Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Review of "The Book Ghost" by Lorna Gray - Britain just after WW2. A young widow has to find roots again

There are many novels written that are set during WWII but this one is in the period just after the war ended: 1946 and that is a first one for me. Let me start by saying I am very interested in history.

A lot is still rationed and men slowly get demobilised and send home. Lucy who worked during the war in Bristol during the bombings loses her job to the returning men and goes home to her elderly aunt and uncle who raised her. But there she discovers the couple has taken in a lodger who is also working as an editor for her uncles publishing company. Lucy, widowed and childless, can only get a secretarial menial job and sleep in the room above the office. Her gloomy daily life is depressing and she is only 26! I thought her family was heartless but we find out why they did what they did.

We slowly discover how other people are still trying to cope with the war. The man who spent five years in a prisoner of war camp, the man who had quite a nice posting and is jealous of the people who are seen as heroes, the old people who cannot cope without their children.

And mrs. P who realises she is just young Lucy and who still attracts men. And that she still lives.

In the story is a mystery. A young girl who grew up in a mansion and who seems to have disappeared 50 years ago and who is mentioned by one of the authors. Lucy feels the urge to find out what happened. And that is definitely inspired by her own childhood..

The readers who hoped it is a romance novel. Sorry. It is more a period drama. And there is a light touch of spirit talk in it. What I think could have easily ditched.

I liked the view into the era. I also liked the psychological aspects. Not a big fan of the ghosts.

Publishing date December 14th 2019

4 stars out of 5

Thursday, 14 November 2019

The end of the world as we know it - After it Happened Boxset by Devon C. Ford

One morning a former soldier who turned policeman wakes up to see that 99% of mankind has succumbed to a kind of pneumonia. I somehow pictured this Dan as in his fifties but later on you find out he is halfway into his thirties. In the next hours he meets Neil someone who is very technical handy and also former army but a bit older. Neil his wife an children dies. Dan's did too but they live apart. They also stumble upon a 12 year old girl Leah.

The 6 books series is all about the remnants of humankind trying to survive this disaster. A disaster that is caused by something that sounds realistic to me. The author does a great job in worldbuilding. We see thugs but also nature loving vegan societies. Dan decides that it is unwise to hand over guns to untrained strangers and trains a few rangers and they set up in a former prisonmansion and start growing food. But danger is always around the corner.

I was thinking the writer made a few mistakes like a car does not wither away in a year and such and a headstone will stand for 40 years. Or that a military man would not do something. But that I found out was a plotpoint. Nevertheless there are a few decisions that sound stupid.

All in all I really liked the 6 novels. Maybe not the most emotional depth but I like the places they go as I have been there too. And the story is very thrilling. And it also makes you think. Like how toxic a tunnel gets when the vents are not working anymore.

There is also a sequel of two other novels but they are more warstories in my opinion.

No zombies, no sex.

Review "The Deceptive Lady Darby" by Adele Clee - feel good women lit with a bit of mystery

A young woman gets lost running away from her father and arriving at a neighbouring estate is mistaken for the new maid. In hiding for her father she discovers that there are mysteries surrounding the place but gets attached to the lord of the manor and his children.

A nice light HEA story that is well written and with heroes you easily bond with.

Typical women's lit you would think until you see the number of guys reading them.....

Review of "A bend in time" by Anne C. Maxwell - quite promissing but needs a bit of work in my opinion

This is one of those books that I find hard to rate. I have the feeling that it can be a lot better as the material is there but sometimes things seem to stutter. I also wonder what the author was aiming at by this structure as if you are reading three separate books. But maybe that is something that will be explained in the later instalments in the series.

Elena was raised in Saudi Arabia as a child of diplomats. Her parents were good friends with a couple. The woman a Saudi national and her husband a Scotsman who converted to Islam and  married her and moved to Saudi. This couple have a son named Omar who is a few years older than Elena and her best childhood friend.

Now we fast forward a few decades and Elena works as a counterterrorism specialist for MI6 in London. As the bank of her childhood  friend comes under suspicion as a place that is used by terrorists to launder money she is send as a spy to see if that is true and how deep the CEO, Omar, is involved. It is no surprise that the two friends immediately strike a cord again even when there are some grown ups problems as him being an over controlling man and now far above her in the picking order.. Elena is afraid she will stumble upon information that gets him in trouble. This part is very realistic written.

Then all of a sudden both Elena and Omar seem to be travelling in time to two different eras.

The result is us reading 3 different novels: a billionaire romance / spy thriller, a tale inspired by The Three Musketeers and a regency romance that reminds me of Jane Eyre.

Why? I have no clue. Maybe that Omar realises that love can also be there when you are the powerless one in a relationship? But what is the use of Elena being in that other era? To realise that men you are not in love with can still be friends? And it kind of interrupts the story arc.

I understand that the author is like me someone who is near native English but not a native. Maybe that explains some of the sometimes special way to phase things. I also found the sex-scenes in the beginning of the novel odd as it feels like suddenly your kindle starts to whirl pink stars and other psychedelic things because from the moment they start having sex the story goes into metaphorical descriptions. Later on that alters.

There is also an all-seeing commenting voice. UGH

Maybe because I got an ARC version but the editing is seriously wrong. Some parts repeat each other. Best check that quickly dear publisher.

So my verdict: I did like the story but maybe would have preferred it as a straightforward novel or three.

Friday, 1 November 2019

FREE: An adrenaline-fueled adventure set in the Netherlands, Croatia, Italy, Luxembourg, and Turkey about stolen art, the mafia, and a father’s vengeance.

#FREE #FREEFORADAY Stolen art, the mafia, and a father’s vengeance... A museum researcher’s new job leads her on a bizarre journey into shady art world doings and criminal intent in this fast-paced, amateur sleuth thriller set in the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Italy, Croatia, and Turkey. 
When researcher Zelda Richardson begins working at a local museum, she doesn’t expect to get entangled with an art theft, knocked unconscious by a forger, threatened by the mob, or stalked by drug dealers.

To make matters worse, a Croatian gangster is convinced Zelda knows where a cache of recently pilfered paintings is. She must track down an international gang of art thieves and recover the stolen artwork in order to save those she loves most.

The trouble is, Zelda doesn’t know where to look. Teaming up with art detective Vincent de Graaf may be her only hope at salvation.

The trail of clues leads Zelda and Vincent on a pulse-pounding race across Europe to a dramatic showdown in Turkey that may cost them their lives.

Marked for Revenge was awarded a Chill with a Book Readers' Award in June 2019. It was also chosen as Chill with a Book's June Cover of the Month. Marked for Revenge was a Women Writers, Women’s Books Recommended Reads in June 2019 and is one of Amy's Bookshelf Reviews Top 10 Books of 2019.

Marked for Revenge is the third book in the Zelda Richardson Mystery Series. The novels in this series can be read in any order.

New Dutch book about recent history: Nieuw boek van Geert Mak uit

 "Op dit moment is voor veel buitenstaanders de vluchtelingenstatus de enige manier om Europa binnen te komen. En dan moet je eerst nog bijna verdrinken. Het heeft niets met humaniteit of tolerantie te maken, het is gewoon een bende. Daarom moet er een legale manier worden bedacht om hierheen te kunnen emigreren, zoals in Canada. Dan voorkom je dat mensen die 10.000 euro voor hun emigratie betalen halverwege ergens blijven hangen en nooit meer terug durven. In het Canadese systeem wordt gekeken of je iets voor dat land kan betekenen en of je een minimum aan vaardigheden hebt – zoals de taal – om daar te kunnen slagen. Daar heerst de filosofie: we spannen ons er wederzijds voor in om er iets van te maken.” zegt historicus Gerard Mak in zijn nieuwe boek.   Zie voor meer het NRC:

 Nou kennen wij in Nederland ook de Kennismigrantenregeling. En zouden de mensen die buiten de mogelijkheden vallen het niet alsnog proberen omdat je bij ons over land kunt komen?

 *******  In "Grote verwachtingen' vertelt en duidt Geert Mak de recente geschiedenis zoals alleen hij dat kan. Het is het vervolg op het immens succesvolle "In Europa' dat vijftien jaar geleden verscheen. Enkele jaren later volgde de 35-delige tv-serie met de schrijver in de hoofdrol. In Europa ging over de twintigste eeuw en hoe die in veel opzichten gruwelijke periode getekend door twee wereldoorlogen, ons heeft gevormd. "Grote verwachtingen' gaat over de eerste twee decennia van de eenentwintigste eeuw. Het neemt de draad op waar "In Europa' eindigde, in 1999. Mak schetst de sfeer en stemming tijdens de eeuwwisseling, het optimisme dat toen hoogtij vierde maar dat gaandeweg verdween, de gevoelens rond de invoering van de euro, de gevolgen van de aanslag op de Twin Towers, de toestand in Oost-Europa en Rusland, de bankencrisis, de Verenigde Staten, Noord- versus Zuid-Europa, en de vluchtelingen.