Archives for posts with tag: review

Hi all:
As you know I’ve been away and I promised I’d share a bit of my experience whilst in Galicia. As you were kind enough to show a lot of interest in my first post… well, you’ve asked for it.
If you remember, I included a picture of my uncle Eloy extracting honey from the panels of the beehive.
My mother and I spent an afternoon helping him with the task and he was kind enough to talk about the process, reflect on the changes it had seen (he still uses a manual contraption to spin the panels and get the honey removed, but people with more beehives and a more professional organisation use electric ones and the process is more automated). He explained that compared to the time of his parents (my grandparents) the level of production had increased dramatically. Not all are positives, though, and he noted that some people, to increase the production, fed the bees rather than rely solely on them to go searching for flowers and pollen and the quality was not as good.

He also explained that keeping bees is not a huge time investment (you have to look after the beehives and extract the honey towards the end of the summer and provide them with medication due to pests afterwards, but not much to do in the winter). He also observed that some people can make a fair living out of it, but of course they have to keep many bees. In his case, he only does it for friends and family and if he has some spare might sell it, but has not considered a big increase in production (as he manages single-handedly).

As there weren’t several suits we couldn’t help him with the actual extraction of the panels, but once those were transported home, we were there. The panels come sealed by the wax of the bees and that top layer must be cut off before the honey can be extracted. The honey keeps dripping from those cuttings. And the panels are placed in a centrifuge. And we make them spin!

Here is a video I created with some of the pictures I took (some are a bit abstract but I think they create an interesting effect. And there is a small video included too).

Here I leave you a few links to articles on bees I found interesting:

Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee

British Beekeepers Association

http://www.bbka.org.uk/

BBC Nature videos collection on bees

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/collections/p007rdq3

What is the value of bees? Discussion in The Guardian about the vote on banning certain pesticides (noenicotinoids) in 2013.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/blog/2013/mar/15/bees-value-pollination-farming-neonicotinoids

Campaign, Save the Bee:

http://www.planetbee.org/?gclid=Cj0KEQjwm4mwBRCni-ivmePYivkBEiQAdGkkluahxyhSYUQ5qbHNYMzbRil_giRlCios0CWmS4rDONUaAhv_8P8HAQ#education-awareness-stewardship

The above article and the campaign put me in mind of a book I’ve just finished reading, and I thought I’d share the review. The book hasn’t been published yet (it’s due early in October) and I’ve read is undergoing some changes, so you might want to investigate further before deciding, but I could not resist… (I’ve been recently contacted by somebody from the publishing house who confirmed they were making some changes to the book and offered to send me a copy of the finished book, so I might come back with a reply in a while…)

Nirvana by JR Stewart

Nirvana by JR Stewart

Nirvana by J.R. Stewart. Virtual reality, bees, grief and politics

Thanks to the publishers (Blue Moon Publishers) and to Net Galley for the gift of an advance copy of this book. I have read that it is undergoing major revisions, so it might be that some of the issues mentioned are no longer there if you get the final edition.

Nirvana, despite the name, is a dystopian Young Adult novel. It is set in a future where bees have disappeared and nature as we know it has gone; there are a few places left where people live (the novel takes place in Canada, around Toronto, although there are hints throughout the book that the situation might be slightly different in other places), and the Hexagon (yes, I know) controls “security” (read intrudes in everybody’s privacy, destroys all books and keeps a tight hold on everybody’s activities, words and imagination). Larissa, a young woman whose husband (a very talented scientist) disappeared during a mysterious mission six months ago is not ready to accept his death and refuses to let go.

The novel mostly focuses on Larissa, although the third person point of view sometimes shares the thoughts of other characters, like the Corporal, Serge (a childhood friend of Larissa’s), the psychologist…but not consistently and sometimes it seems to hide things, and we also get letters, documents, etc. The time-line can be somewhat challenging at times as Larissa can flicker between memories (how she met Andrew, her husband, their time at university, some of her musical gigs, her childhood memories including some very dark ones) and things that are happening at the time of the action of the novel, when she is being pressurised by the authorities to sign a document acknowledging that Andrew is dead. Although this is how our mind works, sometimes it’s not easy to tell the difference until you reach the next change in perspective. Perhaps a different type of letter or a break would make it easier. I also found the fact that many characters have similar names (all beginning with K, I’m not sure why) made me go back and forth to make sure.

The description of Larissa’s psychological state and emotions is accurate for somebody suffering from a grief reaction (even if in her case she has no real proof that her husband is dead). She feels guilty, angry, sad, confused and doubts constantly about what to do. Her family circumstances were already complicated and she does not know if her sister is alive or not and it’s not difficult to understand that she’d be reluctant to let go of the one bit of family she had left. We might lack outside perspective on her and know little about her previous personality so it’s difficult to get a full picture of the character but this will probably build over time.

I am not an expert in science-fiction but I know world-building can be one of the main strengths of these novels. After reading the author’s biography I understand why the parts that deal with virtual reality (the Bubble, that is where the crème of society live, in a fake world of their choosing, and Nirvana, that is the low-key version that workers might access, but in small doses) are very strong and mind-boggling, even scarily so. By contrast, the descriptions of the rest of the world are very succinct and only much later, when the point of view returns to the characters in positions of authority, we get to know a bit more about the world order, but this is more tell than show (although that is one of the difficulties with the genre, maintaining the balance between trying to make the story come alive whilst at the same time leaving something to the readers’ imagination).

The idea behind the politics of that world reminded me of 1984 (the level of intrusion into people’s lives is greater than even insiders realise), and the conspiracy theorists will “enjoy” the implications of some of the things uncovered and suggested towards the end of the novel. They throw an even darker light on the authorities and put into question loyalties and certainties. The comments about the interests behind big funding for scientific research and how those dictate the direction human progress takes made me pause and gave me cause for concern. (Having studied Medicine this is a thing we’re always aware of).

I found the brief discussions on physics and even music theory fascinating, but might not be to everybody’s taste, especially younger readers interested mainly in the characters.

I found the overall story engaging, although the surprise at the end was hinted at and most readers are likely to have guessed it by then, but it is a good twist and it leaves room for much more to come.

This is perhaps a novel that does not fit in comfortably within the YA category, but I think it’s a series worth keeping an eye on, as there are interesting plot lines, characters with plenty of hidden agendas and room for development, and a whole world (or worlds) that we’ve only glimpsed. And virtual reality as you haven’t seen it yet. Ah, and don’t forget to read the writer’s biography. It will make you very uneasy…

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B014LLM1XW/

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B014LLM1XW/

And before I leave, another picture of the millennial chestnut tree:

A fascinating tree

A fascinating tree

Thanks to my uncle Eloy for the explanations, thanks to you all for reading and viewing and if you’ve enjoyed, like, comment, share, and if you want to CLICK, go ahead!

 

Advertisements

Hi all:

I’m now back in the UK and trying to get back into the swing of things after being away from the internet for a while (it’s like riding a bicycle, you don’t forget it but you get aches and pains), and while I prepare a few more posts about my experiences these holidays, I thought I’d share some of the reviews I wrote about the books I read while away. I have plenty to choose from, but I chose to talk about Conditions today, not only because I’ve enjoyed Christoph Fischer’s writing in the past, and he is always hard at work promoting other writers, but because I saw that his new book, Conditioned, the continuation of the adventures of those characters will be published next month and is already available in pre-order. So, what better?

Conditions by Christoph Fischer

Conditions by Christoph Fischer

Conditions by Christoph Fischer

When Charles and Tony’s mother dies the estranged brothers must struggle to pick up the pieces, particularly so given that one of them is mentally challenged and the other bitter about his place within the family.

The conflict is drawn out over materialistic issues, but there are other underlying problems which go to the heart of what it means to be part of a family which, in one way or another. has cast one aside.

Prejudice, misconceptions and the human condition in all forms feature in this contemporary drama revolving around a group of people who attend the subsequent funeral at the British South Coast.

Meet flamboyant gardener Charles, loner Simon, selfless psychic Elaine, narcissistic body-builder Edgar, Martha and her version of unconditional love and many others as they try to deal with the event and its aftermath.

Link:

http://www.amazon.com/Conditions-Series-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00NZ1VTBU/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Conditions-Series-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00NZ1VTBU/

 

Here is my review:

I’m a psychiatrist, and what is normal and how we define normality are questions that the more one works in the field, the more one wonders about. Absence of a diagnosable mental illness is not the same as what society might think as “normal behaviour”. And each individual’s opinion on the matter is even more varied. Culture shock, for instance, results from differences in what is accepted behaviour in countries far apart (although not necessarily as far as we might think). Being transplanted into a culture or a situation brand new for us might make us question if our version of normal is the correct one. Even what might be normal for our neighbours we might consider utterly bizarre.

The author of this novel explores the reactions to a character, Charles, who has a psychiatric condition (a mental disorder unspecified in the book), by a number of people, including relatives (his brother and sister-in-law), close friends and acquaintances, complete strangers and previous employers. Charles’s diagnosis is left intentionally vague (we can speculate, based on the description of his behaviours, but that is not the point of the story. Charles’s behaviour is peculiar and bizarre at times, but he does not appear to be a danger to others and most of the time remains capable of making his own decisions and explaining himself, although not always) probably to avoid the temptation of turning the book into an apologia or a treatise to defend the sufferers of a particular illness or disorder. It is not about one set of symptoms or even one character, but it reflects back to us some of the standard reactions to people who might be affected by such a disorder. Are they really unable to do a day’s work, or is it all an excuse? Are they telling the truth or are they making up stories to get attention? Why should they be treated differently and given special privileges when they aren’t pulling their weight? Are they just exploiting the system? Should they just be locked up?

The novel is written in the third person, at times by an omniscient narrator that shares the internal thoughts of some of the many characters, at times the third person narrator simply shares what is happening, without taking any specific point of view, but rather that of an objective observer. That contrast allows us to get a better understanding of the psychological make-up and reasons behind some of the characters’ reactions, and we can compare those reactions to the facts.

Although we never get to see things from Charles’s perspective, we hear the stories of his friends (some closer than other) who are gathered, at the beginning of the book, to help him and accompany him on the occasion of his mother’s funeral. There are a number of works of fiction where a funeral brings people together to discuss the deceased, and in the process discover the true selves of those in attendance, although here, there is less discussion of Rose, the mother, and more of Charles. And also of the rest of the guests. We get to learn about them, their relationships (or lack of them), their sexuality, their weaknesses, their beliefs and interests, mostly through their conversations. All the characters have interesting backgrounds, lives and stories, and we become as curious about them as they are about each other. And we want to learn more. There is plenty of dialogue and not much description or narration. It struck me that this book would make a great play with many juicy parts for talented actors and actresses.

When we get to know both his friends and those who aren’t that close to Charles, we come to understand that all of them (and by extension, also us) have their own conditions, and we shouldn’t be so quick to judge. Even the most enlightened of us can have prejudices and misjudge others if we are not open and  refuse to take them on their own terms.

Conditions has a fascinating array of characters and is a book that will make all readers think. I believe there is or will be a second part that will follow some of the characters’ stories. I’m looking forward to it. This is the second book I’ve read by this writer and I’m happy that he has so many books available and of varied styles and genres. I’ll keep reading him, enjoying his stories and watching his career.

And now, here is a link to the cover reveal of Conditioned where you can get more information from the horse’s mouth:

condiotioned-twitterv2

https://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/cover-reveal-conditioned/

CONDITIONED dives back into the world of gardener Charles, his friends and the state of his mental health – one year on. We meet loner Simon and his battle with the outside world, co-dependent Martha and her abusive husband Clive, neurotic poet Catherine on the verge of getting married, Tony, who finds his strange brother Charles a challenge, psychic Elaine looking for a new direction in life and quirky widow Sarah Roseberg who has a go at sorting out all of their problems.

CONDITIONS aimed to sensitise readers and make them think about tolerance and acceptance. CONDITIONED wants readers to look beyond their attitude towards Conditions and examine what we all do and what we can do to overcome our challenges. The sequel is another snapshot of this circle of friends. Some will have improved their lives, others will not.

I can’t wait!

Thanks to Christoph for your book, thanks to you all for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it, you know what to do, like, share, comment and CLICK! And I’ll keep you updated!

Hi all:

I was very intrigued by the description of this book when I read it in Net Galley, and despite my long list of books waiting to be read, I could not resist. It did not disappoint (I’ve seen it in the Guardian List of the Non-Booker prize books), although it is not an easy read.

But first, a bit about the book:

Rawblood by Catriona Ward

Rawblood by Catriona Ward

She comes in the night.
She looks into your eyes. 
One by one, she has taken us all.

For generations they have died young.
Now Iris and her father are the last of the Villarca line.
Their disease confines them to their lonely mansion on Dartmoor; their disease means they must die alone.
But Iris breaks her promise to hide from the world. She dares to fall in love.
And only then do they understand the true horror of the Villarca curse.

Editorial Reviews

Review

From Victorian ghost story to anti-war polemic and back again: I raged, wept and hid under the bed covers. As full of science as it is the supernatural, this is a hauntingly brilliant virtuoso performance. — Emma Healey author of ELIZABETH IS MISSING Gloriously dark and claustrophobic, Rawblood is a haunting gothic novel of intelligence and complexity. It has many echoes of the classics but is entirely its own book. Essie Fox, author of THE SOMNAMBULIST

About the Author

Catriona Ward was born in Washington DC and grew up in the US, Kenya, Madagascar, Yemen and Morocco. She now lives in London where she works as a writer and researcher for Bianca Jagger’s human rights foundation. Rawblood is her first novel. @Catrionaward.

The book was due to be published on the 24th of September, so if there haven’t been any problems, it should be available by the time you read this review.

Links:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00U67GLR8/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00U67GLR8/

Now, my review:

Thanks to Net Galley and Orion for giving me a free early copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

Rawblood is a challenging novel (it’s not an easy read) and a novel difficult to define. The story of a ghost, or a haunted house, the Rawblood of the title, has elements of the gothic horror tale. The house itself, the characters, the Victorian era some of the stories are set in, the setting, even the style of writing. But there’s much more than that.

The story is told from many characters points of views, in different styles as pertains to the characters. We have a young girl who narrates the story in the first person, as she grows up. We have the diary of a young man, a doctor, who observes and takes notes of everything as if it was an experiment (and there is something of the mad scientist locked up in the cellar also), there is a woman with magic powers (a witch) who also tells us her story, in a stream-of-consciousness style. There is a sick woman and her companion; they both go to Italy and become embroiled in the story too. There is a young man who’s lost a leg in WWI and is trying to find his bearings. There are not only multiple characters and protagonists, but also different eras. Although the readers senses they must be all related somehow to the family cursed, the Villarcas (if that is what is happening), the connections don’t become clear until the very end. And most of the book we spend wondering who is who and what their role is in the story.

It is a haunting book, not only because of the nature of the story, but because of the beauty and lyricism of the language, and the strong emotions of all the characters who get touched by the ghost (for lack of a better name). The mysterious she of the story has an intense hold on everybody she comes in contact with, no matter how cynical or sceptical they might be to begin with.

The pace of the novel varies depending on the fragment we’re reading, and as I said, so does the style. The language, with many archaic words, is not for easy consumption, and it shows a care an attention to detail not common these days.

Perhaps if I could change anything, I wonder about the ending (not the explanation behind the ghost. I think that’s perfect) and the re-rehearsing of much of what has happened before again from the point of view of the ghost. But then, perhaps that’s right too, as it makes the point stronger.

I wouldn’t say this is a book for everybody, but it is a gem for readers with a taste for the extraordinary, time, patience, and a love of literature. I’m sure we’ll hear more about Catriona Ward.

Thanks to Net Galley, Orion and of course, Catriona Ward for her novel, thank you all for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment and CLICK!

Hi all:

Today I bring you one of my reviews as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team. First, let me tell you a little bit about the book:

The Undertaker's Son by B A Spicer

The Undertaker’s Son by B A Spicer

The Undertaker’s Son by B A Spicer

A picturesque village in south-west France offers the chance of a new life for Martha Burton. But, beneath the rural idyll, lurks an evil that will not remain buried forever.

Claude Cousteau has never been in love. He has no real friends. The only meaningful attachment he has ever formed is to Felix Dumas, an influential lawyer, who once showed him kindness and with whom he spent an idyllic sunny afternoon, as a child.

When Felix Dumas’ way of life comes under threat, Claude is determined to defend the only true friend he has ever had.

 

Author Bev Spicer

Author Bev Spicer

About the author:

Bev Spicer was born in Bridgnorth, a small market town in the Midlands. Her father was an Observer for the RAF and an experienced glider pilot (Bev spent many a weekend at the Midland Gliding Club, where she too learned to glide). Her mother was a local beauty queen and county hockey player, who still lives in Bridgnorth.

Bev was educated at Queens’ College, Cambridge, and became a lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University in 1997, moving to live in France with her husband and her two youngest children ten years later, where she lives in a lovely Charentaise house (in need of renovation).

She is widely read and has travelled extensively, living in Crete, where she taught English and learned to speak Greek, and in Seychelles, where she worked for the government and co-designed materials which were used to teach at secondary school level. She now writes every day and teaches English in her spare time.

Her humorous memoirs have been widely praised for their light-hearted but intelligent style, and hilarious, fast-paced dialogue. Her more literary novels and short stories have been equally well received for their complex characters, impressive prose, and imaginative settings.

You can find Bev’s blog here: http://baspicer.blogspot.fr/

Her Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1D1fiWF

She’s on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BevSpice

Her Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/Bev-Spicer/e/B008BHV7YC/

And now, my review:

I am reviewing this book as part of Rosie’s Book Review Team. Thanks to Rosie and to the author for providing a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

The book intrigued me because of the description and the setting. We all seem to expect crime, and crime novels, to be set in big cities, but when evil hides in a small, picturesque and peaceful town, it seems worse. As if evil had no place in such environment. It’s true that it’s perhaps more difficult to hide in a small and idyllic French town, but some manage to hide in plain sight.

The novel, written in the third person, is told from the point of view of a large number of characters, from the “evil” character hinted at in the description, the undertaker’s son of the title, Claude, to Patrice, a young student who ends up being more central to the plot than it seems at first. The author allows us to peer into the heads of her characters, and this is sometimes a very agreeable experience (like in the case of Martha Burton, the British divorcee out to create a new life for herself in France, who, despite disappointments in love is fairly happy), and at others, an utterly terrifying one. Apart from Claude, who has no redeeming qualities, and Patrice, who is a nice young man without any shades, all the rest of the characters are all too human: they hesitate, they are morally ambiguous at times, and even downright immoral. Felix Dumas, the crook, is utterly dislikeable, but even he has some redeeming qualities (he does not understand his son, but seems to love him, and he tells Claude not to take drastic measures. He does not want anyone killed.) And Angeline… It’s a credit to the author that by allowing us into the minds of her characters, we might not agree with what they do, the secrets they keep, or their reasons and justifications, but we understand them. Well, that is, except for Claude.

Claude reminded me of the main character in Peeping Tom due to his fascination with death. But, in contrast with Mark Lewis, the protagonist of Peeping Tom, who is a victim of his father’s psychological experiments, Claude is unknowable. We share his memories and see his attachment to Felix, but he operates outside of our conceptions of right and wrong. He’s a psychopath, but from what we get to see of him, he uses his interest and fascination with death in a utilitarian way, and turns it into a business, rather than being compelled to kill. He plans his jobs with military precision, and seems alien to humankind, functioning at a different level. This is not the typical serial killer whose neighbours would say he seemed so “normal”. He is nothing if not extraordinary. A character very difficult to forget that makes us question the limits of humanity and conscience.

The plot is intriguing but the writing ebbs and flows through certain moments, like parties, planting a tree, and the fleeting memories of a dementing old-man, that help us get a vivid sense of the town and its people, and make us care for the fate of its inhabitants. For the duration of the book we become privileged town dwellers and get to know everybody. This is not a frantically paced thriller, but a novel that shares in the more relaxed pace of its setting, and that’s perhaps what makes it more chilling.

The ending is satisfying (perhaps everything works out too well and that’s the least realistic aspect of the novel) and reassuring. I look forward to reading more novels by B A Spicer.

Four and a half stars.

I haven’t forgotten the links, but the author just let me know that on 7th and 8th, to coincide with this post, her book would be FREE, so make sure to get it!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00G04DWWS/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00G04DWWS/

Thanks to Rosie for creating and coordinating her team, thanks to B A Spicer for her book, thanks to all of you for reading, and you know, if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment, and of course, CLICK! It’s FREE!

Hi all. Or rather, goodbye for a little bit.

This Thursday I’m leaving to join my mother and then we’ll be travelling together to the little hamlet where my father was born, Paradaseca, Ourense (I did check in the internet but there isn’t a lot about the place, apart from the fact that a pair of twins from there seem to have seen a UFO a few years back. Anyway…). We are taking my father’s ashes back home, visiting relatives and sorting a few things out. We don’t have a land line there and it seems that even mobile reception is poor (it’s a fairly hilly region, and the hamlet is very nearby the only sky resort in that part of the country, so mountains don’t help matters), so I don’t expect to be able to connect to the internet regularly.

I considered sharing some old posts, or trying to programme new posts in advance but I didn’t have much time to do that, and I love to check the comments and answer, so no good from that perspective. What I’ve decided to do is to share a few of the reviews I hadn’t had time to share with you, and I’ll leave them programmed. I’ve also shared some that you might not have seen in Lit World Interviews, although I know many of you are regular visitors.

I’ll be away for a few weeks (not sure how long as it depends on how long it takes so sort everything) but I hope to be back early in September. Sorry I won’t be able to visit your blogs and comment, but I didn’t want you to worry if I disappeared.

If I manage to get a connection I might send a surprise post sharing whatever is happening and pics, as the place is beautiful and I haven’t been there for over 20 years. I’ll make sure I keep reading and writing, if I have time, and I hope to come back refreshed.

Do take care. I’ll miss you all.

Ah, and let’s not forget the review. You know I review books for BTS e-magazine (link on the side bar) and although I can’t share the same review, sometimes I recommend you the books I’ve come across whilst there. With this book, I had  whale of a time, so much so that I decided to write another review so you could enjoy it.

The book is:

Where Eagles Cry by Dee Ann Palmer. Wild California, handsome men, gorgeous horses and a daring heroine

Where Eagles Cry by Dee Ann Palmer

Where Eagles Cry by Dee Ann Palmer

First, the description of the book:

Jilted by love in 1834, Cara Lindsay sails from Boston to Mexico’s rugged California to begin a new life with a favorite aunt. Heartbroken to learn her aunt has died, she takes a companionship position to the wife of Don Miguel Navarro, the tough and irresistible owner of a major inland rancho. Prior to her arrival, Miguel’s wife had suffered a permanent brain injury in a suspicious fall, and the lonely ranchero’s heart opens to Cara’s kindness and beauty like parched earth to rain. Yet love may break Cara’s heart again, for she would never be any man’s mistress. Until ships sail for Boston months away, she’s trapped in the midst of danger and an impossible love. When the bells ring and the eagle cries, will she be the next to die?

Now my review:

This is a great novel for lovers of historical fiction and romance. Set in the California under Mexican rule (just lost to Spain and in a period of historical turmoil) the descriptions of life at the time are detailed but never boring. The story is seen from the eyes of Cara, a young American woman who has suffered several losses and is at a loose end.

She ends up taking a position in the Navarro ranch, looking after the wife of Miguel, el jefe. The book has been compared to Jane Eyre, as Desira, la patrona, suffered a serious accident, lost her child and has been left brain damaged; although she is not locked in the attic (Miguel is much nicer than Rochester, although Cara is not always sure about his intentions). We see the story from Cara’s point of view. Her poor understanding of Spanish and her total naiveté with regards to the world and California in particular, create many misunderstandings. There are secrets, mysteries, plots to kill, Native-American raids, mountain lions, love rivals, wild horses and barely contained passion.

The plot is complex enough to keep everybody guessing, the intrigue is well maintained, and Cara, the main character, is strong and determined (most of the time) although in keeping with the customs of the period. She doubts herself and has her moments of weakness, but she’s a very likeable and loveable character.

There are also strong secondary characters and the ending is satisfying. It’s a solid romantic historical adventure novel and a very enjoyable one. You won’t regret giving it a go.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00BUCJGCU/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00BUCJGCU/

Thanks so much for reading, and you know, like, share, comment and CLICK! Bye! Missing you already! See you soon!

Thanks so much to MsM for daring to review the first in my ‘Angelic Business’ series ‘Pink Matters’. And then still had the energy to interview me! You’re a star!

Ms M's Bookshelf

The first book in Olga NúñezAngelicBusiness trilogy is available now for pre-order on Amazon.  I was given an advanced copy in exchange for an honest review.  Pink Matters is a lighthearted look at what happens when an angel and a demon (fallen angel) each vie for manipulative control of a 17-year-old girl named Pink.  Well, O.K., her real name is Petra because her father was into archaeology, but she prefers Pink and everyone, including her teachers, call her that.  Pink and her two best friends, Lorna and Sylvia, are fairly ordinary, average girls who happen to be excellent students and therefore are not part of the “in” crowd, made up of cheer leaders and other gorgeous girls, and football players and other sports heroes.  But the most popular member of the “in” crowd is Seth, who happens to live next door to Pink, is gorgeous, but…

View original post 1,158 more words

Hi all:

As you know, Fridays is a day I dedicate to guest authors or new books. It’s always a great pleasure for me to bring you new books by authors who’ve graced by blog before, and even more so when I’ve read and shared my opinion of their work before. This is the case with today’s offering.

I read and adored ‘Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads‘ by S. R. Mallery (here you can check my post) and when I saw the author had published another collection of short stories, I could not resist.

Tales to Count On by S.R. Mallery

Tales to Count On by S.R. Mallery

Tales to Count On

Curl up and enter the eclectic world of S. R. Mallery, where sad meets bizarre and deception meets humor; where history meets revenge and magic meets gothic. Whether it’s 500 words or 5,000, these TALES TO COUNT ON, which include a battered women’s shelter, childhood memories, Venetian love, magic photographs, PTDS fallout, sisters’ tricks, WWII spies, the French Revolution, evil vaudevillians, and celebrity woes, will remind you that in the end, nothing is ever what it seems.

http://www.amazon.com/TALES-COUNT-S-R-Mallery-ebook/dp/B00UCBENY6/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/TALES-COUNT-S-R-Mallery-ebook/dp/B00UCBENY6/

The book has great reviews but I could not resist sharing this one:

5.0 out of 5 stars `Word counts’ and other non-sequiturs April 10, 2015

By Grady Harp

Format:Kindle Edition

Los Angeles author S. R. (Sarah) Mallery since her graduation from UCLA has enjoyed a varied career as a professional production artist, editor, ESL teacher, and tutor – but she also has been significantly involved as a classical/pop singer/composer working in clubs and churches while composing for educational filmstrips, having her own calligraphy company, a twenty-year quilting and craft artist and business, and now she devotes her time as an historical fiction writer, writing short stories in particular, as challenging a writing skill as any. She is a member of ASMWG (Authors’ Social Media Support Group) and has been published in both collections of her own works as well as anthologies with other writers published by Scars Publications, Chitra Publications, and House of White Birches. Her current publisher is Mockingbird Lane Press. Having read three of her books, now, likely classifies this reader as a Mallery addict.

Quite cleverly Sarah presents the reader with the Word Count conundrum – whether the length of a story is commensurate with the impact – and then proceeds to offer her wonderfully diverse tales in ascending order – shortest to longest. And to prove her point he first story GOOD ADVICE in a couple of pages relates an in control therapist in a women’s shelter, admired by all for the calm with which she handles her telephone please for help only face a abrupt situation of the terminal category at story’s end. In an equally brief tale – A PHOTOGRAPHIC MEMORY – a visit to a zoo finds a tiger (Rudolfo) inadvertently picking up a discarded cigarette and out of rage having retribution by the discarding smoker. And another -THE KITCHEN – a nightmare of filth faces a maid whose employer has simply stepped out for a trip to the bank – or to her bed, a sanctum from her disengagement with the real world.

The stories grow linger but still corrupt reason in Sarah’s inimitable manner of imaginative tales: GIFTS – `In 1935, Peter was too young to know better. Dim lights, he figured–yes, it was the dim lights, the root of All Evil, that had done him in. Everyone else understood that maneuvering past the row of Stage Right columns, even well lit, wasn’t an easy task for anyone, much less a six-year-old claiming he couldn’t see. Just shy of Stage Left, he would often trip, catching himself on either his mother’s or his father’s arm. It was then that he finally wised up. He learned the inevitability of one of his parents sticking out their right toe to snag him as he went by–one night it might be his father’s, the next, his mother’s. They seemed to take turns. “If only I didn’t have to wear this eye patch,” he muttered from time to time, but his father’s, “Keep it on, Peter! Remember, that’s a big part of the act, kid!” haunted his every move. At first, he would turn to his mother–her theatrical makeup softening like a candle outside on a hot August day–the same mother who always stood helpless as her sweaty, rum-soaked husband returned home night after night, stumbling up their back steps and heading straight for their only child cowering in the farthest corner possible.’

That is the flavor of her alchemy with words. Or as the synopsis phrases it, `Whether it’s 500 words or 5,000, these TALES TO COUNT ON, which include a battered women’s shelter, childhood memories, Venetian love, magic photographs, PTSD fallout, sisters’ tricks, WWII spies, the French Revolution, evil vaudevillians, and celebrity woes, will remind you that in the end, nothing is ever what it seems.’ And not a one of these stories fails to satisfy.

But what the reader takes away from these compelling stories is that Mallery is a brilliant wordsmith – a unique artist who has mastered her medium! Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, April 15

Author S.R. Mallery

Author S.R. Mallery

Here is Sarah’s Amazon page:

http://www.amazon.com/S.-R.-Mallery/e/B00CIUW3W8/

And if you want to check her links in other places:

Website/Blog:  www.srmallery.com

Twitter:  @SarahMallery1

Facebook:  

http://facebook.com/pages/SR-Mallery-Sarah-Mallery/356495387768574

Goodreads:  

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7067421.S_R_Mallery

Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/sarahmallery1/

Thanks so much to Sarah for her new book, thanks to all of you for reading, and you know, like, share, comment and CLICK!

Hi all:

As you know I bring you guest authors and new books on Fridays. When I saw this book tour advertised just before Valentine’s I thought it was meant to be. And here it is…I leave you with Hanna Fielding and her novel ‘Echoes of Love‘. Romance and Venice, what else could you want? But if you want more, I also include my review and there’s a great giveaway.
 photo EchoesofLove2.jpg

Hannah Fielding bio

Hannah Fielding is a novelist, a dreamer, a traveller, a mother, a wife and an incurable romantic. The seeds for her writing career were sown in early childhood, spent in Egypt, when she came to an agreement with her governess Zula: for each fairy story Zula told, Hannah would invent and relate one of her own. Years later – following a degree in French literature, several years of travelling in Europe, falling in love with an Englishman, the arrival of two beautiful children and a career in property development – Hannah decided after so many years of yearning to write that the time was now. Today, she lives the dream: she writes full time, splitting her time between her homes in Kent, England, and the South of France, where she dreams up romances overlooking breathtaking views of the Mediterranean.

Her first novel, Burning Embers, is a vivid, evocative love story set against the backdrop of tempestuous and wild Kenya of the 1970s, reviewed by one newspaper as ‘romance like Hollywood used to make’. Her new novel, The Echoes of Love, is a story of passion, betrayal and intrigue set in the romantic and mysterious city of Venice and the beautiful landscape of Tuscany.

 

Social media links

Website: www.hannahfielding.net
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/fieldinghannah
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/fieldinghannah
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5333898.Hannah_Fielding

 

Buy links

Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Echoes-Love-Hannah-Fielding-ebook/dp/B00H3S3FFO/ref=tmm_kin_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1386249349&sr=8-1

Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/Echoes-Love-Hannah-Fielding/dp/0992671833/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=8-1&qid=1386249426

Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-echoes-of-love-hannah-fielding/1117405658?ean=9780992671839

 

Book trailer

Book excerpt 

The clock struck midnight just as Venetia went past the grand eighteenth-century mirror hanging over the mantelpiece in the hall. Instinctively she looked into it and her heart skipped a beat. In the firelight she noticed that he was there again, an almost illusory figure, leaning against the wall at the far end of the shadowy room, steady eyes intense, watching her from behind his black mask. An illusory figure indeed, because when Venetia turned around he was gone.

Venetia shivered. Nanny Horren’s voice resounded through her head, reminding her of the strange Celtic superstitions that the Scottish governess used to tell her. One in particular came to mind. ‘Turn off the light and look into the mirror by firelight at midnight on Shrove Tuesday,’ the old woman would whisper to the impressionable and imaginative teenage Venetia, ‘and if you see a face reflected behind your own, it’ll be the face of the love of your life, the man you will marry someday.’

Was this what had just happened to Venetia? Was this stranger the love of her life?

Rubbish, she remonstrated, laughing uneasily into her own eyes, you’re mad! Haven’t you learnt your lesson? Venetia had indulged in such fantasies several years ago and had only managed to get hurt. Now, she knew better. Still, she did not move away. Venetia leant closer to the mirror that reflected her pale, startled face in the flickering light, as tremors of the warm feelings of yester love suddenly flooded her being. For a few moments she seemed to lose all sense of where she was and felt as though she stood inside a globe, watching the wheel of time turning back ten years.

Gareth Jordan Carter. ‘Judd’. It was a diminutive of Jordan, chosen by Venetia who hated the name Gareth and didn’t care much for the name Jordan either. Judd had been her first love, and as far as Venetia was concerned, her last. She had been young and innocent then; only eighteen. Today, at twenty-eight, she liked to think she was a woman of the world, who would not allow herself to be trapped by the treacherous illusions of passion, however appealing they might seem. She had paid a high price for her naivety and impetuosity.

Venetia tried to shake herself clear of those haunting phantasms and her thoughts ambled back to the masked stranger – well, almost a stranger.

Their brief encounter had occurred the evening of the first night of Il Carnevale di Venezia, ten days before Shrove Tuesday …

***

It was nearly seven-thirty and the shops were beginning to shut down for the night. The wind that had blown all day had dropped, and a slight haze veiled the trees, as if gauze had been hung in front of everything that was more than a few feet away. The damp air was soaked with silence.

Venetia tightened the belt of her coat around her slim waist and lifted the fur collar snugly about her neck. The sound of her footsteps echoed off the pavement as she hurried towards the Rialto Bridge from Piazza San Marco, a solitary figure in an almost deserted street. She was on her way to catch thevaporetto water bus, which would drop her off at Palazzo Mendicoli where she had an apartment. A few huddled pedestrians could be seen on the opposite pavement, and there was not much traffic on the great inky stretch of water of the Grand Canal.

Suddenly Venetia saw two figures spring out in front of her from the surrounding darkness. They were enveloped in carnevale cloaks, with no visible faces, only a spooky blackness where they should have been. A hand materialised from under the all-encompassing wrap of one of the sinister creatures and grabbed at her bag. Chilled to the bone, Venetia tried to scream but the sound froze in her throat. Struggling, she hung onto the leather pouch which was looped over her shoulder and across her front as she tried to lift her knee to kick him in the groin, but her aggressors were prepared. An arm was thrown around her throat from the back and the second figure produced a knife.

Just as he was going to slash at the strap of her bag, an imposing silhouette emerged from nowhere and with startling speed its owner swung at Venetia’s attacker with his fist, knocking him off balance. With a grunt of pain the man fell backwards, tripping over his accomplice who gave a curse, and they both tumbled to the ground. Then, picking themselves up in a flash, they took to their heels and fled into the hazy gloom.

Va tutto bene, are you alright?’ The stranger’s light baritone voice broke through Venetia’s disoriented awareness, and he looked down anxiously into her large amber eyes.

‘Yes, yes, I think so,’ she panted, her hands going to her throat.

‘Are you hurt at all?’

‘No, no just a little shaken, thank you.’

‘You’re shivering. You’ve had a bad shock and you need a warm drink. Come. There’s a caffeteria that serves the best hot chocolate in Venice, just a few steps from here. It’ll do you good.’ Without waiting for a response, he took Venetia’s arm and led the way down the narrow street.

Venetia’s knees felt like jelly and her teeth were chattering. ‘Thanks,’ she murmured, still trying to catch her breath, her heart pounding, and let herself be guided by her tall, broad-shouldered rescuer, who seemed to have taken the situation into his hands.

Thus does Fate cast her thunderbolts into our lives, letting them fall with a feather-like touch, dulling our senses to the storm they would cause should we realise their devastating powers.

They sat in silence at a table in a far-off corner of the crowded caffeteria. There was too much noise to talk and Venetia was exhausted, so she concentrated on appraising the man sitting opposite her as she listened to the music playing: Mina’s nostalgic 1960 love song, ‘Il Cielo in una Stanza’, the unashamedly romantic hit that was so Italian, and which was therefore still frequently played as a classic all over the country.

Venetia’s guardian angel looked more like Lucifer than a celestial being, with his tempestuous blue eyes, curiously bright against the warm tan of his skin, which slanted a fraction upwards under heavy, dark brows when he smiled. They were staring intently at her now with an emotion which puzzled her, and for a few seconds she found herself helplessly staring back into them. It was like gazing into shimmering water.

Strong, masculine features graced his nut-brown face beneath a thick crop of raven-black hair, sleek and shining, swept back from a wide forehead. He wasn’t good-looking in the classical sense, his face was too craggy for that immediate impact, but he was a striking man who emanated controlled power, someone used to making decisions who would not be swayed by any argument or sentiment; a hard man. Still, his steeliness was tempered by the enigmatic curve that lifted the corners of his generous mouth into a promise of laughter; this, coupled with the deep cleft in the centre of his chin, gave him a roguish expression that Venetia found appealing.

The waiter brought over a cup of hot chocolate, a double espresso and a plate of biscotti which he said were offered con i complimenti della casa. Her rescuer was obviously a regular customer.

Venetia took a few sips of the thick, warm brew. She felt herself revive as it trickled down her throat, becoming a warm glow in her stomach which reflected on her cheeks.

The stranger smiled at her. ‘Feeling better?’

She nodded. ‘Thank you, you’ve been so very kind.’

His smile broadened. ‘You are welcome, signorina. It is always a pleasure to come to the rescue of a beautiful lady. My name is Paolo Barone, at your service.’

Venetia had been working in Italy for over three years as an architect cum interior designer in her godmother’s architect firm, and was used to the gallant ways and the charm of Italian men. She found their smooth repartee refreshing, and sometimes even amusing, but never took them too seriously. Paolo Barone was different. Maybe it was because she was in shock and felt vulnerable, but nevertheless her heart warmed to this man, who, although not that young, was still in his prime – middle to late thirties perhaps – and she relaxed. Still, even though the circumstances in this case were unusual, Venetia was not used to accepting invitations from strangers, so she deliberately made no conversation; and to her surprise neither did he.

As she raised the warm cup to her lips with both hands, she was aware of him looking at her directly with unabashed interest. Was he trying to decipher her, she wondered? Relieved that the hot drink’s effect on her cheeks was hiding the slight confusion she felt beneath, she sipped a little too quickly and cooled her lip with the tip of her tongue. Then realising what she had done, she glanced up to see his expression deepen into something else, which made her instantly lower her eyes.

When she had finished her chocolate, Paolo smiled at her. ‘Andiamo? Shall we go?’ he asked, cocking his head to one side and looking at Venetia with curiosity.

Sparkling hazel eyes flecked with gold smiled back at him through long black lashes that somehow did not belong with her chestnut hair. ‘Yes. Thank you for the hot chocolate. It is really the best chocolate I’ve had in Venice.’

He helped her with her coat, lifting her glorious long locks over the fur collar. At five foot seven inches, Venetia was tall but as he faced her and began buttoning the garment himself, she noticed again how he towered over her. His hands were strong and masculine; she had a curious sensation of warm familiarity, as though he had performed this act with her several times before. Yet mingled with that feeling came one of embarrassment; his touch seemed a rather intimate gesture instead of the impersonal indifference of a stranger, and she drew away with a little nervous laugh.

‘Thank you, that won’t be necessary.’

He held her gaze intently for a moment, as if surprised at what she had said, and she looked down again, for some reason unable to meet those midnight-blue eyes and their burning intensity. Then he smiled and held the door open.

‘By the way, I don’t know your name,’ Paolo said as they stepped out into the misty night and began walking towards the Grand Canal.

‘Venetia. Venetia Aston-Montagu.’

He quirked a black eyebrow. ‘A very romantic name, Venetia, like our beautiful city. But you’re not Italian? You speak Italian like a native.’

She laughed. ‘Thank you for the compliment. No, I’m actually English, but I was named by my godmother, who is Venetian. She was my mother’s best friend and she insisted I learn Italian.’

‘So you’re on holiday here?’

‘No, I live here.’

‘Nearby?’

‘No, in the Dorsoduro district. I need to catch the vaporetto, as the entrance to the building where I live is on the Grand Canal.’

‘My launch is moored across the street. Dorsoduro is on my way. It would be a pleasure for me to drop you off.’

‘No, thank you. You’ve already been very kind.’

‘It’s late and snow has been forecast for tonight. The vaporetto is bound to be almost empty. I wouldn’t want you to come to any harm, signorina. I will give you a lift.’ He spoke quietly with an air of command, his hand coming up to her elbow, but she avoided it hastily.

It was very tempting to accept, but Venetia would not let herself. This stranger was a little too attentive, she thought, and though she had been grateful for his kind invitation to a hot chocolate when she was in distress, and could still recall the feel of his hands buttoning up her coat, she was not in the habit of being picked up by men.

‘No really, thank you very much. I’m used to travelling by vaporetto. It’s quite safe.’

Paolo did not insist, and for the rest of the way they walked in silence through the narrow, tortuous alleys, Venetia conscious of his nearness in every fibre of her being.

It was bitterly cold. The wind was whistling and a bank of threatening cloud hung over Venice like a white cloak. As they arrived at the waterbus stop, a few snowflakes started to come down. A couple of gondolas, their great steel blades looming dangerously out of the soft velvety mist, glided by swiftly over the gently lapping waters.

‘Are you sure you don’t want to change your mind? It looks as though there’ll be a blizzard and the vaporetto may be delayed.’ He looked at her with a polite, but guarded smile and she felt a momentary pang of regret at her determination to escape him.

Paolo’s pride was spared a new refusal as they heard the croaky purr of thevaporetto announcing its lazy approach.

‘Here comes my bus,’ Venetia said cheerfully. ‘I’ll be home in no time.’

The boat appeared and presently drew up at the small station, bumping the landing stage as it did so.

‘Thanks again for all your help, signore,’ she went on, smiling as she held out her small, perfectly manicured hand to say goodbye. The young man took it in his own, which was large and warm, and held it a trifle longer than would be usual. Venetia stood there with waves of heat passing over her, her senses suddenly heightened at this contact. She abruptly withdrew her hand.

His blue hawk eyes gazed down at her, intent though unfathomable, and he paused uncertainly. ‘Will you dine with me tomorrow night?’ he uttered in a low voice.

It would be exciting to dine with Paolo, she thought, but you must run from him, urged the echo of an insistent voice within her; this man has the power to hurt you.

‘I’m so sorry,’ she replied stiffly. ‘I’m afraid I’m busy.’

‘That’s a pity.’ He sounded as if he meant it, but did not insist, leaving her feeling curiously disappointed. He held out his hand again, silently, and she took it, also without a word. There was nothing lax or vague in his firm grasp. Like many people, Venetia was swift to gauge character by the quality of a handclasp and had known many apparently vigorous men whose fingers were like limp fish. Once more, she was aware that Paolo’s large, sensitive hands held a strength and vitality that stirred her deeply.

She hurried onto the vaporetto, suddenly eager to flee, but as the waterbus pulled away from the quay, she watched him go up the stairs and disappear into the snow-white night with a strange sinking of the heart, wondering if she would ever see him again.

 

 

What the reviewers are saying

‘The book makes the reader want to visit Italy, as the descriptions of the sights and sounds evoked such beautiful images.’ – Associated Press

‘A very well written, and different kind of romance… an exceptionally riveting romance… I would certainly recommend this to fans of the intelligent and suspenseful romance.’ – Amazon review

‘Classic romance fiction… with all the right “s” ingredients – seduction, shall-we/shan’t-we, secrets, steaminess.’ – Amazon review

‘A haunting, poignant romance… immerses you in a truly heartwarming and stirring tale of deep passion, love, forgiveness, and healing.’ – Book Bag Lady

‘A beautifully crafted book, the echoes of which will remain with you for a long time.’ – Amazon review

‘I absolutely adored the depth of the love story… It reads like a film, indeed I can totally imagine it as a Baz Luhrman epic with glorious costumes and elaborate settings.’ – Books with Bunny

 

Message from the author

I first visited Venice as a young child. Then, as now, I was wide-eyed and enchanted by the beauty of the city. I distinctly remember standing in the main square, the Piazza St Marco, gazing up at the stunning architecture of Saint Mark’s Basilica, and feeling I had somehow entered another world – a fairytale world. Then I looked down, at the square itself, which was overrun by hordes of pigeons. There was nothing beautiful about those birds. They were quite spoiling the place. And it struck me then that Venice is a city of two faces: that which the tourists flock to admire, that makes the city the capital of romance, that breathes new life into the imagination and leaves a permanent, inspirational impression. And the other side, the darker side, that which is concealed in what Erica Jong called ‘the city of mirrors, the city of mirages’.

When I returned to the city as an adult, I became quite fascinated by the concept of Venice – what it means to be Venetian; what the city really is beneath the layers of history and grandeur and legend.  Frida Giannini wrote ‘Venice never quite seems real, but rather an ornate film set suspended on the water.’ I understand this quote – there is something fairytale about the place, and with that comes some reluctance, perhaps, to see the realism beyond.

Venice so captured my imagination that I knew some day I would write a romance novel set in this most elegant and fascinating of cities. But it had to be the right story to fit the place. For me, that meant a story that reflected the two faces of Venice – the mask she wears, and the true form beneath.

I very much hope that readers will enjoy my new novel, and will fall in love with its romantic Italian setting, as I did.

Don’t miss the giveaway!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here my review:

Echoes of Love by Hanna Fielding. A luscious and passionate Italian romance with a touch of suspense.

As much as I enjoy taking part in blog tours I don’t always participate, even when I’m interested in the books, because of constraints with regards to time for reviewing. But when I received the information for this blog tour I was in the mood for a read that would take me away and wrap me in a story. A romantic story.

Romance is not my first choice for genre but I enjoy reading it, although more recently my preference has been for contemporaneous, light and humorous takes on the matter, and chick-lit. ‘Echoes of Love’ isn’t that kind of book. The story of Venezia, an English young woman whose godmother is Italian (and therefore her name), and Paolo, the man he meets in Italy and feels irresistible attracted to from the very beginning, is a story of star-crossed love, fate, damaged and wounded lovers, in the setting of Italy (mostly Venice, but also parts of Tuscany and Sardinia). There is also an element of intrigue that I must confess I guessed from very early on in the story, but was curious as to how the writer would build into the story. It is one of these books where readers and those around the main characters have more insight and can see more clearly what is going on than the couple at the centre of the action, and where the “will they, won’t they” tension is a driving force for the narrative.

The author surrounds the story with luscious and detailed descriptions of everything, from architecture and interior design, clothing, characters’ looks, to food and landscape. I’m not usually a big fan of descriptions and prefer to leave some space to imagination, but I enjoyed the use of quotations, settings and the local stories and customs that illustrate the characters’ journey. Sardinia in particular, although only occupies a short part of the story, is beautifully depicted, and it seems visiting it during Easter would be a great experience.

The story is well-written, it picks up the pace in the last third of the book, all details of the plot are important (there are no clues given for no reason). We get to follow the inner thoughts of the main characters, although not only them but also many of the secondary characters seem ruled more by their passions than by their heads. Their very luxurious life-styles and lack of “real-life” problems (they have high flying professions, drive Ferraris and Porsches, and money is never a consideration), require a degree of suspension of disbelief on the part of the reader but also give the story the dream/wish-fulfilment quality that is one of the attractions of the genre.

In conclusion, if you’re looking for a story rich in details, that will make you feel as if you’re sharing the total experience and getting under the skin of characters that live a life of luxury surrounded by beauty, and you fancy a romance in Italy with a touch of darkness and intrigue, this is your book.

Thanks so much for reading and if you’ve enjoyed, please like, share, comment, and of course, CLICK!

Hi all:

As  you know on Fridays I bring you new books or authors. I thought I might still be in time to bring you a few good reads before Christmas, and today I bring you some  authors I know whose work has been translated to English but you might not yet be familiar with. They are all good yarns, full of adventures and fast paced, so if you want a read to make you forget the weather and the “excitement” of Christmas and help you get lost somewhere  else…give them a go! In the case of the last one that I’ve been lucky enough to read very recently, I include my own review.

 

The Last Crypt by Fernando Gamboa

The Last Crypt by Fernando Gamboa

The Last Crypt by Fernando Gamboa

– MORE THAN 200,000 COPIES SOLD IN EUROPE
– #1 Bestseller in Spanish & Russian
– “Best Action and Adventure novel of 2012 for Kindle” According Amazon Spain
– LAUNCH OFFER -75% OFF

«I could not stop reading it!.»
«I understand why this novel has been so successful.»
«An impressive and surprising ending, which gives you goosebumps.»
«You can´t stop reading. It’s great, spectacular & lots of fun.»
«It is one of the best novels I’ve read in a while.»
«The truth is that I did not imagine this book could make me enjoy as much as it has.»
«A stunning setting, believable characters, a great story and an unexpected ending.»
«Amazing!!!»

Diver Ulysses Vidal finds a fourteenth-century bronze bell of Templar origin buried under a reef off the Honduras coast. It turns out it’s been lying there for more than one century, prior to Christopher Columbus’s discovery of America. Driven by curiosity and a sense of adventure, he begins the search for the legendary treasure of the Order of The Temple. Together with a medieval history professor and a daring Mexican archeologist they travel through Spain, the Mali desert, the Caribbean Sea and the Mexican jungle. They face innumerable riddles and dangers, but in the end this search will uncover a much more important mystery. A secret, kept hidden for centuries, which could transform the history of humankind, and the way we understand the universe.

Fernando Gamboa (Barcelona, Spain, 1970) has devoted most of his adult life to traveling through Africa, Asia and Latin America. He has lived in several countries and worked as a scuba diver, Spanish teacher, entrepreneur, poker player and adventure guide.
At present, he’s the #1 bestseller indie author in Spain. His books have been translated into Russian, Greek and Italian”

http://www.amazon.com/LAST-CRYPT-Fernando-Gamboa-ebook/dp/B00MRD6LRE/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/LAST-CRYPT-Fernando-Gamboa-ebook/dp/B00MRD6LRE/

Fernando Gamboa, author

Fernando Gamboa, author

About the Author

Fernando Gamboa (Barcelona, Spain, 1970) has devoted most of his adult life to traveling through Africa, Asia and Latin America. He has lived in several countries and worked as a scuba diver, Spanish teacher, entrepreneur, poker player and adventure guide. At present, he’s the #1 bestseller indie author in Spain. His books have been translated from Spanish to Russian, Greek and Italian. Among some of his bestselling titles in Spanish are: La última cripta, Ciudad Negra, Capitán Riley, Guinea.

http://www.amazon.com/Fernando-Gamboa-Gonz%C3%A1lez/e/B006RTHR9K/

The Kraken. Part 1 by Jonás Cobos

The Kraken. Part 1 by Jonás Cobos

The Kraken: Part I (The Melville Files Book 1) by Jonás Cobos

Private Investigator John Melville, once a member of the Secret Services of Condal City, is convinced by his former employers to investigate the murder of his friend Alí Bey. His friend’s death seems to be related to the theft of hundreds of platinum bullion, stolen from national reserves in the neighboring Napoleonic Republic. The robbers used Aether Disrupters to freeze officials in time. But who are the so-called “Custodians of God?”

http://www.amazon.com/Kraken-Part-Melville-Files-Book-ebook/dp/B00PT1EQAK/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Kraken-Part-Melville-Files-Book-ebook/dp/B00PT1EQAK/

One of the 5 star reviews:

The Kraken is a short introduction to a series by Jonas Cobos. A mystery detective piece following Melville who is on the case of a national theft and the death of a close friend. The two seemingly disparate incidences become intwined and the plot thickens into an interesting mix of crime and mystery.

People that have enjoyed the work of Jules Verne or H.G.Wells will take to Jonas’ writing style. His clear, bold writing is well paced and consistent throughout, a well structured read. Although it is short, it sets up what could be a great series, filled with more of the same twists and characters.

I’ve felt for a while that reading work written these new authors is a really exciting, Jonas’ ‘The Kraken’ is no exception, having all the right ingredients to make a good series, a taste of what is to come. I look forward to the rest of the Melville Files series. Pick it up.

Author Jonás Cobos

Author Jonás Cobos

About the author:

Jonas Cobos (1967) was born in Balearic Islands, Spain, grew up in Minorca. At 12 years Old he discovered a book by Agatha Christie, and that turn him in a book eater. In 2010 studied Creative Wrinting with the writer Holly Lisle. In 2012 published “Susurros en la Oscuridad” and really fast become a best seller in the terror genre in Amazon Spain. It’s one of the first Spanish writers in Steampunk genre. And his book LA CARACOLA DE NEPTUNO (Steampunk) becomes a best seller in his genre. Now his book is translated to an English and Italian.

http://www.amazon.com/Jonas-Cobos/e/B009BTWC9I/

The Manuscript I. The Secret by Blanca Miosi

The Manuscript I. The Secret by Blanca Miosi

The Manuscript I The Secret by Blanca Miosi

When a mysterious man hands Nicholas Blohm a strange manuscript, the unsuccessful author stumbles upon the chance to write the best novel of his life. However, as he starts reading it, he soon discovers that at one point or another, the story is interrupted, and the last pages left blank. Nicholas then decides to find out whether the story in the unfinished novel is fact or fiction.

He readily gathers information and confirms the characters portrayed in the manuscript do exist. Moreover, he could even meet them: the story is real. Fascinated by the possibility, he travels to Rome to acquaint himself with the cast of characters. As a result, he becomes deeply involved in the search for a secret, a missing part of the formula left by Count Claudio Contini-Massera to his nephew, Dante. Nicholas and Dante embark on a two-week action-packed adventure. All through their relentless journey, we find mystery, suspicion, clues, scientists, murder and finally, the most wanted Nazi of all, Josep Mengele.

Set in Rome, Hereford, Capri and New York, The Secret is the first of a series on which Nicholas Blohm always shows up with the manuscript.

http://www.amazon.com/Manuscript-I-Secret-Blanca-Miosi-ebook/dp/B00QFLRTN4/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Manuscript-I-Secret-Blanca-Miosi-ebook/dp/B00QFLRTN4/

Author Blanca Miosi

Author Blanca Miosi

About the author:

Born in Lima (Perú) of a Japanese father and Peruvian mother, Blanca Miosi has been living for the last three decades in Venezuela. She is the author of Waldek, the boy who confronted the Nazis a novel based on the life of her husband, a survivor of the Auschwitz and Mauthausen camps. First published in its original Spanish as La Búsqueda (Editorial Roca) the work received international acclaim and won the 2007 Thriller Award. In 2009, Miosi published El Legado (Editorial Viceversa), a family saga based on Erik Hanussen, the notorious Berlin clairvoyant and personal counsel to Adolf Hitler. In 2011, and as an independent author with Amazon.com, Blanca Miosi published La búsqueda, El Legado, Dimitri Galunov, El Manuscrito I. El Secreto; El Manuscrito II El coleccionista,Amanda and now “Waldek, the boy who defied the Nazis” (La búsqueda in English Language) Her novels occupy first ranking positions among Amazon´s best sold titles in Spanish.

http://www.amazon.com/Blanca-Miosi/e/B005C7603C/

My own review of the book:

A small book hiding a big secret:

As a writer, a book titled ‘The Manuscript’ will always be intriguing to me, and Blanca Miosi’s book did not disappoint me. From the very beginning you are thrown in at the deep end and have many questions that make you keep reading.

The writer protagonist of the book, Nicholas, is having trouble writing. And right in cue, a strange man gives him a magical manuscript of sorts. It is unclear what the magic is, but Nicholas becomes fascinated by the content of the manuscript to the point that he has to go and pursue the story, no matter at what cost.

The novel flows well, and the changes in point of view narration add layers of complexity to the book, and make us feel closer to the characters, a complex array of people, from all walks of life and different corners of the world. Business corporations, Mafia, Colombia cartels, Nazi concentration camps’ experiments, writers block, love triangles, genetics…all have a part to play in this novel that’s deceptively simple. Fictional situations mix with well-known historical characters and create a compelling narrative that will leave you wanting more.

I’ve read many books and one can’t help but guess what will come next. Believe me, I tried, but the book kept going in unexpected directions.

Well-paced, with a great story, likeable main characters and some fantastic minor ones, a great dose of intrigue (and some magic) it is not surprising it was a best-seller in its Spanish version. I’d be surprised if the English version doesn’t do even better.

 Ah, and I wanted to thank my friend and incredibly talented writer Dariel Raye for featuring me in her fabulous blog. Come and pay a visit:

http://pendarielraye.blogspot.co.uk/2014/12/dariels-feature-meet-my-friend-olga.html?zx=fba1021076a90388

Thanks to all the authors for bringing us their books, thanks to you all for reading, enjoy the coming holiday season, and you know, if you’ve enjoyed it, like, comment, share, and of course, CLICK!

 

Hi all:

As you know I’m  a bit busy writing but I promised you I would try and keep bringing you new books.

Today I bring you the newest work by an author who has visited us before (and I’ve had the pleasure of reading one of his novels and have more of his on my list), Christoph Fischer.

His new book, Conditions is receiving plenty of attention, and you’ll soon realise why:

Conditions by Christoph Fischer

Conditions by Christoph Fischer

When Charles and Tony’s mother dies the estranged brothers must struggle to pick up the pieces, particularly so given that one of them is mentally challenged and the other bitter about his place within the family.

 

The conflict is drawn out over materialistic issues, but there are other underlying problems which go to the heart of what it means to be part of a family which, in one way or another. has cast one aside.

 

Prejudice, misconceptions and the human condition in all forms feature in this contemporary drama revolving around a group of people who attend the subsequent funeral at the British South Coast.

 

Meet flamboyant gardener Charles, loner Simon, selfless psychic Elaine, narcissistic body-builder Edgar, Martha and her version of unconditional love and many others as they try to deal with the event and its aftermath.

Links:

http://www.amazon.com/Conditions-Christoph-Fischer-ebook/dp/B00NZ1VTBU/

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Conditions-Christoph-Fischer-ebook/dp/B00NZ1VTBU/

I wanted to share some of the reviews (all 5 stars) of the book, but they were all so detailed and so heartfelt that I didn’t manage to choose and I thought the fairest thing would be for you to go and see.

I’m sharing a couple of Christoph’s blogs also, as he shares the work of other writers and he’s an avid reader (so you’ll get plenty of reviews). And pay attention to the second blog, as Christoph is talking about the characters of his book, so you’ll get much more information…

General information:

http://www.christophfischerbooks.com/

Interviews, reviews, and a series about the characters in his book:

http://writerchristophfischer.wordpress.com/

And here is my review for Sebastian in case you missed it:

https://olganm.wordpress.com/2014/09/02/review-of-sebastian-the-three-nations-trilogy-book-2-by-christoph-fischer-a-chronicle-of-turbulent-times-and-memorable-characters/

Thanks so much to Christoph Fischer for his visit, thanks to you all for reading, and you know the drill, like, share, comment and of course, don’t forget to CLICK!

Oh, Ronovan of Ronovan Writes fame has kindly agreed to having me as one more of his team working towards encouraging indie writers and helping promote their work at Literary World Interviews.

As I’m writing, writing, writing, I haven’t had much chance to create a lot of original content (other than the said writing), but as I keep reading I’ve managed to post a couple of reviews there and I leave you the links here (I debated reblogging but reblogs get me quite confused and I’d rather you visit the site directly, as there’s a lot of great content there).

Here:

http://litworldinterviews.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/book-review-by-olganm7-of-some-luck-by-jane-smiley/

http://litworldinterviews.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/book-review-by-olganm7-of-dead-drop-by-jesse-miles/

Thanks my friends!

Living in the Gap

“Ruffled feathers and endless squawking over a minor difficulty is typical of a crow’s life. I lean back on the counter and realize that could be my line….”

Opinión y actualidad

Opinión sobre noticias y asuntos de actualidad

Los escritos de Héctor Browne

Blog (algo literario y algo viejo) de un Licenciado en Letras, diplomado en edición, y Profesor de Lenguaje.

Priscilla Bettis, Author

The making of a horror novelist.

%d bloggers like this: