Smorgasbord Book Reviews Round Up March 2022 – #Romance Jan Sikes, #Scifi Richard Dee, #Thriller Stevie Turner, #Africa Wilbur Smith, #Poetry Frank Prem, #Fantasy Paul Cude


Another great month of reading in March and I hope you will enjoy the reviews.

My review for Jagged Feathers March 3rd 2022

Having read book one of this series I was looking forward to this next story with much anticipation. I was delighted to catch up with some of the characters from Ghostly Interference and the author made the transition seamless.

Both Vann and Nankina who head the cast in this second book, carry the burden of past events in their lives and the story highlights the many challenges facing those who have served and also civilians who have been touched by tragedy.

The setting is tanquil, but danger and violence intrude into this peaceful backwater. The last thing a recovering soldier with PTSD needs is to be back in a war zone, but his need to protect a defenceless woman becomes a mission he cannot back down from.

This is a high octane thriller and romance, with some intriguing paranormal elements which draws the reader in, and sweeps them along with the action and developing love affair. And then there is also an adorable dog who despite his own past mistreatment gives love in abundance.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading the book and recommend to those who enjoy action packed romances.

Head over to read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

My advance review for We Are Saul March 5th 2022

Having read other books by Richard Dee I was delighted to be offered an advance copy of his latest release.

There have been elements of what might be termed science fiction in stories going back hundreds of years. However it is only in the 20th century that reality caught up with the fantasy with space exploration, and humans not only landing on the moon, but orbiting the earth on a permanent manned station.

We are now faced with incredible possibilities both for the future of space travel, and in the advancements this brings to humans in the form of their capabilities.

The concept for this novel is very clever as it builds on the achievements in a number of areas including robotics and human enhancement, taking them to a whole new level.

Humans do have free will, but when you have lost everything that you have including your control over your own body, how desperate would you be to accept a radical and experimental lifeline?

Saul is about to find out. Whilst he may be paralysed, his mind and his heart still yearn for love and connection, the question is, will all of that still be possible in his future?

This is science fiction, but the author writes with such clarity that you find yourself believing that this too, like so many of the futeristic imaginings of the past, might well be feasible at some point in the coming centuries, if not decades.

Richard Dee has created wonderful complex characters including the enigmatic and secretive Dr Tendral, the nurses who assist Saul in his recovery and progress in the experiment, and others on the sidelines who will influence the success or failure of the project. He is known for his world building both in science fiction and fantasy novels and that is evident in this book too.

As a thriller prepare for some unexpected twists, dangerous revelations and some thought provoking questions about the morality of interfering with human mortality.

I can highly recommend this intriguing and fast paced science fiction thriller which is likely to leave you wondering how soon it will become fact.

Head over to pre-order the book for June 1st: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US 

My review for Scam March 9th 2022

This is an intriguing read and apart from a great story concept and interesting characters, it also carries a very important message.

There are many temptations available online, and so easy to be taken in by the glib and bequiling charms of those who wish to part you from anything they can. Money of course but also confidence, dignity and very often the respect of loved ones.

Enticement becomes menace very quickly when they have their claws into you, and once you have let them into your lives and offered up your information, it is not only you who may suffer the consequences.

This is the case for Lauren who looks for a shortcut to moving into her own home with her husband Ben, who is determined to work hard and take the time necessary to build up their savings towards their deposit.

Bad enough to become a victim of a scam, but when the criminals are on the doorstep there may be more repercussions than from some remote hacker thousands of miles away.

This is a game of cat and mouse and it impacts not just the safety of those close to Lauren but her marriage, job and future.

A thriller that will keep you turning the pages and a stark reminder that the old saying ‘If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.’

Recommended read for anyone who shares their life online.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK And: Amazon US

My review for Legacy of War March 19th 2022

I was looking forward to discovering how Saffron Courtney and her husband Gerhard fared following the end of WWII and Legacy of War was as action packed and fast paced as the previous book.

There are certain aspects of Wilbur Smith’s writing that is present in all his books, and that is his love of Africa, the land and it’s people. That is just as evident in this book which is set a few years after the war, when colonialism was loosening its hold on countries such as India. Change is not supported by those within the white population who stand to lose land and wealth accumulated over the past century at the expense of the native population. The younger generation of black Africans who have received further education abroad, are coming home with a determination that there must be change, and the balance of power begins to shift. However, others see only violence as the solution to remove those they consider trespassers on their land. It is the time of the Mau Mau and the fear they instil brings about a time of terror and bloodshed, with both sides suffering great losses in the struggle.

Runnng parallel to this time of building tension, is unfinished business for Saffron and Gerhard. The war may be over, but some who committed the worst atrocities are still free and in hiding. Gerhard had suffered a great deal at the hands of his elder brother Konrad, who had served the Reich to further his family’s industrial fortunes and because it suited his nature.Having lost everything at the end of the war and forced into hiding, vengeance and retribution will shatter the peace that Gerhard and Saffron have found on their home close to the Courtney estate. They will be forced to confront the threat if they and their children are to survive.

In a thrilling and action packed climax, the Courtney family and those close to them, find themselve trapped in the path of a seemingly unstoppable army led by a man who sees only violence as a path to the future. The outcome will determine the legacy the Courtney family will leave on this land they love.

Recommended read.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US – And: Amazon UK

My review for the collection 26th March 2022

Frank Prem’s poetry always has the power to move those who read it. Never lacking in emotional content, he creates verse that illuminates our world, its experiences and history.

In this collection we are introduced to speculative fantasy, still bringing relateable experiences and events in our lives into focus, but also exploring the outer edges of our consciousness and our universe.

Nature is not far from the centre of the verse with storms at sea, forests and skies blue and vast. Such as in the poem “storm and the sea (bubbles of foam)”

He invites us to wander with him through a garden where the blooms are black, to imagine orbiting the earth in space and offers a reminder of how our minds might lose touch with reality and the present in “Something” which begins we these words….

excuse me
I have lost something

I can’t tell
where
I put it

This is a collection to read at your leisure without haste and with an open mind. The poet provides plenty of opportunity to use your imagination and enjoy the experience.

Head over to pre-order the collecton for April 15th and 29th: Amazon AUAnd: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

 

My review for A Threat from the Past 31st March 2022

Fantasy stories require great world building, characters that are unique and compelling, plenty of action, and a story line that engages and carries you along from first to last page. I would say that all those boxes were ticked in this first book of the White Dragon Saga.

Two worlds, one of which runs deep beneath that inhabited by humans, and is meticulously described. Accessed creatively by a number of portals enabling ancient guardians to move freely between them. There is a wonderful thread of humour throughout the book as the author shares the parallel lifestyles including food, sport and adventure holidays of the mythical creatures, which lightens the mood as the dangerous plot unfolds.

The story opens with mythical dragons and a violent attack on humans that gave rise to the legend of St.George… This chapter sets the scene for events in the present, when long buried evil elements of the dragon community seek to break the harmony created over centuries between the humans and their guardians.

The three young friends Pete, Tank and Richie all love different sports in their human forms and there are some great action sequences that take place on hockey, lacrosse and rugby pitches and on the equivalent game centres in the underworld, but on a much bigger scale. The fast paced commentary has you standing on the sidelines cheering on the players in both forms.

There is evil intent brewing; missed by those responsible for dragon security, and Peter finds himself in the middle of an escalating and frightening takeover at work and on the pitch. This builds to a dangerous climax when all could be lost for both humans and the majority of benevolent dragons. Revelations about the past and the intentions for a darker future lay the groundwork for the next book in the series which I am looking forward to.

There is magic, danger, adventure and plenty of thrills throughout the book, and it would appeal to young adults who enjoyed Harry Potter, as well as adults who enjoy well written fantasy, and are looking for an established series to follow with several books to enjoy.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UKAnd: Amazon US

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books… Sally

 

 

Smorgasbord Book Reviews – December 2021 Round Up – #Contemporary Anne Goodwin, #Romance Jan Sikes, #Romance Staci Troilo, #Shortstories Mae Clair, #Thriller Jane Buckley


Welcome to the last of the book reviews for 2021 with some wonderful books that I can highly recommend.

The first book I read in December was the thought provoking contemporary novel Matilda Wilson is Coming Home by Anne Goodwin.

My review for the book 9th December 2021

This book is a behind the scenes drama played out behind the doors of a mental institution transitioning from a place to stash those who suffered from alleged mental disorders or lapses in moral judgment. Many living within these institutions may not have originally suffered from a mental impairment, but after fifty years within this closed and rigid environment, they have developed the inability to distinquish between reality and fantasy.

Told from three different perspectives we are introduced to Matilda (Matty), Janice and Henry who all have threads from the past keeping them from living life to the full.

Matilda’s story is heartbreaking and from an early age she was blighted by poverty, loss and abuse by those who should have kept her safe. She was a free spirit trapped by circumstances and the actions of others, and even behind the walls of this institution, there are those eager to take advantage of her vulnerability.

Her escape is the make believe world of princes and country houses in an era she felt most comfortable in. There is humour and logic behind her thinking and it was easy to fall in love with her mischievous approach to modern intrusions into her fantasy. However, after all the deprivations she has suffered, will she be able to move onto the more relaxed approach of community living?

Henry has been stuck in a time warp since his older sister he knew asTilly left when he was very young. He cannot move on as he is convinced that one day she will return to the house they shared fifty years ago. Now reaching retirement that dream is fading despite events in his neighbourhood that conspire to shake him out of his comfort zone. Can he let go of the past and move on to find love and a new life?

Finally Janice a young social worker, idealistic and convinced that she can prepare Matty for life in the new open community housing despite a number of setbacks during the process. Janice has her own past to explore as she becomes more disconnected from her adopted parents and sister and begins to question her role in mental health.

There are times, as events unfold and Matilda shares her childhood and teenage years, you as the onlooker are moved to outrage, despair but also admiration for the spirit that reached breaking point, only for it to escape instead into a fantasy world that provided comfort.

This is a thought provoking novel that is the first in the Matilda Windsor story, written by an author with first hand experience of the world of mental health institutions and the changing approach to treatment as a clinical psychologist. I look forward to discovering how the story unfolds in the next book.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon UK – And:Amazon US

Also by Anne Goodwin

Anne Goodwin, Buy:Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – follow Anne : Goodreads – blog: Annecdotal – Twitter: @Annecdotist

Just in time for the holidays, a lovely read from award winning author Jan Sikes a novelette Mountain Laurel Christmas

My review for the book December 17th 2021

This story by Jan Sikes may be a short read but it is packed with heartwarming moments and reminders about family and how important they are at Christmas and every day of the year.

For the last two years we have been restricted in meeting family and other loved ones in person, missing the shared memories, laughter and physical hugs. Mountain Laurel Christmas delivers all of those in beautiful gift wrapped packages.

Throw in a flawed, lost superstar whose material possessions and fame leave an emptiness that seems impossible to fill, a road trip that leads to redemption, and you have a wonderful addition to your own Christmas.

I have no hesitation in recommending.

Read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon US And: Amazon UK

A small selection of other books by Jan Sikes

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Website: Jan SikesGoodreads: Jan on Goodreads – Twitter: @rijanjks

Delighted to review the festive romance by Staci Troilo – No Such Luck (Keystone Couples)

My review for the book December 22nd 2021

There is nothing like a feel good romance and a reminder of family and friendship at this time of year and No Such Luck by Staci Troilo delivers all of those elements. A short heart-warming read to add some glitter to the holiday.

As time passes. it is often the case memories can cast a rosier glow on relationships, events and expectations than in reality. We also evolve emotionally and mentally based on our experiences of life, and going back to our teenage years and our hometown, can put the spotlight on those memories with intriguing results.

This is the case for Piper Seidel, a feisty journalist who speaks her mind which can land her in trouble. Returning home for the holidays between jobs, she is faced with realisation she may have been pinning her hopes and dreams on a talisman that is not as lucky as she thought.

The characters are distinctively drawn and the story gathers momentum towards a very satisfactory outcome. Recommended

Head over to read the reviews and buy the book: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

A small selection of books written by Staci Troilo

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK –Follow Staci: GoodreadsBlog: Staci Troilo WordPress – Website: Staci TroiloTwitter@stacitroilo

Very pleased to share my review for the short story collection by Mae Clair – Things Old and Forgotten

My review for the stories December 23rd 2021

Wow this is a story collection across the genres that will amaze and delight the reader.

We travel roads from the past and into the future meeting interesting characters along the way, some drawn from the worlds of fantasy and others from the edge of darkness. There are also light-hearted moments with encounters with intoxicating small yellow birds and escapees from the confines of ancient bottles.

Mae Clair writes with clarity and with a focus on the reader’s engagement, creating memorable characters and bringing favourite legendary elements into a new environment.

The stories are all excellent and tough to highlight any for special merit but my heart was warmed by Father’s Day, I was totally drawn in by Robin of Sherwood and Miss Lily Makes a Wish had me laughing.

I can highly recommend this well written and entertaining collection of stories that crosses the genres with ease and expertise.

Head over to buy the collection: Amazon USAnd: Amazon UK

A selection of other books by Mae Clair

Read the reviews and buy the books: Amazon US – And : Amazon UK – Follow Mae on: Goodreads Website: Mae Clair – Twitter: @MaeClair1

My final review for the year was for the thriller Stones Corner: Turmoil by Jane Buckley

My review for the book 28th December 2021

The author gives a warning in the blurb about what a reader can expect in her debut novel set in Derry, Northern Ireland during one of the darkest years in the province’s history. The book delivers the reasons for that warning with chilling effect, bringing home the reality that this was a part of the United Kingdom, experiencing civil war within the last 50 years. The ripples of this violent outcome to the separation of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and its issues of belief and inequality, spread devastatingly outwards from the province; at times devastatingly.

When extremism on both sides of the divide are intent on winning, those innocents caught up in the turmoil are at the greatest risk, and when an outside force such as the British army are brought in, it adds fuel to the fire. The author creates that atmosphere of everyday fear and loss with great skill.

At the heart of this turmoil are young men and women who are vulnerable to manipulation by the fanatics, and imprisoned by age old segregation between religions and class.

Inhumane treatment of individuals, bombings resulting in mass casualties of innocents, illicit love affairs, revenge, espionage and poverty all combine to break the spirit of those who can see no end to the deprivation and conflict.

The author has created characters that will haunt you and some who inspire. Despite the environment, good people try to find comfort in their lives, falling in love across the divide and working to bring peace and stability.  As the story moves forward they all come together centred on an event which will impact all of them and the future of the city.

This intiguing thriller delivers a great deal in terms of the writing, characters, storyline and expectations and I highly recommend the book. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series soon.

Also by Jane Buckley

Connect to Jane Buckley: Jane Buckley Writes – Author Page: Amazon UK – And: Amazon USFollow Jane:Goodreads – Facebook:Jane Buckley Writes – Twitter:@janebuckley_sc

 

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you will be leaving with some books.. .thanks Sally.