Author: fantasyst95

Sunday Summary – 26th January 2020

Hello, bookworms – I’m back with another Sunday Summary post! I hope you have had a lovely week? For personal reasons, mine has been very busy and consequently, the blogging and reading ended up on the back burner this week. From unexpectedly visiting neighbours and blogging in the evenings to appointments and such during the day, it’s been mad.

Even today has been totally different; I normally visit my parents on a Sunday but instead, I was helping my friend Vicky Quayle with her travel consultancy stall at a wedding fair. This is a plug, guys. Totally check her out – she can organise anything, whether you are local or not!

Amongst all this, I still managed to share a few posts this week! Firstly, I shared a guest post for 133 Hours by Zach Abram on Monday. In that post, the author talks about the event that inspired the book and how he had to alter the perspective to fit his main character, a twenty-five-year-old woman. Secondly, I shared another promo post on Tuesday. This post was for The Profit Motive by David Beckler. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time to read and review this book for the tour, however, I have downloaded a sample to try it!

On Thursday I shared a review of Agricola’s Bane by Nancy Jardine. This is the fourth book in The Celtic Fervour series and I have really enjoyed reading them. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Agricola’s Bane isn’t the last book of the series, which I expected it was. I can’t wait to see how Nancy wraps the story up. On Friday I shared another Shelf Control post, one of my regular Friday features. This week’s featured book is a sinister mystery novel set in a historical plague-ridden London. If that intrigues you, you can find out which book I am talking about by following the link above!

 

Books Read

This week hasn’t been the best for reading progress, but never mind! As I said above, I have had some other things on my plate that unfortunately take priority. So, this week I’ve only read around 15% of Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson. That takes me to just over a quarter of the way through. It’s not that much progress compared to my normal reading speed, but I’m definitely hoping to get back on track next week.

As much as progress has been lacking for Gardens of the Moon, I have actually done well with listening to Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff. I have definitely listened to more than usual this week! I’m over halfway to the end now – both a good thing and a bad one! Once it’s over… it’s over!

 

Books Discovered

I found a book I really liked the sound of on an email from Bookbub with daily deals. Wolf of Wessex sounds very similar to something else I read and enjoyed previously, so I have added it to my list to read. I won’t be getting around to it anytime soon, mind, but you can never have too many books lined up…

 

Coming Up…

My first blog post of next week is due to be published tomorrow. I am taking part in the blog tour for Two by K. J. McGillick, which you may remember I read last week. I am really looking forward to sharing my thoughts on this book, so I hope you can check that post out!

In a bid to catch up with my reading, I am going to take a few days off the blog and share my next post on Friday. As always, when I don’t have any obligations I share a regular feature post. This week, it’s the turn of a First Lines Friday post. Which book will I be featuring? Your guess is as good as mine right now!

Normally I post Sunday Summary’s at the end of the week, but I actually have a blog tour on Sunday. I have read a number of books by Jennifer Macaire already (The Road to Alexander series). Sunday’s review is for a related series, but instead of focussing on the life of Alexander the Great, this one is set in a completely different time period. If you want the details, you can find them in my review next week.

As a result, my Sunday Summary post will be shared first thing on Monday.

That’s all from me for this week’s Sunday Summary post – hopefully next week I’ll have a little more to talk about! What have you been reading? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Shelf Control #13 – 24/01/2020

After a month or so break, it’s time for my next Shelf control post! As always, in this post, I’ll be taking an in-depth look at the next book on my TBR and tell you what it is I really like, or what interests me about it!

As a refresher, Shelf Control is a meme run by Lisa at Bookshelf Fantasies. It’s a weekly celebration of the unread books on our shelves. Pick a book you own but haven’t read, write a post about it (suggestions: include what it’s about, why you want to read it, and when you got it), and link up!

For more info on what Shelf Control is all about, check out Lisa’s introductory post.

Shelf Control posts allow me to look in more depth at the books I have added to my TBR and listed as keepers in my Down the TBR Hole posts. It’s a great chance to talk about why I want to keep the featured book; it also acts as a second sweep for anything that I may have changed my mind about. I have actually deleted a few books doing this sweep. I don’t necessarily own all the books (yet), but I will have a reasonable number of them. I’ve also gone on to read a couple of the earliest books on the list, so this mini-series is proving useful!

Shall we check out today’s featured book?

 

The Thief Taker – C. S. Quinn

Goodreads – The Thief Taker

Purchase Links: Amazon UK      Amazon US     Waterstones

The year is 1665. Black Death ravages London. A killer stalks the streets in a plague doctor’s hood and mask…

When a girl is gruesomely murdered, thief taker Charlie Tuesday reluctantly agrees to take on the case. But the horrific remains tell him this is no isolated death. The killer’s mad appetites are part of a master plan that could destroy London and reveal the dark secrets of Charlie’s own past.

Now the thief taker must find this murderous mastermind before the plague obliterates the evidence street by street. This terrifying pursuit will take Charlie deep into the black underbelly of old London, where alchemy, witchcraft and blood-spells collide.

In a city drowned in darkness, death could be the most powerful magic of all.

 

My Thoughts…

I’m the first person to admit that I’m not that shy of the macabre in literature. The first thing that struck me about this book and screamed that I’d like to read it is its inclusion of The Black Death. The second thing was murder and the mystery behind it.

The synopsis hints at shady, sinister characters in the dark underbelly of a plagued London. A masked perpetrator walks the streets and it’s a race against time to identify them and prevent further deaths. Combine this with elements of witchcraft, “dark arts” or sorcery and I have very high expectations for this book! I get the impression from some of the reviews that this isn’t for the faint-hearted – I’m intrigued!

 

Have you read The Thief Taker? Would you recommend it? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Agricola’s Bane – Nancy Jardine

In today’s blog tour post I will be sharing my review Agricola’s Bane by Nancy Jardine, the fourth book in the Celtic Fervour series. You may recall that I have been reading the series for the blog tours organised for each book and I have really enjoyed being a part of it. If you haven’t read anything about the series or want to refresh yourself on the previous books, you will find my reviews of The Beltane Choice, After Whorl: Bran Reborn and After Whorl: Donning Double Cloaks with the links here. 


As always, I would like to say a huge thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the blog tour and to the author for provided my with a copy of Agricola’s Bane in exchange for an honest review. 

Now all the formalities are out of the way, let’s get into it!

Agricola’s Bane – Nancy Jardine

Goodreads – Agricola’s Bane

A.D. 84 Northern Roman Britain

Nith of Tarras helps Enya of Garrigill in the search for her kin, missing after the disastrous battle at Beinn na Ciche fought between the Caledonian warriors and the mighty Ancient Roman legions. Enya soon has a heartrending choice to make. Should she tread Vacomagi territory that’s swarming with Roman auxiliaries to find her brother? Or, should she head south in search of her cousin who has probably been enslaved by the Romans?

The Commander of the Britannic Legions and Governor of Britannia – General Gnaeus Iulius Agricola – is determined to claim more barbarian territory for the Roman Empire, indeed plans to invade the whole island, but finds not all decisions are his to make. It increasingly seems that the goddess, Fortuna, does not favour him.

The adventures of the Garrigill clan continue…

Purchase Link – mybook.to/ABsherenow

My Thoughts…

Agricola’s Bane picks up the tale of the Roman invasion of Britain after the battle of Beinn na Ciche and offers new perspectives to the increasingly developed tale. The Celtic fighting spirit remains strong despite adversity and the remaining clans have pulled together to face the threat once more. Prior to the Roman threat, the tribes kept themselves to themselves and even skirmished with each other. To see the boundaries of their stubborn independence gradually breakdown, the mistrust of each other slowly abate (in some more than others) and them finally see the benefits of working together is well written. The development of the whole, from communities to community is considered as well as each of many complex individuals within. I enjoyed the new characters, although I did find myself having to mentally double check who they were and how they related to existing characters on occasion. Unlike previous books, there are fewer overlaps to introduce them, or they played a minor role previously.

There is a fair amount of travel and movement of characters in Agricola’s Bane. I really enjoyed reading the beautiful descriptions of the countryside and geography; you can tell a lot of time, knowledge and effort are behind the narrative. There is plenty of action to keep the narrative moving along at a good pace. This can safely be said for all the books I have read in the series so far. The writing, content and character development are all consistently good throughout and the balance of action and description is just right for my taste. 

As ever, I have enjoyed the story from both sides of the battle lines. The Celts and their unyielding determination to remain free of the Roman yoke is inspiring to read. Equally, the complexity of the ever-expanding Roman empire and their struggles in a new challenging climate are really interesting too! 

I was originally under the impression that Agricola’s Bane was going to be the last book of the series. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the adventures of the Garrigill clan are not yet over! I can’t wait to see how the tale continues!

Giveaway to Win x1 signed paperback of Agricola’s Bane to one UK winner; X1 kindle copy worldwide

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494332/

Author Social Media Links

Blog: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.co.uk

Website:www.nancyjardineauthor.com/

Facebook: http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG & http://on.fb.me/1Kaeh5G

Twitter https://twitter.com/nansjar

Amazon Author page http://viewauthor.at/mybooksandnewspagehere

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5139590.Nancy_Jardine

Blog Tour Promo: The Profit Motive – David Beckler

Hello and welcome to today’s blog tour promotional post for The Profit Motive by David Beckler. If you like thriller novels then this just might be the next book to add to your reading list! I would have loved to read this for the tour, but having already signed up to a number of other tours, I couldn’t manage it! I have downloaded a sample of the book and added it to my own TBR list.

Would you like to learn more?

 

The Profit Motive – David Beckler

Mason & Sterling are back in a hard-boiled international thriller! Perfect for fans of Mark Dawson, J. B. Turner, Lee Child and David Baldacci…

How do you deal with an implacable foe in an alien land…?

Manchester, England, and Wenzhou, China, 2001

When firefighter Adam Sterling arrives at the scene of a horrific car crash, little does he imagine it will lead him back to his mother’s homeland.

Kate, the woman he pulls from the wreckage, needs his help. Her father has been left for dead after a hit-and-run, in Wenzhou, China.

She suspects it wasn’t an accident and so does Jie Gang, the senior policeman investigating the case, and whose efforts are obstructed from on high.

When events escalate, Kate employs Adam and Byron Mason, Adam’s best friend and fellow former Royal Marine, to go with her to China.

Catapulted into an alien environment, and unable to trust anyone, Mason and Sterling face escalating challenges.

The struggle becomes personal, and Adam has to confront a ruthless enemy determined to destroy him and Kate.

THE PROFIT MOTIVE is the second crime novel in the Mason & Sterling thriller series: gritty, hard-boiled page-turners with an urban setting.

 

Purchase Link – mybook.to/TheProfitMotive

 

Author Bio

I write fast-paced action thrillers populated with well-rounded characters.

Born in Addis Ababa in 1960, I spent my first eight years living on an agricultural college in rural Ethiopia where my love of reading developed. After dropping out of university I became a firefighter and served 19 years before leaving to start my own business.

I began writing in 2010 and use my work experiences to add realism to my fiction.

The Mason and Sterling series centre on two ex-Royal Marines, Byron who now runs a security company and Adam who is a firefighter. A strong cast of characters support my protagonists. Long Stop Books published Brotherhood, the first novel in the series, in September 2019 and will be publishing the second, The Profit Motive, on December 16th 2019. Brotherhood is set in Manchester and The Profit Motive in Manchester and Wenzhou, China.

I live in Manchester, my adopted home since 1984. In my spare time I try to keep fit—an increasingly difficult undertaking—listen to music, socialise and feed my voracious book habit.

Social Media Links

Website: www.davidbeckler.co.uk

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/davidbecklerauthor

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@DavidBeckler1

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8364947.David_Beckler

Bookbub https://www.bookbub.com/authors/david-beckler

Blog Tour: Guest Post – Zach Abrams

I’m running late as I dash across the concourse of Glasgow Central Station, hoping to reach my train before the doors close. The weather outside is atrocious and it’s difficult to keep my footing on the slippery wet tiles.

In the distance, rushing in my direction, I see a young lady lose her balance. One of her arms clutches her bag while the other flails the air, but to no avail. She spins out of control. Her hip crashes against a solid bench before she crumples to the ground. Her shoe is broken. She nurses injuries to her hip, her ankle and her pride. She looks pained and bewildered.

Should I offer assistance? Already, the chance of me reaching my train, before it leaves, is slight and it’s diminishing by the second.

I’m spared the dilemma of choosing. A young man arrives first and helps her to her feet. Is he a good Samaritan? Well, Glasgow is renowned as a friendly city. His arm is around her waist and I see words pass between them as they stagger off together towards a coffee stall.

What has just happened? An unfortunate mishap, undoubtedly, but what follows? Has there been a reuniting of friends, a meeting of strangers, the start of a romance, or something more sinister; the prelude to an abduction? If you’re writing a story, then it can be anything you want to imagine.

Something similar to this happened and I took in the scene. Although I wasn’t aware of it making a major impact on me, I must have noted the incident in the back of my head, because I recalled the event as I was writing my thriller, ‘133 Hours’.

Perhaps it was influenced by a dream, but I awoke one morning with the concept of a book I wanted to write. The story begins with my protagonist being shocked to realise she’s been missing for over five days with no recollection of where she’s been or of anything that’s happened to her. As my thoughts developed, preparing to start writing, I had a vivid recollection of the station incident. I thought a fictionalised version would make the perfect opening for my story.

I’m like everyone else: I witness and experience different things every day and some I find significant enough to tuck away in my memory. On rare occasions, I’ll make notes. However, often, I’m not even aware that I’m doing it, as I watch an incident or an event of everyday life. It could be something which amuses or shocks me, or maybe a simple observation of how things are. I store the image away, somewhere in my grey matter. Most of it will be forgotten or discarded, but every so often, I recollect a gem which fits perfectly into something I want to write.

My book, ‘133 Hours’ is written in the first person present tense. Because of this, the event had to be turned around. Instead of being the observer, I had to imagine being the unfortunate young lady who experiences the fall. Being a not so young male, it was a challenge to write an entire book from the viewpoint of a twenty-five-year-old female. It required a lot of consultation, a lot of research and a lot of imagination. I hope my readers are satisfied by the result.

 

133 Hours – Zach Abrams

Arriving at work to find she’s lost more than five-and-a-half days (133 hours), Briony Chaplin, has no recollection of where she’d been or what had happened to her. She is distraught. Has she been ill, or had a breakdown, or could she have been drugged and abducted?

Doubting her own sanity, Briony is fearful of what she’ll find. Yet she’s driven to discover the truth. When she trawls her memories, she’s terrified by visions, believing she may have been abused and raped.

Assisted by her friends Alesha and Jenny, and supported by a retired detective, she’s determined to learn where she’s been and why.

Purchase Links:  http://mybook.to/133    Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

Author Bio 

Having the background of a successful career in commerce and finance, Zach Abrams has spent many years writing reports, letters and presentations and it’s only fairly recently he started writing novels. “It’s a more honourable type of fiction,” he declares.

Writer of the Alex Warren Murder Mystery series, set in Scotland, Zach has also written the psychological thriller ‘Ring Fenced’ and the financial thriller ‘Source’, as well as collaborating with Elly Grant on a book of short stories.

Zach is currently producing a non-fiction series to help small businesses -using the collective title ‘Mind Your Own Business’. The first, ‘So, You Think You Want to be a Landlord’ is already available.

Social Media Links –

Website : http://zachabrams.wix.com/zach-abrams
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Zach-Abrams-author-463346010364540/
Twitter: @authorway

 

Sunday Summary – 19th January 2020

Hello, bookworms! It’s the end of another week, so of course, it’s time for another Sunday Summary post!

It’s been quite a busy week with plenty of blog tour posts to keep you entertained. On Monday I published my review of Million Eyes, a sci-fi conspiracy thriller novel. If you like science-fiction with elements of time travel, then I definitely recommend checking out my review!

Tuesday’s post was also a review, this time for The Violinist’s Apprentice by Isabella Mancini. This book also has elements of time travel but differs from Million Eyes in that it has a more historical fiction feel, with a focus on Italy in 1660 throughout.

I took a break from reviews on Friday and shared a First Lines Friday post. I featured a book that is on my TBR from a well-known author I am looking forward to trying!

Then on Saturday, I shared yet another review; this post was sharing my thoughts on a book read last month, Sixty Minutes by Tony Salter. This particular book is an exciting contemporary psychological thriller with a diverse variety of characters.

 

Books Read

Two was the first book I finished this week. I had not long started this book as of last week’s Sunday Summary post, but this didn’t take me long to read. Being familiar with a number of the characters from previous books made this really easy to get into. K J McGillick also has a really easy-to-read style of writing, so it’s no wonder I blitzed this.

The next book I picked up was A Crown in Time by Jennifer Macaire. I’ve read several books of hers in the last year or so, but A Crown in Time is a new interlinking series with a common theme to The Time for Alexander books, being time travel governed via the Tempus University. I actually finished reading this yesterday and I really enjoyed the focus of a different time period (the Crusades). The main character of the books couldn’t be more different from each other either. It was refreshing!

I started reading Gardens of the Moon yesterday as well. The oldest book on my TBR has finally been picked up. Seriously, I added this to my list over five years ago now – it’s overdue, majorly! I’m currently 11% of the way through the book, which is about sixty-odd pages.

I’ve listened to more of Darkdawn this week and even put in half an hour to an hour in the evenings before going to bed for a change. I did it on a whim on Friday night and it was actually a great way to wind down before going to sleep. So much so, I did it again on Saturday night too! Now, don’t try to tell me I’m not a twenty-something-year-old woman with an exciting nightlife, okay?!

 

Books Discovered

I’ve been pretty good this week and only added one book to my TBR. Following my blog post for Tony Salter’s Sixty Minutes, I added his debut novel to my reading list. I really like the sound of it and since I enjoyed the writing style of Sixty Minutes, I think I’ll enjoy this one too!

 

Coming Up…

I’m back on the blog tour blitz next week! My first post is scheduled for tomorrow, so we’re jumping straight into it! I’m excited to be sharing a guest post written by Zach Abrams about his book, 133 Hours. You may recall I reviewed another book of his, Ring Fenced, not too long ago! I would have liked to read and review 133 Hours too, however, I already had a lot of reviews for other blog tours I’d agreed to at this point.

I’m sharing a second blog tour post on Tuesday. I know – so many tours lately! I can’t help myself, honestly. This post is a promo, as again, I had no more time for reviews. This post will be featuring a book called The Profit Motive by David Beckler.

That’s me done for blog tours this week, so I’ll be sharing a lighter, fun post on Friday. It’s time to take a look at the TBR again and feature the next book on the list. This week’s book is a historical fiction novel with a sinister mystery plotline in the plague-ridden city of London.

 

Top Blog Posts of the Week

https://comfortreads13.wordpress.com/2020/01/16/book-review-long-bright-river-by-liz-moore-new-release/

 

And that’s a wrap for today’s Sunday Summary post! What have you been reading?

 

 

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Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Sixty Minutes – Tony Salter

I’m really pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for Sixty Minutes by Tony Salter today! The synopsis piqued my interest immediately. I also enjoyed reading something a little different and getting different perspectives on the run-up to a catastrophic event.

Thank you to Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and to the author for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review!

 

Sixty Minutes – Tony Salter

Goodreads – Sixty Minutes

Five different people. Five separate lives. Sixty minutes to bind them for ever.

Hassan, Jim, Shuna, Dan and Nadia come from very different worlds. If life were straightforward, their paths would never cross. But our lives are rarely that simple and, as the clock ticks away the minutes of a single hour on a July morning, fate draws all five together in a headlong rush towards disaster.

Who are the heroes and who are the villains?

Tony Salter’s latest novel leaves us guessing right up to the last page.

 

Purchase Links Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

One hour. That’s the difference between a normal day in the normal life of five very different characters, and disaster. As the minutes while away we learn about what brings the characters together in the epic race against time.

I enjoyed how the chapters are headed as the time of day on the approach to “the event” and divided between each of the main characters. Dividing the narrative in that way builds tension, without making each chapter too long. It also means we can keep track of each of the characters as there aren’t large gaps between their movements.

There’s a great deal of diversity between each of the main characters. Their different backgrounds, upbringing and life experiences have their consequences. Each character and their history is distinguishable from the other and explored individually without preference or bias. They are all told equally well and are well developed, enhancing the story. In addition to the five main characters, there are a plethora of supporting characters that pull everything together. The premise is a simple one, but written brilliantly to maximise the drama!

Even as a contemporary psychological thriller, Sixty Minutes has a lot to say that’s relevant to today’s society. It’s a tale of humanity, desperation and despair, but also of hope, unsung heroism and a fighting spirit to carry on despite adversity. I’m deliberately not saying anything about the characters of the story as I wouldn’t want to spoil it for anyone! For me, it was the element of mystery and vagueness of the synopsis that drew me in. There will be no spoiling the surprise for anyone else here.

I really enjoyed Sixty Minutes and I will definitely be reading some of Tony Salter’s other novels. I have already added his debut novel, Best Eaten Cold to the TBR!

 

Giveaway to Win 5 x PB copies of Sixty Minutes (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494327/

Author Bio

Tony’s latest thriller, Sixty Minutes, was released on 29th August 2019. Tony is the author of bestselling psychological thriller, Best Eaten Cold. He writes pacy contemporary thrillers which explore different themes, but all share Tony’s thought-provoking plots and richly-painted characters. Sixty Minutes is his fourth novel.

His second novel, The Old Orchard – a gripping family thriller – was published on the 7th of November 2017 and the sequel to Best Eaten Cold, – Cold Intent – was published in November 2018. Highlights of his early career include (in no particular order) three years as an oilfield engineer in the Egyptian desert, twelve years managing record companies for EMI Music in Greece, India and across Eastern Europe, running a caravan site in the South of France and being chauffeur to the French Consul in Sydney.

Having survived the Dotcom boom, he went on to be a founder of the world’s largest website for expatriates, a major music publisher and a successful hotel technology business. In amongst this, Tony found the time to backpack around the world twice (once in his twenties and once in his fifties), learn six languages (including Norwegian and Greek) and to find a beautiful Norwegian wife. He now lives in Oxfordshire and writes full-time. He has recently turned sixty and is married with three children and five grandchildren.

You can find out more about Tony at www.tonysalter.com

Social Media Links

https://twitter.com/TonyOxford

https://www.facebook.com/tonysalterauthor/

https://www.instagram.com/tonysalter2017/

 

First Lines Friday – 17/01/2020

I haven’t shared a First Lines Friday post in just over a month. Wow! What with Christmas and New Year, this type of post has been on hold on my blog. However, for a few weeks at least we are back! Today’s featured book is one that I picked up a good while ago from work, of all places. Someone had a sort through of their books and brought them in to see if anyone else wanted them.

I was good actually in just picking up this one! I have heard great things about this author, for reasons I hope will become apparent. It’s written by a renowned author and I wanted to try one of their books to see if I’ll be interested in the rest!

Anyway, let’s jump into the opening paragraph. Can you guess what, or who, it is?

 

My name is Sebastian Rudd, and though I am a well-known street lawyer, you will not see my name on billboards, on bus benches, or screaming at you from the yellow pages. I don’t pay to be seen on television, though I am often there. My name is not listed in any phone book. I do not maintain a traditional office. I carry a gun, legally, because my name and face tend to attract attention from the type of people who also carry guns and don’t mind using them. I live alone, usually sleep alone, and do not possess the patience and understanding to maintain friendships. The law is my life, always consuming and occasionally fulfilling. I wouldn’t call it a “jealous mistress” as some forgotten person once so famously did. It’s more like an overbearing wife who controls the check-book. There’s no way out.

 

 

Shall we find out what it is?

 

Rogue Lawyer – John Grisham

Goodreads – Rogue Lawyer

On the right side of the law. Sort of.

Sebastian Rudd is not your typical street lawyer. He works out of a customized bulletproof van, complete with Wi-Fi, a bar, a small fridge, fine leather chairs, a hidden gun compartment, and a heavily armed driver. He has no firm, no partners, no associates, and only one employee, his driver, who’s also his bodyguard, law clerk, confidant, and golf caddy. He lives alone in a small but extremely safe penthouse apartment, and his primary piece of furniture is a vintage pool table. He drinks small-batch bourbon and carries a gun.

Sebastian defends people other lawyers won’t go near: a drug-addled, tattooed kid rumored to be in a satanic cult, who is accused of molesting and murdering two little girls; a vicious crime lord on death row; a homeowner arrested for shooting at a SWAT team that mistakenly invaded his house.  Why these clients? Because he believes everyone is entitled to a fair trial, even if he, Sebastian, has to cheat to secure one. He hates injustice, doesn’t like insurance companies, banks, or big corporations; he distrusts all levels of government and laughs at the justice system’s notions of ethical behavior.

Sebastian Rudd is one of John Grisham’s most colorful, outrageous, and vividly drawn characters yet. Gritty, witty, and impossible to put down, Rogue Lawyer showcases the master of the legal thriller at his very best.

 

Purchase links: Amazon UK     Amazon US     Waterstones

 

Did you enjoy today’s First Lines Friday post and extract of Rogue Lawyer? Is it on your list to read as well? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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***Please note this post contains affiliate links, meaning that I will earn a small commission on purchases made through them. If you like what you read and are interested in purchasing a copy of the book(s) featured in this post, please consider using these links and supporting a book blogger!

Thank you!***

 

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: The Violinist’s Apprentice – Isabella Mancini

Hello readers! I’m back with another book review today, as promised. If like me, you enjoy time-travel blended with historical fiction, then this will be the second review in as many days that may be of interest to you! Where yesterday’s featured book encompassed many well known time periods throughout history, today’s featured book gives us a detailed, beautiful insight into Italy in 1660. The Violinist’s Apprentice is a dark, beautiful and intriguing novel encompassing time-travel, historical fiction and magical realism!

As always, I like to take the opportunity to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and inviting me to join the tour. As part of this tour there is also a giveaway being hosted, so don’t forget to check out the details below!

So, would you like to find out the details of the book?

 

The Violinist’s Apprentice

Goodreads – The Violinist’s Apprentice

A dark journey through time.

It’s on a group trip to Rome that something terrifying and mysterious happens, whirling musical Clementina back in time to 17th century Italy. Amidst court intrigue and creaking carriages, Rome becomes a chiaroscuro backdrop to her growing feelings for young violin-maker Antonio Stradivari. But soon he discovers that Clementina is not all she appears. She must surely be a witch.  How can she return to the 21st century again? Meanwhile, in an icy corner of the Arctic, a professor plots.

 

Purchase Links –  Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

The Violinist’s Apprentice is told predominantly from the viewpoint of Clementina. She is sent back in time to retrieve an invaluable artefact from the period – a Stradivari violin. A novice player of the violin herself, she becomes apprenticed to none other than the creator, Antonio Stradivarius himself.

The first thing that that really impressed me with this book is the descriptions! I’m not the sort of person that loves to travel; although Italy is the country I haven’t been to that I would like to visit. If I hadn’t gone into this book that way inclined already then I certainly would be by the time I finished! It’s easy to step into our MC Clemetina’s shoes and share the sights, smells and experiences she lives through.

I like that the gap in science and technology was bridged by a sort of magic, based loosely on the early understandings of science and chemistry. Otherwise, this would have been a very difficult tale to write and get to a conclusion. It incorporates a bit of magical realism into the narrative but I personally really enjoyed this. Something else I enjoyed is the variety of characters and the diversity in the interactions between them. I do feel there is a lot to learn about some of the characters though, which may be addressed if this is a series. There are a number of unexplained events and interactions that I feel could hint at a series being made of this, or otherwise need elaborating on more.

Italy in that period has its beauty and lavishness, but it does have its darker side too. The story touches on the previous devastation caused by civil war, and the consequences of plague and illness in the presence of many orphaned children. The tale isn’t painted through rose-tinted glasses by any means, but rather adds greater depth and background to a realistic portrayal of Italy at that time. Overall the historical element to the novel is pretty authentic.

 

Giveaway to Win a signed paperback of An Englishwoman in America (Open INT)

*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then Rachel’s Random Resources reserves the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time Rachel’s Random Resources will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494325/

 

Author Bio

Isabella Mancini is the nom de plume of prolific author Olga Swan, published by Crooked Cat Books. She has a BA Hons (Open) in English Language and Literature and a lifelong love for writing and language. For 12 years she lived in SW France, but returned to the UK in 2017, where she now lives in the West Midlands with her husband and elderly French rescue dog Bruno.

Previous books by Olga Swan:

An Englishwoman in America, From Paradis to Perdition, Pensioners in Paradise, The Mazurek Express,Lamplight, Vichyssoise, 3rd Degree Murder

 

Social Media Links –

Twitter: @IsabellaManci10.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ManciniIsabella1

Facebook Group: Books, Music and the Past

Amazon page for Isabella Mancini: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Isabella-Mancini/e/B08127KJJW/

Amazon page for Olga Swan:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B013IBD4PU

 

 

 

Blog Tour Review: Million Eyes – C. R. Berry

Today’s post is the second post of January’s blog tour season here at Reviewsfeed! I’ve signed up to no less than eight blog tours this month – there are just so many great books I want to feature! As always, before I jump into my review for Million Eyes by C. R. Berry, I’d like to thank Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour!

Million Eyes

Goodreads – Million Eyes

How do you fight an enemy who has a million eyes?

What if we’re living in an alternate timeline? What if the car crash that killed Princess Diana, the disappearance of the Princes in the Tower, and the shooting of King William II weren’t supposed to happen?

Ex-history teacher Gregory Ferro finds evidence that a cabal of time travellers is responsible for several key events in our history. These events all seem to hinge on a dry textbook published in 1995, referenced in a history book written in 1977 and mentioned in a letter to Edward III in 1348.

Ferro teams up with down-on-her-luck graduate Jennifer Larson to get to the truth and discover the relevance of a book that seems to defy the arrow of time. But the time travellers are watching closely. Soon the duo are targeted by assassins willing to rewrite history to bury them.

Million Eyes is a fast-paced conspiracy thriller about power, corruption and destiny.

 

Purchase Links – Elsewhen Press      Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

Trailer 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOLjecCfNSo

https://youtu.be/VzgW-oOOCj0

 

My Thoughts…

I’ve really enjoyed science-fiction and time travel-related novels lately. Once I would have said this was one of “my” genres, but the one I read the least. That’s not proving the case at the moment! I’ve read a number of great science-fiction novels and I think that is spurring me on to read more.

Million Eyes combines science-fiction and historical-fiction through its alternate timeline/time-travel premise and that works really well for me! They are both genres I read a lot of independently of each other. Now, I’ve read quite a few novels where the two genres overlap and I just love it! Add in the conspiracy thriller element to the novel as well and it makes for a brilliant read!

Million Eyes is a technology giant. Phones, televisions, laptops… you name it, they make it. Their products are consumed on masse and it has made them a very rich and powerful entity. That’s not the only technology they have created, however, and it’s certainly not all available to the public. When their biggest secret is sent back through time, they’ll do anything to get it back.

I really enjoyed how this story touches base with many different time periods throughout history. Each of the time periods has been chosen carefully so readers will be familiar with them. Even non-history readers are at least aware of The Black Death, The Wars of the Roses and most recently, the death of Princess Diana. Personally, I really enjoyed how this story involved the mystery of the Princes in the Tower and their disappearance.

Alternate timeline novels can get confusing if not written very well but this was definitely not the case with Million Eyes. It’s very clear as to when history has veered from its normal course. That said, the story also cleverly loops on itself and interacts with history as we know it, making you think that some of these events were always meant to happen.

I’m glad that this is the first book of a trilogy and I can’t wait to see the future books of the series published!

 

Author Bio

C.R. Berry caught the writing bug at the tender age of four and has never recovered. His earliest stories were filled with witches, monsters, evil headteachers, Disney characters and the occasional Dalek. He realised pretty quickly that his favourite characters were usually the villains. He wonders if that’s what led him to become a criminal lawyer. It’s certainly why he’s taken to writing conspiracy thrillers, where the baddies are numerous and everywhere.

After a few years getting a more rounded view of human nature’s darker side, he quit lawyering and turned to writing full-time. He now works as a freelance copywriter and novelist and blogs about conspiracy theories, time travel and otherworldly weirdness.

He was shortlisted in the 2018 Grindstone Literary International Novel Competition and has been published in numerous magazines and anthologies, including Storgy, Dark Tales, Theme of Absence and Suspense Magazine. He was also shortlisted in the Aeon Award Contest, highly commended by Writers’ Forum, and won second prize in the inaugural To Hull and Back Humorous Short Story Competition.

He grew up in Farnborough, Hampshire, a town he says has as much character as a broccoli. He’s since moved to the “much more interesting and charming” Haslemere in Surrey.

Social Media Links –

Website: https://crberryauthor.wordpress.com

http://millioneyes.co.uk/

https://gregoryferro.home.blog/

https://twitter.com/CRBerry1

https://www.facebook.com/CRBerry1/