Tag: Fiction

First Lines Friday – 02/04/2021

Hi guys and welcome to today’s first First Lines Friday post!

I’m back to posting my First Lines Friday feature on a regular basis and I am thrilled to be sharing today’s featured book with you. It will probably surprise you that this is something I have read and enjoyed previously, as it doesn’t fall into my typical genre choice. I’m not a big reader of chick-lit, however this book is absolutely hilarious and I loved it! I first picked this up as a young teenager from my school library. Although I didn’t finish it all before I handed it back, it stuck with me enough to make me get myself a copy and read it again later. I hope you enjoy today’s opening lines as much as I did!

Do you recognise this introduction, or more likely, can you relate to it?

 

1:37 am: How did I get here? Can someone please tell me that? Not in this kitchen, I mean in this life. It is the morning of the school carol concert and I am hitting mince pies. No, let us be quite clear about this, I am distressing mince pies, an altogether more demanding and subtle process.

Discarding the Sainsbury luxury packaging, I winkle the pies out of their foil cups, place them on a chopping board and bring down a rolling pin on their blameless, floury faces. This is not as easy as it sounds, believe me. Hit the pies too hard and they drop a kind of fat-lady curtsy, skirts of pastry bulging out at the sides and the fruit starts to ooze. But with a firm, downward motion – imagine enough pressure to crush a small beetle – you can start a crumbly little landslide, giving the pastry pleasing home-made appearance. And home-made is what I’m after here. Home is where the heart is. Home is where the good mother is, baking for her children.

I Don’t Know How She Does It – Allison Pearson 

I Don’t Know How She Does It – Goodreads

Delightfully smart and heartbreakingly poignant, Allison Pearson’s smash debut novel has exploded onto bestseller lists as “The national anthem for working mothers.” Hedge-fund manager, wife, and mother of two, Kate Reddy manages to juggle nine currencies in five time zones and keep in step with the Teletubbies. But when she finds herself awake at 1:37 a.m. in a panic over the need to produce a homemade pie for her daughter’s school, she has to admit her life has become unrecognizable. With panache, wisdom, and uproarious wit, I Don’t Know How She Does It brilliantly dramatizes the dilemma of every working mom.

 

My Thoughts…

Having read I Don’t Know How She Does It, I can only look to role models like my mum and marvel at how they managed so well. Now that I’m a twenty-something-year-old woman I would like to say that I’m a bit less of a burden on my parents… Although perhaps not. I’m not going to ask! The prospect of having to spend so much time and energy keeping my head above water as a working mum is daunting. However, it is something I would like to do one day if I can. I think children are a reward in themselves – even if they can be trying at times (sorry mum)!

I don’t think I could not go to work, at least not for any length of time. But still, it’s a lot to manage and if anyone ever needs convincing of that I honestly stress you need to pick up this book. Kate Reddy deals with all these trials and tribulations on a daily basis. Her sense of humour is absolutely fantastic and it is because of the humour that I love this book! As I said, chick-lit isn’t normally something I would pick up and read. However, I’m glad that I made the exception for this one!

I hope you enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday feature! Have you read I Don’t Know How She Does It? If not, does this intro entice you to give it a go? Let me know in the comments!

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Blog Tour: Old Cases, New Colours – Madalyn Morgan

Hi guys and welcome to today’s blog tour post for Old Cases, New Colours by Madalyn Morgan.

I’m really excited to be taking part in today’s blog tour. It’s been a few months since my last one and I always like to feature new books and authors. As always, a huge thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour and giving me a spot in order to share today’s extract with you and to the author, Madalyn Morgan!

Before we jump into the extract of Old Cases, New Colours, here is a brief note on the events of the book: –

Intro: Paintings are being stolen and replaced by forgeries. When a Hogarthpainting goes missing en route from the Savoy Hotel to the art gallery and later turns up at Bow Street police station, Inspector Powell who Ena has known for many years asks if she and Henry would attend a pre-auction night at an art gallery owned by Giselle Aubrey, the goddaughter of a friend of his. While Henry, who was an artist before the war, authenticates the Hogarth Ena mingles.

Extract

Casting her gaze around the room, Ena noticed a middle-aged woman lift the glass lid of a display cabinet and take out a brooch. She then looked around and, unaware that Ena was watching her, unclipped the fastener on her evening bag and dropped the brooch in. Ena couldn’t believe anyone would be so brazen as to steal a valuable piece of jewellery in front of dozens of people. She stood open-mouthed looking at the woman when she realised she herself was being watched by an elderly man with silver hair. He smiled at her, creating soft creases at the corners of startling blue eyes.
The man’s smile made Ena feel awkward. She felt as if she had witnessed something very private – had been a fly on the wall of someone’s bedroom – instead of the theft of an item of jewellery. She turned away from the man’s gaze and, feigning interest in the paintings on the wall nearest to her, made her way across the room to Giselle.
As she approached the gallery owner, she heard Henry assuring her that the painting taken to Bow Street Police Station, was a genuine Hogarth.
Giselle threw her arms around Henry’s neck. ‘So, can I display it?’ Henry nodded. ‘Thank you,’ she gushed.
The Hogarth being genuine didn’t make sense to Ena. Had whoever stole the painting got cold feet and purposely left it at the back of The Savoy, hoping it would be found? Was it a bungled theft, or a genuine oversight? She didn’t believe for a second that the men transporting the painting from The Savoy to the gallery had left it behind by mistake. What then?
‘Ena?’ Giselle gave her a broad smile. ‘Did you want me or your wonderful husband?’
‘Well done, wonderful husband,’ Ena said with a twinkle in her eye. Henry lifted his glass to her. ‘It was you who I wanted to speak to.’ Ena wished she’d been able to tell Henry what she’d seen before speaking to Giselle. It was too late now; both her husband and the gallery owner were looking at her expectantly.
‘I’m sorry to have to tell you, Giselle, but I’ve just seen a woman in a turquoise dress -early fifties, plump with a pretty face and short fair curly hair -steal a brooch from one of the display cabinets.’
‘Did you see which brooch she took?’
‘I wasn’t close, but I could see it was a coral stone and there were other stones around it.’
‘I know the brooch you mean. It’s one of the most expensive pieces in the gallery. It was made by the French designer, Gilou Donat.’ Giselle looked past Ena. If the woman you described wants the brooch, her husband will buy it for her. I assure you she has no need to steal anything. He is very wealthy. And,’ Giselle said, ‘he is besotted with her.
He must be Ena thought. His wife did steal the brooch, both she and the woman’s husband saw her. Ena was fascinated to know why someone would steal something that they could so easily have bought, or asked for as a gift.
Giselle moved deftly among clusters of people standing around admiring the paintings, sculptures and jewellery on show. ‘Charles,’ she said, kissing the distinguished looking man with silver hair and the kind of tan you get from spending long periods in the South of France, not south London.
This is my friend, Ena. Ena, these lovely people are Priscilla and Charles. Can I help you with anything?’
‘Priscilla has taken a shine to the coral and pearl brooch.’
‘As always, you have impeccable taste, Priscilla. It is the only one of its kind. There have been no bids made on it, so it’s all yours. Would you like to take it with you tonight, or shall I have it sent to you tomorrow?’
The woman’s husband looked at her, a smile on his face and love in his eyes.
‘I’ll take it tonight, please, darling.’
’Giselle looked around the gallery, put up her hand and the man who had met Ena and Henry at the door and checked their tickets, made his way across the room to her.
‘Victor, would you take the Donat brooch form the showcase and put it in a presentation box.
‘I’d like to wear it now,’ Priscilla said.
‘Even better. It will look beautiful on your dress,’ Giselle turned to Priscilla’s husband.
‘I’ll have Victor bring the box to your office tomorrow with the invoice.’
‘Thank you,’ he said.
Certain that the case was already unlocked, Ena watched as Victor took a small key from his waistcoat pocket. He inserted the key in the lock, turned it and the case opened. As big as he was, Victor skilfully lifted up the brooch and gave it to the woman who passed it to her husband. He lovingly pinned the brooch of coral and pearls onto her turquoise dress and stepped back. He exclaimed how beautiful she looked and she giggled like an excited child.
Victor, his job done, locked the cabinet. After returning the key to his waistcoat pocket, he straightened his jacket, gave a short nod to his boss and went back to his post by the door.
‘I’m going to powder my nose, darling,’ Pricilla said to her husband, ‘I won’t be long.’
I need to spend a penny too, Ena thought and followed her.

So, that’s today’s extract from Old Cases, New Colours! I hope you enjoyed reading this extract as much as I did! If you want to find out more about the details of the book and the author, you can find them below: –

Old Cases, New Colours (A Dudley Green Investigation)- Madalyn Morgan

Sick of working in a world of spies and bureaucracy, Ena Green, nee Dudley, leaves the Home Office and starts her own investigating agency. Working for herself she can choose which investigations to take and, more importantly, which to
turn down.
While working on two investigations, Ena is called as a prosecution witness in the Old Bailey trial of a
cold-blooded killer who she exposed as a spy the year before.
Purchase Links –    Amazon UK     Amazon US

Author Bio

I was bought up in a pub in a small market town called Lutterworth. For as long as I can remember, my dream was to be an actress and a writer. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live with so many characters to study and accents to learn. I was offered Crossroads the
first time around. However, my mother wanted me to have a ‘proper’ job that I could fall back on if I needed to, so I did a hairdressing apprenticeship. Eight years later, aged twenty-four, I gave up a successful salon and wig-hire business in the theatre for a place at East 15 Drama College and a career as an actress, working in Repertory theatre, the West End, film and television.
In 1995, with fewer parts for older actresses, I gave up acting. I taught myself to touch-type, completed a two-year correspondence course with The Writer’s Bureau and began writing articles and presenting radio.
In 2010, after living in London for thirty-six years, I moved back to Lutterworth. I swapped two window boxes and a mortgage for a garden and the freedom to write. Since then, I have written nine
novels. The first four, The Dudley Sisters’ Saga, tell the stories of four sisters in World War 2. My current novel, Old Cases, New Colours, is a thriller/detective story set in 1960. I am writing Christmas book – Christmas Applause – and a Memoir; a collection of short stories, articles, poems, photographs and character breakdowns from my days as an actress.

Social Media Links –
Madalyn Morgan’s books- https://www.amazon.co.uk/Madalyn-Morgan/e/B00J7VO9I2

Blog – https://madalynmorgan.wordpress.com/
Facebook – www.facebook.com/madalyn.morgan1

Twitter – www.twitter.com/ActScribblerDJ
Pinterest – www.pinterest.co.uk/madalynmorgan
Instagram – www.instagram.co.uk/madalynmorgan1

First Lines Friday – 19/03/2021

Hi guys and welcome to today’s first First Lines Friday post for a number of months!

It has been a long time since I posted this series in any regularity and that is something I’m looking to change. I really enjoy featuring these posts as they great fun to write (I confess they’re also quite easy to write!) But most of all give me the opportunity to allow the featured book to speak for itself!

For me, the first impression of a book comes from the opening pages. More important than the cover, the blurb and even the author who wrote it; the opening paragraph will make or break a book for me. I can’t get on with the narrative voice that’s a significant problem. I’m open to trying a lot of new things and so it’s all the more reason why the first impression counts.

Today’s featured book really does speak for itself and paves the way for a fantastic series I have come to love. I’m sure there are many people out there who also will have read and loved the series, but if you haven’t, it’s a pleasure to introduce you. So, without further ado, here are the opening lines to today’s featured novel.

 

People often shit themselves when they die.

Their muscles slack and their souls flutter free and everything else just… slips out. For all their audience’s love of death, the playwrights seldom mention it. When our hero breathes his last in his heroine’s arms, they call no attention to the stain leaking across his tights, or how the stink makes her eyes water as she leans in for her farewell kiss.

I mention this by way of warning, oh, my gentlefriends, that your narrator shares no such restraint. And if the unpleasant realities of bloodshed turn your insides to water, be advised now that the pages in your hands speak of a girl who was to murder as maestros are to music. Who did to happy ever afters what a sawblade does to skin.

She is dead herself, now – words both the wicked and the just would give an eyeteeth smile to hear. A republic in ashes behind her. A city of bridges and bones laid at the bottom of the sea by her hand. And yet I’m sure she’d still find a way to kill me if she knew I put these words to paper. Open me up and leave me for the hungry Dark. But I think someone should at least try to separate her from the lies told about her. Through her. By her.

Someone who knew her true.

A girl some called Pale Daughter. Or Kingmaker. Or Crow. But most often, nothing at all. A killer of killers, whose tally of endings only the goddess and I truly know. And was she famous or infamous for it at the end? All this death? I confess I could never see the difference. But then, I’ve never seen things the way you have.

Never truly lived in the world you call your own.

Nor did she, really.

I think that’s why I loved her.

 

Do you recognise this intro at all? If not, here are the details of the book! 

 

Nevernight – Jay Kristoff 

Nevernight

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff | Goodreads

In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.

Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.

Now, Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic—the Red Church. If she bests her fellow students in contests of steel, poison and the subtle arts, she’ll be inducted among the Blades of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the vengeance she desires. But a killer is loose within the Church’s halls, the bloody secrets of Mia’s past return to haunt her, and a plot to bring down the entire congregation is unfolding in the shadows she so loves.

Will she even survive to initiation, let alone have her revenge?

 

I hope you enjoyed today’s First Lines Friday feature! Have you read Nevernight? If not, does this intro make you want to pick up the book? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

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Top Ten Tuesday – Spring 2021 TBR

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post is all about my Spring 2021 TBR.

If I’d have been writing this post this time last year, I would’ve been picking the ten books that I absolutely would be reading during spring. However, now I have changed to a more relaxed approach, today’s list is my top ten books that I will be choosing from rather than just reading the lot. It could well be subject to change. If there’s one thing I am enjoying this year it’s having the freedom to choose what I read when I want rather than setting rigid reading lists that I didn’t always stick to.

So, which ten books on likely to appear on my Spring 2021 TBR? Read on below to find out!

 

The Book Thief – Markus Zusak

Easter is around the corner and the daffodils are out in force, despite the cold weather persisting. So, I suppose I should count now as spring and in that vein, I am featuring my current read on this list. I’m about halfway through The Book Thief right now and I’m really enjoying it so I hope to have it finished soon!

 

Fire and Blood – George R. R. Martin

Fire and Blood is also a current read. I’m a couple of hundred pages in at the moment and I’m intending on picking this up again as soon as I have finished The Book Thief. It’s a heavy read in case you haven’t seen it before. If you have you’ll know it weighs in at about 700 odd pages. It’s a big one but you know me – I love the realm of Westeros and all the history that goes with the Game of Thrones series.

 

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban – J. K Rowling

I’ve read the first couple of Harry Potter books this year to date. If you follow my blog you’ll know that I committed to doing a re-read of the series this year! The first couple of books have been really easy to pick up and get back into the story from the start. I haven’t read these books since I was a teenager so going back to them is truly a blast from the past. I’m keen to keep up the momentum with this and so I’m fully intending on reading this next instalment very shortly!

 

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – J. K. Rowling

And following on from my last book on this list, depending on how quickly I get around to reading Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, I may just get around to reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire before the summer. Maybe, we’ll see.

 

A Clash of Kings – George R. R. Martin

Similar to my featuring The Book Thief and Fire and Blood, it’s only fair that I feature my current audiobook as well. I really love the Game of Thrones series (as I’m sure I have established by now) and so I have been listening to this audiobook as a way to touch base with the series. This is also a long one and so I don’t really expect to get this listen to too much. I don’t want to commit to it just in case I don’t!

 

The Psychology Book

This book is one I have picked up previously and made a degree of progress with, however, I ultimately ended up putting it down and I haven’t read it in its entirety. It has been on my TBR for a number of years now and so I want to set aside the time to pick this up. As a former psychology student, I do find the content quite interesting and I like the diversity within this book!

 

Dune – Frank Herbert

I was gifted a copy of Dune years ago for my birthday by work colleagues and I think it’s about time that I get around to giving it a go! I love the sound of the premise and given that I’ve been reading more science fiction in recent years, I’m hoping that I really get on with this one. Only time and picking up the book itself will tell, but I’m optimistic.

 

Silverthorn – Raymond E. Feist

I first read Magician, the first book of the series, as a teenager. A couple of years ago I revisited this first book in an attempt to make a more serious go off reading the series. As with my first attempt, however, I didn’t really follow through and pick up this next book. I do plan on doing the shortly though, although I won’t be picking up the first book a third time – at worst I will have to try and recap the events of the first book online.

 

Words of Radiance – Brandon Sanderson

I am a huge fan of Brandon Sanderson and a reading list wouldn’t feel right without a book of his on it somewhere. I read The Way of Kings, the first book of this series (that is ultimately going to be around ten books long), a couple of years ago. Since then I have been deliberately putting off delving into this series further, despite the fact I really want to do having loved the first book. Brandon Sanderson has only published four of the ten at the moment I don’t want to be disappointed by catching up and having to wait for the last few to be published. As it stands book five scheduled for publication in two and a half years time! With that in mind, I think I have left at a decent time to be able to pick up the next book and halve another break before the next; it gives him a chance to keep writing the series so I don’t catch up before he finishes it!

 

If We Were Villains – M. L. Rio

I’ve owned a copy of this book for quite a few years now and it’s one of the older books on my TBR. So, this is another book that I intend to read shortly. Realistically, being at this end of the list, it is more likely being a summer read. That’s not the end of the world though, as it’s quite a nice manageable length it could make for quite an easy light read! Maybe in the garden –  although thoughts like that whilst it’s a tropical 8°C currently feels a little optimistic…

 

So, these are my top ten books I’ll likely be choosing from for my Spring 2021 TBR! Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments. 

 

 

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Book Review: Rags of Time – Michael Ward

Hi everyone and welcome to today’s book review of Rags of Time by Michael Ward. I very kindly received a copy of the book in exchange for review last year and I’m looking forward to finally sharing my thoughts with you here. Before that though – here are the details of the book: –

 

Rags of Time – Michael Ward

Rags of Time by Michael Ward | Goodreads

London.

1639.

Thomas Tallant, a young and ambitious Spice Merchant, returns from India to find his city in turmoil.

A bitter struggle is brewing between King Charles I and Parliament, as England slides into civil war. The capital is simmering with dissent. The conflict is ready to boil over.

But Thomas soon has other troubles to contend with. A wealthy merchant, Sir Joseph Venell, is savagely killed; then his partner Sir Hugh Swofford plunges to his death, in the Tallant household.

Suspicion falls on Thomas, who is sucked into a mire of treachery and rumour within the City of London. As the merchant struggles to clear his name, he becomes captivated by the enigmatic Elizabeth Seymour, whose passion for astronomy and mathematics is matched only by her addiction to the gaming tables.

Pursued by the authorities, Thomas races to unmask the real killer who claims a third victim to implicate him further, toying with his future in a deadly cat and mouse game.

In a desperate race against time, Elizabeth applies her powers of logic and deduction to unearth the clues that will point to the killer, but her way is barred by a secret message from the grave.

Can she crack its code before Thomas, now a wounded and exhausted fugitive, succumbs to the chase?

And, if she succeeds, has Thomas the strength to face his tormentor and win his life and reputation back?

Rags of Time is the first book in an engaging and entertaining new historical crime series, set during the upheaval of the 17th Century.

 

My Thoughts…

I am a huge fan of historical fiction and Rags of Time gave me the opportunity to try something completely new. Set in 1639, it’s a new time period of British history for me. Whilst the events of the book are fiction, the political and religious tumult within the book reflects the difficulties King Charles I experienced in his reign. This particular historical period isn’t one I’d had much exposure to before reading Rags of Time, and so I enjoyed reading something new!

I also enjoyed the more immediate action taking place in the book. Merchants are dropping like flies and Thomas Tallant finds himself prime suspect of the murders. Desperate to prove his innocence, he takes in interest in the murders in the hopes of discovering the truth to clear his name. But the Magistrates are after him, and with men of such power on his tail, he feels the walls closing in around him.

The wide array of characters within the book adds a lot of colour and intrigue to the narrative. From those trying to help Thomas clear his name to the men who set out to prove him guilty, an array of relationships build a dense web within Thomas must navigate. I think this aspect of the book is very well-written. There are a lot of moving parts in the book and so the character relationships are consistently shifting in line with the action.

There is plenty of action in the book to keep all readers entertained. In his efforts to maintain his innocence, Thomas finds himself in wild chases through the city and undertaking covert operations to uncover information. With the help of the incredibly intelligent Jane Seymour, can Thomas prove his innocence? Well, you’ll have to read Rags of Time yourself to find out because I won’t be spoiling it for you!

Thanks to the author Michael Ward for a copy of the book in exchange for a review. It was a pleasure to read!

 

 

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First Lines Friday – 11/12/2020

Happy Friday everyone and thank you for joining me in today’s First Lines Friday post! This is supposed to be a regular feature, but since my last First Lines Friday post was published two months ago now, it’s fair to say I’m not doing so well on keeping it regular!

When I shared that I was doing another of these posts last Sunday, I had no idea which book I was going to feature this week. I have combed through the books on my shelf and I think I have found a good one for you.

Can you guess what it is?

 

Great Achilles. Brilliant Achilles, shining Achilles, God-like Achilles… How the epithets pile up. We never called him any of those things; we called him ‘the butcher’.

Swift-footed Achilles. Now there’s an interesting one. More than anything else, more than brilliance, more than greatness, his speed defined him. There’s a story that he once chased the God Apollo all over the plains of Troy. Cornered at last, Apollo is supposed to have said: ‘you can’t kill me, I’m immortal’. Ah, yes,’ Achilles replied. ‘But we both know if you weren’t immortal, you’d be dead.’ Nobody was ever allowed the last word; not even a God.

 

The Silence of the Girls – Pat Barker

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker | Goodreads

The ancient city of Troy has withstood a decade under siege of the powerful Greek army, which continues to wage bloody war over a stolen woman—Helen. In the Greek camp, another woman—Briseis—watches and waits for the war’s outcome. She was queen of one of Troy’s neighboring kingdoms, until Achilles, Greece’s greatest warrior, sacked her city and murdered her husband and brothers. Briseis becomes Achilles’s concubine, a prize of battle, and must adjust quickly in order to survive a radically different life, as one of the many conquered women who serve the Greek army.

When Agamemnon, the brutal political leader of the Greek forces, demands Briseis for himself, she finds herself caught between the two most powerful of the Greeks. Achilles refuses to fight in protest, and the Greeks begin to lose ground to their Trojan opponents. Keenly observant and coolly unflinching about the daily horrors of war, Briseis finds herself in an unprecedented position, able to observe the two men driving the Greek army in what will become their final confrontation, deciding the fate not only of Briseis’s people but also of the ancient world at large.

Briseis is just one among thousands of women living behind the scenes in this war—the slaves and prostitutes, the nurses, the women who lay out the dead—all of them erased by history. With breathtaking historical detail and luminous prose, Pat Barker brings the teeming world of the Greek camp to vivid life. She offers nuanced, complex portraits of characters and stories familiar from mythology, which, seen from Briseis’s perspective, are rife with newfound revelations. Barker’s latest builds on her decades-long study of war and its impact on individual lives—and it is nothing short of magnificent.

 

Historical fiction is one of the genres I read most of, and the sound of the book excites me. So much so, I actually bought a physical copy of the book with a voucher I had this year. I tend to reserve buying physical copies of books so that I’m only buying books I am confident I will love. I do spend vouchers on some new reads now and then, with anything I decide to sort and get rid of myself later going to a charity.

The book includes Greek Mythology, which intrigues me. So far I’ve had a bit of a mixed experience with mythology books, so I can’t wait to see what I make of this one!

 

What did you think of today’s First Lines Friday post? Do you like the sound of The Silence of the Girls based on the first paragraph? As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

 

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Publication Day Push: Sherlock Holmes & the Ripper of Whitechapel -M K Wiseman

Hello everyone and welcome to today’s blog post! Today I am reviewing Sherlock Holmes & the Ripper of Whitechapel by M K Wiseman as part of the current publication day push tour. I have a bit of a morbid fascination with Jack the Ripper and so I practically snatched Rachel’s hand off when she sent me the invite for this tour! I doubly wanted to take part as I really enjoyed another book by M K Wiseman earlier this year. If you like fantasy novels as well, check out my review of Magical Intelligence published in April this year.

Before I jump into sharing my thoughts on Sherlock Holmes & the Ripper of Whitechapel, please allow me to say a huge thank you to the author and to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour!

 

Sherlock Holmes & the Ripper of Whitechapel – M K Wiseman

Goodreads – Sherlock Holmes & The Ripper of Whitechapel

I am afraid that I, Sherlock Holmes, must act as my own chronicler in this singular case, that of the Whitechapel murders of 1888. For the way in which the affair was dropped upon my doorstep left me with little choice as to the contrary. Not twelve months prior, the siren’s call of quiet domesticity and married life had robbed me of Watson’s assistance as both partner and recorder of my cases. Thus, when detective inspector Lestrade of Scotland Yard required a lead—any lead—I found myself forced to pursue Jack the Ripper alone and without the aid of my faithful friend. And all for the most damnedable of reasons:

Early on in my investigations, Dr. John H. Watson, formerly of 221b Baker Street, emerged as my prime suspect.

 

Purchase Link – Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Regardless of how much you know about the Jack the Ripper murders, Sherlock Holmes and the Ripper of Whitechapel is a really approachable fictional read on the subject. I have a little prior knowledge of the murders that plagued London in that fateful year, but I’m also by no means an expert. The narrative has been written very well so that it is easy to read and caters to all readers. I don’t think anyone exceptionally knowledgeable on the subject would find the details repetitive. Equally, the narrative doesn’t rely on prior knowledge. I personally found the balance comfortable to read.

The tone of the narrative is very Sherlock Holmes in its portrayal, in my opinion. I confess that I haven’t read any Sherlock Holmes novels to date, however as a famous character I have already formulated an idea of how I expect him to be based on his portrayal elsewhere. The tone/language choice etc definitely lives up to Sherlock’s’ popularised characterisation… which I say is a huge achievement!

As you can probably expect from the synopsis, there is a great deal of tension in the plotline itself. Sherlock’s intense, almost brooding personality couples with his dark suspicions of a valued friend and partner. The damning evidence stacks up against Watson and I found myself caught up in the novel very quickly and easily. I didn’t want to put it down!

Sherlock Holmes & the Ripper of Whitechapel is very easy to read. It is a fairly short book, so easily approachable for anyone to pick up and read without a massive commitment. The narrative style flows well so it’s easy to get lost in the book and before you know it… you’ve read a quarter of it in one short sitting! The concise chapters are also good if you want to be able to pick it up and put it down with ease – although I promise you won’t want to!

I’ve really enjoyed reading this historically based mystery novel. If you are a fan of Sherlock Holmes or, like me, are lured into the mystery of the identity of Jack the Ripper, I cannot recommend this novel highly enough!

 

Author Bio

M. K. Wiseman has degrees in Interarts & Technology and Library & Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her office, therefore, is a curious mix of storyboards and reference materials. Both help immensely in the writing of historical novels. She currently resides in Cedarburg, Wisconsin.

Social Media Links –

http://mkwisemanauthor.com

https://twitter.com/FaublesFables

https://www.facebook.com/FaublesFables/

https://www.instagram.com/faublesfables/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7073540.M_K_Wiseman

First Lines Friday – 09/10/2020

Happy Friday everyone and thank you for joining me in today’s First Lines Friday post! On Sunday I promised a spectacular feature in today’s post and I hope you won’t be disappointed. I for one think this could be one of the best books on my TBR right now.

This book is affiliated with a main, well-known series that I talk about a lot here on Reviewsfeed. If I had to choose one book series to read for the rest of my life, this would be it! So, am I biased about how good this week’s book is? Yes. Do I care? Not one bit! My blog and my rules, right?!

So, without further adieu, here is this week’s extract: –

 

The maesters of the citadel who keep the histories of Westeros have used Aegon’s Conquest as their touchstone for the past three hundred years. Births, deaths, battles, and other events are dated either AC (After the Conquest) or BC (Before the Conquest).

True scholars know that such dating is far from precise. Aegon Targaryen’s conquest of the Seven Kingdoms did not take place in a single day. More than two years passed between Aegon’s landing and his Oldtown coronation… and even then the conquest remained incomplete, since Dorne remained unsubdued. Sporadic attempts to bring the Dornishmen into the realm continued all through King Aegon’s reign and well into the reigns of his sons, making it impossible to fix a precise end date for the Wars of Conquest.

 

 

If you know me or recognise those names you probably have a good idea as to what today’s book is!

 

Fire and Blood – George R. R. Martin

Goodreads – Fire & Blood

With all the fire and fury fans have come to expect from internationally bestselling author George R. R. Martin, this is the first volume of the definitive two-part history of the Targaryens in Westeros.

Centuries before the events of A Game of Thrones, House Targaryen—the only family of dragonlords to survive the Doom of Valyria—took up residence on Dragonstone. Fire and Blood begins their tale with the legendary Aegon the Conqueror, creator of the Iron Throne, and goes on to recount the generations of Targaryens who fought to hold that iconic seat, all the way up to the civil war that nearly tore their dynasty apart.

What really happened during the Dance of the Dragons? Why did it become so deadly to visit Valyria after the Doom? What is the origin of Daenerys’s three dragon eggs? These are but a few of the questions answered in this essential chronicle, as related by a learned maester of the Citadel and featuring more than eighty all-new black-and-white illustrations by artist Doug Wheatley. Readers have glimpsed small parts of this narrative in such volumes as The World of Ice & Fire, but now, for the first time, the full tapestry of Targaryen history is revealed.

With all the scope and grandeur of Gibbon’s The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Fire and Blood is the ultimate game of thrones, giving readers a whole new appreciation for the dynamic, often bloody, and always fascinating history of Westeros.

 

I love everything A Game of Thrones (aka A Song of Ice and Fire) and if you are a regular reader, you may know that I completed my re-read of the published books in the series earlier this year. Now with the TV series over too I need to get my fix of fire and blood somewhere!

I am a huge fan of novels and series’ with detailed backstories to the current narrative. The main series itself is rich in detail to the events that lead up to the wars/struggles we read in those books. I always thought the history of the world was so detailed that it could be a story in its own right… and now it is!

This book has over 600 pages of the history of Westeros to dive into, and judging by the synopsis Fire and Blood goes into more detail about events that are only ‘comparatively’ touched on in the series, such as the Doom of Valyria. I can’t wait to read this – I hope it’s every bit as good as the rest of the books. I don’t have any real reason to doubt why it wouldn’t be!

 

What did you think of today’s First Lines Friday post? As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

 

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Blog Tour Review: Limelight – Graham Hurley

I’m really looking forward to sharing my thoughts on Limelight by Graham Hurley with you today! I have read this book over the weekend just gone in preparation for the tour and it is one of the best books I have read recently. Before I jump in with the details, I would first like to say a massive thank you to both Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising the tour, and to the author Graham Hurley for the opportunity to take part and read this fabulous mystery novel! It’s a pleasure to be one of the bloggers kicking off the tour.

 

Limelight – Graham Hurley

Goodreads – Limelight

Life is dangerous. No one survives it. Enora Andressen makes a series of mind-blowing discoveries when her friend disappears.

Actress Enora Andressen is catching up with her ex-neighbour, Evelyn Warlock, who’s recently retired to the comely East Devon seaside town of Budleigh Salterton. The peace, the friendship of strangers and the town’s prestigious literary festival . . . Evelyn loves them all.

Until the September evening when her French neighbour, Christianne Beaucarne, disappears. Enora has met this woman. The two of them have bonded. But what Enora discovers over the anguished months to come will put sleepy Budleigh Salterton on the front page of every newspaper in the land.

 

Purchase Links – Severn House     Amazon UK     Amazon US

 

My Thoughts…

Reading Limelight has been a breath of fresh air. A busy schedule has meant that I haven’t been reading as much lately – I’d even go so far as to say I had lost motivation. However, picking up Limelight has reminded me just why I love curling up with a good book. It’s a gem of a mystery novel that has been so easy to read because it has a lot of elements I love – a unique plotline, investment into character and world-building, and above all, an easy to read writing style that I couldn’t put down. In addition to all these, the book, particularly the setting, has a sense of familiarity to me.

I grew up in a seaside town much like Budleigh Salterton. Even now I live only a few minutes drive away, but the thing I really relate to in this novel is the sense of community that comes with small places such as this one. The concept of knowing everyone in town, even if just by sight, might seem strange to anyone living in large cities. Living in a place such as this myself though, I can say that the author has portrayed the town and the relationships of the characters within, perfectly.

Up until Christianne’s disappearance, Budleigh Salterton has the quiet, relaxed feel that I know and love. On the island here we have a phrase for it, ‘Traa dy Liooar’, meaning ‘time enough’. Equally, in places like this, any bit of news is a scandal. Christianne’s disappearance and the events that follow will inevitably dominate the headlines…

What also fits with this is the pace of the novel and the amount of characterisation shared with the reader. I enjoy novels with a lot of depth and time taken in bringing the main characters and the setting to life. Limelight in this regard is also right up my street! This also works well to draw the reader into the community. We really get to know each of the characters in their own right, as well as how they interact with each other.

Limelight is a mystery novel with a unique premise. Never before have I come across a mystery with a theme of euthanasia in it. It makes Limelight a unique novel within its genre and I’ve enjoyed reading the arguments and ethics around the debate that come up in the book. Despite the content matter, Limelight isn’t a heavy read at all. I have read this book over the course of a weekend and enjoyed every moment of it! I hadn’t realised it was part of a series when I signed up for the blog tour. Based on how much I enjoyed reading this book, I’m absolutely inclined to go back to the beginning and read the rest of the books!

 

Author Bio

Graham Hurley is an award-winning TV documentary maker who now writes full time. His Faraday and Winter series won two Theakstons shortlist nominations and was successfully adapted for French TV. He has since written a quartet of novels featuring D/S Jimmy Suttle, and three WW2 novels, the first of which – Finisterre – was shortlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. The first three titles in the Enora Andressen series, Curtain Call, Sight Unseen and Off Script, are also available from Severn House. After thirty years in Portsmouth, Graham now lives in East Devon with his wife, Lin.

Social Media Links –

https://www.grahamhurley.co.uk/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/135794.Graham_Hurley

https://twitter.com/Seasidepicture

https://www.facebook.com/grahamhurleyauthor/

 

First Lines Friday – 21/08/2020

Happy Friday everyone! It’s the end of the working week again and so it’s time for another First Lines Friday post! I hope you have all had a good one and are looking forward to the weekend?

In last week’s Sunday Summary post I committed to another theme for today’s book selection. This week’s choice is a little easier as the genre I picked (crime) is one I read a reasonable amount of. Today’s featured book is one I read and was blown away by recently. Can you pick up on the hint in the intro as to which book it is?

 

Greg Adams stared at the crime scene photos of the four dead girls. He recalled the words of his mentor during his first criminology one-on-one.

‘The dead don’t lie.’

‘The trouble is, they don’t speak either,’ Greg had replied.

Now, fifteen years later, the taut faces of four teenage girls, eyes wide with shock, stared back at him. If they could speak, he knew exactly what they would say.

Find him.

Soon there would be another photo on the wall of New Scotland Yard’s Evidence Room 3A. Officers of all ranks were out searching for the next victim but, like Greg, they had no idea where the next kill would happen. For the hundredth time scanned the photos, the map of London and it’s outer suburbs stabbed with four red-topped pins, the scrawled ideas in his notepad, the fragmentary remarks on his laptop, the cryptic clues left after each killing.

He had nothing.

Neither did the dozen others working the case. But unless he came up with something in the next hour, another girl would die.

 

 

Which book am I featuring today?

 

The Dead Tell Lies – J. F. Kirwan

Goodreads – The Dead Tell Lies

Greg Adams, a criminal psychologist at Scotland Yard, specialises in bringing serial killers to justice. He tracks down a spree serial killer nicknamed the Divine, who has already killed six teenage girls and is about to kill a seventh. Greg works out the location where he is hiding and joins a raid. The police capture the Divine and save the girl, but on the very same night, Greg’s wife is brutally murdered by another serial killer, known as the Dreamer.

A year later, unable to bring the killer to justice, Greg has quit his job and is ready to end it all, when he receives a phone call from a man who tells him the Dreamer is dead, and that he didn’t kill Greg’s wife, Kate.

Greg returns to Scotland Yard to work for Superintendent Chief Detective Donaldson in the hope he can re-examine the case with the help of two new detectives, Finch and Matthews.

As Greg delves into the case further, he becomes more convinced that the Dreamer wasn’t the man responsible for his wife’s murder.

But if it wasn’t the Dreamer, who was it?

In order to solve the mystery around his wife’s murder, Greg is going to have to delve even deeper into the mind of a terrifying psychopath. And this time he might not make it back in one piece…

 

I read The Dead Tell Lies to take part in last month’s blog tour for the book. If you haven’t already read my review, please go and take a look at that! As you can tell from that, I loved the book. The storyline was twisty and the narrative cleverly written. At times you don’t even know whether to trust Greg or his actions.

If you enjoy edge-of-your-seat whodunits, I think you’ll love The Dead Tell Lies. As a former psychology student, I really enjoyed the criminology aspect and Greg’s approach of trying to get into the killer’s head to understand his motives.

 

What did you think of today’s First Lines Friday post? As always, I would love to hear from you!

 

 

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