Posted in A to Z challenge, books, Courting Danger, Lacey's Law, Magic O'Clock, The Fifth Wheel

Z is for … Zilch

Today’s the last day of the AtoZChallenge, and I’m all blogged out – I’ve got zilch left to add.

Other than to say, if you’ve read / liked / shared any of these posts, left a comment, joined my mailing list or even bought a book of mine, then from the bottom of my heart, I send you my greatest

Courting Danger has been well and truly exposed, in readiness for its cover reveal in the summer and book launch soon after.

If you have any space on your bookshelf or reading device, then you can always check out my other books

 Lacey’s Law, The Fifth Wheel or Magic O’Clock

Thank you for joining me during this month of blogging – it’s been fun, exhausting, thought-provoking, tiring and wonderful to be engaging and interacting with you all.

See you soon 🙂 x

 

Posted in A to Z challenge, beta, books, reading, review

Q is for … Quiet time

I knew I’d get stuck on Q. Happens every time, and yeah I know X & Z are still to come and I can’t take a pass on those too.

So, I’m having some quiet time – reading for pleasure, maybe squeezing in the odd chapter or two of a beta read I’m working through, I might even write up a book review too. But, nothing today is related to my theme directly – but reading is important. As is some downtime. I’ve learnt to take my time when it comes to writing or revising my stories. I’ll still meet my deadlines, but some days are just not meant to be writing days.

So, hope you all get some breathing space too.

And I promise not to pull the same stunt on X & Z 🙂

Posted in books, review

Tainted Tokay – A Book Review

Tainted Tokay – by Jean-Pierre Alaux & Noël Balencaptura

As always, beautifully descriptive – both of the scenic locations and the wines enjoyed by the characters. I enjoyed the mysteries, particularly how the two ran parallel -the attack on the lab researcher in Paris and the ongoing mysteries throughout the Danube cruise.
The series never fails to disappoint with oodles of intrigue and endless plot twists. However, this time, I felt as though some parts were rushed through (Claude’s return to France was made out to be more mysterious than it actually was – or maybe it was just me. But the ‘hat on the hook’ and then later ‘off the hook’ with no other mention of him, made me think another unfortunate mishap had befallen him.)
On the plus side, I loved the increased character development of Virgile, seeing him stand on his own two feet.
A refreshing, fun and easy read – perfect light entertainment.

 

4 stars

Posted in Author, books, free on Amazon, recommended

Recommended Author: Michael Ross

I’ve just beta read a book for this author – Michael Ross – and without wishing to sing his praises too much, I feel compelled to let you all enjoy his offerings as much as I did.

Whilst the book I beta read is not yet out, he does have a couple of other books that will no doubt interest you.

A Face Not Seen

Martin Russell spends his last coins on a bus ride out of the city with barely enough motivation to face the future. Then a chance incident near his home triggers a sequence of positive opportunities for him. His life, unexpectedly, could not be better.

That is, until the phone call informing him his friend Hannah has disappeared, and people’s lives will now change forever.
a face
And who can be trusted? Certainly not the obsessive Nash nor the slimy underworld figure they call The Chemist.

How about John Staples, better known as Pin-up? Is his renewed friendship with Martin genuine or suspicious?

What is going on with Zachary and Bobby? One is a schoolboy drug dealer, the other is a disgraced ex-copper. What could they possibly have in common?

Why are their intertwined stories entitled A Face Not Seen? For the answer to that question, you would have to ask Xenon. But that is a problem, because no-one in their right mind ever questions Xenon…

Or if short stories are more your thing, then take a look at

Twenty Short Stories

What does it feel like20 stories to take another person’s life?

Will the good deeds we do come back to us in different forms?

Should we always trust our instincts?

Is it ever too late to turn back?

These are of some of the questions posed in this imaginative collection of short stories involving amongst others; a public executioner, a super hero who’s half man-half wolf, a failed celebrity writer, a disillusioned taxi driver, a father and daughter facing the end of the world, an ugly journalist, and a policeman seeking justice.
Just some of the characters in this intriguing and imaginative collection of stories where all the characters have a tale to tell. A collection that will surely leave a mark on the reader.

These are available on Amazon this weekend (from Thursday/ Friday onwards)  – FREE!

So, what have you got to lose?

 

Have a great weekend! 

Posted in books, reading

Swings & Roundabouts

Definition:

British – A situation in which different actions or options result in no eventual gain or loss.

swings-header3

A while ago I promised to read and review a number of books before the end of May this year.

There were 7 in total and the results are now in:

I read 6 of the titles listed – theoretically meaning I didn’t complete the challenge.

However, in my defence (and I always have one!) the last book on the list was a little too similar to one that I’d finished not long before and so I felt the need for a change in genre.

Which leaves me to add that I read another book giving me a total of 7 in all.

So, as the saying goes – it was a case of “swings and roundabouts”.

Promise met, although with a slight tweak 🙂

My books, my rules 🙂

Posted in books, historical fiction, review

A wonderful mix of fact and fiction.

Cold Lonely Courage

by Soren Paul Petrek

4.5 stars
oradour

Summary:

Any reader of historical fiction knows that the facts have to be correct, and in this case, when the main character is a female assassin, you need to believe in the story.  This is no easy task for any writer, yet here is an excellent example of how to weave a great fictional story into a real-life event. 
The heroine is Madeleine Toche, and she becomes known throughout France as the Angel of Death.  Yet, all she wants is a normal home life, with a husband, kids and to run the family restaurant in Provence. Instead, she is brutally raped by a German officer on her way back from the market. This horrific incident occurs shortly after the death of her twin brother, fighting for France in the war. With the added insult of German occupation in her beloved native land, these events fuel her hatred, compelling her to react in some way. And so, to exact her revenge, she flees France (having killed the German soldier who raped her) and heads for England with the aid of  the French Resistance.

Determined to play her part, she is selected by the British Intelligence (SEO) to work for them in bringing down the Reich, and in particular the SS and Gestapo High Command. Her training is managed by Jack Teach, who recognises the killer instinct in her, whilst also succumbing to her charms as a woman. She is transformed into a lethal killing machine, using her beauty and physicality to gain access to her intended targets. As a femme fatale, she is a mixture of innocence and seduction. Her method is to play on the passions of men, while remaining level-headed and focused in the face of danger. It is a survival mentality. 

My thoughts:

This particular period in history never fails to fascinate me. As a student of German at university, I studied the events running up to and during World War II in great detail, and the horrors still haunt me, yet there is still more to be learned, to understand and to never, ever forget. The atrocities of that time must be remembered if we are to avoid such vileness and terror in the future. This story does not hold back on the gory facts of the war, there is a lot of killing, much hatred and yet an indomitable human spirit somehow rises to the surface and triumphs.

The chapters are short, and the book is fast-paced. The characters cover the whole gamut of personality types, from the cruel and vindictive Nazi officers to the humorous and considerate police investigators, Horst & Willi, who prove the adage that not all Germans were evil warmongers. Some ‘bit-part’ characters are maybe not as developed as they could be, but the essence of each one is sufficiently defined to make the story believable. 

The scenes centring on the massacre of the villagers of Oradour-sur-Glane truly hit the spot. Although there is no definitive evidence as to the reason for this attack by the German forces, the line adopted by the writer is very credible. I have visited this village, or rather what remains of it, near Limoges and the sensation of utter devastation and horror is still clear to this day. It is a haunting place, left in its destroyed form to act as a reminder to us of the true atrocities of war. When I chose this book I was not aware of the references to Oradour within the story, but the way the events are handled by the writer show great respect and sensitivity to those innocent people who lost their lives in the massacre. I guess that, for me, this made the whole storyline so much more believable. 

Whilst they are a few typos and grammatical issues along the way, the pace of the story moves along with ease and you cannot fail to feel moved by the drama of the setting and the events of that time. It’s a thoroughly ‘enjoyable’ read, dealing with a period of recent history that is still raw for many and one that we will never fully comprehend, yet with a plot that lifts the spirits as the evildoers are wiped out and made to pay for their crimes.

I will definitely look out for other offerings by this author, given the skilful combination of history and fiction. 

🙂

Posted in books, Europe, NetGalley, review, translation

A legal thriller, set in France = Oo la la!

The Paris Lawyer (translated)

by Sylvie Granotier

3 stars

 

parislawyerDescription:

As a child, Catherine Monsigny was the only witness to her mother’s death. Twenty years later as an ambitious attorney in contemporary Paris, she catches a professional break when her boss assigns her to major felony case in rural France. An immigrant stands accused of poisoning her husband, but her secrets are not the only ones hidden in the scenic rolling hills of Creuse. While preparing the defense, Catherine is reunited with images of own past and a high-intensity search for two murderers ensues. Who can she believe? And what will Catherine do with her past should she discover it?

My thoughts:

Given the genre and the setting, this should have been the perfect book for me. I am addicted to legal thrillers, and when the story takes place in familiar territory (Europe, rather than the US – sorry, no offence!), then my interest is piqued and expectations are high.

Admittedly, at the outset, I struggled with the writer’s style. The constant switching from actual events to memories of the past had me more than a little confused. At times I had to re-read sections just to confirm which character was involved, but the more I read on, the easier it became to understand the writer’s tone. I enjoyed the concurrence of the two storylines, as they joined forces to give the reader a greater insight into the main character, Catherine Monsigny, exploring her strengths and weaknesses to create a whole. Her relationship with her father did strike me as forced and uncomfortable, and his attitude towards her is rather possessive and even obsessive, all of which is explained at the end with an intriguing plot twist (although I had my suspicions, so maybe not as unexpected as you might imagine)

Whilst the two plots come to some sort of conclusion, both reveal some interesting and surprising twists which kept me reading to the end, keen to see if my own deductions were correct. However, a few loose ends are left unresolved, seemingly dropped from the story and no longer considered of any relevance.

Originally written in French and having received great accolades and literary awards in France, it highlights perhaps a difference in both writing style and reader expectation for those of us reading the translated version. Maybe we have become accustomed to certain writing styles, particularly in the English-speaking world, so it was refreshing to have these preconceptions challenged. Although the tone is unusual and confusing to my mind, once understood, the overall effect is to create a suspenseful story. The settings are beautifully described, with great flair and an obvious passion for the landscape and ambience of rural France. The characters are not the nicest bunch of people, each of them flawed to some extent, and most definitely quite aloof.

Perhaps this won’t be to everyone’s taste, but if you are interested in challenging your own views on this genre, then you will no doubt enjoy it. Just don’t expect the usual high-gloss and moralistic outcomes that so many legal thrillers dish out. Take the plunge and, as they say in France, “Vive la difference!”