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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

 

False Flag by Rachel Churcher ​​

False Flag Rachel Churcher coverKetty Smith is an instructor with the Recruit Training Service, turning sixteen-year-old conscripts into government fighters. She’s determined to win the job of lead instructor at Camp Bishop, but the arrival of Bex and her friends brings challenges she’s not ready to handle. Running from her own traumatic past, Ketty faces a choice: to make a stand, and expose a government conspiracy, or keep herself safe, and hope she’s working for the winning side.

The Battle Ground series is set in a dystopian near-future UK, after Brexit and Scottish independence.

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My Review:

In Battle Ground, the first book of the series, Ketty Smith was Bex Ellman’s nemesis and not a particularly nice person. However, there are two sides to this story.

Instead of following on from book 1, as I expected, this book revisits the same events only this time from Ketty’s point of view.

Although we already know what happened during this timeframe, the shift in viewpoint added depth and showed new aspects of the events.

I now understand Ketty as a person, although because of the ambiguous political backdrop to the story, I’m still unsure which side I should be rooting for!

I am enjoying this fascinating and plausible series and I’m looking forward to reading book 3.

 

The Author:
Rachel Churcher Author photoRachel Churcher was born between the last manned moon landing, and the first orbital Space Shuttle mission. She remembers watching the launch of STS-1, and falling in love with space flight, at the age of five. She fell in love with science fiction shortly after that, and in her teens she discovered dystopian fiction. In an effort to find out what she wanted to do with her life, she collected degrees and other qualifications in Geography, Science Fiction Studies, Architectural Technology, Childminding, and Writing for Radio.

She has worked as an editor on national and in-house magazines; as an IT trainer; and as a freelance writer and artist. She has renovated several properties, and has plenty of horror stories to tell about dangerous electrics and nightmare plumbers. She enjoys reading, travelling, stargazing, and eating good food with good friends – but nothing makes her as happy as writing fiction.

Her first published short story appeared in an anthology in 2014, and the Battle Ground series is her first long-form work. Rachel lives in East Anglia, in a house with a large library and a conservatory full of house plants. She would love to live on Mars, but only if she’s allowed to bring her books.

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Sunday Shelfies – Shelf Two

Time for my second post in my mini-series of Sunday Shelfies. Today it’s the turn of the shelf beneath last weeks‘.

Shelf 2

The books on this shelf sit behind a couple of my cats, and once again the majority of them are signed. The exceptions are Treaters by CJ Rutherford and Blind Date by Debbie Ioanna.

The books are shelved alphabetically by author – Adam Dreece to Heleen Kist.
I have read some of the books on this shelf, but many are still on my to-read list.

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Adam Dreece booksAdam Dreece is the author of The Yellow Hoods series, a world where steampunk and fairy tale meet, and which I loved. I have only ecopies of The Yellow Hoods books, however, the paperbacks I own and have also read are:

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Adrian Baldwin booksOf the two books by Adrian Baldwin, I have only read one, Barnacle Brat which is an intriguing and captivating, surreal story – unless you have a fear of clowns, luckily I don’t. Stanley McCloud Must Die! is sitting on my, ever growing, to-read list

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I won the four signed paperbacks by Alice White, but I’m sorry to say I haven’t got round to reading any of them yet… I will! The covers for The Blue Door series have been revamped since my win.

Alice White books

  • The Blue Door
  • Beyond The Blue Door
  • Return To The Blue Door
  • Twisted Labyrinth

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Wolf MoonI have read many books by C.D Gorri. Including the first five in the Grazi Kelly series, of which Wolf Moon is the first. I’ve also read some of the Macconwood Pack, Angela Tanner and Falk Clan series’.

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Sun StealersI have read Sun Stealers by C.J. Bridgeman, which I won in a Goodreads Giveaway.

Sun Stealers is the second book in The Spellweaver Chronicles.

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TreatersThe next book on the shelf is the awesome Treaters by C.J. Rutherford. Treaters is the first book in The Divine Conflict series, and I am waiting -ever so patiently- for the second book to be released. My copy of Treaters is not signed, but I hope that, at some time in the not too distant future, CJ, and his imaginary dragon, Claude, will pop across to England from their home in Ireland.

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StarburstStarburst, the first book of The Women of The Grey series by Carol James Marshall, is another of those books on my shelf that I still haven’t read.

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Travel GlassesTravel Glasses is the first book in The Call to Search Everywhen series by Chess Desalls. I’ve read and enjoyed this and the second book, Insight Kindling.
Book three, Time for the Lost, is on my to-read list.

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I’m sorry to say that the rest of the books on this shelf help to make up my ridiculously long to-read list.I will get round to them all… one day!

Many of them were bought at Indie Lit Fest in Bradford and are also new-to-me authors.

Carved Wooden HeartThe exception to this is Carved Wooden Heart. Although this book is as yet unread, I have read and enjoyed a few books by Elizabeth Horton-Newton, including Riddle and View From the Sixth Floor

  • The Devil You Know by Claire Marta
  • Abberton House by Debbie Ioanna
  • Blind Date by Debbie Ioanna
  • The Healing Paths of Fife by Diana Jackson
  • The Church of Freyr by Duncan Thompson
  • Within the Dark Places by Duncan Thompson
  • Where the Darkness Hides by Duncan Thompson
  • Aeon Infinitum by E. Rachael Hardcastle
  • Tragic Silence by E.C. Hibbs
  • The Libelle Papers by E.C. Hibbs
  • Sepia and Silver by E.C. Hibbs
  • Grave Misconception by Felicity Snowden
  • When Dead Men Won’t Lie by Felicity Snowden
  • Immortalis by G M Sherwin
  • In Servitude by Heleen Kist

 

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Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

 

The Botanist by L.K. Hill​

The BotanistIn the heat of the desert, Detective Cody Oliver inadvertently stumbles upon a strange garden adorned with exotic flowers. Upon closer inspection, he finds the garden is but a cover for the scores of bodies buried below. Soon, the small town of Mt. Dessicate plunges into chaos as journalists, reporters, and cameramen from across the nation descend upon the tiny, desert town to get a piece of the action.

Along with the media, a mysterious woman appears. She may be the only person who has come face to face with the killer, dubbed the Botanist, and lived to tell the tale. If Cody can’t piece together a timeline of the land the crime scene is located on, decipher how the woman’s mysterious past is connected to the killer, and bring the Botanist to justice, he may lose the people he values most.

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My Review:

A well written, captivating and nail-biting story from L. K. Hill.

Detective Cody Oliver stumbles across a burial site in the desert. From that moment the small town in which he lives descends into a mass of journalists and extra policemen as Cody and his colleagues attempt to track down the serial killer.

Having escaped the clutches of the killer previously, Alex Thompson returns to Mt. Dessicate to remind the investigators of her experience, and finds herself, once again, targeted by the murderer.

Although I guessed early on who the killer was, the twists and turns the author took me through to get there kept me turning the pages. The slow-burning romance between the two main characters was somewhat predictable but added another dimension to the story.

The book held my attention throughout. It was dark and thrilling, and with some descriptions of the brutal torture inflicted by the killer, probably not for the faint-hearted, but I will be adding more books by L.K. Hill to my to-read list.

 

The Author:

L.K. HillL.K. Hill is a pen name for author Liesel K Hill. She writes across three genres. Her historical romance is written under the pen name K.L. Conger. She writes scifi and fantasy, including dystopian, under her full name, Liesel K. Hill. Her crime fiction is written under her initials, L.K. Hill.

She comes from a large, tight-knit family and resides in Northern Utah. She loved to read and write at a young age, and her earliest memories consist of her father sitting in the doorway of her room at night, relating stories of Frodo, Gandalf, and the One Ring. Her mother also read to her every afternoon as a child, sometimes for several hours a day.

Today she is an award-winning author. She plans to keep writing until they nail her coffin shut. Or the Second Coming happens. Whichever comes first. ;D

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A Paris Fairy Tale by Marie Laval

 

Is Paris the city of happily ever afters?

A Paris Fairy TaleWorkaholic art historian Aurora Black doesn’t have time for fairy tales or Prince Charmings, even in the most romantic city in the world. She has recently been hired by a Parisian auction house for a job that could make or break her career. Unfortunately, daredevil journalist Cédric Castel seems intent on disrupting Aurora’s routine.

As Aurora and Cédric embark on a journey across France, they get more than they bargained for as they find themselves battling rogue antiques dealers and personal demons, not to mention a growing attraction to each other.

But with the help of a fairy godmother or two, could they both find their happily ever afters?

 

 

My Review:

A Paris Fairy Tale is the second book by Marie Laval that I’ve read. I enjoyed Little Pink Taxi, but this book is my favourite of the two.

Aurora Black is a dedicated workaholic with low self-esteem, because of the scars and limp she was left with after the car accident that killed her parents. She doesn’t remember much about them or her early childhood, although her Grandmother paints a picture of neglect and poverty due to her mother’s flighty attitude.

When we meet Aurora, she is leaving for France, as she’s been hired by Florent Maupas to work on a rare manuscript, previously thought to have been destroyed. Once in Paris, she meets Cédric Castel, a journalist who is suspicious of her and believes she is involved in the criminal activities of Maupas and his associates.

What follows is an exciting and intriguing story, with twists and shocking discoveries in both their professional and personal lives as Cédric and Aurora attempt to uncover the truth about the manuscript, and break down the barriers they have erected between each other.

A Paris Fairy Tale is a well-written, emotive, action-packed romantic suspense novel and was a delight to read.

 

The Author:

Marie LavalOriginally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in Lancashire with her family. She works full-time as a modern languages teacher, and in her spare times loves writing romance and dreaming about romantic heroes.

She writes both historical and contemporary romance, and her historical romance The Lion’s Embrace won the Gold Medal at the Global eBook Awards 2015 (category Historical Romance).

She is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and the Society of Authors. Her native France, as well as her passion for history and research, very much influences her writing, and all her novels have what she likes to call ‘a French twist’!

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Sunday Shelfies – Shelf One

Welcome to my mini-series of Sunday Shelfies.

Today I bring you the top shelf from one of my bookcases.

topshelf
On this shelf, sitting behind my little rock climber and a stone from the top of Snowdon, are thirty-three books from seven of my favourite authors (the shelf isn’t long enough to fit all my faves). I met these authors at the Indie Lit Fest in Bradford in 2017, 2018 and 2019. Not only are they great writers, but they are also wonderful people.

Most of the books on this shelf are signed by the authors and are amongst my most treasured possessions. Hopefully, the three that aren’t will be, the next time I meet up with their respective authors!

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Chris Turnbull

Starting at the left the first six books are by Chris Turnbull, three of which I have read, the other three are working their way up my to-read list.

 
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Dawn SinghI loved all four of D.M. Singh’s books and am eagerly waiting for the third book in the Regina series, Demons from the Ashes. Which Dawn assured me would be out by Christmas!

 

 

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Joe KiplingI enjoyed both books in The Union Trilogy by Joe Kipling and hopefully, I’ll be able to read the third before too long. The first time I met Joe, I bought Blinded by the light and was so nervous that I forgot to ask her to sign it.

 

 
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K.S. MarsdenMy shelf is missing a couple of K.S. Marsden’s books. I have Winter Trials and Awaken on my kindle, but I need the paperbacks too. Kelly is a fantastic author and I love her books.

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Maria GibbsMaria Gibbs’ short stories were a pleasure to read, and I am now reading this brilliant author and lovely lady’s series, Children from the Streets.

 

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Rose EnglishRose English is a fun and friendly lady, and a fabulous author. Her books are always delightful and entertaining.

I know I’ve read Rainbows & Roses and Young Ebenezer, but I can’t find my reviews anywhere online, so watch for those reviews coming soon.
 

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T.G. CampbellI recently started reading the Bow Street Society series and although I have only read the first book, I immediately added T.G. Campbell to my ‘Favourite Author’ list. The second book in the series is on my to-read list for this month. Tahnee is a fascinating lady and her passion for history shows, both in her books and when talking to her.

 

 
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In putting this post together I’ve noticed that my reviews are all over the place. I think I will have to address this situation as soon as I can find the time and figure out the best way to do it!

Saturday Spotlight

saturday spotlight

 

The Fourth Victim by John Mead​

the2bfourth2bvictimcoverWhitechapel is being gentrified. The many green spaces of the area, which typify London as a capital city, give the illusion of tranquility and clean air but are also places to find drug dealers, sexual encounters and murder…

Detective Sergeant Julie Lukula doesn’t dislike Inspector Matthew Merry but he has hardly set the world of the Murder Investigation Team East alight. And, it looks as if the inspector is already putting the death of the young female jogger, found in the park with fatal head injuries, down to a mugging gone wrong. The victim deserves more. However, the inspector isn’t ruling anything out – the evidence will, eventually, lead him to an answer.

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My Review:

I found this police procedural crime thriller both captivating and thrilling. It kept me turning the pages to discover more clues and try to figure out who the killer was.

The main characters, Inspector Matthew Merry and Detective Sergeant Julie Lukula were as different as chalk and cheese, but they worked well together to solve the case and catch the murderer.

It was a well-paced exciting story with twists and turns aplenty.

A small niggle for me, in what was otherwise a well-written and enthralling book, was that the DS was sometimes referred to as Julie and at other times as Lukula. There seemed to be no consistency or reason for it, and to start with I thought they were two different people which was somewhat confusing for a while.

 

The Author:
the2bfourth2b-author2bphotoJohn was born in the mid-fifties in East London, on part of the largest council estate ever built, and was the first pupil from his local secondary modern school to attend university. He has now taken early retirement to write, having spent the first part of his life working in education and the public sector. He was the director of a college, a senior school inspector for a local authority, and was head of a unit for young people with physical and mental health needs.

He has travelled extensively, from America to Tibet, and he enjoys visiting the theatre, reading and going to the pub. It is, perhaps, no surprise that he is an avid ‘people watcher’ and loves to find out about people, their lives, culture and history. When he is not travelling, going to the theatre or the pub; he writes.

Many of the occurrences recounted and the characters found in his novels are based on real incidents and people he has come across. Although he has allowed himself a wide degree of poetic licence in writing about the main characters, their motivations and the killings that are depicted.

John is currently working on a series of novels set in modern day London. These police procedurals examine the darker side of modern life in the East End of the city.

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August Round-up

monthly roundup

Books I read in August 2019

I didn’t have a Five on Friday to-read list for August as I knew I’d be busy and probably wouldn’t have managed to read 5 books. I did have three books that I’d promised to review during August, and thankfully  I read all three and even found time to read the second book of the Children from the Streets series, which I had started to read at the end of July, before accidently packing it.

 

My Reviews:

The Best Lousy Choice by Jim Nesbitt

The Coven History by Lily Luchesi

Duality by K. J. McGillick

Sins of the Father by Maria Gibbs

 

 

August