Death by Windmill by Jennifer S Alderson Travel Can Be Murder 3 #TuesdayBookBlog

windmill

A Mother’s Day trip to the Netherlands turns deadly when a guest plummets from a windmill. Was it an accident or a murder? For Lana Hansen, the answer will mean freedom or imprisonment for someone close to her…

Wanderlust Tours guide Lana Hansen and her mother, Gillian, haven’t seen eye to eye in over a decade, ever since Lana was wrongly fired from her job as an investigative reporter. So when Lana’s boss invites Gillian to join her upcoming Mother’s Day tour to the Netherlands, Lana is less than pleased.

What could be worse than spending ten days with her estranged mother? Lana is about to find out…

Death by Windmill is the third mystery to be solved by tour guide Lana Hansen, but this time its personal. Lana is just beginning to make up with her estranged mother when another guest on the tour in the Netherlands reveals a secret that could lead Lana herself into committing murder.  The theme is Mothers and Daughters but most of them seem at odds with each other.  While visiting some interesting sites in Amsterdam and the stunning Keukenhof Garden, we meet a number of people linked to the McGruffin company back in Seattle, many, including Lana, having been treated unjustly by its management. As the women are taken from one fascinating location to another, resentment and anger rise to the surface.

After one of their party dies, Lana must discover if it was an accident and who might have wished the victim to die. Her spirits are raised when she meets Alex, the perfect date, but will she be able to see him again? Another fast moving cozy mystery by Jennifer S Alderson which gives the reader a wonderful introduction to a holiday destination.

Alice Teale is Missing by H A Linskey #TuesdayBookBlog #Thriller

Alice

Alice Teale walked out of school at the end of a bright spring day.

She’s not been seen since.

Alice was popular and well-liked, and her boyfriend, friends and family are desperate to find her.

But soon it’s clear that everyone in her life has something to hide.

Then the police receive a disturbing package.

Pages from Alice’s precious diary.

Who could have sent them? And what have they done with Alice?

I chose this book on the recommendation of  Jill’s Book Cafe

My Review 

DC Beth Winter & DS Lucas Black have a case to solve. They have only just met in a bleak Northumbrian town and they are trying to establish a working relationship, or at least Beth is. The disappearance of a bright, popular 17-year-old doesn’t seem to be causing much concern amongst the other police officers. They think she has run away but Beth and DS Black believe she is either dead or in serious trouble. When pages from her secret journal start being delivered, they learn more but are they being led along the wrong path?

I very much enjoyed reading how Beth dealt with her unfriendly boss and how she gradually began to understand him. They both live alone but are from different generations and backgrounds. What they have in common is the desire to find Alice and solve the case. There are several suspects and an interesting setting in the small town surrounding a large comprehensive school. The concerns of the teenagers and the more selfish approach of some of the adults is typical of any town in Britain. The geography and location of their investigations are clearly described which is necessary for the plot and the events thrilling and unexpected. I shall certainly be looking out for other novels by this author.

Howard

www.howardlinskey.co.uk

Howard Linskey is a best-selling author of crime and historical fiction published in seven countries. His debut novel ‘The Drop’ was voted one of the Top Five Thrillers of the Year by the Times newspaper and ‘The Damage’ was voted one of its top summer reads. His David Blake series was optioned for TV by Harry Potter producer, David Barron.

Howard writes a series of north-east set, crime fiction novels for Penguin Random House featuring investigative journalists Tom Carney and Helen Norton, as well as Detective Sergeant Ian Bradshaw.

His historical novels are set in WW2. ‘Hunting the Hangman’ tells the story of the assassination of Nazi general and architect of the Holocaust, Reinhard Heydrich in Prague in 1942. ‘Ungentlemanly Warfare’ follows SOE agent Harry Walsh into occupied France.

Originally from the north east of England, Howard now lives in Herts with his wife Alison and daughter Erin.

Alice Teale is Missing on Amazon UK

The Extraordinary Book of Doors by Anne E G Nydam #TuesdayBookBlog #BookReview

Turn the page… Open the door… Enter the adventure…

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When worrywart Chen Connelly finds a mysterious antique book beneath a park bench, his safe but lonely summer suddenly becomes exciting. Perhaps a little too exciting. A book of renaissance architectural designs may not seem very exciting, until Chen finds himself traveling through the pages of the magical book with Polly Goggin, the weirdest girl he’s ever met, as they race to solve a treasure hunt left by Benjamin Franklin, struggle to find their way through a maze of mysterious doors, and dodge far too many angry security guards. It doesn’t help that a murderous, strangely nondescript magician-thief is on their trail with a magic book of his own, willing to do whatever it takes to get his hands on Benjamin Franklin’s treasure and all three extraordinary books.It begins with a book. Where will it lead?

I discovered Anne Nydam during the A to Z Challenge. The theme for her blogs was traditional English language nursery rhymes, and their block printed illustrations. Discovering that we shared an interest in books and doors I had to read this delightful children’s book.

The heroes of this story are Chen Connolly, the adopted son of the curators of Cleveland museum of Art and Polly Goggin, the eccentric 13-year-old daughter of Miranda, owner of Goggin Antiques and Auctioneers. The two meet via the pages of copies of the sixteenth century book of doors. Each embossed leather book has a gold key on the spine which turns in the block printed doors on the pages. Once unlocked, Chen and Polly (and sometimes her cat, Uber) can pass through the doors into buildings spread about the globe. At first, they are unwilling companions but finding themselves threatened by Ammon Blank, a dangerous magician thief, they use their intelligence and bravery and the help of two others to stop Mr Blank’s robberies and to return the books to their rightful owners.

I was particularly interested in the connection made during the book to Benjamin Franklin. Not being American I knew very little about him, but I was prompted to briefly research his life which proved fascinating.  I would highly recommend this book to middle years young adults and people like me who love a good adventure story with a touch of magic.

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The Extraordinary Book of Doors on Amazon UK

Anne E G Nydam

 Once upon a time there was a girl who wanted to be a writer…  I was born and raised in Cleveland Heights, Ohio.  I loved it there.  In college at Yale I majored in linguistics, with a thesis at the intersection between historical and sociolinguistics.  I loved Yale and I loved linguistics.  After graduation, for reasons relating more to the desperation of a school’s staffing needs than my qualifications, I got a job teaching middle school art.  I loved teaching.  (Are you noticing a theme here?  It continues.)  Teaching art was how I became, de facto, an artist myself.  Along the way I got married, and when our children were born I became a stay-at-home mother, and realized that since I could no longer call myself a teacher, I had better make sure I could still call myself an artist and a writer.  And here I am, calling myself an artist and a writer, despite being essentially self-taught, primarily self-published, and inclined to be self-effacing. My other hobbies include gardening, playing cello, quilt-making, and failing to do housework.  Except when feeling grouchy, I love it all… And she lived happily ever after.)

https://nydamprintsblackandwhite.blogspot.com/p/curious-about-my-art-books.html

Wasteland (Operation Galton Book 2) by Terry Tyler #TuesdayBookBlog #NewRelease

Wasteland

“Those who escape ‘the system’ are left to survive outside society.  The fortunate find places in off-grid communities; the others disappear into the wasteland.”

The year: 2061. In the new UK megacities, the government watches every move you make.  Speech is no longer free—an ‘offensive’ word reaching the wrong ear means a social demerit and a hefty fine.  One too many demerits?  Job loss and eviction, with free transport to your nearest community for the homeless: the Hope Villages.

Rae Farrer is the ultimate megacity girl – tech-loving, hard-working, law-abiding and content – until a shocking discovery about her birth forces her to question every aspect of life in UK Megacity 12.

On the other side of the supposedly safe megacity walls, a few wastelanders suspect that their freedom cannot last forever…

Wasteland is the stand-alone sequel to ‘Hope’, the concluding book in the two-part Operation Galton series, and Terry Tyler’s twenty-first publication.

My Review

Rae could be any young woman we know, earning her living with a reasonable job, seeing friends in her free time and constantly using the latest mobile technology. Except that she is living in an alternative Britain in 2061. Her diet and fitness is constantly monitored by a “Nusens” chip fitted into her body, while she spends many hours using her Smartcom, often recording experiences on iSync to be streamed later! The megacity in which she lives provides a pleasant small flat and easy access to her place of work but that doesn’t mean that she can travel freely outside the city.

In the wasteland people do not have their every move watched by the government, but houses and villages have been destroyed and food is scarce. When Rae is given the opportunity to look for her missing family, she discovers just how hard it is to live with no heating or entertainment. Helped by Ace, a member of the Link organisation to reunite families, she travels through East Anglia and Yorkshire.

Meanwhile we read about Dylan, Rocky and Emma who live unhappily in a Hope village for the unemployed and homeless. They try to escape the criminal gang in the village aiming for a self-sufficient off-grid community. Can things get any worse for any of them? Yes, the final phase of Operation Galton to clear the Wasteland is about to commence.

There are some amazing twists in the plot which really caught me unawares and the range of characters; strong, empathetic, evil, selfish etc are important to the plot as well as fascinating to encounter. This is the follow up to “Hope” but can easily be read as a standalone and as a warning in the parallels it shares with the world we are in now.

Wasteland on Amazon UK

Terry

Terry Tyler is the author of twenty books available from Amazon, the latest being ‘Wasteland’, the sequel to ‘Hope’. She is currently working on ‘Safe Haven’, a post-apocalyptic murder mystery set in the same world as her Project Renova series. Proud to be independently published, she is also an avid reader and book reviewer, and a member of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.

Terry is a Walking Dead addict, and has a great interest in all things post-apocalyptic, history (particularly 14th-17th century), and sociological/cultural/anthropological stuff, generally. She loves South Park, Netflix, autumn and winter, and going for long walks in quiet places where there are lots of trees. She lives in the north east of England with her husband.

The Peppermint Tea Chronicles by Alexander McCall Smith #TuesdayBookBlog #Humour

Peppermint tea

 

It is summer in Scotland Street (as it always is) and for the habitués of Edinburgh’s favourite street some extraordinary adventures lie in waiting.

For the impossibly vain Bruce Anderson – he of the clove-scented hair gel – it may finally be time to settle down, and surely it can only be a question of picking the lucky winner from the hordes of his admirers. The Duke of Johannesburg is keen to take his flight of fancy, a microlite seaplane, from the drawing board to the skies. Big Lou is delighted to discover that her young foster son has a surprising gift for dance but she is faced with big decisions to make on his and her futures. And with Irene now away to pursue her research in Aberdeen, her husband, Stuart, and infinitely long-suffering son, Bertie, are free to play. Stuart rekindles an old friendship over peppermint tea whilst Bertie and his friend Ranald Braveheart Macpherson get more they bargained for from their trip to the circus. And that’s just the beginning . . .

Reading this book was a welcome return to the characters of Scotland Street, Edinburgh.  All ages and all sorts of characters are represented. Problems are solved and worries assuaged, usually by the kindness of others.  Like the other books in the series, there are interesting philosophical discussions and relationships develop.

My favourite characters are 7 year Bertie Pollock, his simple friend Ranald Braveheart Macpherson and their helpful adult comrade Angus Lordie with his cheerful dog Cyril.  The book is sprinkled with humour, be it the vanity of handsome Estate Agent, Bruce, making a fool of himself when he tries to show off his knowledge (or lack of it) about whisky to the owner of a distillery; or an account of the Scotch Pie company once called Pies for Protestants, then Inclusive Pies and now with the surge of nationalism, named Pure Dead Brilliant Scotch Pies (Nae Messing).

By the conclusion of the novel young Pat has found a new, rather young, boyfriend, Bertie’s father has found romance and Matthew has found a way to cheer his lonely wife who struggles with triplets Rognvald, Fergus and Tobermory.  For a feel good, thought provoking read you cannot beat the wit of Alexander McCall Smith.

Natural Causes by James Oswald #TuesdayBookBlog #BookReview

Natural Causes

A devastating serial killer. A chilling cold case. Only DI Tony McLean realises the connection . . .

I chose the first book in this series about DI Tony McLean after reading Rosie Amber’s review of the 10th book about this reliable, maverick policeman.  Set in Edinburgh we view the underbelly of the city as well as the rich and powerful. From the beginning we are faced with the first of a number of gruesome murders where the victims are elderly men of substance. The investigation is “lead” by the ill-tempered DCI Duguid but the Chief Superintendent wants Tony to be an important part of the team. However, he is soon diverted by the discovery of the body of a young girl, concealed behind the wall of an old house, currently being converted. The ritual killing has taken place many years earlier, but McLean is determined to solve her murder.

Tony is a likeable character with a backstory.  Concerned about his grandmother who is lying unconscious in hospital, he has little time for a private life and his determined approach to solving cases rarely includes modern methods.  His good relationship with people like Grumpy Bob, his detective sergeant and Angus, the pathologist help him to discover fresh evidence and Tony also begins to attract the attention of two young women.

There is another dimension to this story in the sense of diabolic evil which MacLean feels lies behind the murders yet there are also burglaries to be solved, unconnected to the more serious crimes.  Many of the threads come together in parallel to developments in Tony’s personal life.  I have already started to read book 2!

Natural Causes on Amazon UK

J Oswald

The Shadow Palace: Sword and Steampunk (The Viper and the Urchin Book 6) by Celine Jeanjean #TuesdayBookBlog

Shadow Palace

They made it into the palace…

…But will they be able to escape from it?

In the shadowy world of the Airnian court, nothing is more important than knowing who to trust. And nothing is harder to determine.

Rory and the gang need to make alliances if they’re to succeed in their mission, but their attempts are met with intrigue and betrayal. And all the while, the White Hornet is watching, waiting for an opportunity to make them disappear.

Longinus, meanwhile, continues with his quest to discover what happened to his family. His search for answers will take him deep within the palace, and deep within its secrets, until he is faced with a horrific choice.

Can Rory and the gang save him from a fate worse than death?

The 6th story in this series follows on immediately after the dramatic events in Arnia at the end of Book 5, The White Hornet. Recovering from her dip beneath the ice, Rory must now spend more time at the Arnian court hobnobbing with influential people. Accompanied by Rafe, with whom she has become closer they partake of the entertainment in the impressive palace, decorated with gold and full of mirrors.

Meanwhile Longinus, Adelma and Cruikshank search the corridors and caves beneath the palace encountering strange sickly people. But Longinus has his own agenda. He believes that his long-lost mother may be in the city and he wants to know more about the death of his father.  Soon both Longinus and Rafe are endangering their companions as they are both entangled in mistakes from the past.

It is the wonderful characterisation of the Damsian party which makes this story so gripping.  But it seems as though they will never be able to return to Damsport alive and even their friendship is threatened.  There could be a happy ending but dark secrets from the past will not go away.

The Shadow Palace is now available on Amazon UK

My review of The White Hornet

steam

The Winter Companion (Parish Orphans of Devon Book 4) by Mimi Matthews #RBRT #TuesdayBookBlog #NewRelease

Winter Companion

A winter reunion for the orphans brings romance for Neville Cross in Book 4 of Mimi Matthews’ USA Today bestselling Parish Orphans of Devon series.

She Needed to be Seen…

As a lady’s companion, Clara Hartwright never receives much attention from anyone. And that’s precisely how she likes it. With a stormy past, and an unconventional plan for her future, it’s far safer to remain invisible. But when her new employer is invited to a month-long holiday at a remote coastal abbey, Clara discovers that she may not be as invisible as she’d hoped. At least, not as far as one gentleman is concerned.

He Wanted to be Heard…

Neville Cross has always been more comfortable with animals than people. An accident in his youth has left him with a brain injury that affects his speech. Forming the words to speak to his childhood friends is difficult enough. Finding the right things to say to a lovely young lady’s companion seems downright impossible. But Miss Hartwright is no ordinary companion. In fact, there may not be anything ordinary about her at all.

During a bleak Devon winter, two sensitive souls forge an unexpected friendship. But when Clara needs him most, will Neville find the courage to face his fears? Or is saying goodbye to her the most heroic thing he can do?

My Review

Mimi Matthews is, in my opinion, quite the best author of historical romance writing today. The stories in the Parish Orphans of Devon, complement each other in the way that the friendship of the four young men also does. Each has noble qualities and failings, with which their new partners will support them. At first Neville Cross might seem a less dynamic hero than his former friends but his strong physique and gentle relationship with horses make him very attractive. In contrast our heroine, Clara, seems confident and highly intelligent. But each have problems to deal with. After a traumatic accident, Neville struggles with communication while Clara must earn a living to support her brother at university.

This novel unites all the Parish Orphans of the previous books at Greyfriar’s Abbey, the home of Justin Thornhill, for a Christmas celebration together. As Clara is a lady’s companion and Neville, a groom they are slightly distanced from the other three orphans and their wives. Despite incredible chemistry between them, it seems unlikely that Clara and Neville could have a future together. Neville believes he cannot strike out on his own, while Clara feels duty bound to her brother because of a previous indiscretion. While Neville does his best to care for a Dartmoor pony in foal, Clara becomes aware that her brother is in trouble but soon it appears that they will be cut off by bad weather.

This is an excellent conclusion to the series, showing us love overcoming personal difficulties and a new future which might not have been possible without their mutual commitment.

The Winter Companion can be pre-ordered at Amazon UK

I highly recommend Mimi Matthews’ informative and beautiful website 

The Fowl Twins By Eoin Colfer #YA #TuesdayBookBlog

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Dear Reader…

For ten thousand years, the fairy folk have trusted the secret of their subterranean existence to only a handful of humans, including their greatest ally, the young criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl. So, when a fairy is stranded on the surface, the folk turn to Artemis for help. But unfortunately, Artemis has launched himself into space, so the call to arms is taken up by his twin brothers, eleven-year-old Myles and Beckett, who are yet to have an adventure of their own.

But what the Fowl Twins lack in experience they make up for with argumentative natures, atrocious fashion sense and a total lack of regard for their own safety. How can it all end well? It probably won’t, especially with a murderous nobleman, a knife-wielding nun and a shadowy government organisation on their tails. But, whatever the outcome, you can be guaranteed that the journey itself will be fraught with danger, bloated with gas and infuriating beyond words.

So stock-up on snacks, switch off your phone and prepare to read way past bedtime – for here begins the second cycle of modern Fowl adventures.

Enjoy!

Eoin Colfer

The Fowl Twins was a Christmas present from my daughter as we both enjoyed the Artemis Fowl books back in 2004.  I feel the adventures of Artemis had run their course but this new series about his twin brothers has revitalised my interest in the talented Irish Fowl family and their friends in the LEP (Lower Elements Police).  The extraordinary abilities and fast moving adventures of this disparate group of boys and fairy folk leave you breathless as they travel around the world in the clutches of a maniacal nun, Sister Jeronima of Bilbao, and a dastardly peer of the realm, Lord Teddy Bleedham-Drye.  Our twin heroes are Myles, a rather arrogant intellectual, and his delightful, messy brother Beckett. Despite their very different characters, they have a close understanding and as the plot develops, it is evident that they are very much a team.

Their companions are a tiny tough troll with whom only Beckett can communicate and Lazuli, a trainee LEP who is a pixel or pixie-elf. Like all of Eoin Colfer’s books, the prose is erudite, vividly descriptive and hilarious. This is the first of a new series and it will be interesting to see how the relationship between Myles and Beckett develops and the potential of Lazuli with her newly acquired magic powers.

The Fowl Twins can be purchased on Amazon UK

The Subtle Knife Book 2 of His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman #TuesdayBookBlog

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I read Philip Pullman’s trilogy back in the late 1990s but after watching the first series of His Dark Materials on TV I decided I would like to reread The Subtle Knife.  On TV we have already been introduced to Will Parry in parallel to Lyra’s early story, whereas in print, he is introduced, initially as the main character in this second book.  But I was reassured to find that I still found this compelling series riveting, if often distressing.

Will is an impressive boy, old before his years, formed by the fear and loneliness of looking after his mother after his father’s disappearance.  It is heartening to see him gradually grow towards Lyra as she supports him. They are both inadequately parented and aware of the importance of their destinies.  It is good to come to know more about the witch Serafina Pekkala and the adventurous Lee Scoresby. The brilliant characterisation is the key to the conviction of this story.  The daemons, which those from Lyra’s world each have, participate more actively in this book and you cannot help wanting one as part of your own soul.

The bright exciting world in which Will and Lyra find themselves in this novel, soon reveals itself to be a place of grief and the subtle knife itself, a poisoned chalice.  There are so many interesting themes taken from Paradise lost and William Blake but recognising the allusions is not necessary to the appreciation of the vast panoply of ideas within the novels.  Although very much a middle story ending on a cliff-hanger, in many ways it is my favourite.  I am very much looking forward to seeing how The Subtle Knife is presented on screen.