Claire loves to read!

I'm Claire and I'm a voracious reader. I've loved books all my life and am lucky enough to have lots of time to devote to my favourite hobby - reading!

 

My favourite genres are crime, police procedural, psychological thriller, suspense, horror, mystery and paranormal; throw in a hint of romance and it'll tick another box. The type of genres I read has been widened considerably by accepting review requests from authors and publishers, so I'm happy to give almost anything a go!

 

    bookbridgr.com   2016 NetGalley Challenge 
      Reviews Published    2015 Challenge Participant

 *NOT CURRENTLY ACCEPTING REVIEW APPLICATIONS*
 

Spotlight - Rarity from the Hollow by Robert Eggleton

 For a limited period, the eBook version of Rarity from the Hollow is on sale for $2.99 and the Paperback is on sale for $16.99. https://www.amazon.com/Rarity-Hollow-Robert-Eggleton/dp/190713395X/

Author proceeds contribute to the prevention of child maltreatment: http://www.childhswv.org/

Project Updates: https://www.facebook.com/Lacy-Dawn-Adventures-573354432693864/

Synopsis:

Lacy Dawn's father relives the Gulf War, her mother's teeth are rotting out, and her best friend is murdered by the meanest daddy on Earth. Life in the hollow is hard. She has one advantage -- an android was inserted into her life and is working with her to cure her parents. But, he wants something in exchange. It's up to her to save the Universe. Lacy Dawn doesn't mind saving the universe, but her family and friends come first.

 

Rarity from the Hollow is adult literary science fiction filled with tragedy, comedy and satire. A Children's Story. For Adults.

 

“The most enjoyable science fiction novel I have read in years.”

Temple Emmet Williams, Author, former editor for Reader’s Digest

 

 

“Quirky, profane, disturbing… In the space between a few lines we go from hardscrabble realism to pure sci-fi/fantasy. It’s quite a trip.”

    Evelyn Somers, The Missouri Review

 

 

. "…a hillbilly version of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy…what I would have thought impossible; taken serious subjects like poverty, ignorance, abuse…tongue-in-cheek humor without trivializing them…profound…a funny book that most sci-fi fans will thoroughly enjoy." -- Awesome Indies (Gold Medal)

 

“…sneaks up you and, before you know it, you are either laughing like crazy or crying in despair, but the one thing you won’t be is unmoved…a brilliant writer.” --Readers’ Favorite (Gold Medal)

 

“Rarity from the Hollow is an original and interesting story of a backwoods girl who saves the Universe in her fashion. Not for the prudish.” — Piers Anthony , New York Times bestselling author

 

“…Good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find.” -- The Baryon Review

 

Culture: This novel was written in colloquial Appalachian voice.

 

Political Allegory: This novel was the first, perhaps the only, science fiction adventure to specifically predict the rise of Donald Trump to political power -- parody with no political advocacy one side or any other. Readers find out how Lacy Dawn, the protagonist, convinced Mr. Rump (Bernie Sanders) to help talk Mr. Prump (Donald Trump) into saving the universe. The allegory includes pressing issues that are being debated today, including illegal immigration and the refuge crisis, an issue that several European commentators have compared to cockroach infestation; extreme capitalism / consumerism vs. domestic spending for social supports; sexual harassment…. Mr. Prump in my story was a projection of Donald Trump based on the TV show, The Apprentice. The counterpart, Mr. Rump, was based on my understanding of positions held by Bernie Sanders as I wrote the story. Part of the negotiations in the story occur in the only high rise on planet Shptiludrp (Shop Until You Drop), a giant shopping mall and the center of economic governance, now more easily identifiable as Trump Tower. The allegory was not addressed by ARC reviewers of the novel because so few people worldwide considered Donald Trump to be a serious political contender until the primary elections in the U.S. The political allegory in the novel is obvious now that Donald Trump has become a household name.

 

Formats: Review copies are available in .pdf, .mobi, and .epub formats. With some exceptions, paperbacks for review are limited to the U.K. and the U.S. so as to avoid international shipping costs. If interested, please specify the format and I'll send you a copy.  

 

Sample Reviews of Final Edition: Requests for reviews of the new edition of Rarity from the Hollow are now being considered. On 1-6-17, the first was published, five stars. To facilitate your consideration of reviewing this novel, the closing lines were: "…Brilliant satires such as this are genius works of literature in the same class as Orwell’s 'Animal Farm.' I can picture American Lit professors sometime in the distant future placing this masterpiece on their reading list." https://marcha2014.wordpress. com/2017/01/06/5-stars-for- rarity-from-the-hollowby- robert-eggleton/

On 2-17-17, Dan'l Danehy-Oakes, a critic whose book reviews often appear in the New York Review of Science Fiction, published his review of the final edition, five stars: "…I know this all sounds pretty whack, and it is, but it's also quite moving. Lacy Dawn and her supporting cast - even Brownie, the dog - are some of the most engaging characters I've run across in a novel in some time…." http://sturgeonslawyer.livejournal.com/

“…It feels timeless, classic and mature in way that would ensure its longevity if more people knew about it… a distinctive approach to the adult-fairytale/modern-retelling sub-genre…I would even say it could be read in a college setting both for the craft itself and its unique brand of storytelling. The premise is brilliant." https://taylaroi.wordpress.com/2017/04/04/rarity-from-the-hollow-by-robert-eggleton-a-revised-book-review/

 

Sample Positive Reviews of Advance Review Copy: The ARC of this novel had a formatting error that has been corrected. The final edition reads much smoother. This problem likely affected some reviewers of the ARC. A few book bloggers have upgraded their reviews based on a review of the final edition and others may do the same. Despite the formatting problem, the ARC was awarded two Gold Medals by major book review organizations, was named one of the best releases of 2015 by a Bulgaria book critic, and received twenty-six five star reviews and forty-three four star reviews by independent book review bloggers. An unsolicited Top 100 Amazon Reviewer found:

 

"Rarity from the Hollow written by Robert Eggleton, to be fully honest, was much more than expected and a great read – semi-autobiographical literary work full of beautiful and ugly things, adventure, romance, pain and humor…."

 

Another reviewer of the ARC found that the writing style was one-quarter turn beyond that of Kurt Vonnegut. http://electricrev.net/2014/ 08/12/a-universe-on-the-edge/

The ARC was found by the editor of Atomjack Science Fiction Magazine, to be “laugh-out-loud funny” in some scenes. Long-time book critic, Barry Hunter, closed his review, “…good satire is hard to find and science fiction satire is even harder to find." http://thebaryonreview. blogspot.com/search?updated- min=2012-01-01T00:00:00-05:00& updated-max=2013-01-01T00:00: 00-05:00&max-results=50

Vonnegut, Douglas Adams (i.e., Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy), or Tom Robbins (i.e., Another Roadside Attraction) are also close examples by subgenre. A former Editor of Reader's Digest found that, "Rarity from the Hollow is the most enjoyable science fiction that I've read in several years…."  http://warriorpatient.com/ blog/?p=58 My novel was referred to as a Hillbilly version of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy  and awarded a gold medal by Awesome Indies:  “…Tucked between the folds of humor are some profound observations on human nature and modern society that you have to read to appreciate….”  http://awesomeindies.net/ai- approved-review-of-rarity- from-the-holly-by-robert- eggleton/  

With respect to the story's treatment of tough social issues, this reviewer said: "…I was hesitant to accept. I usually do not read or review books that discuss child abuse or domestic violence; however, I was intrigued by the excerpt and decided to give it a shot. I am glad that I took a risk; otherwise, I would have missed out on a fantastic story with a bright, resourceful, and strong protagonist that grabbed my heart and did not let go http://www.onmykindle.net/ 2015/11/rarity-from-hollow. html

A book reviewer from Bulgaria named Rarity from the Hollow as one of the best five books that he had read in 2015, along with Revival by Stephen King and The Martian by Andy Weir. http://codices.info/2015/12/ top-5-for-2015-ventsi/

On December 31, 2016, the ARC of Rarity from the Hollow was named a Top Pick for 2016: http://everyfreechance.com/2016/12/efcs-top-picks-of-2016.html.

On January 20, 2016, it was awarded a second Gold Medal by a popular book review site: https://readersfavorite.com/ book-review/rarity-from-the- hollow.

Additional praise of the ARC has been posted by book bloggers on Amazon.

 

Social Commentary: My work utilizes SF/F cross-genre as a backdrop. It is not hard science fiction and includes elements of fantasy, everyday horror, a ghost -- so it's a little paranormal, true-love type romance, mystery, and adventure. The content addresses social issues: poverty, domestic violence, child maltreatment, local and intergalactic economics, mental health concerns – including PTSD experienced by Veterans and the medicinal use of marijuana for treatment of Bipolar Disorder, Capitalism, and touches on the role of Jesus: “Jesus is everybody’s friend, not just humans.”

 

Writing Style: This novel is written in third person omniscient narrator. “…The author has created a new narrative format, something I’ve never seen before, with a standard third-person narration, interspersed, lightly, with first-person asides. This makes me think of Eugene O’Neill’s play Strange Interlude where internal and external dialogue are blended...partaking a little of the whimsical and nonsensical humor of Roger Zelazny or even Ron Goulart….” Jefferson Swycaffer, Affiliate, Fantasy Fan Federation. https://www.amazon.com/gp/customer-reviews/R1QI8J7NME5GE/ref=cm_cr_getr_d_rvw_ttl?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B017REIA44 Some of the inner thoughts of characters are in italics following the speaker's voice. For some busy book reviewers, this style could feel like it slows down the read and could result in head hopping if an attempt is made to read this novel too quickly, but for leisurely readers with time to contemplate it is a good fit. "…If it does not make you think, you are not really reading it…." http://www.onmykindle.net/ 2015/11/rarity-from-hollow. html      

 

About the Author: I recently retired after 52 years of contributions into the U.S. Social Security fund so that I could write and promote my fiction. I’m a former mental health psychotherapist in West Virginia . After coming home drained from working with child abuse victims, I didn't have the energy left to begin self-promotion of this project. Most of the successes listed above have been achieved in the last fifteen months following my retirement. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program in my home state. http://www.childhswv.org/ A listing of services that are supported can be found here: http://mountainrhinestones. blogspot.com/2015/06/review- giveaway-rarity-from-hollow- by.html.  

 

The Press: Dog Horn Publishing is a traditional small press located in Leeds . Adam Lowe is the owner. http://www.doghornpublishing. com/wordpress/books/rarity- from-the-hollow  The press also showcases other semi avant garde titles and publishes a popular magazine for the GLBTQ community (Vada).  

 

Supporting Information

 

The second edition of Rarity from the Hollow was released on November 3, 2016: http://www.lulu.com/shop/robert-eggleton/rarity-from-the-hollow/paperback/product-22910478.html. The eBook version was released on December 5, 2016: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B017REIA44/ref=tsm_1_fb_lk.  

 

Purchase links:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/ robert-eggleton/rarity-from- the-hollow/paperback/product- 22910478.html

http://www.amazon.com/Rarity- Hollow-Robert-Eggleton-ebook/ dp/B017REIA44

http://www.doghornpublishing. com/wordpress/books/rarity- from-the-hollow 

 

Public Author Contacts:

http://www.lacydawnadventures. com

https://www.goodreads.com/ book/show/32993259-rarity- from-the-hollow

https://www.facebook.com/Lacy- Dawn-Adventures- 573354432693864/

https://twitter.com/ roberteggleton1

https://plus.google.com/b/ 108662084126982201049/ 108662084126982201049/posts

https://www.linkedin.com/in/ robert-eggleton-909b154b?trk= nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic

 

 

 

An excerpt from Rarity from the Hollow:

From chapter 13, Mom I’d Like to Introduce You to My Fiancé:

            …..…Jenny (the mother) walked up the hill to Roundabend. She called Lacy Dawn's name every few yards. Her muddy tennis shoes slipped and slid.

            I hear her voice. Why won't she answer me? 

            “Sounds like she’s talking to someone,” Jenny said to the Woods. 

            Nobody responded. The trees weren't supposed to since Jenny was no longer a child. Her former best friends had made no long-term commitment beyond childhood victimization. They had not agreed to help her deal with domestic violence in adulthood. She hugged the closest tree.

            I will always love you guys. 

Jenny quickened her pace, stopped, and listened for human voices. A few yards later, she stopped again.   

            Now it sounds like she’s behind me instead of in front. 

            Jenny looked to the left of the path.

            There ain't no cave Roundabend, but there it is. 

            She walked toward the entrance. The voices grew louder and she looked inside. Lacy Dawn sat on a bright orange recliner. Tears streamed down her face.  Jenny ran to her daughter through a cave that didn't exit and into a blue light that did.

            “All right, you mother f**ker!”

            “Mom!” Lacy Dawn yelled. “You didn’t say, ‘It’s me’ like you're supposed to (a traditional announcement mentioned earlier in the story)."

            DotCom (the android) sat naked in a lotus position on the floor in front of the recliner.  Jenny covered Lacy Dawn with her body and glared at him.   

            "Grrrrr," emanated from Jenny.  It was a sound similar to the one that Brownie (Lacy Dawn's dog) made the entire time the food stamp woman was at their house.  It was a sound that filled the atmosphere with hate.  No one moved.  The spaceship’s door slid shut.

            “Mommmmmy, I can’t breathe. Get up.”

            “You make one move you sonofabitch and I’ll tear your heart out,” Jenny repositioned to take her weight off Lacy Dawn.

            Stay between them.

            “Mommy, he’s my friend. More than my friend, we’re going to get married when I'm old enough -- like when I turn fourteen. He’s my boyfriend -- what you call it -- my fiancé.” 

            “You been messin’ with my little girl you pervert!” Jenny readied to pounce. 

            “MOM!  Take a chill pill! He ain’t been messing with me. He’s a good person, or whatever. Anyway, he’s not a pervert. You need to just calm down and get off me.”

            Jenny stood up. DotCom stood up. Jenny’s jaw dropped.

            He ain't got no private parts, not even a little bump.   

            “DotCom, I’d like to introduce you to my mommy, Mrs. Jenny Hickman. Mommy, I’d like to introduce you to my fiancé, DotCom.”

            Jenny sat down on the recliner. Her face was less than a foot from DotCom’s crotch and she stared straight at it. It was smooth, hairless, and odor free.  

            “Mrs. Hickman, I apologize for any inconvenience that this misunderstanding has caused. It is very nice to meet you after having heard so much. You arrived earlier than expected. I did not have time to properly prepare and receive. Again, I apologize.” 

            I will need much more training if I'm ever assigned to a more formal setting than a cave, such as to the United Nations.

            “Come on, Mommy. Give him a hug or something.”      

            Jenny's left eye twitched. 

            DotCom put on clothing that Lacy Dawn had bought him at Goodwill. It hung a little loose until he modified his body. Lacy Dawn hugged her mother…    

            …(scene of Dwayne, the father, overheard by those in the spaceship while talking to himself)… “Besides, the transmitter was part of Daddy’s treatment. There're a lot of other things that he did to help fix Daddy. DotCom is like a doctor. You ca n see that Daddy has gotten better every day. And no, there ain’t no transmitter in you. DotCom figured you out like a good doctor and the only things wrong are a lack of opportunity and rotten teeth that poison your body. You don’t need no transmitter. He just gave you a few shots of ego boost. I don’t know what medicine that is, but I trust him. You ain't complained since the shots started -- not even with an upset stomach.”

            "He's a doctor?" Jenny asked.

            “What's your problem anyway?” Lacy Dawn asked. “I know.  You’re prejudiced. You told me that people have much more in common than they do that's different -- even if someone is a different color or religion, or from a different state than us. You told me to try to become friends because sometimes that person may need a good friend. Now, here you are acting like a butt hole about my boyfriend. You’re prejudiced because he’s different than us.”

            “Honey, he’s not even a person – that’s about as different as a boyfriend can get,” Jenny said.

            “So?”

            Mommy's right. Maybe I need a different argument.

            A fast clicking sound, a blur of motion, and a familiar smell assaulted them.

            "What's that?" Jenny asked. 

            She moved to protect her daughter from whatever threat loomed. Brownie, who had been granted 27 / 7 access to the ship, bounded over the orange recliner, knocked DotCom to the floor, licked DotCom’s face, and rubbed his head on Jenny’s leg. He then jumped onto the recliner and lay down. His tail wagged throughout. Jenny sat down on the recliner beside Brownie and looked at Lacy Dawn.

            “But, you were crying when I first came in. That thing was hurting you.” Jenny shook her finger at DotCom to emphasize a different argument against him.

            “Mommy, I'm so happy that I couldn’t help but cry. My man just came home from an out-of-state job. I didn't talk to him for a whole year. Before he left, he told me that he wasn’t even sure if he'd be able to come home. I still don’t know what happened while he was gone. We ain't had no chance to talk. All I know is that he's home and I'm sooooo happy.”

            “Your man came home from an out-of-state job?” Jenny patted Brownie on his head, some more and some more…. 

            It's unusual for a man to promise to come back home and ever be seen again. Brownie likes him and that's a good sign. Maybe she's right about him helping Dwayne. Something sure did and it wasn’t me. It is a nice living room. They've been together for a while and I ain't seen a mark on her. That's unusual too. He ain't got no private parts and that's another good thing. Hell, if I get in the middle, she’d just run off with him anyway. I'd better play it smart. I don't want to lose my baby. 

            “What about his stupid name?” Jenny asked.

            “I’ve got a stupid name, too. All the kids at school call me hick because my last name is Hickman.”

            “My name was given to me by my manager a very long time ago. It represents a respected tradition -- the persistent marketing of that which is not necessarily the most needed. I spam…,” DotCom said. 

            They both glared at him. 

            "Dwayne is sure to be home. I don’t want him to worry. Let’s go,” Jenny said. 

            “Okay, Mommy.”

            “I love you, DotCom,” Lacy Dawn stepped out the ship’s door, which had slid open. Brownie and Jenny were right behind her. 

            “I love you too,” DotCom said.

            Lacy Dawn and Jenny held hands and walked down the path toward home. The trees didn’t smile -- at least not so Jenny would notice. On the other hand, no living thing obstructed, intruded, or interfered with the rite.   

            Jenny sang to the Woods, “My little girl’s going to marry a doctor when she grows up, marry a doctor when she grows up, when she grows up.  My little girl’s going to marry a doctor when she grows up, marry a doctor when she grows up, when she grows up….”

 

About Robert:

Robert Eggleton has served as a children's advocate in an impoverished state for over forty years. He is best known for his investigative reports about children’s programs, most of which were published by the West Virginia Supreme Court where he worked from 1982 through 1997, and which also included publication of models of serving disadvantaged and homeless children in the community instead of in large institutions, research into foster care drift involving children bouncing from one home to the next -- never finding a permanent loving family, and statistical reports on the occurrence and correlates of child abuse and delinquency. Today, he is a recently retired children's psychotherapist from the mental health center in Charleston, West Virginia, where he specialized in helping victims cope with and overcome physical and sexual abuse, and other mental health concerns. Rarity from the Hollow is his debut novel and its release followed publication of three short Lacy Dawn Adventures in magazines: Wingspan Quarterly, Beyond Centauri, and Atomjack Science Fiction. Author proceeds have been donated to a child abuse prevention program operated by Children’s Home Society of West Virginia. http://www.childhswv.org/ Robert continues to write fiction with new adventures based on a protagonist that is a composite character of children he met when delivering group therapy services. The overall theme of his stories remains victimization to empowerment.

Review: Beware the Cuckoo by Julie Newman

Beware the Cuckoo - Julie Newman

Published by: Urbane Publications (18th May 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-1911129912

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 4*

 

Synopsis:

Two women. One man. A buried secret.

 

They were reunited at his funeral, school friends with a shared past. A past that is anything but straightforward. A past that harbours secrets and untruths.

 

Karen has a seemingly perfect life. An adoring husband, two wonderful children and a beautiful home. She has all she has ever wanted, living the dream. She also has a secret.

 

Sandra's once perfect life is rapidly unravelling. The man who meant everything to her had a dark side and her business is failing. To get her life back on track she needs to reclaim what is rightfully hers. She knows the secret.

 

As the past meets the present, truths are revealed - and both women understand the true cost of betrayal.

 

Review:

With  Beware the Cuckoo, Julie Newman has written a powerful debut centered around a sensitive subject matter. At times, this made for very uncomfortable reading. If you're the parent of a teenage girl, this book will certainly make you worry about what could happen right under your nose.

 

I like how the story is told in both present day and past tense, so we learn the story of Karen and Sandra's friendship from the beginning and the end at the same time. I found some parts of the story quite compelling, and others I managed to guess before they happened, hence just missing out on the 5* review. I was intrigued by the title of this book and not really sure what to expect, but I'm glad I decided to read it, it's really worth it. I recommend it to readers of psychological thrillers, crime and harder hitting women's fiction.

 

Thanks to Matthew Smith at Urbane Publications, Julie Newman and NetGalley for the ARC in return for my honest review.

 

Reading progress update: I've read 80%.

Beware the Cuckoo - Julie Newman

Review: The Frozen Woman by Jon Michelet

The Frozen Woman - Jon Michelet, Don Bartlett

Publisher: No Exit Press (21st Sept 2017)

 

ISBN-13: 978-1843442929

Source: Real Readers

Rating: 2*

 

Synopsis:

In the depths of the Norwegian winter, a woman s frozen corpse is discovered in the garden of a notorious ex-lawyer, Vilhelm Thygesen. She has been stabbed to death.

A young biker, a member of a gang once represented by the lawyer, is found dead in suspicious circumstances.

Thygesen starts receiving anonymous threats, and becomes ensnared in a web of violence, crime and blackmail that spreads across Northern Europe.

Does the frozen woman hold the key?

 

Review:

I have lost count of the number of times I have picked up The Frozen Woman over the past several weeks. Usually, I really enjoy nordic crime thrillers, and this has twice won Norway's best crime novel, so there is no reason that I should not thoroughly enjoy it. I just could not get into it. At my last attempt, I got about 40% in, and then just completely lost interest again. I persevered more than I normally would if I had bought the book rather than had been given it to review, but alas, it was not for me. Thank you to the nudge team for providing a copy for me to review via Real Readers.

Review: Summer at Buttercup Beach by Holly Martin

Summer at Buttercup Beach: A gorgeously uplifting and heartwarming romance - Holly Martin

Published by: Bookouture (27th June 2017

 

ISBN: 978-1786812018

 

Source: Netgalley

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

For two years Freya Greene has hidden the fact that she’s totally and utterly in love with her best friend Rome Lancaster. It’s not been easy – they work together in his glasswork business, she lives above his workshop and, he’s completely gorgeous. But Rome has never shown any sign of returning those feelings. Until now…

Lately they’ve shared affectionate touches and words heavy with meaning. Yet Freya knows Rome has a damaged heart. After losing his fiancé in a tragic accident, he’s not allowed himself to fall in love.

Freya has already had her heart broken by a man who couldn’t let go of a past love. Can she risk it happening again? Rome and Freya have a friendship that could blossom into something more. Are they both brave enough to take that chance?

 

Review:

I needed a touch of summer sunshine to break through the miserable rainy weather and cloud that had stolen my reading mojo - and Holly Martin seems to have provided the perfect prescription in Summer at Buttercup Beach!

 

The two main characters create gorgeous works of art together and have been friends for a long time. The ideal couple who just haven't got together - Freya is someone who I'd want to be friends with. She's the sort of person you could talk to about anything without fear of being judged. Rome would be your ideal best friend and boyfriend combined...kinda like my hubby if I'm honest! I was just itching for them to stop pussyfooting around and get together!

 

The setting of Buttercup Beach is gorgeous. The descriptions are lovely, makes you fall in love with the place and the people. I want to go and live on Hope Island right now! It's so beautifully written, it really was a dream to read and I just couldn't put it down, I started reading it at midnight and read it all through the night!

 

I feel I've really missed out as I've not read enough of Holly's books...I will be rectifying that straight away! This is such a feel good warm read, I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a comforting, uplifting read that will transport them to another place.

Review: Together by Julie Cohen

Together - Julie Cohen

Published by: Orion (13 July 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-1409171744

 

Source:  Publisher

 

Rating: 4.5*

 

Synopsis:

Is this a great love story?

Or a story about great love?
You decide.

 

On a morning that seems just like any other, Robbie wakes in his bed, his wife Emily asleep beside him, as always. He rises and dresses, makes his coffee, feeds his dogs, just as he usually would. But then he leaves Emily a letter and does something that will break her heart. As the years go back all the way to 1962, Robbie's actions become clearer as we discover the story of a couple with a terrible secret - one they will do absolutely anything to protect.

 

Review:

Together is the hauntingly beautiful tale of Robbie and Emily and their love for one another. Told backwards, this heartbreaking and deeply moving story is original, gripping and all-encompassing. I really like that out begins when the couple are older and works its way back, so we get to find out what it was like when they first met. I became so engrossed in Robbie and Emily's story, I was only vaguely aware of my surroundings.

 

The couple's secret, when it is revealed, is quite shocking. If I hadn't already guessed what that secret was, this book would have got a big 5 stars from me. I usually read crime, so perhaps that stood me in good stead for detective duties in uncovering the secret here!

 

Although this is the first book by this author that I've read, it certainly won't be the last. I am really impressed with her ability to draw the reader in and hold their attention. Special thanks to the publishers for providing an ARC in exchange for my unbiased review.

The Monk of Lantau by Mann Matharu

The Monk of Lantau - Mann Matharu

Published on 7th August 2015

 

ISBN: 978-1504987615

 

Source: Author provided review copy

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

The search for a meaningful existence is as universal as it is elusive. When obstacles to happiness and personal goals seem to riddle our horizons, where do we turn for answers? Meet Matthew, an average Londoner, a family man, intent on the all-too-normal pursuit of making a better life for himself and his family. When an accident threatens to become the proverbial straw that breaks his back, Matthew finds himself at a crossroad in his life. In the way the universe has of placing the right people in our lives at just the right time, Matthew happens upon a tale from an unlikely source, a tale of a man with mystical healing powers, someone Matthew can seek to restore balance and harmony to his life and heal his daughter, who is fighting for her own. As he traipses through Europe, the Middle East, India, and Asia in search of the healer, nothing about the beautiful, trying, and challenging outward journey compares to the progress he makes as he travels into the depths of his own being. Through Matthew's journey, we are given the keys to finding the healer for ourselves. Most importantly, readers are invited to harness the beauty and prosperity that come when we seek ways to recognize that we are all connected to each other and we are all marvellous and powerful creators of our own unique, stunning life stories.

 

Review:

I happened to be at a friend's house for the weekend when she mentioned she was reading this book. I was intrigued by both the title and the description, so when my friend said the author was looking for more reviewers, I turned a blind eye to my teetering TBR and offered my services. What follows is my unbiased review.

 

Although I was expecting the bulk of this book to follow Matthew on his journey, I wasn't prepared for the emotional attachment I made to him and some of the other characters

along the way. As Matthew travels through different countries and discovers more about himself, it made me really think about him. Although I have probably few of the same experiences as him; I'm not a parent, for example, I tried really hard to put myself in his place, something I think far too few people do in Western society.

 

I really enjoyed the way the story alternates between the different sets of characters. The story as a whole is really engaging. It's hard to say more and still avoid spoilers, but suffice to say this is one of those books that has touched me and that I will no doubt re-read from time to time.

 

Thanks to Jules for introducing me to this author. Thanks to Mann for the book and to Jules for sending it!

The Frozen Woman - Jon Michelet, Don Bartlett

DNF 40%

 

I tried several times to persevere with this but it just couldn't hold my interest. 

Ultraxenopia by M. A. Phipps is published today!

 

 

Ultraxenopia, a YA dystopian thriller by M. A. Phipps is published by Seven Sisters Publishing on August 1st 2017. I first read Ultraxenopia back when the author self-published in 2015 and it was my top read of that year. Despite not being a regular reader of YA fiction, the story of Wynter Reeves has long since stayed with me and I cannot recommend this book highly enough! 

Here is the stunning new cover image, designed by Nathalia Suellen.

 

 

Exerpt:

Don’t stand out. Blend in. Remain invisible. Those are the rules I lived by—the rules I thought would keep me alive. I was wrong.

Wynter Reeves is a law-abiding citizen of the State, a willing conformist whose daily life is haunted by terrorism and oppression. With the constant threat of death hanging over her like a shadow, she forces herself to live by a strict set of rules, all in the hope of ensuring she is never noticed. However, on her twenty-first birthday, as she prepares to take the placement exam that will determine her future within society, she begins to show symptoms of a rare and debilitating illness—ultimately attracting the attention of the State. Taken into the custody of the feared research facility known as the DSD, her worst nightmare becomes reality. Ripped away from the life she knew, Wynter is forced to become the test subject of the mysterious Dr. Richter. Through him, she learns the true and terrifying nature of her condition: a disease called Ultraxenopia.

 

Watch the brilliant trailer here

Support the thunderclap here - this means just one post on your social media :) no spam!

Join in the celebration at the release party on facebook later today (August 1st) here

 

About the author

 

M. A. PHIPPS is an American author who resides near the ocean in picturesque Cornwall with her husband, daughter, and their Jack Russell, Milo. A lover of the written word, it has always been her dream to become a published author, and it is her hope to expand into multiple genres of fiction. When she isn’t writing, you can find her counting down the days until the new season of Game of Thrones.

 

You can make contact with the author v via her official webpage here or via

Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest YouTube Amazon Bookbub goodreads

Official Fan Group

She'd love to hear from you!

 

Buy Ultraxenopia at:

Amazon US  UK 

Nook

iBooks

Kobo

 

 

Excerpt: 

“This isn’t how it looks,” I stammer.
A sarcastic laugh explodes from his lungs, echoing through the otherwise soundless bar.
“Really? Because, from where I’m standing, it looks like you’re one of them.”
“I’m not.” The words sound weak and unconvincing.
He pushes the barrel of the gun against my temple, and our faces are so close now that I can feel his heated breath against my lips.
“Why should I believe you?” he growls.
I tense my jaw, spitting my next words through clenched teeth. “If I was one of them, they would already be here,” I hiss back.
The State doesn’t play games. He must know that better than anyone. They wouldn’t waste time sending in a single person when they could more efficiently get the job done by sending a whole team. If I was one of them, the Enforcers would already be here. The State wouldn’t bother with this game of charades.
His expression doesn’t change, but I can see his true reaction in his gaze—the doubt that appears there. He seems to grasp that what I’ve said makes sense, but at the same time, can’t wrap his head around any other reason why I’d be here.
He wavers, and I can feel his uncertainty in the way the point of his gun wobbles against my skin. His eyes remain fixed on mine, making my heart race even faster. I only glance away when I notice a movement to my right. Looking up, I see another man now standing beside us.
“We can’t take any chances,” the man grumbles before spitting on the floor in front of me. “We should kill her to be sure.”
A deep-rooted panic washes over me, the fear like a smoldering and inextinguishable ember. Despite everything I’ve seen, I still have my doubts as to what’s really happening, and I can’t help worrying that this won’t end well. How can it? I won’t even be given the chance to defend myself.
He presses the gun even harder against my forehead, causing me to suck in a sharp breath. Our eyes lock once again.
“How do you know my name?”
I stare at him, trying to figure out the best way to answer his question. His hazel eyes are probing, but I find myself losing focus on his expression. His face has gone hazy, the bar even darker. The nausea from before returns with a vengeance, consuming my entire body and pressing down on me with a force that threatens to pin me to the floor.
I sway, lightheaded.
A strange trickling resonates around us, the sound deafening in the hushed bar. At first, I think I’m imagining it, but then I see the alarming change in his face.
His eyebrows pull together as he looks down, and suddenly, he’s taking a reflexive step back. I follow his gaze once more, my own vision doubling as I take in the tremendous pool of red that seems to surround me.
I watch the blood as it drips from my open wrist, the bandage soaked through and unravelling from its hiding place in the no longer white sleeve.
His eyes snap back to mine, and my every movement feels delayed as I glance up to meet them. The moment I do, the images from my vision flash through my thoughts, reminding me why I’m here.
I see his face. His hazel eyes.
I see his tears.
“I’m sorry, Wynter.”
Any and all light that the bar possessed vanishes in an instant, and the pain I had managed to forget hits me all at once. I gaze at him, concentrating on his face as much as my increasing blood loss will allow. Focusing on his eyes, which continue to stare back at me.
My lips pull into a smile as the darkness rushes to overcome me.
“I saw you,” I breathe.

 

Happy Publication Day! Red Days by M. L. Sparrow

Red Days - M L Sparrow

 

ULTRAXENOPIA by M.A. Phipps pre-order blitz

 

I'm super excited that Ultraxenopia, my top read of 2015, is being re-released by Seven Sisters Publishing on August 1st 2017. It has a simply breathtaking new cover image, designed by Nathalia Suellen.

 

 

Don’t stand out. Blend in. Remain invisible. Those are the rules I lived by—the rules I thought would keep me alive. I was wrong.

Wynter Reeves is a law-abiding citizen of the State, a willing conformist whose daily life is haunted by terrorism and oppression. With the constant threat of death hanging over her like a shadow, she forces herself to live by a strict set of rules, all in the hope of ensuring she is never noticed. However, on her twenty-first birthday, as she prepares to take the placement exam that will determine her future within society, she begins to show symptoms of a rare and debilitating illness—ultimately attracting the attention of the State. Taken into the custody of the feared research facility known as the DSD, her worst nightmare becomes reality. Ripped away from the life she knew, Wynter is forced to become the test subject of the mysterious Dr. Richter. Through him, she learns the true and terrifying nature of her condition: a disease called Ultraxenopia.

 

Watch the brilliant trailer here

Support the thunderclap here - this means just one post on your social media :) no spam!

Join in the celebration at the release party on August 1st here

 

 

M. A. PHIPPS is an American author who resides near the ocean in picturesque Cornwall with her husband, daughter, and their Jack Russell, Milo. A lover of the written word, it has always been her dream to become a published author, and it is her hope to expand into multiple genres of fiction. When she isn’t writing, you can find her counting down the days until the new season of Game of Thrones.

 

You can make contact with the author v via her official webpage here or via

Facebook Twitter Instagram Pinterest YouTube Amazon Bookbub goodreads

Official Fan Group

She'd love to hear from you!

 

Pre-Order Ultraxenopia at:

Amazon US  UK 

Nook

iBooks

Kobo

 

 

Excerpt: 

“This isn’t how it looks,” I stammer.
A sarcastic laugh explodes from his lungs, echoing through the otherwise soundless bar.
“Really? Because, from where I’m standing, it looks like you’re one of them.”
“I’m not.” The words sound weak and unconvincing.
He pushes the barrel of the gun against my temple, and our faces are so close now that I can feel his heated breath against my lips.
“Why should I believe you?” he growls.
I tense my jaw, spitting my next words through clenched teeth. “If I was one of them, they would already be here,” I hiss back.
The State doesn’t play games. He must know that better than anyone. They wouldn’t waste time sending in a single person when they could more efficiently get the job done by sending a whole team. If I was one of them, the Enforcers would already be here. The State wouldn’t bother with this game of charades.
His expression doesn’t change, but I can see his true reaction in his gaze—the doubt that appears there. He seems to grasp that what I’ve said makes sense, but at the same time, can’t wrap his head around any other reason why I’d be here.
He wavers, and I can feel his uncertainty in the way the point of his gun wobbles against my skin. His eyes remain fixed on mine, making my heart race even faster. I only glance away when I notice a movement to my right. Looking up, I see another man now standing beside us.
“We can’t take any chances,” the man grumbles before spitting on the floor in front of me. “We should kill her to be sure.”
A deep-rooted panic washes over me, the fear like a smoldering and inextinguishable ember. Despite everything I’ve seen, I still have my doubts as to what’s really happening, and I can’t help worrying that this won’t end well. How can it? I won’t even be given the chance to defend myself.
He presses the gun even harder against my forehead, causing me to suck in a sharp breath. Our eyes lock once again.
“How do you know my name?”
I stare at him, trying to figure out the best way to answer his question. His hazel eyes are probing, but I find myself losing focus on his expression. His face has gone hazy, the bar even darker. The nausea from before returns with a vengeance, consuming my entire body and pressing down on me with a force that threatens to pin me to the floor.
I sway, lightheaded.
A strange trickling resonates around us, the sound deafening in the hushed bar. At first, I think I’m imagining it, but then I see the alarming change in his face.
His eyebrows pull together as he looks down, and suddenly, he’s taking a reflexive step back. I follow his gaze once more, my own vision doubling as I take in the tremendous pool of red that seems to surround me.
I watch the blood as it drips from my open wrist, the bandage soaked through and unravelling from its hiding place in the no longer white sleeve.
His eyes snap back to mine, and my every movement feels delayed as I glance up to meet them. The moment I do, the images from my vision flash through my thoughts, reminding me why I’m here.
I see his face. His hazel eyes.
I see his tears.
“I’m sorry, Wynter.”
Any and all light that the bar possessed vanishes in an instant, and the pain I had managed to forget hits me all at once. I gaze at him, concentrating on his face as much as my increasing blood loss will allow. Focusing on his eyes, which continue to stare back at me.
My lips pull into a smile as the darkness rushes to overcome me.
“I saw you,” I breathe.

 

*COVER REVEAL* ULTRAXENOPIA BY M. A. PHIPPS

 

Title: Ultraxenopia
Author: M. A. Phipps
Genre: YA Dystopian Thriller
Cover Designer: Nathalia Suellen
Editor: Catherine Stovall (CLS Editing)
Expected Release Date: Aug. 1st, 2017
Publisher: Seven Sisters Publishing

 

Blurb:
Don’t stand out. Blend in. Remain invisible. Those are the rules I lived by—the rules I thought would keep me alive.

I was wrong.

Wynter Reeves is a law-abiding citizen of the State, a willing conformist whose daily life is haunted by terrorism and oppression. With the constant threat of death hanging over her like a shadow, she forces herself to live by a strict set of rules, all in the hope of ensuring she is never noticed. However, on her twenty-first birthday, as she prepares to take the placement exam that will determine her future within society, she begins to show symptoms of a rare and debilitating illness—ultimately attracting the attention of the State. Taken into the custody of the feared research facility known as the DSD, her worst nightmare becomes reality.

Ripped away from the life she knew, Wynter is forced to become the test subject of the mysterious Dr. Richter. Through him, she learns the true and terrifying nature of her condition: a disease called Ultraxenopia.

 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33806043-ultraxenopia

 

Author Bio:
M. A. PHIPPS is an American author who resides near the ocean in picturesque Cornwall with her husband, daughter, and their Jack Russell, Milo. A lover of the written word, it has always been her dream to become a published author, and it is her hope to expand into multiple genres of fiction. When she isn’t writing, you can find her counting down the days until the new season of Game of Thrones.

 

Author Links:
Official Webpage: http://www.maphipps.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authormaphipps/
Official Fan Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/436191730095124/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/authormaphipps
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13682371.M_A_Phipps
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authormaphipps/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/c/MAPhipps
Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/authormaphipps/
Amazon: http://amzn.to/2sF4HC5
BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/m-a-phipps

 

Excerpt:
“Her blood type,” she whispers in a hushed voice to the man. “It’s . . . changing.”
I may not know much about science, or anything medical having to do with the human body, but I know enough to be certain that what she’s saying isn’t possible. Not without unnatural intervention at least.
I gape at the man, but he doesn’t say anything. He doesn’t even seem to react to this news. His eyes follow the code for a while, and his fingers rub his chin as if deep in thought.
When the process is complete, the sphere stops spinning and sinks back to the desktop, landing with a soft thud against the glass surface. Within seconds of touching down, the metal exterior shifts until it’s once again nothing more than a silver bowl filled with blood.
The man straightens up, and everyone in the room watches him in silence, waiting for him to speak.
Including me.
“Fascinating,” he murmurs.
Without warning, he looks over at me, and my heart rate increases when his lips curl into a smile. For some reason, his expression is unnerving.
Moving toward me, his footsteps echo off the floor—the sound growing louder as the distance between us shrinks. His gaze never leaves mine.
Stopping just in front of me, he flashes a kind smile. “Hello, Wynter. My name is Dr. Richter. I’ll be taking care of you.”
Taking care of me?
“Why am I here?” I breathe. My voice is shaky, and the dryness in my throat is apparent in each raspy word. “What are you going to do to me?”
“Shh, hush now,” he whispers. “All of your questions will be answered in time.”
He smiles once again, only breaking eye contact with me to glance down at his hand. I follow his gaze, the fear re-emerging when I see him pull a syringe from the depths of his coat pocket. His eyes flash back to mine, and I know he can sense my fear as well as the piercing screams lodged in my throat.
“But for now,” he croons as he injects the syringe into one of the tubes in my right arm, “you must sleep.”
He takes a step away from me, that disconcerting expression still plastered across his face. I try to say something, but I’m unable to get out a single word before I feel the effects of the liquid as it enters my system. It rushes through me like a cold chill.
I want to fight against it, but it’s hopeless.
As the drowsiness returns to pull me under yet again, the doctor’s smile is all I can see.

Source: http://www.facebook.com/groups/436191730095124

Cover Reveal & competition! Red Days by M. L. Sparrow

Red Days - M L Sparrow

 

About the author:

M L Sparrow is currently the author of four full length novels and two short novellas, as well as a slew of short stories published in various places. Her novella, A Tangled Web, was a finalist in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

She will write pretty much anything that pops into her head, no matter the genre, and enjoys keeping her readers guessing as to what she will write next, though you can pretty much guarantee that there will be some degree of romance!

As well as writing, M L Sparrow enjoys travelling and has been to some amazing countries in the past few years, her favourite of which was Japan. She never fails to gather inspiration from her travels and has an endless supply of ideas for future novels…

To find out more check out her website – http://mlsparrow.wix.com/mlsparrow

 

 

You can send your screenshot via any of these methods...

Facebook   Twitter   Google+   Website   Goodreads

 

Pre-order via Amazon:

UK   US


About Red Days:

2017: 235 taken into captivity, 570 slaughtered.

Keiko never set out to be an activist, but when she’s sent on an assignment to Taiji, Japan, the ball is set in motion. Reporting on the brutal yearly slaughter of hundreds of dolphins alters her life.

Over the course of ten years Keiko follows the highs and lows of the campaign to stop the slaughter of dolphins in Japan and attempts to bring change through her articles. Will her efforts and that of many others be enough?

*Though fictional, Red Days is based on a series of true events up until January 2017*

 

 

An excerpt:

Someone had already switched the radio on and she listened to the soft strains of a new song by some up and coming artist as she popped the lid off her cup and leant back in her chair to sip her heavily sweetened coffee, licking foam from her lips.
Susie, the woman in the cubicle next to hers, arrived and called hello over the partition. Keiko listened to the sound of her laptop booting up and then the fast-paced click of fingers typing. Deciding she should do the same, she pulled her laptop out of her bag and rolled her chair closer to the desk. A minute later she was staring at a blank white page wondering what to write.
Thinking back to the documentary, the feelings she’d felt the night before returned. At once she felt as if she could write an entire novel and yet she could write nothing at all. The words were muddled in her brain but refused to flow down to her fingertips. She didn’t know where to start; the documentary had equipped her with an abundance of self-righteous feelings and yet she knew she didn’t know enough to begin the article yet.
As more people arrived, she threw herself into research. Just like the night before most of what popped up at first glance was related to the documentary, however she kept digging and was eventually able to uncover more in-depth information, such as official scientific papers on the lethal levels of mercury in dolphin meat, statistics showing the number of dolphins and other cetaceans killed in Taiji, and several articles predating 2009, as well as a protest in 2007 where celebrity surfers got into the water with a pod of captured piolet whales.
Although the surfers did nothing except form a peaceful, traditional surfers’ memorial circle, the fisherman converged on them immediately, shouting and using wooden poles to prod and harass them.
The morning sped by and she worked through lunch, only looking up when Celine appeared. Sheathed in a tight white dress, she stood in the doorway with a pout.
“Kiki, where were you? We were supposed to go to lunch, remember?”
Swivelling her chair around, she blinked up at her friend. After staring at words on a screen for so long her eyes felt tired and itchy, making her squint.
“I had to go with Georgie from accounting, do you know how boring she is?” Celine didn’t bother to lower her voice and Keiko winced, knowing how gossip spread in this firm.
“I’m sorry, I lost track of time.” Reflexively she glanced down at the notepad she’d filled with looping handwriting, the most important parts decorated with bright yellow highlighter.
Celine glanced down at the notepad too and then at the screen, curling her lips at the distasteful image of a bloody cove with dolphins being pulled out of the water and into fishing boats with curved hooks.
“Ew, that’s horrible.”
“I know right…” she opened her mouth to explain, but was interrupted.
“Turn that off. I don’t know why they even post pictures like that, no one wants to see them.”
“It’s an expose, Celine, the pictures are supposed to be horrific. It’s supposed to make people think and question what’s going on.”
Flicking her hair, Celine sniffed, unconvinced. “Whatever. Don’t forget lunch tomorrow.”
As she walked away, Keiko sighed and rolled her stiff neck. She made herself stare at the image on the screen, bloody and brutal as it was, until her vision began to blur and she had to blink.
Deciding coffee was needed, she stood on legs which were weak after sitting for so long. Up on her tiptoes, she peeked over the partition and asked Susie if she wanted one before heading over to the coffeemaker. A few minutes later, a steaming cup in each hand, she returned to find an email had popped up on her screen. Passing Susie’s coffee over the wall, she sat down and inhaled the bitter scent of burnt coffee, drowning out the noise of the office as she took a moment to relax, looking at the work she’d completed this morning with satisfaction.
After a few revitalizing sips, she checked to see who the email was from. It was Mr. Jacobs, asking to see her in his office in an hour. He probably wanted to check on her progress. She glanced at her work again and wondered if he would think it was enough.
Exactly an hour later, Keiko knocked on her boss’ door and was admitted into the spacious office where Mr. Jacobs sat at his big wooden desk with his back to a window with a view over the city. Fellow high-rises pierced the cloudy grey sky and if you peered into the distance you could make out a slice of the London Eye between two buildings.
Mr. Jacobs was on the phone, but he waved her inside and, covering the speaker for a moment, said, “Sit, sit. I’ll only be a minute.”
Doing as instructed, she crossed her ankles and adjusted her skirt.
Almost ten minutes later, he hung up and turned to her. “Sorry that took so long. Business calls always overrun.” He said the last as if she hadn’t just listened to him talking about golf and arranging to meet for drinks.
Clapping his hands together, he exclaimed, “So what did you think of The Cove?”
She’d been anticipating this question, yet still didn’t have a satisfactory answer. Strange for a journalist, but she often had trouble putting her thoughts into words.
“I thought it was… barbaric and I was amazed that most Japanese people don’t know about it, supposedly anyway. I don’t understand why this is only just coming to light if it has been going on for years. I was also shocked that they continue selling dolphin meat, even though it is proven to have toxic levels of mercury. How can they be so blinkered as to ignore scientific evidence? What will it take to make them see?”
His lips twitched into a smile, “Perhaps a well written article?”
She smiled back, though she thought it was doubtful. “When is the deadline?”
“We’ll sort that out upon your return,” he answered airily, standing up and walking over to his bookshelf, crammed with old books she doubted he’d actually read.
Suddenly his words penetrated. “Return? Where am I going?”
“Why, to Japan of course! I mentioned it yesterday.”
“No, Mr. Jacobs, you didn’t.”
He waved away her words with an impatient hand, “Oh, well, I’m telling you now. There’s a ticket here with your name on it – first class, no less, you lucky girl!”
Keiko eyed the ticket he picked up off the bookshelf with interest. Of course, she’d been to Japan before, in fact her grandparents lived in Wakayama Prefecture not far from Taiji, therefore, it wasn’t the thought of visiting Japan that excited her, rather the thought of a travelling assignment; her work rarely took her out of the office and never further than the outskirts of London. The more stimulating assignments were usually given to employees with more experience. Which made her wonder…
“Why are you sending me? I’m honoured, but this is a big story, wouldn’t you rather send Joel or Danielle; they usually do the big stories?”
“No, no, you’re the perfect person for the job, you’re Japanese so you’ll fit right in. Besides, this could be your big break.”
The closest Keiko had ever come to being discriminated against was in Primary School when a bunch of girls had run around calling her ‘chinky’ and pulling faces, but now she felt her stomach sink. She hadn’t been given this job because of her own merit, but rather because her parents were Japanese and she looked the part.
However, she pushed down the anger bubbling up, forcing herself to look at it from another angle. She had been given an opportunity, no matter the reason, and she would prove that she was worthy.
“Okay,” she nodded solemnly. “When do I leave?”
Frowning, clearly clueless, he lifted a pair of glasses from his desk and perched them on his nose, peering at the ticket in his hand. “It looks like the plane leaves at… 13:45 tomorrow.”
“Tomorrow!” the word came out as a loud squawk.
“It says so right here,” he said helpfully, handing over the boarding pass and tapped a finger upon the date.
She stared at him in exasperation. “But I can’t go tomorrow.”
“Oh, why not? Do you have plans over the weekend?” he seemed genuinely interested.
“Well, no, but it’s very short notice and… I’d need to pack and…” Trailing off, she bit her lip, unsure why she was arguing. “It’s short notice, but I can do it.”
A smile split his chubby face. “Excellent. Take the rest of the day off and go home and pack. I’ll have my secretary email you all the details.”
Standing, she nodded and went to leave, but his voice stopped her at the door. “I look forward to seeing what you come up with.”
“Thank you for this opportunity, Mr. Jacobs.”

 

'

 

 

Review: Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong by Gina Kirkham

Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong: The perfect laugh-out-loud comedy - Gina Kirkham

Published by: Urbane Publishing (18 May 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-1911331711

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 4*

 

Synopsis:

Meet Mavis Upton. As mummy to 7-year old Ella, surrogate to far too many pets and with a failed marriage under her belt, Mavis knows she needs to make some life-changing decisions. It's time to strike out into the world, to stand on her own two feet … to pursue a lifelong ambition to become a Police Officer. I mean, what could go wrong?

 

Supported by her quirky, malapropism-suffering mum, Mavis throws herself headlong into a world of uncertainty, self-discovery, fearless escapades, laughter and extra-large knickers. And using her newly discovered investigative skills, she reluctantly embarks on a search to find her errant dad who was last seen years before, making off with her mum's much needed coupon for a fabulous foam cup bra all the way from America.

 

Follow Mavis as she tackles everything life can throw at her, and revel in Gina Kirkham's humorous, poignant and moving story of an everyday girl who one day followed a dream.

 

Review:

Based on the author's experiences as a police officer, this book is funny yet touching in parts. Mavis herself is larger than life, getting herself into all sorts of mischief and is all the more likeable because of it. I'm not sure she's entirely believable, but that doesn't seem to matter one bit. 

 

I like that we get to see both sides of Mavis - the police officer and the mum/daughter. Her interaction with her fellow officers is great, I love the banter; it's like taking a step back in time into one of the British comedies of yesteryear. The interaction with her mum is fantastic too, had me laughing out loud!

 

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants a giggle, likes humorous books and likes a moving story. Thanks to Matthew at Urbane Publications and NetGalley for providing an ARC in return for my honest review.

 

GIDEON: THE BOER BLOOD by MALCOLM COLLEY

GIDEON: THE BOER BLOOD

 

Gideon_Boer Blood

 

THE AUTHOR

 

The author was born in South Africa in1942 and spent his teens of the 1950’s on a small farm just outside Naboomspruit in the Northern Province of South Africa, during which time he came to love the sounds, smells and sights of the bush. He did his basic training with 1st Special Service Battalion in Bloemfontein and has happy memories of army life in the bush. He also spent twenty-five years training in the martial arts.

During his work in a steel mill and underground in a diamond mine, he yearned to be back in the bush.

 

 

THE BOOK

 

By 1902 the British war against South Africa, the so called “Boer War” was over. Paul Kruger, attempted to negotiate a deal with Holland and Germany for arms and ammunition in exchange for gold. The arms and ammunition reached the port of Lorenco Marques but the gold, sent by Kruger, went missing.

Into this chaos of the aftermath of the war, with men, woman and children trying to make it back to the farms, Gideon Barron, an Irishman born in South Africa is accused of helping to steal the gold. Wounded, he escapes but is followed and hunted by his fellow Boers for treason.

 

 

INSPIRATION FOR THE BOOK

 

The disappearance of Kruger’s gold has always intrigued me. There are many stories, myths and legends about the whereabouts of this treasure. In this work of fiction adventure, I have put forward one possibility. I grew up in this area amongst these people whose stories to their grandchildren in the lamplight around the kitchen table, tell of the gold that may have changed the course of the war, told with the bitterness against the English.

Review: Electric Souk by Rose McGinty

Electric Souk - Rose McGinty

Published by: Urbane Publications (23rd March 2017)

 

ISBN: 978-1911129820

 

Source: NetGalley

 

Rating: 5*

 

Synopsis:

Ireland's gone bust, and with it Aisling Finn's life. She flees austerity for adventure in the desert. But the Arabia she finds is not that of her dreams. Everyone is chasing a fast buck, a fast woman and another G&T. Expats and locals alike prickle with paranoia. Debonair fixer, Brian Rothmann, charms Aisling with champagne brunches and nights at Bedouin camps. But is Brian a hero or a desperate expat prepared to go to any lengths to get what he wants? Is this Aisling? Or is he using her as bait? Her only hope is Hisham, a local activist. But where do his loyalties lie? Aisling faces severe peril when the sleazy expat and blood-lusting desert worlds collide, as the Arab Spring erupts. She has to ask, whom can she trust? Can she trust her instincts?

 

Review:

Rose McGinty's debut novel is quite unlike anything I've read before. It's difficult to know what genre I'd class it as because it has elements of many, but I guess 'thriller' is as good as any. The description is breathtakingly good; I can almost taste the fragrant spices and see the jewel coloured pashminas in the hustle and bustle of the night time souk.

The characters are similarly brought to life. Aisling is likeable and believable throughout, Brian is in turn both charming and loathsome and there are plenty of other characters to like and dislike, Mozah and Laila in particular.

Electric Souk is fascinating, frightening, heartwarming, gripping, horrific, and hauntingly descriptive. I found out utterly compelling and read it in two long sittings as I was unable to put it down once I'd started! It will appeal to a wide range of readers.

Thanks to Matthew at Urbane for the ARC, via NetGalley, in return for my honest review.

 

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