Sunday, 19 May 2019

The White Feather Killer by R.N. Morris




Good morning Bookaholics. Today, I bring you a review of a superb historical crime book. 

This is my first foray into reading R. N. Morris but I can assure you it won’t be my last. Although this is the fifth in the Silas Quinn Mystery series, it works beautifully as a stand alone book. In this book, Quinn finds himself in a somewhat awkward situation as the Special Crimes unit, which he headed up, has been closed down. This leaves him with no team and at the beck and call of a rather unpleasant colleague. This being World War 1, all those not joining up are handed white feathers, the universal sign for cowardice. When a young woman is murdered, with a white feather found in her mouth, the police are quick to arrest someone. However, Quinn feels the white feather is significant and continues the investigation. 



Morris is an outstanding writer and this character driven narrative is superb. Quinn is a well rounded character with a burning desire to see justice done, often to his own detriment. The plot is gripping. Just when you think everything is worked out another corner is turned and off it goes again. I truly loved this book and I am off to buy another in the series. If you like authentic, character driven, historical suspense, I would say this book is a must buy. 


https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B07QFSCCNQ/


I was given a copy of this book from Severn House Publishers via Netgalley. I was not at any time asked to write a positive review. My review is based on my reading, and enjoyment, of the book. 

Monday, 6 May 2019

The Migrant by Paul Alkazraji



Good morning Bookaholics. I hope you are in fine fettle and ready for another great week of reading. Have I got a treat in store for you. I am honoured to be kicking of the Blog Tour for Paul Alkazraji. Having read Paul's first book, I was looking forward to this one and he did not disappoint.

The Migrant is a cracking thriller, not the edge of your seat type but, one which uses pace to extremely good effect to heighten the tension and draw out the action. The very nature of this made me want to keep reading way past a sensible bedtime. It kept me from my own writing so that I could read it, and as regular readers of this blog know, that is not easily done. The main character, Jude, the pastor of a church in Albania, did not expect to be involved in a cat and mouse chase with various nefarious parties - as it says in the blurb - Fascist populists, callous sex-traffickers and murderous mafia gangs. Not your average day for a pastor. In fact, not your average day for most people. There are also political issues sprinkled throughout the book but this is done with a light touch so that it enhances rather than detracts from the story.

The characters are well rounded and believable. There are minor touches thrown in that give you a real sense of who they are. Jude and his wife resonated with me as they are people who care about others and put this above their own safety or needs. I liked Jude immensely and was rooting for him  for every step of his tense journey to rescue nineteen-year-old Alban. By the way, I love the fact the name is the first part of Albania. It appealed to me. 

The action moves between Albania and Greece. Alkarjazi is a master of description, using just enough that one gets a real sense of place. I've never been to Albania but could picture it perfectly and want to go there now. Without the gangsters, fascist populists, callous sex-traffickers or mafia gangs of course. I have been to Greece and Alkarjazi has this spot on. 



This is a Christian novel and the Christianity is important to the book. However, it does not overwhelm and this is a book which can be read by anyone. This is a good thing as I will certainly be recommending it to all my friends. And especially to you my bookaholic friends. This is a book you should buy and read now. You will not regret it. You can even click below, download and be reading before you know it.

    


Bye for now and I'll be back soon with another fantastic bookaholic post. Remember, keep on reading.

Paul Alkazraji

Paul is the author of 'The Migrant', a thriller set against the background of the European Migrant Crisis, and published by Instant Apostle on 15 February 2019. Paul worked as a freelance journalist in the UK from the mid-nineties. His was published in Christianity Magazine, The Christian Herald, The Church Times and The Baptist Times among other publications, and his travel articles were also published in The Independent.

Paul’s first book Love Changes Everything, a collection of seven testimonies, was published by Scripture Union in 2001, and his second, Heart of a Hooligan, a biography of ex-football hooligan Dave Jeal, was published by Highland Books in 2000. His third book Christ and the Kalashnikov, a biography of missionaries Ian and Caralee Loring, was published by Harper Collins in 2001. The Silencer, a thriller set in Albania, Greece and Turkey, was published by Highland Books in 2012.

Paul has lived and worked with the church in Albania for fifteen years. He likes listening to music, being by the Aegean Sea or Ohrid Lake, and skiing – when the snow comes!

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Eye Can Write by Jonathan Bryan


As a writer I am a member of a number of organisations, one of which is the Association of Christian Writers. One of our members is the inspiring Jonathan Bryan, a remarkable young man. The blurb from the back go his book gives a flavour of his story and why he felt inspired to write the book.

Eye Can Write by Jonathan Bryan

Can you imagine not being able to speak or communicate? The silence, the loneliness, the pain. But, inside you disappear to magical places, and even meet your best friend there. However, most of the time you remain imprisoned within the isolation. Waiting, longing, hoping. Until someone realises your potential and discovers your key, so your unlocking can begin. Now you are free, flying like a wild bird in the open sky. A voice for the voiceless.

Jonathan Bryan has severe cerebral palsy, a condition that makes him incapable of voluntary movement or speech. He was locked inside his own mind, aware of the outside world but unable to fully communicate with it until he found a way by using his eyes to laboriously choose individual letters, and through this make his thoughts known.

In Eye can Write, we read of his intense passion for life, his mischievous sense of fun, his hopes, his fears and what it's like to be him. This is a powerful book from an incredible young writer whose writing ability defies age or physical disability - a truly inspirational figure.

Was I was a nurse in. previous life, I also wanted to pick up on some of the issues surrounding his disability, and as. a Christian unpick his faith. 

How do you answer people who say: Why do you think God gave you this condition?

Late last year I was asked this specific question, and I found the premise behind it deeply flawed and offensive. Why do people think God gives out illness? The image it paints is of a God who is dispassionate about the people he has created and who dollops illness out, as a scientists might experiment on mice. But, this is not my understanding or experience of God; God is good and illness was never part of His plan.

My experience is that illness is also not a barrier to God’s plans for people, for He can transform every situation for good.

Today is the 9th anniversary of your transplant. What would you say to someone unsure of signing the donor register?
“Please reconsider”. For two years I was on the transplant list spending a morning three times a week on dialysis; it was a miserable half existence. My early memories are of debilitating sickness, hospital stays and feeling unwell. When I got my transplant, all that changed overnight. Transplants don’t just change lives, they give life.

To the family who gave my kidney I am eternally grateful.

Thank you, Jonathan, it has been a pleasure hosting you on the blog today. I wish you all the best with your future writing. I know we will be seeing more of you in the future.



Author Bio

Jonathan Bryan is the twelve-year-old author of Eye Can Write and founder of the charity, Teach Us Too (who are receiving all his proceeds from the book). Faith, family and friends sum up all that is important to him. He also passionately campaigns for all children to be taught to read and write regardless of their educational label, for which he has been awarded a Diana Legacy Award and a Pearson Young Person of the Year Award. Jonathan blogs at eyecantalk.net

Eye Can Write is available from Amazon and all good bookshops.





Wednesday, 7 November 2018

An escaped Buffalo. In Scotland? What?


As an author, it's always exciting when a new book comes out. However, this one has me more excited than most. This is my first picture book. 

Meet Bertie, Scotland's very own wee escape artist. The books have just arrived and I'm blown away. Barry Diaper, the illustrator, has done a stonking job, making the wee guy a bundle of cuteness. The illustrations bring my story to life.

He was well and truly launched at Waterstones, Dundee and Waterstones, Stirling on Saturday and the kids loved him. Adults are also falling in love with him at first site. I'll be honest and say I'm humbled at the response.

He doesn't hit the shops properly until 16th November but here's your chance to get a personalised signed copy before the date. You can do so through my website which has a sparkly new look and store.

You can also preorder through Amazon or at Waterstones or any bookshop. If you are in Dundee, I will be doing an event with Fiona Veitch Smith, author of the Young David and Young Joseph books at CLC Dundee on Saturday 10th November between 10.00 and 15.00. Bring the kids along to meet Bertie, Hezzie, Ari the Alpaca, Chloe the Cow and Sharon the Sheep. All these animals star in either Bertie the Buffalo, or Fiona's books. There will be readings, activities and treats for the kids.

I am sure you will love Bertie as much as I do.

If you are looking for Christmas presents with a difference, then signed personalised copies of Bertie, or any other of my books, would fit the bill nicely. 

About the Author

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, 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, will be released at the end of October 2018.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Scottish Mystery by Val Penny


Today on Bookaholic I welcome fellow Scottish Crime Writer, Val Penny. Welcome Val.



I am pleased to be visiting my friend Wendy's blog today.

My novel, 'Hunter's Revenge' is the second in my series of a crime thrillers that fall squarely within the Tartan Noire genre. The main protagonist is Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson.

The story begins in 1968 when Georg Reinbold has to flee from his home in East Germany after killing a Stasi officer.

Fast forward forty-five years and Hunter Wilson is called to the scene of a murder. He is devastated to find that the victim is his friend and colleague, George Reinbold. Hunter finds there is also a new source of cocaine coming into his city and into the jail. He requires the assistance of his nemesis, the former Chief Constable. Hunter's perseverance and patience are put to the test time after time in this taught crime thriller. Hunter by name – Hunter by nature: DI Hunter Wilson will not rest until Edinburgh is safe.

I set my novels in Edinburgh, the capital of Scotland because it is a city I know well. I did consider creating an imaginary town for Hunter. However, Edinburgh has everything a writer could need. It is a diverse city with all different kinds of buildings and people. It is small enough that characters can move around it quickly and large enough for it to be credible that anything I want to happen there, could happen.

Edinburgh is also a beautiful city with a castle, a palace and a cathedral, wealthy homes, horrible slums, fine restaurants, fast food outlets and idiosyncratic pubs. It is home to an Olympic size pool, the National Rugby Team and two famous football teams. What more could I or my characters want?

I am an American author living in SW Scotland. I have two adult daughters of whom I am justly proud and live with my husband and two cats. I have a Law degree from Edinburgh University and my MSc from Napier University.

I have had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However I have not yet achieved either of my childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, I have turned my hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels. My first crime novel, 'Hunter's Chase' was published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. 'Hunter's Revenge' launches on 09.09.2018 and I am now writing the third in the series, 'Hunter's Force'.

Thank you, Val. It's been a pleasure having you on Bookaholic. 

Bookaholics, I can assure you that Val\s Books are well worth grabbing and reading today.






You can find out more about Val at:



Sunday, 20 May 2018

The Fate of Kings


I like historical books but picked this up in a bookshop on a whim. The cover attracted me as did the storyline so decided to give it a shot. I am so glad I did. 

1793. As the Terror begins to cast a great shadow over France, Thomas Pryce, the new Vicar of Deal, crosses the Channel to find the missing parents of his beautiful French wife. Facing grave dangers, he makes his way to Brittany where he not only discovers the fate of his in-laws but also uncovers a plot which threatens to topple the British monarchy. Fighting against a sinister secret society in a race against time, Pryce battles to thwart the plans of a Parisian spymaster and his agents in London.
The Fate of Kings is the first in a series of gripping spy thrillers that will engross readers of C.J. Sansom, Dan Brown, as well as the many avid watchers of Poldark and Grantchester. In the first years of the British Secret Service, Thomas Pryce truly is the original James Bond.

From the first word to the last I couldn’t put this book down. The attention to historical detail is outstanding and makes the book fascinating. Yet it is woven into a story so gripping it does not overwhelm. The story moves along at a fast pace. At times my pulse was pounding, at others it felt like it had slowed right down. The characters are well developed and believable and I found myself caring what happened to them. Thomas Pryce is a strong main character who carries the story, yet all other characters are both realisticall and necessary. It is said that books are either character or plot driven, but each is equally important in this book. I believe, but am not sure, that this is Mark Stibbe’s first foray into fiction. If so, he has played a blinder. I cannot wait for the next one.








Friday, 18 May 2018

Holding Out for a Hero



Today on the blog I welcome Ian Nathaniel Cohen. Welcome Ian and thank you for this super helpful; post. I love the sound of the book.

There’s nothing like completing your first novel to dispel any illusions you have about how easy writing a book actually is. No matter how experienced of a writer you are, no matter how fluent in your chosen genre you’ve become, the process of turning a book from a mere idea into a ready-for-publication reality is most likely going to be harder than you expect. I certainly went through that with my first novel, The Brotherhood of the Black Flag, and it was quite the reality check. Sure, some parts of writing the book went more smoothly than others, but looking back, I don’t recall finding any of it easy.

That being said, no aspect of writing Black Flag was more difficult than coming up with my protagonist, Michael McNamara.

The Brotherhood of the Black Flag is a tribute to the classic Hollywood swashbucklers I grew up on, and a story like that requires a certain kind of hero. Rather than invoking the villain protagonist trope, I wanted my main character to actually be heroic, committed to doing the right thing. I already had my villain and their scheme in place, as well as some key supporting characters, so all that was missing was a hero to save the day.

Unfortunately, said hero was a complete blank slate for a long time. Even race, ethnicity, nationality, and gender were up in the air, only decided on when I “cast” James McAvoy (who I’m a big fan of) as my protagonist. Heck, I stumbled upon the name “McNamara” while looking for good names for my villain. Even worse, I had no idea how to answer the all-important question of what my main character wanted. I had no idea what would drive them to oppose the aforementioned villains and save said day. Every idea I tossed around seemed stale and uninspired. Revenge? Overdone. Anti-hero learns compassion? Overdone. Duty? Too confining.

Then, somehow, I had a “eureka moment” – one of several that enabled Black Flag’s eventual completion – when a question popped into my head from out of nowhere.

“What if he doesn’t know what he wants?”

Now I had something!

I’ve known people who, for one reason or another, weren’t able to get into certain careers they’d imagined they would when they were younger, or who’d lost their jobs and couldn’t find work in that same field. They all found themselves asking “well…now what?” Not only did it seem like an interesting character arc to play with, but also something readers could relate to and empathize with, either having gone through it themselves or knowing people who had.

Of course, I still had to come up with something for McNamara to want and achieve by story’s end. I also needed to piece together what he’d been doing previously (history cooperated beautifully in this regard). But at least I had a starting point, a foundation to build on. And the rest, as they say, is history.

***

Ian Nathaniel Cohen is a native of Miami, Florida, where he grew up immersing himself in swashbuckler literature and film. He graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2003 with a BA in Radio/Television Production and a Minor's Certificate in Applied Computer Science. He also received his MA in Asian Studies from Florida International University in 2006, where he teaches the course Asia Through Film as an adjunct lecturer. In 2010, his essay "Heroes & Villains of the East", analyzing the evolving depiction of the Japanese in Chinese and Hong Kong martial arts cinema, was published in FIU's Japan Studies Journal. He also writes a guest blog, the INCspotlight, on the website Channel Awesome, reviewing classic films, comic books, and video games. He made his debut as a novelist with The Brotherhood of the Black Flag in September 2017.

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