Professional Reader

I LOVE reading with a Capital L. I will be posting some reviews here of books I enjoyed reading. I hope my choices inspire you, too, and that through them, you may get to know me a little better.

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THE BEST I’VE EVER READ IN THIS GENRE!

I cannot recommend this novel highly enough. But I’m not going to talk about the story here – I don’t want to spoil the deliciousness of it – save to say that this book starts where the previous one ended. In my opinion, always a good thing.

Ms Yarde has again taken us on a wonderful journey into the Arthurian world but this time, she has outdone herself. The Du Lac Princess is the best book I’ve ever read in this genre. Think Game of Thrones, Outlander and Vikings all rolled into one. Seriously, I can see this story as the next big TV hit.

Not only is the writing superb, the research thorough, the story exciting, but the characters are wonderfully drawn, each with their own distinctive personalities, quirks and presence. This is no mean feat as we’re dealing with a number of powerful alpha males and amazing women often suffering through circumstances not many of us could imagine for ourselves. Theirs was a brutal time in history and Ms Yarde brings these amazing people to life brilliantly. The heroes are wonderfully complex and intriguing, and the villains are fabulously villainous.

Of the many great characters, my favourite is Tegan. She says it how it is and doesn’t tolerate nonsense from anyone. Tegan is the old pagan woman who was once a Knight at the Court of King Arthur. We learn that she had been in love with Lancelot and most likely still was despite having married another man with whom she’d had a good life. But Tegan is a tough old bird who’d been through much in life and lives with remarkable fortitude and vitality despite her advancing years – a wise survivor after my own heart. Upon meeting Merton, and immediately realising that he was one of Lancelot’s sons, she helps to heal him after his horrific torture on orders of the usurper, King Philippe.

I was breathless by the end of the novel and much relieved that Merton and Amandine ended up together, ready to continue their story – hopefully – in the next novel.

I’m delighted that the author has decided to continue the story in a series of books, rather than in a trilogy. I’m already missing the characters who had become friends, and look forward to the next novel when I’ll meet them again.

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Brilliant Psychological Thriller

I loved the way the book starts with action and continues with it all the way through. It’s certainly fast-paced and keeps you on your toes.

I felt beyond sad for Helen King because she had been betrayed by nearly everyone in her life from a young age, starting with her parents. Her mother did nothing when Helen had been abused by her father and his cronies. But there was only one person she felt she could rely on. In the end, even Ash betrayed her, however. Having said that, I was deeply disturbed by the way in which she sought to wreak revenge on people who had betrayed her in her past. The fact that she came across to other people as normal and not a killer, made me wonder how many Helens we walk past daily without knowing it. A scary thought!

The characters were all well-developed and brilliantly portrayed. I didn’t think I would but fell in love with the somewhat cynical and ambitious DI Belinda Brennen.

If you like great psychological thrillers, then this is the book for you. Highly recommended.

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This was a gripping account of a young girl’s horrific abuse by her father and his paedophile cronies. It was a difficult read because my heart was bleeding for the vulnerable little girl. But it is extremely well written and left me feeling battered and bruised and yet inspired by the confirmation of just how strong we are. I wish with all my heart that such abuse towards defenceless children can stop. Highly recommended.

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Five stars for a fantastic story!

I was tempted by this novel’s title and intriguing cover and expressed my interest in receiving an ARC in exchange for an honest review. I was not disappointed. This is a terrific story, brilliantly told. Although a novella, the story is an entirely satisfying experience. The author immediately pulled me into the world of the billionaire, his dysfunctional relationship with his son and his cynical outlook on life. Money can buy him anything he wants but the one thing he craves may cost him everything including his life, in a way you may not imagine. The twist at the end is inspired. I can’t wait to read more stories by this talented author. Highly recommended!

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Fallen From Grace by Nikki Landis

Dark fantasy and forbidden love

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Fallen from Grace is the first novel I’ve read by Nikki Landis. I LOVED it! A dark, suspenseful paranormal love story brilliantly told, I devoured the book. It reads like a piece of music – exciting, thrilling, intense – a roller coaster of emotions while at the same time, you don’t realize that you’re reading – only the best writing does that.

I particularly enjoyed the development of Emily and Bash’s relationship. The twists in the story held me on the edge of my seat throughout, and the ending makes me want to read what happens next immediately.

A triumph and a novel I cannot recommend highly enough!

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The Du Lac Cronicles, Mary Anne Yarde

A timeless gem.

Set at the time just after King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table were around, this is a wonderful story of Lancelot’s sons and what happens to them. In particular, the story focuses on Alden, who loses his kingdom to Cerdic, the cruel King of Wessex. Alden is taken captive and tortured, but saved by Annis, only daughter of Cerdic. As they run for their lives, they fall in love along their journey to seek help from Alden’s ambitious half-brother, Budic, King of Brittany.

I LOVED this book. I could not put it down. It is very well written and the characters are wonderfully developed. I highly recommend this book to people of all ages and I’m looking forward very much to reading the next one. And lucky for me, Ms Yarde had the next installment available…

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The Pitchfork Rebellion: The Du Lac Chronicles – Novella

A great continuation

I’m loving this story and these characters. This is the second book in The Du Lac Chronicles, a short novella. This book continues where the first one ended, and I was so happy about it because I was wondering what was going to happen to the two main characters, Alden and Annis. Here we find them back in Alden’s former kingdom of Cerniw but it has been utterly destroyed by Annis’s father, King Cerdic of Wessex. We find Alden nearly suicidal as he deals with the aftermath of the destruction, but happily, between Annis and his younger brother and staunch defender, Merton, Alden comes through his dark period. The novella ends on a bit of a cliff hanger. I can’t wait to read the next book.

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Stealth Moves, Sanna Hines

A great story excellently told and well written.

I loved this novel for young adults. Stealth Moves takes us to Boston where three young people are kidnapped. The story follows many turns and twists to a satisfying, albeit surprising, end.

What I particularly enjoyed in the novel – apart from the fact that it is a fast paced and cracking thriller – was the outstanding characterisation of the cast of characters who range through a variety of ages. The author portrays each character perfectly according to the nuances of their age group.

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Another Rock Star

Another Rock Star, Paula Coots

Want the experience of being a rock star? Read this book!

Another Rock Star is not just another book. It is very seldom that we are allowed behind the scenes of what happens on a rock tour. Another Rock Star not only allows us behind the scenes, it also gives us the ride of our lives as we are able to experience everything through the eyes and mind of the protagonist, Reed.

He is gorgeous, gay, outrageous, and the owner of the most beautiful voice in rock. Through him, we experience the highs and lows of a rock star, the stresses and joys of the tour bus, the egos, the sex, drugs, alcohol, and the excitement of the stage when the shows go well. We also experience his agony of falling in love with a band member – his soul mate, perhaps – who being apparently straigStar may be unable to reciprocate. We come to understand the pain and the ecstasy of such a relationship for both of them.

This is a love story and a rock story, authentically and wonderfully told. But ultimately, Another Rock Star is a very important account of a rock tour. It allows the reader to do the one thing most of us have fantasised about: to live for a while as a Rock Star!

I was totally emersed in Reed’s world to the point where I did not even realise I was reading. I can’t wait to experience this author’s next book!

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The Martian, Andy Weir

In our crazy busy days, it is sometimes hard to find time to sit down with a book, and if you’re anything like me, if it’s a good book, like The Martian undoubtedly is, then the world stands still until I’ve finished reading it, often through the night. But whose schedule allows for that these days. That, coupled with a renewed decision to go for daily long walks instead of the gym, it spurred me on to find good audio books to accompany me on my walks – two birds with one stone, type of scenario.

I have been wanting to read this book for a while and had it saved in all my wish lists. Then, signing up to Audible, Amazon’s audio books division, I saw it there and simply had to get it. It was a great decision.

What a fantastic, gripping story, and what a wonderful narrator. I can highly recommend the audio book, narrated by R C Bray, a great acting voice.

The story is about an astronaut who is stranded on Mars when his crew members think he had           died after a horrible accident in one of Mars’s fabled storms. They leave, and he spends eighteen months alone on Mars.

It’s a wonderful story of survival, and of how people pull together to save one man’s life against extreme odds.

In our climate of reality television, this scenario is easily imaginable. But what makes the story even more remarkable, isn’t his ordeals, but the astronaut’s sense of humour, his ingenuity, his fight for his life, and his growth as a human being.

The book is chock full of sciency stuff and will appeal to science buffs, I’m sure, but it is told in a way that even someone as unsciency as me, can understand.

I will be first in line to see the movie.

Highly, highly recommended. A wonderful work by Mr Andy Weir.

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The Holiday Home, Fern Britton

I was very curious to read a book by Fern Britton, because I had watched her on television for years. I knew she was a great presenter and a brilliant journalist, so expected that she would be able to write very well.

When The Holiday Home fell into my email inbox via Bookbub, I took it as a sign.

It does what it says on the tin: the book is about The Holiday Home, it’s about a holiday and it’s a lovely, easy read. But it’s also about so much more.

Fern expertly shows the start and development of sibling rivalry. It started when they were children, choosing a room each in The Holiday Home, one sister always manipulating her way into getting the best, including the best room. But their rivalry intensified and caused a real rift when during their teenage years, a boy got into the picture.

As adults, dragging along their husbands and children, their rivalry continues with the race to get to The Holiday Home first, in order to get the best room. Thankfully, their children, a son for one sister and a daughter for the other, get along far better than their mothers and seem far more sensible.

When the boy of their youth, now a man, reappears, simmering emotions surface and we understand more about what drives the characters. But the tension rises even further when the mistress of one of the sisters’ husbands arrives uninvited and his infidelity becomes public knowledge.

There is a twist in the tale at the end and all in all, I found The Holiday Home a satisfying read.