Saturday, 27 May 2017

#BookReview River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey @torbooks #BookBloggers

River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In the early 20th Century, the United States government concocted a plan to import hippopotamuses into the marshlands of Louisiana to be bred and slaughtered as an alternative meat source. This is true.

Other true things about hippos: they are savage, they are fast, and their jaws can snap a man in two.

This was a terrible plan.

Contained within this volume is an 1890s America that might have been: a bayou overrun by feral hippos and mercenary hippo wranglers from around the globe. It is the story of Winslow Houndstooth and his crew. It is the story of their fortunes. It is the story of his revenge.


**********

I think in the end, that I just had too high hope on this book. Sure it's good, with an interesting story and some really gruesome scenes. But, at the same time did I feel that this was not a book that I devoured. I loved the idea of this book, with hippos in the marshlands of Louisiana and the story was interesting, but it ended when it started to get really interesting. It's a short story only 152 pages long and that could be why I felt like I wanted more meat to the story. This is book one so it will be more of them and I will definitely read them.

I do think that if you like alternative stories should you really read this book. Personally, did I struggle a bit with keeping the characters (and hippos) apart, and I would have loved a deeper introduction into each and every one of the characters. On the plus side are they interesting characters and I'm looking forward to getting to know them more in the next novella!

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

#BlogTour Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson (@OrendaBooks) #BookBloggers

Block 46 by Johana Gustawsson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In Falkenberg, Sweden, the mutilated body of talented young jewelry designer Linnea Blix is found in a snow-swept marina. In Hampstead Heath, London, the body of a young boy is discovered with similar wounds to Linnea's. Buchenwald Concentration Camp, 1944. In the midst of the hell of the Holocaust, Erich Hebner will do anything to see himself as a human again. Are the two murders the work of a serial killer, and how are they connected to shocking events at Buchenwald? 

Emily Roy, a profiler on loan to Scotland Yard from the Canadian Royal Mounted Police, joins up with Linnea's friend, French true-crime writer Alexis Castells, to investigate the puzzling case. They travel between Sweden and London, and then deep into the past, as a startling and terrifying connection comes to light.

**********

I'm on the fence when it comes to this book, I don't deny it's a good book, it's just that I was not completely taken with the story. But, I will get to that later on. Let's start with the good things first. I found myself really loving the Swedish angel of the story. I'm Swedish, which my blog name clearly state and JohanaGustawsson has really captured the Swedish mentality (and our love for strange food Smörgåstårta is fantastic) and I found myself really like having two characters experience the life in Sweden and the contrast to England/Canada. For them, it's quite exotic, which for me was fun because it's so natural.

The case was interesting with its connection to WW2 and Buchenwald Concentration Camp. Reflecting on the end can I only say that not everything as it seems and even though I was not really surprised to learn who the killer was did Gustawsson add a final twist to the story. One that when I learned thought "of course, why did I not think about that?".

But, and here comes my big dilemma, I was never completely taken with the story. It never really sucked me in, I felt like I have kept aloof all the time, just on the edge of being taken it, but not being able to. It happens sometimes, on the paper, it's a book that seems to be written for me, but there is just something holding me back, and I do think it's because I never really felt like I got to know Alexis and Emily. They never came to life for me, and even towards the end when one of them was in real danger did I not worry because she had not fleshed out enough for me to worry about her. But, this is just me, the book is good, no doubt at all, and the right reader will love it!

Friday, 26 May 2017

#Bookreview Buried Secrets by Elizabeth Meyette (@efmeyette) @AnAudiobookworm

Buried Secrets by Elizabeth Meyette
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

When Jesse Graham almost runs over a “body” in the road one night, she is plunged into a labyrinth of secrets, lies and murder. All Jesse wants is a simple life teaching at St. Bart’s… and a chance at love with Joe Riley. She realizes that plan has been thwarted when puzzling occurrences at St. Bartholomew Academy for Girls get increasingly dangerous. The danger doesn’t just spring from the ghost who haunts the grounds of St. Bart’s, but from a sinister presence that is not ghostly at all. As she digs into the mystery, threats on her life and the life of her student escalate.

Which danger threatens her life the most? The ghost haunting her student or the secrets buried in the school?


**********

I listened to The Cavanaugh House by Elizabeth Meyette a while back and back and instantly knew that I needed to listen to its sequel. In the first book, The Cavanaugh House did Jesse, after breaking up with her cheating boyfriend move to the house her aunt left her. She learned that the house was haunted by her aunt and with a little bit of help from friends did she put her dead aunt to rest. Now everything should be peaceful in her life, but after finding a "body" on the road and once again "seeing" a spirit does it seem that the peaceful life she is after is just a dream for now.

I was very pleased that Amy McFadden narrated this book as well. She is very pleasant to listen to and she shifts between the characters effortless. Part of the joy of this book is listening to her tell the story.

As for Buried Secrets did I find this story a little less interesting than The Cavanaugh House. Don't take me wrong, I enjoyed the book and Jesse is a great character. It's just the plot was stronger in The Cavanaugh House and I was more taken with Jesse plight to find who killed her aunt. And, the triangle drama that I was glad to not have in the first book did occur in this book, although with a new male character. Or triangle drama, it was more failed communication problems and misunderstandings. Why can't characters just talk it book? This is a pet peeve of mine, and I'm sure other readers won't mind it as much as I did. One thing I really liked is the friendship between Jesse and Maggie, who is a nun. It's such an odd pairing and I love their banter.

I enjoyed the book and I would definitely read/listen to more books about Jesse Graham!

I received this audiobook at no-cost from Audiobookworm Promotions. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.

#BlogTour Spandex and the City by Jenny T. Colgan (@jennycolgan)

Spandex and the City by Jenny T. Colgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

LOCAL GIRL SWEPT OFF HER FEET

Mild-mannered publicist Holly Phillips is unlucky in love. She's embarrassed beyond belief when the handsome stranger she meets in a bar turns out to be 'Ultimate Man' - a superpowered hero whose rescue attempt finds her hoisted over his shoulder and flashing her knickers in the newspaper the next day.

But when Holly's fifteen minutes of fame make her a target for something villainous, she only has one place to turn - and finds the man behind the mask holds a lot more charm than his crime-fighting alter-ego.

Can Holly find love, or is superdating just as complicated as the regular kind?

BOOK REVIEW

After reading charming Colgan books about a bakery and a book bus did a book about a superhero romance feel a bit different. Well, quite a lot different. But, I was curious. I mean check out this quote from the book:

‘Could you please . . . possibly . . . possibly forget we ever met?’
I thought of how much I wanted to be a journalist. I thought of what a gigantic scoop this was. I noticed how downcast and miserable he looked.
‘You know,’ I said. ‘None of the pictures on the internet of the people who are supposed to be you are actually you.’
‘I know,’ he said.
‘I mean, Ultimate Man . . . you sound like a bra.’
‘I know,’ he said. ‘All the good names were taken.’


Yeah, despite no puffins in this book did I find it charming. Holly is such a likable character and being saved by Ultimate Man sounds like a dream come true, unless that means flashing the whole world your knickers. And, not even your good knickers. And, then there is the villain, that keep showing up wherever she goes...

Spandex and the City is an easy going book with a villain that actually has a point and a different kind of love story. I mean it's not easy dating a superhero that is pretty much indestructible. Holly gets to know the backside of fame (pun intended) and it's a perfect summer book to read on the beach, I enjoyed the book a lot!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jenny Colgan is the author of numerous bestselling novels, including Christmas at the Cupcake Café and Little Beach Street Bakery. Meet Me at the Cupcake Café won the 2012 Melissa Nathan Award for Comedy Romance and was a Sunday Times top ten bestseller, as was Welcome to Rosie Hopkins’ Sweetshop of Dreams, which won the RNA Romantic Novel of the Year Award 2013. Under the Jenny T. Colgan pen name, she has also written the Doctor Who tie-in novel Dark Horizons and Doctor Who short stories Into the Nowhere, Long Way Down and All the Empty Towers. Jenny is married with three children and lives in Scotland. @jennycolgan | www.jennycolgan.com




Thursday, 25 May 2017

#BookReview Cold Earth by Ann Cleeves (@AnnCleeves) @FreshFiction #ffreview

Cold Earth by Ann Cleeves
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the dark days of a Shetland winter, torrential rain triggers a landslide that crosses the main Lerwick-Sumburgh road and sweeps down to the sea.

At the burial of his old friend Magnus Tait, Jimmy Perez watches the flood of mud and peaty water smash through a croft house in its path. Everyone thinks the croft is uninhabited, but in the wreckage he finds the body of a dark-haired woman wearing a red silk dress. In his mind, she shares his Mediterranean ancestry and soon he becomes obsessed with tracing her identity.

Then it emerges that she was already dead before the landslide hit the house. Perez knows he must find out who she was, and how she died.


**********

Wow, what a book. I have read every single one of the books in the Shetland series, but COLD EARTH, book seven, is my favorite so far. The story is intriguing and perplexing and I especially enjoyed the interplay between Jimmy Perez and Willow Reeves.

The book starts with Jimmy Perez attending his friend Magnus Tait's funeral, but a sudden landslide puts an abrupt end to that. Luckily no one seems to have been hurt, the croft that was smashed in the landslide should be empty. However, Jimmy discovers outside the craft the body of dark-haired women wearing a red silk dress. What is she doing in a croft that should be empty? Was she murdered? Jimmy gets obsessed finding out the identity of the woman and what happened to her. But, how to find out who she is when no one knew she was in the croft in the first place, or is really so?

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!    

#CoverCrush: Sleeping in the Ground by Peter Robinson


For new visitors do I want to explain that Cover Crush is something that my friend Erin over at Flashlight Commentary came up with and I adopted the idea together with some other friends. And, now we try to put up a Cover Crush every week. You can check below my pick of the week for their choices this week!



After a massacre outside a picturesque Yorkshire church, Detective Superintendent Alan Banks and his team must unravel a baffling a mystery—and corner a killer hiding in plain sight.

Some thoughts about the cover:

Looking at the cover and then reading the description really makes me feel like the cover feels both right and wrong. Wrong in that it's so peaceful and right in that the peaceful cover feels like the calm before the storm. Love the colors of the setting sun on the sky and water.


Check out what my friends have picked for Cover Crush's this week:





Erin @ Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

#BookReview Devil's Breath by G.M. Malliet @FreshFiction #ffreview

Devil's Breath by G.M. Malliet
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Max Tudor must contend with his new role as a father as well as a murder of a glamorous film star in the next installment in G. M. Malliet’s wildly popular series.

Agatha Award-winning author G. M. Malliet has charmed mystery lovers, cozy fans, and Agatha Christie devotees with her critically acclaimed mysteries featuring handsome former-spy-turned-cleric Father Max Tudor.

In The Haunted Season, Father Max Tudor’s former life as an MI5 agent has caught up with him, threatening his newfound happiness with Awena and baby son Owen. Realizing there is no escape from his past, Max, with his bishop’s tacit permission, has offered his services on an as-needed basis.

Max receives the call for help when the body of glamorous film star Margot Browne washes ashore. George tells Max his former colleague Patrice Logan, now heavily pregnant, has asked Five for help—particularly, Max’s help.

It’s a perfect “closed circle” murder since victim Margot must have been killed by one of the group of actors, stylists, scriptwriters, and second-tier royalty aboard. Patrice suspects the yacht’s owner, a playboy film director she’s been keeping tabs on for smuggling, but Max isn’t so sure. Max and DCI Cotton interview the suspects as they loll about one of the luxury hotels dotting the waterfront. Tipped by the playboy director, Max uncovers the truth about the star’s life and death. But would Margot kill—or be killed—to keep her lurid past in the past?

Max’s investigation uncovers a host of motives but only one killer: it seems Margot is not the only person on board with a secret they’d kill to keep.

**********

DEVIL'S BREATH is the first book I have read by G.M. Malliet. And, thus is this the first book I have read in the Max Tudor series. However, despite being the sixth book was it was no problem for me to get the gist of the story and its characters. I must say that G.M. Malliet did a splendid job of getting new readers to get to know Max Tudor in this book, both his past with MI5 and his new life as a cleric.

READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION! 

#BookReview The Only Child by Andrew Pyper @SimonBooks

The Only Child by Andrew Pyper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The #1 internationally bestselling author of The Demonologist radically reimagines the origins of gothic literature’s founding masterpieces—Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Dracula—in a contemporary novel driven by relentless suspense and surprising emotion. This is the story of a man who may be the world’s one real-life monster, and the only woman who has a chance of finding him.

As a forensic psychiatrist at New York’s leading institution of its kind, Dr. Lily Dominick has evaluated the mental states of some of the country’s most dangerous psychotics. But the strangely compelling client she interviewed today—a man with no name, accused of the most twisted crime—struck her as somehow different from the others, despite the two impossible claims he made.

First, that he is more than two hundred years old and personally inspired Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Bram Stoker in creating the three novels of the nineteenth century that define the monstrous in the modern imagination. Second, that he’s Lily’s father. To discover the truth—behind her client, her mother’s death, herself—Dr. Dominick must embark on a journey that will threaten her career, her sanity, and ultimately her life.

Fusing the page-turning tension of a first-rate thriller with a provocative take on where thrillers come from, The Only Child will keep you up until its last unforgettable revelation.


**********

I loved the thought of a man who inspired Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Bram Stoker to write their famous books about Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Dracula. That's really the very thing that made me want to read the book. It sounded so mysterious and fascinating and I love books that incorporate real authors into the story. 

The Only Child is an interesting story about a woman that finds herself targeted by a man who says he is 200-years old and that he is her father. She doubts his story, but then something happens that makes her take off to Europe to find out the truth. Could this man really be who he says he is?

I found the book, at the beginning very interesting and the clues he left for Lily throughout Europe, pieces of his history, about his beginning and how he met the famous authors was interesting reading about. However, the later part of the story, with Lily finding out that that there are people out there who wants to capture the man just didn't work for me that much. I felt that storyline was not especially surprising and frankly it was a bit boring instead of thrilling to read about how they tried to catch him. I did like the ending, but at the same time was it not an especially shocking surprise that it would end the way it did. However, at least made the book end on a high note.

The Only Child is a good book, but the story was best the first half when Lily was learning more about the man who said to be her father, then when the table turned and suddenly the great organizations or whatever was after him just didn't work for me, but at least the ending was good.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through Edelweiss for an honest review!

Monday, 22 May 2017

#BookReview Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For more than two hundred years, the Owens women have been blamed for everything that has gone wrong in their Massachusetts town. Gillian and Sally have endured that fate as well: as children, the sisters were forever outsiders, taunted, talked about, pointed at. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, with their musty house and their exotic concoctions and their crowd of black cats. But all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape.

One will do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they share will bring them back—almost as if by magic...


**********

I have seen the movie Practical Magical several times, the last time was actually today, the day after I finished the book for the first time. Well, I did start watching the movie before I started the book. However, I decided to read the book before I finished the movie. I had a very good reason for that. I have a copy of the prequel to the Practical Magic book (The Rules of Magic) and I wanted to read Practical Magical before I started the new book. 

This is one of those times when the book is nothing like the movie, however, that doesn't make the movie bad. I really liked it before I read the book, and I still like it after reading the book. They are just like night and day and there are things I miss in the book, like the spell Sally casts to not fall in love. However, the book is really good as well, I love the way Hoffman writes. This is the first book I have read by the author, but I have several books and now I can't wait to read them. It only took my one day to read Practical Magic, it's an easy book to read, engrossing and never boring. I like the characters, and knowing that the prequel will be about the aunts to Sally and Gillian really make me eager to start reading The Rules of Magic soon.

Practical Magical is a great book, and if you have never read the book do I recommend reading it. It's charming, but with a serious tone.

#Wishlist May: Summer books! #bookbloggers

Summer is here! YAY! And what better way to spend the summer than reading? Here are 5 books from my neverending Wishlist! This time I'm picking 5 books that have "summer feeling" on the cover!

**********

A woman sets out on a cross-country road trip, unknowingly tracing in reverse the path her mother traveled thirty years before.

In the 1950s, movie star Louise Wilde is caught between an unfulfilling acting career and a shaky marriage when she receives an out-of-the-blue phone call: She has inherited the estate of Florence “Florrie” Daniels, a Hollywood screenwriter she barely recalls meeting. Among Florrie’s possessions are several unproduced screenplays, personal journals, and—inexplicably—old photographs of Louise’s mother, Ethel. On an impulse, Louise leaves a film shoot in Las Vegas and sets off for her father’s house on the East Coast, hoping for answers about the curious inheritance and, perhaps, about her own troubled marriage.

Nearly thirty years earlier, Florrie takes off on an adventure of her own, driving her Model T westward from New Jersey in pursuit of broader horizons. She has the promise of a Hollywood job and, in the passenger seat, Ethel, her best friend since childhood. Florrie will do anything for Ethel, who is desperate to reach Nevada in time to reconcile with her husband and reunite with her daughter. Ethel fears the loss of her marriage; Florrie, with long-held secrets confided only in her journal, fears its survival.

In parallel tales, the three women—Louise, Florrie, Ethel—discover that not all journeys follow a map. As they rediscover their carefree selves on the road, they learn that sometimes the paths we follow are shaped more by our traveling companions than by our destinations.


In this novel authorized by the Little House estate, Sarah Miller vividly recreates the beauty, hardship, and joys of the frontier in a dazzling work of historical fiction, a captivating story that illuminates one courageous, resilient, and loving pioneer woman as never before—Caroline Ingalls, "Ma" in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved Little House books.

In the frigid days of February, 1870, Caroline Ingalls and her family leave the familiar comforts of the Big Woods of Wisconsin and the warm bosom of her family, for a new life in Kansas Indian Territory. Packing what they can carry in their wagon, Caroline, her husband Charles, and their little girls, Mary and Laura, head west to settle in a beautiful, unpredictable land full of promise and peril.

The pioneer life is a hard one, especially for a pregnant woman with no friends or kin to turn to for comfort or help. The burden of work must be shouldered alone, sickness tended without the aid of doctors, and babies birthed without the accustomed hands of mothers or sisters. But Caroline’s new world is also full of tender joys. In adapting to this strange new place and transforming a rough log house built by Charles’ hands into a home, Caroline must draw on untapped wells of strength she does not know she possesses.

For more than eighty years, generations of readers have been enchanted by the adventures of the American frontier’s most famous child, Laura Ingalls Wilder, in the Little House books. Now, that familiar story is retold in this captivating tale of family, fidelity, hardship, love, and survival that vividly reimagines our past.


A stunning new novel of betrayal and forgiveness from The New York Times bestselling author.

Thirty-four-year-old Eleanor Murray is consumed with guilt for causing the accident that paralyzed her sister—and for falling in love with her sister’s husband. But when her boss offers her a part-time job caring for his elderly aunt, Helena, Eleanor accepts, hoping this good deed will help atone for her mistakes.

On the barrier island of Edisto, Eleanor bonds with Helena over their mutual love of music. Drawing the older woman out of her depression, Eleanor learns of her life in Hungary, with her sister, before and during World War II. She hears tales of passion and heartache, defiance and dangerous deception. And when the truth of Helena and her sister’s actions comes to light, Eleanor may finally allow herself to move past guilt and to embrace the song that lies deep in her heart…

The first book in a major new series from the #1 internationally bestselling author Lucinda Riley.
Maia D’Apliese and her five sisters gather together at their childhood home, “Atlantis”—a fabulous, secluded castle situated on the shores of Lake Geneva—having been told that their beloved father, who adopted them all as babies, has died. Each of them is handed a tantalizing clue to her true heritage—a clue which takes Maia across the world to a crumbling mansion in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Once there, she begins to put together the pieces of her story and its beginnings.

Eighty years earlier in Rio’s Belle Epoque of the 1920s, Izabela Bonifacio’s father has aspirations for his daughter to marry into the aristocracy. Meanwhile, architect Heitor da Silva Costa is devising plans for an enormous statue, to be called Christ the Redeemer, and will soon travel to Paris to find the right sculptor to complete his vision. Izabela—passionate and longing to see the world—convinces her father to allow her to accompany him and his family to Europe before she is married. There, at Paul Landowski’s studio and in the heady, vibrant cafes of Montparnasse, she meets ambitious young sculptor Laurent Brouilly, and knows at once that her life will never be the same again.


An evocative love story set along the Italian Riviera about a group of charismatic stars who all have secrets and pasts they try desperately--and dangerously--to hide.Rome, 1953: Hal, an itinerant journalist flailing in the post-war darkness, has come to the Eternal City to lose himself and to seek absolution for the thing that haunts him. One evening he finds himself on the steps of a palazzo, walking into a world of privilege and light. Here, on a rooftop above the city, he meets the mysterious Stella. Hal and Stella are from different worlds, but their connection is magnetic. Together, they escape the crowded party and imagine a different life, even if it's just for a night. Yet Stella vanishes all too quickly, and Hal is certain their paths won't cross again.

But a year later they are unexpectedly thrown together, after Hal receives an invitation he cannot resist. An Italian Contessa asks him to assist on a trip of a lifetime--acting as a reporter on a tremendous yacht, skimming its way along the Italian coast toward Cannes film festival, the most famous artists and movie stars of the day gathered to promote a new film.

Of all the luminaries aboard--an Italian ingenue, an American star, a reclusive director--only one holds Hal in thrall: Stella. And while each has a past that belies the gilded surface, Stella has the most to hide. As Hal's obsession with Stella grows, he becomes determined to bring back the girl she once was, the girl who's been confined to history.

An irresistibly entertaining and atmospheric novel set in some of the world's most glamorous locales, THE INVITATION is a sultry love story about the ways in which the secrets of the past stay with us--no matter how much we try to escape them.



************

Want to see more wishlist?
Check out these that my friends have posted:

Erin at Flashlight Commentary
Stephanie at Layered Pages
Heather at The Maiden's Court
Colleen at A Literary Vacation
Holly at 2 Kids and Tired

Sunday, 21 May 2017

A Bookish update!

I have been meaning to do an update post on my blog for over a week now, but for so many reasons have I put it off, but here I am, trying to write down some bookish updates. 

First, the Bout of Book readathon went a bit wrong this time. I read book alright, but didn't find time enough for participating in the activities during the week or even do blog post. It was so much easier last year in May when I worked less. I did finish 6 books during the bok. Although two of them had I started before the Bout of Books readathon started.

I have been trying to cut down on reading for blog tours. To be honest, did I fail and my summer is booked. However, I really need to cut back. Today I picked a book to read that I bought years ago and it felt so nice. I love participating in blog tours. I just feel that I get stressed and irritated when I have to read for a special date, so that's why I try to cut back. Not that I don't want to read the books, it's just it's hard reading a feel good book when you want a dark thriller etc.

Right, that's it for now, going to read now! 

I'm currently reading these books: 



Some new bookish Instagram pics from this week, like books I'm reading, books I got and the new laptop I bought myself! 









Saturday, 20 May 2017

#BlogTour Glasgow Kiss by Alex Gray @partnersincr1me #giveaway


Glasgow Kiss by Alex Gray
on Tour May 8-31, 2017

Synopsis:

Eric Chalmers is one of the most popular teachers at Muirpark Secondary School in Glasgow. Gentle and kind, he is the one adult students trust as a confidant. So when precocious teenager Julie Donaldson accuses Chalmers of rape, the school goes into shock. How could a deeply religious family man like Chalmers do such a thing? With some students and teachers supporting Julie, and others standing by Chalmers, life at Muirpark is far from harmonious. And then the situation gets much worse – Julie Donaldson goes missing, and the police are called in.

For DCI William Lorimer, this is the second missing persons case in a week. He's had too many sleepless nights worrying about a toddler who has been missing for several days. Julie's disappearance adds a further burden to Lorimer's already overstretched workload. With each day, the likelihood of either girl being found alive diminishes, and Lorimer finds himself racing against the clock to save innocent lives.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Harper Witness
Publication Date: May 9th 2017
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 0062659162 (ISBN13: 9780062659163)
Series: DCI Lorimer #6

Read an excerpt:

They were walking a little apart now. Her face was in profile, half shaded by the overhanging trees so that he could not make out her expression, though from time to time he would sneak a glance to see if she was looking his way. Her long pale-golden hair was twisted into plaits, leaving the cheekbones naked and exposed. It should have made her seem like a child but instead she looked older, more remote, and Kyle wished she’d left it loose as she usually did, burnished and glimmering in the afternoon sunshine.
It hadn’t always been like this. They’d walked through Dawsholm Park loads of times, sometimes hand in hand, dawdling by the grass verges, snatching the chance to have a quick kiss.
But now, Kyle thought gloomily, these halcyon days were over. Halcyon had been Kyle’s favourite word last term. His English teacher, Mrs. Lorimer, had explained that it derived from a Greek story about a mythical bird that in the middle of winter made its nest floating upon the Aegean seas. The bird had magical powers to make the waters calm and the winds drop. Kyle loved that story and had used the word in his own mind to describe his relationship with Julie. He’d even dreamed of them once – floating together like that bird, side by side, waves lapping gently against their boat. Something made him shiver suddenly and the girl turned to him, a question in her eyes. Kyle shook his head, too full to speak. She was still watching him and must have seen the bob of his Adam’s apple as he swallowed back the tears.
‘All right?’ Her voice was full of concern, but not for what was happening between them. Not for that.
‘Aye, fine,’ he replied but failed to stifle the sigh escaping from his chest. Would she stick with him out of pity after seeing his battered face? Part of him wanted to have Julie around, her warmth and loveliness blotting out the misery of the last two days. But deep down he knew he’d lost her long before his father’s release from prison.
‘Kyle?’
‘What?’
‘D’you want to talk about it?’ She had stopped walking now and was looking at him, frowning. ‘It might help . . .’ Her voice trailed off in an unspoken apology.
Kyle shrugged. He hadn’t talked about it to anyone though he’d done a fair amount of listening. His gran’s house had been full of talk: recriminations, wild accusations and shouting. But that was because women did that sort of thing. And because Kyle was Gran’s favourite, the youngest of her three grandsons. His brothers and his gran: they all had something to say about what Tam Kerrigan had done, and not just to him. That was one reason why he was here, with Julie, to escape from all of the talk. But also he’d been interested in the bit about the murder victim, in spite of everything. What happened to a dead person at a post-mortem examination?
He’d looked up stuff on the net, reading in a detached way about incisions and bodily fluids, not really making a link with the dead man his father had killed. Even the illustrations on the Internet site hadn’t put him off. It was like selecting bits of vacuum-packed butcher meat from the supermarket shelves and not seeing the animal they’d come from. Not like in the school trip to France where you were in no doubt about the origin of your dinner. One of the lassies had nearly thrown up that time someone had served up a chicken with everything still attached, the yellow claws curled over the platter and the head all to one side; you could imagine its squawk as the neck had been wrung.
‘Kyle?’ Julie’s voice broke into his thoughts and he looked up, seeing her staring at him, a tiny crease between her eyes.
‘Och, I’m okay,’ he told her, then dropped his gaze, unable to bear the kindness in her face. ‘The bruises’ll be gone in a day or so. Probably by the time we go back to school,’ he added.
‘Are you going back right away?’
Kyle shrugged again. ‘Why not? Can’t see what good it’ll do me to hang around the house.’ He paused to let the unspoken words sink in.
Keeping out of the house meant keeping away from his father. They walked on again in silence but this time Julie reached out for his hand and he took it, feeling its warmth, glad to have her there. It would be okay. There might be folk staring at him, curious to know the truth behind what the papers said about Tam Kerrigan, but if Julie was there, even as a friend, he’d manage all right. All summer they’d talked about the advantages of being in Fourth Year, both excited, dropping the pretence of being too cool to show it. His mouth twisted at the memory. That had been another person, a young carefree creature whose whole life had stretched before him like an open road. Now that person was dead and gone, his boyhood behind him for ever.
---
Excerpt from Glasgow Kiss by Alex Gray. Copyright © 2017 by Alex Gray. Reproduced with permission from Harper Witness. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Alex Gray
Alex Gray was born and educated in Glasgow. After studying English and Philosophy at the University of Strathclyde, she worked as a visiting officer for the Department of Health, a time she looks upon as postgraduate education since it proved a rich source of character studies. She then trained as a secondary school teacher of English.

Alex began writing professionally in 1993 and had immediate success with short stories, articles, and commissions for BBC radio programs. She has been awarded the Scottish Association of Writers' Constable and Pitlochry trophies for her crime writing.
A regular on the Scottish bestseller lists, she is the author of thirteen DCI Lorimer novels.

She is the co-founder of the international Scottish crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland, which had its inaugural year in 2012.



Connect with Alex Gray on her Website  & Twitter .

Tour Participants:


Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Alex Gray and Harper Collins. There will be 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of THE RIVERMAN by Alex Gray. The giveaway begins on May 7th and runs through June 1st 2017.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

 

#BlogTour The Finding of Martha Lost by Caroline Wallace @TransworldBooks

The Finding of Martha Lost by Caroline Wallace
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Liverpool, 1976: Martha is lost.

She’s been lost since she was a baby, abandoned in a suitcase on the train from Paris. Ever since, she’s waited in lost property for someone to claim her. It’s been sixteen years, but she’s still hopeful.

Meanwhile, there are lost property mysteries to solve: a suitcase that may have belonged to the Beatles, a stuffed monkey that keeps appearing. But there is one mystery Martha has never been able to solve – and now time is running out. If Martha can’t discover who she really is, she will lose everything…

**********

I have to admit that the cover is one of the reasons that I was drawn to the book and of course the description of the book about a young girl that grows up in a train station after being abandoned in a suitcase. 16-year-old Martha has been raised by an over religious "mother", and she is told she can't leave the train station because it would collapse if she did that. But, when her mother dies everything changes and she needs to find her birth mother to be able to run the lost property place in the train station. Then, there is the lost suitcase that is said to belong to Mel Evans, roadie to the Beatles... 

The Finding of Martha Lost is an interesting and special book about a young girl coming of age. Martha has grown up in a train station, this is her world and she has never put her foot outside. However, everything is changing for her. I loved the whole train station world with its odd characters, from the old man with the bowler hat living below in the sewers to the young man in a roman costume. And Martha is a special girl, she can see everything she touches history from keys to hockey sticks.

The Beatles part of the story was something that I did not completely fall for. I was way more interested in the train world than what happened with the suitcase, and it didn't help that Max Cole, the man that found the suitcase, is an unpleasant person that Martha seems to fall for. He's POV in this book didn't feel interesting. I didn't mind the story about Mel Evens, but I could not really find myself that interested in the storyline with Max and the second half of the story when Max shows up at the trains station just felt a little bit less interesting because if that. Still, it a charming book, I just wish I had been a bit more taken with the story and perhaps that it would have been a bit more magical realism in the story than Martha ability to touch and know things about objects past.



Friday, 19 May 2017

#BookReview The Little Shop of Happy Ever After by Jenny Colgan (@jennycolgan) SWE/ENG @Massolitforlag

The Little Shop of Happy Ever After by Jenny Colgan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

SWEDISH REVIEW

Jenny Colgan är tillbaka med en ny oemotståndlig hjältinna

Nina Redmond älskar böcker. Att para ihop rätt bok med rätt läsare är hennes passion. Men när stadens bibliotek lägger ner står hon plötsligt utan jobb. Med bilen full av övergivna böcker vet hon inte vad hon ska ta sig för.

Efter ett möte med en karriärcoach får hon en idé. Hon ska starta en egen bokhandel, på hjul! Hon hittar den perfekta lilla varubussen i en annons. Det är bara ett problem – hon måste flytta till Skottland.

Fast besluten att leva ut sina drömmar, och med styrkan hos sina romanhjältinnor Katniss Everdeen och Elizabeth Bennet i ryggen, tar hon steget ut i det okända. Hon lyckas förvandla den gamla bussen till en rullande bokhandel och ger sig ut i grannskapet, men att locka till sig de svårflirtade skottarna blir inte lika lätt som hon först trott.

Hon får möta en mängd människor som både förgyller och förpestar hennes tillvaro, exempelvis den barske bonden Lennox och den charmige tågkonduktören Marek.

***********

Ännu en fullträff! Efter att ha läst 2 böcker i Strandpromenadtrilogin så såg jag verkligen fram emot att läsa denna bok. Jag menar, bara titeln Den lilla bokhandeln runt hörnet är ju ljuvlig. frågan var dock, skulle denna bok vara lika charmig som Strandpromenadböckerna? Kan Nina charma mig lika mycket som Polly gjorde? Och hur ska en bok utan lunnefågeln Neil funka?

Faktum är att Den lilla bokhandeln runt hörnet är en alldeles ljuvlig bok, charmig men inte alls utan djup, precis vad jag hade hoppas på. Ibland kan feelgood böcker bli för sockersöta men Jenny Colgan vet precis hur man skriver en bok som blandar humor och allvar och jag kunde känna igen så mycket i denna bok. Både när det gäller läsandet men även att leva i ett samhälle där centralisering och nerskärningar är ett faktum.

Jag gillar verkligen tanken på en bokbuss som får människor i en liten bygd att börja läsa igen. Jag känner igen drag i denna bok från Strandpromenadböckerna, t.ex. att Nina får uppmärksamheten från två olika män Precis som Polly fick i Strandpromenadböckerna. Men likheterna gör inget, jag har inte ens något emot triangeldramat, jag gillade både Marek och Lennox, de är som två motpoler, frågan är vem som Nina kommer falla för? Ja, det får du läsa för att finna ut.

Den lilla bokhandeln runt hörnet känns som en perfekt sommarbok, den är lättsam, snabbläst men ingen man glömmer i första hand.

Tack till Massolit Förlag för recensionsexemplaret!


ENGLISH REVIEW

Given a back-room computer job when the beloved Birmingham library she works in turns into a downsized retail complex, Nina misses her old role terribly - dealing with people, greeting her regulars, making sure everyone gets the right books for their needs. Then a new business nobody else wants catches her eye: owning a tiny little bookshop bus up in the Scottish highlands. No computers. Shortages. Out all hours in the freezing cold; driving with a tiny stock of books... not to mention how the little community is going to take to her, particularly when she stalls the bus on a level crossing...

**********

Another hit! After reading two books in the Little Beach Street Bakery trilogy, was I really looking forward to reading this book. I mean, just the title The Little Shop of Happy Ever After is lovely. The question was, would this book be as charming as the Little Beach Street Bakery books? Can Nina charm me as much as Polly did? And would a book without Neil the Puffin work?

In fact, The Little Shop of Happy Ever After is a very lovely book charming, but not at all without depth, just what I had hoped for. Sometimes feel good books may be too saccharin, but Jenny Colgan knows how to write a book that blends humor and seriousness and I could recognize so much in this book. Both as regards to reading, but also living in a society where centralization and downsizing are a fact.

I really like the thought of a book bus that prompts people in a small village to start reading again. I recognize traits in this book from the Little Beach Street Bakery, such as That Nina getting the attention of two different men Just like Polly got in the Little Beach Street Bakery books. However, the similarities do not matter, I do not even mind the triangle drama, I liked both Marek and Lennox, they are like two opposites, the question is who Nina will fall for? You have to read the book to find out.

The Little Shop of Happy Ever After feels like a perfect summer book, it's easy-going, fast-paced, but not at a book that you forget!

Thanks to Massolit Förlag for the review copy!

Thursday, 18 May 2017

#CoverCrush: Caroline: Little House, Revisited Sarah Miller

For new visitors do I want to explain that Cover Crush is something that my friend Erin over at Flashlight Commentary came up with and I adopted the idea together with some other friends. And, now we try to put up a Cover Crush every week. You can check below my pick of the week for their choices this week!



In this novel authorized by the Little House estate, Sarah Miller vividly recreates the beauty, hardship, and joys of the frontier in this dazzling work of historical fiction, a captivating story that illuminates one courageous, resilient, and loving pioneer woman as never before—Caroline Ingalls, “Ma” in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved Little House books

In the frigid days of February, 1870, Caroline Ingalls and her family leave the familiar comforts of the Big Woods of Wisconsin and the warm bosom of her family, for a new life in Kansas Indian Territory. Packing what they can carry in their wagon, Caroline, her husband Charles, and their little girls, Mary and Laura, head west to settle in a beautiful, unpredictable land full of promise and peril.

The pioneer life is a hard one, especially for a pregnant woman with no friends or kin to turn to for comfort or help. The burden of work must be shouldered alone, sickness tended without the aid of doctors, and babies birthed without the accustomed hands of mothers or sisters. But Caroline’s new world is also full of tender joys. In adapting to this strange new place and transforming a rough log house built by Charles’ hands into a home, Caroline must draw on untapped wells of strength she does not know she possesses.

For more than eighty years, generations of readers have been enchanted by the adventures of the American frontier’s most famous child, Laura Ingalls Wilder, in the Little House books. Now, that familiar story is retold in this captivating tale of family, fidelity, hardship, love, and survival that vividly reimagines our past.

Some thoughts about the cover:

I love the open field with the woman standing still looking away from the reader. Now, the story is something that also appeals to me. But, besides that is the cover just the kind that appeals to me. What do you think?

Check out what my friends have picked for Cover Crush's this week:

Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

#BookReview Testimony by Scott Turow @GrandCentralPub #Giveaway #BookBloggers

Testimony by Scott Turow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

At the age of fifty, former prosecutor Bill ten Boom has walked out on everything he thought was important to him: his law career, his wife, Kindle County, even his country. Still, when he is tapped by the International Criminal Court--an organization charged with prosecuting crimes against humanity--he feels drawn to what will become the most elusive case of his career. Over ten years ago, in the apocalyptic chaos following the Bosnian war, an entire Roma refugee camp vanished. Now for the first time, a witness has stepped forward: Ferko Rincic claims that armed men marched the camp's Gypsy residents to a cave in the middle of the night--and then with a hand grenade set off an avalanche, burying 400 people alive. Only Ferko survived.

Boom's task is to examine Ferko's claims and determinine who might have massacred the Roma. His investigation takes him from the International Criminal Court's base in Holland to the cities and villages of Bosnia and secret meetings in Washington, DC, as Boom sorts through a host of suspects, ranging from Serb paramilitaries, to organized crime gangs, to the US government itself, while also maneuvering among the alliances and treacheries of those connected to the case: Layton Merriwell, a disgraced US major general desperate to salvage his reputation; Sergeant Major Atilla Doby,a vital cog in American military operations near the camp at the time of the Roma's disappearance; Laza Kajevic, the brutal former leader of the Bosnian Serbs; Esma Czarni, Ferko's alluring barrister; and of course, Ferko himself, on whose testimony the entire case rests-and who may know more than he's telling.


**********

I have never read a book by Scott Turow before, but I like legal thrillers and I found the blurb of this book intriguing. The case of the missing 400 people is interesting, although I did find the story a bit slow now and then. The best part came towards the end of the book when the case started to take some interesting twist and turns because nothing is as it seems and the ending was surprising. It was also interesting to learn more about The International Criminal Court and the Bosnian war.

However, there were one thing that really bothered me in this book and that was Esma Czarni. I was not that thrilled about Boom's relationship with her, but that was not really what bothered me the most, it was that for some reason no one thought about doing a thorough investigation about her. I was actually a bit baffled when Boom started to make inquiries. At least Boom wised up and saw her for what she really is in the end.

Testimony is an interesting book, I did find the story dragged a bit now and then and to be honest Boom really didn't make a big impression on me. But, the case was interesting and I, for the most part, enjoyed reading the book and I wouldn't mind reading more books by Scott Turow.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!

Testimony by Scott Turow


#BookReview It's Always the Husband by Michele Campbell (@StMartinsPress) #bookbloggers

It's Always the Husband by Michele Campbell
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. They first met as college roommates and soon became inseparable, even though they are as different as three women can be. Twenty years later, one of them is standing at the edge of a bridge . . and someone else is urging her to jump.

How did things come to this?

As the novel cuts back and forth between their college years and their adult years, you see the exact reasons why these women love and hate each other—but can feelings that strong lead to murder? Or will everyone assume, as is often the case, that it’s always the husband?


**********

If I'm perfectly honest did I from the beginning feel that this book just wasn't my kind of book. The first chapter with the woman standing on the bridge was interesting, but then the story went back in time and we got to know more about Kate, Aubrey, and Jenny. And, here lies the problem for me. They are all so cliché. Kate, the rich spoiled girl, Aubrey, the poor girl and Jenny the trustworthy middle-class girl. And all of them are totally unlikable and I never felt sorry for them. Instead, I was frequently annoyed with their behavior all through the book. Basically, Kate is the catalyst for all their problems from day one until present day when all her sins finally catch up with her and now she has to face what she did when she was young.

The big problem is that I just can't see how they could call themselves friends? I mean they have nothing in common and they hardly seem to be able to stand each other, wheel Audrey cling to them like a needy child. But, friendship? No way. For one thing, Kate seems incapable of having friends. I swear, I was so tempted all through the book to quit reading it, but wanting to find out what happened to the woman on the bridge kept me going.

Then we get to part two of the book, and it's here it really turns into a crime novel. And, for a moment I hoped that it would finally start to work for me. But, the introduction to the new police chief who had fallen for one of the three women and suddenly couldn't do his job properly destroyed that hope. On the plus side, there were a lot of interesting twist towards the end of the book, but by then it was pretty much too late to save the story.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!     

Monday, 15 May 2017

#BookReview Liar Liar by M.J. Arlidge @BerkleyPub #bookbloggers

Liar Liar by M.J. Arlidge
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Detective Helen Grace gets caught in an inferno of death and destruction in the red-hot new thriller from the author of Eeny Meeny, Pop Goes the Weasel, and The Doll’s House

Detective Helen Grace has never seen such destruction. Six fires in twenty-four hours. Two people dead. Several more injured. It’s as if someone wants to burn the city to the ground...

With the whole town on high alert, Helen and her team must sift through the rubble to find the arsonist, someone whose thirst for fire—and control—is reducing entire lives to ashes.

One misstep could mean Helen’s career—and more lives lost. And as the pressure mounts and more buildings burn, Helen’s own dark impulses threaten to consume her…


**********

The Helen Grace series by M.J. Arlidge is a series that never fails to impress and entertain. Every book I have read so far has been great and this one is not an exception. In this, book four, must Helen Grace and her colleagues stop an arsonist that is apparently randomly burning down buildings. But, could it be that there is some kind of plan, or is it just a crazy person that likes to burn down buildings?

The book is a page-turner. My favorite kind of page-turner with intensive short chapters that make you want to read just one more chapter and suddenly have you read half the book. After finishing the book can't I help but think that all this could have been avoided. That all the people that died in this book died because of some people's selfnesses. it's so tragic and it's also hard to write about the book's story since I don't want to spoil the book, so I will just say that Liar Liar is a really good book.

I honestly couldn't figure out who was behind it all, until at the last minute when I started to suspect one person. But, even after that did Arlidge surprise me with an intriguing twist to the story. I like Helen Grace, Charlie and the rest of the team very much and I like how human they all seem with flaws. Helen is very impulsive and I do feel that she is a bit self-destructive.  

This has become a favorite series of mine and I love the way M.J. Arlidge write the books. Just don't do what I did and read book two before book one that spoils a bit of the "fun" of reading book one. Trust me, read the book in order.

I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy through NetGalley for an honest review!

#BlogTour: Outremer by D N Carter @Authoright @gilbster1000

Outremer I

Who Controls The Past Controls The Future

An epic love story must overcome religious divide and a plot to eradicate two blood lines, as the Crusades and the search for the ancient mysteries of the Holy Grail gather momentum.

Raised by his father in La Rochelle, France, Paul Plantavalu is known for his artistic nature, inquisitive mind and Christian faith. He also has an unshakable love for his Muslim childhood friend, Alisha al Komaty. Courageous and outspoken, she returns Paul’s love. But their path is paved with obstacles; religion, war, political chaos and a mysterious enemy determined to destroy their family lines.

Sometime between 1110 AD and 1120 AD in the aftermath of the first crusade, a small band of nine knights — the founding knights Templar — recover ancient precious artefacts left by a former, advanced civilisation, beneath the City of Jerusalem. Ruthlessly guarded, the secrets revealed by this discovery are highly prized by powerful and dangerous forces far and wide; the repercussions of their capture are inextricably linked to Paul and Alisha. As Paul starts to experience dark and vivid dreams and the fragile balance of peace starts to crumble, it will fall to an enigmatic man known as Kratos and his female warrior protégée Abi Shadana, to safeguard Paul and Alisha.

Paul and Alisha’s love story weaves between the threads of our reality and other realms — from the Druids to the Sufi mystics, the Magi of the East, the secret political arm of the Knights Templar and the Isma’ilis, the Assassins. Knights and pilgrims alike will witness some of the darkest battles ever fought. The discovery of a unique sword’s lethal power and whispered connections to King Arthur and the Holy Grail lead Paul and Alisha to question if their lives ever be the same again.

The first of a four-part series, Outremer is an historical epic, which sweeps across England, Scotland and France, to Syria, Jerusalem and Egypt. Discover the truth — and crack the ancient code — behind the great mysteries of the High Middle Ages for yourself.


Purchase from Amazon UK

Character Spotlight: Tenno. 

Tenno:


A Japanese master sea farer and naval navigator. Powerfully built and 6’5 tall, he was well travelled and highly skilled in the art of war. Fierce looking, rarely seen to smile, always ever vigilant and never appearing to sleep. A very deep thinker, Tenno was a man pained and haunted by his past yet had a soft side to his nature. Despite his fighting prowess and skills, he favoured peace first always. After his own plans to return home were disrupted, he vowed to protect both Paul and Alisha, the main central characters in Outremer, for as long as he was able to and for as long as they needed him.

A no nonsense pragmatic individual who spoke little; however when he did, was clipped and at times blunt, often appearing rude even when not meaning to. Fluent in Chinese, French, English, Spanish and High Dutch, he exuded supreme confidence with an air of authority about him. Often non-intentionally humorous in his observations, he missed nothing, was highly intelligent and physically strong as well as morally courageous.

He came from the ‘Ainu’ people, the first inhabitants of the northernmost islands of Japan called ‘Hokkaido.’ But the majority in Japan nowadays came from a later group known as ‘Yayoi’ who were mostly farmers and after who most still look like ...small in stature and oriental looking.

Tenno had been a boat builder in the service of his countries naval forces and as a highly skilled navigator, was charged with making detailed maps and set sail for mainland China as part of a ‘peace and exchange of knowledge’ delegation. During a joint operation with Chinese sailors, who were some of the best boat builders and navigators there has ever been, he sailed from the far eastern fringes of mainland Asia across seas full of icebergs eventually making landfall in what is now Alaska. Whilst there, a tsunami, destroyed their vessel and killed most of their hands. With no other option left, and trusting ancient maps in his possession, he headed east on an epic journey that lasted over a year covering what is today called Canada and parts of the USA. Eventually he met Nordic seafarers on the eastern coast who in turn took him and his fellow surviving hands on to Greenland, then Iceland and down to Alba, modern day Scotland. From there he headed off alone on to France and his hopeful journey onward home and to his family. With his love of boats and maps, he had much in common with Paul and taught him much about ship designs and navigation but also about other details of his past and his people.

Details such as the ancient Yayoi warriors, weapons, armour and a code of honour that became the centrepiece for the Japanese Samurai; being the name given to a class of warrior. Tenno still had all of his weaponry and armour and his code of conduct, which he followed devoutly and totally, had developed from the Chinese concept of the virtues of warriors doing battle, to the Samurai code of chivalry known as ‘Kyuba no michi’, which means ‘The Way of Horse and Bow’ to the Bushido code, which means ‘Way of the Warrior’. The philosophy of Bushido is ‘freedom from fear’ to transcend the fear of death giving Samurai the peace and power to serve his master faithfully and loyally and die well if necessary. ‘Duty’ is a primary philosophy of the Samurai and Tenno personified this to the full. Having resin out of continuous battles for land among three main clans in Japan, the Minamoto, the Fujiwara and the Taira, the Samurai eventually became a class unto themselves shortly after the 9th century, called by two names, Samurai, who were knights-retainers, and Bushi, warriors. They gave complete loyalty to their Daimyo, feudal landowners, and received land and position in return. Each Daimyo used his Samurai to protect his land and to expand his power and rights to more land. This is how Tenno ended up being sent upon his trade and discovery mission. The Samurai became expert in fighting from horseback and on the ground. They practiced armed and un-armed combat, methods Tenno would teach both Paul and Alisha for their own protection. Tenno wore two swords. One was long, the other short. The long sword ‘daito’ or ‘katana’ was more than 24 inches. The short sword, ‘shoto-wakizashi’ was between 12 and 20 inches. The Samurai often gave names to their swords and believed it was the ‘soul’ of their warriorship.

Tenno only wished to return home to his family once more ...that was all. He had come from a long line of noble warriors, his lineage coming from the legendary Jimmu Tenno himself, Japans first Emporer around 660 B.C. who had set up the ruling Yamato State. But that soon became dominated by the Soga clan. Then reforms during what was called the Taika period, then Taiho law codes established what became known as the ‘Great Council of State’. That made way to the Nara rule which began with Japans first permanent Capital. But the Emperor Kammu moved the capital to Kyoto when he came to power and when the Heian period began in around 794 AD. Eventually the Fujiwara family gained control of the Imperial Court and Tenno’s family tree became entwined with those of other ruling families until his great grandfather was involved with helping Taira Masakado revolt and proclaimed himself ‘The New Emperor’ in 935 AD. Other Samurai leaders exerted their influence across Japan and changed its history but the codes of conduct and way of the Samurai were much honoured, admired and respected. Many tales from their country have filtered down via the spice and trade routes into Arabic myth and legend and ultimately into European myths, especially the codes of conduct and chivalry and ultimately Arthurian legend.

Tenno quote: “The stronger you become, the gentler you will be!”


About the author: 

After strange and vivid experiences whilst living in Cyprus as a child, author D N Carter has been fascinated by the history, myths and legends of the Middle Ages and mankind’s past. As he got older travels to Pyramids of Giza in Egypt, the Languedoc region of France and the deserts of Arabia fuelled his enthusiasm. While not decoding maps and mathematical codes D N Carter enjoys adventure sports from parachuting to microlight flying. Today he divides his time between East Anglia in the UK and the south of France with his family.