Saturday, May 30, 2015

Becoming Tess by H K Thompson

The story is an emotional one but the writing is clinical and clean. Taking it one step at a time, we are taken through two traumatic events in Tess Dawson's life. One was the violent death of her brother and the other was the unresolved death of her baby Rachel. Told in an investigative form in precise detail we have Tess at a safe house - she would never survive in a prison. Getting her therapy and trying to overcome her mute state, Tess gradually opens to her empathic therapist. Evelyn Doyle understands Tess's traumatic state and gradually the story of Tess's life unfolds from the time she was a little girl, with a vicious, manipulative mother a distant father and a bullying brother. Tess has believed that she was responsible for both Rachel's and Stephen's deaths and this has weighed heavily on her, adding to her troubled mind. How therapy and a gentle, correct handling can sort out the most troubled souls is Tess's story. More details would be a spoiler for the story and the telling of it are beautifully done. an author I will be definitely be looking out for. Sent to me by Netgalley courtesy of Troubador Publishing Limited.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

May's Grand Tour - A Regency Romance by Pamela Warren

This was a free download from the  My Love for Jane Austen FB page.

I need a little light hearted romance, relaxation and fun amidst he more somber reads and this fitted the bill.

May Weston, an artist from Boston has come to visit her cousin Bingley and from there go on a tour of Europe notably Venice and Rome. Whilst in London she meets with several poets nota
Bly the notorious Lord Byron whose rather dubious reputation as a gambler and a seducer has tarnished his allure. Banned from several places, dunned by his creditors, yet May finds herself very much attracted to Byron to the dismay of her chaperones both Bingley and Darcy. They hope that whilst enjoying her stay in London, her innate good sense will prevail to not fall for the wiles of Byron.

The story continues to Venice (where Byron has holed up to escape his creditors) and while she still sees Byron, May does realize that a future with him is not to be. He is  unreliable and not trustworthy. She still feels for him unfortunately though her eyes are open to his true character. Throughout Darcy remains a strong, silent support for May and this is when the romance between May and Darcy begins.

With a wealth of detail of London and Venice at the time the story moved to Boston and then back to
Pemberley. The rich historical detail added a great interest to the story. The lives and tragedies of Shelley, Keats and Byron also added depth to the book and another dimension to the love story and life of May and Darcy.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Ryder - bird of Prey An Ayesha Ryder Novel by Nick Pengelly

 I liked the first book by this Author I got hold of and Netgalley very kindly sent me the second book.

It is a combination of many genres and it is mind boggling how smoothly Pengelly combines them all to give you a mystery thriller with plenty of historical fiction thrown in.

Ayesha Ryder is the heroine of the story. Palestinian born, and English educated she is also very well connected to the powers that be on either side of the pond. Also, equally in demand by many, hated by so many others who dislike her combination of brains and beauty and skill in the martial arts.

This time around we have a missing jewelled falcon with a legend behind it. The falcon through a series of clues leads you to the grave of King Harold II and thus to immense treasure. But the clues are not easy to decipher or understand and it is with this in mind that Ayesha's adventure begins. Set in the cloak and dagger atmosphere of Whitehall with assassinations and attempted assassinations galore, mercenaries and then moving onto the ancient legends and stories surrounding the Knights of the Templars, this was an exciting read.

The culmination was the best part of the story. Using twelfth century medieval fighting arsenal to hammer at a twenty first century enemy armed to the hilt with the best that modern day weaponry could offer.

The book was courtesy of Random House Publishing Group - Alibi.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Henrietta Who? By Catherine Aird

Henrietta Who? (Inspector Sloan #2)

This started as a quiet, well behaved murder mystery reminiscent of an Agatha Christie. The setting was rural, quiet, with the usual mix of characters which seem to make up an English village - from the requisite vicar, to the postmistress who sees and knows it all to the ladies of the village who gossip, to the "big house" and so on.

Henrietta's mother is found dead on the road by the postman. Apparently the victim of a hit and run. The post mortem however indicates that this is no straightforward hit and run driver. In this case there are post death injuries which show that the driver reversed over the victim to ensure her death. This is the beginning of the unravelling of the life of Grace Jerkins. A very quiet, retiring lady. What is unravelled is a mystery starting with her daughter.

An intricate who dun it which also includes the intricacy of a family's secrets and skeletons in the cupboard which are gradually unearthed, much to the dismay of those who hoped it would be hidden forever. Henrietta turning twenty one which was going to set events in motion and Grace Jenkins had to be silenced before that.

A very nice mystery thriller which I received from  Netgalley  courtesy of  Open Road Integrated Media.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Pretender's Lady by Alan Gold


The story was absolutely new to me. I knew of the reputation of Bonnie Prince Charlie but I did not know of the almost "behind the scenes" affair of Flora Macdonald scandalous at the time, especially as she was a country bred girl from whom no one could ever imagine an affair of any kind.

Flora a staunch supporter of the Prince even against the wishes of her family embarks on what would even today be called a huge adventure but after this affair ends in obscurity on an American farm. She becomes a faithful wife and mother, hiding the heritage of her eldest son till the time comes for her to lobby for peace.

Input by Benjamin Franklin and fictionalized history meticulously researched by the author made this story a fascinating one. Detailed in its description of Flora's early life in the crofts on the island of Skye, then extending to the cities and then to the big adventure of founding a farm in America this was a story very well told.

A download from Edelweiss, I was very glad I got to this book.

Friday, May 15, 2015

The Five Towns by Leslie Tonner

The Five Towns is a novel which encompasses all that we hope we are not. Set in WW II period in America it is a scene that could have been set anywhere in the world. The story of bigotry, racism overt and covert, a segregation on the grounds of race, envy, the feeling of being above it all are unfortunately characteristics in society not just then but even more so today.

However much wealth one has acquired as John Dodge has, or however poor and downtrodden you may be like Lulu the maid who is African American, and the Jews who want to be like their WASP neighbors but will throw up their hands in horror if their daughter should even consider marrying one of the "white" boys, this is a story very well told of what is hypocritical and wrong in society.

Interwoven amongst three different families - all who have similar dreams for their children. But please within the strict guidelines set out by their parents the stories are sad and bitter both from the perspective of both the younger and older generations. Change is coming but it's not welcome.

Though for me the story was negative emotion from beginning to end it was also hurt fully truthful. I doubt situations have changed much but it was a very well written coming of age story for the young characters in the story and an acceptance of life and the future on the part of the older folk.

Thank you to Netgalley and to Open Road Integrated Media for sending me the book for an honest review.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

two mini reviews - DOWNTON and FOOD!

Doing two reviews here.


I was expecting something on the Downton lines, but what I got was a concise, nicely crafted piece on great houses in Britain in the "Downton" manner. Details of its history, the present owners, website details, photographs of the houses and a potted history of each house.

For fans of manors, country houses, beautiful walks, scenery that is out if this world, this book is for you.

Needless to say I am a fan!

This book was a free download from My Love For Jane Austen FB page.

THREE MANY COOKS by Pam Anderson, Maggie Keet and Sharon Damelio

I didn't know there was a blog by this name but the book was such a joyful recital of the history of cooking in this family - I would say not just three women but the menfolk were involved and supportive as well as being good cooks in their own right.

Each chapter dealing with a part of their lives, ends with a family receipe, each one better than the last.

Made for a very mouth watering read.

This was sent to me by Edelweiss.