The sequel to this book is needed – NOW! (Please!)

Concealed in the Shadows

by Gabrielle Arrowsmith

A five-star read that is begging for a sequel – soon!

Summary: Sydney Harter has long-awaited September 12th, 2033—concealedher eighteenth birthday. She can finally apply for guardianship of her sister, who is her only family and entire world. She hopes they will be lawfully reunited, but is prepared to defy authority and risk everything to escape the captivity of Miles County so that they can be together.

Escaping will be difficult and dangerous. Citizens are bound to their county by sophisticated chip implants that deliver shocks to those who dare to cross the electric barrier. Sydney is very clever, but her trickery is limited against the all-seeing eyes of technology. Even if they were to survive the escape, disappearing into the forgotten forests and towns of the past seems an impossible task.

What Sydney doesn’t know is that she is the particular interest of two opposing forces. With deceit, fear, and warfare surrounding her—can she trust the party that aims to help with her fight against the other? Can she open her heart to receive and return unexpected love? When her sister’s life becomes jeopardized, Sydney will have to weigh a new love against the only enduring love she has known. The cost could be deadly…

How will she choose?

My thoughts: This story travels along at breakneck speed, pausing just often enough for the reader to catch a breath before the next dramatic twist. Set in the near future, this is a dystopian tale with style. The main character, Sydney, although only just eighteen, has had a lot to deal with in her short life. The loss of her father, presumed dead and then her mother’s insanity left her taking responsibility for her younger sister, until the authorities found out. When, on her 18th birthday, she can finally apply for permanent guardianship, she is determined to do all she can to be reunited with Evelette. In the meantime and in order to keep a grip on her own emotions, she frequently flees Miles County to escape the all-seeing eyes of the leadership, unaware that she is being watched by not only the powers-that-be at Miles County, but also by interested parties in the so-called ‘outside world’. What develops is a fast-paced sequence of unexpected events that blight Sydney’s plans to care for her sister and lead to them being separated on more than one occasion. Her sense of responsibility, however, forces Sydney to choose to face the authorities alone if she can save her sister. As she finally seems to find happiness within herself, she is torn in two as she makes the brave decision to sacrifice herself for Evelette. The next story in the series is eagerly anticipated to provide the answers to the reader’s ever-growing list of questions. I can only hope that it comes out very soon 🙂

A great read, hugely entertaining and exciting, full of believable characters with real emotions – sometimes painfully real! Definitely one to watch out for.

 

How To Build A Writer Platform With No Time, No Credentials And No Book | Write to Done

See on Scoop.itWriting your first book

How to build a writer platform is the ultimate guide to how even people with little time and experience and no published works can engage with an audience.

See on writetodone.com

A to Z challenge – starting April 1st.

The A to Z blogging challenge starts on April 1st and so it’s time to make a few preparations.

I will be posting two articles each day. Yes, two! I know, double the work, but there is a method in my madness. Whilst I want to continue adding posts relating to books and writing – as is my usual subject matter – I also want to take the opportunity to showcase my current home of Alicante in Spain.

So, firstly, there will be a written post, based on my chosen theme of books & writing.

A very honourable profession.

Then, I will be adding a photo post relating to the towns and villages of Alicante in Spain. (I’ve lived here for over ten years now, so these photos will include a mixture of my own pics and others)

Parme-trees

Did you know there are 238 villages in the province of Alicante? So I  have plenty to choose from (although currently places beginning with K and W are eluding me, I might have to apply a little ‘creative licence’ at that point).

Anyway, what’s the point of a challenge if it is not challenging?

By the way, you might be thinking I’m a fool (an April fool at that!), but I’m sure you’ll learn to love Alicante as much as I do by the end of this.

¡Hasta pronto bookworms! 🙂

The secret to happiness

Blood Feud by Daniel Harris

I gave it 4 stars.

blood fuedDominic Galetti is an Italian immigrant in the USA. He runs a small grocery store and offers the personal touch that the larger stores cannot provide. He knows his customers, treats them like family friends and in turn earns their loyalty. His savvy business brain makes him a great component with the retailers and food producers, he will not settle for poor quality and only wants the very best for his store and his customers.

When Russell Riley begins work there at the age of 13 he cannot ever imagine that his first part-time job would offer him the experiences of a lifetime. As the business expands and more stores are opened, Dominic’s sons take over much of the day-to-day operations, sticking steadfastly to their father’s principles whereby ‘Cash is King’, thus avoiding debt and not relinquishing any control to the banks. Russell is taken on full-time after the Galetti’s pay for his university education and he gradually rises to the position of president – the only non-family member on the board and with any authority.

When Dominic dies and the business is divided equally between the two brothers, Russ is given nominal stake of 25 shares and the business continues to prosper. The untimely death of one of the brothers, Dominic Jr, causes devastation for his widow and young family. However, true to form, the elder brother Joe steps in to support them and even attends all of the school functions in his brother’s place.

It all seems so wholesome, until the widowed Maria finds that some of her stock has been sold without her knowledge. The end result is a bitter court case, pitching both sides of the Galetti family against each other. With a business now worth billions, there is a lot at stake and Russ’s own shares have not only escalated in value but also place him at the centre of a very hostile battle for control of the business empire.

Aghast that such a family, with such a high moral code, can be at loggerheads with each other over money, Russ decides that he can no longer be a part of it. He reflects on his own life, on the principles passed on to him by Dominic Senior and chooses to walk away. With the constant support of his own wife, mother and family, he realises that his own life has been blessed and he owes that to the love of his family, not the money in the bank. He becomes disheartened and disappointed that the business to which he gave so much of his time and loyalty had been the undoing of the Galetti family, knowing the old man would never have tolerated such behaviour had he still lived.

On the face of it, this story seems almost biographical and as such makes the reader truly believe in the characters. Whilst it is a work of fiction, the detailed descriptions and explanations of the industry ring true. Yet the overwhelming sensation is one of sadness. The small grocery store run by Dominic Galetti serves as an inspiration to strive for quality, loyalty and common sense in the business world. When the principles of decency and honesty become blurred by greed, then everything suffers as a result. What was once a family enterprise becomes a cynical endeavour, fuelled by money over family values.

I read this book in just a few days, and was captivated by the innate goodness of the Galetti’s at the beginning, only to be let down by their resulting feuding and hostilities. A great story, but unfortunately there is no happy ending for the family. For Russell Riley, however, he understands that  money does not buy happiness. He moves onto pastures new, surrounded by his friends and family, knowing that their love and support will keep him going.

It’s no secret.

A cheesy murder – quite literally!

There can be no greater way to murder a character than by cheese and wine. What could be better?

My latest read is Bordeaux: A bitter finish by Janet Hubbard. I gave it 3 stars.

For me this was a classic recipe for a mystery tale.

Take one zealous and opinionated wine critic.

Mix in a feisty female NYPD officer and a smooth French magistrate in charge of the case – at this point stir vigorously to reignite a former passion.

Finally add some shady suspects, motivated by greed and prepared to go to any lengths to stay ahead.

Set against the gorgeous background of the lush vineyards of Bordeaux and the money oriented auction rooms of Manhattan, the pace changes easily to suit.

The tempting wines and pungent cheeses of the wine connoisseurs and buyers left me hungry for more and with a thirst for a sequel. All puns are intended!

bordeaux

Summary (taken from Goodreads) : NYPD detective Max Maguire returns to France as bodyguard to a famous American wine critic. Max’s mother is French—so Max is not only bilingual but blessed, or cursed, with disapproving (and devious) French relatives. Max is not just escorting the critic, she’s also keeping an eye on a very expensive bottle of wine whose authenticity is in dispute, a  pawn in cut-throat wine wars involving critics, wine collectors, and auction houses. Checked into their Paris hotel, it’s not long before Max discovers her client dead in her room and the bottle stolen from the hotel’s safe. So she has no choice but to team up with examining magistrate Olivier Chaumont, the man she had fallen in love with the year before while solving a murder in Champagne. Olivier’s sidekick, Commissaire Abdel Zeroual joins in. Max has no police role in France but she stays  a step ahead of the French investigators using tactics learned back in New York, while Olivier weaves in and out of Bordeaux society where he is certain the murderer lurks. Is this something local, or is there really a counterfeit wine operation in play? Moving back and forth from Bordeaux to Manhattan among vintners, restaurateurs, auctioneers, collectors, the rich, as well as among less privileged players, everyone is propelled towards a shocking climax.

My thoughts: There are many plot twists here and as the reader, you are treated to many possible motives, only then for them to disintegrate and direct you towards another lead. The story is well paced and easy to read, I read this in no time at all. The characters are all interwoven and there are some lovely subplots with Max’s family and Olivier’s sidekick Abdel. I shall be reading the earlier book in the series – Champagne – and will keep my eyes out for a sequel.