Thursday, 21 May 2020

The Sandpit by Nicholas Shakespeare


Good morning bookaholics. The sun is shining here in Bonnie Dundee. The perfect type of day to grab a book and read in the garden. Have I got a treat for you today. A Cold War thriller which is happening now. 

This is a brilliant book. Shakespeare is a wordsmith, apparent in every carefully chosen word. The words paint a picture that start off gently, then pull you in to the tight plot. John Dyer, recently returned to Oxford from Brazil, leads a quiet life and looking after his young son. However, a supposedly chance meeting on the sidelines of a football pitch, drags him into a taut game of cat and mouse. Rustam Marvar, an Iranian scientist, tells Dyer about an earth shattering scientific discovery and then disappears. This leads to a story which intrigued and excites in breathtaking measure. The characters are complex and beautifully written, each with their own diverse personalities. I felt as if I knew them personally. In a couple of places there are some scientific explanations which could slow the plot down. However, these are handled well and were interesting. Would I read another book by this author? Very definitely. Would I recommend this one? Unreservedly. A beautifully written book which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I was captivated by this book and the well plotted narrative and genuinely could not stop reading. 
This isn’t out yet my Bookaholic friends but it is definitely one to pre-order. You can do so on Amazon I’ll be back soon with another great review. Until then keep reading. 

Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for an ARC of this book.



Tuesday, 28 April 2020

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert



Good afternoon, Bookaholics. As you know I usually read crime but I am stepping out of my comfort zone reading wise and I would encourage you to do the same. Lockdown is a time for trying new things when many of us have the time to do it.

This isn’t the usual type of book I read but I was looking for something completely different. I was a little unsure whether this would be the book for me but I don’t mind telling you, I was completely seduced. Elizabeth Gilbert is a brilliant writer. This is evident in every single word which she uses to good effect to draw me to a crescendo of emotions one minute followed by a diminuendo the next. It is some time since I have been so emotionally involved in a book. The story is told by an elderly lady, Vivian, to the unknown (to the reader), Angela. It is, at its most simple, the story of Vivian’s fascinating life. It is so much deeper than this, however. It is a microcosm of New York from the 1940’s onwards and the story of a group of people who live, work and love there. It is the story of a crumbling theatre and the people who work there. It is the story of awakening sensuality and sexuality, and yet is done with such sensitivity that the reader is drawn in. It is all of that and so much more I loved this book. I genuinely could not stop reading and desperately wanted to know what happened and who Angela was. A brilliantly executed story of the lives of a group of artistic temperaments who gel and are drawn toward each other. The characterisation is the best I have read and I read a lot. I would highly recommend this book to all women whether you read this genre or not. Elizabeth Gilbert is my new favourite author and I cannot wait to read more by her.





So as you can see, Bookaholics a fabulous book. I’m off to try another, so I’ll be back soon. If you haven’t read this one, seriously, buy it. You won’t regret it.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for an ARC of this book. At no point was I asked to write a positive review and my review is based on my reading, and enjoyment, of the book.

Sunday, 12 April 2020

Book Review - Sent: Living a Life That invites others to Jesus


Hello, Bookaholics, I’m back with another great book for you, this time for my Christian readers. Sometime a book comes along and you just have to share how good it is. This is one such book. 

Humanity is currently living in difficult times, However, we are also living in unique times, especially for Christians. We are in a unique position to lead our Christin lives, showing God’s love to those around us. In this book, the authors, Heather and Ashley Holleman issue a rallying call to lead our lives as sent - sent by God to those in whom we come into daily contact with. Those in our neighbourhoods, streets, offices, schools, and workplaces. They state the three pillars of leading a Sent Life as being

God is always working to bring people to himself
God uses people (us) to lead others to him
God invites us into the work of evangelism

Invites us right where we are, right now, right in this place. The book acts as both a rallying cry and a road map, to seek a deeper relationship with God and to seek relationships with others. From these relationships will grow a longing and a willingness to share God with others. 

The authors are skilled writers, who have a genuine love for God and for seeing others come to a personal relationship with him. This book reflects that in every page. There are exercises at the end of the chapters which you are encouraged to carry out. Both the book and the exercises are bible driven and rooted in scripture, as well as prayer,  at every stage. The book is designed that you can work through it as an individual or small group. 

This is a book which every Christian should read, it will transform your approach to Christianity and to evangelism. Whilst it is not yet out, it can be pre-ordered. 

Thank you to the publishers and Netgalley for an ARC of this book for review purposes. At no point was I asked to provide a positive review and my review is my own opinion based on my reading of the book.

   

That’s it for another day, My Bookaholics friends. This is well worth ore-ordering. You won’t regret it. 


Sunday, 5 April 2020

Book Review: The Music Box Enigma



Good afternoon, Bookaholics. If you like historical mystery with both grit and humour, have I got a book for you.

Having read, and thoroughly enjoyed, The White Feather Killer, bu this author, I was keen to read this latest book. R.N. Morris is fast becoming my favourite author and Silas Quinn my favourite detective. The victim is a thoroughly loathsome character and if someone hadn’t bumped him off, I might have been tempted myself. Quite frankly I’m not sure why anyone would want to investigate the murder but justice has to be done. Silas Quinn is a brilliant character - dogged, determined and clever. The cast of characters who surround him are bumbling and brilliant in turn. The addition of Edward Elgar as both a composer and a special Constable is a stroke of genius.  The story is part gritty crime, part P.G. Wodehouse and it works.  It trots along at a fair pace keeping the reader interested.. To borrow an overused phrase, there’s a twist you will never see coming. In this case it is seriously true. The ending was extraordinary and I was stunned. The historical aspect is well researched, well written and interesting, giving a sound basis for the setting and context. A superbly written book which I would highly recommend. 

It isn’t out quite yet but as we are all currently in lockdown this is one to pre-order and get reading the minute it is out.  

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the Advanced Reader Copy. I was not asked to write a positive review but as you can see, I loved it.


See you soon, Bookaholics, with another great review.  Until then, keep reading. 

Friday, 3 April 2020

The Christmas Fair Killer



Hello Bookaholics. I’ve a great in store for you today.

I would like to start by saying thank you to the publisher Severn House for the ARC of this book.

Amy Patricia Meade is a new author to me but I like cozy mysteries and as this had a literary and culinary theme, I was sold. I am so glad I found both the book and the author and I will be reading more of her books. I like the lighthearted fun but it is also a strong mystery.

The premise of the book is that the body of a young actress is found in a trailer for visiting Thespians at a Christmas Fair. The main character, Tish Tarragon has been hired to cater for the cast and crew of the production and, on finding the body, is catapulted into solving a murder. There is intrigue and red herrings aplenty and of course all those involved have a backs Tory and secrets to hide. All this, taken together, leads to a well written story which made me want to keep reading. There were laugh out loud moments. So, why four stars  instead of five. For me, it was a little slow to get going and I felt much of the first chapter was taken up with describing the literary name for various sandwiches and meals. I would have liked the storyline to start a little quicker. However, that may just be me and it soon picked up and the book rattled along. A great read which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Whilst this book isn’t out at the time of writing, you can preorder it and I would recommend that you do.  Well worth reading.


See you soon with another great book review. Until then, keep reading.




Friday, 28 February 2020

The Dead Won’t Wait


I’ve got a cracker for you today, Bookaholics. A historical mystery you won’t want to miss. 

You know with a Michael Jecks book you are going to get quality writing and a well written story. This one is no exception. Jecks is a master wordsmith and uses every word to good effect to bring mystery and intrigue washing about in liberal dollops of humour. The humour is well placed and although slightly over the top, enhances the story rather than overwhelms. I like this in a mystery. 

The characters are well rounded and quirky, especially Jack Blackjack himself. He has a retinue of servants but never takes himself to seriously. 

The historical context is well researched and well written, giving a real insight into Tudor times. I could feel myself being transported back in time and living in the story. This is the sign of a superb storyteller. 

I can highly recommend. 

I was given a copy of this via netgalley. At no time was I asked for a positive review. The review is based on my reading, and enjoyment, of the book. 

About me 

Wendy H Jones is the Amazon Number 1 best-selling author of the award winning DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries. Her Young Adult Mystery, The Dagger’s Curse was a finalist in the Woman Alive Readers Choice Award. She is also The President of the Scottish Association of Writers, the Webmaster for the Association of Christian Writers, an international public speaker, and runs conferences and workshops on writing, motivation and marketing. Wendy is the founder of Crime at the Castle, Scotland’s newest Crime Festival. She is the editor of a Lent Book, published by the Association of Christian Writers and also the editor of the forthcoming Christmas Anthology form the same publisher. Her first children's book, Bertie the Buffalo, was released in December 2018. Motivation Matters: Revolutionise Your Writing One Creative Step at a Time, was released in May 2019. She is also the author of The Writing and Marketing Show a podcast for authors to help them grow their business as writers. 

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Amazon Author Page

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Tuesday, 5 November 2019

Trainspotting Meets Hot Pursuit


Good morning, Bookaholics. Yes it is still morning as I write this in the UK. It's even earlier morning in Canada where today's post will take you. I am excited to reveal the cover and the preorder links for my friend, and fellow Princess of Pandemonium, Melanie Robertson-King's new book. This is romantic suspense of the sweet romance variety and I can assure you, you are in for a treat when you read this. Melanie is an exceptional writer. To get you in the mood, here's the blurb.

Hilary Dunbar is a uniformed constable with the Vancouver Police with an agenda to rid the streets of drugs, especially the bad ones the notorious dealer, Carlos Navarra, is trafficking.

Heroin addict, Erik Layne, has lived on the streets of Gastown for as long as he can remember, having left home and Toronto as a rebellious teenage addict. His and Hilary’s paths cross when she finds him unconscious in an alley after injecting a batch of the contaminated drug. He must fight for his life to keep from dying, not only from the tainted smack but also from the man who provided it.

A domestic disturbance call goes wrong, and Hilary suffers life-changing injuries as a result. As luck would have it, she and Erik are hospitalized in the same ward at Vancouver General Hospital. When she sinks into a deep depression, it’s he who pulls her out of her doldrums.

But will Hilary’s obsession with bringing down Navarra and others like him destroy their relationship and, more importantly, jeopardize their lives?


And just to really warm you up and get you ready here's an excerpt. 

Out on routine patrol, Constables Hilary Dunbar and her partner Lukas Stephanopoulos drove north on Cambie Street towards the Gastown Steam Clock. As they passed the end of Blood Alley, she shouted, “Back up. Something’s down there.”
“Your imagination getting the better of you again?” He teased, but pulled over to the curb and slowly reversed until they blocked the mouth of the narrow passage. 
Originally they called the lane Trounce Alley. Some maps still referred to the laneway as that. Others labelled the back street Blood Alley. Given the appearance, Hilary thought the latter more appropriate.
Window down, she trained the beam from the powerful spotlight mounted on the cruiser’s mirror into the alleyway. “See, beyond those dumpsters.”
“Likely just garbage.”
“Wait here; I’m going to take a closer look.”
Before exiting the car, she plucked a pair of nitrile gloves and the naloxone kit from the glove compartment. Once out, she shoved them in the pockets of her trousers. With the fingertips of her right hand brushing her gun holster and gripping the barrel of the torch in her left, she sidled towards the object. 
Graffiti tags covered the walls of the buildings as well as the wooden hydro poles. The farther into the confined space she crept, the hairs on the nape of her neck bristled beneath the bun in which she styled her black hair. Whatever was down there wasn’t rubbish, as Luke said. The pong of stale urine made her eyes water.
Past the second dumpster, the body of a young man leaned against the wall. Dishevelled and filthy, his body odour was strong enough to make the foulest of skunk spray seem mild. At first glance, he appeared dead. His skin had a bluish tinge, and weeping sores dotted his face. Dark circles surrounded his eyes. Inching forward, Hilary squatted beside him. 
A blood-filled syringe protruded from his left arm. Flashlight held under her chin; she donned the synthetic rubber gloves she brought with her and felt his neck for a pulse. The rhythmic throbbing beneath her fingertips, barely discernible.
The naloxone. The kit had been made available to officers who wanted the medication. Luke was against carrying the opioid blocker in the cruiser, but Hilary persuaded him. Now was the time to use it. She took the package out of her other trouser pocket, peeled the wrapper open and placed the nozzle in the victim’s left nostril and pressed the plunger. 
She keyed the mic on her handset and started to speak. “Constable Dunbar.” As though on cue, the nearby Steam Clock began whistling — no sense in trying to outperform the contraption. Wait for the completion of its proclamation of the top of the hour — Westminster chimes followed by singular whistle blasts counting out the time. Soon relative quiet returned and Hilary tried again. “Constable Dunbar. Badge 8652. I need an ambulance at Blood Alley and Cambie Street. Suspected drug overdose. Have administered four milligrams of Narcan nasal spray. No response as of yet.”
By now, Luke had the cruiser’s roof lights on. Blue, red and white alternating then running from the driver’s side to the passenger’s side of the vehicle.
The wail of the siren grew louder. In minutes, paramedics jumped out and trundled a stretcher and medical equipment to the stricken person.
Hilary stood back, letting them do their jobs. “I gave him Narcan,” she said, handing the spent plastic bottle to one of them. 
“He’s alive ... just. You found him in time. We’ve bagged the needle so they can run tests on the contents at the hospital. Figure out what he shot into his veins.”

I'm sure you will agree it sounds exciting. I can't wait to read it and have pre-ordered already. You can preorder the book as well via the links below. 

Anyone who comments on this blog will be entered into a prize draw to win an ebook cop of It Happened on Dufferin Terrace, the first book in the It Happened Series.

Everything you wanted to know about Melanie but were afraid to ask ...

A native of eastern Ontario, during her pre-school years, Melanie Robertson-King lived in a winterized cottage on the shore of the St Lawrence River. Before starting school, her family moved to Brockville, where she received her education, including a post-secondary degree in Computer Programming.

Growing up as an only child, Melanie was an avid reader and remains so to this day. She knew then one day she would be a writer. When she wasn’t talking about her dream of becoming an author, she wrote stories and began honing her skills at an early age.

Melanie’s father was a Scottish national. He came to Canada as a ‘Home Child’ through the auspices of The Orphan Homes of Scotland. She promised herself that one day, her feet would touch the soil in her father’s homeland. That first trip was in 1993, and she’s not looked back since, having returned to the auld country many more times and is looking forward to her next trip, possibly as soon as 2020. On one of her many trips to Scotland, Melanie had the honour of meeting Princess Anne (The Princess Royal) at the orphanage where her father was raised.

Encouraged to study Highland Dancing, she competed locally. Her final competition took place during the summer of 1969, a few short months after her father’s death, at the 1000 Islands Highland Games. In that last event, she won the Silver Medal in the Sword Dance.

Melanie began her professional writing career in non-fiction. One of her articles graced the cover of an international publication. At the same time, she continued to develop her writing voice: short stories (both fiction and non-fiction) as well as novel-length work.

Since her debut novel was published in the summer of 2012, Melanie has written seven more books (including two for children) and released the second edition of her first.

It Happened in Gastown is Melanie’s ninth book, and the second in the “It Happened” series of sweet romances set in picturesque locations across Canada.

Her short story, Cole’s Notes, has been re-edited and is available as a free read through her website and blog.

When not sequestered in her cave writing, plotting or editing, you’ll find her out and about. Favourite haunts (pardon the pun) are cemeteries (the older, the better) since they have more character, and perhaps a few more characters. She also loves travel and photography.



Melanie and fellow authors, Wendy H. Jones and Chris Longmuir, make up the infamous trio – the Princesses of Pandemonium.