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1952. Seven years since the end of World War II yet the country is still deeply affected by what happened and the after-effects. Frank is an itinerant casual worker, and stories about his war experiences vary. Reserved occupation? Conscientious objector? Deserter? Nobody seems sure, but one thing is clear – Frank is always looking over his shoulder and moving on at the first sign of trouble. A move to London finds him working in a bar where he falls for Grace, the unhappily married wife of the landlord, Dennis. So when Dennis is murdered, the police naturally assume it is a crime of passion. Maybe it is time for Frank to move on again? The book is described as a thriller, but to me, it didn’t have the fast-paced, edgy feel I would normally associate with the genre. Instead, it moves at an unhurried pace, allowing the reader to savour all the subtleties of the story. I thought the book was so beautifully written and the characters so rounded and well developed that trying to slot it into a genre mould like “thriller” really doesn’t do justice to it. A great story, a great read, a well-planned plot and a clever ending all add up to a very memorable book that I thoroughly enjoyed. Jane Willis, A LoveReading Ambassador
The Chernobyl Privileges may seem like an odd title for a novel inspired by the devastating nuclear disaster of the 1980s in Chernobyl. But then, this is by no means an ordinary novel. Set in the present day, Anthony Fahey is lucky to be working at Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde, where Britain's Trident nuclear weapons are kept. His expertise is valued over his complicated personal life and chequered employment history. Anthony's life begins to unravel, following an incident at the naval base. For obvious reasons, due to the nature of the work, he is unable to talk to his wife about the incident, but their marriage is already rocky following the death of her Father, and Anthony having to behave in a secretive manner is not helping. Anthony also believes that he knows better, and is more concerned about the incident than his superiors, so begins to challenge and defy orders, landing him in hot water on more than one occasion. No matter how much Anthony wants to believe that he is not defined by his past, it is inescapable and influences all he does. Back in 1986 Anatolii was just a child living in Ukraine when the nuclear incident took place in Chernobyl. First hand he witnessed the impact of the fallout on the first responders, including his Father. Anatolii didn't much want to leave Ukraine, but he wasn't given a choice, and was enforced into a new life in the UK, and a new identity 'Anthony Fahey'. Anthony believes that he can make a difference in his profession, and prevent something like Chernobyl happening again, but he does not understand that you cannot act against the government. Several chapters are interspersed with letters from Anatolii/Anthony's sister, and these are where we really get a first-hand view of how those still living in Chernobyl have been affected. This is a very thought-provoking novel, for those on both sides of the nuclear weapon/energy argument, and a highly recommended read.
Lethal Memories was a real rollercoaster ride to the end. Well researched, it tells the story of three Palestinian boys in Cyprus forced to watch as the female members of their family are raped in front of them. That is something no one can forget; revenge is often talked about but not always carried out. Thirty years later their targets are British Royal Navy destroyers and their crews. Another young boy, a British child, was on Cyprus at the same time. He watched his mother's arm ripped off by the blast of the bombs that exploded on the beach. Thirty years on, he's fighting global terrorism. This well-written thriller keeps the reader on their toes, gritty and brutal taking the reader from London to Lahore. It is a frightening read although surrounded by acts of terrorism on the news, this brings the reader face to face with reality. This story kept me reading on till the very end, a recommended book. Jane Brown, A LoveReading Ambassador
Such a great read oh my goodness this authors first trip and to climb Kilimanjaro was certainly not for the faint hearted most of us would have packed up and gone home but not this determined author and all in the name of charity. Then years later the author and this time with his wife walking with lions, in search of Rhinos, beautiful scenery and the dreaded mountain to climb! and will they climb this? It is an interesting read, fascinating accounts of Africa (I've never been but just loved the descriptions, the wildlife and culture) I take my hat off to him not sure if I would follow in his footsteps but has given me a great read on my holiday. This author writes a good story and keeps the reader on their toes. This author has written a number of books of his adventures and I will certainly be following him and catching up on what I have been missing. Jane Brown, A LoveReading Ambassador
Lauren Patterson, an American PhD student, makes a remarkable discovery and accidently finds the diaries of Leonardo da Vinci's assistant. Paulo del Rossi's diaries then lead us through love stories, drama, blackmail, murder and the aftermath of monumental deception. The modern day quest to uncover the historical truths are fantastically interesting. Immersive and intriguing, Paulo del Rossi and Lauren guide us through the Renaissance in Florence to Nazi Germany and into the local Costa coffee shop with ease. We even discover the secret of Mona Lisa's smile and follow a tender love story that spans across the years. A fantastic read.
A well-crafted story, beautiful language, a mystery and a wild cat with a sense of humour. What's not to like about this book? It grabs the reader's attention from the start and holds on to it throughout the story. I also love the information about Wild Cat conservation which appears before the story starts: hopefully this will encourage readers of all ages to take an interest in the conservation of this beautiful animal. I normally clear my downloads after reviewing a book, but I will be keeping this one to reread and I can't wait to read about Catastrophe's next adventure Pauline Braisher, A LoveReading Ambassador
Wow! For the Love of Alison had me hooked from the very first chapter on and it just kept giving. The main character, David, a journalist, gets an unexpected phone call one day to meet his university friend Alison after not having seen her for about 30 years. He jumps at the chance as he used to be obsessed with her in the past to the extent that he had to be hospitalized in a mental institution for a while. The meeting will change his life forever and get him accused of a crime for which there is apparently only one possible perpetrator - himself. Has he gone insane or is there another explanation for the events that occurred? I absolutely loved the depiction of David's character: he clearly struggles with mental issues, but that doesn't stop him - he never gives up, taking anything in his stride that life throws at him. There are twists and turns wherever you look in this book and as I reader I was really rooting for David. The feel of it reminded me a bit of The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. It felt life-affirming, sweet and made me feel good. A wonderful read! You know you are onto something fantastic when you feel sad upon reaching the last page! Alexandra Williams, A LoveReading Ambassador
The Secret Resort of Nostalgia is a modern-day classic, beautifully written, engaging and thought-provoking. Mike Denning gets offered the opportunity of a lifetime, a job on the remote island of Nostalgia, where he discovers a thriving community without crime, cars or any of the negative aspects of modern society, he even has a gorgeous colleague who he is getting very attached to. But is all really as it seems? Why are there security fences in parts of the island? Mike is on a quest to find out more. What a special book: it’s far from only being a mystery novel, as it touches on so many philosophical and environmental aspects as well, but always in a thoroughly approachable and entertaining way. Sahlan Diver’s talent for writing is phenomenal, his characters jump off the pages and his descriptions are so vivid that you can picture yourself in the landscapes. Gripping from the first to the last page! Alexandra Williams, A LoveReading Ambassador
An interesting and thought-provoking memoir based on Ruth Hartley’s escape to London, and the ordeal she went through to get here in the early 1960’s while pregnant with her first born. I’m not one to get emotional over books but this is one of those rare occasions where I went through a whole roller-coaster of emotions, ranging from Sadness to happiness to even angry about some of the attitudes that people had in the early 60’s. I know some of these prejudices and stigmas still exist to this day but these day’s people and even communities are learning to accept it a little better. This was a very well written memoir, which I found easy to read. I managed to race through this book quite quickly. In fact I finished it in 2 sittings. This was due to the fact that I just wanted to keep reading to find out what happens next. Overall a very enjoyable read. I haven’t read Ruth’s other books but I will definitely be adding them to my TBR list. I highly recommend this book, especially if enjoy reading memoirs and your looking for a memorable read. Manisha Natha, A LoveReading Ambassador
I'm sure I won't be the only person to open this book and feel that it's about being noisy and outgoing. The title is slightly misleading. I have read a few self-help books in the months since my husband died. I quickly warmed to this book when the author suggested becoming creative as I have found this advice so helpful and so true. The book is written with common sense and in an easy to read style. I particularly liked the format of Masterclass chapters with things to consider at the end of each one. It was interesting to read the author's own experiences. Live Out Loud gives you a lot to think about and plenty of suggestions to put into practice and is a very useful addition to this genre of books. Christine Waddington, A LoveReading Ambassador
An exciting thriller with a lot of surprises. I wasn’t expecting this crime thriller to be as good as it was, especially taking into account that Robin Driscoll is more well known as being the writer for Mr. Bean. The Unborn, his first novel in the Josie King Detective series, is a relatively short novel and only took me a day to read once I had started it. It is a real page-turner. The title, The Unborn relates to embryos and foeti that are aborted. The crime thriller deals with a religious fanatical group, Nondum Natus, who regard the termination of a pregnancy to be a horrendous sin. Early on in the book, Josie King, the main character, a police detective, fails to shoot someone who is about to kill her father, a police commissioner. This leads her on the path to vengeance and to attempt to solve a case her father had previously been obsessed with, to do with the Nondum Natus. Josie is a strong, determined, fearless character. Sometimes she appears almost a bit too much so to be real. Her character appears to be almost unstoppable. All in all, The Unborn has a fast-paced plot and a multitude of twists and turns to keep the reader on his or her feet. Great book which I would definitely recommend. Rachel Anderson
This has been a very interesting book to read and has a good story line throughout the book. Initially when I started reading it, other sci-fi books and films came to mind as there were scenes in the book and seemed similar to other books and films I have read and seen. As an avid sci-fi fan I thought that it was just a typical distopian novel with survivors such as Jared and nanotechnology but I was wrong. Once I got into the book it turned out to be a very good read and the author's writing flow and descriptive scenes are great in making the reader visualise what was happening. The story line itself is holds the reader's attention throughout the book and the various other survival groups he meets during his journey and what they do to help so survive on an Earth that is forever changed is excellent, which as you are reading through the book, the story, the characters, their daily lives in trying to survive and so forth all comes together and this turns out to be a very good novel. Jared’s adventures throughout the book are exciting and will keep the reader turning page after page to see what happens next. As there is a quick resume of the book for potential readers to see, this outlines the main course of the book and I don’t want to add any more details about the book as I think it is very worthwhile for the reader to discover themselves. A good book for sci-fi fans and well-worth the time spent in reading it. Catherine Bryce, A LoveReading Ambassador
A tense psychological thriller that keeps you turning the pages. This is the story of a group of friends who, between them, hold the answers to what happened one night when five of them went into a room and only four came out alive. Told in the first person, the narrative is split between the friends, and we are drawn into their dilemmas. All appear to be hiding something. The main character is Lisa Ashton who is suffering from amnesia while recovering from a kidney transplant. After discovering that one of the friends is the donor, she tries to find out what did happen during the gaps in her memory. What are her friends not telling her, and why? I love the structure of this novel as we gradually move through the hours and days following the inciting incident, finding out snippets of information that lead us to conclusions that then challenge the sleuths in each of us. The characters are well-drawn. We empathise with them all, experience their guilt, and their fears. Often, in this well-drawn thriller, we have cause us to doubt what we hear from each of the friends, until we suspect everybody. I would certainly read more from this author. 5 star rating. Lynne Johnson, A LoveReading Ambassador
Life Expands' is the perfect read if you are planning a trip of a lifetime or if you already experienced this amazing adventure. If you haven't been on a journey like this it will give you a great taste of the highs and lows, the new friends yet to make and the beauty in the world. This is a brilliant read that will lure anyone to go travelling around the globe. Through some tough and hilarious stories, we get drawn into the emotions that travel brings from finding someone to love and working to do true good in the world. This is one of the best books that I have read that shows what modern day travel is really like. An ideal book to buy anyone who loves to travel or just the idea of travelling even if it’s just from a comfy chair and a good cup of coffee. Tracey Thomas, A LoveReading Ambassador
High-intensity YA fantasy ablaze with magic, conflict and high-stakes hazards. This fiercely-paced fantasy novel centres around fifteen-year-old Phae, whose father is an all-powerful mage, and whose mother is of the Lintari, a band of warrior earth guardians. As such, Phae’s blood had “the potential to make her one of the most powerful beings the old world had ever known”, a fact that sits somewhat uncomfortably with her. She feels “anger at herself, anger at her parents; anger at her mother for not being there; anger at her life. Why couldn’t she just be normal?” Except she isn’t normal, and when her tutor meets an untimely death, Phae feels compelled to leave the Magical Isle to seek safety on the mainland, where much danger and conflict awaits. Throughout, the intensity of Phae’s story journey never lets up and perhaps the impact of some key scenes would benefit from more ebb and flow between the relentlessly high-octane action. Overall, though, this is a gripping read, driven by snappy dialogue and a sense of adventure.
While this anthology’s theme may sound niche, its appeal and scope is universal. Indeed, it’s underpinned by fundamental age-old questions: “What does compel someone to leave their country of origin, which is the story before their departure? And then what happens to them on their journey to the new place, which is the story of getting from one place to another? And what causes them to finally land somewhere and decide to stay, if not for the rest of their lives, then for an extended period?” The answers to such questions are voiced here by twenty women whose stories are vary vastly, with contributors hailing from places as diverse as Lebanon, Scotland, France, Germany, the USA, Mozambique, Spain, Brazil and more countries besides. Together their stories constitute a fascinating chorus of experiences borne from the author’s enrollment in an organisation created to help newcomers “feel at home in this beautiful country,” her desire to chronicle female oral history, and a belief in the human need for agency. Joanne Owen, A LoveReading Ambassador
First Rhyme Mum is an entertaining journey through pregnancy and early motherhood - it made me laugh and reminisce. There are 40 poems in the book - all are fun, relatable and (mainly) humorous, covering wide-ranging topics that you wouldn’t usually expect to find in poetic form, such as needing a wee, a mother’s ‘baby brain’, the job description of motherhood, night shifts and ‘to-do lists’. The poems contain acute observations of everyday life and are varied and very well written, combining simple words to create powerful imagery. I could sense the emotion behind each poem - the excitement yet worry of the 40 weeks of pregnancy and the exhaustion and elation once baby arrives, all bound together by a mother’s love. I was particularly impressed by how the author fits so much descriptive language into each poem while still ensuring that each one manages to give a sense of rhythm and rhyme (even if this doesn’t always match exactly). It reminded me of some of Pam Ayres’s poems, with its sense of humour and laugh-out-loud moments. The book is easy to dip in and out of - each poem is short enough to slot into a few minutes during a busy day. It’s a lovely gift for new parents to remind them that they’re not alone and that others are going through the same emotional ups and downs. It also has wider-ranging appeal, as it reminded me of my own pregnancy experiences and made me chuckle as I recalled stories of early parenthood (my children are now in their mid to late teens). My only regret is that the book ended too soon, but fortunately there are more books on their way.
The Devil’s Apprentice is a fantasy novel written from the viewpoint of a 13-year-old boy who finds himself in hell – literally. It’s an adventure story with a twisty mystery to solve, with some innocent early-teen romance and historical references as well. It’s the first book in The Great Devil War series. The book is very well written and well translated from Danish, with plenty of dark humour. It features impressive world building through vivid imagery, and I enjoyed visualising the author’s clever concept of Hell and its occupants. The Devil’s Apprentice reminded me of the Harry Potter series, as the plot is complex enough to satisfy teenagers and adults (of all ages), yet simple enough to entertain pre-teens. It covers some moralistic themes, including good versus evil, knowing right from wrong and that even the most angelic people can have a dark side, so its suitability will depend on a child’s maturity. As expected, the book focuses mainly on death, with a mention of suicide and punishment/redemption in the afterlife. Some adults may disagree with certain concepts, but the book would provide a good starting point for discussions. I’m not surprised The Devil’s Apprentice is a popular series in Denmark and I can see it potentially doing well in the UK too. I found it highly compelling and raced through it. As soon as I finished, I eagerly looked forward to the next one, which is always a sign of an enjoyable read.