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‘Twilight of Innocence’ is a mystery that follows a resourceful vigilante grandfather a hero-figure pilot and fiery investigative journalist looking to uncover and derail a child sex traffic ring. The mystery around Andreas in the opening made me intrigued. I was eager to learn more about this mysterious man working to capture and interrogate members of the sex trafficking ring using highly specialised methods in order to release and rescue the victims. The subtle hints and brief descriptions were a brilliant introduction to this character, conveying his age and experience briefly, while keeping the quest front and center. As I read I wanted to learn more about this shadow-y figure’s mission as well as more about his past and what he’s had to do in the past in order to acquire his interrogation skills. I was less enamoured with Rebecca and Jon as we are introduced to them, I think the repartee between them, at the end of the contentious flight from Scotland as an example, could have been a bit snappier in my opinion, but I was interested in learning more about both characters and their motives as well as their inevitable connection. Their story and relationship within this dark mystery reminded me a little bit of Nathan Drake and Elena Fisher, and so I was keen to learn more about how they would merge with the Taken style storyline set up with Andreas. This is an interesting and entertaining read that feels like it will have widespread appeal to fans of mysteries, thrillers and action books. There is a dark subject matter at its core but there’s plenty of twists, turns and details throughout that keep you entertained. Action packed and thrilling this is a book I would definitely recommend. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
‘Ever Rest’ by Roz Morris is a beautifully well-written story that focuses on the after effects of the loss of a larger than life character. Rock musician Ashten dies on a mountain climbing expedition and his fiancée, bandmates and bodyguard have been left with a hole in their lives that has never been healed as twenty years on as the past is continually dragged back up each time a body is recovered. We learn more about Elza, Hugo, Steve and Robert, their history and connection to The Ashbirds and the paths their lives have taken since the band’s abrupt end. We see them struggle to get their lives back together while the spectre of Ash, and renown in general prevents them from finding complete normalcy. The thing that struck me the most in this narrative is how it handles the theme of fame. Someone, or a group of people can be very famous, known around the world even for a single thing or for the briefest time, and yet that single accomplishment can both haunt and define every other aspect of their lives. And if that period of fame ended in tragedy, then feelings of loss and grief seem destined to be ever present. In some ways it reminded me of documentaries and stories prevalent at the moment in recent celebrity history - breakdowns or struggles of reinvention, unsympathetic media portrayal and fans wanting to relive the single highest moment. I think the author did a great job in emphasising that there’s more to people than that. And each character in the book is filled out and made three dimensional flawlessly. I really enjoyed learning about each character, and while I found myself drawn to Elza’s story the most, I found it easy to settle into learning more about Robert, Hugo and Steve when it was their time to share their story. I think that ‘Ever Rest’ is an endearing story of loss, grief and acceptance in a unique setting of rock-star fame. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
‘Presence, the Play’ is a lyrical story of the stage interwoven with a tale of spirituality. Script, An Estillyen monk and brother in their Sacred Order of Storytellers has an accident on the opening night of his play, ‘Presence’, leaving him in a coma, and working his way through mystical adventures in a dream-like world. I found this novel highly descriptive and it is clear through the references to many famous literary works that the author is either very well read or conducted extensive research for this novel. There are references throughout and a list at the back of the book with all of the literary titles quoted. I understand and can agree with the connection made between ‘Presence’ and C.S Lewis in the synopsis, as we travel with Script through a strange and mystical other world that, much like Narnia, has religious connotations at its heart. ‘Presence’ is an interesting story with plenty of drama throughout that encourages the reader to celebrate the power of stories, as well as take the time to be “present” in the world around us, a pertinent theme and lesson in today’s ever increasing social media age. An entertaining and well-written novel with a cast of brilliant characters that focuses on the importance of the arts Leading by example with brilliant storytelling, adventure and plenty to ponder over. I think that this book would have a wide appeal and I would definitely recommend it. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
Not in my Name by Michael Coolwood is an interesting mix of political fantasy and murder mystery. It is earnest and passionate but quite straightforwardly written, which makes it also suitable for younger adult readers. The plot revolves around a group of activists living in a commune in an imaginary version of 2003. Each of the group has their own reasons for being there and their own personal problems that they have brought with them. The trust and camaraderie that the group feel towards each other is suddenly put in jeopardy, however, when they discover that they have been infiltrated and then...the murders begin. The writer has cleverly used authentic but edited contemporary quotes from public figures, applying them to a different situation, thus underlining his premise that politicians will say, do, promise almost anything in order to gain or remain in power, a very high profile scenario happening right now in the U.S. The book is also timely in the descriptions of the way the activists are treated at the hands of the police, very reminiscent of the BLM protests. The ending is slightly unexpected but perfectly reasoned and inevitable, going a long way to restore the reader's faith in human nature and family ties. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it. Drena Irish, A LoveReading Ambassador
I was intrigued by Cold Wallet from the very start. We begin the story from Henry’s perspective and enough detail is shared to tell us about the relationship between Henry Andrew and Jess while simultaneously raising questions that keep you intrigued to read on. We then follow Jess on her tragic honeymoon and as she scrambles to get to grips with the company she has inherited. Her relationship with Henry is strained but when he offers to help manage the cryptocurrency business Vaultange is it because he’s changing or because he has something more sinister planned. I liked the basis of this storyline, although some of the more in depth conversations went over my head to begin with it came across as very well researched and I slowly became immersed in Andrew, Jess and Henry’s complex world. I liked the depth of each of the characters, all multifaceted and in their own way unreliable, with each development sending me in a spin as I read. The author takes the time to set the scene, with flashbacks that show how relationships develop as the plotline moves forward. With revelations and resolutions that left me spinning I think that this is a really good thriller and I would recommend it. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
Wow. I actually lost sleep with this one. It’s just brilliant. Lots of pop references which I enjoyed, love the fact that Sir David is viewed as highly as he should be. There are references from most of the past decades. The characters are just wonderful, so full of depth. I adore the way it is written in the past and the present, in letter form, book form and even text format. It will really capture the imagination of anyone who reads it, while also giving a stark warning - be wary of too much tech! Kid, Eliza and Pas are such a tight bunch having been through so much together, to have that kind of friendship is a blessing. I really hope this is the first of many books by this author, because they clearly have a flair for writing and drawing the reader in. Absolutely loved it!! Amanda O'Dwyer, A LoveReading Amabassador
WOW! What a fabulous and enjoyable read - read it in one sitting as needed to know what happened next. A tale of time travel from 2020 to 1982 - and back again. Following the story of Tom when he meets Beth - such detail in lives during the pandemic of 2020 and lives in 1982. Don't want to give too much of the story away - can't recommended it highly enough. I have just ordered one of her other books I am so impressed. Jayne Burton, A LoveReading Ambassador
‘Love Stories for Hectic People’ is a collection of short stories exploring aspects of love that aren’t necessarily the ones that are focused on most often, the sides that aren’t “happy ever after”. Each flash fiction piece is distinct and the collection can be read from cover to cover or picked up and enjoyed in whichever order takes your fancy. The author’s writing helps to create an entire world in a few deceptively simple stories, each one felt thought through and complete to me, with the reader left at the end pondering about next steps and unspoken meaning. The perfect way to be left after a flash fiction piece in my opinion. Covering a number of aspects of relationships and sex, from the joy of it to deeper and darker issues of affairs, abortions and miscarriage. I highlight this to demonstrate the variety within these stories (as I’ve said, each have their own unique tale, setting and atmosphere) and also to mention in case any potential reader is sensitive to a particular topic. Quick to read through with plenty to come back to and contemplate, I think that this is a great collection of flash fiction.
Last Star Standing follows protagonist Aiden on a sci-fi adventure. A world left ravaged and vulnerable after WWIII is invaded and overpowered by aliens. A small rebel group remains and works to overthrow their intergalactic rulers. Part science fiction - but mostly action-adventure - ‘Last Star Standing’ is an entertaining read that has a lot of detailed and cohesive world-building that makes the plotline believable from the start. I liked that this book is futuristic but also focuses on issues that we see in our society today - the impact of our actions on the environment and the spread of disinformation. Aiden is a wry and entertaining character to read about, and I really enjoyed his tone and humour as I read. There are some more adult moments so this is definitely not a story for younger readers but I do think that this is a brilliant choice for any sci-fi fan. I feel there’s an opportunity for the story to continue into other books and so I eagerly wait to see if any sequels appear. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
‘His Name was Wren’ is a coming of age story aimed at young adults, but one I feel could be enjoyed by a much wider audience. The plot takes in a small English Town called Hurstwick in WWII and modern day. In 1944 during a WWII blackout the church spire and nearby woods are destroyed and damaged, but was it a Nazi attack or something else? The answer is uncovered by one young resident and tries to keep it a secret. Years later, in 2018, Max Cannon moves to Hurstwick and learns about the town’s mysterious past. I liked both the historic and the modern timelines, and I found that they fit together well. I found ‘His Name Was Wren’ to be very well written and I related easily into this story. “Max could count the number of friends he had on one hand, and that hand was a fist” Was a particular line that I found quite interesting, the author has a way of cleverly conveying information to the reader without needing to be explicit or getting bogged down in exposition. The story allows the reader to follow Max landing in a strange new land and finding new friends almost as a parallel to the first contact and meeting of Wren. There are twists and turns in the plot and lots of action to keep the reader engaged. An interesting story that can be enjoyed in a day or so.
Colony by Benjamin Cross is an action packed Arctic thriller that kicks off with a bang as we witness the death of a Neolithic hunter at the hands/claws of a mysterious creature. When Professor Callum Ross discovers the mummified remains he knows he must find out more, but there are other people out to stop him and something else seems to be watching. I loved the descriptions of the setting and the work put into creating the backstory. Colony reminded me of a Indiana Jones / Nathan Drake plotline, as our archeologist protagonist puts work before his family, and sets out against competition to uncover the truth. I liked the way that the author built tension throughout as well as the brief moments of humour to lighten the atmosphere as I read. There were lots of twists and turns and I was eager to find out what would happen in the end. I would say that Colony is a great book for those who like thrilling adventures with elements of horror, as well as tension filled reads set in the Arctic. An entertaining book.
I wanted to read this novel as even as a grown up I like reading a variety of reading genres including junior and young adult fiction. And what an experience meeting Bucky and the hierarchy of felines turned out to be. A thrilling escapade through physical & far away places combined with touches of fantasy and science fiction. An exhilarating read for confident readers of any age including adults! The author has a vivid and descriptive writing style with which this novel grows and grows holding the readers attention all the way. I found it very well written with creatively-worded sentences and chapters. I also loved the actions of the cats; some powerful, some enigmatic, but even if you're not a cat lover give this story a go-you wont regret it! I was engrossed from the very beginning where the action is centered on strange goings on at London's Natural History Museum. But that's just the start of a great adventure. Add in some episodes of tele-porting, tunnels, caves, jets and even pyramids then you're all set for a rocketing ride. If you're a Londoner or familiar with the layout of the city then even better as you'll be able to picture where the action happens. Caroline Highy, A LoveReading Ambassador