Book Review Lie of the Tiger by John Martin (it is part of a promotion, and it’s about cats)

Lie of the Tiger by John Martin

More about Lie of the Tiger by John Martin

Paddy – if that is indeed his real name – has taken the reins of the Windy Mountain Tasmanian Tiger Museum, only to discover the previous manager left the building in a coffin.

Then he finds out that the devious owners don’t actually want him to succeed anyway.

The old men’s dogged determination isn’t good news for a third octogenarian who has the only legal dog in town, but stuff him.

Oodles and Wish-Wash have good reason not to like The Mayor anyway and if he won’t help, they are prepared to break the law.

This is a funny, sometimes touching story with a quirky character around almost every corner.

Lie of the Tiger is book 1 of the Windy Mountain series. Each book has its own story.

But if you enjoy this one, Blokes on a Plane (book 2), Whitey and the Six Dwarfs (book 3), Blokes in Donegal (book 4), and Blokes in the House (book 5, inspired by the events of 2020), await with many of the same endearing characters.

Lie of the Tiger is free as part of this PROMOTION until 31 August

I read Lie of the Tiger last week and it really made me smile. And! I had never heard of a Tasmanian tiger.

Here’s my review:

Lie of the Tiger is a quirky satire about a Tasmanian tiger museum. The book is educational (I had never heard of this extinct cat) and funny. Yes, it is because John Martin has a funny way with words. Character names are playfully chosen Wish-Wash and Oodles, and later Sergeant Stretch (especially when someone stretches out their arms to catch him). The plot is engaging. To keep his job, Paddy must succeed in reopening the museum, but this means proving that these stripy wildcats are still alive and well near Windy Mountain. Recommended for cat lovers, big cat conspiracy enthusiasts and readers with a sense of humour.

https://books.bookfunnel.com/freeandfun/3295975751

Apologies, I did promise to write a blog post about an interesting conversation I had with my sister-in-law. This will be about books, reading and why we choose to read certain books. I haven’t written the post yet because I’ve been really suffering with fatigue. I’ve got MS, it’s just something I have to put up with.

At least I can still read. And write! Another reason I am worn out at the moment is I am writing my next book. This is about a woman trying to find her way in life after lockdown. Although I am enjoying writing it, I am drained!

Have some free books on me, have a great weekend, Samantha 🙂

A Touch of History #BookReview Rosalind Minett @MinettRosalind @BookFunnel #IARTG Intrusion – A Relative Invasion

Hi everyone! I am still part of this fab BookFunnel promotion of 28 books written with a historical flair. As promised, I have been reading some of these books, so that I could pop a review on.

This is the BookFunnel Link – have a browse and see if you fancy any of these lovely books while they are on offer until the 19th of March.

I read Rosalind Minett’s INTRUSION A Relative Invasion from this promotion and it was beautiful.

Intrusion by Rosalind Minett

WAR THREATENS AT THE VERY SHORES OF HOME . . .  WITH RUTHLESS HITLER IN EUROPE AND DEVIOUS COUSIN KENNETH AT THE DOORSTEP. A fateful rivalry is born . . .

Lonely Billy’s excitement at having a playmate turns to dismay. Frail, artistic Kenneth is hideously devious, Uncle Frank is an outright bully and Billy’s parents fail to see further than Kenneth’s porcelain looks to his darker soul. Those very emotions that enable Hitler’s rise – envy over strength, desire for new territory – now ferment in the Wilson home.

Only his secret sighting of a precious Cossack sabre can comfort Billy by imagining he has its power.

As war becomes a reality, this becomes an icon that sustains Billy through evacuation and hardship, but is it destined to damage as well as protect?

Image result for evacuees ww2

(Photo from Google search WWII evacuees labelled for reuse)

Rosalind Minett

Rosalind Minett writes novels and short stories, with several short and long-listed in competitions. Several stories have been performed at Story Friday, Bath, and others, including flash fiction, included in anthologies.

Rosalind trained as a dancer, but grew to love acting more. She gained a place at RADA, but took parental advice and let academic life take over. She gained a B.A. Cert. Ed and Ph.D then became a psychologist working with both children and adults. If she hadn’t, she would have spent her life interpreting characters that dramatists and scriptwriters had created instead of working with real people. Now, later, she very happily creates them herself especially their quirks. In her career, she met and worked with a wealth of characters whose characteristics she can draw upon. However, she does not write biographically, much preferring to work from imagination.

Not surprisingly, it is the inner life of her characters that determines their fate in her stories, whether humorous, historical or criminal. Whatever the genre, Rosalind’s stories always have a keen touch of humour and a dark edge. This is evident in her first short story collection “Me-time Tales: tea breaks for mature women and curious men”, quirky and satirical.

Her ironic avatar – Girl Before Word Processor – (with thanks to Picasso) suits her background and personality. Its two faces suggest her two selves, the serious and the irreverent. They also refer to the watcher and the seen, the inner and the outer person.

Rosalind lives in the South West of England and spends non-family time enjoying the scenery, sculpture, theatre and fine art of the region.

She blogs at http://characterfulwriter.com

 

My little review (also on Amazon and Goodreads) *****

I enjoyed that the word ‘umpteen’ appeared in the first chapter, reminding me of how older relatives used to talk when I was a child in the 70s and 80s. I knew then that the prose was going to be lovely and fitting. Billy, aged five is excited about his cousin Kenneth staying. He turns out to be a real bully – his parents believe anything he says. I noticed his character so why didn’t they, even when Kenneth’s eyelashes were compared to a camel Billy’s dad commented ‘Displays calm, the camel, but they can turn nasty’ (quote from the book). This was a great piece of foreshadowing. Billy’s only saviour is his neighbour who has a fancy Russian knife (for display purposes, but looking at it made Billy feel brave). Not only is Billy’s life intruded by his cousin, but World War II is about to start. The reader learns from Billy’s observations of his parents how scary this is going to be. Billy is evacuated early on, his journey to the country is so enthralling, children wondering where their next meal is coming from – and some sharing out food. The heartbreaking bit when Billy is the last to be chosen. Gas masks, uncles returning from Dunkirk, it’s all in there. The most heartwarming bit for me was Billy’s stay with Mrs Youlden, her two younger children and another evacuee Alan. Billy has never experienced poverty before or been cold and dirty but here, he is loved and makes a true friend with Alan. Reading this book was like going back in time to childhood.

I really enjoyed this book – don’t forget to click the link

Happy reading everyone!

Samantha xx

PS, my book ‘1962 (An Uplifting Tale of 1960s Lancashire)’ Is also part of this promotion.

Add a heading

 

#BookReview #WizardRing by Clare Blanchard @CBcrime @BookFunnel A Touch of History #IARTG

WELL! Hello everyone, I have just finished reading yet another book that I could not put down Wizard Ring: From darkness into light (Wizards Series Book 1)

Wizard Ring by Clare Blanchard

 

I told you all the other day that my book 1962 (An Uplifting Tale of 1960s Lancashire) has been lucky enough to take part in a BookFunnel promotion called ‘A Touch of History’ this promotion includes some great looking books (I have read two of them now) and runs until the 19th of March 2020. The books are all on special offer and there is a great selection. If you like books written with historical flair, then this sales promo should be right up your street! Including an interesting mix of fiction styles and themes, all with a strong historical element. Click this link to see if you fancy reading any of the titles.

 

Wizard Ring: From darkness into light (Wizards Series Book 1) by [Blanchard, Clare]

BOOK BLURB:

I knew nothing about the alchemist John Dee until one winter’s night in Prague when I met the ghost of a barber.
My name is Sylvia. I was just a burnt-out teacher with a subversive sense of humour. Then my mother gave me a magic ring made in the Prague workshop of John Dee.
I’ve never been the same since.

Image result for John Dee

John Dee, alchemist to Queen Elizabeth I

MY REVIEW: 5/5

Brilliant! Part contemporary, part history. Sylvia is a world-weary teacher, she lives with her mother Svetlana (originally from Prague) and son Rusty. The three make for interesting characters and in-depth family dynamics. The internal politics of the school open up a great storyline – sorcery is all around Sylvia (most of it personality-driven!) Clare Blanchard has provided a clever observation of school on both sides of the desk, the stressful impact of working in any public sector environment, and the notion that the supernatural could save you from this stress. Sylvia’s mother has given her a ring, made in Prague by the alchemist John Dee – history books report he was in Queen Elizabeth I inner trusted circle and sent to Czechoslovakia by the Queen sometime in the 16th century as a spy. This is where the intrigue lies for the history lover, Tudor Royal courts were reportedly ruled by jealous paranoia – completely believable that a sorcerer would manufacture an energy-giving ring capable of influencing those around. Will Sylvia manage this power? A well-observed, interesting and lighthearted glimpse of history influencing today.

 

Clare Blanchard

Clare Blanchard is a British author who lives in the wine-growing country of Czechia near Lower Austria in Central Europe. She writes crime mysteries and urban fantasy novels with a strong historical flavour.
Her debut novel was the crime mystery The Tainted Vintage, published by Fahrenheit Press in July 2018. Set in a small town in Czechia, the novel opens a series featuring the somewhat ill-matched but oddly effective detective duo, Dvorska and Dambersky. It is to be followed soon by the second book in the series, The Russian Dolls, which deals with the world of international art theft, as well as a classic murder mystery.
A fan of Nordic noir, Clare Blanchard likes to treat the locations and historical eras in her books as if they were actual characters in the book. This goes not only for her crime fiction, but also for her new Wizards series, which takes the reader into the realm of historical urban fantasy on the murky borders between magic and science. Wizard Ring is the first of a planned series dealing with the dark arts in modern life that are hidden in plain sight.

silver colored pendant with green gemstone
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

 

I am going to see how many books I can read during the promotion, next on the list for me is The Witches of Helcolmbe by Harry Bradford.

 

The Witches of Helcombe.: Book 1 of The Devon Witches Series (The Devon Witches Series.) by [Bradford, Harry]

Thank you for reading, and please join me next time I post about this historical fiction book promotion

Happy reading, Samantha x

#BookReview M J Dees @mjdeeswriter Fred and Leah #HistoricalFiction Book Promotion #IARTG

Hello everybody! I am honoured to be taking part in a historical fiction promotion called A Touch of History at the moment with my book 1962 (An Uplifting Tale of 1960s Lancashire).

When I looked at the other books involved, I thought ‘I need to read some of those!’ 

Have a look at this link to see if you fancy reading any yourself: PROMOTION LINK They are all on special offer and can be downloaded to any device.

This morning, I finished reading Fred and Leah by M J Dees.

Fred and Leah: A True Life Second World War Drama of Love, Loss and Captivity

This is a heartwrenching must-read, the tag line being:

A True Life Second World War Drama of Love, Loss and Captivity

And the blurb:

It’s World War II and soldiers are not the only casualties.

On September 3rd, 1939, Fred knew he would have no choice but to go to France and fight.

However, when he found himself among the thousands of men stranded after the Dunkirk evacuation, he had no idea when he would see his wife Leah and his two children again.

Leah is left trying to raise her two children by herself but, even she can’t stop the bombs from falling on her street.

M J Dees’ fourth novel and his first historical novel, Fred and Leah, is based on a real life love story of two people whose lives were irrevocably altered by war.

Outstanding, yet Heart Wrenching
This book described what soldiers had to deal with in time of war as well as in captivity. It also showed what families had to deal with at home. Leah had to raise two small children while Fred was overseas fighting and then as a prisoner. She had to protect her children from the bombing and hide in the bomb shelters. It showed the mental anguish the soldiers had worrying about their families at home and how they were surviving. Then the mental anguish those at home suffered worrying about their loved ones fighting and if they were ever going to come home. Then the adjustments after the war. How some adjusted while others never did or at the least had trouble. Fred had to find the strength to not only survive the war himself but to help his fellow soldiers survive the best he could. This book showed the horrors of war both on the front and at home. This is a must read book if you want to learn about WWII. It made me feel as though I was with Fred and also experiencing what Leah was feeling during those years. Peggy Coppolo (5 star Amazon.com review)

M J Dees

M J Dees was born and raised in Kingston-upon-Hull in the East Riding of Yorkshire. He has worked in a variety of jobs in a variety of countries and is currently living with his wife, daughter and two cats in São Paulo, Brazil. LIVING WITH SACI is his first novel and is set in São Paulo. THE ASTONISHING ANNIVERSARIES OF JAMES AND DAVID is about two twins growing up in Yorkshire in England. WHEN THE WELL RUNS DRY set in a dystopian future. FRED & LEAH is a second world war drama based on the true story of his grandparents. His fifth novel, LIVING WITH THE HEADLESS MULE a prequel/sequel to LIVING WITH SACI and has just released his new sci-fi series, MASTERY OF THE STARS.

 

photo of a man holding a gun
Photo by Alex Andrews on Pexels.com

 

My review: (Five stars) My mother was a ‘war baby’ and often spoke of this fact when I was growing up. So when I saw this historical fiction novel, I wanted to read it. Leah gives birth just as Fred goes off to war. Leah stays at home with her young son Jim and baby girl Beattie. The couple has moved around because of Fred’s army career – fortunately, Leah can rely on her father, a shopkeeper from Northumberland.
I believe this is a true story, based on the author’s family well written with literary flair—an essential part of life writing is to recount historical events for future generations. The chapters told about Fred detail his lengthy time as a POW in harrowing detail – the realism used here is superb, highlighting the physical and emotional effect on WWII soldiers. I have often heard that these men will not talk about what happened during the war; there must have been some heavy-duty research that went into this book. As the pages turned, I was taking note of the dates 1940, 1941, 1942… Was Fred going to get home to rescue Leah from the nightmare she was going through? If things weren’t bad enough for her with only her father to support her and the two children, Leah suffers a serious illness. Mental illness is one of the cruellest things a person can experience. It could have been a puerperal psychosis or a stress reaction to the war, but poor Leah ended up in hospital for a long time – without advancements in treatment in the years since this period of history. And I think this is the crucial part of this book – would things have been different for Leah had her husband not been taken away from her by war? Fred and Leah’s story provides a snapshot of the human devastation of war. A dramatic, heartwrenching must-read.

Join me on Friday, when I read the next book in this BookFunnel promotion – Wizard Ring by Clare Blanchard

Wizard Ring by Clare Blanchard

Happy reading, Samantha xx

What’s in a (Character) Name? #Guestpost Yawatta Hosby @yawatta_hosby #IARTG

February is Women in Horror Month I wouldn’t have even known this if it wasn’t for my spooky author friend YAWATTA HOSBY (Yawatta writes horror novels, I don’t mean she’s actually spooky as a person, you understand.) I read one of Yawatta’s books recently One By One look it up! My review is in there somewhere. Also, I read Six Plus One at the weekend – also awesomely gruesome.

One By One by [Hosby, Yawatta]

Anyway, let’s find out what Yawatta Hosby thinks about names…

Thanks for letting me be a guest on your blog, Samantha!

 

What’s in a name?

 

My full name is Yawatta Finia Hosby. I bet substitute teachers had a field day, trying to pronounce it during roll call 🙂 I was named after my mom’s favorite cousin, which her mother combined two words she saw in the delivery room. I still wonder what those words were…

 

Yawatta has a Japanese root; Finia is Native American; Hosby is Irish. I’m intrigued that my dad’s grandfather came to America from Ireland. It blows my mind! I’ve lived in the United States all my life even though my name looks exotic.

 

Since I have a unique name, I try and give my characters cool names as well. I think it’s fun to Google search different surnames. Sometimes if I find a cool last name then I’ll make that my character’s first name. For example, I love using the name Franco. I’ve used that name in my short stories and upcoming comic.

 

I also love giving my female characters masculine names. In One By One, my main character was Rae. In Something’s Amiss, my main character was Poe. With my comic I’ve been working on, my main female character’s name is Felix. I think it’s fun to give characters a regular name but spell it differently. Like with Rae (pronounced Rae); plus, Perfect Little Murder had Loren (pronounced Lauren).

 

Another fun game is to collect celebrity names. When I use a certain name, my character doesn’t represent that celebrity’s personality, I just like the name. For example, in One By One, Kenan was named after the Kenan and Kel duo. Selma after Selma Hayek; Tobey after Tobey Maguire. You get the drift.

 

Sometimes I’ll also think of my characters’ ethnicities, then I’ll Google popular names. I’ll scroll for hours looking for very unique names then I’ll use those names in my stories. The funny thing is I’ll spend so much time on last names but I don’t share them in the story. Still don’t know why I do that lol. I guess because if the characters are close, in my mind, then they wouldn’t be official when introducing them to readers. They would call the other characters by their first name in the story narration, not by a full name.

 

Keep smiling,

 

Yawatta Hosby

 

Thank you so much Yawatta! So interesting, wow what intriguing family history and a lovely middle name. I do love to read horror every now and then, reminds me of being a teenager and paging through Salem’s Lot in a sulk on a family holiday… ah! What a joy I must have been as a teenager. I’m sure I’m not alone – please make sure you give Yawatta’s BLOG a visit at http://yawattahosby.wordpress.com/ to catch all her books or visit her Amazon PAGE I just did – and there are a few bargains on there – stock up your Kindle (or other reading devices)

 

61dTIZ10fUL._US230_Six Plus One Kindle EditionOne By One Kindle EditionPlenty of Fish Kindle EditionTwisted Obsession: A Suspense Novella Kindle EditionSomething's Amiss Kindle EditionPerfect Little Murder Kindle Edition

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7101735.Yawatta_Hosby

Twitter @yawatta_hosby

Author Yawatta Hosby @YawattaHosby Facebook

Yay! Thanks again, Yawatta and join me in two weeks to find out about Sue Wickstead and her Jay Jay Bus!

Happy reading, Samantha xx

 

 

 

What’s in a (Character) Name? #GuestPost -Deborah J Miles Orchard View. #CharacterNamingPosts

Samantha Henthorn Author has called upon author colleagues to tell us all how they came up with their character names and titles. Here’s Deborah J Miles and her women’s crime fiction novel Orchard View: (Which is on a FREE Kindle download 22nd-24th PDT October 2019.

#GuestPost

Thank you for joining me for this month’s ‘writerly rambling’ post. As I am working hard on my degree, I have called upon my author colleagues to tell us all how they came up with their character names and titles. Here’s Deborah J Miles and her women’s crime fiction novel Orchard View: (Which is on a FREE Kindle download 22nd-24th PDT October 2019.

I ‘accidentally’ wrote my novel while I was taking an online writing course through FutureLearn. A friend and I were doing the course together, really for something to occupy us while she was recovering from surgery. During one of the exercises in the course, the whole story just came to me. I kept it in my head and typed out chapter after chapter.

Bill Maynard was my first character. The name just seemed right for the character. I needed something short and to the point as a first name, hence ‘Bill’, and somehow ‘Maynard’ followed. It occurred to me after I’d finished writing that ‘Maynard’ is a surname which appears on my family tree, and ‘Bill Maynard’ was also the name of an actor.

My second character was the house itself, Orchard View. House names often refer to their location or history, such as Sea View, Hilltop, The Old Rectory, and The Old School House. The house was so named because it once overlooked an orchard.

My next character, Etta Franklin, was created by borrowing the name of a lovely lady I knew as a child. I loved the sound of the name ‘Etta’ which I realised must have been the shortened form of Henrietta. Etta needed to have standing, so ‘Henrietta’ was a suitable name, but she also needed to be likeable, and ‘Etta’, to my mind, is a much friendlier name. I used the phone book to choose her surname. I opened it at random, and pointed to a line on the open page, which as it turned out, contained the surname ‘Franklin’.

Norma Parker is the street busybody or Nosy Parker. I thought it apt that she should be called ‘Parker’. Her first name, ‘Norma’, was the name of an acquaintance from many moons ago who had some of the attributes I wanted for my character. Her nosy ways have her labelled as the ‘Neighbourhood Witch’.

As the story developed, and I added new characters, I found that if I could imagine the character, their size, stature, traits and personality, then a name would occur to me. I suppose I am drawing on memories I have tucked away about people I have known in one capacity or another, such as from family history research, celebrities, friends etc… There was only one I changed; Maeve became Mae because I felt Maeve didn’t convey the softness I was looking for in this character. Mae seems to be a favourite with my readers too.

https://www.futurelearn.com

 

Wow! What an insight! I read Orchard View (women’s crime fiction) earlier this year and loved it, I smiled today when I was reminded of Bill Maynard and Etta. (This is me again, Samantha chipping in) Here are the links so that you can get yourself a copy:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17177377.Deborah_J_Miles

Deborah J. Miles
Deborah Miles is married with three grown-up children and lives in Kent.

She has worked in banking, tourism, education and social services, and has hosted international students for over 30 years.

Her interests include: genealogy, self-improvement, home computing, web design, D.I.Y/gardening, pen friends and writing.

Deborah is independently published and created the imprint Against the Flow Press for her first novel, Orchard View.

Blog: http://againsttheflowpress.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter @DeborahMiles7,

blog: https://againsttheflowpress.blogspot.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/deborah_j_miles/

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/

Think I put Deborah’s blog on twice… make sure you don’t miss it!

 

Thank you so much Deborah J Miles!  Join me next month when we find out about Ahava Trivedi’s YA Fantasy character names. 

Happy reading, Samantha xx

Book review: Lizzie Lamb’s Three Contemporary Romances Set in The Highlands of Scotland

Thank you for joining me in this month’s what Samantha read next.

When I was a little girl, my mum used to watch a programme set in Scotland called Take the High Road. I remember very little about the programme apart from the warm Scottish accents. In 2014, I was introduced to the 44 Scotland Street series by Alexander McCall Smith. And, one day, several years ago, when visiting my Northumberland based in-laws we walked over a bridge, and Father-in-law said ‘WE’RE IN SCOTLAND NOW!’

I’m just setting the scene of how Scotland to me, as a proud Mancunian is a place of romance and comfort. I’ve always held this romantic view – then I read three of Lizzie Lamb’s books… sigh… The three books I will mention here have confirmed my idealised view of a romantic Scotland and I recommend you read them all, especially if you’re all heart. Put the kettle on, sit in your favourite comfy chair and put these three on your reading list immediately!

Scotch on the Rocks: A contemporary romance set in the highlands of Scotland

The blurb:


Where men are men and women are glad of it!

ISHABEL STUART is at the crossroads of her life.
Her wealthy industrialist father has died unexpectedly, leaving her a half-share in a ruined whisky distillery and the task of scattering his ashes on a Munro. After discovering her fiancé playing away from home, she cancels their lavish Christmas wedding at St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh and heads for the only place she feels safe – Eilean na Sgairbh, a windswept island on Scotland’s west coast – where the cormorants outnumber the inhabitants, ten to one.
When she arrives at her family home – now a bed and breakfast managed by her left-wing, firebrand Aunt Esme, she finds a guest in situ – BRODIE. Issy longs for peace and the chance to lick her wounds, but gorgeous, sexy American, Brodie, turns her world upside down.
In spite of her vow to steer clear of men, she grows to rely on Brodie. However, she suspects him of having an ulterior motive for staying at her aunt’s Bed and Breakfast on remote Cormorant Island. Having been let down by the men in her life, will it be third time lucky for Issy? Is she wise to trust a man she knows nothing about – a man who presents her with more questions than answers?
As for Aunt Esme, she has secrets of her own . . .

 

My review:

*****

‘Where the men wear kilts and the women are glad of it!’ Well, with a tagline like that, I just had to read it. The book made me (temporarily) wish I was Scottish. I really enjoyed the plot, Issy does not like Brodie… at first… She’s got a lot on, heartbreak, bereavement, loss of job enter hero in a kilt (with an American accent)… I don’t think anyone needs to read my review to want to read this. How romantic! Sigh…

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25849896-scotch-on-the-rocks

Girl in the Castle: Henriette's Highland Hideaway

The blurb:

Her academic career in tatters, Dr Henriette Bruar needs somewhere to lay low, plan her comeback and restore her tarnished reputation. Fate takes her to a remote Scottish castle to auction the contents of an ancient library to pay the laird’s mounting debts. The family are in deep mourning over a tragedy which happened years before, resulting in a toxic relationship between the laird and his son, Keir MacKenzie. Cue a phantom piper, a lost Jacobite treasure, and a cast of characters who – with Henri’s help, encourage the MacKenzies to confront the past and move on. However – will the Girl in the Castle be able to return to university once her task is completed, and leave gorgeous, sexy Keir MacKenzie behind?

My review: *****

Oh my goodness! I read this book to myself with a Scottish accent (I’m from Manchester). What a great setting, a castle with its own moat, Henriette is a historian with a doctorate using all her girl power to rebuild her career and reputation following a misunderstanding with a hockey stick. Enter hero Keir, the heir of the castle. Initially, Henri was warned off him by a potential bride he was promised to. Henri was not bothered at the time, she was too busy being good at her job in the library. Will romance get the better of her? Any more would be a spoiler. Like I said, great setting, Scottish dialogue feeds into the castle image. I enjoyed it.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/34950267-girl-in-the-castle

Tall, Dark and Kilted

The blurb: Notting Hill Meets Monarch of the Glen . . . Fliss Bagshawe longs for a passport out of Pimlico where she works as a holistic therapist. After attending a party in Notting Hill she loses her job and with it her dream of one day being her own boss. When she’s offered the chance to take over a failing therapy centre, she grabs it with both hands. But there’s a catch – the centre lies five hundred miles away – in Wester Ross, Scotland. Fliss’s romantic view of the highlands populated by hunky Men in Kilts is soon shattered when she has an up close and very personal encounter with the Laird of Kinloch Mara, Ruairi Urquhart. He’s determined to pull the plug on the business, bring his eccentric family to heel and eject undesirables from his estate – starting with Fliss. Faced with the dole queue once more, Fliss resolves to make sexy, infuriating Ruairi revise his unflattering opinion of her, turn the therapy centre around and sort out the dysfunctional Urquhart family. Will Fliss tame the Monarch of the Glen and find the happiness she deserves? Read Tall, Dark and Kilted to find out . ..

My review: *****

I am recommending this book for those of you who enjoy an uplifting romance. Fliss’ story is the type of thing that gives hope. We meet Cat and Isla in their swanky home in Notting Hill – they are so young and so naughty, Fliss is caught in the middle. During a party, Fliss gets to speak to their older brother – enter Ruairi (which I read as being pronounced ‘Rory’ – hope that’s correct). The story unfolds into a plot involving Fliss being asked to work at their family castle in Scotland. This is a romance novel, but I won’t spoil it for you! There is something so heartwarming about the setting, sigh!

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18884924-tall-dark-and-kilted

 

A lot of heart warmed sighs went on when I was reading those books, so it seems!

Here’s Lizzie Lamb’s blog: https://lizzielamb.co.uk/

Thank you for reading this month, join me at the same time next month when I may just share what I have been reading for my creative writing degree module ‘The Novel and Beyond’. It’s all getting serious on my bookshelf.

Happy reading, Samantha xx

Book Review Earthbound (Jim Stone series #1&#2 Mass Exodus) by Paul Falk

Thank you for joining me on this month’s what Samantha read next. 

Climate change is all over the news – and rightly so. Now, these two books that I have read recently by Paul Falk are not directly about climate change but they sort of are. An asteroid is hurtling towards the earth and it is not going to end well. These books have haunted me, the end of the world could happen – and it will happen (although I haven’t read book 3 yet – I presume/hope it is being written). Here are my reviews:

Earthbound (Jim Stone, #1)

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46834504-earthbound

Oh! I just had to read this immediately, a book about one of my worst (probably unfounded) fears, an asteroid colliding with earth. Honestly, I used to have a recurring dream about this kind of thing and I know I’m not alone. Nightmares or not, this is a gripping read, an alternative to the Brexit story, thirty-two days until the big event plastered all over the news for 24 hours a day, except in this novel, the characters are more likeable and agreeable. Jim Stone is a proper hero, gathering his family and friends around him as the local community collapses. Set in California, many of the residents own guns, this and the hunter-gatherer instinct does not bode well for the people of Jim Stone’s neighbourhood. Eventually, the army gets involved. There’s a transatlantic political alliance and a standoff providing a nice bit of foreshadowing. But what is going to happen with this asteroid hurtling its way towards the earth? This novel has an abrupt ending, leaving the reader wondering – has it landed? No, there’s more to come.

The blurb:

The world reels in shock upon the discovery of a huge asteroid on a collision course with Earth. No one ever thought the day would come. Only thirty-two days remain until impact. Pandemonium and mayhem have inundated cities, suburbs – the world. Overnight, societal values vanished from the face of the earth.

Government intervention took a barbaric turn for the worst with billions of lives hanging in the balance. Jim Stone decides to take drastic measures into his own hands. A man on a mission, he had no idea what he would be getting himself into. No matter what happens, there would be no turning back.

 

2.

EARTHBOUND: MASS EXODUS

*****

Continuing the descent into chaos. Book two of the Earthbound series sees Jim Stone recalled to the navy and even though an asteroid is hurtling towards the earth, human nature takes over and brings out the worst in international relations. Pay attention! This is not an easy read it’s not supposed to be! Tense and thought-provoking.

 

The blurb: With a huge asteroid bearing down on planet Earth, time was quickly running out. A mass exodus had begun from all corners of the globe. Anywhere within 4,000 miles from point of impact was deemed the dead zone. Millions of people from around the world were on the run.
After Jim Stone’s standoff at the airport, the population in the Orient had set their sights on San Diego, a sanctuary city. Now the problem was what to do with the endless onslaught of refugees.

 

Join me at the same time next month to find out what happened when I read Lizzie Lamb’s books set in Scotland. Happy reading, Samantha xx

Memorable books I have read during the last twelve months or so.

It has been a while since I’ve reviewed a book on my blog. I only read books that I like and have chosen to read myself, so I’m by no means a professional reviewer. By that I mean I am not the true definition of a reviewer (someone who appraises by providing a critique) if I only read books that I like, then I am already biased, because I know I’m going to enjoy and give a high star review – if you understand me.

That said, I do review most books I read on Amazon UK and Goodreads. As you may or may not know, I am halfway through a Creative Writing and English Literature degree. My next module involves reading lots of books that I haven’t chosen myself. What if I don’t like them? I’m even putting off looking on the list to see what I have to read…

Without further ado… here are some books that I chose to read myself, loved and reviewed they have stuck in my mind and now I’m sharing with you like all good readers should.

Peddling Doomsday by Petra Jacob. This is memorable because of the main character, Deirdre and the satire was top class.

Here’s my review:  Wow that was amazing! I’ve just finished reading this book and couldn’t put it down. We get to meet poor Deirdre who is cajoled into joining a weird cult where everyone gets a new name apart from… well I wouldn’t want to spoil that bit it’s priceless! This dystopian mayhem tells of the wrongs of modern life .. I was reading and giving the author an imaginary high five!

Peddling Doomsday by Petra Jacob

Here’s the blurb: ‘You don’t know how significant you are. We need you.’

No matter where she is, Deirdre feels out of place. So when a cult known as the Center contacts her, wanting her join up, she’s intrigued. They say a terrible war is coming, humanity is in danger and without explaining why, say she’s needed for the fight. Suddenly the chance to be spectacular is within her grasp. With the charismatic Myra as the cult leader, and talk of prophecies and psychic abilities, Deirdre is soon seduced and ditches her humdrum life to join up.

Once inside, her understanding of the world shifts. She learns the truth about the elite, a secret organisation that has meddled with humanity since the beginning of time. The elite use entertainment and the media as a constant distraction to stop people from reaching their true potential. To free themselves of this conditioning, the followers must give up ‘excessive’ food and sleep. They also carry out increasingly bizarre rituals under the critical eye of the Captain, a minor leader of the new followers. He seems to take pleasure from turning them against one another.

Tensions increase. The followers gain odd new abilities, but bullying and hysteria also grow. Meanwhile Myra’s prophecies become increasingly extreme. As paranoia intensifies, Deirdre questions where the belief ends, and delusion begins.

Peddling Doomsday by Petra Jacob is available here UK or here US

 

An Englishwoman’s Guide to The Cowboy by June Kearns. This book has stuck in my head because it was just so beautiful. I felt like my Nana would have read it had she still been with us. I noticed another blogger review this book recently and I thought OH I’ve been meaning to do a blog of memorable books…

Here’s my review:

I remember my mum telling me that my nana used to stay awake all night reading ‘Westerns’, and here I was last night reading this beautiful book, getting little sleep because I could not put it down! Goodness knows which books Nana was reading, but you hardly ever hear the term ‘Western’ as a genre anymore. I would say if anything this was an excellent adventure romance written of the time and setting. Good for Annie, escaping her matronly Aunt Bea, cousin Charlotte, and unwanted suitor, whilst collecting the affections of the moody and mysterious Colt. She managed to rescue a puppy and solve a mystery about her father too. Go, Annie! I was so pleased for the character, that’s how well this book was written

An Englishwoman's Guide to the Cowboy

Here’s the blurb: Jane Austen meets Zane Grey

The American West, after the Civil War -a wild and restless place.
Into this background, wanders a party of Englishwomen. Well-bred, bookish spinster, Annie Haddon – (product of mustn’t take off your hat, mustn’t take off your gloves, mustn’t get hot or perspire Victorian society)- together with an aunt the last word in snobbery, and a spoiled and brittle cousin.

After a stagecoach wreck, Annie is thrown into the company of Colt McCall – a man who lives by his own rules and hates the English.

Can two people, moulded by their backgrounds and pasts, overcome that conditioning? Annie and McCall find out on their journey across the haunting, mystical landscape of the West.

An Englishwoman’s Guide to the Cowboy is available here UK or here US

 

Orchard View by Deborah J. Miles. This book stuck in my mind because of the chilling way that one of the characters was written out (no spoilers!)

Here’s my review:

My overall view of this book was that it gave me that wonderful feeling of wanting to carry on reading. The house, Orchard View tells her own story of people that have lived within her walls, judging their various misdemeanours whilst revealing her own quirks – who doesn’t love a mention of crazy paving? I enjoyed being taken back to 1980s aspiring suburbia here! Deborah J Miles has an intriguing and wonderful style, some of the chapters were almost stories within the story (I love that), chapters of the house’s life going back in time but brought together by the present; (set in the mid-90s) when builder Bill Maynard buys Orchard View and plans to convert it into bedsits the neighbours get involved, and here, the story unfolds into a web of drama that I dare not spoil but trust me it is a good read.

Orchard View

Here’s the blurb: Digging in the garden, builder and current owner, Bill Maynard, discovers some old bones. He worries that the discovery will upset his plans for renovating and selling the house.
Fortunately, his neighbour tells him the whole area was a burial site at the time of the Black Death and finding bones is commonplace.
“Well, as they’re so old and the museums have enough bones already, I suppose we can ignore them. It’s not like there’s been a murder and we’ve just found the body,” he justified his decision.
But had they?
His discovery sets off a chain of unfortunate events.

Orchard View by Deborah J Miles is available here UK and here US

 

The Witches of Castle Clair (2 book series) by Sharon Booth. This series sticks in my mind because when I was little, I was told that my name Samantha is a witches’ name. I’ve always believed I have special powers – any day now they will come into use I’m sure of it.

Here’s my review of book 1: I liked everything about this book, it is a Christmas read because of the setting, the festival of ‘yule’ and the anniversary of a legend. Sky St Clair finds herself in a situation where she has no choice but to return home, moving in with her two sisters in a house and (fictional I think but totally believable) town in Yorkshire that thrives off myths and legends about witchcraft. The characters were so real, their names their suggestion of mystery. Who is this bloke Sky meets on the train? Who does this cat belong to that seems to have made itself at home in the family shop? Why won’t her sister blow out that candle? I wanted to know, but then I didn’t want it to end!

Belle, Book and Christmas Candle (The Witches of Castle Clair 1) by [Booth, Sharon]My Favourite Witch (The Witches of Castle Clair Book 2)

Here’s the blurb from book 2: The world is full of magic, if you know where to look.

It hasn’t been an easy time for Star St Clair. Her father has heaped disgrace on the family, and the man she loves rejected her when he discovered the truth about her powers. But the St Clair family’s magical heritage goes back centuries, and no one could be prouder of that than Star. Neither her father, nor Benedict Greenwood, will be forgiven.

Fate, however, has a shock in store for her. Not only is her errant father back in town, along with his new fiancée, but her ex has arrived home with a new girlfriend in tow. Maths teacher Elsie is everything Benedict seems to want – bright, steady, normal. How can Star possibly compete with her? Not that she intends to, of course. She is a St Clair, after all, and Benedict won’t get a second chance.

Benedict is an anxious man. Bad enough to discover your girlfriend is, in fact, a witch, but running out on her was probably a big mistake. Who knows what she’s plotting in revenge? Taking Elsie home to meet his grandmother is a test of nerve, and Star’s behaviour doesn’t exactly bring him peace of mind. Just what is she up to?

Star couldn’t be sweeter to Elsie, and even presents her with a bouquet of flowers to welcome her to Castle Clair, but Benedict isn’t fooled. Star is plotting something, and when Elsie suffers from a mysterious ailment, he is convinced that it’s all down to his ex-girlfriend. After all, everyone knows witches can’t be trusted.

But events are about to unfold that will challenge both Star and Benedict, and everything they believe to be true. In an attic room in North Yorkshire and a village hall in Ireland, unpalatable truths must be told, secrets must unfold, and life-changing decisions must be made.

Is forgiveness truly impossible? Are witches really that scary? And can a solution be reached before time, patience, and all the bourbon biscuits run out?

A story of pride, prejudice, and a whole lot of magic …

Available here UK and here US

 

The Hopeless Husband series by Ahava Trivedi. This series stuck in my mind because aside from the fact I really enjoyed it, the hopeless husband series is the closest (close but not exactly the same) to my Curmudgeon Avenue series.

Here’s my review of book one: I did enjoy this book. John Webb truly is a hopeless husband, I’m ashamed to say his antics made me smile all the way through, his poor wife! If you’ve ever dated(and dumped) a narcissist, this book is a true picture of the bullet you dodged. Well worth a read, despite your romantic history!

The Anniversary by Ahava TrivediWife Swap (The Hopeless Husband Series, #2)Romantic Break (The Hopeless Husband Series, #3) And book four is out August 10th.

Here is the blurb from book 2: Franny and John Webb are back and they unwittingly find themselves in the midst of a wife swap. John Webb almost instantly hates his new set up but Franny is rather enjoying her new home – and husband.

Will Franny want to come home to John Webb and his consistent blunders, or will the dashing stranger be able to tempt Franny to start a new chapter in her life?

Here are the links to book one (which will lead you to the rest follow this link for all four books

Join me next month to find out which book has stuck.

Happy reading, Samantha xx

 

The Jack Toback series by Paul Falk – Read This Immediately!

When I was on holiday in California, almost four years ago, there was a story running in the local news about a female member of prison staff who had previously engaged in relations with two inmates. She had helped them escape on the promise that they would murder her husband. I never got to find out if they reneged on their promise or carried it out. I suspect it was an unhappy ending for all parties, but I never got to find out because on returning to the UK I discovered that escaped convicts in the US had not made the global news.

Needless to say, it is a wonderful thing when you find a book that reminds you of an anecdote. Last year, I read book one of the Jack Toback series. Set in California and in the future, here’s what I thought of book one, Caged:

A future prison in California, a solution to the cell-mate gang problems, but is it a solution? I can’t say anymore without spoiling the plot! Really enjoyed this book, it reads a bit like a Stephen King but obviously with its own style and original idea.

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Ok, that was a short review from me, again I am conscious of spoiling- it’s a good book which ends in disaster for 4000 of its characters!

I have recently read book two The Line, and here’s what I thought:

I enjoyed book number two in the Jack Toback series. Set in the future, during book one, Jack had solved problems in California’s system with a great idea. Unfortunately, criminals messed it all up. But Jack is back, and in a meeting with the prison governor he becomes a major player in the new prison rehabilitation programme. The criminal underbelly don’t like this, and Jack is soon kidnapped. This is a great plot, and Jack the character is well rounded and believable. As a 5ft2 forty something woman, I would crumble if kidnapped, not Jack Toback; he had the resilience and the skills to trick his antagonist into sending a clandestine message to his rescuers. His ‘prison’ is the perfect setting and we find out what ‘the line’ is. Jack’s time in captivity is very cleverly written in the first person. Jack’s love interest, Irene is an endearing tough cookie and his captor, Woolfe is, well a wolf in wolf’s clothing! On the whole, the feeling of the book is a gripping read and yet again, a great idea for a story.

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Both books are available from amazon here

A note about series books, I did not get a message from Amazon that book number two had been published… anyway, I got it in the end.

Three word review: GREAT STORY IDEA

5/5 page turner.

Happy reading everyone, Samantha xx