A Lover of Books

‘The Destroyer’ – Blog Tour

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‘Created, The Destroyer’ is the first title in The Destroyer series.  Warren Murphy co-wrote this book with Richard Sapir in 1963.  The series is composed of 145 titles and has sold more than 60 million copies.  The books are now being republished.

 

9780751557978As part of this tour I was very kindly sent a copy of ‘Created, The Destroyer’ to read and review.

Remo Williams, a former police officer, has just lost everything. Sentenced to death for a crime he supposedly committed he is now counting down the hours until he is led to the electric chair.  During his last rites Remo is given a black pill and told to bite into it exactly before he is electrocuted.

Remo wakes up in a strange place and realises he isn’t dead after all. He soon discovers that he has been recruited by a secret government organisation who called themselves CURE.  Their aim is to defend the country outside the law.  Remo is to be their new assassin: The Destroyer.  He has to go through lots of training in preparation for his assignments, which as he finds comes  in very useful.  But is he able to fulfil his tasks?

Until recently I had never heard of The Destroyer series. This book sounded interesting so I thought I would give it a go.  It was enjoyable enough and it only took me a couple of days to read.

I quite liked Remo, but the things he said and did in those days he wouldn’t get away with now. I felt that Chiun, the man who trained Remo up was mentioned way too much throughout the story.  I also didn’t really get the foreword at the beginning.

I personally felt that this book was enough and I don’t plan to read any more of the titles. It’s not really for me but I’m sure there will be lots of people out there who do like this series.

I give this book 3 out of 5.

Interview with Gillian Mawson

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Gillian Mawson was born in Stockport in Cheshire and now lives in Derbyshire.  She is married and has two cats.  Gillian’s new book is out today and she kindly took the time to answer some questions.

 

Your new book sounds absolutely fascinating.  Can you tell me a bit about it please?

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The book is ‘Evacuees: Children’s Lives on the World War Two Home Front’. It is published by History Press on Tuesday 30th September in hardback format.

I have a passionate interest in social history and during 2013 I collected personal stories from 100 people who spent the war years as evacuees in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. My new book, ‘Evacuees: Children’s Lives on the World War Two Home Front’ contains memorable extracts from these stories. They are accompanied by family photographs, many of which have been rescued from old suitcases and attics. The book also includes the memories of adults who travelled with the evacuated school children.

Prior to this, I spent four years interviewing evacuees for my first book, ‘Guernsey Evacuees: The Forgotten Evacuees of the Second World War.’  17,000 people fled Guernsey to England in June 1940, just weeks before the occupation of their island by Germany. Sadly, many of the people I interviewed have since died. I feel it is vital that the memories of Second World War evacuees are recorded now before they are lost for ever.

My new book contains stories from those who were evacuated within Britain as part of ‘Operation Pied Piper’. Others come from those who sought sanctuary in Britain from France, Belgium, the Ukraine and Spain or from persecution in Germany. I also include memories from evacuees who fled from British territories such as Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney and Gibraltar.

 

How long did it take you to write?

I began to collect the stories and family photographs in January 2013 and had to edit some of the stories. Some evacuees sent me a few paragraphs whilst others sent me 20 pages of memories. Because 100 stories are in the book, I had to edit the stories and select a memorable extract from each one. This was difficult as you can imagine. In addition some evacuees did not have access to a camera during the war, so I contacted local history societies and local newspapers. They kindly provided photographs to accompany these stories which delighted the evacuees.

 

How do you go about doing your research?

I often place letters in regional newspapers and on websites, asking for evacuees to come forward and share their stories. I also make great use of my own evacuation websites, as well as Facebook and Twitter. Even if an evacuee is not online or using social media, one of their children or grandchildren is.

 

Do you find the evacuees stories emotional at times?

I find them very emotional indeed. I interviewed 200 evacuees for my ‘Guernsey Evacuees’ book between 2008 and 2012, and the book was published in November 2012. I pick it up now and then and read a chapter and am still very moved indeed. The stories I have gathered for my new book have the same effect on me. Sometimes whilst interviewing evacuees they are moved to tears by their memories and I am too. When I read the final proof of my new book a month ago, I wept quite a few times.

I also run a community group for Guernsey evacuees who live in the Manchester area – they did not return home after the war. We organise events in order to share their stories with schools and museums. The evacuees’ memories still have the power to move me to tears especially when I hear them sharing them with members of the public.

 

How long have you been a social historian for?

I have loved history since I was a child and always reading about the lives of ordinary people who lived through extraordinary times. I began to study for my history degrees at the University of Manchester when I was 40 years old whilst I was working full time in an office.  In 2004 I began to write various history articles for magazines and newspapers, and in 2008 I began to interview Guernsey evacuees, both in the UK and in Guernsey. I wanted to find out about their wartime experiences on the UK mainland. It taught me a great deal about evacuation and also about the British Home Front during the Second World War.

 

Is this something you always wanted to do?

I enjoyed writing stories when I was a teenager, so I was very happy when I was offered a contract to write my first history book in 2012. Since writing that book, many of the evacuees have died. I feel it is vital that I interview as many evacuees as I can, while they are still with us, to record and preserve their memories for future generations.

 

Have you got anymore books planned?

I have 5 more book proposals in mind but I don’t want to give too much away at this stage. Four of them relate to the subject of the Second World War. – not just evacuation. The fifth is on a completely different historical subject – however, it does include interviews with people!

 

Describe a day in your life.

I have a part time office job, but on the remaining days I work on various matters including organising events for my evacuee community group, trying to obtain funding for the group and interviewing more evacuees. I send emails or letters to many of the evacuees I have interviewed as we have become good friends. I write down my ideas for future books and write articles for magazines and newspapers.

I have started to share my Guernsey evacuation archive online as much as possible so am in constant contact with museums and websites to ensure that this information is shared digitally. I receive emails from evacuees who wish to be reunited with wartime friends and I try to help them as much as I can. I have reunited a number of evacuees and this is very moving and makes me very happy indeed.

I am frequently contacted by people whose parents or grandparents (now deceased) were evacuees. They want to find out more about their relatives’ experiences during the war. I help as much as I can. Authors and television documentary companies contact me to obtain accurate historical information for their wartime novels and programmes. I also give talks to schools, history groups and museums about wartime evacuation and speak on the radio about my research. There is not much time for relaxation but I am very happy in what I do.

 

Links

You can find out more about Gillian’s new book on her blog:-

http://evacueesofworldwartwo.wordpress.com/

 

Gillian’s books can be purchased on Amazon:-

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gillian-Mawson/e/B008MWQ0IE/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

 

Gillian’s blog on the Guernsey evacuation can be found here:-

http://guernseyevacuees.wordpress.com/evacuation/

 

Blog Tour – ‘Death of an Avid Reader’ by Frances Brody

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‘Death of an Avid Reader’ by Frances Brody is being published by Piatkus on the 2nd October 2014.  In celebration of her new novel I am one of a number of bloggers reviewing this book.

9780349400570The story is set in 1925.  Kate Shackleton is a private detective well known for her courageous sleuthing and top class work.  One day she receives a letter from Lady Coulton summoning her to London on a rather delicate matter, and so she makes her way there.  Lady Coulton confides in Kate about a secret from the past.  Many years ago she had a daughter born out of wedlock who she gave up to another family.  Now after all this time she wants to find her daughter and enlists Kate to assist her.

Kate begins her search for Lady Coulton’s daughter, but soon finds herself getting involved in other matters. A Capuchin monkey somehow gets inside her car and Kate ends up having no choice but to take him in temporarily until she can track down his owner.  Meanwhile there have been reports of strange goings on at Leeds Library.  When the body of the much respected Dr Horatio Potter is found in the basement, the quiet literary community is turned upside down.  But who would want Dr Potter dead and why?  This is what Kate wants to find out.

‘Death of an Avid Reader’ is the first Kate Shackleton Mystery I have read. Being an avid reader myself I just loved the title of this novel.  I can see exactly why it has been classed as cosy crime.  This is a well written story with good descriptions of the characters.

I really liked Kate Shackleton. Kate was truly dedicated to her work and was always on the go even when she was really tired or had been injured.  I also like how through Kate’s investigations you get to learn quite a bit about her past.

I found ‘Death of an Avid Reader’ to be an enjoyable and relaxing read.  There was much more to the story than I first thought.

I give this book 4 out of 5.

 

About Frances Brody

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Frances Brody is the author of five mysteries featuring Kate Shackleton as well as many stories and plays for BBC Radio, scripts for television and four sagas, one of which won the HarperCollins Elizabeth Elgin Award. Her stage plays have been toured by several theatre companies and produced at Manchester Library Theatre, the Gate and Nottingham Playhouse, and Jehad was nominated for a Time Out Award.

‘Squaring Circles’ by Carolyn Mathews

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‘Squaring Circles’ by Carolyn Mathews is the sequel to ‘Transforming Pandora’.  It was published yesterday by Roundfire.

 

Book Blurb

Free spirit Pandora is shaken by the sudden death of her mother and the presence of a mysterious stranger at the funeral. When her mother’s grave is disturbed, she turns detective and finds herself drawn into a world of intrigue, centring round a devious couple’s plot to exploit a healing circle for their own ends. Her partner Jay’s collaboration with a sexy singer and her own encounter with an old flame add to the confusion. Will she succeed in her quest to restore equilibrium to her family circle or will the decisions she and Jay make set them up for more heartache?

 

Author Bio

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Carolyn Mathews’ English Language writing and teaching career included a stint with a class of ‘Harry Potter’ extras at the local Warner Bros. studio, Hertfordshire. With so much magic in the air, it’s no wonder she now writes fiction with more than a hint of the supernatural.

 

Links

Buy Links:-

Paperback

 

Author Links:-

http://carolynmathews.co.uk

facebook

twitter

 

If anyone wants an autographed copy they can email Carol. The address is on the contact page of her website.

Carolyn Mathews

 

There is a Facebook event today to celebrate Carolyn Mathews new book:-

https://www.facebook.com/events/746906512032795/

‘Plague Land’ by S D Sykes + Competition

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‘Plague Land’ was published today in both hardback and eBook. I first heard about this book from History Lives, the historical fiction community from Hodder & Stoughton.  It sounded so interesting and I was very kindly sent a proof copy to read and review.  ‘Plague Land’ is S D Sykes debut novel; an exciting new voice in historical crime.

This story is based in medieval Kent and is set in the aftermath of the Black Death.  It is 1350 and Oswald de Lacy has been sent home from the monastery he was packed off to at the young age of seven.  Now eighteen and having recently lost his father and two older brothers to the Black Death, he is faced with a huge amount of responsibility.  It will be his job to run the estate as Lord of Somershill Manor, something he never expected.

Oswald has no idea just how bad things are. The years of pestilence and neglect have affected the estate badly and lots of people have lost their lives.  His mother however still remains the powerful matriarch of the family and his sister Clemence who isn’t very easy to get on with still lives at Somershill Manor.  Just as Oswald is about to tackle things he is notified about a vicious murder of a young woman.  The rather ambitious village priest insists that she was killed by demonic dog-headed men, but Oswald sees his claim as a load of nonsense.  He soon finds himself with the job of trying to solve the crime and find the murderer, but each step he takes seems to lead him into a maze of political intrigue, family secrets and violence.

I knew as soon as I opened this book that I was going to enjoy reading it. The prologue had me totally intrigued.  If I had not known that this was S D Sykes debut novel I would never have guessed, it is that good.  The quality of the writing throughout is amazing and the story doesn’t drag.  S D Sykes paints a very good picture of what life was like in those days.

There is a handy glossary to refer to and at the end a very interesting historical note from the author which is really worth reading.

‘Plague Land’ is a fascinating and intriguing read and a real page-turner.  This is historical crime at its best.  I am already looking forward to S D Sykes next book.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

 

Both S D Sykes and History Lives are on Twitter.  Do follow them.

S D Sykes – @SD_Sykes

History Lives – @HistoryLives_

 

Competition

Three very lucky people have a chance to win a copy of ‘Plague Land’.  To enter leave a comment telling me what your favourite era is.

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 12th October 2014.

Winners will be notified within 7 days and their details will be passed on to Hodder & Stoughton who will send out the prizes.

 

Good luck! :-)

Cover Reveal – ‘The Prophecies’ by Holly Martin

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This is the stunning cover of ‘The Prophecies’, Book 2 of The Sentinel Series by Holly Martin.  It will be published on October 1st, a week today.

 

Book Blurb

Eve grows stronger and more powerful every day as she strives to ensure she is ready to face her destiny. But some of her gifts are unwelcome. Eve’s visions of the future become darker and those she loves are in terrible danger. But when her actions result in tragedy, Eve is called before The Oraculum, the council that created her

When she is summoned to their castle she becomes aware of a rift between the council members that not only could endanger her life, but could put the whole planet at risk. Would The Oraculum really turn against her and risk everything?

But in the darkness, a light burns bright. Her love for Seth is stronger than any of her powers.

But as she battles against a new threat, can she really forsake those closest to her in order to save the world? Will everyone Eve loves survive?

 

The Sentinel, Book 1 of the series is only 77p/99c so if you haven’t read it yet you can download it here http://myBook.to/TheSentinel

‘The Lady Who Turned’ by Tony Drury – Book Launch and Competition

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‘The Lady Who Turned’ is Tony Drury’s fifth novel.  It is being launched at BAFTA, 195 Piccadilly, London today.

 

Synopsis

The Lady Who Turned revolves round three impressive women, the Lady magazine, and, in the background, the renowned Mrs T, the lady who was not for turning.

Central to the story is Sarah Rudd, who finds herself and her family caught in a crisis which forces her to reconsider every aspect of her life, as a police officer and as a wife. The decisions she makes take her in unexpected and exciting directions.

Annabelle and Esther, both on the staff of the Lady magazine, also find themselves caught in a crisis – the magazine is under threat, and, in resisting its takeover by hostile forces, each woman finds herself having to go to extraordinary lengths to fight for what she values.

The criminal underworld and City financiers battle it out for dominance, and the ending comes unexpectedly at the graveside of the first woman prime minister of Great Britain, when the lady is seen at last to turn… 

 

About Tony Drury

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Tony is a corporate financier. He is chairman of both Axiom Capital Limited and Alpha Returns Plc, a Hong Kong based investment company whose shares are traded on the London Stock Exchange.

He is the author of five romantic thrillers which combine his knowledge of the City and finance with the adventures of Detective Inspector Sarah Rudd, a police officer who lives life to the full and near to the edge.

His first novel ‘Megan’s Game’, which is based in Wales and tells of the legend of the Bells of Aberdovey, is to be made into a film at Shepperton Studios by accredited Producer Paul Tucker. It is hoped to start filming in 2015.

His latest work, ‘The Lady Who Turned’, tells of the dramatic events involving an East European gangster’s attempt to gain control of ‘The Lady’ magazine. This was inspired by a chance meeting between Tony and the managing director, Helen Robinson. Somewhere along the line DI Sarah Rudd gets involved and faces her nemesis in a brutal scene at Holborn Tube Station.

Tony is an ambassador for HEART UK – The Cholesterol Charity.

He is married to Judy with a married son and daughter and Henry, his first grandchild. He lives in Bedfordshire.

 

For full details please see:-

http://www.tonydrury.com

Twitter @mrtonydrury

City Fiction, the publisher are on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/City-Fiction-Publishing/1434318926804533 and on Twitter @CityFictionLtd

 

Competition

One very lucky person has the chance to win a signed copy of ‘The Lady Who Turned’.  To enter all you have to do is answer the following question by leaving a comment:-

Have you ever thought about writing a book?

 

Terms and Conditions

This competition is open to UK residents only.

The closing date is 11:59 p.m. on the 5th October 2014.

The winner will be notified within 7 days and their details will be passed on to City Fiction who will send out the prize.

 

Good luck everyone! :-)

‘The Stolen Girl’ by Renita D’Silva

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‘The Stolen Girl’ was published by Bookouture on Friday 12th September 2014.  I was very kindly given a copy of this book to review.  This is Renita D’Silva’s third novel.

How far would YOU go to protect your child?

That is the thought provoking question asked in this story.

Diya is thirteen years old and for as long as she can remember it has always been just her and her mum, Vani. She doesn’t even know who her dad is.  Over the years they have moved many times, never settling down anywhere properly.  But things are about to change.  In the blink of an eye Diya’s fragile world is shattered when her mum is arrested, accused of abducting Diya as a baby.

Vani has spent a lifetime looking over her shoulder, never totally relaxed. She wants the best for her daughter and will do anything to protect her.  Life is going to be even harder for Vani now, but she will fight for Diya no matter what the outcome.

I had the feeling that I would enjoy reading this book. ‘The Stolen Girl’ has been split into five parts with each one being either in the past or present.  The story is narrated throughout by the three main characters Diya, Vani and Aarti.

All three characters had a tough time of it one way or the other, especially poor Vani.  I felt sorry for Aarti and what she went through in her childhood and although in a way it was understandable, I didn’t like the way she treated others.  It’s a pity she couldn’t move on.

I can tell that a lot of thought, work and care has gone into writing this novel. I really like the writing style and the way the story has been presented.  I found it easy to follow without getting confused.  Renita writes beautifully and describes things in such a colourful and wonderful way. The way she described the food made my mouth water.  I could almost see it being laid out on the table.

‘The Stolen Girl’ is a heart-breaking story about friendship, betrayal, possessiveness, love and motherhood.

I give this book 5 out of 5.

‘Stable Mates’ by Zara Stoneley

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‘Stable Mates’ is Zara Stoneley’s latest novel.  It was published in eBook on the 4th September 2014.

 

Book Blurb

Secrets and scandals, love and lust – when the ‘Cheshire Set’ are up against the ‘Footballer’s Wives’ the only common ground is carnal…

Flirting and fun seem the perfect antidote for Lottie’s battered heart, and where better to find them than back in tranquil Tippermere, home of sexy eventer Rory Steel, the smiling Irish eyes of hunky farrier Mick O’Neal, and mysterious newcomer, model Tom Strachan?

But when landowner Marcus James drops dead unexpectedly, and the threat of his waggish wife Amanda selling the heart of the village out from under them looms large, things look like they’re about to heat up in and out of the saddle.

With tensions running high, and the champagne flowing as freely as the adrenalin, is it any wonder that love catches more than one of them unawares?

 

About Zara Stoneley

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Bestselling author Zara Stoneley lives in deepest Cheshire surrounded by horses, dogs, cats and amazing countryside. When she’s not visiting wine bars, artisan markets or admiring the scenery in her sexy high heels or green wellies, she can be found in flip flops on the beach in Barcelona, or more likely sampling the tapas!

Zara writes hot romance and bonkbusters. Her latest novel, ‘Stable Mates’, is a fun romp through the Cheshire countryside and combines some of her greatest loves – horses, dogs, hot men and strong women (and not forgetting champagne and fast cars)!

She writes for Harper Collins and Accent Press.

 

Find out more about Zara:

Website     Twitter     Facebook     Google+

 

‘Stable Mates’ is available to purchase at the following sites:-

Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Foyles     Waterstones

Sainsbury’s     Google Play     iTunes     Blackwells

Adrian Harvey – Guest Blog Post

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Earlier this year Adrian Harvey’s debut novel ‘Being Someone’ was published by Urbane Publications.  Below is a lovely blog post by Adrian in which he explains where he got his inspiration from when writing this book.

I hope you enjoy reading it.

 

Things are seldom as they seem

Inspiration comes from many places and in all shapes and sizes. In my case, it came from India, in the hefty form of an elephant. That elephant was long dead, and I never had the chance to meet him. It also turned out that he wasn’t even real. But his story was the starting point of my novel, Being Someone. Quite literally, in the sense that a version of it became the first chapter, but the elephant was also the inspiration for everything that followed. The elephant, who I called Iravatha, was both the starting point and the frame for the novel, and he keeps poking his very long nose into the story.

In the book, the story of Iravatha is told to the narrator in a little park in the middle of Mysore and, to all intents and purposes, it is the same story that was told to me a little park in the middle of Mysore, some seven years ago. Essentially, it is an Indian version of the story of Greyfriar’s Bobby. If you don’t know the story, it’s the ‘true’ story of a little dog – Bobby no less – who keeps returning to the grave of his dead master in an Edinburgh church yard. There’s a Disney movie, made in the sixties, about the tale. It’s very touching.

When I got back to London I checked and there was no Iravatha. The boy I had met in Mysore had been telling stories, conflating bits and pieces of truth to create an impression, an effect. And it worked; I liked it. But what attracted me most to it was the ambiguity in its apparent simplicity and honesty.

You see, there is an account of Greyfriar’s Bobby that suggests that, rather than a heart warming account of loyalty and enduring love, it was simply a wheeze dreamed up to attract tourists to Edinburgh and in fact – a little like Lassie – a number of different dogs played the role over the years. Other versions suggest that ‘Bobby’ was just one of a number of stray dogs that hung around the cemeteries of the city, waiting for the highly emotional human visitors, who would feed them.

Now, the relationship between a mahout and his elephant is deep, often lifelong. But it is also complex and problematic. Mahouts are seldom entirely kind to the animals they train and tend and, as we know, elephants have very long memories within which to hold their grudges. I started to play with the layers of truth that might be bound up with my elephant story and, for some reason, this ambiguity made me think about a marriage.

So Being Someone became a love story: a man – let’s call him James – and a woman – let’s call her Lainey – fall in love; they get married, and then things happen, as things so often insist on doing.

 

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Since escaping the East Midlands to find his fortune in the big city, Adrian Harvey has combined a career in and around government with trying to see as much of the world as he can. He lives in North London, which he believes to be the finest corner of the world’s greatest city. Being Someone is his first novel.

 

‘Being Someone’ is available to buy on Amazon – http://georiot.co/3syu

You can also buy it from http://urbanepublications.com

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