Tag Archives: Recommended Reading

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

Footprints in the Sand (The Lucy Lawrence Mysteries Book 2) by Pam Lecky – Review

Today I’m going to be reviewing Footprints in the Sand (The Lucy Lawrence Mysteries Book 2) by Pam Lecky.

Here’s the blurb

Cairo 1887: A melting pot of jealousy, lust and revenge. Who will pay the ultimate price?

Lucy Lawrence throws caution to the wind and embarks on a journey of self-discovery to the land of the pharaohs.

Travelling to Cairo as the patron of the charming French Egyptologist, Armand Moreau, Lucy discovers an archaeological community plagued by professional rivalries and intrigue. It is soon apparent that the thriving black market in antiquities threatens Egypt’s precious heritage.

When the Egyptian Museum is burgled, Lucy is determined to solve the case, much to the annoyance of the local inspector of police, and the alarm of Mary, her maid. But when an archaeologist is found murdered in the Great Pyramid, Lucy is catapulted into the resulting maelstrom. Can she keep her wits about her to avoid meeting a similar fate?

Review

First off.. have you read book 1 in the series? No Stone Unturned. You don’t need to in order to read Footprints in the Sand but it would certainly help you understand Lucy and her motivations.

After the death of her husband Charlie and the events that followed it’s time for Lucy to find herself.. to enjoy herself a little..lord know she needs it.

Lucy’s quite an independent woman… at a point in time when this would be highly looked down upon. It’s the whole Men do the real work kind of thing but Lucy pulls no punches and doesn’t listen to these silly views.. she will do exactly what she wants. She’s a little headstrong too at times which isn’t always a good thing for her.. impulsive and that leads to trouble.

When Lucy meets Armand Moreau she’s captivated not only by him but also his profession.. he’s an archaeologist working in Egypt.. the whole idea fascinates Lucy and with no one waiting for her to come home to she decides to be a patron of Moreau and agrees to accompany him on the dig.

Soon a theft occurs.. and a black market in goods becomes clear.. is this really a good place for Lucy to be?

Things soon become even worse when a body is found in the Great Pyramid and the murder weapon is… oh well I’ll let you find that out ha.

There’s twists and turns along the way, some subtle..some quite glaringly obvious but Lucy needs to put the pieces together to understand the events and the meanings behind them.

Why doesn’t she just go to the Police you ask? Well she quite fancies herself as a amateur detective.. and more so she wants to prove she’s capable of anything she puts her mind too.. sod what anyone else thinks.

I really enjoyed the plot and the final twist in the tale. It’s paced well and I loved the characters and their development..everyone seemed to get their fair share of the limelight.

For me Footprints in the Sand is a fun and easy read..you’ll flow through it like a hot knife through butter..it’s just written in a way it’s effortless to read..you just get sucked in.

Pam Lecky is really good at writing female lead novels which I find I really enjoy.. her characters have their good and bad points.. that makes them human.. you can’t be perfect after all.

What also shined through is Pam’s commitment to the subject as she balanced the plot perfectly with tit bits of information to show she researched well. Archaeology and Egypt have always fascinated me so It was lovely to see she didn’t skim on this but neither overegged it.. spot on.

A fun and fresh series I’m very much enjoying. More please.

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Salt Lane by William Shaw – Review

Today I’m going to be reviewing Salt Lane by William Shaw, Book 1 in the DS Alexandra Cupidi series.

Here’s the blurb

SHE ALWAYS WENT TOO FAR

DS Alexandra Cupidi has done it again. She should have learnt to keep her big mouth shut, after the scandal that sent her packing – resentful teenager in tow – from the London Met to the lonely Kent coastline. Murder is different here, among the fens and stark beaches.

SHE WAS THE ONE WHO FOUND THE KILLERS

The man drowned in the slurry pit had been herded there like an animal. He was North African, like many of the fruit pickers that work the fields. The more Cupidi discovers, the more she wants to ask – but these people are suspicious of questions.

AND NOW IT WAS KILLING HER

It will take an understanding of this strange place – its old ways and new crimes – to uncover the dark conspiracy behind the murder. Cupidi is not afraid to travel that road. But she should be. She should, by now, have learnt.

Salt Lane is the first in the new DS Alexandra Cupidi series. With his trademark characterisation and flair for social commentary, William Shaw has crafted a crime novel for our time that grips you, mind and heart.

Review

DS Cupidi has moved to Kent after a scandal she would rather her new colleagues don’t find out about. She’s trying to keep her head down and not get too pally with anyone.. a case soon hits her desk to take her mind off the past..at least for a little while.

Two murders take place in a short space of time.. this can’t be a coincidence can it? Is there a link? What makes one of the murders even stranger is the circumstances behind the woman’s death.. the time of death doesn’t make sense.. she was seen alive at the same time as she was dead in a ditch.. how is that possible?

Well I’m not going to spoil it but I will admit it’s very well executed. Until the case unravelled I had no clue where the tale would go and that’s the kind of crime novel I love! Keep me guessing 🙂

Cupidi herself is flawed like all the good detectives. She’s balancing her work but also her personal life.. a teenage daughter she’s struggling to connect with and a past that will catch up to her at some point.. this gave the character a realness I love to see. It was really refreshing having a female lead too, almost all police type books I’ve read have had male leads.

Chapter length and pace of the plot for me was spot on and the mix of personal and professional focused scenes makes it very easy to read… you’ve never get bogged down. So good infact it’s easy to devour!

The character development of Cupidi was gradual and delivered perfectly.. she’s Impulsive..she’s human..I liked her.

Do I want to read book 2 in the series? Yes!

Will I be pre-ordering book 3 due out next year? Yes!

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

 

Isolation Reads – What’s on my TBR list

You’ve probably noticed but this thing called a virus is going about so many people are now stuck in doors..I hope you are all keeping safe in these uncertain times. I have the pleasure of being classed as a essentially work but when I do have a few moments to relax around work and home schooling I still like to get to grips with a good book.

Today I wanted to share a few upcoming books on my TBR list, Click the pictures to head to Amazon if you want to know more 😊..tell me what you think and hit me up with your own isolation reads.

Footprints in the Sand by Pam Lecky

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Cairo 1887: A melting pot of jealousy, lust and revenge. Who will pay the ultimate price?

Lucy Lawrence throws caution to the wind and embarks on a journey of self-discovery to the land of the pharaohs.

Travelling to Cairo as the patron of the charming French Egyptologist, Armand Moreau, Lucy discovers an archaeological community plagued by professional rivalries and intrigue. It is soon apparent that the thriving black market in antiquities threatens Egypt’s precious heritage.

When the Egyptian Museum is burgled, Lucy is determined to solve the case, much to the annoyance of the local inspector of police, and the alarm of Mary, her maid. But when an archaeologist is found murdered in the Great Pyramid, Lucy is catapulted into the resulting maelstrom. Can she keep her wits about her to avoid meeting a similar fate?

Betray Them All by Keith Nixon

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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?

Shadowless by Randall McNally

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What if the gods themselves wanted you dead?

A young boy lies on a beach on a warm summer’s day. While trying to block the sun from his eyes Arpherius makes a shocking discovery; he has no shadow. Confused and bewildered he asks his uncle why he is shadowless. What he learns is a terrifying secret that will change his life forever.

Set in the Northern Realms, Shadowless is a fantasy novel about individuals born without a shadow. Spawned by the malevolent deities of this world these children of the gods are persecuted at every turn. Hunted by the high priests who carry out the wishes of their gods, hunted by the Shadow Watchers; armed soldiers who are assigned to each temple, and hunted by the gods themselves.

Part-mortal and part-god, the Shadowless live for centuries and face a battle for survival, constantly on the run or hiding in far-flung corners of the Northern Realms.

Soon their lives and fates become intertwined, expedited by the mysterious monk Amrodan. Driven by a series of visions Amrodan travels through the Northern Realms, seeking out the Shadowless and trying to enlist their help to take a stand and fight back against the gods.

The Good Hawk by Joseph Elliott

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If everything was taken from you, what would you do to get it back?

Agatha patrols the sea wall with pride, despite those in her clan who question her right to be there, because of the condition she was born with.

Jaime is a reluctant Angler, full of self-doubt and afraid of the sea.

When disaster strikes, the pair must embark on a terrifying journey to a land where forgotten magic and dark secrets lurk in every shadow…

Five Unicorn Flush

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“Reasonspace is in shambles after the disappearance of all magical creatures. Without faster-than-light travel, supply and communication routes have dried up, leaving humankind stranded and starving. Cowboy Jim and his complement of Reason soldiers search for the relocated Bala using the only surviving FTL drive. On their new utopian planet, the Bala are on the brink of civil war between those who want peace under old-fashioned unicorn rule and those who seek revenge on their human oppressors. Only Captain Jenny and her new brain parasite can stop the Reason plan to enslave the Bala again.

That’s it from me today.. I’ve loads more on my list to share with you so keep an eye out. Whatever you do during isolation..stay safe.

An English King by Gabriel Stein – Review

Reviewing as a hobby means sometimes I forget to read books I really want to as I take on too many review requests.

During this year I’ll still take on requests but I’m going to focus more heavily on my own reading pile.. I’ve some brilliant books just waiting to be picked up.

Next up being An English King by Gabriel Stein.

Here’s the blurb

Gerne – Historical Fiction

Constantinopolis. 1096.

Sometimes the enemy comes from within.

Edmund has fought the Normans most of his life – at Hastings under King Harold of England, and later in Greece as a soldier in the Varangian Guard of the Byzantine Emperor.

His dream is to lead an army of battle-hardened warriors back home and expel the Normans from England.

With the Empire finally at peace, Edmund feels that the time has arrived to fulfil his duty and avenge his king.

But there are rumours of a new threat. Large hosts of armed Latins – westerners – are marching towards the city, brandishing the sign of the Cross. One of the Crusader leaders is Bohemond of Taranto.

England will have to wait, while Edmund is tasked by his Emperor with a delicate and dangerous assignment: find out if Bohemond is friend or enemy. And if he is an enemy – stop him.

Edmund’s assignment will take him through Anatolia. Battles and sieges await.

The Varangian’s strength – and spirit – will be tested like never before.

Review

An English King is book 2 in The Varangian Series. I very much enjoyed the 1st instalment so I was looking forward to this one.. did it disappoint..not in the slightest!

We are back with Edmund and the Varangian guard.. this time he’s no fresh recruit.. he’s a seasoned warrior and life is looking good for him.. he still dreams of a return to England but he has a family now who rely on him.

A new threat arrives.. the issue is they aren’t really an enemy… it’s the Crusaders.. the problem is they will pass through the Emperor’s land..someone needs to make sure they behave themselves.

As they pass through the Emperor agrees to send in his own troops to support the effort.. the upside for him means he can hopefully reclaim lands long lost to the Empire. The downside for Edmund means he’s tasked with going along with Bohemond of Taranto…. Enemies once… can he be trusted now?

There’s battles aplenty.. treachery.. and loyalty when you least expect it and it will test Edmund to the fullest.

While fighting physically Edmund is also dealing with the mental side of things.. he’s been part of the Empire now for a long time.. will he ever go home.. does he want to.. will it be the place he remembers.. it’s an internal struggle for him. Edmund will need to put these thoughts on hold if he’s going to make it back in one piece.

The battle sequences were detailed and exciting to read. I really felt immersed in Edmund’s world.

As the battles continue the stress begins to show and loyalty is tested..without the Emperors presence the Crusaders trust starts to wane… how long can Edmund and the Emperor’s men keep everyone on the same side.

While An English King is a work of fiction it’s very detailed and shows a keen interest in the subject matter.. this adds to the tale..it’s what sucks you in.

If you are looking for an interesting and exciting historical fiction read you could a lot worse than this. A beautifully brutal tale at times.. showing the stress Edmund is under … it’s a slow burner..it’s all about the build up but when the action really hits it’s cracking! For me it’s all about the development of Edmund as his place in the Empire is solidified.

4/5 Stars!

To find out more head to GoodreadsorAmazon.

Flash Gordon – Massacre In The 22nd Century by David Hagberg – Review

One of my aims in 2020 is to focus more on the books I want to read rather than just review requests. I’ve found myself being snowed under so much with requests that I’ve got a cupboard full of forgotten books.. well no more 😊

Today I’m going to be reviewing Flash Gordon – Massacre In The 22nd Century by David Hagberg.

To give you a little background into my choice of story I’ve had a few Flash novels in my collection for years… I used to be part of the local Scout group who held regular jumble sales.. I wasn’t a big reader but I loved books.. the covers attracted my eyes and at the time I would be paying around 10p for a book.

I remember quite vividly those days, I used to help out at the jumble sales by sorting the clothes that had fallen on to the floor.. When I got a bit sick of that I’d pester my mam for some change to do some bargain hunting myself and it was either toys, bric-a-brac or books that took my fancy. I remember spending around £5 and having bags of things to take home. My mam didn’t mind I don’t think. We weren’t exactly poor but we couldn’t waste money either so I made the most of my time at the jumble sales.

I remember I picked up a Flash Gordon book.. I loved the cover.. It was book 3 of the series but thought for 10p why not. That book has lived with me ever since. A few years ago when I started reading regularly I looked into buying the rest of that series of books which even ended up with me buying a few online from America.. I might not have read any of the books but when I commit I commit fully.

Here’s the blurb

Sent on a mission to investigate the mysterious reappearance of the Interstellar Exploration ship GOODHOPE, Colonel Flash Gordon and his companions, Dale Arden and Dr. Hans Zarkov discover much more than they had bargained for. Stranded in deep space, the trio find themselves drawn against their will into a war of worlds which has lasted thousands of years…and which threatens the very existence of the planet Earth.

So here we are.. after around nearly 20 years here’s my review!
Review

Massacre In The 22nd Century is the first in a 6 part series by David Hagberg.

An interstellar starship arrives home to Earth..the issue is this ship departed 200 years ago and was presumed lost.

No one is answering onboard, Hans Zarkov is enlisted to gain entry onto the spaceship to investigate what was happened since he’s an expert on older technology. Dale and Flash are going along for the ride.

What they find onboard will change their lives forever and will catapult them into a war which has been going on for thousands of years..will they ever make it back to Earth?

Quite honestly the plot of this book blew my mind.. It was fantastic! Detailed and well structured but overall utterly fascinating and the ending left me In no doubt I’ll be reading the entire series. I was hooked from chapter 1!

Characters wise I loved Flash and Zarkov.. Dale’s a little bit annoying when she ignores what’s asked of her.. she’s impulsive.. hopefully as the series continues, she will start to work better with them as Flash/Zarkov accept her as part of the team.

As the story continues it setups the series perfectly.. it gives you just enough to grab you.. suck you in.. masterfully securing my attention.. so much so I’ve started book 2 already.

What Massacre In The 22nd Century shows me is that a good story will stand up to the test of time.. this story was written 5 years before I was born but still effortlessly consumed me.

Old school science fiction and I loved it!

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads!

If you fancy a copy why not try Ebay or AbeBooks 🙂