The Malice of Angels by Wendy Percival

Malice

We meet Esme Quentin, at the beginning of this third mystery, packing up to move to the Devon coast where she has friends and fond memories. But first she is disturbed by the appearance of Max Rainsford, an investigative journalist and ex-colleague of her deceased husband, Tim. Max wants information from notes left by Tim and he believes that Esme’s genealogy skills will also be of assistance.

Esme is reluctant to become involved and she is soon researching the mysterious wartime disappearance of her friend Ruth’s aunt, a nurse called Vivienne. The frustrating lack of any record about Vivienne leads Esme to think about Max’s interest in the murder of old soldier, Gerald Gallimore, in 1981 and the possibility of a link to the death of her husband. Soon Esme is making connections which lead her into danger, but she is determined to discover the truth about Tim and Vivienne.

Like the earlier stories in this series, there is a complicated but logical plot and fascinating information about past times, in this case undercover work during the second world war. Esme’s bravery and calm approach, make for a thrilling story which appeal to all readers, not just those interested in family history. It is good to finally discover the traumatic event which caused Esme’s face to be scarred and reinforces the quality of this compulsive series of books.

Percival

Wendy Percival was born in the West Midlands and grew up in rural Worcestershire. She moved to North Devon in the 1980s to start her teaching career.

An impulse buy of Writing Magazine prompted her to start writing seriously and after winning a short story competition and having another story published she turned to full length fiction.

The time-honoured ‘box of old documents in the attic’ stirred her interest in genealogy and it was while researching her Shropshire roots that she was inspired to write the first Esme Quentin mystery, Blood-Tied.

Genealogy continues to intrigue her and its mysteries provide fodder for her family history blog (http://familyhistorysecrets.blogspot.com) as well as ideas for further novels.

Wendy’s website is http://www.wendypercival.co.uk

The Malice of Angels is available at Ancestry UK

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Dead Man’s Chest: A Phryne Fisher Mystery by Kerry Greenwood

Phryne

In this episode of Phryne Fisher’s mysteries, set in 1920s Australia, she has decided to take her assistant Dot and her two adopted daughters, Jane and Ruth, for a quiet seaside holiday in Queenscliff.  An acquaintance, Mr Thomas, has lent his substantial house to Miss Fisher, including his staff, Mr and Mrs Johnson, to take care of their domestic needs.  However, there is no sign of the couple, their furniture is missing and the back door is wide open.

 

Soon there are other mysteries to solve.  Who is the phantom pigtail stealer and why is Mrs Macmaster, who lives next door, with her son-in-law Dr Green, so nasty and so nosy?  As usual in these stories, there are many other characters participating in the plot.  Their other neighbour has two idle sons, with a particularly nasty friend, called Fraser, staying with them.  A film company is producing a silent movie on the beach and soon Phryne’s hopeless kitchen maid, Lily is starring in the film.

 

Kerry Greenwood spices her stories with rich description of the clothes worn by Phryne and Dot and of the delicious food they eat.  She also indulges herself with the pleasure of including aspects of 1920s life which she has researched.  On this occasion she describes a party at the house of Madame Sélary, where the local surrealist club act as one might expect or perhaps as you might not expect.

 

A delightful new addition to Phryne’s household is poor young lad, Tinker.   Hero worshipping Miss Fisher, he becomes a gem, assisted by stray dog, Gaston, in carrying out her orders and acting undercover to solve the mysteries in the style of Sexton Blake.

 

As always, this book is a pleasure to read and great escapism.

 

You can buy  Dead Man’s Chest on Amazon UK

My review of The Redoubtable Miss Fisher Mysteries is here

Pleasing Mr Pepys by Deborah Swift #TuesdayBookBlog

Pepys

In a spine-chilling first chapter of this Restoration drama, we encounter Abigail Williams, aging actress, spy and mistress to Lord Brunkner. But on this occasion, she has murderous intent. In contrast the following chapter introduces 17-year-old Deb Willet, setting out for London a year after the Great Fire, to be a Lady’s maid and companion to Elisabeth, wife of Mr. Samuel Pepys. Her Aunt Beth, glad to be rid of her, tells Deb that she must, “Please Mr Pepys,” but she soon finds this applies in more ways than one.

An educated girl, Deborah is determined to work hard to make a future for herself and to finance an education for her sister, Hester. However, Elisabeth Pepys doesn’t seem to warm to her and soon her thoughts wander to her mother who went missing many years ago and may well be in London too. She seeks help from Abigail Williams, who has sought her out, but she soon finds herself entangled in a web of lies and subterfuge from which there seems to be no escape.

This is an era, of which I know little, but Deborah Swift’s knowledge and research have brought the murky streets of London, struggling to recover from the destruction of the fire, to life again. The suffering of the sailors, unpaid by the crown and their inevitable decision to rebel, is realistically described and I could not help liking Jeremiah Wells, the young curate, who wanted the best for everyone while struggling with his conscience. All this against the background of a Dutch spy ring and the incorrigible Samuel Pepys, who cannot resist a pretty face or an attractive ankle.

Although instantly appealing to anyone interested in English history, it is also a book for those who enjoy tension and thrilling scenes, especially as the main characters are women of courage. Highly recommended.

Pleasing Mr Pepys at Amazon UK  or at Amazon US

Donkey Boy and other stories by Mary Smith #amreading

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Donkey Boy and other stories is a pot-pourri of tales that could accompany you on a journey to pick up and read in instalments, or you might find, like me, that you end up reading one story after another, late into the night.

 
Each tale introduces a character, either from home or abroad, with whom the reader can empathise. Their concerns may be amusing or distressing but they all concern human nature, good and bad.

 
I was particularly taken by two stories which have been performed; Trouble with Socks and Asylum Seekers. The latter, an ironic monologue of prejudice, pertinent to the world we live in today and Trouble with Socks expressing the feelings of the delightful George who is patronised by a “caring” auxiliary. The last story The Thing in Your Eye was a surprise and I am still unsure of my response. I think I need to re-read it.

 
There is great sadness in some of the early tales but also determination to walk away from grief, but for me Donkey Boy, about Ali, who drives a donkey cart for his father, deserves its place as the title story. It shows the contrast between different values; in the first and third world, between men and women and between youthful hope and cynicism. These stories are easy to read quickly, but they stay in your mind to mull over for some time.

 

You can buy Donkey Boy and other stories on Amazon UK

mary5

Mary Smith has always loved writing. As a child she wrote stories in homemade books made from wallpaper trimmings – but she never thought people could grow up and become real writers. She spent a year working in a bank, which she hated – all numbers, very few words – ten years with Oxfam in the UK, followed by ten years working in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She wanted others to share her amazing, life-changing experiences so she wrote about them – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and journalism. And she discovered the little girl who wrote stories had become a real writer after all.

 
Drunk Chickens and Burnt Macaroni: Real Stories of Afghan Women is an account of her time in Afghanistan and her debut novel No More Mulberries is also set in Afghanistan.

 
Mary loves interacting with her readers and her website is www.marysmith.co.uk.

 

My review of Mary’s book No More Mulberries is here

 

 

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Lindisfarne (Project Renova 2) by Terry Tyler #BookReview

Lindisfarne

Book Description

‘You’re judging this by the standards of the old world. But that’s gone. We don’t live there anymore.’

Six months after the viral outbreak, civilised society in the UK has broken down. Vicky and her group travel to the Northumbrian island of Lindisfarne, where they are welcomed by an existing community.

New relationships are formed, old ones renewed. The lucky survivors adapt, finding strength they didn’t know they possessed, but the honeymoon period does not last long. Some cannot accept that the rules have changed, and, for just a few, the opportunity to seize power is too great to pass up. Egos clash, and the islanders soon discover that there are greater dangers than not having enough to eat.

Meanwhile, in the south, Brian Doyle discovers that rebuilding is taking place in the middle of the devastated countryside. He comes face to face with Alex Verlander from Renova Workforce Liaison, who makes him an offer he can’t refuse. But is UK 2.0 a world in which he will want to live?

My Review

This sequel to Tipping Point is told through the voices of Vicky and her daughter Lottie, as well as other members of the community they join in Lindisfarne.  In many ways, it is more thrilling and revealing than the first book, as we see through their eyes, that this crisis is here to stay and can only get worse.  As social mores are eroded, a new form of rough justice is established to deal with the baser forms of human behaviour.

Arriving in Lindisfarne, Vicky, Heath and their companions must adapt to a miss-matched community of bikers and well-meaning people who use expressions such as, “reach out,” and “empower.”  Vicky must now face up to former partner, Dex’s, betrayal and meet his pregnant mistress, Naomi.  But soon, there are more sinister dangers to face.

Meanwhile, down south, Doyle ekes out an existence while trying to discover more about his former employment on Project Renova.  He is soon to meet Alex Verlander, the boss who left him trapped, but whose side will he be on this time?

The development of the characters we met in book one is convincing and rewarding.  Lottie has become an independent, strong young woman and Vicky now seems to be thinking for herself, but she can still be manipulated by others.  We learn Heath’s back story, showing his torture as he battles against demons from the past.  In Dex, we meet a new age leader who owes much to his studies of the Viking age.

It is difficult to make comments about Lindisfarne without giving away the plot, but as it reflects all aspects of humanity coming to terms, not just with survival but with making a new meaningful life, the possibilities are limitless.  In the last chapter, two new characters are introduced and those we already know have many more challenges to face.  This is a terrific book and I can’t wait for the next one!!

Lindisfarne is Book 2 in the Project Renova series, sequel to Tipping Point (Book 1).

A book of related short stories, entitled Patient Zero, features back and side-stories from minor characters, and should be available in November, 2017. Book 3 is due in mid 2018.

My review of Tipping Point can be found here

Lindisfarne is available on Amazon UK

Tyler

Terry Tyler is the author of sixteen books on Amazon.  She is proud to be self-published, is an avid reader and book reviewer, and a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.

Terry is a Walking Dead addict, and writes for one of their main fansites. She lives in the north east of England with her husband, and is still trying to learn Geordie.

How I Motivated Myself to Succeed by @ShelleyWilson72 #GuestPost

I am a great admirer of the energy and creativity of Shelley Wilson, so I’m thrilled to be part of the Blog Tour for her new book How I Motivated Myself to Succeed.  In her Guest Post below, Shelley explains how to set goals for yourself.

Blog Tour Banner for Shelley Wilson HIMMTS

How to Write a Successful Bucket List

It still feels strange when I’m asked to speak at networking events, or run workshops about goal setting and list writing. It’s only in the last ten years that I’ve actively taken steps to write a bucket list and pushed myself to achieve the goals I decided upon. To suddenly be called upon to help others embrace the goal setting phenomenon is both humbling and exciting.

When I ran my holistic health spa, I felt honoured to be included in my clients’ journey of self-care and personal development. We all face those times in our life when enough is enough, and things need to change. There are numerous reasons for this of course, from health related issues to loss and grief or redundancy.

For many years I drifted through life without any clear path. In my thirties, I became a single mum to three very small children, and so goal setting was the furthest thing from my mind. It was only as my children reached their teenage years, and grew in confidence, that I began to think about myself.

Looking after my own needs was an alien concept at first. Surely it’s a selfish act to think about oneself when you have three children to look after, friends to care about, parents to worry about? When I did eventually begin to write my bucket list, I realised how important it was to look after myself. I’m a great believer in the concept of ‘you can’t fix others if you are broken.’ And so my goal setting journey began.

Whether you decide to call this your bucket list, goal setting, resolutions, or a to-do list makes no difference to the outcome. It’s all about the action you take to make things happen.

I started small. My first goal was the relatively simple task of attracting ten new Facebook followers to my author page by the end of the month.

Eventually, my ambitions grew until my bucket list included more variety. These included:

Write two books a year.

Travel to one new holiday destination a year with my children.

Enjoy family fun days once a month (minimum).

It was thanks to my goal setting techniques that I began blogging back in 2013.

How successful you are at achieving your goals is dependent on several factors. The first is whether or not you are one-hundred per-cent committed to your goal, and the second is factoring in time to work on what you’ve written down.

For my ‘write two books a year’ goal I need to be dedicated and organised with my time. Only then will I achieve success. Enjoying a family fun day once a month means I need to coordinate my children so we all know what day we are heading off and where we are going.

There’s one question I get asked more often about setting goals, and that’s ‘when is the best time to start?’ My answer is always the same ‘Now! Don’t wait for a Monday, a New Year, or the right time because it’ll never arrive. Write your bucket list today and take those action steps to achieve your dreams.’

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank my wonderful host, Liz, for being a part of my blog tour. Thank you for reading and be sure to check out the other host spots for more inspiration, motivation, and a sprinkle of fun.

 

If you would like to read more about Shelley’s goal setting techniques then take a look at her new release, How I Motivated Myself to Succeed, out now in paperback and eBook, and packed full of information on self-care, freeing yourself from fear, organising your life, and much more.  You can order it on Amazon UK or Amazon US

 

SONY DSC

Shelley is a multi-genre author of non-fiction self-help and young adult fantasy fiction. Her latest release, How I Motivated Myself to Succeed is being dubbed as the sequel-that’s-not-a-sequel to her bestselling book, How I Changed My Life in a Year. She writes a personal development blog (www.motivatemenow.co.uk) as well as an author blog (www.shelleywilsonauthor.com) where she shares book reviews, author interviews, and random musings about writing. Shelley was thrilled to win the Most Inspirational Blogger.  She is also on Twitter www.twitter.com/ShelleyWilson72 and Facebook www.facebook.com/MotivateMeBlog and Instagram www.instagram.com/authorslwilson

Blog Tour Schedule - HIMMTS

 

 

Michel and Henry Go to War by Avan Judd Stallard #bookreview #RBRT

Michel

Book Description

A Frenchman in the British Army fighting Germans on the Western Front? That’d be a bastard—the illegitimate son of the French President, forbidden by father to join the fray. Under an assumed name, Michel joins anyway. Except now he cannot escape the war that follows every step of the way as he and Henry—his comrade in arms—seek rest and recuperation in the mountains. Instead of wine and women, they find Germans and a secret plot to destroy France’s hub of munitions production. Cut off and outnumbered, they recruit a motley army comprising a women’s auxiliary and an old farmer with a big rifle and bad attitude. There’ll be no rest for these soldiers, not until Michel and Henry go to war. A cracking action–adventure story for fans of Flashman and The Guns of Navarone.

My Review

This first book of The French Bastard Series is set in France during the First World War.  We are plunged straight into the horror and detritus of trench warfare where Michel and Henry drop into, “a trench filled with a mix of blood, shit and dead men.”  Not content to die needlessly in no man’s land, Michel leads Henry into a dangerous attack on the German gunners.  As a result of their success they are granted R & R, which they choose to take in the mountains Michel knew from his youth.

Along the way we encounter other characters including Emile, a French soldier bound for the hell-hole of Verdun, Ernie a tall Australian truck driver whom everyone likes and Kranz, a German killing machine with a mission, who treats enemy warriors with respect.  Initially Michel and Henry spend their time drinking, fornicating and using foul language, but soon they are embroiled in more perilous adventures after a breakout by German prisoners of war.  Michel is always bold and courageous, Henry, a reluctant soldier but a faithful friend.  They move from one battle to another and the book is littered with carnage including intricate detail of the anatomical damage caused to bodies by each bullet or weapon.

Their final escapade runs in parallel to the completion of Franz’s mission and it is at this stage that the plot gains pace and excitement.  There is a satisfactory denouement to a tragic story.  If you want to read about the terror and inhumanity of World War One, described vividly and realistically then this is the book for you.  If you prefer your adventures to be more sanitised then look elsewhere.

Rosie's Book Review team 1