blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Blood’s Campaign – Angus Donald*

TWO KINGS, TWO FAITHS, TWO ARMIES – AND THE BATTLE FOR IRELAND

THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE VICTOR . . .

August 25, 1689

The English Army is besieging Carrickfergus in Ireland. Brilliant but unusual gunner Holcroft Blood of the Royal Train of Artillery (son of Col. Thomas Blood), is ready to unleash his cannons on the rebellious forces of deposed Catholic monarch James II. But this is more than war for Captain Blood, a lust for private vengeance burns within him.

French intelligence agent Henri d’Erloncourt has come across the seas to foment rebellion against William of Orange, the newly installed Dutch ruler of England, Scotland and Ireland. But Henri’s true mission is not to aid the suffering of the Irish but to serve the interests of his master, Louis le Grand.

Michael ‘Galloping’ Hogan, brigand, boozer and despoiler of Protestant farms, strives to defend his native land – and make a little profit on the side. But when he takes the Frenchman’s gold, he suspects deep in his freedom-loving heart, that he has merely swapped one foreign overlord for another.

July 1, 1690

On the banks of the River Boyne, on a fateful, scorching hot day, two armies clash in bloody battle – Protestant against Catholic – in an epic struggle for mastery of Ireland. And, when the slaughter is over and the smoke finally clears, for these three men, nothing will ever be the same again . . .

Holcroft must decide whether to join the conspirators, including his old friend Jack Churchill, now Lord Marlborough, and support Dutch William’s invasion – or remain loyal to his unpopular king.

Kent-based author Angus Donald was born in 1965 and educated at Marlborough College and Edinburgh University. He has worked as a fruit-picker in Greece, a waiter in New York and as an anthropologist studying magic and witchcraft in Indonesia. For 20 years he worked as a journalist in Hong Kong, India, Afghanistan and London. He is now married with children and writes full time from a medieval farmhouse in Tonbridge, Kent.

Angus is a distant relative of Col. Thomas Blood who is best known for his attempt to steal the Crown Jewels of England from the Tower of London in 1671.

Angus is also the author of the bestselling Outlaw Chronicles.

Website

My thoughts:

This isn’t the sort of book I’d normally pick up even though I enjoy historical fiction as I tend to avoid military history. But this is so well written and draws you in so well I actually quite enjoyed it.

The history of England and Ireland is shameful and blood stained and the period this book covers is the same. After James II was deposed from the throne he seized after Charles II’s death he fled to Ireland where he waged war with borrowed soldiers against William and Mary’s troops.

Using real names and places Angus Donald builds a realistic picture of life in the English army during the Irish campaign.

Holcroft Blood is a Captain in the Ordnance (what we call Artillery now) but he also has his own agenda.

The author is distantly related to the read Blood, which adds another interesting layer to the book.

All in all I found it interesting and thoroughly well written with a real sense of the time and place it’s set.

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*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Blind Witness – Vicki Goldie*

In 1922 a blind WW1 veteran and former intelligence officer attends a weekend with his aristocratic wife and her family at a country house in the New Forest, Hampshire, England. Fourteen people sit down to dinner on the Friday night; by the end of the weekend there are two murders, an attempted murder and a suicide.

This is book one in a series of humorous murder mysteries and introduces young sleuths The Hon Melissa Charters and her war veteran husband Major Alastair Charters.

The pair collaborate using Melissa’s powers of observation and Alasdair’s old skills gained in the Secret Intelligence Service to investigate the events unfolding over the weekend. A murder mystery with a spy plot told from many different points of view in the tradition of Simon Brett, M C Beaton and Kerry Greenwood.

Will our investigators discover who is behind the murders?

Vicki worked as a Chartered Librarian for the Royal National Institute of Blind People and then for the past 19 years in public libraries in Bournemouth and Poole. There she enjoyed arranging and attending writing courses and author events, including such luminaries as Fay Weldon and Peter James. With the Reading Agency and other librarians round the country she reviewed and selected books for The Radio Two Book Club. All the time writing away in her spare time.

Born in California but brought up in England she was introduced to the Golden Age of crime authors at an early age by her mother. She is married to a blind physiotherapist, and it is from his mother, born in a large country house in Devon (now a hotel), educated by governess and with a cut glass voice like the Queen, that she absorbed real life stories about the twenties and thirties.

She has always had a fascination with the Art Deco period and the Golden Age of crime writing. She has been filling her house with Art Deco inspired artefacts and clothing for 40 years.

Blind Witness is her debut novel and is the beginning of the Charters Mysteries Series featuring Major Alasdair Charters and The Honourable Melissa Charters.

My thoughts:

This was a really interesting take on the classic detective novel. Alasdair has lost his sight in the war and is struggling with the changes his disability has wrought on him, but an old friend in the intelligence services offers him an opportunity to solve a series of murders during a country house weekend.

Evoking Christie, Allingham and the other queens of crime with its setting and period, this is an excellent addition to the canon. I can’t wait to see what Goldie writes next.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: One Christmas Night – Hayley Webster*

Nine lives. One street. And a secret behind every door.

Christmas is ruined on Newbury Street, Norwich.

Presents have been going missing from resident’s homes. There are rumours going around that it’s one of their own who’s been stealing from the neighbours. Festive spirit is being replaced with suspicion and the inhabitants of Newbury Street don’t know who to trust. The police presence isn’t helping matters, especially when they all have something to hide.

But Christmas is a time for miracles… and if they open themselves up to hope and look out for each other, they might discover the biggest miracle of all.

 

My thoughts:

This is a sweet wintery tale of friendship, neighbours and redemption. Newbury Street’s community all seem to know each other, which in an age of disconnection, where most people couldn’t tell you the names of their immediate neighbours, seems a little old fashioned but makes for a great story.

With presents going missing and plenty of residents hiding their own secrets and pain, suspicion haunts the street. Popping in and out of the houses and businesses along the road, the story weaves around the lives of the families and their Christmas plans.

Definitely a book to read over your Christmas break (even if it’s only 2 days) with a mug of something hot.

 

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blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Ghoster – Jason Arnopp*

Ghoster by [Arnopp, Jason]

Kate Collins has been ghosted.

She was supposed to be moving in with her new boyfriend Scott, but all she finds after relocating to Brighton is an empty flat. Scott has vanished. His possessions have all disappeared.

Except for his mobile phone.

Kate knows she shouldn’t hack into Scott’s phone. She shouldn’t look at his Tinder, his texts, his social media. But she can’t quite help herself.

That’s when the trouble starts. Strange, whispering phone calls from numbers she doesn’t recognise. Scratch marks on the door that she can’t explain.

And the growing feeling that she’s being watched . . .

My thoughts:

This was a very clever book, at first it seemed like a traditional missing person thriller situation, but then it got weirder and weirder. The strange things that keep happening to Kate, the things she discovers through Scott’s phone, the creepy sense of being watched sleeping. There’s a sense of claustrophobia, but set in a modern block of flats and not in an old manor house, which makes it slightly more sinister. I loved the idea of possessed technology, the things we use every day, the obsession we have with things on the internet, from social media to the darker side.

This is a smart, well written, tightly plotted thriller with a hell of a twist.

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*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour, but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Nothing to Hide – James Oswald*

Suspended from duty after her last case ended in the high-profile arrest of one of Britain’s wealthiest men, DC Constance Fairchild is trying to stay away from the limelight. Fate has other ideas . . .

Coming home to her London flat, Constance stumbles across a young man, bloodied, mutilated and barely alive. She calls it in and is quickly thrown into the middle of a nationwide investigation . . .

It seems that the victim is just the latest in a string of similar ritualistic attacks. No matter that she is off-duty, no matter that there are those in the Met who would gladly see the back of her, Con can’t shake her innate determination to bring the monsters responsible for this brutality to justice.

Trouble always seems to find her, and even if she has nothing to hide, perhaps she has everything to lose . . .

James Oswald is the author of the Sunday Times bestselling Inspector McLean series of detective mysteries, as well as the new DC Constance Fairchild series.

James’s first two books, Natural Causes and The Book of Souls, were both short-listed for the prestigious CWA Debut Dagger Award.

James farms Highland cows and Romney sheep by day, writes disturbing fiction by night.

My thoughts:

I really enjoyed this, I hadn’t read the first one but it really doesn’t matter, Oswald includes enough detail about the overarching case Con is involved in that you don’t miss having not read it.

The cases that a supposedly off-duty Constance Fairchild gets involved with are dark and grotesque, involving ritualistic mutilation and murder. So maybe not for the weak of stomach. However I don’t get bothered by fictional gore and found this really fascinating and a compelling read. I even found myself thinking about how all sorts of awful things could be going on right now behind the facade of civility on my own high street, while travelling on the bus the following day, so this is a book that lingers long in the mind.

The writing is concise, the plot and characters hook you from the first page. Con is a bit of a mystery woman herself and you find you’re drawn into her life and its various concerns and problems quickly. Set in London, Scotland and Northumberland, there’s a lot going on and not much of it good, if you’re a character, but great if you’re a reader!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: 17 Church Row – James Carol*

Three years ago, Nikki and Ethan Rhodes suffered a devastating loss when their four-year-old daughter Grace was tragically killed in a road accident. Ethan, a radio personality, escapes into work, leaving Nikki to care for their remaining child, Bella, who hasn’t spoken since that day.

Seeking a fresh start, the family moves into a revolutionary new house designed by renowned architect, Catriona Fisher. The house features a state-of-the-art security system, along with every amenity you could dream of.

For the Rhodes’ this is a chance to finally pick up the pieces and get on with their lives in a place where they feel totally safe.

But what if 17 Church Row isn’t the safe haven that they think it is?

 

My thoughts:

Smart houses are becoming a thing of reality, though not to the extent of this particular one. It’s an interesting take on the Gothic creepy house genre in a way, where the house really is watching your every move.

The Rhodes family become victims of an unhinged AI system, Katy, which if you read my blog regularly, you will know is a favourite sci-fi trope of mine. I love it when the machines rise up and go after their creators – as long as that remains fiction, I don’t want my washing machine or phone to go rogue!

I found this fascinating and a little scary, technology is moving so fast that keeping up can be tricky.

The writing was fluid and gripping, I felt for the characters trapped in this nightmare, trying to recover from trauma and finding themselves in another terrible situation.

 

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*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour, but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Purple-Bellied Parrot – William Fagus*

Discover … The power of the ‘HhhuuuUUTTT!’Ever feel you are living the wrong life? Ever feel another life, your should-be life, is out there waiting for you, if only you had the courage to …Do you like tinned pineapple chunks? Have you answered yes to any of those questions?

Then follow the Purple-Bellied Parrot on a rip-roaring, globe-spanning adventure packed with unforgettable characters. His quest to live his should-be life.

It Begins: In the sterile apartment of a city executive with unruly nasal hair where the Purple-Bellied Parrot cannot even do the very thing he was born to do.

It Ends: On the shores of a distant land after an epic journey which tests his courage, his ingenuity and the bonds of friendship — to the limit.

The Purple-Bellied Parrot is a spell-binding, life-affirming tale, with the power to evoke laughter and tears from readers 11-100 years old. (Parental Note: contains occasional mild imprecations.)

Ever feel you are living the wrong life? Ever feel another life, your should-be life, is out there waiting for you, if only you had the courage to …Do you like tinned pineapple chunks? Have you answered yes to any of those questions?

Then follow the Purple-Bellied Parrot on a rip-roaring, globe-spanning adventure packed with unforgettable characters. His quest to live his should-be life.

It Begins: In the sterile apartment of a city executive with unruly nasal hair where the Purple-Bellied Parrot cannot even do the very thing he was born to do.

It Ends: On the shores of a distant land after an epic journey which tests his courage, his ingenuity and the bonds of friendship — to the limit.

The Purple-Bellied Parrot is a spell-binding, life-affirming tale, with the power to evoke laughter and tears from readers 11-100 years old. (Parental Note: contains occasional mild imprecations.)

Amazon

The publicity-shy William Fagus lives in a remote location in an upturned fishing smack with a parrot and sundry antique musical instruments and carpentry tools.

The redoubtable Mrs Lush, his cleaning lady and confidant, is his most frequent visitor.

William Fagus’s biography, of uncertain origin and dubious veracity, is available here.

My thoughts:

This is a very fun read, the titular bird finds himself far from home, not that he’s sure where that is, but none of the birds in the park are like him. Thus starts an epic journey to find out who he is and how to return to where he belongs.

There is a lot of feathery dialogue, from the chuggies who take him in to the marties who help him find part of his way home. Luckily the author has included copious footnotes to explain the bird world.

This is a light hearted, clever read that would make a great gift for the reader in your life, even if that’s you!

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in this blog tour but all opinions remain my own.