Thanks to Rachel’sRandomResources. # Crooked Cat Books. # Blog Tour. # The Secret by Katharine Johnson. #

 

 

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The Blurb:

The Secret
Love, Lies, and Betrayal in Wartime Italy.

Two girls growing up in Mussolini’s Italy share a secret that has devastating consequences.

Against a backdrop of fear, poverty and confusion during the Second World War, friendship is tested, and loyalties are divided until a chance encounter changes everything.

Their lives diverge when beautiful, daring Martina marries and moves into Villa Leonida, the most prestigious house in their Tuscan mountain village, while plain, studious Irena trains to be a teacher.

But neither marriage nor life at Villa Leonida are as Martina imagined. And as other people’s lives take on a new purpose, Irena finds herself left behind.

Decades later, a tragedy at the villa coincides with the discovery of an abandoned baby, whose identity threatens to re-open old wounds among the next generation.
Purchase Link – https://mybook.to/thesecretjohnson

My Thoughts and Review:

This is my first read by Katharine. I enjoyed this novel and would certainly look out for more by this author’

This is a story of secrets, but also lies, betrayal and treachery. A story that draws the reader in and keeps them reading.

The story involves the relationships and interplay between three women. Two elder Irena and Martina and the younger Sonia.

The first chapter sets the scene and reveals the first secret, but this is the first of many.      The story also contains scenes from war torn Italy and present day Italy.                                 Martina and Irena are friends as young girls, but as the years pass will their relationship survive the strains of their secrets, hopes and dreams. Read on and all will be revealed. And believe me once this book grips you you will read!                                        The writing is of top quality and the main characters are masterstrokes of perfection.        Building their complexity and their relationships without overloading the reader with too much detail. A book I thoroughly enjoyed and I’m sure you will to!

author pic Author Bio –
Katharine Johnson likes writing about ordinary people who through a character flaw or bad decision find themselves in extraordinary situations. She’s a journalist living in Berkshire, England with her family and springy spaniel. When she’s not writing you’ll find her exploring cities, visiting old houses, playing netball, eating cake or restoring her house in Italy which is nothing like Villa Leonida.
Social Media Links –
https://www.facebook.com/Katharinejohnsonauthor/
https://twitter.com/@kjohnsonwrites
https://katyjohnsonblog.wordpress.com/

the secret Giveaway – Win 1 x Signed copy of The Secret and 1 x Signed Copy of The Silence (UK Only)
*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
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The Choice by Edith Eger. Holocaust. Forgiveness. Human Spirit.

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Blurb:

The Choice: A true story of hope by Edith Eger

In 1944, sixteen-year-old Edith Eger was sent to Auschwitz. There she endured unimaginable experiences, including being made to dance for the infamous Josef Mengele. Over the coming months, Edith’s bravery helped her sister to survive, and led to her bunkmates rescuing her during a death march. When their camp was finally liberated, Edith was pulled from a pile of bodies, barely alive.

In The Choice, Dr Edith Eger shares her experience of the Holocaust and the remarkable stories of those she has helped ever since. Today, she is an internationally acclaimed psychologist whose patients include survivors of abuse and soldiers suffering from PTSD. She explains how many of us live within a mind that has become a prison, and shows how freedom becomes possible once we confront our suffering.

Like Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, but exceptional in its own right, The Choice is life changing. Warm, compassionate and infinitely wise, it is a profound examination of the human spirit, and our capacity to heal.

 

My thoughts and review:
This was a book that was recommended to me. And what a book it was. A book of great breadth and scope. A book of the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity and man’s inhumanity to man.
A triumph of the human spirit in the face of extraordinary evil.
A search for not revenge, which will only perpetuate the evil.
A search not to change the past, which never will never change.
A search that leads to being not defined by the past and a search that ultimately leads to forgiveness, not only for the perpetrator but also the victim.
Also a realisation that holding onto the past, which cannot be changed, not only does nothing for the victim but also leaves the danger of history repeating its self .

This is a story of a woman who lost her childhood to the camps. Her early adulthood to marrying young. And much of her life, though she choose a career in which she helped others, she was initially unable to help herself and had to go on her own journey of discovery, and forgiveness.
This is a book I would urge all to buy and read. A book of one woman’s refusal to be defined by her past and you may find yourself in there as we all have a past that can drag us down,
A superb read.

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Edith Eger

A native of Hungary, Edith Eger was a teenager in 1944 when she and her family were sent to Auschwitz during the Second World War. Despite overwhelming odds, Edith survived the Holocaust and moved with her husband to the United States. Having worked in a factory whilst raising her young family, she went on to graduate with a PhD from the University of Texas and became an eminent psychologist. Today, she maintains a busy clinical practice and lectures around the world.

Thanks to Rachel’sRandomResources# A Hollow Sky by M. Sean Coleman# Blog Tour #

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Blurb:

A Hollow Sky
A SUSPENSEFUL, ATMOSPHERIC THRILLER.
Jane Hewitt had been miraculously healed—cured of a terminal cancer that had been eating away at her body for months. After one meeting with an incredible young woman, Jane rose from her wheelchair and walked out, believing that her lifetime of devoted faith had been rewarded.
The next day, Jane died in her husband’s arms, devastated that her God had deserted her. Her husband, Ian, blames her hastened death on the faith healer she visited. But that faith healer is a teenage girl called Megan, who has been in a coma for five years, and has no say over how her gift is used.
When Ian is arrested after being accused of breaking in to Megan’s house and trying to tamper with her life support, he turns to the only person he knows can help clear his name, and stop this family deceiving any other victims—Dr Alex Ripley, the so called Miracle Detective.
Fascinated by Megan’s case, and needing a distraction, Ripley finds herself on Holy Island, off the coast of North Wales, caught up in an investigation that will prove more sinister and dangerous than she could have imagined. Ian is not the first person to complain about Megan and her supporters, but he seems to be the only one left alive. For now.
A Hollow Sky is the second Alex Ripley Mystery
Purchase Link
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Hollow-Alex-Ripley-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B07H9DTFM8
US – https://www.amazon.com/Hollow-Alex-Ripley-Mystery-Book-ebook/dp/B07H9DTFM8
Direct from Red Dog Press – https://www.reddogpress.co.uk/shop

My Thoughts and Review:

The second book in the Dr. Alex Ripley series. In which Alex is more to the fore than in the first book. A fast moving tale in which no word is wasted.

Alex is called into  investigate the story of Megan, a young girl in a coma, who is credited  with being able to cure people of their illnesses. She has no say in this as she is used by her family and the local reverend as a faith healer. Will Alex find out that the cures are true, or will she be able to debunk them as some form of trickery or mass hysteria. It raises moral and ethical questions of using persons who have no voice,  The debunking isn’t  entirely resolved and sometimes everything doesn’t need to be tied up in a big bow.

A book full of faith healers, con men and persons being used and abused for their helplessness and willingness to believe. Megan has the best of medical care and is well looked after physically, but something is unsettling about the way she is used and how her visitors are so naïve in their belief that she can cure their illnesses. As I said earlier a moral dilemma,

The writing is improved in this second book. Alex is a more rounded character and we know more about her past. This is shaping up to be a good series and I look forward to reading more of M. Sean Coleman’s work and Alex is turning into one of my favourite characters. A well deserved four stars from me and roll on the next instalment in the series. Read this I think you will enjoy it!!

The Author:

A Hollow Sky MSeanColeman_AuthorPhoto_HiRes

Author Bio – Born in the UK and raised in South Africa, M. Sean Coleman developed a love for reading and writing novels in his early teens, thanks to two incredibly passionate English teachers who infected him with their love of words and stories. Over the intervening years, he has written film and television drama, cross-platform series, an interactive children’s storybook and a graphic novel series.
He finally found his niche as a thriller writer when he was asked to write a novel as part of the cross-platform project, Netwars. His first book, The Code, was published six months later, with the sequel, Down Time, hot on its heels. There was no going back.
He is obsessed with crime, mystery and thriller stories, especially those with a fresh or surprising angle. He writes novels from his home in The Cotswolds, where he lives with his husband and their three red dogs.
Social Media Links –
http://www.facebook.com/mseancoleman.author
http://www.twitter.com/mseancoleman

Giveaway to win paperback copies of The Cuckoo Wood and A Hollow Sky, a cool tote bag with book quote from the publisher, a branded bookmark and some chocolates (Open INT)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
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A Hollow Sky

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Thanks to Rachel’sRandomResources# The Dragon And The Lumberjack# Blog Tour#

Thomas Thornhill - DLcoverFINAL_Kindle_Cover_2

Blurb:

The Dragon and the Lumberjack
Thomas feared he played Jack too well…
The sequel to S. W. Ellenwood’s debut novel, The Janitor and the Spy, picks up six months after Thomas Thornhill’s nightmare mission in Amsterdam. On his own, he now goes under the alias of Jack Montferrand and seeks to gain entry into the oldest and most dangerous triad in Asia to find Them.
On the inside, he found the triad not as stable as he thought, forcing him to prove his trust and worth to them at every turn as new rivals sprout up. He plunges his hands deeper into the filth and the alias of Jack where he starts to wonder where Thomas ends and Jack begins.
Purchase Links
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dragon-Lumberjack-Thornhill-Book-ebook/dp/B07JFCHTD4
US – https://www.amazon.com/Dragon-Lumberjack-Thornhill-Book-ebook/dp/B07JFCHTD4

My Thoughts and Review:

This is the second book in the series. Six months after Thornhill’s trip to Amsterdam. He is now on his own and he goes on a mission to Asia to infiltrate an old and established Triad and also to further his mission to uncover The Twelve.

As he is drawn further into the mysterious underworld that the Triad’s present, and going under the alias Jack Montferrand, he begins to wonder where Jack begins and Thornhill ends.

It is not as simple as eliminating his Triad’s rivals; as another takes their place. Jack finds himself fast losing his empathy and developing a callous persona, of any means that are necessary . Jack (Thornhill) is a more rounded character in this novel and the storyline is more developed. The standard of writing is higher and this helps carry the story.

Altogether a fast paced story that keeps you reading. But if you are looking for literature then this is not for you. but a fast moving read that you can dash through, then go for it!

3/5 stars from me.

Author Bio –
S. W. Ellenwood is thankful to have a close-knit family of two parents, a brother, and two sisters. A homeschooler who graduated college from the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, Ellenwood loves all forms and genres of stories and was inspired by The Lord of the Rings films and his parents to write. You can find Ellenwood writing his next novel at the local coffee shops or playing table top games with his best friends.
Social Media Links –
Twitter: https://twitter.com/swellenwood
Website: http://www.swellenwood.com/

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Thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources #The Janitor and The Spy# Blog Tour#

 

Thomas Thornhill - Janitor cover

Blurb:

The Janitor and the Spy
Baby wipes are not the best at cleaning up blood or what happened to Thornhill in Amsterdam.
They told Thornhill it would be a simple spy mission that he was more than eager to take on, but of course, it wasn’t.
It didn’t take long after meeting the contact for Thornhill to question if he or anyone else connected to him was going to be able to make it out of Amsterdam alive. Passing strangers on the streets became potential hitmen and dinner with criminals became safe heavens as Thornhill seeks to find answers from an old man named Golay.
Purchase Links
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Janitor-Spy-Thornhill-Book-ebook/dp/B013KNYGVC/
US – https://www.amazon.com/janitor-spy-thornhill-book-ebook/dp/B013KNYGVC/

My Thoughts and Review:

This was a book I read in a day. Very short and fast moving. The writing was good though the story and the characters weren’t very well rounded,

The story starts with the main character Thornhill cleaning himself up and changing his clothes. What has happened? You must read on to find out.

This was an odd little story about a newly minted spy sent to recover information from a sleeper in Amsterdam. It is pretty confusing since the man he is sent to meet, named Golay, tells several different stories. And then it ends rather abruptly as he arrives back home to report.

There are a few other characters that help move the story on. One of these Thornhill forms an attachment to.

This is the first book in a new series, hopefully as the series progresses Thornhill will  grow in stature.

Author details:

Thomas Thornhill - 7191806_orig

S. W. Ellenwood is thankful to have a close-knit family of two parents, a brother, and two sisters. A homeschooler who graduated college from the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith, Ellenwood loves all forms and genres of stories and was inspired by The Lord of the Rings films and his parents to write. You can find Ellenwood writing his next novel at the local coffee shops or playing table top games with his best friends.
Social Media Links –
Twitter: https://twitter.com/swellenwood
Website: http://www.swellenwood.com/

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Thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources# The Fourth Victim by John Mead# Book Blog Tour# The Book Guild Ltd#

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The Blurb:

The Fourth Victim
Whitechapel is being gentrified. The many green spaces of the area, which typify London as a capital city, give the illusion of peace, tranquility and clean air but are also places to find drug dealers, sexual encounters and murder.
Detective Sergeant Julie Lukula doesn’t dislike Inspector Matthew Merry but he has hardly set the world of the Murder Investigation Team East alight. And, it looks as if the inspector is already putting the death of the young female jogger, found in the park with her head bashed in, down to a mugging gone wrong. The victim deserves more. However, the inspector isn’t ruling anything out – the evidence will, eventually, lead him to an answer.
Purchase Links

https://www.waterstones.com/book/the-fourth-victim/john-mead/9781912575367

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My Thoughts:

Three Deaths; Two grieving families and one murder investigation team.

But can this team investigate these murders?

At first it doesn’t seem so. Inspector Matthew Merry is not the rising star of The Murder Investigation  Team. This coupled with the apathy from his sergeant Julie Lukula. An apathy you wonder is down to his capabilities as an investigating officer or her general dislike of the male of the species!

This was a good book. Quality writing and a storyline that draws the reader in and keeps them turning the pages. An involved story that may involve more than one killer.

This is not a particularly  fast paced read, but is a slow burner. Involved, complex and keeps the reader guessing and wondering.

The relationship between Merry and Lukula evolves and changes as does the storyline.

A story not only of an investigation but of relationships and dynamics between several characters in the book.

A book I enjoyed and really got into after a slow star and ended up really enjoying. So if you like your crime laced with a bit of human interaction, I urge you to read this book and I for one will be looking for more from John.

The Author:

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Author Bio –
Born in the mid-fifties in East London, on part of the largest council estate ever built. I was the first pupil from my local secondary modern school to attend university.

I have travelled extensively during my life from America to Tibet. I enjoy going to the theatre, reading and going to the pub. It is, perhaps, no surprise that I am an avid ‘people watcher’ and love to find out about people, their lives, culture and history.

Many of the occurrences recounted and the characters found in my novels are based on real incidents and people I have come across. Although I have allowed myself a wide degree of poetic licence in writing about the main characters, their motivations and the killings that are depicted.

Social Media Links –
Amazon author profile: https://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B07B8SQ2ZH
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JohnMeadAuthor
Goodreads profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17891273.John_Mead

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Thanks to Rachel’s Random Resources# The Failsafe Query by Michael Jenkins# Book Blog Tour#

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Blurb:

The Failsafe Query
The Failsafe Query is a gripping thriller set in the contemporary world of modern British espionage.

Sean Richardson, a disgraced former intelligence agent, is tasked to lead a team to search for Alfie Chapman, an Intelligence officer on the cusp of exposing thousands of secrets to the media. This includes a long lost list of Russian moles embedded since the Cold War, one of whom remains a public favourite in the British parliamentary system.

The action moves with absorbing pace and intrigue across Central Asia and Europe as the puzzle begins to unfold through a deep hidden legacy.

Tense, fast paced, and insightful, The Failsafe Query twists and turns to a satisfyingly dramatic finale.
Purchase Links
Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Failsafe-Query-Michael-Jenkins-ebook/dp/B07DWDTNTW
Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Failsafe-Query-Michael-Jenkins-ebook/dp/B07DWDTNTW

My Thoughts:

A fast paced spy thriller set in modern British espionage. A tale that reeks of intrigue, deceit and political treachery ,

Sean Richardson a disgraced intelligence is brought back from the dead, to investigate and trace files that can blow the world of espionage apart. That will reach the very summit of the British political hierarchy. To threaten democracy as we know it! But is Sean brought back because he is the best man for the job; or because he is expendable? A fast paced read’ a plausible storyline, that has you wondering could this ever be true? The action is fast paced, The writing is of top quality and the characters well rounded. There is also a healthy dose of humour to counteract the violence and fast paced action.

The author leans on his military background and this is obvious in his writing. In many ways his writing reminds me of Charles Cumming. I would look forward to reading another tale starring these characters. Well done Michael!

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Author Bio –
Michael Jenkins served for twenty-eight years in the British
Army, rising through the ranks to complete his service as a major. He
served across the globe on numerous military operations as an intelligence
officer within Defence Intelligence, and as an explosive ordnance
disposal officer and military surveyor within the Corps of Royal
Engineers.

His experiences within the services involved extensive travel and
adventure whilst on operations, and also on many major mountaineering
and exploration expeditions that he led or was involved in.
He was awarded the Geographic Medal by the Royal Geographical
Society for mountain exploration and served on the screening committee
of the Mount Everest Foundation charity.

He was awarded the MBE on leaving the armed forces in 2007 for his services to counterterrorism.

The Failsafe Query is Michael’s first novel. He has started work on
his second spy thriller, The Kompromat Kill, and hopes to publish it
the spring of 2019.
Social Media Links –

https://www.facebook.com/thefailsafequery/
https://www.michaeljenkins.org/

Giveaway – Win 5 x PB copies of The Failsafe Query & a spy linkage map (unframed) (Open Internationally)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
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