Tag Archives: book tour

The Prisoner’s Wife by Gerard Macdonald

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Prisoner’s Wife by Gerard Macdonald to review.

The Prisoner's Wife by Gerard Macdonald

Here is the book blurb.

From the CIA headquarters to the danger zones of Morocco and Pakistan, undercover agent Shawn Maguire is embroiled in a sinister conspiracy and an unlikely romance in this exhilarating debut spy thriller.

Shawn Maguire, unemployed American spy, has been paid to find a young Iranian now being interrogated in one of the CIA’s black prisons. The prisoner’s location remains unknown – he may be in Fes, Cairo or even Peshawar – but Shawn has every confidence that he’ll find his man eventually. Based on his time as an agent, it’s an assignment he knows he can handle. But there’s one person he’s not sure even he can handle:  the prisoner’s wife.

The Prisoner’s Wife is a political thriller ripped from today’s headlines; a tense trip through the murky worlds of state–sponsored terrorism, nuclear politics, secret American jails and lawless rendition. Conspiracies abound in this sophisticated and suspenseful novel, with its crackling dialogue and evocative, lawless landscapes. Maguire is a first-rate protagonist, complicated and heroic, and writer Gerard Macdonald does an expert job of capturing the casual ambivalence of the American intelligence officers in their rendition campaigns and keenly observes the cynical manner in which operatives prop up or depose criminal leaders depending on America’s own needs.

A pulse-pounding account of political intrigue in the Middle-East starring complex hero Shawn Maguire, The Prisoner’s Wife is the perfect next read for fans of espionage and international thrillers.

This book is mainly set in 2004, with a few flashbacks to 2000. It starts with the prisoner Osmani being abducted in Paris by CIA agents Calvin and Hassan. A few weeks later Abbasi pays suspended CIA agent Shawn to find Osmani.

Shawn begins his search by meeting Osmani’s wife Danielle whom he is attracted to. She comes back to his Sussex home, from where a game of cat and mouse with the CIA continues throughout the story, as they pair head to Morocco, Egypt and Pakistan trying to locate Osmani, whom the CIA are torturing and regularly relocating.

Danielle quizzes Shawn on his past relationships, but she is very much a closed book herself.

Plenty of conspiracies at every turn..

The Prisoner’s Wife is available on Amazon, currently priced at £3.99 in Kindle format and is also available in hardback. An interesting read.


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

Shawn shook his head. He glanced back at the bundles of notes in the summer house.

‘Serious money. How do you know I won’t take it, and run?’

‘You have many faults,’ Abbasi said. ‘I have never heard dishonesty was one of them.’ He made a comprehensive gesture, taking in house and garden. ‘Also, as they say in movies, we know where you live.’ His tone changed. ‘There is something else. When he was not riding shotgun with the Taliban, Osmani claims he was conducting an archaeological dig in Afghanistan. Excavating cellars in Ghorid ruins, somewhere on the Turquoise Mountain. Near Chist, I think. Now, whether he was doing that or not, he claims he found something of interest.’

‘Claims, how?’

‘He called me from Paris. Before your colleagues picked him up. Some time ago.’ From his diary Abbasi took a handwritten note. ‘Osmani wanted money for information. A great deal of money. There you have the phone number. The address, in the quatrieme.’ Abbasi paused. ‘I had a second call, from the same number. This time, it was his wife.’

Shawn paid attention.

‘Is that surprising?’ Abbasi asked, noting the reaction. ‘The man has a wife?’

‘It’s a lead,’ Shawn said. ‘It’s interesting. So, tell me. What’s Osmani claim he found? What does he believe you’ll pay for?’

‘A small nuclear device, a mobile device, built under the direction of Dr.. Qadir Khan. You do know of Dr.. Khan?’

Shawn said, ‘I worked on his proliferation file. He’s a problem for us.’

‘And for us, for Pakistan, a national hero.’

‘Well,’ Shawn said, ‘you got my attention. If I do take your money, where do I start?’

 

 


About the author

Author Gerard Macdonald lives in West London and is currently working on a short series of political fiction books.

Website – http://gerardmacdonald.net/


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

The Prisoner's Wife by Gerard Macdonald

 

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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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12 Days of Clink Street Christmas Guest Post: Festive Recipes

Guest post by Rick Hay, author of The Anti Ageing Food and Fitness Plan.

The Anti Ageing Food and Fitness Plan by Rick Hay

Here are a few of my favourite fast recipes to help make Christmas Day healthier.

I have provided for some easy breakfasts, desserts and sides which would allow a bit of a blow out at lunch and dinner which we all deserve – it’s Christmas after all.

Berry Superfood Bowl – a healthy start to Christmas day:

Ingredients
a small bowl
a handful of english spinach
a few blueberries and strawberries
a banana
1 teaspoon of Chia seeds
100 mls of almond milk
a dollop of unsweetened greek or coconut yoghurt
half of a sliced peeled kiwi fruit
a few teaspoons of oats and some desiccated coconut.

Method
Blend the almond milk, banana, spinach and pour into a small bowl – you could heat in slowly if desired.
Top with the blueberries, sliced kiwi fruit, strawberries and oats.
Top with a dollop of the yogurt and some desiccated coconut.

Serves 1

This is true nutrient dense fuel.
It is an antioxidant powerhouse that will really help boost immunity and help with recovery and tiredness after exercise.
It’s a mini multi vitamin/multi mineral christmas breakfast bowl.

Christmas Green Smoothie – the perfect festive breakfast or snack

Ingredients:
one small avocado
a handful of spinach
250 mls of rice, oat or coconut milk
two dates
cinnamon, nutmeg or all spice
Serve of plant based protein and or a handful of nuts if desired
Two or three teaspoons of a plant based protein powder can be added as could a handful of nuts for extra protein.

Method:
Blend the avocado, spinach, dates and the rice, oat or coconut milk for thirty seconds and serve.

Serves one.

This sweet green smoothie is packed full of magnesium to help sooth and nourish.
The avocado is a great source of protein and fibre which will help to satisfy you if you’re feeing hungry .
The deep green colour is due to the high chlorophyll levels and will help with detox and energy too.
This smoothie will keep you full and will also help you to control the portion size of your next meal.
Add a sprinkle of cinnamon, nutmeg or all spice to give this a festive feeling.

Kale, Bean, Spinach and Cranberry Bowl – a healthy Christmas Side Dish

Cook a portion of brown rice – around a third of a cup.
Lightly steam a handful of kale, a handful of spinach together with a few cauliflower florets.
When ready place the brown rice in your bowl, add the spinach, kale and cauliflower – season with turmeric and add a drizzle of coconut or olive oil.
Add a couple of tablespoons white beans and some coconut flakes or nutritional yeast.
Top with a few dried cranberries to make this dish a little more festive.

Festive Raspberry and Chia Energy Burst: a healthy Christmas dessert

Ingredients:
1 cup of Raspberries
1 cup of Blueberries
1 Banana
1 teaspoon of Chia or Linseeds
1 teaspoon of Cinnamon
2 Dates
2 tablespoons of coconut or unsweetened organic greek style yogurt
1 serving of plant based protein if desired
Rice or Almond Milk 200 ml

Method:
Blend in a mixer or blender and then place in the freezer for15 minutes.
This delicious berry based festive dessert contains cinnamon to help reduce cravings.
The blue and red pigments in the berries are great to boost immunity and they also provide energy to help you get through the rest of the day.
Increase protein levels further by adding the linseed or chia seeds and yogurt and add a serving of plant based protein to help with satiety, lean muscle mass, fat burning and toning after exercise.
The dates add vitamins and minerals and provide extra fibre to help keep you full and to help keep blood sugar levels steady.

More lighter dessert options:
Sweet Peach and Sultana with Agave

Steam one large peach and serve with a few sultanas.
Top with a teaspoon of agave and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Spiralised Cinnamon Apple
Spiralise one small apple – add raisons and mixed seeds a teaspoon of cinnamon.
This is tastier if you also add 20 to 30mls of rice milk or a dollop of unsweetened yoghurt.
Baked Honey Pear
Bake one pear for ten minutes on a low heat.
When ready serve with a teaspoon of honey and two teaspoons of coconut yogurt.
Finish off with a handful of goji berries.
Cacao Yoghurt
Fold a teaspoon or two of cacao into 100g of natural greek style yoghurt.
Top with passionfruit or half of a kiwi fruit and add some sultanas, prunes, dates or raisins.


About Rick Hay

Rick Hay is a renowned fitness and food expert with over twenty years experience as a nutritionist. Since relocating to the UK from his native Australia in 2010, Rick has successfully made a name for himself on television where he is currently the resident Health and Fitness Expert for Ideal World TV. He has previously written for Natural Health and Your Fitness magazines and is the author of Nutritional Blast (published February 2016 by Ideal World TV).

Website – http://rickhay.co.uk/

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

Twitter – https://twitter.com/rickhayuk

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/antiageingfoodandfitness/


This post is part of the 12 Days of Clink Street Christmas blogival. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts, which cover a wide range of festive reading tastes.

12 Days of Clink Street Christmas

Heart Note by Cassandra O’Leary

I have received a free e-copy of the book “Heart Note” by Cassandra O’Leary to review.

Heart Note by Cassandra O'Leary

Here is the book blurb.

Love is like a fine perfume. The top note draws you in, an instant attraction, but the Heart Note is the true essence. Like true love – a great perfume should be a woman’s perfect match.

At least, that’s what perfume counter manager, Lily Lucas, tells her customers in one of Australia’s largest department stores.

It’s almost Christmas, the store is bedecked with baubles and Lily has about eleventy billion gifts to wrap and sell. She and her team of spritzer chicks are glamorous, professional and hoping they don’t have to wear the hideous red onesies and reindeer antlers the store manager has in mind.

The high point of Lily’s work life is Christos Cyriakos, ex-cop, security guard, possible Greek god. He’s a mystery box she’d love to unwrap. But can she trust him?

All Lily wants for Christmas is to kiss Christos (and more), catch a band of thieves running amok in the store, and live happily ever after. Is that too much to wish for?

This is a short Christmas romcom novella and is the first book in the Spritzer Chicks series, although written as a stand-alone read.

The story starts with Lily on a training course for her new job as perfume counter manager, where in an exercise, handsome Christos catches her as she falls. It turns out that he is the new security guard at the same department store. Unfortunately Lily hates the smell of the Christmas promotional Heart-mas scent that she has to spray on unsuspecting customers and is fed up hearing the Heart-mas ad played over and over again, even though it is only early November. As she redoes a gift box display, she steps on a ribbon and slips over. Once again, it is Christos to the rescue, who Lily is already fantasising about. But in contrast, she prays she won’t have to wear one of the hideous red onesie, gold antler outfits that the casual staff have been kitted out with. And she isn’t quite so impressed when Christos asks her if she can observe the shop floor for anything odd. He believes there may be an inside theft job going on under their noses.

Plenty of humour and will Lily get her man?

Heart Note is available on Amazon, currently priced at 99p in Kindle format or from any of these stores. A nice light funny romantic Christmas read, easily read in one day.

And the author is hosting a rafflecopter competition in conjunction with Rachel’s Random Resources to giveaway 5 e-copies of Heart Note. Open worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.


About the author

**Winner of the We Heart New Talent contest, HarperCollins UK. Nominated for BEST NEW AUTHOR in the 2016 AusRom Today Reader’s Choice Awards for excellence in Australian romance fiction.**

Cassandra O’Leary is a romance and women’s fiction author, communications specialist, avid reader, film and TV fangirl and admirer of pretty, shiny things.

In 2015, Cassandra won the We Heart New Talent contest run by Avon Books/HarperCollins UK. Her debut romantic comedy novel, Girl on a Plane, was published in July 2016. Cassandra was also a 2015 finalist in the Lone Star writing contest, Northwest Houston Romance Writers of America, and a 2014 finalist in the First Kiss contest, Romance Writers of Australia.

Cassandra is a mother of two gorgeous, high-energy mini ninjas and wife to a spunky superhero. Living in Melbourne, Australia, she’s also travelled the world. If you want to send her to Italy or Spain on any food or wine tasting ‘research’ trips, that would be splendiferous. You’ll find Cassandra online, drinking coffee and possibly buying shoes. Oh, yes. And writing.

Social Media Links

Facebook – www.facebook.com/cassandraolearyauthor

Twitter – @cass_oleary

Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.co.uk/cassandissima/heart-note/

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/cassandissima/

Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15272644.Cassandra_O_Leary

Website – http://cassandraolearyauthor.com/


I’m participating in the blog blitz and you may like to check out some of the other blogs on the blitz.

Heart Note by Cassandra O'Leary

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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 Bedtimeasnaurus by Mike Bayliss

When we were offered the chance to review a couple of children poetry books, I knew that son2 would jump at the chance, since Mustard, Custard, Grumble Belly and Gravy is one of his favourite books. He chose The Bedtimeasnaurus, written by Mike Bayliss and illustrated by Megan Egan. What a fab title.

The Bedtimeasnaurus by Mike Bayliss

Here is the book blurb.

A charming collection of gorgeously illustrated poems to encourage fun and bedtime bonding between parents and their children.

The bright pink flamingoasaurus spends its day standing on one leg looking for something to eat. The round and delicious tomotoasaurus sings a tune while soaking up the sun. These are just two of the imaginative and amusing dinosaurs dreamed up in The Bedtimeasnaurus, the sometimes naughty and always hilarious poetry collection for children by Mike Bayliss.

Developing the idea for over thirty years while working on other projects , Bayliss was encouraged to publish his collection after being diagnosed with stage IV non – Hodgkin lymphoma in April 2017, using his work as a positive outlet for his energy as he worked to battle the illness.

Complimented by charming illustrations, opportunities for kids to draw their own dinosaur creations and simple quizzes on each of the characters, The Bedtimeasnaurus not only provides an entertaining read for young children before they go to sleep but also offers a valuable chance for parents to connect and engage.

The Bedtimeasnaurus by Mike Bayliss

I like this book because it is very funny. My favourite dinosaur is the Pumposaurus because it farts a lot.

The two sentences above are what son2 has written for his review. He doesn’t share much with us about the book, so let me explain. It is all about funny made-up dinosaurs and has been written in verse.

After the verses, there is a quiz about all the dinosaurs in the books, along with a couple of blank pages for each child to draw their own Bedtimeasnaurus along with a funny poem about their dinosaur.

Mumosaurus

Mumosaurus

Son2 has invented the mean green Mumosaurus. Should I be worried? I’m hoping his outlook on Mumosaurus being mean is just temporary, based on a misunderstanding with Clink Street Publishing, when he just got an e-version of this book rather than the actual paperback that he was expecting. In his eyes, this was all my fault. Although I have to say that I would definitely recommend a paperback copy over the e-version in this particular case, as we did experience a few technical issues. Firstly, it was too small to view on my iPhone, as it seemed to have some double page landscape formatting which wasn’t working properly. Then neither PDF nor mobi format would download from dropbox to the iPad. So we resorted to PDF on the computer, which still frustrated my son as the page breaks weren’t working correctly.

This lovely collection of dinosaur poems by Mike Bayliss is going to bring a smile to kids, especially the more cheeky “toilet humour” ones. It has been beautifully illustrated by Megan Egan.

However I’ve never come across the word “pumping” in this context, and if it wasn’t for the illustrations, I think this would be confusing to readers.

Due to be published tomorrow, The Bedtimeasnaurus is available on Amazon, currently priced at £8.30 in paperback. Suitable for a wide age range. A lovely book to read out loud to your child at bedtime or for them to read themselves.

The Bedtimeasnaurus by Mike Bayliss

About the author

Born in Walsaill West Midland, UK, Bayliss is an entrepreneur that owns companies in several industries including building supply and property development. He also owns Bespoke Brewery, which opened in 2012 and has since won a number of awards for its craft beer. He lives with his wife and three children in Forest Dean, UK. This is his first book.

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


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

The Bedtimeasnaurus by Mike Bayliss

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

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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

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

MamaMummyMum

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

The Keeping of Secrets by Alice Graysharp

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Keeping of Secrets by Alice Graysharp to review.

The Keeping of Secrets by Alice Graysharp

Here is the book blurb.

The keeper of family secrets, Patricia Roberts grows up isolated and lonely. Trust no one and you won’t be disappointed is her motto. Three men fall in love with her and she learns to trust, only to find that their agendas are not her own. With secrets concealed from her by the ultimate love of her life, and with her own secret to keep, duplicity and deceit threaten their relationship. In a coming of age story set against the sweeping backdrop of the Second World War – evacuation, the Battle of Britain, the Blitz, buzz bombs and secret war work – Patricia ultimately has to decide whether to reveal her deepest held secret for the sake of her future happiness.

The book starts when 15 year old Pat’s school is evacuated to Leatherhead in September 1939. Pat, Janet and Becky end up at Givons House, where they are under-fed, but get rehomed after complaints from their parents. Pat misses her new best friend Becky but has to leave her next billet when relatives are due and ends up in a bed far too short for her.

She goes back home to Brixton for Christmas, where her childhood friend Bill now wants her to be his sweetheart. But Pat doesn’t want to be anyone’s girl, she dreams of going to sixth form, then training to become a teacher.

Shortly after returning to Leatherhead, the short bed fails an inspection and Pat is rehomed again, this time in a small flat with Mr & Mrs Grice. When Mr Grice is called up, Mrs Grice moves to a larger bungalow and finally Becky is able to lodge with Pat again. But it is not just Leatherhead where she keeps moving, as her grandmother forces the family to move from Brixton to West Norwood due to a rent dispute, just before she goes back for May half-term.

Whilst home, she heads into London for a visit to the National Gallery and en-route pops into the Beaver Club, where her mother works. But she accidentally collides into one of the Canadian servicemen, Group Captain James Bonar, who was about to do some sightseeing before returning to duties. She ends up acting as an unofficial tour guide and James then asks her to be a pen pal.

A couple of weeks later, Pat turns 16 and with her school friends, goes for a cycle ride picnic where they inadvertently end up amidst a military training exercise on Esher Common. The officer in charge forbids them to speak of it to anyone, so she can’t include it in her pen pal news. Meanwhile James asks if she will show him more of London when he next gets leave, so she uses a visit to Becky as a cover excuse. And a week later they go to a dance and kiss. Several months pass before James next has leave and this time they sleep together and James proposes. Pat turns him down saying she wishes she was 10 years older. James had mistakenly assumed she was 21. But disaster intervenes when a week later, James’ plane is shot down.

We then move into part 2 of the book, where we continue to follow Pat, who is now blaming herself for James’ death and bottling up her biggest secret. Bill alternates between trying to cheer her up and feeling jealous that somebody else had been keen on Pat. She then meets Bill’s friend Jon whom she becomes keen on. Of course Bill starts resenting that Jon likes Pat. There’s lots more to come in the story, but I’m going to stop now.

The Keeping of Secrets is available on Amazon, currently priced at £9.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A nice story which I recommend.


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

Pat has taken James, a Canadian airman, on a whistle stop tour of London’s attractions:

‘No tour guide worth her salt could allow a tour to end without a cup of tea at a Lyons Corner House,’ I declared grandly, and James inclined his head for me to lead on. I took him to the one on the opposite corner to Charing Cross Station and we were placed at a table at one side of the room towards the back. James extracted a cigarette packet as we waited for our tea, a quirk of an eyebrow as I refused the proffered cigarette, but he made no comment, dragging deeply before blowing the smoke out of his flared nostrils. He said, ‘It’s been a very pleasant afternoon. You’ve been kind to a stranger in a foreign land and made me feel at home. Could I ask one more thing of you?’

At that moment the waitress arrived and we were busy for a few minutes with the flurry of activity. Once cups of tea were in front of us, unable to contain my curiosity, I asked, ‘What’s the one more thing you’d like me to do?’

James was in no hurry to reply, sipping his tea and helping himself to a small gingerbread cake, which he ate slowly, his even white teeth flashing as he bit into its soft brown depths, his lips meeting firmly, a slight lift to the side of his mouth as he chewed and watched me watching him. I blushed a little as if I had caught him in some kind of personal ritual and he swallowed and nodded slightly, as if coming to a decision, smiling more broadly now, the crow’s feet crinkling, and I felt a melting inside me, and I thought, I’d like to draw him, and, blushing again, busied myself with cutting up my scone and butter.

James leaned forward and spoke quietly so as to not be overheard.


About the author

Born and raised in the Home Counties, Alice Graysharp has enjoyed a varied working life from hospitality to office work and retail. She currently lives in Surrey. This is her first novel, and the first title in a two book series, she is also already working on a seventeenth century trilogy. Published in the anniversary month of the outbreak of the Second World War and the Battle of Britain.

Website: https://www.alicegraysharp.com/


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

The Keeping of Secrets by Alice Graysharp

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

MamaMummyMum

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

Summer Blogival – Soho Honey by AW Rock

I have received a free e-copy of the book Soho Honey by AW Rock to review, as part of Clink Street Publishing’s Summer Blogival.

Soho Honey by AW Rock

Here is the book blurb.

This contemporary crime story takes place over three weeks in November and unfolds against the multi-cultural backdrop of Soho, London. Branen had to leave the UK six years before to escape his complex clandestine history and the consequences of a crime that achieved worldwide notoriety. When his daughter is brutally murdered in Soho he believes that he could be the reason. He returns to his old hunting grounds to find the killer. His search brings him into conflict with the British Secret Service and Soho’s underworld. He is forced to flee Soho again after a tragic meeting with his ex-wife. His past has caught up with him and the hunter becomes the hunted. Now forty years old Branen wants to stop running and to remove forever the continuing threat to his life. In an effort to get rid of his pursuers he is faced with the prospect that his only chance of survival could lead to his death.

The story starts when 17 year old Branen got a job in Soho as a doorman at Ronnie Scott’s. A couple of years later he met Jane and they had a daughter Carrie. However a few years later he is also seeing Rita, when he narrowly avoids being set-up for Rita’s murder. But by now, he is hooked on adrenalin rushes, so he agreed to be driver for a gang who are planning to steal a consignment of heroin. However they get grassed up and he ends up in prison. It is the final straw for his relationship with Jane and when he gets released on parole, he only manages to keep one parole appointment before he breaches his parole by going back to Soho where is supposed to be excluded from. So he runs away to France and joins the Foreign Legion for 5 years.

As soon as he arrives back at Heathrow, the Secret Service approach him with an offer and he trains as a photo-journalist. This is his cover for when they request his involvement in a mission in Paris in 1997 to eliminate Princess Diana. After this, he wants out of the world of violence and he buys a small-holding in Italy.

The story then moves to the present day. Branen’s daughter Carrie is aged 20 when she is approached by the Secret Service. They dangle a carrot saying they can put her in touch with her father, train her up and she moves into a flat in Soho. But things go wrong and she is murdered. The Secret Service call Branen via satellite phone and request his help to solve the crime. He heads to the UK via a false trail. He arranges a meeting with Jane in Soho, so that he can tell her the awful news about their daughter’s death, but Jane is mistakenly shot in front of him. The bullet was meant for him.

Meanwhile we meet characters from Soho’s seedy underworld and many of the chapters are from their point of view, as well as following what Branen is up to. Can he escape?

Soho Honey is available on Amazon, currently priced at £8.95 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. This is a very dark gripping story with plenty of twists and turns which I highly recommend.

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


Here are three extracts from the book for you to read.

1. The Associates is a secret cadre which the Government will resort to in extremis… 

All governments carry out secret operations and they must be more savvy and brutal than the criminal gangs and terrorists who inhabit their countries. The more democratic a government, the more illicit its operations have to be. Despite sophisticated technology, the government also employs deniable operation officers and their agents for covert assignments, without the knowledge of politicians or the public.
The Associates is a project run by the Senior Civil Servant within the Home Office and total secrecy is essential to its existence. He is known as the SCS, is answerable only to the Home Secretary and is protected by the Public Interest Immunity Certificate.
The Associates’ employees are known only to the SCS and his personal assistant, and are usually ex-Home or Foreign Office. They set up small legitimate businesses and employ agents assigned to them by the SCS; these agents are usually former SIS officers, security screened mercenaries or retired special forces soldiers.
The Operations Officers and their agents are given backup personnel when necessary. These operatives are only given case-specific information on a need to know basis.
In the 1970s and 80s a similar secret cadre called Group 13 was set up by the SIS to infiltrate the IRA and execute Margaret Thatcher’s alleged ‘shoot to kill’ policy. It was hidden within an organisation known as the Increment or ‘Inc’ and employed a dozen ex-Special Service soldiers to carry out assassinations and deniable operations in Ireland. When a controversial mission became compromised, it had to be disbanded before its activities became public knowledge.
Two Group 13 agents were then employed by the SCS as Operations Officers to set up The Associates. In the UK there is a photographic bureau, an Indian travel agency and a Chinese fruit wholesaler, employing in total seven agents.
The SCS can brief the Operations Officer or an agent directly by secure satellite phone. The agent validates the operation with his catch-word, known only to his Operations Officer and the SCS.
Simple but effective.

2. Branen meets Jane for the first time… 

He first saw Jane a couple of years later at the Marquee in Wardour Street when he went to see a punk band called Ferking Nouveau. She was wearing a thin sweater and tight leather trousers. She was sex on legs and dancing with a man who didn’t have a lot of natural rhythm. Ben sat in the shadows and waited nearly an hour for a chance to talk to her. Eventually she went up to the bar and he slid in beside her.
“Hello… can I, er… buy you a drink?” he asked her.
“No thanks… but maybe later,” she said.
“What’s your name?” Ben asked.
“I’ll save that for later too…” she said, smiling.
“Will there be a later?”
“You’ll know later…”
“I can hardly wait…”
“I hope that doesn’t apply to everything you do,” she said, turning back to the dance floor.
Ben was left hanging. He kept making eye contact, which left him with a permanent wooden smile and his mind frozen in the flashing lights. He was infatuated and completely at her mercy.
He went out onto the street. He had been set up by the most desirable woman he’d ever seen and his nerve had given out. But if he went home now he would never forgive himself.
The rubber stamp on the back of his hand, proving that he’d paid to get in, had faded.
The guy on the door, who was only slightly smaller than an elephant, blocked his way.
“C’mon… you remember me…” said Ben, “…I only just left.”
“Let me see the stamp on your hand…”
“C’mon man… don’t be a…”
“I can’t see no stamp… I can’t let you in without the stamp, so you can piss off, mate.”
She appeared from behind the bouncer.
“He’s with me,” she said, smiling.
“What’s her name?” the doorman asked Ben.
“I’ll tell you later,” said Ben.

3. Carrie is Branen’s and Jane’s 20 year old daughter…

Carrie’s earliest memories of her father were vague.
She was fourteen when he had unexpectedly turned up again. She had been excited to see him but her mother told her that he couldn’t stay and he was soon gone again. She remembered him as a quiet man who had swept her up in his arms and held her close. As she grew up she began to understand how sometimes relationships didn’t last, but she missed her father. His visit had made a deep impression on her and she couldn’t forget him.
She didn’t hold any resentment towards him and because her mother never said a bad word about him she realised Jane still held a candle for him. Her mother rarely mentioned him after that, but if she did it was always with affection.
Carrie left school at eighteen and went to a provincial university to study psychology. College life proved to be a difficult time for her. Her self-possession alienated the other girls who were wary of her, while the male students were never comfortable in her presence. Although it was nearly seven years since she had last seen her father, she still held a deep desire to see him again. It affected her attitude towards men and instead of dating her contemporaries she became involved with one of her tutors. Their affair came to the notice of the Principal and in the summer of her second year, at twenty years old, she left university. She convinced herself it was all too boring. She wanted results now, not years in the future.


About the author

Based in London, AW Rock has been a regular on the Soho scene since the 1960’s working in various sectors of the entertainment industry.

Website – http://sohohoney.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/SohoHoney
Twitter – https://twitter.com/sohohoney
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/sohohoney/
Youtube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbobu4S36R9CSMklBZ4AEMA


I’m participating in the Clink Street Summer Blogival. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts, which cover a wide range of reading tastes.

Summer blogival

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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 Thousand Tiny Miracles of Living Twice by Katarina West

I have received a free advance PDF copy of the book “The Thousand Tiny Miracles of Living Twice” by Katarina West  to review. I was looking forward to this, having read Katarina’s previous novel “Absolute Truth For Beginners” back in 2015. To find out more about the author you may visit her website or blog.

The Thousand Tiny Miracles of Living Twice by Katarina West

Here is the book blurb.

Meet Irene Nylander, a frumpy housewife from Finland… and a yo-yo dieter. She feels trapped in an unhappy marriage, looking after her domineering mother-in-law and living vicariously through romantic movies.

Meanwhile, in Florence, Mimi Kavanough’s star is rising. She has the body of a Barbie princess, the iron will of an army sergeant – and Hollywood in her sights.

On her fiftieth birthday, Irene discovers her husband is having an affair. Devastated, she prays for a way out: she wants to die.

In heaven, a mischievous angel called Aaron hears her prayers. He decides to make Irene and Mimi swap bodies.

How will the two women cope with their unexpected, and very different, second lives? And will Aaron’s meddling get him evicted from heaven?
What will happen if he has to transform into a human being and live on Earth?

This book is set over the course of a fortnight commencing 23 June. It starts with Irene heading to Helsinki for a night out to celebrate her 50th birthday with her best friend Saara after more rudeness from her mother-in-law Horrible Harriet. But Saara doesn’t show, giving an excuse about working late. Irene decides to go to the restaurant alone, but then she spots her husband Henrik, who is supposedly on business in Stockholm. Instead he is having a cosy intimate meal with Saara. Irene rushes out and back to her car, just praying to die, as her life is so unhappy.

Meanwhile up in Little Heaven, prankster punk angel Aaron has already caused havoc that day by pretending he spotted a demon. Now he realises Irene needs help and he says Jump as her car is just about to crash.

At the same time, Hollywood star and model Mimi is enjoying herself on a yacht near the Italian island of Monte Cristo when she hears a voice in her head saying Jump. It makes perfect sense to her, as she jumps into the sea.

And just like that Irene and Mimi swap bodies. But what will happen to Aaron, since angels are not permitted to meddle with humans like that. And how will Irene and Mimi get on in their new lives? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

This book is available on Amazon and is currently 99p in Kindle format. I loved this book with its mixture of fantasy and chick-lit. It is the first story in the Angel Aid series, so I’m really looking forward to book 2.

And the author is hosting a rafflecopter competition to giveaway 10 Amazon Kindle copies of The Thousand Tiny Miracles of Living Twice. Open worldwide.

a Rafflecopter giveaway – Please click on the link to enter.

And you may see my other giveaways here.

The Thousand Tiny Miracles of Living Twice by Katarina West

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

13 June, Tuesday

Rocksprings Crafts

14 June, Wednesday

The Cosy Dragon

Creative Misfit

15 June, Thursday

Hall Ways

The Writing Desk

16 June, Friday

Joyful Antidotes

Mademoiselle Women

17 June, Saturday

Linda’s Book Bag

18 June, Sunday

Novel Gossip

19 June, Monday

Yet another blogging mummy!!!

20 June, Tuesday

Sarah Smiles

Leila’s Bookshelf

Kraftireader

22 June, Thursday

Hello Booklover

Katarina West

You can find Katarina West on social media as follows:-
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

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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 Kazak Contract by Paul Purnell

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Kazak Contract by Paul Purnell to review.

The Kazak Contract by Paul Purnell

Here is the book blurb.

James Ballantyne travels to Kazakhstan on a minor diplomatic assignment. A simple task, but he falls for the glamorous aide Ocksana Petrova, sent to guide him through the process. Fate leads him to the rescue of a US special agent who is the target of assassination by the Kazak authorities.

What should Ballantyne do? Should he be led by duty or compassion?

Events force his hand and he recruits smugglers to get the agent away from Kazakhstan. The escape route is dangerous and it becomes clear they are being monitored every inch of the way. Is his new love, Ocksana, behind the surveillance? Or has his own team been infiltrated?

Getting out of Kazakhstan alive will draw upon all of James’s military skills, and a lot of luck. With ambush and deception along the way, will he make it to the border and safety? How can he protect his lover? This journey through a wild country stretches every nerve.

James Ballantyne works for the British Foreign Office and is sent to Kazakhstan to secure a major energy deal. He is met at the airport by Ocksana Petrova, the Energy Minister’s personal assistant. Secretly, Ocksana is also working for the Bureau. At his hotel, James starts chatting with Bill Hammond, an American businessman , who hints that Ocksana’s role is to sweeten the deal. Bill invites James to join him in a card game, but he can see Bill is being set up to lose. He leaves and heads to bed, but is woken by a shot. He dashes down the corridor and finds that Hammond has been shot by one of the other gamblers. Hammond is taken to hospital and when James visits him the next day, Hammond begs him for help to flee, asking him to track down Gilda for assistance. Meanwhile James sleeps with Ocksana. Does she have true feelings for him? And will he help Hammond?

The Kazak Contract is available on Amazon, currently priced at £7.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A great story which I highly recommend.


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

This is an excerpt from Chapter 14 where the fugitives (including Ballantyne and the smugglers) are confronting the pursuing Special Branch Team. One of the smugglers, a girl called Gilda distracts the enemy while Ballantyne takes on the group.

“Picking a spot about four hundred metres from the target, he waited for the shot which would set off the trap. She fired two shots, one after the other. Within a second, a burst of automatic fire lit up a man standing beside the first car in the ditch. He fired six single rounds into the flame, remembering to keep his aim down as the gun jerked in his hands. Then he dived to the right and watched the effect.

Someone shouted, but he could not catch the words. A second shadow moved towards the ditched car and he fired again. This time he thumbed the automatic lever and sprayed a long burst into the moving shadow. A cry from the dark outline told him he had hit someone and he moved to a new spot, awaiting Gilda’s next shot.

She fired again and sparks flew upwards like a small firework; some piece of car body had taken the hit. Again, a burst of firing replied to her shot, but this from the third car and from two weapons. The aim was wild, and he realised they were simply returning fire to saturate the area.

OK. Keep it up, more the merrier.’

They wasted at least two magazines that way. He took up another position and prepared to respond to Gilda’s lead when he felt a snick as something touched his elbow. Looking down, he realised a bullet had just passed him, catching his jacket. He knew at once what it was. It was a high velocity round, and it changed the game. Down there was a sniper with some sort of night lens, and he was on to him.”


About the author

Based in London, Paul Purnell has worked for over forty-years as a Criminal Law barrister. After serving five years stationed in Germany with the British Army, Purnell began his career as a trial lawyer prosecuting and defending in serious criminal cases across the country. Later he was appointed Queen’s Counsel, a role which has seen him engaged in court cases both across the country and to far flung destinations including the Cayman Islands and Kazakhstan. His extensive experience and understanding of the criminal world has provided the inspiration for his short stories and his latest Jack Ballantyne series. When not writing, or in court, he enjoys racing around the country on his motorbike and spending time with his three children and grandchildren.

Previous titles include a series of well-received short stories; The Hireling (2015), Scaramouche (2015) and The Storm (2016).

Website: http://paulpurnell.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/purnell14


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

The Kazak Contract by Paul Purnell

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

Vera McLuckie and the Daydream Club by Jane Evans

This post ties in nicely with Learning Success that I blogged about yesterday. If you haven’t read it yet, do check it out later. There is also a Learning Success giveaway, value £230.

I have received a free copy of the childrens’ book Vera McLuckie and the Daydream Club by Jane Evans for son2 to review. Penguins are one of his three favourite creatures, so he was delighted to see some on the front cover.

Vera McLuckie and the Daydream Club by Jane Evans

Here is the book blurb.

Vera McLuckie and the Daydream Club written and illustrated by Scottish duo Jane Evans and Ruth Mutch follows the adventures of lively young characters who display dyspraxia, dyslexia and autism including Vera McLuckie —who hates school. Mainly because she struggles with stuff the other kids find easy. Oh, and because she keeps getting into trouble for doing what she is really good at…daydreaming.

Vera McLuckie and the Daydream Club by Jane Evans

I like Ricky, Henry, Helen and mini 15 penguins 🐧

I also like Shakespeare the dog 🐶🐕🐩 Woof Woof.

The two sentences above are what son2 has written for his review. He doesn’t share much with us about the storyline, so let me elaborate. This story is about a primary school girl Vera McLuckie who has a penguin adventure with her two best friends Harry and Max. Although not explicitly mentioned in the book, all three have learning difficulties. Vera has Dyspraxia, Harry is Dyslexic and Max has Asperger’s and we see how they often get picked on by Bethany, the coolest, cleverest child in the school. In the adventure, the children see a fantastic swimming display by the penguins, but hear how sad they are to be teased by the other birds, for not being able to fly. This gives Vera a light-bulb moment regarding their own talents. But is the adventure, real or a daydream and how will Vera succeed in putting her story-telling talent into words?

At the back of the book, there is a mission to find 15 tiny penguins hidden in Ruth Mutch’s lovely illustrations and follow the instructions to unlock the code word. With some help, son2 had great fun doing this challenge, although it certainly took some time, as the penguins are very well hidden.

And son2 has drawn a cute picture of the three penguins.

Vera McLuckie and the Daydream Club

Vera McLuckie and the Daydream Club is published by Your Stories Matter and is available on Amazon, currently priced at £6.99 in paperback. Targetted at children age 7-9, this a lovely story in its own right, that a lot of children may identify with. But it is also a learning resource that can assist teachers or parents in positive discussion with younger children, what it is like to have a learning difficulty. This should help to raise awareness and improve understanding of neurodiversity.

About Your Stories Matter: Based in Kendal, Cumbria Paul Johnson is the founder of Your Stories Matter and the parent publishing company Explainer HQ —which provides creative video, audio, animation and print to the business and education sector. All Your Stories Matters titles are published in paperback and are available to order from online retailers including amazon.co.uk.

For more information please visit: https://www.yourstoriesmatter.org and follow on Twitter @ysm_books

And some of the illustrations are available to download as colouring sheets here.


Your Stories Matter

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

Your Stories Matter Blog Tour

14th May

Kid-Lit Reviews

15th May

Yet Another Blogging Mummy

16th May

The Book Corner

Whispering Stories

Book Babble

17th May

Linda’s Book Bag

#redhead.with.book

18th May

The Autism Cafe

19th May

Sinceley Stacie

20th May

Book Room Reviews

Book Babble

21st May

Book Babble

22nd May

Bookworm for Kids

23rd May

Kid-Lit Reviews

Book Babble

25th May

Twirling Book Princess

28th May

Kid-Lit Reviews

29th May

Steph’s Two Girls

30th May

The Book Corner

31st May

Embracing the Spectrum

And you may see a guest post by author Jane Evans, sharing her thoughts on being a little bit naughty on my blog here.

Visit Yet Another Blogging Mummy on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Instagram

MamaMummyMum

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