The Christmas Ghosts by G. Lawrence #RBRT #BookReview

 

The Christmas Ghosts

“Now I know what a ghost is. Unfinished business, that’s what.” Salman Rushdie

“The muses are ghosts, and sometimes they come uninvited.”  Stephen King

 

This book of 5 short stories is a surprise. Yes, each story has a ghost, who appears at Christmas, but they are not horrifying. The protagonist may feel fear or confusion, but the reader feels curiosity.  Why is the ghost returning?

 

In the first story, Guardian, we meet the most traditional ghost-like figure, but this is also the story about relationships, good and bad. Occurring on Bodmin Moor late on Christmas Eve, there is a gradual build up of tension and we fear for Henry, just as his mother did.  Hot Toddy is a more reassuring story of enduring love, while Roger Reed and the Road Kill Rabbit is an amusing tale of an unpleasant man receiving his just reward.

 

My favourites are the last two stories. Old Man Symmonds echoes “A Christmas Carol”.  There are two unjust bosses in different eras, mistreating their employees, but the heroine, Hayley, regains her confidence, realising her worth as a consequence of her encounter with the ghost. In this story and also in the final tale the main character deals with relationships and gains maturity. Eloise in The Christmas Ghost is struggling to become an author, but she already knows that her occupation as a house-sitter suits her disposition and her aspiration. Failing in her attempt to become closer to her critical mother, whose glass is always half-full, she returns to the Victorian cottage she is minding, to find a ghost whose fate is far worse than hers. The house has inspired her writing, will it help her to heal her family too?

I highly recommend this delightful volume of unusual ghost stories and hope that there will be a second volume to follow next Christmas.

The Christmas Ghosts can be purchased on Amazon UK

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Rituals of the Dead: An Artifact Mystery by Jennifer S Alderson #NewRelease

Adventures of Zelda Richardson Book 3

Rituals

Zelda Richardson is an adventurous heroine who loves to solve mysteries.  She needs to succeed in her placement as an intern at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam but the work involves Asmat Bis poles from Papua New Guinea, totems made for the spirits of the dead, whose evil looking faces seem to be leading her into danger.

 

Seven crates have been discovered unopened for 50 years in the archive depot of Rotterdam’s Wereldmuseum.  As Zelda and the more important staff from the museums observe, the crates are unpacked, revealing not just Bis poles, but also human remains of the head-hunting Asmat culture of what was then Dutch New Guinea.  But the most intriguing discovery is the leather-bound journal of Nicholas Mayfield, a wealthy American anthropologist who went missing in 1962.

 

Interspersed with Zelda’s transcription of the journal and her investigations, are passages from 1962, where we discover the frustrations and difficulties Nicholas had experienced while trading in Dutch New Guinea, hindered rather than helped by experienced Dutch anthropologist, Albert Schenk.  Albert is now Director of the Wereldmuseum and he seems to be a thoroughly unpleasant, arrogant individual.

 

Soon, Zelda is alarmed when two people close to her are murdered.  She continues with her task of transcribing the journal and researching the background of the Bis poles for an imminent exhibition, but she keeps information close to her chest and, at times, is unwise in those she chooses to trust.

 

This exciting story is also an education about a culture of which I knew very little.  The actions of colonial powers, the church and collectors of artifacts is called into questions but there is also our moral dilemma of whether to exhibit treasures from the past or return them to their source.  But don’t let this put you off; you will be on the edge of your seat wondering if Zelda will take one risk too many as well as wishing to discover what actually happened to Nicholas Mayfield.  A thoroughly good read.

An amazing picture of a Bis pole

Rituals of the Dead on Amazon UK and Amazon US

My review of Zelda’s first adventure Down and Out in Kathmandu

#TuesdayBookBlog #Amreading and looking forward

 

God in Ruins

I am slowly reading A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson.  Although a long time fan of her books, I struggled with the structure of Life After Life so A God in Ruins sat on my bookcase for a year.  But I am really enjoying following the life of Teddy back and forth during the twentieth century.

Now some news.

Interview with

Some of the most interesting characters from my favourite books have agreed to talk to me.  I am really looking forward to learning more about them.

Help Me Raise £250 For The Dogs Trust By Leaving Me A Link To Your Blog

A lovely way to start the New Year.

Hugh's Views & News

The Christmas tree is up, but something is missing. There are no gifts under it, and I need your help to put that right.

#charity #appeal #christmastree #christmas

For this year’s Christmas charity appeal, I’m asking you to help me raise up to £365 for The Dogs Trust.

The Dogs Trust, formerly known as the National Canine Defence League, is an animal welfare charity and humane society in the United Kingdom which specialises in the well-being of dogs. Click here to go to their website.

Want to get involved? Here’s what you need to do.

  1. In the comments section of this post, leave the name of your blog and a link to it. This can be a link to your ‘about me’ page, a favourite blog post you’ve published, or the home page of your blog.
  2. If you’re an author, you’re also welcome to leave me a link to any books you have published. So, for…

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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

 

 

A Divided Inheritance by Deborah Swift #TuesdayBookBlog #amreading

Divided

This is the story of two people, Elspet Leviston, responsible daughter of a lace dealer in Jacobean London and Zachary Deane, the illegitimate son of a poor Spanish woman whose bullying brothers have taught him to lie and steal.  When Elspet’s father suddenly brings Zachary into their household, usurping her position in the family business, she is horrified and as a dutiful daughter considers marriage to an apparently pleasant suitor.  Her relief when Zachary sets off on a grand tour is swiftly removed on her father’s sudden death and her world turns upside down when she hears the conditions of his will.

 

From the calm everyday life in London, where only the need to conceal their Catholic faith disturbs them, Elspet sets out across Europe to find Zachary and sort out her future.  Meanwhile, Zachary is discovering his true purpose in life, studying with Senor Alvarez, a Master of Fencing.  It is difficult to like Zachary at first but easy to understand him and as the plot develops so does his character.  Elspet also changes when she reaches Spain.  Her circumstances deteriorate and her way of life is completely different but the charismatic Senor Alvarez also guides her future.  And then she and Zachary find themselves caught up in the terrible expulsion of the Moriscos, the Moors who had settled in Seville.

 

Deborah Swift’s historical research is impeccable, grounding this unusual story in the troubled world of early 17th century Spain and questioning the role of women and the place of religion in society but this is not a learned tome.  It is an exciting, passionate story, full of vibrant, realistic characters and thrilling events.  I could not put this book down!

You can find A Divided Inheritance on AmazonUK

Swift

Deborah Swift

I live in North Lancashire on the edge of the Lake District, an area made famous by the Romantic Poets such as Wordsworth and Coleridge. I’m a bookaholic and I read widely – contemporary and classic fiction as well as historical novels.

In the past I used to work as a set and costume designer for theatre and TV, so I enjoy the research aspect of creating historical fiction, something I loved doing as a scenographer. Each book takes about six months of research before I am ready to begin writing.

Voyager by Carl Rackman #Bookreview #TuesdayBookBlog

Voyager

This style of novel is not my usual choice of genre but it’s always good to try entering a new environment and adapt to a faster paced narrative. And I am really glad I chose Carl Rackman’s second book.

From the Prologue when Brad talks to his fiancé by phone as she tries to escape from the second tower on 9/11 to the culmination of this thriller on the day of the Inauguration of a new President in 2017, this fast-moving thriller keeps you guessing. There are a number of significant characters to meet, including Brad, a member of an FBI counter-terrorism unit, Dr Callie Woolf, Project Manager of the Voyager Interstellar Mission and Matt, a British pilot who freelances for MI5. Brad soon finds himself in disgrace, Callie fears her project will be cancelled and Matt may lose his freedom.

The plot is complex and offers “alternative facts” and there are acronyms and details of the workings of NASA and US Security staff to come to grips with. The characters gradually fill out into believable personalities and each of them becomes increasingly endangered. And then we meet Mirage, a mysterious superwoman. Is she good or evil? Is the world about to be invaded by creatures from another world, or is there a conspiracy? This tautly constructed suspense novel kept me turning the pages and hoping that Brad and Callie would solve the mystery and survive all attempts on their lives.

Voyager is available on Amazon UK or Amazon US

You can find my review of Carl Rackman’s first novel, Irex here

Rosie's Book Review team 1