The House Crow #WRITEPHOTO

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This story is in response to the #write photo prompt from Sue Vincent this past week:

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I sit in the tree and bob my head, regarding the yard below me. Don’t think the owners have brought out any food yet. I’ve been stopping by daily for a year, because, as you know, every house has to have a house crow.

The back door opens and someone comes out and puts some bread on the deck railing. I’ve got them trained well, haven’t I? And they say we’re not as smart as ravens!

Book Review: His Castilian Hawk by Anna Belfrage (@abelfrageauthor) #rbrt #historical romance

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This review is written as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team and the book was purchased.

Romance is not to my taste, but historical fiction is. So I decided to dip my toes in the waters of a romance novel set in Wales in the late 13th century. I was also encouraged but the fact that Anna Belfrage is recognized as a prolific writer of historical romance and time travel novels (a favorite genre of mine) and has a large, enthusiastic following. His Castilian Hawk is the first book in her latest series, The Castilian Saga.

The story: Robert FitzStephen has served King Edward I of England, known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, since he was a boy of twelve. Robert is bastard-born but follows his king loyally and is now riding with him once again to bring the rebellious Wales under control. In protecting Edward at the end of a battle, Robert unknowingly kills an ally of the king, Sir Ralph Outremer, along with his son. Edward decides to make Robert return the bodies to the one remaining member of Outremer’s family, his daughter, and also gifts Orton Manor, home of the Outremer family, to Robert as a reward for his years of loyalty – with one condition. He is to wed the daughter to keep the manor and lands under Edward’s control.

Thus the author sets the basis for an improbable love story. Opposing this arrangement most forcefully is Edith, sister to one of Robert’s traveling companions for many years. She saved Robert’s life fifteen years previously and has been serving as his wife in all ways except formally for all that time. Eleanor d’Outremer, called Noor, is in her early teens when she learns of her father and brother’s death (but not who killed them) and is now entirely alone. She has no choice but to comply with the King’s order to marry the unknown Robert FitzStephan. Her life is further complicated by her blood ties to the Welsh princes, Llewelyn and Dafydd ap Gruffydd, with whom Edward is attempting to negotiate a peace.

Noor is very young and innocent but is also feisty, proud and brave. As she grows from a ‘small brown hen’ to a beautiful woman, she gradually falls in love with Robert and is determined to be a good wife, but she has to face down Edith and deal with the havoc Edward is wreaking on Wales. Robert also falls in love with Noor and comes to call her his Castilian hawk, recognizing her Spanish heritage, spirit and grit. However, when faced with the chance to save one member of the Gruffydd family, Noor sides with Wales. Will Robert stand with his king or follow his heart and protect his wife from both the King and the wiles of Edith? What will Noor do when she learns Robert is the man who killed her father and brother? Who will tell her?

This book is delightfully complex and engrossing with its many conflicts, both personal and royal, and is populated by very real, three-dimensional characters – not handsome, not beautiful, but flawed with inner demons and doubts. I like that these characters evolve over time in the face of increasing pressure from without, and I found myself alternating between disliking and then sympathizing with the various personae, as one might do with people in real life. The dialogue is real and natural, and the author weaves in enough descriptions of the country, the manors and palaces, and the battles to set the historical scene, of which I knew little. It led me to do a little exploration of the history on my own. Thus I can see why this author has built such a following.

However, I have to warn any potential readers: there is a lot of sex in this novel and it is graphic and detailed. Since I don’t read romance novels, but see this in many other genres, I suspect the sex is expected. I did find myself rather bored when it was inserted at various times when I felt it wasn’t really necessary and detracted from the flow of the story.

Overall, I was impressed with the author’s story-telling and ability to plop the reader right into the middle of it. I might even read the next book in the series.

About the author (Amazon):

Had Anna Belfrage been allowed to choose, she’d have become a professional time-traveller. As such a profession does not exist, she settled for second best and became a financial professional with two absorbing interests, namely history and writing. These days, she combines an exciting day-job with a large family and her writing endeavours. Plus she always finds the time to try out new recipes, chase down obscure rose bushes and initiate a home renovation scheme or two.

Her first series, The Graham Saga, is set in 17th century Scotland and Virginia/Maryland. It tells the story of Matthew and Alex, two people who should never have met – not when she was born three hundred years after him. Her second is set in the 1320s and features Adam de Guirande, his wife Kit, and their adventures and misfortunes in connection with Roger Mortimer’s rise to power.

You can find the author

On twitter: @abelfrageauthor

On her book site: https://www.annabelfrage.com/

On her blog: https://www.annabelfrage.com/my-blog/

And on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/anna.belfrage.3

His Castilian Hawk can be found on Amazon, along with the author’s other books:

A Shanty: The Eddystone Light (Thanks to Willow)

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I was treated to the singing of a shanty, The Wellerman, on Willowdot21’s blog yesterday  morning: https://willowdot21.wordpress.com/2021/02/03/whats-on-my-music-radar-today/.  It’s a great song and it got me to thinking – just what is a shanty? So I looked it up: a shanty is a song with alternating solo and chorus, of a kind originally sung by sailors while performing physical labor together.

Being a child of the 60s (the peak time for popular folk music) , the shanty I know the best is called Eddystone Light, which has been sung by the Seekers, the Weavers, Burl Ives and the Brothers Four. It is a whimsical tale of the Eddystone Lighthouse.

The Eddystone Lighthouse is located on the dangerous Eddystone Rocks, nine miles (14 km) south of Rame Head, Cornwall, in England. The rocks are submerged below the surface of the ocean, and thus have been major hazard to ships for centuries.

                                  Eddystone Lighthouse, engraved by W.B. Cooke 1836

The first lighthouse, completed in 1699, was the world’s first open ocean lighthouse. The first and second were destroyed by storm and fire, respectively. The third, also known as Smeaton’s Tower, is the known for its influence on lighthouse design and the use of concrete in the building of it. The current structure is the fourth, and you can see the stub of the third in front of it in this picture

So here is my favorite version of The Eddystone Light by the Brothers Four (made in 1961)

And if you want to sing along, here are the lyrics.

My father was the keeper of the Eddystone light
He married a mermaid one fine night
From this union there came three
A porpoise and a porgy and the other was me

Yo ho ho, the wind blows free
Oh, for a life on the rolling sea

Late one night, I was trimming the glim
While singing a verse from the evening hymn
A voice from starboard shouted, “Ahoy!”
And there was my mother, sitting on a buoy

Yo ho ho, the wind blows free
Oh, for a life on the rolling sea

“Tell me, what has become of my children three?”
My mother she did ask of me
One was exhibited as a talking fish
The other was served on a chafing dish

Yo ho ho, the wind blows free
Oh, for a life on the rolling sea

Then the phosphorous flashed in her seaweed hair
I looked again and me mother wasn’t there
A voice came echoing out of the night
“To Hell with the keeper of the Eddystone Light”

Yo ho ho, the wind blows free
Oh, for a life on the rolling sea

Yo ho
Yo ho
Yo ho
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I sing this to my grandson (but without the To Hell!). Willow and I do love our shanties!

Book Review: The Rings of Mars by Rachel Foucar (@Rachel Foucar) #RBRT #science fiction

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I received an Advanced Reader Copy of this book from the author.

The Rings of Mars was a pleasant surprise. I do love science fiction (having been groomed to it at my father’s knee) but I all too frequently find modern science fiction lacking the elements of a good read. The Rings of Mars is a good read, even if I disagree with some of the science – or the lack thereof.

The story opens with Jane Parker standing in line, one of five hundred people selected from millions who applied, to board a shuttle to take them to a ship, the Sleipnir, that will carry them to Mars. It seems she doesn’t know why she was selected, and this was a one-way trip for everyone. Although not clearly stated at first, the colonization of Mars is necessary because, according to the group funding it, Earth has become too polluted to sustain life much longer.

During the shuttle trip and her arrival on the Sleipnir, the reader is introduced in separate chapters to the people who will become her friends: Danni, a native American; Pat and Kaitlin, two bona fide astronauts; and Mark. And then Jack, whose alias is Alex, clearly being sent to sabotage the trip.

The ship is huge with a cylindrical center portion around which three rings rotate, creating gravity for the passengers who will live and work there. The description of the ship was interesting, along with the segregation of the passengers into various departments for their work assignments (agriculture, cleaning, cooking, etc).  Food and its supply, entertainment and diversions for the passengers, and the living quarters were nicely described, along with the weightless environment that some would work in.

Tension begins with the explosion and destruction of the space station from which the Sleipnir has just departed and the decision whether to continue on or abort the mission.

The middle of the book slows a bit as Alex inserts himself into the life of the crew with a bent for destruction, but speeds up as Jane reveals herself to be an agent sent on the trip to stop him and whatever he’s planned. Why must the Sleipnir be sabotaged? Will Jane be able to stop Alex or will the ship and its passengers be destroyed?

Some of the characters are drawn well and can be visualized, others are a little fuzzy. Jane is clearly a badass, and that role she fills to perfection. I love that there is a strong female protagonist, especially since many of the other women characters are weak and/or not very perceptive. A few characters die unexpectedly and shockingly and there are plenty of plot twists and turns created to amp the tension. In addition, the descriptions of the ship and the limitations it exerts on the lives of the passengers, along with the drudgery of the day to day work, are compelling.

I wish there had been more discussion amongst the characters as to why they decided to leave Earth forever. There would have been a richness added to them through those conversations. There is really no mystery to Jane’s pursuit of Alex, since it is clear why he is there, only her growing irritation of not being able to catch him in his various acts of sabotage. And I must admit total frustration with the captain of Sleipnir, who seems unaccountably unwilling to accept that a saboteur is on board.

There were a few other minor things that itched due to my interest in space travel. For example, the ship had windows, and I wondered how those, along with the ship’s construction would protect the travelers from cosmic rays and solar activity during the trip.

The Rings of Mars was an enjoyable read and should attract the attention of science fiction fans, especially those who like a strong female in the lead and good tension.

All in all, the author has done a very creditable job for her first novel.  She has a real future as a writer and I hope to read more from her.

 About the author:

Rachel Foucar lives in Perth in Western Australia. She is currently studying performance studies at Curtin University. She loves acting, music and considers herself quite geeky. The Rings of Mars is her first book

 The author can be found

On twitter:  @RachelFoucar

And on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachel.foucar

The Rings of Mars will be available on Amazon in February.

Wagons West #writephoto

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This story is in response to the #write photo prompt from Sue Vincent this past week

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Sarah Connor pulled her kerchief tighter around her nose and mouth to keep out the dust raised by the wagon in front of her. She had been walking along the Oregon Trail, beside her mother’s and father’s Conestoga wagon, for nearly two months now, while her stomach grew round with new life.

The night she told her parents of her pregnancy was etched in acid.  The family, including her younger brother Ethan, were sitting around a fire, the empty plates of their dinner on the ground beside them.

“I have to tell you something…Mother, Father.” Both parents focused on Sarah.  “I am expecting a baby,” she said in almost a whisper.

“What? You can’t be! Here we are about to set off on a difficult, hazardous journey of months and you are pregnant?” Her mother shook her head and stood up. “You are utterly without morals, Sarah, and thoughtless of your family, too. I want nothing to do with you from now on. Make your own way.”

Her father stood up, too. “Is this the truth, child?”

“Yes, Father. I’m so sorry, we never meant it to happen.” In fact, the long days of waiting for the wagon trains to form and leave from Missouri had given Sarah a freedom she had never known at home, her former home.

Her father seemed to grow twice in size as he took a deep breath and said in a loud voice, “And just who is the father?”

“Gabriel Harrison. You met him several times.”

“Yes, yes, I know, the scout for the wagons that left last week.”

“He’s a good man, Father. He will marry me when he finds out about the baby.”

“If he doesn’t, I will kill him,” her father said in an icy cold voice. Sarah knew he meant it. “Now we will get down on our knees and pray to the Lord God Almighty for his forgiveness of Sarah’s immorality…and for his blessings on our journey.”

Both parents ignored Sarah when they formed a line of wagons the next day and the passing weeks, as she walked along with the wagon.  However, they didn’t let her starve, and she silently worked to set up their campsite in the evening and to load the wagon in the morning.

She slept on the ground under the wagon. Ethan was her only comfort, giving her a blanket at night and checking to make sure she was well. “They’ll come around, Sarah, just give them time. You know Mother would love to hold a baby in her arms again.”

Sarah was certain that Gabriel would not forsake her. Before he left, he told her he would be thinking of her every day, and he would leave a sign on the trail to let her know. She told Ethan so there would be two pairs of eyes searching.

She’d been looking every day, to one side and another of the trail. Her heart dropped more each day when neither she nor Ethan found anything.

Two months into their journey, her parents had relented sufficiently to allow her to sleep in the wagon, her father stating he would not be responsible for his daughter’s death from cold or predators. One morning, Ethan came riding back from the front of the wagon train. “I found something from Gabriel for you.” He pulled her up behind him on his horse, and they rode forward along the long line of wagons, until Ethan reined in. “There. See that rock in the middle of the trail? Get down and wait until the next wagon passes, then see what’s scratched on it.”

Sarah slid down and waited patiently for the next wagon to pass. In the brief moments between wagons, she ran to the middle of the trail and looked down at the large, flat rock. Scratched into its surface were two sets of initials, set in a heart: SC and GH. Her heart soared, and she felt the baby kick for the first time.

Book Review: The Sum of Our Sorrows by Lisette Brodey (@lisettebrodey) #rbrt #contemporary fiction #family drama #coming of age

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The Sum of Our Sorrows is first and foremost a story of the worst kind of loss – that of a mother, leaving behind with her young daughters. It weaves into the tragedy the kindness of a dear friend, the slow healing of the mind (with and without professional help), the behavioral changes in both children and husband such a loss can create, and redemption. A lot to pack into a book!

Abby, the mother of three daughters and wife to Dalton, is tragically killed in a car accident in northern California. Charlotte, the middle daughter, is in the car and survives but is emotionally and mentally altered by the experience. I was completely drawn to the oldest daughter, Lily, who while suffering the same loss, is told by her father that she must give up her job and her plans for college to stay home and take care of her sisters and him. She acquiesces without quite understanding why her father would ask that of her, and it is clear that none of his daughters truly know him, except from a distance. Lily desperately wants a life of her own and is torn between knowing she has to care for her family and wanting to leave. She realizes that if she leaves her two younger sisters they may not recover from the loss. When her father makes more and more demands of her, treating her as his wife in all but the physical sense and demanding she no longer interact with her friends, her desperation only grows.

Lily’s voice is obviously very strong, as was Charlotte’s, the middle child. I truly felt Lily’s confusion, guilt and sorrow and Charlotte’s continuous rebellion against her family as an outlet for her grief. Her troubles only pile up as time goes on, and Lily is patient when she can’t reach her. Maybe too patient, but Lily is not one to make demands or voice her own opinion except to her closest friends. Willow, the youngest child at twelve, was not as clearly defined. She seemed preternaturally old for her age, and sometimes her voice was so akin to Lily’s that I felt Lily was talking to herself. I would have liked to see her with some normal preteen problems.

Dalton, the father, was so ignorantly overbearing and dismissive of Lily’s needs that I wanted to give him a good shake, so in that sense, the author did a good job creating his character. His dismissal of Kady – Abby’s best friend and now Lily’s confidant – from their lives hinted early on that there was much more to this family than initially apparent. Just when Lily’s life has reached its lowest point, something wonderful happens, but that something only makes things even more difficult for Lily. You have to read the book to find out.

I will say the ending is a little too tidy for me. Life is messy and its struggles are rarely resolved by being tied up in a bow. So I wish the end was not so perfect, although it should please many readers.

This was a good book, one that kept my attention long enough to be riveted by the twists arising from the backstory of Abby’s life and the surprises in Lily’s. For readers who like family dramas with some right turns and a little romance, this will be a pleaser.

About the author (from Amazon)

Lisette Brody was born and raised in the Philadelphia area. She spent ten years in New York City, and now resides in Los Angeles. She’s a multi-genre author of nine novels and one short story collection: Crooked Moon (General/Literary Fiction); Squalor, New Mexico (Coming-of-Age/Literary Fiction); Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! (Women’s Fiction/romantic comedy), The Desert Series: Mystical High; Desert Star; and Drawn Apart (YA paranormal/magical realism), Barrie Hill Reunion (Literary Fiction); Hotel Obscure: A Collection of Short Stories (Literary Fiction), Love, Look Away (Women’s Fiction/romantic comedy), and now The Sum of our Sorrows (Contemporary Fiction.)

You can find her

On Twitter: @lisettebrodey

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrodeyAuthor

And on her author’s website: lisettebrodey.com

You can purchase The Sum of Our Sorrows from Amazon:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Great British Bump Off

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This past weekend, some members of the Triangle Sisters in Crime took part in a murder mystery game via Zoom called the Great British Bump Off. A take off on a play by the same name which premiered at the Hexagon in Reading, England last September, it was, like the play, a take-off on the Great English Baking Show. I am addicted to this show, which features two judges and a dozen bakers in a tent, where a group of amateur bakers compete against each other in a series of rounds, attempting to impress a group of judges with their baking skills.

 

The scene of the Great British Bump Off has to be the tent in a field in Welford Park, the existing house a private residence built on the site of a monastery in Newbury and belonging to the same family for 400 years.

                         Baking is done in a tent in a field adjacent to the house.

Description: Tension is high inside the big white tent because it’s time for this year’s bakers to face judgment and elimination. But wait! Stop those timers! Our esteemed judge, Shaw G. Bottom, has just been discovered dead in the judge’s tent. The bread round just turned into the dead round.

Populating the tent are a number of colorful characters, among them:

  • Victoria Sponge – a baker from the Isle of Wight. Dressed in white with a slim red belt, Victoria is confident about her classic appeal.

  • Mac O’Roon – a baker from Belfast. In his orange shirt, green trousers and with his golf bag to hand, Mac is a golfer who’s ready to play the long game.

  • Sasha Torte – a baker from Cumbria. This handwriting expert is dressed in dark brown with a frothy white scarf. She always has a piece of chocolate nearby!

  • Brandy Snap – a baker from Gloucestershire. In her jodhpurs and hacking jacket, Brandy knows how to hunt and how to win.

  • Spice-Twice Bryce – a baker from Edinburgh. With his calculator, pen and paper always close to hand, this mathematician knows whose number is up.

  • Whitey Bloomer – a baker from Devon. Dressed in his gardening clothes and wellies, Whitey knows the old ways are best.

I played Whitey Bloomer, part Luddite, part wolf (he is infatuated with Victoria Sponge). The game consists of three rounds of short presentations by each player, the first to introduce themselves and the other two to add information to their bios. In between, the bakers are asked questions by their fellow bakers, the questions designed to elicit facts to help the players figure out ‘who done it.’  The whole thing is moderated by a Chief Investigator.

I took copious notes, then winnowed down what I learned to motive, means and opportunity. We had a large number of players, so there was a lot of information, much of it not useful. In the end we are asked to name the murderer. I had two people at the top of my list, and the second of these was the murderer because I had missed a clue. Drat!

Since we were doing this by Zoom, most of us chose to dress as our characters from the neck up. The best I could do is a worn denim shirt and an old fisherman’s cap.

I would say it was great fun. It might have been better to have fewer characters to speed it up – it took over three hours – and to let non-characters sit in and guess the murderer, allowing unscripted questions at the end.

You can download this game for a modest price From Red Herring Games and it will accommodate from two to twenty players.

A Czech Christmas in Prague

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    When Hubs and I were working in a lab in California, he got an invitation from NSF to spend a year in what was then Czechoslovakia. He accepted and I got to go along with him. What a culture shock! The country was at that point ruled by the Communist party and the capitol city was dull and gray, although we found pockets of beauty during our all-day walks every weekend. We became idiot savants when it came to knowing the tram system and the direction of each numbered tram. When I had learned enough Czech to    converse, I even gave directions to out-of-towners!

 

     We spent Christmas in Prague and were introduced to its customs by the Czech couple, Vladimir and Milada Reznick, who shared their apartment with us. The first tradition we encountered was a visit from Svaty Mikuláš. Svaty Mikuláš (Czech for Saint Nicholas) descends from heaven on a golden cord held by angels, as he returns to earth for his gift-giving rounds each year. In the European advent calendar, St. Nicholas pays a visit to children during the first week of December, bearing gifts of sweets to the well behaved. He is traditionally accompanied by a devil (Čert) and angel (Anděl ). Some friends of mine arranged for me to be visited, and luckily St. Nick gave me a present. The devil is sometimes portrayed as Krampas in a scary costume, usually in the public square along with St. Nick and the angel.

     Vladimir and Milada purchased a Christmas tree – it appeared one evening – and it was lit with real candles! We lived in fear that it would catch fire. but Milada assured us it rarely happened. Right. Good that I couldn’t read the Prague newspaper!

    The traditional Christmas Eve meal is carp soup. The Czechs love polévka, or soup, and Milada was a wonderful soup maker – especially gulašova polévka (gulash soup) and dršťková polévka (tripe soup). Every family would buy a huge carp from enormous tanks found on the streets around the city. They were filled with icy water (it was December after all) and huge carp slowly swimming around in them. The men who sold the fish were in their shirt sleeves with the sleeves rolled up and their forearms were blue from fishing in the tanks and pulling out a fish for you!

Once purchased, the carp was taken home and placed in water in the bathtub and kept until Christmas Eve. (Caveat: Never let your children name the carp) At that point, it would be dispatched, some of the meat saved for the next day, and the rest made into carp soup. Which is, by the way, delicious.

   The traditional Christmas dinner was carp (kapr) schnitzel, made with the fresh carp fillets, along with potato salad. This might seem strange – potato salad at Christmas – but I swear the Czechs make the absolutely best potato salad in the world. And of course the fish was yummy and delightfully fresh (no wonder there).

   And the sweets. Each Czech is born with a sweet tooth. There is a Christmas bread called Vánočka, which gets its name from the Czech word for Christmas, Vánoce. It’s a braided cake made with raisins and almonds. There are also cookies, lots and lots of cookies, Vánoční cukroví / Christmas cookies. We ended our Christmas meal with a variety of those, along with fruit dumplings that Milada made to perfection. These are usually made with plums (if available) and sprinkled with sugar and poppy seeds.

         In the Czech tradition, I wish you  Veselé Vánoce a Šťastný Nový Rok 

                             Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Wenceslas Square in Prague at Christmas time. Named for good King Wenceslas!

Book review: Sentinel by Carl Rackman #rbrt #suspense sci-fi thriller

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I will confess I am a fan of Carl Rackman’s books but somehow missed the first book in this series, Voyager.  Nevertheless, I plowed ahead and discovered that the author covered enough of the high points from Voyager that I could hit the ground running. Sentinal did not disappoint me.

Four years have passed since Voyager One sent back chilling photos of a spaceship from deep in interstellar space. However, with terrorism, pandemics and political turmoil consuming the news, the story faded to the back page and the public has accepted it as a hoax. All but the Triumvirate, a global and powerful conspiracy that has inserted itself into the highest levels of various governments. They have created a wall of subterfuge so they themselves can welcome the Visitors, the occupants of the spaceship, who are coming with sinister plans.

Countering the Triumvirate are the strong characters typical of Rackman’s writing: Matt Ramprakash, former airline pilot and now an officer of the British intelligence agency MI5; his wife, Callie Woolf, who once headed the Voyager One mission and who believes that the spaceship is not a hoax; former FBI agent Brad Barnes who now leads Sentinel, a private intelligence and counter-terrorism operation founded to counter the Triumvirate; and Alex Ephraim, a superhuman soldier, thought to be genetically engineered, and a former Triumvirate assassin who has switched sides to join Sentinel.

The story opens a little slowly, which is where I think it could have been improved, but then starts to pick up speed until by the end, the reader is reading and flipping pages as fast as possible. The action scenes are meticulously plotted and easy to visualize and employ incredible technology. From a diversionary airplane hijacking to action on the icy cold and barren reaches of Antarctica, this suspense thriller pulls you in and then delivers a solid punch with a science fiction twist, leading directly to a third book in this series. Which I await.

This is a cracking good read.

About the author

Carl Rackman is a former airline pilot with interests in seafaring and mysteries and lives in Surrey, UK. Since he spent his working life travelling the world, he has developed a keen interest in other people and cultures. And he’s drawn on his many experiences for his writing.

He primarily writes suspense thrillers with a grounded science-fiction theme. He tries to create immersive worlds for the reader to explore, and characters who are more than just vehicles for the story. He also comes a naval military background and have held a lifelong interest in military history and seafaring – all his books usually contain some of these elements. His reading is multi-genre – historical, sci-fi, fantasy and techno – but psychological thrillers are prime.  He started writing in 2016 and is picking up steam!

You can reach him

on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/rackmanbooks/

and at https://carlrackman.com

Sentinel is available on Amazon:

https://www.amazon.com/Sentinel-Voyager-Book-Carl-Rackman-ebook/dp/B08JCMBW2B/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=Carl+rackman&qid=1605795269&s=books&sr=1-3

 

Book review: Liars and Thieves by D. Wallace Peach (@Dwallacepeach) #goblins, elves and changelings

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D. Wallace Peach is, as far as I’m concerned, the master of world creation. In Liars and Thieves, she blends goblins, elves, and changelings against a vivid backdrop that transports you with its gorgeous descriptions.

In the world of Liars and Thieves, there is the Veil, a shimmering wall behind which a malevolent presence, Kalann Il Draak, dwells. He cannot penetrate the wall but unravels its material for seeds of chaos to slip through. And chaos is beginning to spread, beginning with the inexplicable disappearance of members of all three races. Three individuals find themselves placed squarely in the path of the oncoming storm: Elanalue Windthorn (Alue), an elf and a soldier who can’t seem to stop herself from acting without thinking; Talin Raska, a changeling who lives with Alue in the form of her pet martin, but who is actually is a talented liar, thief, and spy for the Changeling Queen; and Naj’ar, a half-breed goblin and a loner, with a talent he cannot control. These characters are so well-limned that the reader finds themself in their heads.

Goblins consider themselves to be superior. They have brilliant minds when it comes to engineering skills. Furthermore, they mine crystals which are the main source of power for the rest of the Borderlands, selling them in a rationing system to the Elves and Changelings. Elves need them to power their world, including weapons, while changelings need their power to be able to morph. The elves are arrogant, competitive, and dismissive of treaties and laws in their pursuit of ways to steal the crystals.  Changelings are just plain devious. It’s no wonder these three characters are enemies for a good part of the story, but fate, calamity, and the powers governing each of these races forces them together to determine just what is happening and why.

If you like elves or goblins or changelings – or just a darned good yarn, this is the book for you.

About the author from Amazon):

Wallace Peach started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked. Diana lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two dogs, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.

The author can be found

On twitter: @Dwallacepeach

On her blog: http://mythsofthemirror.com

On her website: dwallacepeachbooks.com

Liars and Thieves can be found on Amazon: