Tag Archives: #blogtour

The Second Son by Andy Blackman

I have received a free e-copy of the book “The Second Son” by Andy Blackman to review.

The Second Son by Andy Blackman

Here is the book blurb.

As the second son of the Duke of Hampshire, Grenville St John Hampton isn’t likely to inherit his family’s title or estate, leaving him pondering an empty, aimless future. During the summer break from university, he impulsively decides to go backpacking with one of his oldest friends, Johnathan; their destination is Belize.

One sultry night on the Central American coastline, Grenville and Jonathan meet Tom. A game of darts takes a vicious turn. Realising he has nothing to look forward to back at home, Grenville decides to stay on in Belize with Tom, in pursuit of adventure. Together, the new friends establish an import business, and for the first time in his life, Grenville has a sense of purpose.

But back in England all is not well. The sudden death of his brother leaves Grenville with an unexpected – and now unwanted – inheritance, with new consequences and responsibilities. He will return to claim the family’s seat with a dark secret in tow.

I couldn’t wait to start reading this, as I really enjoyed Andy Blackman’s first novel “For the Love of Grace” and could immediately tell from the blurb, that it was a sequel.

I was most impressed how well this story linked in with the original but equally would work very well as a stand-alone book too. In fact, I can say it is the best book I have read in a long while.

The book starts when Grenville has just finished his first year at Cambridge University, but then to set the scene, goes back to his school days at Rayleigh School, where he met his 2 best friends Hugo and Jonathan. We also see his poor relationship with his older brother Stephan and Stephen’s friend Dexter Simon-Smyth.

Grenville and Jonathan head to Belize for the summer backpacking and this is where the story starts interacting with the previous novel. Tom rescues them when Grenville is stabbed in a bar for winning a darts match against the locals. Jonathan flies home but Grenville decides to remain in Belize with Tom where he learns Tom’s unorthodox way of life.

Meanwhile 5 years later back in England, Grenville’s brother Stephen dies in a car crash, whilst fiancée Sara escapes with scrapes and bruises. Jonathan writes to Grenville care of Tom’s PO Box, to pass on his parents request that he return home, with a reminder of the family motto “Duty before honour”.

Grenville returns but continues assisting Tom from afar in their secret dealings, registering Tom’s import business in the UK. He also finds the family estate in dire straits. I can’t say too much more for fear of spoilers, but he reunites with both Jonathan and Hugo, plus forms new relationships. Loads of twists and turns before Tom arrives in London for plenty more interaction with the first story.

The Second Son is available on Amazon, currently priced at £9.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. I loved this story and highly recommend it. A real page turner.


Here is an extract from the book to whet your appetite.

This is where Grenville first meets the two boys who are going to be his closest friends, and later in life help him to achieve his secret with Tom.

Grenville moved towards the waving boy, and as he approached another boy asked him his name, Grenville replied, and the boy told him to stand with the other five boys already there. As Grenville approached, one of the boys smiled and said, “Hi I am Jonathan Spencer,” holding out his hand.

Grenville took the offered hand, and said, “Grenville Hampton, pleased to meet you,” and smiled for the first time since his arrival. Another boy introduced himself as Hugo Thorpe, and the three started to chat while they waited. Eventually there were eight boys standing in the huddle.

The boy with the blue hanky said, “follow me to the Walpole House, where we will meet Mr Raymond, the Walpole House Master.”

Turning, the boy smartly took off followed by the eight boys. Eventually they arrived at Walpole House, and were told to take a seat in the common room and wait for Mr Raymond. Mr Raymond eventually stepped into the middle of the common room and looked about at the eight boys and said, “Welcome to Walpole House, this will be your house and home whilst you are at Raleigh School, until you leave for future endeavours. I am Mr Raymond, the House Master of Walpole House. I am your first point of contact, if you have any problems or concerns whilst you are at Raleigh School or Walpole House, do not hesitate to contact me or if you require my assistance anytime night or day, my house is next door, please do not hesitate to knock. If I am not about, my wife Margret will know where I am at all times.” Smiling, Mr Raymond asked if there were any questions, all eight heads nodded in unison. Mr Raymond went on, “I know for most of you this is the first time you have ever been away from home and all this seems very daunting to you, but I know in a few days this place will seem like home as well.

“In your white envelopes that you are all clutching are the School and House Rules, plus your timetables for your days, evenings and weekends. We at Raleigh School and especially Walpole House expect great things from you freshman boys and I no doubt have the greatest faith in all your abilities to make Rayleigh School and Walpole House proud. That is all for now, I will get Graves here to take you to your new dormitory where your luggage has been delivered, so you can unpack and settle in for the night. I shall meet you all back in here tomorrow morning after breakfast. Graves will be with you in the morning to escort you to the Walpole Dining Hall for breakfast and give you a quick tour of Walpole House, so I will see you all tomorrow morning. Any questions?” And before anyone had a chance to answer, Mr Raymond strolled out of the common room.

Graves stood and said, “Follow me.” Leading the boys up three flights of stairs to the top floor, he opened a door onto eight beds with eight lockers; four on each side of the room. At the bottom was a washroom. “Find a bed and I will see you all at seven in the morning for breakfast,” said Graves before he closed the door on them.

Grenville took the last bed on the right near the washroom; Jonathan took the one next to him and Hugo the one opposite. The room was totally silent as the boys located their luggage from the assembled pile in the middle of the room. Eventually they all started to unpack and placed all their belongings into the lockers and small bedside cabinets. After a time, Grenville lay on his bed and thought of home and his grandfather, but before he had time to wallow, Hugo had come over and said, “Grenville, my dear chap, got any scoff, I am bloody well starving.”

Grenville started to laugh, and that seemed to break the tension in the room and before long, on the table in the middle of the room, a feast had been laid out of all the food the boys had brought with them, and they were all chatting and getting to know each other.


About Andy Blackman

After serving in the British Army for over twenty-five years in the Parachute Regiment, Andy Blackman today lives in Bedworth, Warwickshire and works within the IT sector. In his spare time he can be found visiting his three daughters and grandchildren. His previous novel, For the Love of Grace, was published in 2016.


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

The Second Son by Andy Blackman

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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 Watcher by Monika Jephcott Thomas

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Watcher by Monika Jephcott Thomas to review.

The Watcher by Monika Jephcott Thomas

Here is the book blurb.

It’s 1949 when Netta’s father Max is released from a Siberian POW camp and returns to his home in occupied Germany. But he is not the man the little girl is expecting – the brave, handsome doctor her mother Erika told her stories of. Erika too struggles to reconcile this withdrawn, volatile figure with the husband she knew and loved before, and, as she strives to break through the wall Max has built around himself, Netta is both frightened and jealous of this interloper in the previously cosy household she shared with her mother and doting grandparents. Now, if family life isn’t tough enough, it is about to get even tougher, when a murder sparks a police investigation, which begins to unearth dark secrets they all hoped had been forgotten.

I found this book quite confusing as the timeline kept swapping between nightmare flashbacks to when Max was imprisoned at a POW camp in Siberia and current 1949 occupied Germany described mainly from Max’s young daughter Netta’s viewpoint.

It is a full household with Max, his wife Erika, Netta, Max’s parents Martha and Karl, invalid Tante Bertel and servant Karin. Things get even more complicated as Karin is dating Roderick, who the reader has already learnt had an affair with Erika whilst Max was a POW. Martha knows about this and warns Karin she will lose her job if she doesn’t stop seeing Roderick.

The reader discovers that Netta seems to have an eating disorder, although her family seem unaware. And she tells her father that someone has been watching her. She also has a bad cough due to pollution. Her parents are just deciding to send her away to the seaside where the air will be better, when police arrive. There has been a murder. Are some of them suspects?

There are more characters to meet including some from Max’s time at the POW camp, but I’m going to stop now as I don’t wish to reveal who was murdered. This happened quite near the start of the story, but as I said before I found it all quite confusing.

The Watcher is available on Amazon, currently priced at £8.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A challenging read and not one that I hugely enjoyed, although okay.

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

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Hit by P S Bridge

I have received a free e-copy of the book Hit by P S Bridge to review.

Hit by P S Bridge

Here is the book blurb.

A terrorist threat, a sinister organisation, and a threat to the security of the free world.
Renowned British lawyer and Sandhurst military academy dropout, Mark Lucas King is assigned the case of his career: to prosecute known terrorist Mohammed Al-Azidi.
All King wants is justice and to do his job successfully. But his peaceful life is shattered when a team of merciless hitmen targets him and his family and the court case collapses. Framed for assault and suspected of his wife’s murder, King must leave his legal career behind and go back to his old career as a British Army sniper in order to catch those responsible and hold them to account. Mark King’s brand of justice doesn’t involve a court room.
Forced to battle against highly trained hitmen to clear his name, King discovers that a sinister organisation known as Invictus Advoca is operating behind the scenes. What is their connection to him and the Al-Azidi case?
As the hunt for those responsible takes him far across Europe, can Mark unravel the mysteries that shroud this secretive organisation and peel back the layers to discover why he and his family have found themselves the target of professional hitmen?
Time is not on Mark King’s side as he races to prevent a global terror threat, discover who killed his wife, and find out who wants him dead, and why.

Mark King is presenting the case for the prosecution of terrorist Mohammed Al-Azidi for the murder of Richard Wilkinson, who sacrificed his life to prevent a mass terrorist atrocity. However Mark has received mysterious phone calls, threatening him if he doesn’t drop the case. Meanwhile Marie, his wife keeps seeing a strange car with smoked windows parked outside their home. Also Ian Hawking, one of the journalists, who has been heckling Mark for years, turns up at their house.

Mark asks the car driver, Roman Vose what he is doing there and instead finds himself framed for assault, by Roman and his accomplice, with Ian snapping photos. Mark’s boss, Hugo suspends him and he heads to the shooting range to cool down. But worse is to follow when he gets home and finds Marie has been murdered. Mark is a suspect.

After Marie’s funeral, Mark sets off on a personal mission to try to find the hitmen and whoever is paying them and to find out what is the link with the Al-Azidi case. Plenty of exciting twists and turns as the hunt leads him across Europe.

Hit is available on Amazon, currently priced at £9.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A great story that kept me on the edge of my seat which I highly recommend.


I’m participating in the blogtour. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts.

Hit by P S Bridge - #blogtour

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

After The Texans by Declan Milling

I have received a free e-copy of the book “After The Texans” by Declan Milling to review. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

After The Texans by Declan Millin

Here is the book blurb.

Having exposed the corrupt government in Papua New Guinea, the UN’s carbon market watchdog is riding high. But Emil Pfeffer, its head of market integrity, is in meltdown. The UN investigation has been shelved and his girlfriend, Johanna, has been kidnapped as insurance that his inquiries will go no further. 

Wracked by guilt and desperate to find her, Emil finds himself thrust into the high-stakes battle being waged for control of the world’s remaining fossil fuel resources. 

It’s economic war for hegemony over the future of global energy, being played out against a backdrop of Australian domestic politics, where coal mining and the Great Barrier Reef are locked in a fight to the death.

After The Texans is the second novel in the Carbon Black series.

I found this book very difficult to get into which I put down to it being book 2 in a series for which I haven’t read book 1, although I had been advised that it could be read as a stand-alone book. The first bit I actually enjoyed wasn’t until chapter 4 when Emil followed Lesley home as he was hoping she might help him locate her ex-husband, Rodger Beckwith, (shortly before the extract below). Lesley gives him an address but before he can visit, his boss sends him to Hong Kong to assist an Australian legal team. There by chance he spots another person he wanted to find, Geoffrey. Cue more following but Emil loses him in the crowd. Since there is an Interpol notice out on Geoffrey. Emil reports it to Tang at the Hong Kong police. Meanwhile Ms Cheng, one of the opposing legal team delivers him a mysterious package containing a disk. Emil is sickened by what he sees on the disk, but he does recognise Mr Law, the chairman presiding over the legal case he is involved with.

Cheng disappears and Tang questions Emil about it however he doesn’t reveal about the disk. He returns to his hotel where he finds his room has been ransacked. The police find Cheng dead and request Emil to remain in Hong Kong. Meanwhile Emil takes the bull by the horns and accuses Mr Law of child rape and then follows him. However he gets caught himself and dumped into a garbage truck and from there into the waste tip. Luckily someone spots and rescues him.

He goes back to the same apartment block again, but this time gets taken into police custody, where he has to hand the disk over this time. Tang takes him to see Zhong from Beijing, who does a deal with him to go to Australia to find out what he can about Beckwith, otherwise face imprisonment in Hong Kong for possession of the offensive material on the disk. I’ll leave you to read what happens next in Australia.

I think I need to go back and read book 1 as this story didn’t really flow for me, especially any meeting discussions which truth be told I found yawn worthy, although there were other parts that I enjoyed a lot. And it ends with the feeling that I also need to read book 3 to piece everything together.

So a mixed response from me, but if you like the sound of it, this book can be purchased via Amazon.


Here is an extract from the book for you to read.

Emil, the main character, has been sent to London by his boss to attend a conference in her place. He has a chance encounter with Lesley Beckwith who might be able to give him a lead to help him find his kidnapped girlfriend, Johanna. But they’ve both had a few drinks after the conference, and things start going in an unexpected direction.

She was looking Emil directly in the eye. Her own big, dreamy, brown eyes now slightly glassy.

“It was only by chance, I found out why he was away so much. He was screwing her. His assistant. Another bloody Swiss. Now I don’t even have the kids with me.”

Having followed Lesley Beckwith with the intent of getting her to talk about her husband, Emil found all he wanted to do now was get her off the topic.

“My girlfriend has disappeared, so I’m alone as well.” That didn’t come out the right way, he thought, having said it. “What I mean is, she took a flight from Papua New Guinea to Frankfurt, but without any explanation, got off at Singapore. Nobody’s heard from her since.”

“Maybe it was for someone else.”

“Yes, that’s a possibility, I suppose.” He paused, thinking. “But there’s nothing to suggest that …” his voice trailed off as he remembered, with a sudden uneasiness, what Robert had told him. She’d been on the same flight as Gerry Johnstone. And he’d been booked only as far as Singapore.

“People often do things you don’t expect they would. It’s the little signs, changes that you don’t notice, don’t pick up on. I didn’t notice, until it was way too late. Even then, it was only because he slipped up.”

“I think she might have been kidnapped … by the people who were financing your husband’s bank …”

He looked at her and, in his increasingly wine-befuddled mind, got the feeling that she was looking at him somehow differently.

“Why do you think my husband would leave me for another woman? Don’t you think I’m attractive, Emil?”

“I think you’re, er, quite beautiful, actually.”

Wrong answer! He knew, as soon as he’d said it.

“Do you think I’m sexy?”

“Well, er, yes, but…”

“Don’t you think men would want to fuck me?”

The word hit him like a punch, a king hit, knocking him off whatever remaining balance he had. She’d moved closer to him on the sofa. With a surprise, he felt her hand was on his knee.

“I think half the men in the firm would. But they’d just do it so they could boast to their friends. The rest of them are gay.”

“I, I …”

“Do you want to fuck me, Emil? Is that, really, why you followed me?”


About Declan Milling

Declan Milling has over thirty years experience as an environmental lawyer. Born in Australia,he holds degrees in science and law and a masters degree in environmental law. Currently based in the United Kingdom, Milling divides his time between London and Edinburgh. His first novel, Carbon Black, was released in 2014.


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

After The Texans by Declan Milling

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

Spotlight on Preceded By Chaos

I haven’t read this book but today I have a Spotlight on the graphic novel Preceded By Chaos, vol 0 written by the author M Wheeler to share with my followers.

Preceded By Chaos

Here is the book blurb.

…Preceded by Chaos is an illustrated short story. The protagonist, Mitchell Weaver, is a young Emergency Medicine doctor. Mitchell has entered a high stress, distinguished profession with the burden of a variety of particularly disturbing personal demons that he must battle every day in order to maintain the façade of sanity and control. The initial instalment of the series, Volume 0, introduces the reader to Mitchell at a point in his life where he has begun to realize that many of his prior indulgences and deficits are no longer compatible with his current life of responsibility.


“…Preceded by Chaos, Vol. 0” is an illustrated short story. Why an illustrated short story? Well I would attribute that and, in many respects my writing style to my mother. She is neither an author nor an editor but she possibly embodies the single most influential impact on my writing style. You see, I love her immensely, but my mother is chaos personified. She is overtly anxious and her energy, similar to the symbol of chaos, extends in any direction at any time, with varying degrees, and without warning or notice. Like many children, I always had some element of misdirected resentment towards my mother for the less desirable personality traits that I inherited from her, until I understood how to own them and make them work for me. Two examples that stand out most to me are our short attention spans and our ability to find drama in the mundane and the mundane within the drama. In addition to these traits providing me with a perfect temperament for the fast pace and stress of Emergency Medicine they have also defined my writing style. For those scarce on time and attention, my stories are short and designed to keep you engaged for a quick flight, a lunch break or the short break that life offers while the kids are at karate. Like the varying energies of mom, my short stories fluctuate between text and illustration to use different modes of media to stimulate the reader and move the story along. It is our shared second trait, of finding the spectacle in the silent moments, which truly make the stories work, and I hope the reader agrees. Thanks for the style mom.

As for the story itself, the protagonist, Mitchell Weaver, is a young Emergency doctor. Mitchell has entered a high stress, distinguished profession with the burden of a variety of particularly disturbing personal demons that he must battle every day in order to maintain the façade of sanity and control. This book is part of series, which has an established and finite arc. When we first meet Mitchell, in Vol. 0, he has lost much of himself during the pursuit of his calling. Through the plus books the series follows Mitchell on his journey to find his true self; while through the minus books we trace his steps backward in attempt to identify how and where exactly he lost his himself. Symbolic of the series, which details Mitchell’s soul searching journey, Volume 0 is an important place to start because it documents Mitchell’s hunt to find an old friend who Mitchell feels can help set right some of the wrongs of his past that have found their way into his present.

Although the series is about a young doctor it approaches some common societal ailments that afflict all of human kind. For me, growing up in a family that produced more criminal charges and teenaged pregnancies then college degrees, once amongst the previously unfamiliar fraternity of physicians, I never expected to find so many commonalities between the common and the hyper-intellectual. I found that issues that we as a society and deal with, either directly or indirectly, such as mental illness, drug abuse and physical abuse are not stigmas associated to a particular social status but are unfortunate attributes that burden all of mankind. In order to create this series, I’ve taken interesting, and in some cases disturbing, situations and people that I have seen during my career and I have placed them in environments that I am familiar with.

PBC is a fictional series not based on any one individual’s life but rather a collage of individual lives amalgamated into Mitchell and put on display for the reader to understand that we all suffer from the human condition.

Thank you for the opportunity to entertain you.  I truly enjoyed writing “…Preceded by Chaos.”

Please visit the website, at www.precededbychaos.com, for free multimedia content and to learn more about the series. Like us on Face Book, at Preceded By Chaos, and follow us on Twitter, at @precededbychaos.

M. Wheeler


About M Wheeler
M. Wheeler held an eclectic series of jobs – including working as a studio engineer and a teacher – before he entered medical school in his thirties. During his residency while living in New York City, he wrote his first two books which would eventually become the Preceded by Chaos series. Wheeler travels extensively for his job but currently lives in Miami.

http://precededbychaos.com/

Twitterhttps://twitter.com/precededbychaos

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/PrecededByChaos/

This book can be purchased via Amazon.


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Preceded By Chaos by M Wheele

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Disclosure.  I have not received this product.  All opinions are my own.

The Learn by Tony Halker

I have received a free e-copy of the book “The Learn” by Tony Halker to review.

The Learn by Tony Halker

Here is the book blurb.

Blending reality, history and legend, about a time when women were considered as important as men, taking power in an oral society that worships the Goddess. A whole Celtic Druid world is laid out before us, incorporating beliefs, technology and the natural environment.

A Celtic boy, a beach scavenger, is pledged to the Learn, a life of endurance, a path to become sworn Druid: scholar and warrior.  Young women and men progress, becoming Priests and Druidii. Friendship, affection, passion and care develop as novices mature, confidence emerging. Seasonal battles of winter and summer bring rich festivals when seeds of men are taken by women in pleasure to prove fertility. Small damaged, hurt peoples on the margins of Celtic society blend in and out of vision.

At frontiers with Nature, dependent for everything on what the earth gives or takes, an emotional response to the natural environment defines who people are and the values they live by. A lyrical novel resonating with modern readers through portrayal of character, language and history; arising from a landscape of today, yet centred in the Celtic Bronze Age of North Wales.

Although I do read historical books from time to time, the Celtic Bronze Age is an era I am not at all familiar with. There is a list of Celtic tribes at the beginning of the book along with characters and places which I found very helpful to refer to. The book is set in North Wales.

The book starts by introducing the boy Owayne and his mother Rigantona. Owayne finds a large red pearl amongst the seaweed on the beach which the Celts believe are tears of the Goddess, so Rigatona negotiates a price for the pearl with druid Merle to train Owayne for the Test and Learn, so that he may become a priest or druid.

I did find it hard to relate to the Celtic ways like taking several chapters to decide whether a round wooden frame was blasphemy against the Goddess or new knowledge to be added to the Learn.

We meet Gwen, Huw and Nial, three others like Owayne, sworn to the Learn. Owayne, Gwen and Nial team together on the Learn challenge to each make a charcoal pit.

At Beltane, a small race called Syth join in the festivities as honoured guests but one of the Iceni tribe kills a Syth girl. Her mother demands justice. A life for a life.

Owayne also learns from the Syth and has to help defend the Learn when the Iceni and Gargani attack.

Although this book is well-written, I have to say it didn’t hit the spot for me.

You may purchase this book on Amazon


Here’s an extract to give you a taster of the story.

Pages 153-154. Beltane (Calain Mai) is the festival that celebrates the end of winter and the beginning of summer, when cattle are put to higher ground and crops sown. Fires are lit, danced over, put out by the rite, then relit. Syth come in the dark to join the celebrations, jumping fires running in the shadows.

Looking carefully I see that some Syth, a high number, are not quite like us, are misshapen with joints out of place, breaks of bone that have remained distorted, some have burn marks from metal, even stumps of hand or foot where liquid metal has made hole or break, all have energy, all tumble, fight and compete, all endure, struggling to be in this celebration. Misshapen in form they can be fluid beautiful in movement and in their commitment of energy.

Noise is ramping, rising, confused, screeching shell blown air merging with voices, bangs and calls, there is constant fire jumping, more reckless, screams with pain burning embers, drunk and foolhardy try to take burning sticks and branches. Lines of jumpers men and women running at the fire from different places and angles, jostling to be next, risking meeting another over the fire, falling into its flames, all miss, blessed.


About Tony Halker

Born in London, Tony Halker studied geology at Leeds University after which he worked as a geologist, travelling extensively overseas. Following an MBA at Cranfield School of Management, he became a manager in hi-tec business and later a businessman and entrepreneur. His writing is inspired by powerful natural landscapes and his interest in the people and technologies emerging from those hard places. His two daughters were born in North Wales. He lives with his wife there and in Hertfordshire.

Website – http://www.tonyhalker.com/

Blog – http://www.tonyhalker.com/blog


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

The Learn by Tony Halker

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

I Kill by Lex Lander

Earlier this year I reviewed End As An Assassin, the first book in the Manhunter series by Lex Lander. I have now received a free e-copy of book two “I Kill” to review.

I Kill by Lex Lander

Here is the book blurb.

When she was taken from him he went after her and sealed her fate – his too

Racked by guilt over his accidental killing of a young Italian girl, contract killer André Warner has effectively retired himself from his ‘profession’ and taken to drink and other palliatives, while sinking slowly into a mire of depression.

A contract in Tangier to assassinate an Arab drug trafficker lures him out of retirement and self-pity. Soon after his arrival he encounters attractive American widow, Clair Power, and her precocious sixteen year-old daughter, Lizzy, who bears such a striking resemblance to the girl Warner killed that his waning anguish is instantly rekindled. He attempts to assuage it by embarking on a fling with Clair which brings him into conflict with a mysterious Dutchman named Rik de Bruin, who also appears to have designs on her.

The contract on the drug merchant is cancelled with no explanation given, but Warner, now seriously involved with Clair, is more relieved than disappointed. Their budding romance is not destined to blossom however. Clair disappears and Warner is landed with the role of de facto guardian to Lizzy.

In tracking down Clair, Warner crosses a line that brings him into conflict with the local police and he is deported from Tangier with a distraught Lizzy in tow. Back at his Andorra villa she slowly recovers from her mother’s disappearance and launches an assault on Warner’s good intentions. Her increasingly provocative behavior disturbs yet excites him, and when Rik de Bruin pitches up in Andorra and begins to take an interest in Lizzy too, Warner gets possessive the only way he knows.

Too late, alas, to save Lizzy from an unspeakable fate.

I really enjoyed the first book in this series so was looking forward to getting reacquainted with André again. And I wasn’t disappointed. Once again the story starts with André in retirement from his lucrative professional killer role. But he is tempted back out of the monotony of sex and drinks for a job in Tangier. He assumes a pseudonym, Alan Melville. There he meets Clair Power and daughter Lizzie. Clair is being pestered by Rik de Bruin but is only too happy to have a holiday romance with “Alan”.

De Bruin asks “Alan” to meet him at the Chico Bar to offer him a partnership in his porn movie business. All he wants in exchange is for “Alan” to cease contact with Clair and Lizzie. “Alan” turns down the offer, even with 200,000 euros included, (see extract below).

The next day “Alan” glimpses Clair and Lizzie in trouble by the roadside. Some thugs are bundling them into a car. “Alan” trys to give chase but only catches up when Lizzie jumps from the moving vehicle. “Alan” kills one of the kidnappers, but the others drive off with Clair. Meanwhile “Alan” attempts to convince the police with his version of events and then ends up with the British Consul.

“Alan” searches for de Bruin but finds he has returned to Holland. No leads. He and Lizzie are then mugged, by apparently the same gang as who kidnapped Clair. The police ask them to leave Morocco for their own safety. “Alan” attempts to take Lizzie to live with her uncle but on discovering that he is a drug addict living in squalor changes the plan and takes Lizzie home with him to Andorra.

However de Bruin tracks them down in Andorra and kidnaps Lizzie. I won’t tell you how or what happens next, but there are plenty more twists. I loved this book. A real page turner. Also it is a stand-alone story. No need to have read End As An Assassin.


Here is an extract from the book to give you a taster.

Mysterious Dutchman, Rik de Bruin, is pestering Clair and Lizzy, Warner’s new love and her daughter, and convenes a meeting to try and buy Warner off.strong>

De Bruin was holding a handkerchief to his flattened ear and hadn’t moved from the table. Beefcake slowly turned his head towards him, seeking guidance.
‘All right, all right,’ de Bruin shouted, flapping the handkerchief like a flag of surrender. ‘We let you go, Melville.’
Big of him. Being let go wasn’t enough though. I took a backward peek at the station wagon pair. They were behaving themselves, even to the extent of clasping their hands behind their necks, unasked. Arabs have a lot of respect for guns.
I beckoned de Bruin. ‘Come here. The rest of you, on your bellies.’ I repeated the instruction in French.
De Bruin stayed put. The rest, taking their cue from him, stayed vertical.
I lifted the gun and ripped off a three round mini-burst, a hacking cough of gunfire. Birds erupted by the hundred from every ledge and crevice, dimming the sun and blotting out all sound with their cries. The blizzard of thrashing wings took a while to disperse. When quiet was restored I lowered the long barrel to fire a second burst, a fraction above head height. To a man, and in concert, the minions hit terra firma, and de Bruin started walking towards me, albeit on dragging heels. Amazing what a little lead slinging will do.
De Bruin stopped, leaving a metre of so of space between us. He licked his slug-like lips.
‘Two hundred thousand euros,’ he said. ‘I will give two hundred thousand. A hundred and fifty now, the rest later today.’
‘You never give up, do you?’
I went up to him, and we stood there, a foot apart, breathing hard, glaring at each other. Then I lashed him across the bridge of his nose with the gun barrel, so abruptly he had no hope of avoiding the blow, and so violently that the jolt travelled all the way to my shoulder. A shout of pain, a gush of blood, and he fell to his knees in the gravel.
I stepped away from him, panting a little.
‘Let that be the end of it, de Bruin.’

I Kill is available on Amazon, currently priced at £3.49 on Kindle and is published by Kaybec Publishing. I loved it and highly recommend it, Looking forward to the third book in the Manhunter series.


About Lex Lander

British-born thriller writer Lex Lander was raised in France, earned his degree in French and Italian in New Zealand and currently lives in Montreal. Lander is the author of political thriller ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER JACKAL, published by Kaybec in 2013. Vol III in the series, THE MAN WHO HUNTED HIMSELF, will be published by Kaybec in the autumn. The first two volumes in the André Warner series, END AS AN ASSASSIN and I KILL by Lex Lander (published by Kaybec 1st May 2016) are available to buy online from retailers including amazon.co.uk. and all good bookstores including WHSmiths.

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

I Kill by Lex Lander

And you can read a guest post by Lex Lander that I published previously on his inspiration for the Andre Warner series here.

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

Katharina Luther: Nun, Rebel, Wife by Anne Boileau

I have received a free e-copy of the book “Katharina Luther: Nun, Rebel, Wife” by Anne Boileau to review. Being asked to review this brought back a memory from my childhood that I will share with you. I muddled up Martin Luther and Martin Luther King in my schoolwork. Two famous figures with similar names, but that is as close as it gets. Anyhow, on with the book review.

Katharine Luther by Anne Boileau

Here is the book blurb.

On 31st October 1517 Martin Luther pinned ninety-five theses on the Castle Church door, Wittenberg, criticising the Church of Rome; they were printed and published by Lucas Cranach and caused a storm. Nine young nuns, intoxicated by Luther’s subversive writings, became restless and longed to leave their convent. On Good Friday 1523 a haulier smuggled them out hidden in empty herring barrels. Five of them settled in Wittenberg, the very eye of the storm, and one of them – Katharina von Bora – scandalised the world by marrying the revolutionary former monk. Following a near miscarriage, she is confined to her bed to await the birth of their first child; during this time of enforced rest, she sets down her own story. Against a backdrop of 16th Century Europe this strikingly realised account of the early life of Katharina von Bora brings to the spotlight this spirited and courageous woman.

A timely and compelling new study of a woman whose story is not widely known in the English-speaking world,Katharina Luther: Nun, Rebel, Wife will captivate fans of the likes of Philippa Gregory and Hilary Mantel, and is set to fascinate, enlighten and leave readers hooked until the very last page.

This book is set in Germany in the 16th century at the time of the Protestant Reformation which was initiated by Martin Luther. The book is in the format of a diary by Katharina Luther, written whilst she is confined to her room in the last weeks of her pregnancy. Her journal begins with her childhood, sent to a convent at age 9 and soon afterwards, one of the sisters confiscates her stuffed mole. At age 15, Katharina becomes a novice.

One of the nuns then received an illicit copy of Luther’s translation of the Bible which a few of the younger nuns including Katharina took turns to read in secret for 4 weeks until sister Charity discovered them reading in German rather than Latin. Over 6 years after becoming a nun, Katharina realises she wants to escape the convent and see what is happening outside.

There are a small group of young nuns who feel the same and they write a letter to Dr Luther for help, as it is his writing which has said monks and nuns should be allowed to forsake their vows. 6 weeks later they get a reply, instructing them to get in the empty herring barrels on Good Friday. And thus they escape, some returning to their families but the other five including Katharina carrying on to Dr Luther in Wittenberg.

There Frau Reichenbach helps them adapt to the noisy secular world. Herr and Frau Cranach take in Ave and Katharina as house daughters. Ave leaves to marry Basilius. In due course, Katharina has a suitor, Hieronymous Baumgartner but as a runaway nun she is not considered suitable by his parents. She next receives a marriage proposal from an elderly pastor, Dr Glatz whom she turns down.

Then she receives another marriage proposal by proxy from Dr Luther via Herr Cranach. She meets him (see extract below) and agrees to marry. An ex-monk and an ex-nun. After her marriage, she tries unsuccessfully to reconcile with her father and step-mother. However her Aunt Lena comes to live with her following the closure of the convent. And her diary ends with the birth of her son.

I used to read a lot of historical fiction and really enjoyed revisiting this genre. A nice read.


Here’s an extract to give you a taster of the story.

From Chapter 13 ­– The Storks’ Nest
Dr Luther asked Lucas Cranach to convey a proposal of marriage to Katharina on his behalf. It seems he did not have the courage to ask her himself. Katharina is now going to see him, having written him a note, and he then invited her to come up to his study.

I counted the steps as I went up, stopping now and then to catch my breath. Sixty three. I tip-toed along the corridor carrying my shoes so he wouldn’t hear my footsteps. Though he must surely hear my thumping heart! The door to his study was shut. I stood still before it and tried to steady my breathing, to slow down my heart. My bodice was too tight, the laces cutting into my chest. My armpits were damp and prickling. I got a hanky out of my pocket and wiped my sweaty face. ‘Come on, you stupid girl, what are you waiting for?’ I raised my right fist and rapped on the door.

“Come in.”

He stands up as I enter and walks towards me, his hands outstretched. He takes my hands in his and we stand facing each other in silence for what seems like several minutes. Then he leads me to a chair and I sit down. I tell my heart to slow down. My breathing is steadier now.

The great man seems rather shy. Can he really be nervous of me, a young woman of no consequence? He sits down behind the desk and runs his fingers through his hair. Then he twists away from me and points out of the window at a heap of sticks on a chimney.

“You see the stork? She’s sitting on a clutch. That bodes well, you know, for the coming year.”

“Yes, we have a pair at the Cranach House too, though we can’t see the nest so close.”

“Lovely birds. Where do they disappear to in winter do you suppose?”

“I really wouldn’t know, Herr Doktor. Somewhere warmer, I should think.”

“Yes, no doubt. They fly south, that much we know.”

He turned back to look at me, then looked away again, cleared his throat and shifted some papers about on his desk. Eventually, with averted eyes, he said:
“Fräulein von Bora, you received my message, from Herr Cranach?”

“I did.”

“And might I ask if you have had a chance to think about it?”

I looked past him through the window at the birds’ nest, and just then the other stork arrived, landing awkwardly on the heap of sticks. It was change of shift for the brooding pair. I thought about my prayers to Jesus, about my asking him for a sign. Was this His sign to me that it was all right? A pair of birds, raising their chicks, living and working together, in harmony and mutual affection. Yes, Jesus couldn’t have sent a clearer sign, a more apt way of telling me that this was the road for me to take. That I should indeed accept his proposal and build a nest with him, on our metaphorical chimney, like those long legged birds outside his window.

“I have thought about it. I have prayed too.”

“We can make no decision without the help of Our Lord. So let me ask you again, Fräulein, after your thoughts and sleep, after your prayers and supplications, what decision have you come to? Would this young beautiful one-time nun be prepared to marry this middle-aged ugly, difficult one-time monk?”

“I think so. Yes, I think she might be. Be prepared to, I mean.”

“But you’re not sure. I’m not an easy man. I think you know that already.”

He looks at me with such anxiety and tenderness, I see a yearning in his eyes which I have never seen before. And all of a sudden I hear myself talking with a fluency quite new to me, I hear words spilling out of my mouth almost before they take shape in my head.

“Herr Doktor. I have had reservations, I must admit. I have been wrestling with my conscience. After all, as you know, I took my vows when I was fifteen, I became a Bride of Christ. Then I became disillusioned, partly because of reading your sermons and letters. So with eight other nuns I abandoned my husband, the dear Lord Christ, and we ran away from the convent. I broke my vow of Obedience. I have suffered a heavy conscience about that for two whole years. Now, I find myself weighing up the possibility of yet another betrayal of our Lord, by promising to marry you. That would entail my breaking a second vow made to Christ, the vow of chastity. And you, Dr Luther, you were a monk and you have broken your vows. Is it not sinful for a monk to marry a nun? I’ve heard it said that any children born of such a union are evil, cursed, even monsters. You asked me about my reservations. I have done my best to explain.”

“Dear Fräulein von Bora, I understand entirely what you feel and I would worry if you didn’t find it necessary to examine your conscience on such a grave matter. But let me explain about celibacy and what I see as God’s attitude to our sexuality. God made women in such a way that they are able to bear children and give them milk to suck. He also made men long for the comfort and company of women. This is natural. God wants what is natural. As I said, He created men and women to be together in marriage, and what happens in the marriage bed is as natural as eating and drinking….”


About Anne Boileau

Anne Boileau (also known as Polly Clarke) lives in Essex. She studied German in Munich and worked as interpreter and translator before turning to language-teaching in England. She also holds a degree in Conservation and Land Management from Anglia University and has written and given talks on various aspects of conservation. Now she shares, writes and enjoys poetry; her work has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines; she has also won some awards, including First Prize with Grey Hen Press, 2016. She translates modern German poetry into English with Camden Mews Translators and was Chair of Suffolk Poetry Society from 2011 to 2014.

This book will be published on 4th October and you may purchase on Amazon.


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

Katharine Luther by Anne Boileau

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

For the Love of Grace by Andy Blackman

I have received a free e-copy of the book “For The Love of Grace” by Andy Blackman to review.

For The Love of Grace by Andy Blackman

Here is the book blurb.

Grace Backer had a life full of tragedy. But despite everything, she raised her son, Tom, with her secret intact. Tom is a prodigal child, destined to escape the slums of the East End of London for a better life; circumstances will make him flee his loving mother and their home much sooner than expected. Tom starts a new life in Odessa, Russia, and with the help of new-found friends starts a business. At last, he is finally accepted into a new and loving family, but one which holds its own dark secrets. A chance meeting with the son of a duke of the realm leads to close friendship and a new business partnership. When Tom decides to move his company to London and have his regal new friend run it, the firm thrives. However, not everything is as it seems, and Tom’s business soon conceals dangerous secrets of its own. Years later, when Tom finally decides to return to London, he is a wanted man, one hunted by the intelligence agencies. If he is finally to be reunited with his beloved mother and his best friend, he must fight to put the past behind him. But keeping secrets is never easy.

A nurse during World War Two, Grace Backer had an early life full of tragedy. But despite everything, she had her young son Tom whom she raised with her dark secrets intact. So when the police come knocking on her door, telling her that Tom has been accused of murder, she refuses to believe it and instead helps her teenage boy escape from East London on a cargo ship bound for Russia. Heartbroken, Grace fears she will never see her son again, but she knows that she’s done all she can to help him embark on a new and prosperous life.

After meeting an ambitious Russian called Sebastian on the journey East, Tom quickly becomes embroiled in his new friend’s family haulage business, even falling for the charms of his sister Natasha. As years pass, and with memories of his mother and childhood fading, Tom feels like he’s finally building a secure new life in Odessa, enjoying success, marriage and even welcoming a young daughter. But all that comes crashing down after a bomb explosion at one of their factories which sets of a sequence of events that expose Tom to the unscrupulous side of the “family business”. Under the guidance of Uncle Vlad, Tom is dragged down a violent path of revenge which has devastating consequences; after an assassination goes wrong his family become the unintended, tragic victims.

From Odessa to Belize, Tom’s thirst for revenge cannot be quenched, and he gains a reputation amongst top intelligence agencies as a cold-blooded assassin. Only through an unlikely new friendship is he able to slip back into London to carry out his last hit, reunite with his mother and fight to put the past behind him. But keeping secrets has never been easy.

Explosive, fast-paced and with vivid and complex characters, the first in Blackman’s series, For the Love of Grace, is the perfect next read for modern crime thriller fans.

The book starts by introducing Tom in the current time. We then move back to his school days and then further back to introduce his parents in WW2. Tom’s mum, Grace was a nurse and she helped a Russian sailor Ivor on the road to recovery after a stabbing, befriending him and teaching him English over a few weeks before he returned to Russia. Tragedy strikes twice with Grace losing her unborn child in an air-raid and then her husband was killed in the war.

Meanwhile, Tom age 14, is wrongly suspected of murder, so Grace calls in a favour from Ivor who is port and Tom flees aboard Ivor’s ship to start a new life in Russia. But tragedy strikes again firstly when Tom’s best friend is killed by a bomb and secondly when Tom’s wife and 4yr old daughter are killed in a car accident involving gunmen.

Tom wants revenge. He follows the trail of the gunmen to Belize. There he makes a new best friend, Duke. Over the next few years the trail takes him via America, eliminating the chain as he goes, eventually to London, where a twist awaits, plus he finally gets to see his mum again.

I loved this story and highly recommend it. A real page turner.


Here is an extract from the book to whet your appetite.

This is where Tom meets Grenville for the first time, and decided to intervene changing their lives forever:

All of a sudden Tom heard a plea for help, from a voice of impeccable English. It had been years since Tom had heard such well-spoken English, and for some reason, even to this day unknown to himself, decided to interact, and break a golden rule: ‘never get involved unless you are involved’.

Tom moved with lightning speed, smashing the bottle in his hand over the aggressor with the knife’s head, who went down like a dropped sack. Tom moved with the fluency of years of training and had rendered the other assailant harmless even before he knew what had hit him. Tom quickly looked at the two friends, who looked stunned with what had just gone on in a split second.

Tom said, “Grab your stuff and follow me if you want to live.” He walked towards the door and down the road; the two recently sobered friends grabbed their belongings and staggered in his wake.

After reaching the harbour Tom jumped onto his boat, and told the friends to jump aboard. Running to the cabin he quickly switched on the engine and it roared into life. He shouted for one of them to cast off the jetty. Just as they were pulling away from the jetty, a stream of screaming locals were running towards them, stopping short on the jetty as by now they were far into the fast flowing river, quickly disappearing from view.

After about an hour Tom made sure they were not being followed, throttled back the engines until they were on idle and let the river’s current take them along. He then moved to the back of the boat to greet his guests. The two friends were huddled in the bow of the boat, both looking shell-shocked by recent events; an hour ago they were having a fun game of darts in a local bar whilst having a few beers with the locals, now they were on a tug boat heading up a river to god knows where, with a complete stranger.

Tom introduced himself to them both and asked if he could look at the cut, and explained in these parts an untreated wound could fester and can go gangrenous in hours if not treated. Tom held out his hand in friendship, which the other man took, and said, “Grenville St Louis, eleventh Duke of Hampshire, second son.”

“Blimey,” Tom said, “that’s a mouthful, I will call you Duke,” to which they both laughed.


About Andy Blackman

After serving in the British Army for over twenty-five years in the Parachute Regiment, Andy Blackman today lives in Bedworth, Warwickshire and works within in the IT sector. In his spare time he can be found visiting his three daughters and grandchildren.

This book can be purchased via Amazon.


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

For The Love of Grace by Andy Blackman

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

Robert Hood by John Hickling

I have received a free e-copy of the book “Champagne & Lemonade” by John Hickling to review. This is a collection of short stories, which is published today.

Champagne & Lemonade by John Hickling

Here is the book blurb.

Champagne & Lemonade is a delightful collection of eclectic short stories, taking readers on a journey to different times and places, meeting a sparkling cast of well-drawn characters. 
Nibble the fish is desperate to escape his boring old pond.
A new breed of super hero has been born and his name is Bob Cheesecake.
Dumpton Hospital’s staff have a somewhat unconventional approach to looking after their patients.
Robert Hood is on a mission to save modern England.
And just who is the vampire terrorising the neighbourhood from his home at 113A Greenstone Street?
From the quixotic to the poignant, John A. D. Hickling’s wild and whimsical tales fizz with fun and are sure to entertain almost everyone!

I’ve read the other stories but my review focuses on the story of Robert Hood. I’m going to start by naming some of the other characters – John Prince the Prime Minister, Ian Sheriff the MP of Nottingham and his niece Marion, Robert’s mates Adam Dale and Bill Scarlett, big guy Donald Little and vicar Frank Tuck. Have you guessed yet? Yes it is a modern story set in 2015 based on the classic Robin Hood.

John Prince has abolished the benefits system and locked up the Royal Family. No one could stand up to Prince and those that tried quickly disappeared. If you didn’t join his army, you soon became homeless, while the rich got richer. You know what’s coming don’t you? Yes, Robert Hood, an ex-Marine living in Nottingham, who cared about his fellow men.

I found this a refreshing take on a classic and really enjoyed it. Even though a short story, all the characters were well developed.


Here’s a very short extract from Robert Hood to tempt you.

Modern life was in danger of being cast back to the dark ages under the corrupt leadership of the Prime Minister John Prince.

With his job gone and the dire situation England was in he found himself wondering where his destiny would now lie. He didn’t realize that soon England’s destiny would be in his hands. This man was Robert Hood.


About John Hickling

Proud father and grandfather, and jack of all trades John A.D. Hickling currently lives with his family in Nottingham. A lover of music, especially 60’s rock, John has previously recorded two independent albums, appeared in comedy band Space Cadets on Britain’s Got Talent and is an active member of Masque Productions amateur theatre group. His debut book, Champagne & Lemonade (published by Clink Street Publishing July 5th 2016 RRP £6.99 paperback, RRP £3.99 ebook) is available to purchase from online retailers including amazon.co.uk and to order from all good bookstores. For more information please visit www.johnchewyhickling.com or find John on Facebook.


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

Champagne & Lemonade by John Hickling

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