1&keywords=andy+blackman+for+the+love+of+grace

Purchase from Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/for-the-love-of-grace-andy-blackman/1124144405?type=eBook

 

About Andy Blackman

After serving in the British Army for over twenty-five years in the Parachute Regiment, Andy Blackman today lives in Bedworth, Warwickshire and works within in the IT sector. In his spare time he can be found visiting his three daughters and grandchildren.

Guest Post – Anne Boileau – Clink Street Blogival2017

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Today is my first post as part of Click Street’s #Blogival2017.

I took part in the 2016 Blogival and the reason I’m back again this year is simply becuase it’s a wonderful way for the authors to interact with readers and It brings something a little extra to my blog.

There’s plenty more stops on the tour.. please do have a look. Word of mouth really helps not only the authors but us bloggers too.

I’ll be sharing some fellow bloggers posts via my twitter account so keep an eye out.

Now what do I have for you today you ask? Well I had the pleasure of reviewing Katharina Luther: Nun. Rebel. Wife last year and was itching to know more about the inspiration behind the tale. Author Anne Boileau has very kindly prepared a post for me to share with you…

But first here’s a bit more about the book –

On 31st October 1517, Martin Luther pinned ninety-five theses on the Castle Church door, Wittenberg, criticizing the Church of Rome; they were printed and published by Lucas Cranach and caused a storm. Nine young nuns, intoxicated by Luther’s subversive writings, became restless and longed to leave their convent. On Good Friday 1523 a haulier smuggled them out hidden in empty herring barrels. Five of them settled in Wittenberg, the very eye of the storm, and one of them – Katharina von Bora – scandalised the world by marrying the revolutionary former monk. Following a near miscarriage, she is confined to her bed to await the birth of their first child; during this time, she sets down her own story. Against a backdrop of 16th Century Europe this vivid account of Katharina von Bora’s early life brings to the spotlight this spirited and courageous woman.

But wait.. there’s more click here to read my review of Katharina Luther: Nun. Rebel. Wife!

Now you have that review fresh in your mind enjoy the guest post! 🙂


 

You ask me what was the inspiration behind the novel, Katharina Luther. Nun. Rebel. Wife. The answer to that is,  I didn’t find Katharina, she found me; and she took me by surprise.

In 1992 I travelled to the former German Democratic Republic; it was barely three years after the Wall came down (the Germans call it die Wende, which means the change or turn around). I was researching for my dissertation on Land Management, Agriculture and Conservation in the New Lands of Germany following Unification; This was my conclusion of a BSc degree in Rural Resource Development at Writtle College and Anglia University in Essex. I already spoke fluent German and wanted to visit the former East Germany; Strutt and Parker awarded me a travel grant, so  I went with my husband to Brandenburg and Saxony.

Such contrasts! We visited ancient monastic carp ponds at Nieski, dating back to the 12th Century, heaving with wildlife, and recently designated as  a Biosphere Culture Landscape by UNESCO.  Then we stood on the edge of an enormous open-cast coal mine, stretching into the horizon, a desert. We saw lakes polluted with slurry from industrial pig production units and huge dairy plants with literally thousands of miserable incarcerated cows.

But then there were the beautiful well-managed forests, abounding with wildlife, and the Spreewald with its water meadows, creeks and old thatched farmsteads.

The ancient towns were dilapidated but had not been ripped apart in the sixties and seventies for the needs of the motor car as happened in the west.

We visited Wittenberg where the Black Cloister was promoted as Martin Luther’s home. It was in that old monastic house that I first came across Katharina von Bora. There was a small exhibition all about her. Portraits by Cranach and other, later paintings; a pair of shoes and stockings, a ring given to her by King Christian of Denmark, a little book of Hours, even one of her dresses, and so on. We were both intrigued. It had never occurred to us that Martin Luther had been married, having assumed that as a monk he would have remained single and celibate. We were wrong!

Anyway, I went home, wrote my dissertation, got my degree and found a job. I watched my daughters grow up and leave home. But Katharina had sown a little seed in my heart and when I had more time I decided to find out more about her. I returned to Wittenberg, visited the other significant Luther towns: Eisenach and the Wartburg Castle; Erfurt where Luther was a student and then a monk; Torgau and Leipzig; I read a lot, in German, about those turbulent times and found a wealth of material about Katharina, who is a well-known figure in Germany, but virtually unknown in the UK.

That is why I decided to write her story for an English-speaking readership. I wanted to shine a light on the life of the woman behind the man who – whether you like him or loathe him – ushered in the modern world. He could never have followed through and achieved what he did without the help and support of a strong, well educated woman at his side ­– not only to run his household and give him a family to keep his mind in the real world, but also to kerb his irascibility and keep him healthy in body and mind.

Katharina von Bora, or Frau Doktor Luther,  kept the show on the road. Not for nothing did he call her Herr Kathe.

Anne Boileau

June 2017


Purchase from Amazon UK –  https://www.amazon.co.uk/Katharina-Luther-Nun-Rebel-Wife-ebook/dp/B01J95GP8W/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1473953274&sr=1-1&keywords=anne+boileau

About the author: Anne Boileau (also known as Polly Clarke) lives in Essex. She studied German in Munich and worked as interpreter and translator before turning to language-teaching in England. She also holds a degree in Conservation and Land Management from Anglia University and has written and given talks on various aspects of conservation. Now she shares, writes and enjoys poetry; her work has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines; she has also won some awards, including First Prize with Grey Hen Press, 2016. She translates modern German poetry into English with Camden Mews Translators and was Chair of Suffolk Poetry Society from 2011 to 2014.

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.

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.

Blog Tour – The Black Hornet by Rob Sinclair – Review

BlackHornet FINAL

Title – The Black Hornet (James Ryker Book 2)
Author – Rob Sinclair
Genre – Thriller
Length – 350 Pages
Publication – 12th June 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

The Black Hornet: an action packed and utterly gripping thriller from the best-selling James Ryker series

What do you do when the love of your life vanishes without a trace? If you’re ex-intelligence agent James Ryker you search for the answers whatever the cost, however much blood and sacrifice it takes…

Six months ago Lisa was taken from Ryker, and he’ll stop at nothing to find out who is responsible and why. Following a trail to Mexico, the ex-Joint Intelligence Agency asset soon finds himself in the firing line of enemies he long thought he’d left behind. Set-up for the murder of a former informant, Ryker is thrown into a crumbling jail run by The Black Hornet, the notorious leader of a Mexican drug cartel. But what connects the cartel to the informant’s murder, and to Lisa’s disappearance? And just who is the mystery American claiming he can help Ryker in his hour of need?

The Black Hornet is the second book in the bestselling James Ryker series. Part Bourne, part Reacher, it’s an explosive and action-packed thriller to rival any other.

Review

The Black Hornet is the second book in the James Ryker series. Ryker has a past.. a past he’s trying to escape from but six months ago his life was turned upside down again..Lisa.. the woman Ryker loves was taken.

Ryker is hell-bent on finding Lisa and those behind her kidnapping..he heads to Mexico as his search continues and finds himself in deep trouble when he’s thrown in prison.

We get introduced to a couple of new characters both play their cards close to their chest so it’s hard for Ryker to figure out who to trust.

A mysterious man claims he can get Ryker out in exchanged for is assistance. He knows all about his particular skill set and he needs his talents. At first Ryker refuses but when things start to get brutal and violent he’s left with no choice. To make things even harder for Ryker this man says he has information on Lisa!

Ryker follows his gut and ends up working on a job for the JIA again. Ryker is happy to do this for two reasons. One he know the mysterious man who helped him get out of prison will show he face again.. he’s got his own agenda that collides with Ryker’s mission and two..he knows deep down he misses it. He may be getting older and he hasn’t used his talents for a while but he’s not over the hill yet.

Ryker has some great development during book, you can see he’s torn. He wants the quiet life but at the same time he knows he couldn’t escape his that life for long. He loves Lisa but he’s struggling with guilt..If he had just been home he could have stopped it all happening.

This book is a little more brutal than the last but it’s exactly what the story needed, prison isn’t going to be a nice place is it?

I loved The Red Cobra, book 1 in the series.. I LOVE this one more if that’s possible. In this book Ryker is much more the focus of the tale and I couldn’t fault it one bit.

Douglas Ashford had to be my favourite character in this tale, some lovely twists thrown in from the author to give you the “Oh my!” moments.

I’m certainly hooked in for more from the author!

My thank to Bloodhound Books and Rob for having me on the blog tour

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon


 

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Author Bio:

Rob is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Enemy series of espionage thrillers featuring embattled agent Carl Logan, with over 250,000 copies sold to date. The Enemy series has received widespread critical acclaim with many reviewers and readers having likened Rob’s work to authors at the very top of the genre, including Lee Child and Vince Flynn.

Rob’s fourth book, the pulsating psychological thriller Dark Fragments, released by Bloodhound Books in November 2016, has been described as ‘clever’ and ‘chilling’ and an ‘expertly crafted’ story, and became an Amazon UK top 50 bestseller soon after its release.

Rob’s James Ryker series follows on from the Enemy books, with the first novel, The Red Cobra, being released in April 2017 and quickly becoming an Amazon bestseller in the UK, US and Canada. The second book in the series, The Black Hornet will be released June 12th.

Rob began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen a ‘can’t put down’ thriller. He worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. Rob now writes full time.

Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.

Links:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rob-Sinclair/e/B00LFXNU76/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1488963366&sr=8-1

https://www.facebook.com/robsinclairauthor/?fref=ts

https://twitter.com/RSinclairAuthor

http://www.robsinclairauthor.com/

The House at Divoro by Charlotte E. English – Review

Title – The House at Divoro (The Malykant Mysteries Book 7)
Author – Charlotte E. English
Genre – Fantasy
Length – 155 Pages
Publication – May 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Konrad Savast is the Malykant: foremost and most secret servant of the God of Death. His job? To track down the foulest of murderers and bring them to The Malykt’s Justice. No mercy. No quarter.

When Nanda shows up with a pressing invitation to a post-Solstice house party, Konrad is unenthusiastic. Eino Holt, their host, might have a taste for theatricals, but Konrad emphatically does not.

But then a corpse turns up, mutilated and hidden in a pantry cupboard. Konrad soon learns that the house at Divoro harbours many a dark secret…

Dark fantasy meets classic murder mystery in this seventh installment of Charlotte E. English’s Malykant Mysteries.

Review

Oh how I love Konrad.. I’m so glad we have another story to read. First off I must say the covers for the series keep getting better and for me fit the tale perfectly.

Followers of my reviews will know I’m a big fan of Charlotte’s work. She has to be my favourite writer so the bar is always set high.

Well once again she’s leapt over the bar set by the previous tale and has given me the best one yet.

What English always seems to get spot on for me is the balance between story and character development. In a short tale it’s not easy to make you enjoy the characters but English does just that, building on previous tales but at the same time a reader could easily pick the series up from here as we are given just the right amount of background info when setting up the scenes that it’s easy to understand the relationships between the main characters.

My favourite line of the book has to be “it was bad because he felt as fresh as an aged pair of socks, and approximately as lively” – Sounds like me most days ha

As I’ve said this is the best tale yet, English easily keeps the series fresh and interesting and I love the continuing development of Konrad. He doesn’t like to give much away but he’s a loveable character.

In this tale, as usual a body is found..but there’s a few strange twists that leave you thinking “What?” or “How?”. It’s these twists and turns that keep you hooked.

Again what I’ve always loved about the authors work is  the writing itself.. Never dumbed down but never overly complex, it might be a dark tale but the writing is suitable for young and old alike.

The suspense was killing me with this one right till the end and the page count means you can easily get sucked in and read this in one sitting or over two.

Konrad struggles  in the tale more than the last to keep his secret life just that..a secret so it was a great chance to see him put his different personas to use.

I can’t write a review on this book without mentioning Optapi and Eetapi, Konrad’s serpents who help him in his role as the Malykant, their dark humour makes them quirky and fun and I love when they show up. It’s a strange relationship between them and Konrad and for me it’s the best thing about the series..after the plot of course 🙂

The Malykant series is rather unique in my opinion. I’ve read nothing like it before and I just can’t get enough.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

Chase: The Hunt for the Mute Poetess by Thomas Dellenbusch

Title –  Chase: The Hunt for the Mute Poetess
Author – Thomas Dellenbusch, Richard Urmston (Translator)
Genre – Crime Thriller
Length – 116 Pages
Publication – Aug 2016
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Enrique “Rique” Allmers runs a security firm in Hamburg, Germany. When he encounters a young woman fleeing from pursuers through the local fish-market, he takes her under his wing. They get away, but the same men – now with reinforcements – are still on their tail. Rique doesn’t know
who she is, or the identity of those who are after her. Because she doesn’t speak a word to him…

Review

Thomas Dellenbusch is a German writer and this is the first book in the Chase series that has been translated into English.

I was interested as soon as I read the word KopfKino..I’m guessing you don’t know what this means? Neither did I. It’s a German term for Theatre of the mind and it means relaxing, thought-provoking and enthralling movie length stories. The books certainly ticks all those boxes!

So on to the story itself. Rique is forced to defend a girl when he sees her running for her life, clearly scared out of her wits. The goons chasing her want the girl back but what they don’t realise is Rique isn’t just a normal guy.. he’s part of the CHASE group, highly skilled individuals who offer services such as security.. he manages to scare the goons away and with his team behind him he looks to stop this gang..but why are they after her?

This girl is mixed up in in a situation she never knew existed and Rique is going to put the puzzle pieces together for her one bit at a time.

The thing I liked about the book the most was the CHASE team itself, A Mission Impossible type of team. Each member has their own skill set which the author showcases throughout the tale.

The story flows logically and you are sucked in deeper and deeper as facts are revealed. Towards the end the suspense was killing me.

Does the book work being translated into English? It most certainly does. If I hadn’t of known I would never have been able to tell.

Overall a top notch plot translated perfectly for English readers. I’m pleased to say book 2 has already been translated and I’ll be reviewing that shortly!

Highly enjoyable and very much the engrossing fast read I was after. There wasn’t a thing I didn’t like about this one.

I hope to see many more from Thomas.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.