Tag Archives: fiction

Forbidden by Feather Stone

I have received a free e-copy of the book Forbidden by Feather Stone to review. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

Forbidden by Feather Stone

Here is the book blurb.

Year 2047, City of Samarra, capital of the Republic of Islamic Provinces & Territories

Fifteen American travelers have vanished. Surrendering to Mayor Aamir’s demands, a devout Muslim and police captain becomes the reluctant keeper of his city’s bloody secret – and the witness, Eliza MacKay. Captain Sharif is horrified to discover that if he exposes the cover-up, his family will suffer dire consequences.

The CIA has the lying Sharif in their cross hairs. Sharif’s only hope is to prove his country’s government is free of guilt. Secretly, he hunts forensic evidence. Cryptic messages, backstabbing informants, and corruption threaten Sharif’s resolve to see justice served. When he discovers the shocking truth, he and MacKay become the targets of a ruthless killer.

Sharif is tortured by his attraction to the impetuous Eliza MacKay. In spite of her struggle with PTSD, he’s drawn to her vivacious personality. Islam forbids the intimacy he craves. In desperation to save Eliza, Sharif plots an act most forbidden and fatal.

The book starts with a couple of flashbacks to 2013 and 2020 to set the scene. We then meet Canadian paramedic Eliza who has just arrived in the Middle East at Samarra airport in RIPT and is waiting for the rest of the volunteer team to arrive from the US. Eliza has suffered with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) for 4 years since being the sole survivor of her family when a tanker crashed into her car.

The team then set off in their bus with a police escort but it is a trap. There is a massacre. Somehow Eliza survives and is then under the police protection of Captain Hashim Sharif. When the Police Chief and Mayor arrive, they insist on a cover-up and Sharif, a devout Muslim, is forced against his will to keep Eliza hidden in his apartment. Over the days they begin to bond.

In his investigations, Sharif discovers that the killers were supposed to have killed him too. But things get worse. With the CIA on their way, Sharif is ordered to execute Eliza, else his family will be in danger. What will Sharif do and who are the killers?

When asked to review this book, I had been initially concerned that it wouldn’t be my kind of thing, as it is set in 2047 and in general, I’m not a huge fan of futuristic reads. But I was proved wrong. I really enjoyed this book.

Forbidden is available on Amazon, currently priced at £9.56 in paperback or £2.40 in Kindle format. A gripping read which had me on the edge of my seat.

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

Spring Reading Week – Addicted to Death by Matthew Redford

I have received a free e-copy of the book Addicted to Death: A Food Related Crime Investigation by Matthew Redford to review, as part of Clink Street Publishing’s #SpringReads Week.

Addicted to Death by Matthew Redford

Here is the book blurb.

Following the murder of Benedict and Darcy Blacktail, two eggs savagely beaten to death outside their home by an unknown, fedora wearing assailant brandishing a large metal spoon, Detective Inspector Willie Wortel, carrot and the leading food detective in the police force, is called in to investigate. When the only food sapiens minister in the Government, Professor Perry Partridge, is murdered at the Strawberry Strip Club, run by the young damson Victoria Plum, DI Wortel suspects that the two cases may somehow be linked. As the Head of the Food Related Crime Division, DI Wortel is ably assisted by his human colleague Sergeant Dorothy Knox. But as their investigation begins, four celebrity chefs are sent death threats. It’s a recipe for disaster as the incarcerated evil genius MadCow McBeef is seeking parole; someone appears to have crumbled Mr Bramley’s apples; and there is an anti-GM food protestor on the prowl. And why do Oranges and Lemons think they owe someone five farthings? DI Wortel and his team must find out who is seemingly addicted to death. It will take all efforts – human, fruit and vegetable – to figure this one out.

This story is crazily silly with half the characters being foods. Most have corny names too based on real-life celebrities, like footballer Wayne Rooster, a potato who plays for Breadenham Hotspuds or pop icon Curly Kale Minogue, plus a smattering of references to well-known nursery rhymes. If you can ignore the corniness and concentrate, the plot is actually quite good.

The book begins with two eggs, Benedict and Darcy Blacktail being murdered with a spoon on their doorstep, as they returned home from a night at the theatre. The Detective Inspector investigating the crime is Willie Wortel, a carrot. Another murder follows, that of government minister for DAFaRT (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Trade), Professor Perry Partridge, a pear. Initial chief suspect is Alex Pine, an anti-GM food protestor. And then Victoria Plum who discovered the dead Perry Partridge, goes missing. Meanwhile four celebrity chefs are sent death threats, so DI Wortel goes to meet the chefs.

Wortel gets lumbered with two new team members, Oranges and Lemons, who tend to mostly be more of a liability than an asset. He also keeps receiving foreign texts, which he ignores as he doesn’t understand them. Looks like a cue for the next story.

Addicted to Death is Matthew Redford’s debut novel and is available on Amazon, currently priced at £8.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. and is published by Clink Street Publishing. I usually love food related stories, but this one was just too over the top for me with all the silliness. Even though it had a good plot, I think I’ll be giving his next book “Who Killed The Mince Spy” which also features DI Wortel, a miss.


Here is an extract from the book for you to read.
Detective Inspector Willie Wortel, carrot and head of the Food Related Crime Team is trying to find out who is sending death threats to celebrity chefs, when a chocolate bomb cake is placed at Goodeatery, the restaurant of famous chef, Scottie Rodgers.

A startled Wortel was pushed aside by Scottie Rodgers who bounded towards the restaurant at full speed. Wortel turned and started to run after the celebrity chef who was surprisingly fleet of foot. When Wortel caught up with Rodgers he was already at the site of the bomb, spatula in one hand, whipped cream being vigorously shaken in the other.

The timer read 2:15.

Rodgers spoke first without looking up.

“It’s more complex than I thought Wortel. This wiring is intertwined, one wrong swish of this spatula and we’re goners. Take the whipped cream and keep shaking it. I’m going to cut a wire and then you need to spray that cream on it quick. That’ll prevent the bomb from detonating accidently.”

Wortel looked unconvinced.

“Trust me.”

Wortel took the whipped cream and carried on shaking the can as Rodgers separated the wires using the spatula.

The timer read 1:45.

“Blast,” said Rodgers, “oh sorry, wrong word at this time I guess.”

“What’s wrong?”

“If I cut the blue wire, that’ll trip the green wire. And if I cut the green wire that’ll trip the red wire.”

“So cut the red wire first then.”

“My god, I know you’re a carrot but are you just plain raving bonkers? Cutting the red wire is suicide.”

“Then what?”

“We need to divert the red wire and make the bomb think it’s still connected before I cut it. Don’t you see?”

“Actually no, and you’re talking about the bomb as though it has a brain and can think for itself.”

Rodgers looked quite disappointedly at Wortel. “You really know nothing about bombs do you. Of course they can think for themselves once armed. That’s why we have to trick it.”

“Not the time for a lecture Mr Rodgers. What do you need?”

The timer read 60 seconds.

“Something thin and wire like. Any thoughts?”

Wortel scanned the kitchen, all the time shaking the whipped cream violently in one hand. He looked across left at the suet chef’s station and saw nothing. He turned to the right and scanned the soup chef’s station and saw something which looked like salvation.

“Will noodles do?”

“Jolly good show Wortel. Yes, noodles are great.”

Wortel lunged forward and grabbed the noodles, turning in one fluid movement and throwing them to Rodgers who had briefly put down the spatula.

The timer read 30 seconds.

Rodgers grabbed plain flour from the suet chef’s station, patted some onto his hands to dry his nervous sweaty palms, and went to work. Wortel moved to his side and looked on as the celebrity chef who held a degree in physics and engineering began to trick the bomb into thinking it still had a red wire, which was now nothing more than a noodle.

The time timer read 15 seconds.

Rodgers put down the noodles and raised the spatula. “I have to say DI Wortel that it’s been a pleasure. Do you think we’ve enough time to take a selfie?”

“Not now Mr Rodgers.”

“Fair point. It’s now or never old bean.”

The timer read 7 seconds.

“Mr Rodgers.”

“Yes.”

“Cut that wire – FAST.”

The spatula came down and swiped through the wires, red followed by blue followed by green. As the wires were separated Wortel sprayed the whipped cream covering the bomb in a coating of white froth.

The timer came to a stop with just two seconds remaining.


About the author

Born in 1980, Matthew Redford grew up with his parents and elder brother on a council estate in Bermondsey, south-east London. He now lives in Longfield, Kent, takes masochistic pleasure in watching his favourite football team snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, is a keen chess player and is planning future food related crime novels. To counterbalance the quirkiness of his crime fiction Redford is an accountant. His unconventional debut crime thriller, Addicted to Death: A Food Related Crime Investigation was published by Clink Street Publishing last summer.

Website – http://www.matthewredford.com/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/matthew_redford


I’m participating in the Clink Street Spring Reading Week book tour. Do take time to browse round some of the other posts, which cover a wide range of reading tastes.

Spring Reads Blogival Calendar

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

Remnants by Carolyn Arnold

I have received a free e-copy of the book Remnants by bestselling author Carolyn Arnold to review. To find out more about the author you may visit her website.

Remnants by Carolyn Arnold

Here is the book blurb.

All that remains are whispers of the past…

When multiple body parts are recovered from the Little Ogeechee River in Savannah, Georgia, local law enforcement calls in FBI agent and profiler Brandon Fisher and his team to investigate. But with the remains pointing to three separate victims, this isn’t proving to be an open-and-shut case.

With no quick means of identifying the deceased, building a profile of this serial killer is more challenging than usual. How are these targets being selected? Why are their limbs being severed and their bodies mutilated? And what is it about them that is triggering this person to murder?

The questions compound as the body count continues to rise, and when a torso painted blue and missing its heart is found, the case takes an even darker turn. But this is only the beginning, and these new leads draw the FBI into a creepy psychological nightmare. One thing is clear, though: The killing isn’t going to stop until they figure it all out. And they are running out of time…

This is book 6 in the series featuring FBI agent Brandon Fisher. I had worried whether it would work as a stand-alone book, as a few of my recent reads have left me confused as to what happened in previous books. But no such problem this time, although there were hints like one of the agents having almost been killed last summer. I’m sure that must have featured in an earlier book.

The FBI agents leave loved ones behind on Valentine’s day to fly to Savannah to investigate where human limb remains have been discovered in the river from three victims. A phone is found nearby. DNA will take far too long, so they start by interviewing those who found the remains. First suspect on their list is ex-plantation employee Jesse Holt who was sacked for using an outbuilding for gutting fish. The phone is identified as belonging to Stanley Gilbert whose wife has reported him missing yesterday. Potential victim or suspect? And is there a link to old crimes in Michigan? More remains are found in the river, this time a torso painted blue and missing its heart and a skull. Very creepy.

Meanwhile we see the killer torturing his next victim, by cutting out his tongue. How are the FBI going to find out who is the killer? And that’s all I’m going to say.

Remnants is available on Amazon, currently priced at £13.04 in paperback or £4.45 in Kindle format. A very dark read but certainly gripping. And you may download a sample here.

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

The Horse’s Arse by Laura Gascoigne

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Horse’s Arse by Laura Gascoigne to review.

The Horse's Arse by Laura Gascoigne

Here is the book blurb.

Patrick Phelan is an ageing artist who has never made it big but who somehow manages to live on air in a North London suburb.

When not running art classes for amateurs, Patrick wrestles in the shed at the bottom of his garden with his life’s work: a series of visionary canvases of The Seven Seals.

When his wheeler-dealer son Marty turns up with a commission from a rich client for some copies of paintings by modern masters, Phelan reluctantly agrees; it means money for his ex-wife Moira. However the deal with Marty is, typically, not what it seems.

What follows is a complex chain of events involving fakery, fraud, kidnapping, murder, the Russian Mafia and a cast of dubious art world characters. A contemporary spin on Joyce Cary’s classic satire The Horse’s Mouth, The Horse’s Arse by Laura Gascoigne is a crime thriller-cum-comic-fable that poses the serious question: where does art go from here?

Although enjoyable, I found the first few chapters very disjointed as the scene gets set. The book starts with Pat in the shed at the bottom of his garden, painting a copy of a Degas. We then meet Pat’s son Martin with art dealer James Duval who is researching for a lost painting. Pat also teaches an amateur art class called the Blue Orangers in his shed. What a lovely name. Pat then earns another £3000 copying a Derain in between working on his own series The Seven Seals.

There were lots of other characters to come to grips with from the art world and I kept getting confused. Gallery directors, auctioneers, art journalists, art critics, even a police art expert, etc. But the story packs a lot in besides the fake paintings – burglary, murder, kidnapping, romance between Daniel and Yasmin who are on the trail to work out what is going on.

The Horse’s Arse is available for pre-order on Amazon, currently priced at £8.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A nice story, but you do need to concentrate, as it is so busy.


An extract from Chapter XXXII of The Horse’s Arse, where art magazine editor Fay Lacey-Piggott has just discovered that her young intern Daniel Colvin has made a sensational scoop.  

“By 7pm the preview for RDV’s Boegemann sale would be in full swing, but Fay Lacey-Piggott – the woman known in the trade as Network Southeast for her dedication to social linkage – was still at her desk. The joke was unfair on Fay, who was a lot more punctual, although tonight she’d be missing the speeches and perhaps, in these times of austerity, even the champagne.

To be perfectly honest, she wasn’t that bothered. She’d seen it all where Boegemann was concerned – there were only so many shades of grey a girl could take – and any VIPs who turned up to this evening’s reception would have been at the State exhibition a few months before.

Been there, done that. So the little black dress she had collected from the dry cleaners that morning was still hanging on the back of her office door, its plastic cover bloating in the air from the fan heater she had switched on against the autumn chill.

Outside Fay’s office window it was spitting with rain. Inside, the editor’s mouse scurried over the face of her hot pink Marilyn mouse mat, whiskers twitching with unusual nervous excitement.

She’d been right about Daniel. This was dynamite. Suddenly it all made sense; the story held water. But could Marquette run it? That was the question.”


About Laura Gascoigne

Currently living in Hampstead, North London, Laura Gascoigne has worked as an art journalist for over twenty years, editing Artists & Illustrators (1994-1999) before going freelance. Laura was born in Cairo in 1950, the daughter of a bookseller and an Italian teacher, and grew up in Brussels and Cambridge before studying Classics at Oxford University. Her sister is the writer Marina Warner. Surrounded as a child by the paintings her father collected, she has always had a passion for art and when not writing about it, she paints.


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

The Horse's Arse by Laura Gascoigne

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

Hannah’s Moon by John A Heldt

Regular readers of my blog may remember that I really enjoyed a couple of books by John Heldt last year. You may see my reviews of The Mine here and Indiana Belle here. So I was pleased when John asked me to review his latest book, Hannah’s Moon. To find out more about the author you may visit his website.

Hannah's Moon by John A Heldt

 

Here is the book blurb.

After struggling for years to have a child, Claire Rasmussen, 34, turns to adoption, only to find new obstacles on the path to motherhood. Then she gets an unlikely phone call and soon learns that a distant uncle possesses the secrets of time travel.

Within weeks, Claire, husband Ron, and brother David find themselves on a train to Tennessee and 1945, where adoptable infants are plentiful and red tape is short. For a time, they find what they seek. Then a beautiful stranger enters their lives, the Navy calls, and a simple, straightforward mission becomes a race for survival.

Filled with suspense, romance, and heartbreak, HANNAH’S MOON, the epic conclusion of the American Journey series, follows the lives of four spirited adults as they confront danger, choices, and change in the tense final months of World War II.

This book starts in the present day (or a few months hence to be precise) when Claire and Ron’s son is stillborn. A couple of months later they decide to try to adopt, but discover the average wait time is 6 years and that they will need a hefty loan to afford the fee.

When Claire’s brother David comes to visit, he brings far-fetched news from their Aunt Jeanette and Uncle Geoffrey Bell. They have a time-travel tunnel in their basement and David has been through it back to 2001 and retrieved Claire’s lost diary. The Bells are offering Claire and Ron the chance to time-travel back to 1945, when it should be easy to adopt.

So a few weeks later with falsified documents, Claire, Ron and David head back to 1945 at the same time as the Bells, Uncle Geoffrey has set them up with a $10,000 savings account and rented them a house. They say their goodbyes to the Bells who are heading to Latin America and board a train to Tennessee.

There they get very friendly with neighbour Margaret and begin the process to adopt 10 month old Hannah. They are on a 3 month parent probation period before the adoption will be finalised, so can’t return to the modern day as soon as they hoped. But when Ron intervenes to save a black man from a beating, things start to get more tricky initially and then very scary indeed.

That’s all I’m going to say about the storyline. However it is interesting to note that this is the final story in the American Journey series, as I saw scope for at least a couple more books featuring Geoffrey Bell. I’ve only read two out of the five, but I liked how those two are linked by his character, yet they work brilliantly as stand-alone stories.

Hannah’s Moon is available on Amazon, currently priced at £4.10 in Kindle format. I loved this book. A really great read which certainly lived up to my expectations of a John Heldt novel, As always I highly recommend this author.

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

Head of State by Andrew Marr

Head of State written by Andrew Marr, the television presenter is another book I rescued from the box that my other half was getting rid of. I normally avoid anything political, but I thought I’d give this one a chance. I was attracted to it, as although published back in 2014, it is a Brexit storyline.

Head of State by Andrew Marr

This is what it says on the back cover.

A young reporter found dead on the streets of London.

A headless body washed up on the banks of the Thames.

A conspiracy so bold it would make Machiavelli wince.

There are three days to go until the referendum, and the future of the United Kingdom in Europe hangs in the balance. Behind the scenes a group of ruthlessly determined individuals will stop at nothing – including murder – to make sure the result tips in their favour…

Making full use of his unrivalled inside knowledge, Andrew Marr’s wickedly clever thriller is a gleefully twisted spin through the corridors of power.

The book starts with a dead body being discovered 3 days before the referendum vote regarding whether Britain should stay or leave the EU. How and why did he die? We are then introduced to some of the other characters before moving back in time to referendum day minus 5. We continue to move back and forth a couple of days or so throughout the book, meeting more new characters, including senior politicians and the king. There is certainly plenty for the reader to try to digest.

At the morgue, there is another unidentified dead body, this time headless and handless. Meanwhile about a third of the way through the book, the reader starts to find out what some of the characters don’t know. We continue to be fed information piecemeal, enough to keep me to the edge of my seat, with all the secrets, plots and intrigues. And that is all I’m going to say.

Head of State is available on Amazon, currently priced at £6.99 in paperback and is also available in hardback or Kindle format. A great story which I highly recommend.

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Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents by Lee Cockburn

I have received a free e-copy of the book Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents by Lee Cockburn to review.

Porcelain Flesh of Innocents by Lee Cockburn

Here is the book blurb.

Detective Sergeant Taylor Nick is back and in charge of tracking down a sadistic vigilante, with a penchant for torturing paedophiles, in this unsettling crime thriller by a real-life police sergeant.

High-powered businessmen are turning up tortured, and traumatised, around the city of Edinburgh with one specific thing in common -a sinister double life involving pedophilia. Leaving his ‘victims’ in a disturbing state, the individual responsible calls the police and lays bare the evidence of their targets twisted misdemeanours to discover, along with a special memento of their own troubled past —a chilling calling card.

Once again heading the investigation team is Detective Sergeant Taylor Nicks, along with her partner Detective Constable Marcus Black, who are tasked not only with tracking the perpetrator down, but dealing with the unusual scenario of having to arrest the victims for their own barbarous crimes. But with the wounded piling up the predator’s thirst for revenge intensifies and Nicks soon discovers that she is no longer chasing down a sinister attacker but a deadly serial killer.

Inspired by her vast professional experience as a police officer both on the beat and in specialist riot squads in Edinburgh, Porcelain is the second in Lee Cockburn’s DS Taylor Nick’s series.

This book Is very dark. It starts 22 years ago with very young twins Amy and Nathan being abused by their mother and her boyfriend. We then fast forward to the current day to see the police investigating a series of crimes where paedophiles are tortured. And we also follow the investigating officers’ personal lives, which includes explicit lesbian sex scenes. We meet both Amy and Nathan again, who are still troubled by their past.

By chance Amy and Nathan find each other after being separated when they were taken into care. Then a paedophile is murdered rather than tortured. Next a young boy is abducted – it is the son of DC Marcus Black. Can he be found in time? And who is targeting the paedophiles?

Each time a porcelain doll is left at the crime scene. I found this really spooky as I was always scared as a child by the two china dolls that had belonged to my mum and now lived on the bottom shelf of my toy cupboard. I deliberately wouldn’t put any of my toys in there to avoid looking at them.

I won’t say any more about the storyline. but I did sometimes get confused as to whether I was reading about Nathan or Amy.

Porcelain: Flesh of Innocents is available on Amazon, currently priced at £9.99 in paperback and is also available in Kindle format. A dark story which is definitely worth a read if you can handle the subject matter.

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


About Lee Cockburn

Lee Cockburn has worked for Police Scotland for sixteen years including as a police sergeant in Edinburgh for seven years and also as a public order officer. Before joining the force, she played for Scotland Women’s rugby team for fifteen years, earning over eighty caps for the Scottish ladies and British Lionesses teams. She also swam competitively for twelve years, successfully representing Edinburgh at the age of fifteen in the youth Olympics in Denmark in 1984. Lee lives in Edinburgh with her civil partner Emily and their two young sons Jamie and Harry. Her first book Devil’s Demise was published by Clink Street Publishing November 2014.

Follow Lee Cockburn on Twitter: https://twitter.com/lee_leecockburn


Porcelain Flesh of Innocents by Lee Cockburn

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

And you may see a guest post by Lee, detailing her Inspiration for the book on my blog here.

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

The Ways of the World by Robert Goddard

My other half was clearing out some of his books and several of them including this one by Robert Goddard took my eye.

The Ways of the World by Robert Goddard

This is what it says on the back cover.

Paris 1919. The aftermath of the Great War.

With the fate of the world’s nations hanging in the balance, a secret affair ends with the death of a senior British diplomat.

As the authorities try to pass it off as a bizarre accident, ex-RFC flying ace, James ‘Max’ Maxted is convinced otherwise and throws himself headfirst into the dark heart of a seemingly impenetrable mystery – hellbent on uncovering the truth.

With the stakes impossibly high and friends indistinguishable from foes, the only way is to keep pushing … until you can see who’s pushing back!

The book starts with a phone call from Max’s mother announcing that his father has been killed. Henry had fallen from a roof-top in Paris and the police have declared it accidental. Lady Maxted requests Max and his brother Ashley go to Paris to bring Sir Henry’s body back home.

Max starts to get suspicious when identifying Sir Henry’s body and visiting the scene of his death and collecting his personal effects from the police. Things don’t quite add up for him. Then he meets Madame Dombreux who lived at the address where Sir Henry died. She was Sir Henry’s lover and also believes him to have been murdered. She shows Max a mysterious list that Sir Henry had written.

Whilst Ashley takes his father’s body home, Max remains in Paris, determined to discover the truth. Plenty of exciting twists to unfold. A real page turner.

The Ways of the World is available on Amazon, currently priced at £6.49 in paperback and is also available in hardback or Kindle format. A great book which I highly recommend. It is book 1 in a trilogy and I shall certainly be adding the other two stories to my wishlist. Wondering why my other half never got round to purchasing the other two.

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The Frog Theory by Fiona Mordaunt

I have received a free e-copy of the book The Frog Theory by Fiona Mordaunt to review.

The Frog Theory by Fiona Mordaunt

Here is the book blurb.

Tragedy and comedy in perfect proportion.

Kim and Flow are the best of friends, living on a council estate, making money selling drugs.

Just around the corner in a smarter part of Fulham is Clea, a well-heeled young woman coping with a violent home life at the hands of her twisted step-father.
The Principal runs a famous college for problem teens. Fostering guilty secrets which distance her from her own children, she resists the advances of a man she sees on the train every day.

When Kim and Clea meet by chance, Kim is smitten but worried about her. Using the anecdote of the frog theory – that it will jump straight out of boiling water and live, but stay in and die if heated slowly from cold – he wakes her up to the dangerous situation she’s in at home.

Serendipity and a cake-fuelled food fight that goes viral will bring Kim, Clea, Flow and The Principal together in weird and wonderful ways in this frenetic, laugh-out-loud story about love, conscience and lion-hearted nerve.

The book starts by introducing the four main characters – Kim, Clate, the principal and Flow. Kim and Flow who live on a council estate in Fulham are best friends, but none of the others have crossed paths yet. Middle-class 18yr old Clate has a violent step-father Hugo and is still at school. We never get to know the name of the principal, but she is a single mother, who is principal at one of the roughest colleges in London.

Clate is grounded but is allowed to go to cleaner Maureen’s 70th birthday. There she meets Kim and Maureen’s grandson Flow. Shortly afterwards when Clate with a split lip, coutesy of Hugo, bumps into Flow, he invites her to go out with them next Friday. However Flow had “forgotten” that it was his and Jackie’s engagement dinner, so asks Kim to go round and let Clate know.

Clate opens up about her home life to Kim and questions herself as to why she doesn’t leave. Kim tells her it is “The Frog Theory” – when you put a frog in boiling water, it jumps out and lives, but if you put it in cold water, then gently heat up, it stays in and dies. They talk for hours and then Clate asks Kim to kiss her, but he is too loyal to Flow.

Shortly afterwards Clate inherits a large sum of money from her biological father. She reverts from her nickname Clate back to her real name Clea and plucks up courage to leave home. Meanwhile Kim has realised that Flow is staying with girlfriend Jackie, so as he doesn’t have Clate’s number, he leaves a note in a beer bottle, hidden in the ivy outside Clate’s bedroom window, not realising she has already left.

Kim’s probation officer suggests he apply for college, and this is how we are introduced to the principal, when he signs up for a business planning course. He and Flow set up their own business.

There is lots more to come in the story, such as how does the principal feature and Flow bumping into Clea when she returns to England and asking her to join him and Kim for dinner. But I shall say no more.

The Frog Theory will be published on 14th February and is available for pre-order on Amazon, currently priced at £6.99 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.
Excerpt from The PartyThe moment Kim sees Clea for the first time, known for the moment by her nickname, Clate.

Kim looked Clate up and down. She was medium height and dying of embarrassment. She had long, blondish hair, which was covering most of her face, and she was wearing a shapeless dress, which didn’t give any clue as to what her future might be like.
‘You look like Cousin Itt off The Munsters under all that hair,’ said Kim, as an ill-chosen icebreaker.
‘I think you’ll find that Cousin Itt featured in The Addams Family, actually,’ she replied tartly.
La di da! Thought Kim, Jackie and Flow simultaneously.
‘He was only kidding,’ said Flow, trying to save the day ‘Can I get you a drink?’
‘Sauvignon blanc, please,’ said Clate, without thinking much. It was the only white wine she had heard of.
‘Errrrr…’ said Flow, exchanging glances with Kim. ‘I’m not sure they’ll feature any of that at this bar! It’s a white wine, isn’t it?’
‘Actually, I’ll have whatever you’re drinking,’ she said, eager to get the attention away from herself as soon as possible.
‘A pint of lager?’
‘No… not that…’ She looked at Jackie’s drink. ‘What are you drinking?’ she asked shyly, in a glazed millisecond taking in Jackie’s dark good looks and beautifully fitted top and skirt combo, complementing her curly, compact figure. Her bra strap was showing and it was red. Clate had never owned red underwear.
‘Vodka and lemonade,’ said Jackie, still looking her up and down.
‘I’ll have one of those, then,’ she said, going red again as Flow beckoned for the barman.
They stood in embarrassed silence and Clate stared downwards at Jackie’s shapely legs, black strappy high sandals wrapped around neat feet sporting immaculately polished red toenails, Flow’s well-worn trainers that looked loved and comfortable below some sort of dark trousers.
‘So… What brings you here?’ said Jackie at last. Clate look up, flicking her hair out of her face.
Kim couldn’t work out whether she was beautiful or ugly; she had the kind of looks that needed a second opinion.


About the author

After attending school for model-making, Mordaunt started Image Casting in 1998, specialising in customised body castings. Over the course of 13 years, she worked on such films as Atonement and The Wildest Dream, as well as for personal clients like Lionel Richie. In 2012, she relocated to Botswana with her husband and daughter where she currently resides.

http://www.fionamordaunt.com/


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

The Frog Theory by Fiona Mordaunt

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

Gilding the Lily by Justine John

I have received a free e-copy of the book Gilding the Lily by Justine John to review.

Gilding The Lily by Justine John

Here is the book blurb.

An invitation to her estranged, wealthy father’s surprise 75th birthday party in New York sees Amelia and her husband, Jack, set off across the pond to meet a whole new world of family politics.

Amelia, now a successful businesswoman, feels guilty about never liking her father’s women, so does her upmost to give his new socialite partner, Evelyn, the benefit of the doubt. Wouldn’t it be nice if they could just all get along? But there’s something very dark, determined and dangerous about her…

When Amelia’s father, Roger, becomes ill, Jack grows suspicious that there is more to it. Amelia understands why, but no one else will believe them. They travel back to America to piece together the puzzle, but when Roger goes missing, the couple are driven to their wits’ end. It takes a DEA officer and a secret assassin to bring them answers, but the ruthless truth is something no one expected…

Amelia and husband Jack travel from London to New York to attend a surprise 75th birthday party for her father Roger, organised by his new partner Evelyn. There they meet Evelyn’s step-granddaughter Laura for the first time. Amelia finds it very difficult to get on with Evelyn, but makes friends with Laura, who visits them in London, the next year when over in the UK.

They return to the US for Thanksgiving, but at the airport waiting to go home, they receive a phone call from Miriam, Roger’s housekeeper saying that Roger had been taken into hospital the previous day. They postpone their flight, but Evelyn is not pleased to see them return.

Roger recovers but when he next visits the UK, they are shocked to see how unwell he looks. Ex-cop Jack starts to get suspicious as to why and begins to develop a theory, although there are some red herrings.  I’ll stop at this point to avoid spoilers.

The book switches chapters between narrative by Amelia, Jack and Evelyn, which I enjoyed the different perspective. And the chapters for Evelyn let the reader build up a picture of her history.

Gilding the Lily 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 chapter 18 of the book for you to read.

I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. But a strange dread ran through my veins, as I lay there in the dark. Jack was finally sleeping soundly – the odd snore and mumble emanated from his side of the bed. We’d talked for hours. And now, each thought linked to another in a never-ending chain. “She has enough money of her own so I know she’s not after mine” was what my father told me when they first met. Ironically, it comforted us both. Staring into the blackness, I began to get carried away with Jack’s theory. If it were true then we had to stop it. It would be murder. No, that couldn’t happen, surely, not to us. I tried to mentally rein in my thoughts, as they began to hurry away with me, like a runaway train. Who were we to interfere so belligerently when we could be so wrong? And then again, if we did nothing, and then something terrible happened… that was simply unthinkable.

I turned over to put my arms around my husband. He was warm and his breathing was soft and slow. I tried to relax into his body, and allowed his raising ribs to rock me.

I woke at 6a.m. with a feverish energy. A strange vitality or stamina had suddenly appeared in me – a drive to endure, a surge of power, like a battery charger. I wouldn’t let anyone hurt my dad. Something had to be done. Today.


About Justine John

After over thirty years of working in the corporate sector in London Justine John left the rat race for the stunning countryside of the Surrey Hills where she lives with her husband, horses and two dalmatians.

Website  – http://www.justinejohn.co.uk/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/JustineCJohn
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/justinejohnauthor/
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15985439.Justine_John


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

Gilding The Lily by Justine John

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