1. Monday · Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – Living a lie, Part One By M.L. Kacy

Because I have so many book reviews to get done I am going to do a second one on a Tuesday until I catch up…

 

In your early adult years, you think that you know it all. Well that’s how I was looking back on my life. Nearly nineteen-years later, it’s true what they say, you always learn by your mistakes, mistakes make you into a stronger person. Boy, did I make a hell of a lot of mistakes. I never thought that my life would turn out the way that it did. There are only four things that I would never regret, my four beautiful children. They were, and still are, my saving grace, my redemption of sorts. When the darkness became too much, thoughts of them would pull me into the light.

This is my story, it’s not a story that is all sweetness and light. It’s a story of love, regret, devastation, darkness and maybe a little redemption.

So here we are, I shall start from the beginning.
Part One

***Disclaimer- Some of the content in this book can cause triggers for some. Also, contains profanity, erotic scenes and only suitable for readers 18+***

This book is biographical of an extraordinary woman who has overcome so much in her life. Reading this as just a reader you cannot help but fell so much empathy for the main ‘character’ Rhea, I don’t want to say too much but she goes through events which are so traumatic and it is so well written that you do feel her pain and empathise with her.

For me reading this as someone who actually knows the author it adds another level of heartbreak and you want to run over to her and give her a big hug. The only issue I have is that I only bought part one, I strongly recommend buying the newer versions with part one and two together.

I give this a heart wrenching five out of 5 stars.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – So You WantTo Own An Art Gallery By Lee Benson

I picked this up at a book signing after talking to the author…

An art gallery is serious business…isn’t it? Not when it involves manic artists and predatory female staff it isn’t.
“The funniest and sexiest of debut novels”

This is a collection of anecdotes rather than short stories, taken from the authors time running an art gallery, in person Lee Benson is charming and witty, something you do get a glance of in his book but I have always promised to be totally honest in these reviews and this book does have a few issues.

The first one being the subject matter, if you have never been a part of the art world you may find some of the characters unbelievable, let me just tell you having attended art college after school for just over a year, these people really do exist,. I am aware every walk of life has its own colourful characters, but there is something about the art world which allows them full rein to express their personality in all its multicoloured facets.

The second issue is that the book is a collection of anecdotes rather than stories, so although occasionally you get a brief set up or a concluding comment you are not going to get to know what happened to the people you meet long term, they appear and are gone again if the fluttering of a few pages.

There is a part of me that wishes the author had written a fictional story about an art gallery owner, weaving a few of these tales together then throughout a storyline that gives us a deeper insight to some of the characters and then he could have told the other tales as was to engage the audience.

Does this mean the book is bad? No, it just means I believe it cold have been so much more, a view, which like art, is subjective., if you want a book you can pick up read a page and drop again then this would work, it is interesting and amusing but it needs more context especially for the non art world people.

I will round this up for Goodreads/Amazon but I am giving this 3.5 stars out of five, I just hope the author forgives me when I next run across him at a signing.

1. Monday · Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – Yorkshire Ripper The Secret Murders By Chris Clark And Tim Tate

 

In 1981, Peter Sutcliffe, the ‘Yorkshire Ripper’, was convicted of thirteen murders and seven attempted murders. All his proven victims were women: most were prostitutes.

Astonishingly, however, this is not the whole truth. There is a still-secret story of how Sutcliffe’s terrible reign of terror claimed at least twenty-two more lives and left five other victims with terrible injuries. These crimes – attacks on men as well as women – took place all over England, not just in his known killing fields of Yorkshire and Lancashire.

Police and prosecution authorities have long known that Sutcliffe’s reign of terror was far longer and far more widespread than the public has been led to believe. But the evidence has been locked away in the files and archives, ensuring that these murders and attempted murders remain unsolved today.

As a result, the families of at least twenty-two murdered women have been cheated of their right to know how and why their loved ones died: the pain of living with that may diminish over time, but it never fades away completely. Five other victims survived his attacks: their plight, too, has never been officially acknowledged.

Worse still, police blunders and subsequent suppression of evidence ensured that three entirely innocent men were imprisoned for murders committed by the Yorkshire Ripper. They each lost the best parts of their adult lives, locked up and forgotten in stinking cells for more than two decades.

This book, by a former police Intelligence Officer, is the story not just of those long-cold killings, of the forgotten families and of three terrible miscarriages of justice. It also uncovers Peter Sutcliffe’s real motive for murder – and reveals how he manipulated police, prosecutors and psychiatrists to ensure that he serves his sentence in the comfort of a psychiatric hospital rather than a prison cell.

This book was really interesting and if true crime is your thing you should give it a read. The crimes that Peter Sutcliffe were charged with are well discussed and have been written about frequently but this book looks at the geography of his life and the number of similar crimes committed in areas he had links with at times he was likely to be there. Some fit his known pattern, others are slightly different, but all share elements of his modus operandi.

Even before reading this I did wonder how many other victims there were out there, either people who were killed or those who had a near misses. I do understand from a practical point of view why there is nothing to be gained and that it would be expensive to investigate every crime that took place in every area he lived or visited, but you can’t help wondering if there are women out there who never got justice.

I give this book 5 out of five stars.

1. Monday · Book Reviews

Book Review – Behind Closed Doors By Karen J. Mossman

For transparency I received this book as a prize for being selected as the best story in the Dandelion Anthology’s Love Ever After which I am part of, it in no way has affected my review or influenced the final rating I give it…

We begin as always with the blurb taken from Goodreads.

Kerry tries to protect her sister but she can’t protect her mum or herself from Bill, her stepfather. He’s mean and volatile and likes to drink.

When she meets Tommy, they fall in love and she finds out his last girlfriend brought trouble to his nice normal family. Not wanting to jeopardise their relationship and do the same, Kerry tries to keep her secrets behind closed doors.

Eventually, the bruises and the lies tell their own story. She can’t hide the fact Bill is wrecking their family and deeper family issues threaten to destroy the best thing that ever happened to her – Tommy.

A coming of age story set to a backdrop of seventies music and fashion.

I was born in 71 so although my teenage years were spent in the 80’s there are many things that were not that different, Although there was no abuse in my house, I can certainly relate to a time where dad held all the family finances and mum received an amount of cash each week to pay the bills and take care of the house. I remember the cheesecloth tops, and my dad telling me I was not leaving the house when he judged a skirt to be too short, the reality for my generation as well as the previous ones was that it was normal for a parent to give you a backhander or a clip round the ear, that parents demanded respect and the phrase ‘living under my roof’ was one every teenager heard at some point,

Luckily Kerry finds a knight in shining armour, not a trope I normally like but I fully appreciate in this time it was almost impossible for a female to escape an abuse patriarchal figure alone. I was fully immersed in this book and read it in one sitting, however there were two small niggles.

First, was Howard, he is introduced as Kerry’s boring boyfriend, a complete contrast to the sexy hero Tommy, but within  few days of their break up he is suddenly at a house party thrown by friends of Tommy, it just jarred slightly because if he had been the party type Kerry might never have looked at Tommy (well okay she might still have had a sneaky peek but she wouldn’t have dumped Howard and flirted). The second was the Irish Issue, it is brought up that they are on opposite sides of the religious divide, yet neither set of parent raises this issue, and as Catholics I would certainly have expected Tommy’s parents to at least talk about it even if the were not practising Catholics, especially when he moves to join her in Ireland and proposes, this is the 70’s after the Bloody Sunday Massacre, so even if neither parent cared about their different religions they would certainly have been scared for them.

All that being said, these were not niggles that I thought about until after I finished the book, and let me say, it should have a warning on the front, telling you to grab the tissues befoer you start reading, because you are going to need them.

So the final rating is a blubbering five out of 5 stars.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
Book Reviews

Book Review – The Vintage Coat By Chris Turnbull

This book has been sitting on my desk waiting to be reviewed for a while but here it finally is…

 

So first up the Goodreads blurb…

Joseph Michaels is 25 and an accidental time traveller.

After losing his job Joe finds himself working at the local second-hand shop. One day whilst unpacking new stock Joe comes across an old military coat that he just can’t resist trying on.

Excited by the powers of the coat, Joe quickly takes it home where he discovers it allows him to travel between present day Alston, Cumbria and the same area during WWII

Joe soon finds himself in the midst of living a double life.

However, one night an unexpected air raid hits town and everybody is thrown into disarray; and Joe is faced with standing up for the ones he loves, even if it could cost him everything.

When I read the blurb for this book I was reminded of the TV programme where Nicholas Lyndhurst finds a way to walk through an alley way to start a second life in war torn London, but this is so much more. While the Tv series does touch on the realities of life it was a sitcom but this book takes you into the real lives of people trying to survive the best they can.

You are automatically invested in these characters and their stories, The plot is a delicately crafted web that draws you in until you cannot put the book down, but be warned there should be a warning on the cover that tissues will be required while reading this book, The dynamics of the time travel are well dealt with, the coat is of course the method of travel but that Joseph quickly gets to grip with how the passing of time in each dimension relates to the other is pleasing and because it is kept simple it does not require the reader to struggle with complex timelines that can take you out of the story.

I could not put this book down when I started it, and even now looking at it, I am tempted to go for a reread, which I must resist as I have so any others to read. So to the mark it’s an easy 5 out of five

3d rendering of 5 gold stars
Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – Frozen In Time Alimanti Series, Book 1 By Lavinia Urban

At the age of 14, Kasey-Ray Thompson lost her mother to cervical cancer. Her father, the one person she needed to be there for her, was spiralling into the depths of depression. Just when she thought her life couldn’t get any worse, he died a year later.
Kasey-Ray’s whole world has come crashing down around her leaving her an orphan. The only relative she knows is her gran who is in a care home with Alzheimer’s. Her hopes of staying in Scotland with her best friend Lauren and her family are quickly dashed when a woman from social services announces that she is going to stay with a grandfather she had never met. Even worse, he lives in a small town called Alimanti, thousands of miles away in another country.
Her grandfather’s cabin is in the middle of nowhere. They have no electricity, no internet, or any other modern technologies. As if that wasn’t bad enough, her new school is almost two hours away.
Kasey-Ray has lots of questions and her grandfather is refusing to answer them. He has clocks everywhere that go off at the same time every day, 4:30am, and Kasey-Ray can’t figure out why.
She sees a man in the woods who tells her that he shouldn’t have brought her here because they will take what is hers. What does he mean?
Kasey-Ray needs answers before time runs out.

I have avoided this review for so long, I have to be honest that writing it breaks my heart despite the fact that a year has passed since Lavinia lost her own fight against cancer leaving her own children to  navigate the world without her shining light. I am privileged to have bought a signed print copy of this book.

This is a YA book so not my usual genre but it was an easy captivating read with well written characters and an intriguing plot, the obvious problem is that this was intended as a series, and although there are three books available, I cannot say whether the story is really ended as I have not read those.

I did notice a few typos in this book but nothing to distract you from the story. if you have a pre-teen I would recommend this book as a good read am even more a chance to discuss different ways of life where the modern comforts are unknown not taken for granted.

I have to give this book 5 out of five stars despite the few editing issues.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars

Book Reviews

Talk to Me by Roseanne Beck

The last thing Laura wants is a relationship.

The only thing Austin needs is his independence.

Sometimes love sneaks up on you when you least expect it.

Austin’s car accident shattered his life and his leg. His main focus is on proving his independence. Figuring out how to shut up the new voices in his head would be an added bonus. They like to converse at the most inopportune times.

Laura’s built a wall around her heart. Everyone she loves ends up leaving her. She’s still reeling from the death of her brother and business partner. Seems like he might not be ready to completely give up the ghost yet, though.

And then there’s Aunt Marge, a world-class meddler with a penchant for oversharing. Can she manage to nudge Laura and Austin toward each other? Or will her recipe for love fall flat?

If you like sparkling, witty banter and strong characters with a hint of the paranormal, you’ll fall for TALK TO ME, because humor and love conquer all.

 

I flew through this book, it was easy to read and fun. The main characters are relatable and likeable, you find yourself rooting for them even when you get a little exasperated with them.

The plot is interesting and the paranormal twist adds to what is more or less a rom-com. This is a great choice for a beach read, or would be if anyone were getting near a beach this year, however, it will work just as well sat out in the garden. I read it on Kindle which I find myself doing more and more lately with these sorts of books, it is not a book you are likely to read over and over again, so buying the paper version is not a must.

I give this 4.5 stars out of five, the only reason for the drop of half a point is that it has been a while since I read it and it really did not stick in my mind enough for me to write this review without going back for a quick scan through.

Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review: The Killing Place By Tess Gerritson

Something terrible has happened in the snowbound village of Kingdom Come, Wyoming. Twelve eerily identical houses stand dark and abandoned. Cars still parked in garages. The human occupants have vanished, seemingly into thin air.
this is the unsettling place where Maura Isles finds herself trapped during a snowstorm.

 

This book is the 8th in the Rizzoli & Isles series but if you are a fan of the TV series please bear in mind that the timelines are different and not all elements of their personal lives are necessarily the same. I first read this back before I ever watched the TV series so was lucky enough to go into it with just the literary narrative in place and I really do enjoy this series.

This book deal with various social issues all threaded through a crime story, there are the more base motives of greed but what is more interesting is the world of belief, cults, abuse and the damage caused to those who may have physically escaped but are forever mentally scarred. In a world where we like to think that things are harder to cover up in it revealing to understand how human nature colludes to pervert justice for personal gain.

The characters are well written as always although I will accept that for anyone picking this up as a first book it may be confusing to understand some of the dynamics between some of the individuals. While it is possible to read and enjoy it as a standalone read the reader will get so much more from it by taking the series in order.

I have no problem giving this book 5 out of five stars but do recommend reading the other books first if you can.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars

Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – Wilt In Nowhere by Tom Sharpe

When his endlessly capricious wife Eva receives plane tickets for the family to visit Auntie Joan and Uncle Wally in Atlanta, Wilt knows only one thing – that nothing could entice him to fly three thousand miles over the water, and especially not two rotund Americans with more money than sense. What better way to escape and find equilibrium then to embark on a walking tour? Just Wilt, the countryside, and an ill-judged bottle of whiskey…

Meanwhile, Eva finds her plans to inherit Joan and Wally’s fortune slipping away faster than her sanity, thanks to a combination of sinister teenage quadruplets with foul mouths, and her unexpected role as lead suspect in a drug-trafficking plot.

Outrageous, darkly comic, and packed with calamity on top of calamity, Tom Sharpe’s latest episode of Wilt’s misadventures is a razor-sharp farce that will delight fans both old and new.

I love these books, just when you think that Wilt’s life cannot get any more complicated, Tom Sharpe dreams up another set of outrageous circumstances for him. You could read this as a standalone book however, I would recommend the full series so you do not miss out on any of the extraordinary circumstances that have plagued Wilt and led him to the insanity that his life has become.

Witty, absurd, and verging on the unbelievable this storyline takes you sauntering through the English countryside at an increasingly erratic pace, you find yourself feeling for the unlucky Wily and questioning how many mirrors he must have broken as a child for his life to turn out this way.

No surprise this is a 5 out of five stars.

3d rendering of 5 gold stars

Book Reviews · Monday Musings

Book Review – In The light of Madness By Hemmie Martin

 

As always we start with the Goodreads Blurb….

A murdered boy in a Cambridgeshire graveyard sets in motion an investigation into the local church and school, with suspicions of a cult murmured throughout the community. With their first case, DI Eva Wednesday and DS Jacob Lennox explore the various levels of desperation and malice that can stem from an unhappy or dissatisfied life, where no one takes responsibility for their actions. They quickly find that everyone harbours a secret which, left uncontrolled, can bring forth devastating self-destruction.

I really enjoyed this book, there is a good balance between the procedural side of the story and the home lives of the characters.  The characters are diverse and I can see them developing and providing more interest as the series develops.

I think there are a few different things that give the reader pause for thought in this storyline, the family issues regarding hereditary illnesses, the dynamics of families and, the ways that roles are taken on by different members are relatable. The bond is there between the sisters despite their obvious differences, however, the portrayal of their relationship is realistic and in many ways reflects the struggles of inequalities in the siblings in terms of responsibility and emotional requirements.

The procedural side is well researched and enjoyable, it is informative without getting bogged down in every detail. Overall this is a great start to a series and I look forward to reading more.

I am thrilled to say I can give this 5 out of five stars.

Amazon Uk link

Author FB page here

Author website https://hemmiemartin.com/