Tag Archives: books

The Many Journeys to Different Worlds by Adam Monk-Daschke

I have received a free copy of the book The Many Journeys to Different Worlds by Adam Monk-Daschke for son2 to review.

The Many Journeys to Different Worlds by Adam Monk-Daschke

Here is the book blurb.

When a group of magical crystals break free they weren’t to know that they would be flung to far away unknown lands and wake up in unimaginable places — this happened to one such crystal, let’s call them Purple. On waking, Purple embarks on an adventurous journey and meets strange and wonderful creatures and friends —from a family of tall and entangled Roots to the terrifying but friendly Bones and the clumsy and confused new arrival who they call Egg-Kid— all of whom he hopes to protect from the one knowns only as the Evil Waker. 
 
Complimented by unique and psychedelic illustrations The Many Journeys to Different Worlds is an original new addition to children’s fiction. 

The Many Journeys to Different Worlds by Adam Monk-Daschke

I liked this book. My favourite character was egg kid.
Though when I looked at the book on amazon it had a baby panda and this book didn’t.

This is what son2 has written for his review. Let me explain the reference to the baby panda. I believe this is a character in another book in The Unknown Crystals series. However we can no longer find that particular book on Amazon.

I read the book too and I have to say it seems very unique in concept with quite wacky illustrations. The subject matter seemed aimed at older children, with references to Evil Wakers and the pictures of the character Bones, a skeleton. However the amount of text was more at the level of an early reader. Also it appeared to end mid-story, so I assume it will carry on in the next book in the series. Overall, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this storyline, even after re-reading several times. Maybe I am just too old to appreciate it fully, as son2 was quite taken with it.

The Many Journeys to Different Worlds is available on Amazon, currently priced at £8.99 in paperback. Also in kindle format. An unusual book.

You may find out more about The Unknown Crystals series on the author’s facebook page.

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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 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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Christmastide With My Captain by Tammy Andresen

I have received a free e-copy of the book Christmastide With My Captain by Tammy Andresen to review.

Christmastide With My Captain by Tammy Andresen

Here is the book blurb.

Love finds each of us in mysterious ways.

Lady Emilia McDougal has watched love find each of her beloved sisters. When will it be her turn? She fears it will be never. Quiet and bookish, she’d be called a bluestocking wallflower if she were English.

Captain Jack Andrews lost his love of the sea long ago and he doesn’t deserve to find the love of his life. Especially not with someone as stunning and kind as Emilia. When she saves his life, he wonders how she could ever think herself plain. If it were his place in life, he’d show her just how fascinatingly beautiful she is. But it isn’t. How long can he resist those tempting lips, soft smile, and heartfelt words? And what will her father, the Earl of Dumfries, do if Jack doesn’t?

This is a Christmas novella that will introduce you to the heartfelt series, A Laird to Love.

Lady Emilia is sitting on the beach in December feeling sad that all her sisters and cousins are in love, whilst she is alone. She is praying for love, when a ship emerges from the mist, clearly in distress. She rushes to the lighthouse and rings the bell and lights the lamp, before rowing out to assist. She rescues several sailors including the very handsome Captain Jack Andrews.

By the time they reach the beach, Emilia is shivering. The captain carries her back to the castle, keeping her talking to make sure she doesn’t lose consciousness. Hours later they meet by chance in the kitchen and Jack is mesmerised by Emilia’s beauty.

Can they resist each other?

Christmastide With My Captain is available on Amazon, currently priced at 99p in Kindle format. This is a nice light short romantic Christmas read. Very quick to read.


About the author

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

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

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Power Struggle by Carolyn Arnold

I have received a free e-copy of the book Power Struggle by bestselling author Carolyn Arnold to review. I was looking forward to reading this, having previously enjoyed Remnants, another of her titles. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

Power Struggle by Carolyn Arnold

Here is the book blurb.

One hit man who’s back for revenge.

One detective who’s not going down without a fight.

It’s been ten months since Detective Madison Knight almost died at the hands of Russian Mafia hit man Constantine Romanov. She hasn’t seen hide nor hair of him since he escaped police custody and fled to Russia soon after his arrest, except now her latest murder investigation gives her reason to believe he’s back in town. Seeing as the victim is the man who killed her grandfather, her perspective may be a little skewed, but with the MO smacking of Constantine and the victim’s connections to the mob, she finds it hard to be objective. Still, she’s doing her best to consider all the evidence.

When she receives a threatening letter from Constantine, however, her suspicions are confirmed. And he’s made it abundantly clear that not only does he plan to finish what he started but he has her family and loved ones in the crosshairs, too. Madison vows to do whatever it takes to save them, but as the hours race by, the body count rises. And the stakes only get higher when Madison’s sister, Chelsea, goes missing.

Now, Madison’s only play is to take Chelsea’s disappearance for what it really means: Constantine is calling Madison out for one final showdown. And they won’t both survive…

This is book 8 in the series featuring Detective Madison Knight, but I found it worked very well as a stand-alone read, even though there were references to earlier cases.

The book begins with Madison looking at a murder victim. This time she feels different because the victim Jimmy Bates had killed her grandfather before she was even born. However things are pointing towards the killer being Constantine Romanov, who almost killed Madison in an earlier case. They question Bates’ girlfriend Yasmine who is also sleeping with a couple of other mystery guys. And they discover a code which needs fathoming out.

Madison has a nightmare about Constantine and goes to see her shrink about it. But when she gets back to her car, she finds a note from Constantine threatening her and her loved ones. She gets police officers assigned to watch all her family and then meets her sister Chelsea to explain.

Then Yasmine is murdered and next Chelsea goes missing. Plenty more to follow in this great story.

Power Struggle is available on Amazon, currently priced at £11.99 in paperback or £4.63 in Kindle format. A gripping story which left me wanting to read more of the Detective Madison Knight series.

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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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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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River Rising by John A Heldt

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

River Rising by John A Heldt

Here is the book blurb.

Weeks after his parents disappear on a hike, engineer Adam Carson, 27, searches for answers. Then he discovers a secret web site and learns his mom and dad are time travelers stuck in the past. Armed with the information he needs to find them, Adam convinces his younger siblings to join him on a rescue mission to the 1880s.

While Greg, the adventurous middle brother, follows leads in the Wild West, Adam, journalist Natalie, and high school seniors Cody and Caitlin do the same in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. Like the residents of the bustling steel community, all are unaware of a flood that will destroy the city on May 31, 1889.

In RIVER RISING, the first novel in the Carson Chronicles series, five young adults find love, danger, and adventure as they experience America in the age of bustle dresses, gunslingers, and robber barons.

River Rising is the first book in a new series – The Carson Chronicles. It starts in the present day in Arizona when Adam Carson discovers from a secret letter left with their attorney and a secret website, that his parents who disappeared several months earlier, have in fact travelled back in time and are stuck in 1888 where they met Mark Twain. He convinces his siblings that they should all travel back to 1888 to try to rescue their parents.

They acquire some period clothing, locate the portal and step through at exactly 6:15pm on the winter solstice. They are surprised to find they are no longer in Arizona, but now in Pennsylvania. However Mark Twain’s writings about his meeting with Tim and Caroline Carson had mentioned that they were from Johnstown, Pennsylvania, so they follow this clue and head to Johnstown, where they book a couple of rooms at the Colbert House.

They bond with some of the people they meet in 1888/89 including some of them falling in love. Most of them follow clues in and around Johnstown, but Greg heads off to pursue clues in the dangerous Wild West. Natalie puts her journalist talents to good use, whilst 17 year old twins Cody and Caitlin enrol at school. Clues indicate that they have just missed their parents in Johnstown but they continue to maintain this as their base. Danger delays Greg in Arizona, so he also misses a chance to catch up with them and continues his trail to San Francisco, where it is even more like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Meanwhile Natalie gets another clue from Mark Twain, and sends a telegram to Greg to get him to divert to Mount Shasta for the March solstice. He doesn’t have much time and shouting as loud as he can, he narrowly misses his parents passing through another portal.

Now what? The five siblings are still in 1888, but their parents are in a different time. They will have to wait until the June solstice and then decide whether to return to 2017 or to the next date mentioned on the secret website for a chance to reunite the family.

There is lots more to happen in this story including a major flood when a dam breaks and over 2000 people die. It eventually ends on a cliffhanger, leaving me anxiously waiting for book 2 to be written.

River Rising is available on Amazon, currently priced at £3.88 in Kindle format. I really loved this book, but it is the first time in one of John’s books, that I’ve been left waiting on such a cliffhanger. A brilliant read which as usual lived up to my expectations of a John Heldt novel, As always I highly recommend this author. But how long will I have to wait for book 2 to be finished.

The 1889 Johnstown flood was an actual historical disaster. I do enjoy fiction intertwined with fact.

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

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

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I Wrote A Book About You by Amy Louise Ware

I have received a free e-copy of the book I Wrote A Book About You by Amy Louise Ware to review. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

I Wrote A Book About You by Amy Louise Ware

Here is the book blurb.

If you liked Bridget Jones, you’re going to fall in love with this story…

Meet Posy, a 26-year-old quirky blonde who’s left close to bankruptcy after a divorce from her cheating, childhood sweetheart, Hamilton. Following the implosion, a year ago, Posy’s brother Noah pushes her to go and live in a different culture in fear of her becoming a crazy cat lady if not. So, whilst staying for a short while in Barcelona, she meets Freddie on a hot, sweaty Friday evening – a guy with a dangerous sense of style and a heart of gold.
But a few weeks after meeting the man of her dreams, Posy has to pack up and leave Barcelona following the shocking and sudden near death of a loved one. She has to make the decision whether to stay in her home county of Kent, haunted by the unhappiness she had once left behind, or fight to find the one person that she had let fade away into the night.

‘I Wrote a Book About You’ is a story of friendship, family, loss and going back to something you knew you could never let go of…

Posy has divorced her cheating ex-husband Hamilton and has been travelling around Europe, currently in Barcelona, when her best friend Jodie turns up on a surprise visit. They go to see a gig by The Rainers and Posy really fancies Freddie the lead singer. The feeling is mutual and they start dating.

Between continuing the love story between Posy and Freddie, we also have chapters covering earlier events in both their lives and get introduced to family and other guys Posy has slept with. I bond more with Posy when I hear she had leukaemia as a child, an illness which my own son has fought.

Then halfway through the book after several wonderful weeks with Freddie, Posy gets a phone call that her beloved brother Noah is in a critical condition following a bad car accident. She dashes to the airport, telling Freddie not to follow. I’m in tears reading this part of the story.

Will Noah recover? Who else is in a relationship with who? Will Posy find Freddie again?

This lovely romantic story has as many twists and turns as you get in a thriller, plus plenty of humour too.

And the first line of the blurb is spot on. I loved this book as much as Bridget Jones.

I Wrote A Book About You is available on Amazon, currently priced at £9.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. Highly recommended. A fab love story with loads of laughs too.

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

Madam Tulip by David Ahern

I have received a free e-copy of the book Madam Tulip by David Ahern to review.

Madam Tulip by David Ahern

Here is the book blurb.

Suspense, mystery, action, a little romance and lots of laughs

Out-of-work actress Derry O’Donnell is talented, professional, just a little psychic… and broke. Spurred on by an ultimatum from her awesomely high-achieving mother, Derry embarks on a part-time career as Madame Tulip, fortune teller to the rich and famous. But at her first fortune-telling gig – a celebrity charity weekend in a luxurious castle – a famous rap artist mysteriously dies.

As Derry is drawn deeper into a seedy world of fashion, millionaires, horses and cocaine, she must race to save her best friend from jail and a supermodel from being murdered. Her efforts threaten to destroy her friends, her ex-lover, her father and herself.

Madame Tulip is the first in a series of thrilling and hilarious Tulip adventures in which Derry O’Donnell, celebrity fortune-teller and reluctant amateur detective, plays the most exciting and perilous roles of her acting life, drinks borage tea, and fails to understand her parents.

The book starts with Derry, an unemployed actress receiving a telephone ultimatum from her mother Vanessa that she wants Derry to return to the US and take a job in PR. Vanessa is not going to pay Derry’s rent any longer and is coming over to Dublin to discuss it.

Derry’s best friend Bella suggests Derry make money out of her psychic card-reading talent. They decide she will be called Madam Tulip. The theatre wardrobe ladies kit her out with a costume and make-up so she looks just the part.

Meanwhile Derry meets her artist dad Jacko at the races, who bets 40-1 on a horse called Inside Out on the basis that Derry said “should have brought a brolly”. He then spots some celebs he knows and gets them into the VIP suite. Supermodel Marlene and husband Doyle are impressed when Inside Out wins the race and Marlene asks Derry to come and do fortunes at their celebrity charity event. She is amazed when the organiser offers her a 1500 euro fee, more than a month’s rent. And Marlene requests a reading, at which Derry sees a lucky escape.

Bella gives Derry a lift to the event, where they discover another actor friend Bruce working as security at the castle. As they arrive, they spot rapper Mojo and singer Sonya Dee. Whilst in costume, Derry is surprised to spot ex-boyfriend Fitz of the Met Police dressed like a millionaire. She calls out to him, but he hurries past, saying she has mistaken him for someone else. Shortly afterwards, Bella who was supposed to have left, bursts into Derry’s room saying that Mojo has collapsed.

Bella had snuck back to try to get a selfie with Mojo. When Mojo subsequently dies, Bella ends up framed for his murder. Can Derry work out what is going on? Plenty more twists and turns to come.

Madam Tulip is available on Amazon, currently priced at £7.99 in paperback and is also available in kindle format. This is the best of both worlds – a funny mystery. Highly recommended. Book 2 in the series is already out and added to my ever-growing wishlist. And I certainly hope there will be more to come in this series.


About the author

David Ahern grew up in a theatrical family in Ireland but ran away to Scotland to become a research psychologist and sensible person. He earned his doctorate but soon absconded to work in television. He became a writer, director and producer, creating international documentary series and winning numerous awards, none of which got him free into nightclubs.

Madame Tulip wasn’t David Ahern’s first novel, but writing it was the most fun he’d ever had with a computer. The second in the Madam Tulip mystery series, Madam Tulip and the Knave of Hearts, was published in autumn 2016. He is now writing the third Madam Tulip adventure and enjoys pretending this is actual work.

David Ahern lives in the beautiful West of Ireland with his wife, two cats and a vegetable garden of which he is inordinately proud.

You can learn more about David Ahern and Madam Tulip on his website www.davidahern.info

Connect with David Ahern on Facebook: www.facebook.com/davidahernwriter
and Twitter: www.twitter.com/daveahernwriter

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

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.


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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.