Thursday, 13 September 2018

A regency romance and thriller combined: "The Marquess (Regency Nobles Book 2)" by Patricia Rice

The novel starts with a townhouse burning. The two cousins who live there manage to escape with their lives but the rich cousin is badly burned. The poor one wonders why people wanted something bad to happen with her nice cousin.

This romance novel is longer than the usual regency romance. This one does not stop after the hero and heroine slept with each other and fell in love (yes that seems the way to do it even in Regency romances nowadays). Only halfway down the book they then have to find out who is putting her life and that of her cousin in danger.

Although sometimes a bit slow the writer is good in world building and creating believable characters. I was sorry to see the book ending.

Review of "Isabella of Angouleme" by Erica Lainé

Set in England and medieval English ruled what is now Western France. A few centuries after Normandy nobles conquered England the descendant of William the Conqueror is king of England and has still vast lands in France although Normandy is recently lost by King John (the evil brother of Richard Lionheart known by the general public from Robin Hood movies). Kind John died and his minor son is now King of England and the lands in France. His mother the queen mother arrives in Angouleme to rule her ancestral home in the name of her son.

Unbeknownst to me this novel was the middle part of a trilogy around the historical figure of Isabella of Angouleme and the people around her like her son the English king and her husband a count in what is now Southern France. You can read it without having read part 1 but of course will miss the end of her story when you do not read the last novel.

At the beginning of the novel I expected it to be a story centred around Isabella and we more or less looking out of her eyes. However the story is told as a kind of spider on the wall looking in on other people as well like the young king, his tutor, the French king, the count de Lusignan etcetera. This makes it less a novel and more a history book if you know what I mean. I did not at all identify myself with Isabella.

Because of that I would recommend this novel to people who like to read history books. For people who hope to find a medieval romance or adventure novel this book is not for them. I think the people who want to learn more about the historical facts of this era would enjoy reading the novel.

Thursday, 6 September 2018

Review of "The line between", the new novel by Tosca Lee

This one kept me awake as it is very captivating. This novel is more or less two separate stories that connect in Wynter Roth. At the beginning of the novel Wynter is banned from the religious cult she grew up in and in Alaska a hog eats from a defrosted Caribou carcass.

One storyline is Wynter looking back on her life so far. As a young girl her mum took her daughters and joined a religious cult that runs a settlement and sells heirloom seeds. Through the eyes of a child and teenager we see the cracks in the veneer. This part of the novel was the most interesting and the best psychologically developed.

This story is woven into a pandemic disaster story. Some months after Wynter went to live with her late mother's best friend that lady's husband, a doctor, is called to research weird cases of early onset dementia that are popping up. One evening he calls them and warns them to leave the city as he expects a pandemic to happen. While the family sleeps in preparation of an early departure Wynter's sister rings the doorbell and hands Wynter a package related to the disease that was bought by the leader of the cult. From that moment on the story turns into an action thriller with Wynter crossing a country in chaos.

That action part of the story is very entertaining but lacks the depth of the other storyline. For instance I did not feel her grieve. But that might be due to the anti-anxiety medication she is still taking.  But developing a serum is as far as I know quite time-consuming.

What is interesting to see is how the writer puts one religious man who is a prepper (someone who thinks the world will end soon and hordes food and supplies) but who is utterly selfish against another prepper who is religious in his actions (and named something sounding like Peter's son) who is a good person and utterly unselfish. I like it when in books religious people are not painted as all nutcases or people faking goodness.

 I am wondering what the title mean. The fine line between good and bad? Or the line between the two stories? Or the line between the two sisters?

All in all a very entertaining book. A four stars out of five.

This is an ARC. The book will be available for sale in January 2019

Monday, 3 September 2018

A free novel for you: (today's offer) "Murder at Merisham Lodge: Miss Hart and Miss Hunter Investigate"

A #free copy for you:

In this delightful mystery set in 1930s England, house servants Joan and Verity put on their detective caps after their employer is murdered at her country estate. Can they save an innocent man by catching the real killer?

Review of "The Sadist and the stolen Princess"

Writing a story set in a historical period has one big pitfall : historical incorrectness. When I received this novel as an ARC to write a review about it that was what almost stopped me reading. I have the feeling the author mixed up the Edwardian era with the Victorian one. As far as I know London in 1880 had no electrical lighting nor telephones. Moreover the Duke is addressed in a fashion like in the Middle Ages. But I thought that the author needed a chance and it would be fair when I continued reading.

The thing is that the lovestory that develops is endearing. I have nothing with BDSM so that is a challenge in itself. But here we have a man who only learned that intimacy had to involve pain otherwise it would not arouse him and who regards himself as disfigured and a woman who needs a bit of fear. However it is made clear that hurt should never involve harm. So all what happens is a domineering man who might be rough or bites. But due to the bond they start to share mentally that is not even a prerequisite later on. I smiled when Willow remarked she could not understand 'Pride and Prejudice' and thought "Well it is a matter of what you fancy it seems".

This is again a timetravel romance. An American woman does research in London in the present day and is transported to the late 19th century. More or less right into the arms of the disgraced Duke of Warrick who takes her home. Hiding in his abandoned townhouse they get to know each other better. That part I liked best.

The book is part of a series and that might be the reason why his family history and what happened in India is not that well explained.

So far a 3 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, 2 September 2018

Prince Edward's Warrant by Mel Starr - review of a historical mystery novel

When you are a fan of the Cadfael mysteries this might be the book for you as well. We are still in medieval England but a century after the Cadfael settings. Master Hugh is a surgeon who is summoned to the court of the crown prince of England, the man we now know as 'the black prince'. Prince Edward is not feeling well. His intestines are troubling him again and master Hugh has cured him before. However during the first evening meal at court the knight who accompanied Hugh to court drops dead. It is soon clear the man was poisoned. The prince gives master Hugh the task to go and find the murderer.

The murder mystery is not the biggest appeal of this novel but the worldbuilding is. I had the feeling I was watching a movie about 14th century London. The writer weaves all kind of historical, medical and theological details in the story and also uses a lot of contemporary words. You can almost see the houses in a street in London been built over the street and thus blocking the sunlight, the traffic jams on London bridge or the different food people dining in the manor house were given depending on their status and thus seating. I also was surprised of the difference between a surgeon and a physician in those days. It is like reading a history lesson disguised as a well written mystery.

It is part of a series but this novel was the first I read of that series - I was given it as a ARC to write an honest review about it - and it works well as a stand alone story. Though I would advice people to read the series in a chronological order as sometimes older events are mentioned.

a 5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

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Our selection of free novels and textbooks of today ( 15th of August, Part 2)

A secret hidden for forty years is about to come out. The man at the centre of this secret discovers from his dying adoptive mother that he has a family he knew nothing about. With nothing to go on, he is determined to find them whatever the cost. However, the more he learns, the more dangerous his quest becomes. But when he finds out the truth it is so shocking and scandalous, it may well cost him his life and the lives of his family.

On the same day that France surrenders to the Nazis, Jack Mooney--a New Yorker, barely out of high school--hitches a ride to Montreal, where he enlists as a pilot in the Royal Canadian Air Force. The last thing he says to his little brother before leaving home is, "Don't forget me, kid."

Two years later a telegram arrives: Jack, now a Spitfire pilot flying for the Royal Air Force, is missing in action somewhere in German-occupied Europe.

With only the telegram to guide him, 12-year-old Tommy Mooney arms himself to the hilt: with a sling-shot, a boomerang, a bow and arrow set, and an indomitable sense of youthful optimism. Mounting his Schwinn bicycle, he heads for the Brooklyn Harbor, setting a course for London, England, where he plans to recruit Jack's British fiancée before continuing on to Nazi-occupied Belgium.

Thus begins a journey that one reader calls, "A rattling, high concept, wartime adventure--with a wonderfully quirky and incredibly brave hero-narrator."

Soon enough, hope turns to foreboding--as it begins to look as though Tommy is being deceived by the Gestapo, used in a plot to expose a Resistance network created to help downed airmen. "Bravery," he realizes, "is like teeth plaque. It takes time to build up."

Hearkening back to the Hitchcock film, Saboteur, and the WWII era mysteries of Eric Ambler and Helen MacInnis, Telegram For Mrs. Mooney will introduce you to a truly likable, sometimes irascible, archetypal "everyman" hero. It's a edge-of-your-seat, hair-raising, nail-biter of an adventure. A novel with the power to invoke the fearless child within you.

Introducing: The Business of Inclusion



Revolution not evolution; Introducing : The Business of Inclusion presents a radical and timely challenge to business leaders and HR Professionals who are focussed on the equality and diversity agenda.
This book is not about having a conscience about difference - it’s about being conscious of difference. It’s not about assimilating and homogenizing difference - it’s about valuing difference. It’s not about making people who are different, the same as us. No, it’s about the power that an organisation can derive from deliberately nurturing and integrating heterogeneous groups of people so that we fit together.
The bottom line is that this book is about the bottom line.

About the authors

Linbert Spencer OBE has been enabling organisations and individuals to transform themselves for more than 30 years. He is vastly experienced in the development of diverse talent. His work around this agenda was formerly recognized by being named in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list in 2008.
Author, consultant, trainer and coach, he has facilitated seminars and workshops across the world. He is an innovative, inspirational facilitator with proven experience of effective board level and community interventions, and leadership team development. In 2004 he co-founded The Windsor Fellowship, a national charity that aims to prepare minority ethnic undergraduates for management roles in industry, commerce and the public sector.
Paul Anderson-Walsh has been an L&D practitioner since 1997. He has a vast amount of experience in facilitating high-level strategic change workshops. He has worked with a wide variety of organisations including: Cambridge University Press, Oxford Summer School, The Disney Corporation, The Design Council, Sir Robert McAlpine, Defra, Bank of New York Mellon, NWLH NHS Trust and Rabobank. He is highly regarded for his ability to help management teams work together.
Paul is also the founder and director of The Grace Project – a charity dedicated to working with people to help them discover their identity and resolve issues of self- worth and self-esteem. Paul has written three books on the subject. He is a well- respected commentator who is called upon by the BBC & he is a regular contributor at Premier Radio. Paul is the former CEO of The Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust.

The Centre for Inclusive Leadership
Albert House, 256-260 Old Street, London, EC1V 9DD
+44 (0) 203 871 2740


Something about us...
  1. The Context
  2. Equality Legislation
  3. Why it Matters
  4. The 4 A’s
  5. The Inclusion Hypothesis
  6. The Performance Formula
  7. The Inclusion Framework
  8. The X Factor
  9. Endnotes


Our selection of today's free novels (15/8/18) Part 1

In Passau, Hitler Youth member Emil and his friends stumble upon a shortwave radio, and forbidden BBC broadcasts reveal the truth behind German propaganda. Now they are determined to share their discovery — even if it means risking their lives. Get it here:      ++++++  
On a humid day in June 1806, on the edge of Ohio's Great Black Swamp, seventeen-year-old Susanna Quiner watches from behind a maple tree as a band of Potawatomi Indians kidnaps her four older sisters from their cabin. With both her parents dead from Swamp Fever and all the other settlers out in their fields, Susanna makes the rash decision to pursue them herself. What follows is a young woman's quest to find her sisters, and the parallel story of her sisters' new lives.

Over the course of one summer, the lives of all five women are transformed as they contend with starvation, slavery, betrayal, and love. Fast-paced, richly detailed, this is a riveting novel that demonstrates the true wildness of the wilderness, and the rugged perseverance of those who find themselves there.


 For Megan Montaigne, library director, living in the top floor of the mansion-turned-library is a dream come true. At least it was, before the murders started.

Megan Montaigne has always secretly wanted to be a forensics investigator. The small-town library director has just begun rebuilding her life after tragedy tore it apart less than a year ago, and is happily settling into her new apartment on the top floor of the library by the river. But when a local celebrity turns up dead, the time has come to put her sleuthing fantasies into action. Has she unwittingly invited the murderer into her own home? And will she be able to prove her innocence before she becomes a victim herself?

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

A selection of novel/stories that are #FREE today (14th of August)

The first one I have read myself and it is a great novel. The rest are new to me too. Just click on the bookcover and you will be directed to Amazon and more information Today they are all free.


Anna Kronberg lives in Victorian London’s worst rookery, offering medical treatment to prostitutes, vagrants, and criminals. To her, plugging holes and mopping up blood is normal. Stitching the slashed face of a young prostitute is not. Witnesses refuse to talk. The police can’t be bothered with yet another injured whore. But whispers are spreading about a man who pays well for a few harmless knife marks. No one dares reveal the man’s identity. Only Garret O’Hare - a thief Anna barely knows - reluctantly agrees to help her investigate the assault. But when the injured girl disappears, a veil of silence descends upon the slum. And Anna learns that she is no longer the hunter, but the hunted. Warning: medical procedures, poverty, and prostitution are depicted without apology. If you enjoyed The Alienist by Caleb Carr, and dark mysteries and thrillers by David Penny, Anne Perry, Louise Penny, Jo Nesbo, Alex Grecian, Nelson DeMille, Daniel Silva, Lee Child, and Ken Follett, odds are you’ll enjoy my mystery & thriller series as well.


Elizabeth Lara built a perfect life as San Francisco’s top divorce attorney, but when she loses her great-aunt Mags, the woman who raised her, she boards a plane and leaves it all behind.

The Irish shores welcome her as she learns a shocking truth, kept secret for thirty-five years. Devastated and now alone in the world, Beth tries to find peace in a beautiful cottage by Lough Rhiannon, but peace isn’t what fate had in mind. Almost as soon as she arrives, Beth’s solitary retreat into the magic wilds of Ireland is interrupted by Connor Bannon. A man with light brown hair, ice blue eyes and a secret of his own. He’s gorgeous, grieving, and completely unexpected.

With the help of Mags’ letters, the colorful townspeople of Dingle, and Connor, Elizabeth might just find a way back to the girl she lost long ago and become the woman she always wanted to be.


#1 Bestseller in Fantasy Anthologies and Dark Fantasy Seventeen magical stories from NY Times and USA Today bestsellers and award-winning authors that will entice you to the darker side of faerie tales. More Grimm than Disney, in this collection you’ll find twists on Snow White, Hansel & Gretel, Rumpelstiltskin, The Snow Queen, Cinderella, The Pied Piper, Alice in Wonderland, and Red Riding Hood, plus new tales paying homage to the old traditions.

A bit of Post-Apocalyps: The Ending Series

 A nice read but not much worldbuilding

Two childhood friends survive a pandemic and try to reunite.
A smooth story but not very descriptive. What is the level of intelligence of the crazies? Why not build a fortified city? Why not put out sentries?
Part of a series but luckily all on Kindle Unlimited.

3 stars out of 5

The story continues

After being reunited the group faces the Colony and finds out about the origin of
the virus while trying to escape.
Good story.

4 stars out of 5

There are more sequels but I moved to something else.

Historic novel with folklore elements "The sultan, the vampyr and the soothsayer"

The timeperiod is just before the conquests of Constantinople by the Ottomans. The main characters telling the story are Sultan Murat, heir Mehmet, a consort, a visir, Vlad Dracula, his father and some religious men.

The multiple person account makes it hard to identify with one character. And with all Greece philosophy, folk superstition and such it is a difficult read. What remains is the thought what a nasty madman Mehmet the Conqueror was. But when you look in a real history book that is all the more clear: he liked young boys. Not only the brother of Vlad the Impaler but also the son of a Byzantine Duke who he ordered to give him the child and when the father refused he murdered/ enslaved the whole family and carted the boy off to his bed anyways. However in those days young girls were treated similarly. Different times indeed.

AMAZON blurb:
" 1442: When Vlad Dracula arrives at the court of the Ottoman Sultan Murad II, his life is turned upside down. His father Dracul cannot protect him; he must battle his demons alone. And when the Sultan calls for the services of a soothsayer, even the shrewd teller of fortunes is unprepared for what he learns.

Meanwhile, the Ottoman Turks are advancing through the Balkans with Vienna in their sights and Constantinople, the Orthodox Greek capital, within their grasp. As Eastern Europe struggles against the tide of a Muslim advance it cannot counter, Western Christendom needs only one prize to overthrow its enemies."

Not a ghost story but a ghost's story: review of "A vain and indecent woman" by Colin Falconer

I have read many of the historical books of this writer. He also writes contemporary action novels but I like to read about historic events. This new novel reads as if you are reading a romance novel and I only realised in the end which important historical figures the story was about (I am not from the UK). So let me start with a short history lesson first as that will enhance your reading pleasure I think.

Have you ever seen the movie "Braveheart"? For those who did and remember: still remember that gay crown prince? That one stirred quite some commotion in medieval England as he had a couple of male favourites who used their influence to gain power. In the end the king is dethroned by his wife and young son. After a putsch the son regains power from mum and her lover and becomes a famous king and the father of 'The Black Prince' who was a powerful general during the Hundred Years War. During those times Joan of Kent was regarded as one of the most beautiful women of Europe. (end of history lesson)

The novel starts with the half-brother of the gay king mentioned above leaving his castle to go to parliament. Before he realises it he is sentenced and executed. His ghost refuses to leave to heaven and he stands guard for his beloved daughter irritated by the fact that he cannot do a thing.

The story of Joan's life is told by the ghost of her father hoovering around her. I think it is a brilliant trick to tell a story like that. It makes us all-seeing witnesses. Like I said the novel reads as smooth as a romance novel although it has believable character developments and interesting historical facts explained like jousting only a small part of tournaments, the merchant republics in Belgium in those days, royal arranged marriages that developed into loving relationships and the like. You certainly would not want to be a woman in 14th century England! Even the very wealthy girls were just ordered around.

I can certainly recommend this book. I got a copy of the manuscript from the writer so I could help with fishing typos and mistakes out but had no time to do that so I just read it after it was published.

And guess what: next book I picked up was a detective and who were witnesses of the murder there? Joan and  Eduard!

A princess falls in love with a handsome knight; the stuff of fairy tales, but not very remarkable, even in an age where love was hardly a prerequisite for marriage.
It is the princess, Joan of Kent, who is remarkable. Forbidden by the king to marry, she does it anyway, in secret. When the King discovers what she has done, he is furious. He has more pressing concerns than love and forces her to bigamy.
But still she will not give up.
Who is this young woman, who would dare defy her family, and even her king, for ten long years just to win the man she loves? Will she succeed – and what will happen if she does?
She was known in her time as ‘a vain and indecent woman.’ This is her true story, told by the one man who knew her best, - though she did not remember him at all."

ARC review of "Side effect" - a medical romance novel with a bit different set up

If you like a romantic story with a lot of bedsport and no huge twists this is the novel for you. I was given and ARC so I could read an review it.

Unlike most of the "rich tycoon"-novels here the man is not a powerful alpha male but an insecure man suffering from agoraphobia after being shot by someone. (Nevertheless he is still super handsome and wealthy). His mother asks the intern of her psychiatrist to try and treat him as he does not cooperate with that psychiatrist and has not left his apartment for six months. When mum also puts a lot of money in Kendall's account and suggests to sleep with him in case that will help, the young student starts to worry that this will be seen as grooming of a vulnerable patients and have her kicked out of university and banned to practise. All the while there is the threat of the shooter who is still on the loose.

I discovered four timeline mistakes in the novel. No big messing up ones but like for instance when Kendall meets Zander it is mentioned as the first time she meets Zander but in fact she has met him before.

Saturday, 4 August 2018

"Smuggler's bounty" - a romance with a lot of fondling that might be interesting for young people

When I was in my teens my (male) cousins and I watched a movie adaptation of "Frenchman's creek" by Daphne du Maurier about an English noblewoman who falls during the Restoration for a French pirate who is hunted all over Cornwall. I hoped this novel would be as good.

"Smuggler's bounty", I reviewed for Netgalley, is a bit similar. A young English noblewoman moves to family on the coast and encounters a dashing smuggler.

My teens are long long in the past so maybe that is why this novel does not impress me so much. There is a lot of fondling going on and a bit of smuggling but I think this book is more for teenage virgins than for middle aged lawyers.

No romance but the story of a rebellion - review of "FATE: Story of a Circassian Slave Girl" by Ahmet Ozgunes

The beginning and the ending are about a slave woman but all in the middle is about political scheming to change the Ottoman state and others try to gain influence for foreign powers. We also see the diverse and multi-religious empire of those days.

Not an easy read but interesting and a good way to understand more about Turkish nationalism today.


" Balkans 1876

Fate: Story of a Circassian Slave Girl follows the dark fate of a beautiful Circassian girl sold to the Ottoman Palace by her parents at the end of the 19th Century. The novel is based on a true story told in a village in the Turkish highlands close to the Georgian border. As the peasants danced to the mournful melodies of the accordion and drums, they would sing the story of a Circassian girl named Yellow Star. The strange mixture of joy and sorrow is what makes the story unforgettable.

Yellow Star is sold as a slave to the Ottoman Palace at a time when the Empire is facing its gradual demise. She is inadvertently caught in the power struggles within the Palace as well as without, witnessing the rivalry between Britain and Russia for control over the collapsing empire, and the struggle between the Islamic establishment and Ottoman intelligentsia for shaping the future of the Empire.

The novel draws inspiration from true events that took place in the region at the time, primarily the haunting story of the de Toledo family, which was entirely killed in Salonica during WWII, save one branch of the family that had moved to Constantinople before WWI. The reader will find out more about the Sabetai, jewish converts to islam as part of their following of the cabbalist Sabetai Zsevi; the story of the Greek banker Dimitraki Skanavis Bey and his love affair with a married Ottoman princess; the murderous and suicidal tendencies of Ottoman Sultans and their relatives. All these are true stories assembled by the author, of that fantastic and little explored time in the Balkans."

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

"Entangled lives" by Imran Omer, an impressive novel about Pakistan and Taliban-era Afghanistan

As an immigration lawyer I have seen many cases of Afghani refugees. However this novel still made a huge impression on me. We here in Holland live nowadays a safe life and you can hardly imagine what it will be when that safety is snatched away from you or when you are never safe. This is happening over and over again in this book.

The novel tells the story of three different people and their lives are entangled with each other. Hence the title. We meet at first a young mother who recognises a familiar face on tv. She goes to Guantanamo Bay and it turns our that that inmate is the man who once saved her life. She asks him to tell him how he ended up in the Taliban and reluctantly he agrees to do so but she has to promise to save his son from life in a Madrassah. (religious boarding school).

So he starts to tell her about his life as an orphan in Karachi in Pakistan.

In the meantime we also hear about Tara a wealthy young woman whose parents live in what now is Bangladesh but then in 1971 was East Pakistan. She is a student who falls in love with a local Bengali student but her family is from West Pakistan. I used to have a friend who was born there in that year and who was adopted by Dutch parents and who could not understand why she looked so different from the people of the town she was supposed to come from until we saw a documentary of that war and realised. Reading Tara's story made me think of that girl all the time. Tara's parents are a very unhappy married couple who came together during the Partition between Pakistan and India. This influences Tara to make what in my eyes is a stupid decision and what is the only part in the book I had trouble believing.

While Raza is telling about his days in Afghanistan with the Taliban his story is chronologically interspaced with that of the American journalist so we see what happened from both sides. It sometimes feels you are reading a dystopian science fiction novel.

The writer hails from Pakistan and now lives in the United States.

A very good novel that is no propaganda document. It is scary and very depressing. It tries to explain the why. Definitely not a happy read. Although there is a happy result of goodness to look forward to. Not a novel you will easily forget.

I got this novel for free via Netgalley a site that gives people who like to review new books an advanced copy to read.

I can really recommend it. The novel will be published on the 27Th of July 2018. A 5 out of 5 stars.

Monday, 23 July 2018

"The Tory - a novel about spying and love in Oneida territory during the American Revolution - review

For someone who is not American nor English this part of the American Revolution is not that familiar territory. In the story captain John Carlisle a disgraced English army officers is send to what is now Upstate New York to find out what the position towards the rebellion is of the Indian tribes forming the Six Nations empire. He ends up in a town near the Oneida homelands. His innkeeper is Dellis (Daylis) a woman of Oneida and Scottish decent who has quite a past with English regulars. While John is spying someone is murdering Indian women in the area.

I understood from another reviewer that the author wrote a historically correct story. I would not classify it as a romance novel. With all the other things going on is is more a historical novel.

Unlike most novels written by an American author and set during the War of Independence this novel is not pro Rebels. but neutral and I like that. Yes some English soldiers are very bad but also some rebels are bad and irresponsible.

The book has a slow space but as it gives us an in depth view on rural live at the beginning of the war and all kind of mysteries have to be solved I liked that. The writer says in her notes she used writing to cope with some devastating events. I think the way she describes guilt and trauma is very well done. For the prudes: That results in a bed scene but that is essential for this story. It is certainly not an erotic tale.

There is one thing I am not that amused with. This novel is a part 1 of 3. So I have spend days reading it and then in the end there is no closure. And the other books are also not available yet. I wonder if there can be one other reason than profit to do it like that (but it is not expensive so why?) Not smart as people will have forgotten about it when book 2 is published. Because of that I deduct one star. For the rest; well done!

Published 11the May 2018, 4 stars out of 5

Thursday, 19 July 2018

REVIEW: "The Hanover square affair" - an impressive Regency murder mystery

Captain Lacey is a veteran in his forties who has trouble to adjust to civilian life after traumatic affairs during the Napoleontic wars. One day he ses cavalrymen trying to subdue a riot and takes charge. This ends with him being involved in a murder investigation.

I am very impressed by this nnovel. It is a good murder mystery but it is more. We see all kind of aspects of Regency life: the young street prostitutes, women declared "ruined", soldiers coming home, army life, the building of modern London. Lacey is also a man who is very lonely and hurt. He is described in such a way he becomes a three dimensional person.

The book sounds male but is written by a woman.

 Looking forwards to the other books in the series.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Utterly silly Arab Prince romp - Her desert prince by Marie Tuhart

This kind of novel is in my own language called "Kitchen maid's literature" and will always feature a powerful and handsome man and end in a happy ever after. Nothing wrong with that. Also when you are not a poor servant and have an education you can enjoy an escape to fairyland where all maidens are young and all men are handsome and nice and both are attracted to each other like magnets . Even husbands, brothers and fathers read these kind of penny novels in secret.

However although I realise they are modern fairytales I like a bit of accuracy. Here we have a British woman going to an Arabic country because she is hired by the local king to paint a mural in a hospital. When she meets the queen she asks if she has to dress according to Islamic tradition and the queen (who is a British woman as well) explains that it is a Christian country with only a few Muslims and Catherine is glad about that. WHAT? I have been in quite a few Arabic countries and Jordan, Syria, Iraq to name a few had a large Christian minority but an Arabic country that is Christian and has only a few Muslims? Not in this world. And it also had my hackles up that she is relieved. Of what? Not having to cover up in the heath or relieved there are hardly Muslims?

Then it is mentioned that Catherine's parents are British aristocrats. So nobility. But in the novel it is stated that they are royalty. As far as I know royalty are only the kings and queens and their heirs. I wondered how a British writer could mess that up. On the last page I saw it was written by an American woman. Please madam change those things. There is not a drop of Arab in this desert story so if you want to write about a dark handsome Christian prince who does gala-balls put the story in a made up Southern European country.

In the novel there are hints about Catherine's past but somehow that never gets really dealt with. On Netgalley it was qualified as an erotic tale. Well at least there was desert there.  I mean there were two bed scenes in the whole book and they were not erotic at all.

I really say I had trouble finishing the novel while I see other people writing very enthusiastic reviews. Maybe with my background knowledge the charm of the story was spoiled and it sounded too alien too often.

3 stars out of 5

Published 17th of July 2018

(p)review of "Herakles"- a graphic novel about a figure from Greek Mythology

Herakles has to do a list of tasks. When you are not familiar with the story or trying to unearth your schooldays in your brain like I had to do a lot of this graphic novel will be lost to you. The story is hardly explained and the who is who is at the end.

The drawings are in just a few colours and very basic. One I really liked but the rest not so much. Reading other reviewers I realised it was supposed to be in the style of Greec pottery. I wished I had known that when I was reading it.

Like I said: You best have a basic knowledge of Greec mythology so this graphic novel will do well in a school where they teach Greec and Latin and I can imagine my friends who studied ancient history in university liking it as well. But not for the general public and certainly not for people under 12.

3 stars out of 5.

(To be) published 24th of July 2018

Monday, 16 July 2018

Some #FREE novels to take with you on your vacation (free download for kindle - legal)

Molly Elliott's quiet life in Tallahassee, Florida, is disrupted when routine errands land her in the wrong place at the wrong time: the middle of a bank robbery. Accused and cleared of the crime, she flees both media attention and mysterious, threatening notes, to move across the country to Cranberry Cove, where she has inherited her Aunt Maggie's bed and breakfast on the Northern California coast. Her new beginning is peaceful - that is, until five guests show up at the inn for a weekend, each with a hidden agenda.

Mix together one blushing honeymoon couple, one flamboyant boutique owner, a deadpan traveling salesman, and a charmingly handsome novelist, and there’s more than scones cooking at Cranberry Cottage Bed and Breakfast. As true motives become apparent, will Molly's past come back to haunt her or will she finally be able to leave it behind?

A powerful new Caliphate unites the Islamic world, its vengeful eye cast westwards. As Europe founders in economic and political upheaval an army gathers on its borders, watching, waiting.... In London, the massive truck bomb that destroys Whitehall is the signal to commence hostilities across Europe. Trapped by the unfolding mayhem, Prime Minister Harry Beecham must escape the city before it falls, his destination a secret government complex buried deep beneath the West Country hills. As the invasion gathers momentum and England buckles beneath the military onslaught, it soon becomes clear that sanctuary must lie elsewhere, far to the North, where remaining British forces have massed along an ancient border, dug in deep to await the final battle for survival.

As the infamous madam of one of London’s high-class brothels, Marie Labelle hides her true character behind a false façade. But when she comes to the aid of Lord Danesfield by killing the notorious Comte de Dampierre, Marie is whisked off to France to take refuge in an old abandoned monastery. Slapping the gentleman who had been so kind as to provide sanctuary was not the best way to thank him. But Marie had sworn never to bow and scrape to any man ever again. Yet when disturbing events lead her to believe her life is in danger, there is only one man she can turn to for help. 
A man who must decide where his loyalty lies …
Rather than return to London and the father he despises, Marcus Danbury, the illegitimate son of an earl, works for the Crown or any member of the nobility willing to pay him. However, providing lodgings for the madam of a brothel was never on his agenda. Not when he wouldn’t see a penny for his trouble. But he owed Lord Danesfield a debt, and Marcus always paid his dues. Yet Lord Danesfield wants something more from him — information only his current guest can provide. Now it seems he has another assignment — one in the form a luscious temptress with a secret she swears never to tell.

A fun family vacation turns into an apocalyptic nightmare when a couple and their young son find themselves trapped in the Irish countryside during an international crisis. With all contact outside the country gone, all electricity and all non horse-powered vehicles useless and desperate bands of outlaws roaming the Emerald Isle, the time has come for one soft American family to reach deep within for the reserve of brains and courage to survive.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Preview of "In the Galway Silence" - An Irish detective noir

In this dark novel Jack Taylor an Irish former policeman has turned alcoholic and private investigator. He is hired to look into the death of heinous twins and finds out they are killed by a vigilante group lead by The Silence.

It is a short, very fast paced novel. I liked that it is written as if we are reading the thoughts of Jack (mostly). What reminded me of the old American detective novels. He interspaced his adventures with the daily news. This makes the novel feel very 2017. Some of the scenes made a lasting impression like the afternoon he spends with his daughter.

If you like thrillers and you are interested in Irish colour locale (you might need to google hurling or the whiskey brands) this is a book I can certainly recommend.


Description on AMAZON:

Ken Bruen has been called “hard to resist, with his aching Irish heart, silvery tongue, and bleak noir sensibility” (New York Times Book Review). His prose is as characteristically sharp as his outlook in the latest Jack Taylor novel, In the Galway Silence.

After much tragedy and violence, Jack Taylor has at long last landed at contentment. Of course, he still knocks back too much Jameson and dabbles in uppers, but he has a new woman in his life, a freshly bought apartment, and little sign of trouble on the horizon. Once again, trouble comes to him, this time in the form of a wealthy Frenchman who wants Jack to investigate the double-murder of his twin sons. Jack is meanwhile roped into looking after his girlfriend’s nine-year-old son, and is in for a shock with the appearance of a character out of his past. The plot is one big chess game and all of the pieces seem to be moving at the behest of one dangerously mysterious player: a vigilante called “Silence,” because he’s the last thing his victims will ever hear.

This is Ken Bruen at his most darkly humorous, his most lovably bleak, as he shows us the meaning behind a proverb of his own design―“the Irish can abide almost anything save silence.”

Sunday, 8 July 2018

Preview of "The last hours" - a Post Apocalyps story set in medieval England during the Plague.

When you like Post-Apocalypse SF stories you will like this historical novel. Yes you read that correctly.!!

It is 14th century England and a strange illness spreads like wildfire from one demesne to the other killing most people. No one knows what it is or what causes it.

England is in those days a feudal society. The king is the feudal lord of dukes and earls. They are the feudal lords or barons and those are the ones mere knights swear fealty to. On the domains work and live the serves who are more or less slaves tied to the land and unable to leave. Though there are also towns with freemen.

The demesne Develish is owned by a poor knight who has just that one manorhouse and the serves working there on his demesne in a valley in Dorsetshire. He is married to Lady Anne and they have a daughter.  The man is a total jerk and stupid to boot. His wife however had some training because she was raised in a nunnery. She can read and write and knows basic healing. When he is away from home and tales of the mysterious illness reach Develish Lady Anne decides that all the people of the village should come inside the manor and behind the moat. She reasons that in her convent ill sheep were separated from the healthy ones and that helped prevent illnesses spreading.

The book is a very good read. I was two days glued to my Kindle. The Middle Ages came alive. Instead of a "death everywhere"-story it is a layered story that also deals with the aftermath of a pandemic. Ok they are not ill but can they go and find food? What happens when a whole area is death? How can you see this in a religious concept? What happens when there is no law and order? What will happen with them without an heir?

There are also a lot of personal secrets to be revealed.

I really enjoyed learning stuff about the Middle Ages that I did not know or realised like the banishment of cats or the fact that the average person never left his village and had no idea what was behind the hills,

So far the positive things about the book. I also have some negative things to say:
1) Minor detail: something is off with the editing. Some words starting with an f like flooding are spelled f looding;
2) What other reviewers also mentioned: Anachronisms. I cannot imagine abortions in such a religious and ignorant time. Also the people think the Plague is caused by rats. And hints are given to the flees who carry that disease. But that was only discovered in the last century. People used to think it was a punishment by God or cause by air (hence the birdmen masks of the doctors that were stuffed with vinegar. Side effect a flee hates vinegar). And why would a moat protect them? Rats can swim.
But that is not the only thing that made me wonder about the historical correctness. No woman would be able to refuse her lord and master. And even when a lady would be a good person I cannot imagine her thinking she is equal to her servants. Another thing is the Saxon-Norman thing. Was that not done and dusted by then? It is more than 150 years after the Battle of Hastings.
3) BIGGEST SOURCE OF IRRITATION: Suddenly my Kindle stopped and I thought it malfunctioned. Turned out it was the end of a first book of a series. That was nowhere mentioned. I would be so pissed off if I had paid 12 dollar for just a partial story (and part 2 not even printed) even when it is a long story. Yes you can write a series but end then book 1 on a logical moment. For instance the boys expect Taddeus to leave for France. When the writer would end the story the moment he leaves Develish to find his fortune elsewhere it would be a logical moment to say "to be continued".

A real 5 start story but I deducted one for the crappy ending.