Welcome to the Smorgasbord Christmas Book Fair with a selection of books from personally recommended authors on my bookshelf I believe will make wonderful gifts for friends, family and for you.
The first book today is the third book in the Dawn of Humanity trilogy by Jacqui Murray. I can highly recommend Natural Selection (Dawn of Humanity Book 3)
About the book
In this final book of the trilogy, Lucy and her tribe leave their good home to rescue captured tribemembers who are in grave danger. Since leaving her mate, Lucy created a tribe that includes an eclectic mix of species–a Canis, a Homotherium kit, and different iterations of early man. More will join and some will die but that is the nature of prehistoric life, when survival depends on a mix of man’s developing intellect and untiring will to live. Each brings unique skills to the task of saving Raza and his Group from sure death. Based on true events from 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her band of early humans struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.
One of the reviews for the book
The final book of the Dawn of Humanity series ends on a positive note though I suspect that Lucy’s story of survival in the prehistoric world will continue to be riddled with danger and challenges. As the title suggests, not all the branches of primitive mankind will survive and those who do will depend on their ability to develop new skills and think strategically.
The plot is straightforward with two main threads. The first is Lucy and her group’s continuing search for a sustainable homebase. The second is their plan to rescue past members of her tribe from Man-who-preys before they become so weak from hunger that they’re killed. Lucy is the main character, but not the only point of view, and other characters are frequently brought to the forefront. These include her two-legged group members as well as those with four.
Murray’s research continues to add depth and realism to the read, and I found it as fascinating as I did in the first book. Our ancestors had it tough, and their lives were intricately entwined with the world around them. I appreciated that Murray didn’t spare our modern sensibilities. Grooming bugs from each other’s skin, eating rotten meat, and “fear poop” aren’t very glamorous, but they added to the authenticity of the story. Her word choices—to describe the harsh environment, its rhythms and wild creatures, and the nature and skill of each member of her diverse group—bring life on Earth 1.8 million years ago into vivid relief.
For readers who enjoy a meticulously researched primitive world and the remarkable challenges faced by our evolutionary ancestors, I highly recommend this series. It’s fascinating.
A selection of books by Jacqui Murray
Delighted to share the news of the latest release by Terry Tyler and my review of this psychological thriller… Where There’s Doubt.
About the book
‘I can be anything you want me to be. Even if you don’t know you want it. Especially if you don’t know you want it.’
Café owner Kate is mentally drained after a tough two years; all she wants from her online chess partner is entertainment on lonely evenings, and maybe a little virtual flirtation.
She is unaware that Nico Lewis is a highly intelligent con artist who, with an intricately spun web of lies about their emotional connection, will soon convince her that he is The One.
Neither does Kate know that his schemes involve women who seek love on dating sites, as well as his small publishing business. A host of excited authors believe Nico is about to make their dreams come true.
Terry Tyler’s twenty-fourth publication is a sinister psychological drama that highlights the dark side of internet dating—and the danger of ignoring the doubts of your subconscious.
One of the reviews for Where There’s Doubt
Four rich and lonely women fall for the not unsubstantial charms of the thoroughly obnoxious and narcissistic Nico Lewis. Nico is only after one thing… money. He manages to divide his time between all four ladies, promising love and eternal devotion. If he’s not sorting out wedding plans or taking Polly, Kate, Heather and Minerva (separately of course) around the mansion where he proposes they shall live (of course he needs ‘help’ to fund a deposit), then he’s duping wannabe authors into believing he runs Curlew Publishing, a vanity press whereby authors pay money up front and then seemingly wait forever for their book to be published.
This book is very well written and told from multiple perspectives. When women like Kate, Polly, Heather and Minerva are lonely and isolated and then somebody like Nico comes along, wooing them with charm and the promise of eternal devotion, then they believe any lie they are told because they are looking for love and are gullible.
The four women all deal with the fallout of Nico’s activities in different ways, making this book very readable and quite a page-turner. I read until the very last page as I was interested in how things would turn out. I found Nico to be the most reprehensible person with no redeeming features at all, but then again that’s because of Ms Tyler’s writing skills.
A small selection of other books by Terry Tyler
The last book today is by Marina Osipova – Push Me Off a Cliff a novel set in post war Russia when wounds and loss are still dominant in the minds of the survivors.
About the book
March of 1948. Three years have passed since the Great Patriotic War ended in victory, disposing into the streets of the destroyed and hungry cities and villages brave decorated soldiers: thousands of them having been burned, maimed, or disfigured beyond recognition.
On a crowded commuter train, Maria hears an invalid singing, which painfully connects her to her time at the front and to the love that failed to happen to her. Why, then, since that day, does the voice from the past echo so insistently in her present life? The torture of uncertainty—was it really Armen?—intensifies after the next encounter and leaves her with an unsettling compulsion to do . . . what? Help him? Or, rather, rescue herself from her lonely and unassuming existence her heart subtly rejects? She must decide whether she is willing to let go of the life she knows for feelings she had never thought she could experience.
But, first, she has to find him.
As the genocide of 1915 within the Ottoman Empire destroyed the lives of Armen’s parents and about one-and-a-half-million ethnic Armenians, his future is shattered by this other war and betrayal. Legless and totally alone, and without any family after his mother is gone, it seems the most merciful thing for him would be to end his miserable existence by leaping off a cliff. Otherwise, he must find the courage to continue living in the condition the war left him and find his place in the bitter every-day reality full of difficulties prone to men like him.
Maria and Armen. Each carries private wounds. In the face of despair, will fate offer them a chance to heal their souls and hearts?
One of the reviews for the book
Now that I finished reading it, I’m absolutely certain this book will stay with me for a very long time. The author doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities the Soviet people had to deal with during the post-war years, and the brutal honesty with which she describes the neglect and humiliation that yesterday’s heroes of war – now homeless and disabled people – had to face from their own government and fellow countrymen left me speechless many times throughout the book.
Both Maria and Armen are incredibly real and likable characters, but it was the character of Armen that has left me completely in awe. In the first part of the book we see him as a sensitive, compassionate and somewhat impetuous young man. The tragedy that befalls Armen later is supposed to crush his personality, it nearly destroys him, and that’s where it becomes evident just how much inner strength and will to live there is in him.
The parallel Marina Osipova draws between the two episodes with the man on the cliff shows that Armen wouldn’t become such a strong person without his mother and her love for him. His family’s legacy and his people’s culture live in his heart, preventing him from losing the last shreds of hope and guiding him towards the light even in the darkest of times.
I loved the gradual, careful and authentic development of feelings between Maria and Armen. Despite their youth, they are old souls because of what they’ve seen and lived through, and the fact that their bond is based on the same experiences, mutual respect, compassion and eventual friendship makes it all the more precious and hard-won. Together, they learn to heal and leave the pain and loneliness behind, and, as a reader, I couldn’t root for them enough.
I was also very surprised and happy to find the descriptions of Novopestchanaya street in the Moscow district Sokol where I myself live in one of the chapters.
Overall, if you are a World War 2 and Soviet Union historical fiction lover, Push Me Off The Cliff by Marina Osipova will be your best choice. Highly recommend.
Other books by Marina Osipova