Category Archives: Book reviews

The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning to review. For more information on the author, you may see his website.

The Colonel and the Bee by Patrick Canning

Here is the book blurb.

A peculiar explorer and downtrodden acrobat span the globe on a building-sized hot air balloon, in search of a precious artifact and the murderous treasure hunter who seeks it.

Beatrix, a spirited but abused acrobat in a traveling circus, seeks more than her prison-like employment offers. More than anything, she wants to know her place in the world of the halcyon 19th century, a time when the last dark corners of the map were being sketched out and travel still possessed a kind of magic.

One night in Switzerland, the mysterious Colonel James Bacchus attends Beatrix’s show. This larger-than-life English gentleman, reputed to have a voracious appetite for female conquests, is most notable for traveling the world in a four-story hot air balloon called The Ox.

Beatrix flees that night to join the Colonel, and the two of them make a narrow escape—Beatrix from her abusive ringleader, the Colonel from a freshly-made cuckold. Beatrix, feeling the Colonel may have the answers to her problems, pledges to help him catch the criminal he seeks in exchange for passage on his magnificent balloon.

The criminal seeks a precious figurine, The Blue Star Sphinx, but he’s not alone. The Sphinx’s immense value has also drawn the attention of the world’s most deadly treasure hunters. A murder in Antwerp begins a path of mystery that leads all the way to the most isolated island on Earth.

What dangers await the Colonel and the acrobat?

Well this is certainly a unique storyline like no other. The book starts in 19th century Switzerland where “The Amazing Beatrix” is an acrobat in Ziro’s touring circus. After the performance in the Big Top, Ziro takes her to perform at a private dinner at Chartish Manor. Here she meets the Colonel James Bacchus, a jolly character with flowers in his hat, who travels the world in a multi-storey hot air balloon. My mind boggled at how many rooms were under this colossal balloon.

Beatrix makes up her mind to escape the circus from Ziro’s whippings and flees with the Colonel in his balloon, who is also running from an enraged Lord Chartish, having just slept with his wife. But he only permits her to stay one night, as he is on a mission to find a dangerous criminal. Bee persuades him that she can help.

From Switzerland, they follow a lead to Antwerp, where they meet the Colonel’s friends, Thelma and George, but too late. They find a murdered man and a clue. The trail leads through Spain, Gibraltar, Britain, Africa and on and on, meeting friends, foes and treasure hunters along the way. What will the outcome be?

I salute this author for his inspired creativity with this storyline. So far-fetched that this book stands in a genre of its own. I wasn’t sure what to think when I first read the blurb, but I definitely liked it.

The Colonel and the Bee is available on Amazon, currently priced at £12.95 in paperback or £3.99 in Kindle format. A fantastical adventure.

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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Initiated to Kill by Sharlene Almond – Book review and giveaway

I have received a free e-copy of the book Initiated to Kill by Sharlene Almond to review. For more information on the author, you may see her website.

Initiated to Kill by Sharlene Almond

Here is the book blurb.

Two men from two different generations, both initiated into a powerful organization that throughout history has sought control and uses their power for destruction. They leave behind a wake of murder, manipulation and ancient secrets. The first man wreaks havoc in and around the Whitechapel district of London, England in the 19th century. While the other stalks his victims in the cosmopolitan city of Seville, Spain in the 21st century; knowing that only he could uncover the true motives of one of the world’s most infamous serial killers—Jack the Ripper.

Most of the story takes place in Seville in 2010 but it also includes flashbacks to Annabella’s childhood and to earlier incidents featuring the bad guys. Plus the tale of Jack the Ripper is another main element and Freemasonary plays a part too.

Annabella is deaf due to a childhood injury, but she is able to read body and facial expressions. Her flatmate Celestina is the first girl to disappear, which she reports to the police.

Meanwhile the police start receiving anonymous gruesome packages. Detective Valero is called back in from sabbatical leave to work on the case with Detective Rivero. As more girls disappear, the link appears to be that they all attend Seville University. The detectives call upon Annabella’s skills in reading people and hide her behind the glass when interviewing their first suspect.

Lots of twists to come in this story.

Although I’m a huge thriller fan, I did find this one rather too graphic, in its descriptions of dismembering victims’ organs.

After finishing reading the book, I did feel compelled to look up the tale of Jack The Ripper and I saw that the name mentioned in this story was one of the possible suspects for the unidentified serial killer.

Initiated To Kill is available on Amazon, currently priced at £11.18 in paperback or £2.99 in Kindle format. A thrilling mysterious read with an interesting weaving of the storylines.

This book is recommended for adult readers only, due to its graphic content.

Plus I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a paperback copy of this book to 1 lucky winner, who may choose whether they wish for their prize to be signed by the author or not.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

My Earl’s Entrapment by Tammy Andersen

I have received a free e-copy of the book My Earl’s Entrapment by Tammy Andresen to review.

My Earl's Entrapment by Tammy Andresen

Here is the book blurb.

Lord William Addington has been forced into retirement as one of the Prince Regent’s domestic spies. But he still has one case to solve while attending a house party when an adorably feisty lady enters his room in the middle of the night. He now has another delicious mystery on his hands. Why is Lady Roselyn Pennington snooping about?

This is the third book in the Wicked Lords of London series. You may see my reviews of the first two titles here and here.

The book begins when ex-spy for the Prince Regent, Lord William Addington is disturbed in his room, by someone picking the lock. He is sitting in a dark corner, so remains hidden and observes a young lady enter and start searching amongst his possessions. When he speaks, she is startled and drops the candle, setting her skirt alight. Lord William is quick to put out the fire before asking what she was doing.

Lady Rose wasn’t about to admit that she believed him a thief and that she was searching for her mother’s jewels, so she makes up an excuse. But Will is determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, plus there is definitely an attraction between them.

My Earl’s Entrapment is available on Amazon, currently priced at £2.14 in Kindle format. This is a nice short romantic story, when you want something light to read.


About the author

USA Today Bestselling Author, Tammy Andresen lives with her husband and three children just outside of Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up on the Seacoast of Maine, where she spent countless days dreaming up stories in blueberry fields and among the scrub pines that line the coast. Her mother loved to spin a yarn and Tammy filled many hours listening to her mother retell the classics. It was inevitable that at the age of 18, she headed off to Simmons College, where she studied English literature and education. She never left Massachusetts but some of her heart still resides in Maine and her family visits often.

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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Blood of the Red Rose by P J Gray plus giveaway

I have received a free e-copy of the book Blood of the Red Rose by P J Gray to review. This is Philippa’s debut novel.

Blood of the Red Rose by P J Gray

Here is the book blurb.

Edmund Beaufort, Duke of Somerset, finds himself exiled in France when Warwick the Kingmaker puts Edward IV on the throne of England. Desperate to return the throne to the rightful King Henry VI, Beaufort finds himself caught between Henry’s bitter wife Marguerite of Anjou and the French ‘Spider’ King Louis until Edward and Warwick fall out in spectacular style and, at Louis’ urging, Warwick becomes their unlikely ally. Set on the rich stage of the Wars of the Roses, this is a tale of intrigue, love and war that can only end in tragedy.

I was really looking forward to reading this book, as I am a huge fan of Philippa Gregory stories which are set at a similar time during the War of the Roses.

It was useful to have a list of characters and dates at the beginning of the book, but I still found it confusing to work out who was on which side, particularly with changes of allegiance. It was also a hard story to get into initially, but I did later find myself focussing on Kate and skimming through chapters that she didn’t feature in. Kate was the illegitimate daughter of Richard Neville, the Earl of Warwick and we see an affectionate bond between the two of them. She seems to have achieved a closer relationship with her father than either of her half-sisters. However he still marries her off to Stephen Thevenot. Their marriage does not fare well and Stephen mistreats her. Luckily for Kate, she is soon widowed. After this she blossoms. You’ll have to read the book to find out who her next relationship is with.

This book is available on Amazon currently priced at £10.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. An interesting historical read.

About the author

Philippa was born in Chichester and developed a passion for history whilst growing up in Cyprus and then North Yorkshire. She began writing when she was at junior school, winning the school prize for English, and wrote and illustrated her own stories which she read to her long-suffering friends. She started her first novel, Blood of the Red Rose, when her elder daughter was a baby and finally completed it twenty-eight years later. Philippa has two daughters, four grandchildren and a grand-cat and now lives in Cyprus with Paul, her husband of twenty-five years, three dogs and four cats.

Plus I’m hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway a paperback copy of this book to one lucky winner. Open to UK and US residents.
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a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.


I’m participating in the book tour and you may like to check out some of the other blog stops on the tour.

Blood of the Red Rose by P J Gray

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

At the Dark Hour by John Wilson

I have received a free e-copy of the book At the Dark Hour by John Wilson to review.

At the Dark Hour by John Wilson

Here is the book blurb.

A loving affair is destroyed by the Blitz on London. Julia ends her relationship with Adam. Her concern is for her children and that, if she is divorced, she will lose them.

What is the nature of love? Does it have gradations? Love, and it’s textures, lie at the heart of this story. Love is where you find it. And sometimes it ambushes you.

And, often, it is hidden.

With 107 chapters, this is a very long book. We are introduced to Adam and Julia in the prologue, when Julia ends their affair in 1940. They had been meeting regularly at a London hotel.

Adam, a barrister is married to Catherine and the head of his Chambers is Jeremy Pemberton, Julia’s husband. But now Jeremy suspects and he petitions for divorce. So Adam has to leave both his home and Chambers. But he is taken under the wing of Roly Blytheway, who both defends Adam and gives him a job in his Chambers at Lamb Building.

As well as the divorce case, we also follow two cases that Adam is defending, both of which have relationships at their core.

The crux of the story is who loves who more. And we see lies and dubious evidence, all against the backdrop of the Blitz.

Although the book is very well written, it was not really my type of read. However I did enjoy how all the strands of the story are woven together.

At The Dark Hour is available on Amazon, currently priced at £4.07 in Kindle format and is also available in paperback. An interesting read.

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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A Quiet Genocide by Glenn Bryant

I have received a free e-copy of the book A Quiet Genocide: The Untold Holocaust of Disabled Children in WW2 Germany by Glenn Bryant to review.

A Quiet Genocide by Glenn Bryant

Here is the book blurb.

Germany, 1954. Jozef grows up in a happy household – so it seems. But his father Gerhard still harbours disturbing National Socialism ideals, while mother Catharina is quietly broken. She cannot feign happiness for much longer and rediscovers love elsewhere. Jozef is uncertain and alone. Who is he? Are Gerhard and Catharina his real parents?

A dark mystery gradually unfolds, revealing an inescapable truth the entire nation is afraid to confront.
But Jozef is determined to find out about the past and a horror is finally unmasked which continues to question our idea of what, in the last hour, makes each of us human.

Now we are all aware of Auschwitz and other horrors of the second world war, but I didn’t know that over 10,000 German disabled children were secretly murdered by the Nazi state with their parents’ ‘consent’, acquired deceitfully.

This story includes this sensitive topic. The book is set in Germany and begins in 1954 when Josef is at school in Munich. We are introduced to his parents Gerhard and Catharina, along with his father’s friend Michael who visits weekly. When Josef is beaten up for throwing a snowball at a window, Michael exacts revenge on the man.

In 1959, Josef goes to Berlin University but the night before he leaves home, his parents reveal that he is adopted. His parents are reluctant to reveal more about his past, but Josef, along with his Polish Professor, searches for more information. Meanwhile his parents relationship is unravelling, as his mother falls in love with another man. Michael spies on them and drops hints to Gerhard.

What will Josef discover?

This book is a different genre to what I would usually choose, but an interesting read.

A Quiet Genocide is available on Amazon, currently priced at £15.95 in paperback or 99p in Kindle format. An interesting tale.

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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Shark Bait by Matt Walker

I have received a free e-copy of the book Shark Bait by Matt Walker to review. You may find out more about the author on his website.

Shark Bait by Matt Walker

Here is the book blurb.

“I’m no hero. I’m a Licensed Vigilante. And I kill people for a living.” Government hitman John Steele has just completed his current contract, and has the bullet wound to show for it. That’s when he meets a vicious criminal loan shark called Gary Brooker. But Brooker has got his own problems. He’s picked on the wrong guy.

I was drawn into the story just by the opening line “The worst time to get pulled over by the cops is when you have a body in the boot”. However John Steele is able to show the police his LV (licensed vigilante) ID card and drive away with the bad guy banging from inside the boot.

But the Carlucci drug gang that he has just busted are not the only baddies in town. On his way to hospital, he spots a man, Jeremy in some distress in the road. John lends him his phone to call his wife and then drives him home, where a goon is waiting outside in a van. From what he has overheard both on the phone call and from the goon speaking, John works out that Jeremy has a loan shark Gary Brooker on his back and he is not happy when he sees Jeremy hand over his Dad’s war medals. John decides to follow the goon to get the medals back. He waits until the goon has handed them to Gary, then follows Gary’s Porsche and deliberately rams it at the traffic light, before punching Gary and another goon Baz and robbing Gary of the medals.

When John finally gets to the hospital, he sees Jeremy being wheeled in unconscious. Looks like Gary has been back again. So John gets further embroiled into this when he should be hot-footing it out of town, since more of the Carlucci clan are after him now. Meanwhile Gary has other problems, so lots more to the storyline.

I really liked how the different parts to the story aren woven together, along with John’s background too.

Shark Bait is available on Amazon, currently priced at £6.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A good thriller with lots of twists.

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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Taking Care of Business by J. D. De Roeck

I have received a free e-copy of the book Taking Care of Business by J. D. De Roeck to review.

Taking Care of Business by J. D. De Roeck

Here is the book blurb.

When Paul Smith travels to the south of France for a sales conference, events conspire to drag him into a world of kidnappings, blackmail and murder. Following a violent incident, Paul instinctively offers refuge to a girl he believes to be a vulnerable lost soul in a desperate situation, only to find that all is not as it appears. Unwittingly, he finds himself caught between competing international crime syndicates as they go to war, and two powerful Russian families as they fight for control of a vast Russian conglomerate. What begins as a routine business trip to Nice, turns into a journey of self-discovery that takes him to some of the most glamorous locations on the Cote d’Azur. Paul is compelled to confront each new escalating threat in turn, while his neatly ordered world spirals relentlessly out of control. As events unfold, he is forced to challenge everything he thought he knew about himself, before finally embracing the danger and brutal violence he encounters along the way. Can Paul get to the truth, and does he have what it takes to keep those he cares about safe, and himself alive?

This book is mainly set in 2014, but it starts 3 years previously in St Petersburg to give some background to the story. The initial chapters swap back and forth between interesting background material and what feels quite dull introducing Paul, an average guy and his associates Gary and Doug who are all attending a sales conference in Nice. As a reader I was left thinking, come on there must be more to this story.

And there is, but it isn’t until chapter 11 that things start to heat up. Paul wakes in the night, hearing someone being attacked in the next hotel room. He rescues a terrified girl Anna, when she is thrown into the corridor naked by a huge brutal man, hiding her in his own room.

Starting with little things like going out to buy Anna something to wear, Paul gradually gets pulled from his everyday sales world, hardly attending any of the conference. Not all is as it seems with Anna and Paul finds himself immersed in a very different violent world of kidnapping.

The story develops into a real page turner, and Paul becomes such a different character as he faces dangerous challenges. Wow what a thrilling read. And how many people can you squeeze into one hotel room, as we get introduced to other good characters in the story. Of course we meet plenty of baddies too.

This book is available on Amazon currently priced at £11.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. It is a long book, but a gripping read once it gets going. Highly recommended. Plus the ending allows for a possible follow-up.

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

Timmy on the Toilet by Peta Lemon

I have received a free e-copy of the book Timmy on the Toilet by Peta Lemon for son2 to review. He was really looking forward to it having enjoyed Peta’s previous book Hilda The Fed-Up Cow.

Timmy on the Toilet by Peta Lemon

Here is the book blurb.

Timmy is walking to school one day and saves a fairy in distress. He is granted a wish but accidentally wishes that he could fly whilst sitting on the toilet at school.

Join Timmy on his adventures flying on the toilet and find out what happens when the fairy grants him another wish for looking so daft!

This is what son2 had to say about the book.

This book is very funny, especially when Timmy’s teacher ends up on a flying toilet. This book is 8/10. I think it is aimed at children aged 3-6.

Book review - Timmy on the toilet

Once again author Peta Lemon has teamed up with illustrator Maria Dasic Todoric, to bring us a fabulous children’s picture book. Son2 loved that the theme of the book involved toilets and chose his ideal place for his photo. Timmy is thinking of lots of great ideas for his wish, but on seeing a bird fly past the window whilst he is on the loo, accidentally wishes that he could fly. Oops too late to take back his words. See what happens as Timmy flies out of school on the toilet for an adventure.

Timmy on the Toilet is available on Amazon, currently priced at £4.99 in paperback and also available in Kindle format. A gorgeous rhyming picture book. Thumbs up for this book from son2.

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.

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The Memory Tree by John A Heldt

Regular readers of my blog may remember that I have really enjoyed several books by John Heldt. So I was very pleased when John asked me to review his latest book, The Memory Tree. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

The Memory Tree by John A Heldt

Here is the book blurb.

Days after barely escaping 1889 with their lives, the Carsons, siblings from the present day, resume their search for their missing parents in 1918. While Adam and his pregnant wife, Bridget, settle in Minnesota, unaware of a wildfire that will kill hundreds, Greg seeks clues in his great-grandparents’ Mexico, where he finds love, danger, and enemies. At the same time, Natalie, the ambitious journalist, follows a trail to World War I France, and teen twins Cody and Caitlin rekindle a friendship with an old Pennsylvania friend haunted by her past. In THE MEMORY TREE, the sweeping sequel to RIVER RISING, several time travelers find answers and meaning as they continue the adventure of a lifetime in the age of doughboys, silent movies, and Model T’s.

The Memory Tree is the second book in the series – The Carson Chronicles. You may see my review of the first title River Rising here, This was a book I really loved.

This story works well as a stand-alone read, but even better as part of a series and I certainly can’t wait to read book 3. It starts where book 1 finished with the Carson family stepping through a time portal from 1889 to 1918. Apart from Bridget, whom Adam married in 1889, they really belong to modern day, but they are still trying to track down their missing time-travelling parents, Tim and Caroline.

By now, Tim and Caroline also know that their children are looking for them, so they in turn are looking to reunite with the rest of the family. Can they all manage to get together and return safely to 2018? Danger continues to pursue them, particularly Greg. Throw some romance into the mix too. Also Cody and Caitlin seek out their friend Emma from 1889, who is now married with grown-up children herself. Of course, they have to explain to Emma why they haven’t aged at all, but cover-stories are used as they interact with others, including their own ancestors. The portals only open on the solstices, so can Natalie travel as far as World War 1 France and get back in time?

Once again, John Heldt weaves fact in with fiction. Not just obvious events like Armistice Day, but things I hadn’t heard of but eagerly looked up on Wikipedia afterwards, like the Cloquet fire.

The one thing I did wonder about was when ancestors who were pictured in a wedding photo hanging at home in 2018 actually die before the wedding takes place. This is questioned but not explained. Has the timeline been altered?

The Memory Tree is available on Amazon, currently priced at £3.54 in Kindle format. I really enjoyed this book and of course, it had some great twists. An amazing read which as usual lived up to my expectations of a John Heldt novel, As always I highly recommend this author and now I am eagerly awaiting book 3 in this series.

And you may be interested to see my reviews of some of John Heldt’s other titles.
The Mine
Indiana Belle
Hannah’s Moon

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MamaMummyMum

Disclosure.  This post is a review of an e-book I was sent for free.  All opinions are my own.