Tag Archives: Recommended Reading

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 🙂

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!

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.

Twitter https://twitter.com/OwenMullen6

Facebook https://m.facebook.com/OwenMullenAuthor

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/owenmullen6/

YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCirKpr7Dzji0x-0teu2nhqw

BookBub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/owen-mullen

Blog tour – Sons of Rome by Simon Turney and Gordon Doherty – Review!

Today its my turn on the blog tour for Sons of Rome by Simon Turney & Gordon Doherty, the 1st book in a new series!

Follow the tour!

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Here is the blurb –

Four Emperors. Two Friends. One Destiny.

 

As twilight descends on the 3rd century AD, the Roman Empire is but a shadow of its former self. Decades of usurping emperors, splinter kingdoms and savage wars have left the people beleaguered, the armies weary and the future uncertain. And into this chaos Emperor Diocletian steps, reforming the succession to allow for not one emperor to rule the world, but four.

Meanwhile, two boys share a chance meeting in the great city of Treverorum as Diocletian’s dream is announced to the imperial court. Throughout the years that follow, they share heartbreak and glory as that dream sours and the empire endures an era of tyranny and dread. Their lives are inextricably linked, their destinies ever-converging as they rise through Rome’s savage stations, to the zenith of empire. For Constantine and Maxentius, the purple robes beckon…

Review

Regular readers of my blog will no doubt recognise the names Simon Turney & Gordon Doherty, both have featured more than a few times and I must say they always know what I’m after as a reader. I’ve never read a jointly written book before but with these guys behind it I knew it would be a cracking read.

Sons of Rome follows the footsteps of Constantine and Maxentius as the grow from little boys into men fighting for the purple robe of the empire!

The prologue sets the scene for the series as we meet Constantine on the eve of battle against someone he once knew as friend.. how did they get here.. what happened to change those boys.

Power.. that’s what.. and paranoia.

As boys Maxentius and Constantine see Emperor Diocletian share his vision for the future, the empire is too big for one man to rule.. Diocletian wishes to create a new system to share power, A Tetrarchy, which will also inturn decide rightly who will rule when an Augustus dies.

The issue is both boys have fathers who are flawed and neither are really shown the love and affection a young boy needs.

As men both are overlooked and we see them navigate what can only be described as a nightmare of events for both of them..each always thinking of the other but never truly understanding the others motives..jealously and paranoia strike at every turn and while you hope for things to turn out ok nothing is going to stop the black events that are going to follow.

War and death stalk them…greed and the urge to show strength lead both men to do things they likely regret but can never admit.. to proud.. and scared to admit the truth…as they grow you see their hearts turn black, ever changed by the events that mould them into the men they are.

Knowing both authors styles I had no worries at all that the joint effort would be anything but a masterpiece, but they have surpassed all expectations and have given me a true highlight in what has been a pretty shitty year.. we’ve waited for this team up for sooooo long but it was worth the wait!

If you are a fan of the writers’ or just love the genre then I promise you will not be disappointed. It’s got the historic detail you won’t but mixed with a well woven and written plot that flowed almost effortlessly.

Oh, I loved it that much I pre-ordered a limtied editon signed copy from Parmenion Books (Parm was the 1st stop on the tour so do take a look and follow the tour)

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or you can Pre-Order on Amazon!

My thanks go to both Simon and Gordon along with the publisher for the exciting opportunity to be one of the first to read the book but to also be part of the blog tour to celebrate the release!

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.

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Follow Simon

Twitter: @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.

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Follow Gordon

Twitter: @GordonDoherty

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

 

Follow Aries

Twitter: @AriesFiction

Facebook: Aries Fiction

Website: http://www.headofzeus.com

Betray Them All (Detective Solomon Gray #7) by Keith Nixon – Review

Today I’m reviewing Betray Them All (Detective Solomon Gray #7) by Keith Nixon

Here is the blurb –

Genre – Police Procedural Thriller

It’s 3am on a wet, dreary morning in the south of England. Detective Inspector Solomon Gray raids an ordinary-looking house, but inside he finds the exception: an illegal cannabis farm run by a sixteen-year-old held against his will.

Within minutes Gray rushes to another nearby incident. A homeowner has stabbed and seriously wounded a burglar. Semi-retired Charles Sowerby, claims self-defence against the intruder – a traveller by the name of Aidan Jupp, a man with a violent history of targeting society’s most vulnerable.

The stabbing heightens local tensions, inflamed by far-right anti-immigrant activists and the Press. Jupp’s family swear revenge on Sowerby. Then Gray discovers Jupp wasn’t acting alone, so who’s his partner?

Somehow the cannabis farm and the stabbing are connected. Can Gray figure everything out before local tensions boil over?

Set in the once-grand town of Margate, the now-broken and depressed seaside resort becomes its own character in this dark detective thriller, perfect for fans of Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride, and Peter James. Betray Them All is the seventh book in this best-selling series featuring Detective Inspector Solomon Gray.

Review

We are back with our favourite detective Solomon Gray, or Sol to those who know him well.

From the outset things look juicy. There’s a raid on a house, a cannabis farm is located but the boy found there is unwilling to talk.

There’s no time for Gray to do much more as he is called away to a burglary gone wrong. It seems clear cut at first. Intruder gets what’s coming to him as the homeowner defends himself, there are just a couple facts that don’t add up.

Tensions rise quickly. The burglar is part of a group of travellers. The locals do not like them and it’s only a matter of time before things come to a head and someone else gets hurt.

This is an extreme headache for Sol as there is little he can do, although he does manage to form an agreement of sorts with the travellers. They seem to like his style and approach to things, and they trust him though there is only so much they can control too. Sol must work fast.

As the blurb for the book suggests the cases are linked and I won’t spoil how but as always, the author manages to weave a wonderful complex tale. Nixon really is adept at this kind of story, effortlessly putting you there with Sol. Things click into place and there is that magical moment when all becomes clear.

As a fan of series it was great to see a recurring character pop up and for us to learn of his part in recent events. Again I cannot spoil it, but this ongoing situation of Sol’s is brilliant, and I do wonder how long it will be before Sol takes a fall.

Sol has the added stress of a baby on the way, it wasn’t planned and it’s even more complicated since she is a colleague, and no one knows about them. It’s this personal stress that really makes the character likeable. We all go through difficult events we would rather not, but to give him that human side enamours you to him.

As important as character development and plot are, I also have high demands when it comes to writing style, how the tale is paced, how language is used. Nixon just knows exactly what I need as a reader. The flow is perfect, chapter length spot on allowing you to really enjoy the tale. The only downside is I now must wait for the next book to be released!

Nixon is a master of the police procedural thriller and I eagerly await more 😊

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

 

The Last King (The Ninth Century #1) by M J Porter – Review

Today I’m reviewing The Last King (The Ninth Century #1) by M J Porter

Here’s the blurb –

Genre – Historical Fiction

They sent three hundred warriors to kill one man. It wasn’t enough.

Mercia lies broken but not beaten, her alliance with Wessex in tatters.

Coelwulf, a fierce and bloody warrior, hears whispers that Mercia has been betrayed from his home in the west. He fears no man, especially not the Vikings sent to hunt him down.

To discover the truth of the rumours he hears, Coelwulf must travel to the heart of Mercia, and what he finds there will determine the fate of Mercia, as well as his own.

Review

The book starts with a brilliant scene that details Lord Coelwulf’s capture as he’s brought before the Raiders. It sets the tone of the book perfectly. Coelwulf isn’t afraid to use a bit of bad language and blood will be spilt.

Chapter one goes back to the past to detail the events that led up to his capture as he’s quickly swept up in battle. Coelwulf is used to protecting Mercia from the Welsh but this new threat has come from nowhere.. and at first he hasn’t a clue why.

We soon learn that King Burhred of Mercia ha fled leaving it to the whim of the Raiders.. There’s one hope.. Coelwulf!

Coelwulf has ties back to the throne but doesn’t see himself as a King..but he does like to kill people.. the battle fame.. the thrill of being the best.. and that’s just what Mercia needs right now to survive.

It’s a hard journey for him and his men.. and they don’t come out of this unscathed. I really thought the detail into the battles and injuries was fascinating. I particularly liked the recovery with the constant risk of infection. We are lucky with have antibiotics and such to fight infections.. back then not so much..

The Raiders are numerous..Coelwulf doesn’t stand a chance given the numbers but he knows just how to tip things in his favour.. He has home court advantage so to speak. He’s not alone in this though.. if only the men of Merica could come together to fight.

The final few chapters were pure magic for me as we relive Coelwulf’s capture and learn of his fate. I found myself reading that chapter the 2nd time with different eyes.. a different outlook and that is credit to the author that they were able to mould how I felt and imagined events playing out so easily.

To say this book is excellent would be a understatement.. it’s a blood and gore fest for any fan of the period or this type of novel. You would be forgiven to think a tale with so many battles might get repetitive but no..each are unique and exhilarating.

Overall I loved it, the detail, the use of language, the characters, damn.. I could go on and on.

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreadsor Amazon.

If you love it why not pre-order – The Last Warrior: England: The First Viking Age (The Ninth Century Book 2).. I have

The Architect of Murder by Rafe McGregor – Review

Today I’m reviewing The Architect of Murder by Rafe McGregor.

Here’s the blurb –

Gerne – Historical Thriller

Major Alec Marshall VC, newly back in London, is enlisted to make inquiries into the will of the late Cecil John Rhodes, the wealthiest man in the British Empire. That same night one of the witnesses to the will, Eric Lowenstein, is found beaten to death in a seedy boarding house, where he was lodging under a false name. As London prepares for King Edward VII’s coronation, Marshall discovers that Lowenstein harboured a deadly secret concerning not only the vast fortune Rhodes amassed, but the very future of the Empire. Marshall’s investigation takes him into the dark heart of a flawed genius, and sets him on a personal journey that will change his life forever.

Review

Major Alec Marshall, an ex-policeman has returned to England to sad tidings. His sister Ellen has died in an unfortunate accident.

While back he is enlisted to help Supt. Melville of Scotland Yard. There’s a case and things don’t add up.

The body has been found of Eric Lowenstein, one of only two witnesses to the will of  Cecil Rhodes, a very rich man.. is there anything to the murder related to the will? Or just wrong place wrong time?

Marshall, with the aid of Inspector Truegood find links that could shake the British Empire at it’s highest level!

While cracking this case Alec become close to his sister’s best friend,  Miss Roberta Paterson. Roberta is struggling to come to terms with the death of Ellen and believes there could be more too it that meets the eye… Alec promises to find out the truth.

When reviewing my notes what I’ve mainly highlighted is the characters and their development…and just how good it was. There’s plenty of detail added to the plot to set the scene but the characters alone shine for me. Believable, interesting, and fun.

Truegood, my favourite, a big brute of a man but he’s as straight as they come. You know he will get the job done. I loved every scene with him in even though he’s a man of few words.

I found myself easily sucked into this one, the plot is expertly woven and the flow perfect, chapter length just how I like it. At not much over 200 pages there’s a lot packed in, and damn.. it’s pretty good.

4/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

 

 

 

 

Gilding The Lily by Justine John – Review!

Today I’m reviewing Gilding The Lily by Justine John! The author very kindly offered me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Here’s the blurb –

Genre – Thriller

A gripping mystery of jealousy, murder and lies.

An invitation to her estranged, wealthy father’s surprise 75th birthday party in New York sees London-based Amelia and her husband, Jack, set off across the pond to meet a whole new world of family politics.

Amelia, now a successful businesswoman, has guiltily never liked her father’s women, but does her upmost to give his new socialite partner, Evelyn, the benefit of the doubt. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could just all get along? But there’s something very dark, determined and dangerous about her…

When Amelia’s father, Roger, becomes ill, Jack grows suspicious that there is more to it. Amelia understands why, but no one else will believe them. They travel back to America to piece together the puzzle, but when Roger goes missing, the couple are driven to their wit’s end. It takes a DEA officer and a secret assassin to bring them any answers. The ruthless truth is something no one expected…

This fast-paced psychological debut will keep you guessing until the very end.

Review

Amelia and her father, Roger, were estranged for years due to a strained relationship with Helen, her step mother, but slowly after Helen dies the rift starts to repair. They may live miles apart but they talk a lot.

Roger’s current partner, Evelyn, plans a surprise party for him and invites Amelia and her husband over to join the festivities.

They soon butt heads.. Evelyn plans something that Is a bit over the top for Amelia’s tastes. Amelia is sure her father will hate it.. which he does.

The differences between the woman soon become very clear… they will never like each other. They both think they know Roger the best but there’s more to come as Evelyn shows her rather unstable jealous streak.

Evelyn resents the connection Amelia has with her father and tries to force a wedge between them.

Things settle a little and Amelia is looking forward to having some alone time with her dad. Roger though is unwell and Jack/Amelia soon believe there’s more to it than meets the eye.

There’s a few twists along the way.. Evelyn is clearly a bit fixated on Roger and overly jealous but at times Amelia does seem to push it with the constant calls/emails..is it just daughterly concern? Should she just give Roger some breathing space? Or are her concerns well founded? and who would believe her any way? Evelyn is a master at twisting things.

The ending was really good with a final twist for an “OMG” moment.

Overall the plot was intriguing and I was invested to find out the outcome. Evelyn was just a horrible person.. I hated her..I felt Amelia’s frustration and I would have snapped if I was her… credit to the author for making me feel like I was there myself.

4/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Athour Spotlight – Steven. A. McKay plus review!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a little author spotlight..lets rectify that now as I welcome author Steven A. McKay to my blog. Keep reading for my lastest review as well!!

Steven is author of the brilliant Forest Lord series and now The Warrior Druid of Britain series. Not to forget if you are a fan of Audible you should check out his Roman slave tale Lucia!

Let’s get on with the Q&A.. Welcome!!

So I’ve a few questions I hope you won’t mind answering.

After the success of the Forest Lord series it must have been quite daunting starting a fresh new series. Did you worry at all and how has the new series been received?

Yes, it was a bit of a wrench to leave behind my Forest Lord series. Not just because I had really grown to know and love the characters, but because it had done so well for me in terms of sales and reviews. There’s always a chance any new series won’t garner as much interest so, yeah, I was a bit apprehensive of starting a new book with all new characters. But then I began writing The Druid and I realised I was enjoying it immensely – that’s always a good sign! If a book is fun to write, and the characters really entertain you as the author, well, readers might enjoy it too.

I’d say most of my readers like the druid books even more than they did the Forest Lord ones, although some, like you I believe, prefer the latter. As a writer you always want to improve, and create better stories, but it’s also nice to know your previous work has also really touched someone and given them a few hours of entertainment.

N.b – I love them both for very different reasons but without the Firest Lord series we may never have seen you develop and produce The Druid… 5* books every last one!

 

For those who don’t know about your latest series what would you say to entice them to pick up a copy?

I think it’s set in a period of history that isn’t really that well covered in fiction – post-Roman Britain. It was called the “dark ages” for a long time, but people are now beginning to realise that civilisation didn’t just completely collapse when the Romans left this island. Things changed, of course, and quite drastically, but everyone didn’t become a mad savage overnight – they still had culture and religion and so on and it’s interesting to explore all that. Then of course you add in my main characters like the giant warrior druid Bellicus, little princess Catia, the former centurion Duro, dangerous Saxons Horsa and Hengist, and all the various kings of the time (even Arthur makes a small appearance in the first book) and, well, they’re the perfect guides to Britain in the fifth century.

Apart from all that, the books are free on Kindle Unlimited so if you have a membership why not check them out? They are a great way to escape all the lockdown bleakness just now.

 

Now I can’t ignore the obvious going on around us. The dreaded COVID19. How are things for you? Many may think this is an ideal time for writing but I know you’ve an important day job.

Important day job? It depends on what you mean by important. It pays my mortgage, but even in these times when so-called “unskilled” workers are finally gaining recognition, I don’t know if a part-time gas and electric meter reader would be classed as that important, ha! But my company told us we weren’t to go out working about 5 weeks ago now, so me and the family have been staying home. Yeah, there’s lots of free time to write, but when there’s so much fear and uncertainty going around, it’s extremely hard to get into the right frame of mind to sit down and work on a novel.

Last week, I decided to write a new Warrior Druid of Britain short story to give away to my email list subscribers and, honestly, that was great. There was no real pressure, I just had to write something fun and entertaining with the specific idea of entertaining myself and my subscribers and the result was “Over The Wall”. My readers enjoyed it and I thought it was good too, so I’ve expanded and polished it and since it was set at Beltane, I’ve decided to make it available on Kindle this May 1st  – Beltane! Complete with a professional new cover.

It was really enjoyable to write and kinda focused my mind so I’ve been able to get back onto the novel writing again this week and book 3 in the druid series is coming along nicely.

N.b – All jobs are important if they pay the bills! Ha and look out for my review of Over The Wall… Keep scrolling!!!

over the wall medium

Giving the current situation I’ve seen authors have release dates pushed back by their publishers. What’s your take? Me personally I’ve been looking for more books than ever and really do see these luxuries a way to keep us indoors safe.. Ebooks even more so.

Yeah, I agree, it seems a bit strange NOT to publish a new book if it’s all ready to go. Personally, I’ve had a Kindle Unlimited subscription for a long time but I’ve only started to really use it in the last month. I’ve read lots of books on things like ghosts and the unexplained, purely to take my mind off all the scary stuff in real life just now. So, when everyone is stuck at home, looking to be entertained, why not give them new books to read? It seems like publishers are shooting themselves in the foot in that regard, but then hardly any of my sales come from actual print books. About 95% of my readers do it via Kindle so I’m thinking of it in that sense – maybe the big publishers would lose out on a lot of business if they couldn’t have a launch party for a hardback? I don’t know. I suppose, if there’s less books coming out, there’s more chance people will find my back catalog so…

Whats your plans for the next book.. Will we see Bellicus return? he’s got plenty fight left in him?

He’s still in his twenties, so I think he has many years left to kick ass. Duro is older, although, sadly, even though he’s the veteran centurion, he’s a few years younger than me! But yes, Bellicus and Duro are both back in the next book and they’re facing a very tough time. I don’t want to give away too much, but the plot so far has been influenced by what’s happening in the real world just now so it’s pretty bleak in places. But, as anyone who’s read my previous books will know, I always like my characters to live in hopes of prevailing, no matter how dark their circumstances. So, I’m about a third finished and I don’t know how it will end, but I’m sure the gods won’t abandon our heroes!

N.B – I’ve always felt Bellius as a little older… I guess it’s the respect he commands and his presence…certainly he’s far wiser than I was in my twenties! ha

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Any chance of any more Robin Hood themed short tales? You have quite a talent for the novella I must say?

Thank you! Yes, I like writing the shorter things as there’s not so much to keep track of, it can all be a bit more linear. My last one, Faces of Darkness was really well received – I think it has the highest average rating of any of my books on Amazon UK, so, although novellas and novelettes never sell as well as novels, it’s great to know that readers appreciate them. It spurs me on to create more in a similar vein so yes, there will be more Forest Lord novellas. I already have a basic outline for another Friar Tuck/Little John mystery, again, like Faces of Darkness based on a real criminal case which I heard about on a podcast. I would expect it to be published in the autumn or winter, all being well with the next druid novel coming out before it in the summer.

If you’re anything like me I’m sure you’ve not had much downtime since lockdown but what have you been doing to keep yourself and the family busy? I know you like your guitars? I’ve never learned to play… I really should.

Oh yes, my guitars have been a really good way for me to escape reality. There’s been a few times, particularly at the start of the lockdown, when I started to feel quite stressed and fearful, and I’d pick up one of my guitars and just start playing along to Metallica or some old death metal song and I’d completely lose myself in the music. Not for very long, but enough to let me relax and really chill out. I’d recommend you start learning an instrument given all this free time we have!
Other than that, my family keep me busy – there’s always another meal to cook, or clothes to be washed, or stories to be read, and there’s the home-schooling thing too just now. I’ve actually never been bored at all, which is pretty incredible. Any time I do feel like quiet time, like I say I’ve been reading stuff on Kindle or browsing the creepy  r/unresolvedmsyteries pages on Reddit.

This post is of course a way for me to highlight your awesome books but if you had to pick someone who you think is on fire at the moment in the book world who would it be?

Well, I don’t read much fiction anymore since I have to spend most of my reading time on research for my own books – even in lockdown I’ve been mostly reading non-fiction. I have been really impressed, and pleased, with Matthew Harffy’s rise though. His newest book, Wolf of Wessex, was a cracking read which I was happy to endorse and now he’s even got a TV series in the works which is probably every writer’s dream. I won’t deny I’m jealous of that success, but not in a bad way – he’s a good guy and supports other authors and he likes Iron Maiden so good luck to him!

 

Lastly, If Bellicus was here today.. would he have any words of wisdom?

I tend to think of Bellicus and Friar Tuck in a similar way, since they’re both hard, fighting men who represent a higher power. I think Tuck’s wise words to Robin in my second novel, The Wolf and the Raven are particularly appropriate for all of us in these frightening times. I wrote that book when I was going through a very tough period in my own life since our second child had just been stillborn, and this particular line of Tuck’s was as much for me as it was for Robin, who’d been beaten, imprisoned and was very close to breaking point:

His eyes welled up, but he angrily wiped them, not giving in to the self-pity that threatened to overwhelm him and he remembered Tuck’s words from not so long ago: “Never give up hope!”

He clenched his fists and forced a smile into the oppressive darkness. It would take more than this to break Robin Hood.

Never give up hope everyone, and stay safe.

If you’d like to sign up for my email list and receive a FREE Forest Lord short story, “The Rescue”, along with regular chances to win signed books, posters, mugs and Audible downloads click here: http://eepurl.com/bqatb5


 

I’d like to give a big thank you to Steven for appearing on my blog today and what better way can I do that then with a review for his lastest book Over The Wall..

Here’s the blurb

Beltane, AD425
Northern Britain

Midnight approaches and in Dun Breatann’s great hall the Beltane feasting continues, with stories and songs and as much meat and ale as anyone could wish for.
On the western side of the towering fortress however, ten small figures make their way up the shadowy rock. Armed to the teeth, and hand-picked for their particular, deadly skills, these warriors have travelled far across the sea from Dalriada and are utterly focused on their mission, despite the fact most – perhaps all – of them will die this night.
High above, guards patrol the fortress walls as usual, but they expect yet another quiet shift for, as everyone knows, Dun Breatann is impregnable.
Isn’t it?

Review

Over The Wall is a 31 page novella, part of the author’s Warrior Druid series. Written during the lockdown of 2020.

As night falls and drink is flowing King Coroticus’s enemies approach..

Will these dark assassins manage to carry out their plan? it’s almost certain death for them.

What they don’t know is that Bellicus and his trusty hound Eolas are in attendance in the great hall.

31 pages isn’t a lot to fit a story in to but McKay manged it perfectly leaving me eager for the next book in the series to come out.

The plot was fun and the story linking with the Trojan horse fit perfectly.

McKay always manages to give life to characters, even in such a short space of time and I loved the interactions with Gavo, the captain of the guard.. I love that guy.

A fun novella which any fan will be excited to read.. and if you are anything like me it will have you rereading the series.. I need another Bellicus fix and fast.

5* Novella!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon