The Gene Wizards By Clare Blanchard – Blog Tour

I received The Gene Wizards by Clare Blanchard to review as part of the Damp Pebbles Blog Tours.

The Gene Wizards By Clare Blanchard Book Cover

The Gene Wizards

It’s bad enough you’re from a family of rich bankers, without having to deal with secret genetic engineering factories in the Dakotas.

Especially when you wake up one morning after a tab of E and find you’re thinking in Hebrew.

Follow the adventures of the Vanpyre family as they wrestle with the Dark Side of money and power.

My Thoughts

The second book in the Wizards series – The Gene Wizards is a great read. I haven’t read the first book in the series but The Gene Wizards works well as a stand alone book.

You are instantly thrown into the the Vanpyre family history as told by Curfew the son. He quickly goes on to explain how that this is the story of how they saved the world from one of the worst crimes in human history. Curfew tells how this happens with the help of an Asian butler, multi-player computer games and the mind minders.

The story is quite intriguing although Curfews drug use makes you wonder if he is telling the truth or is actually insane.

Clare Blanchard

Originally from the North Yorkshire coast in England, Clare Blanchard spent half her lifetime in Czechia in Central Europe, where her books are mainly set. Inspired by noir fiction, her settings are often like another character in the plot. She writes crime mysteries and dark urban fantasy with a historical twist.

Clare loves beautiful landscapes and architecture, cross-country skiing, the wine of South Moravia, and of course Czech beer. When she’s not being literary she knits funky socks.

From Triples To Triplets: The Making Of A Triplet Dad By S.C Wood

I received From Triples to Triplets: The making of a triplet dad by S.C Wood to review. A beautifully written book following the personal journey from a life of self destruction into fatherhood with triplets.

From Triples To Triplets

From Triples To Triplets – The making of a triplet dad

Becoming a parent brings big responsibilities – and pressures to match. From triples go triplets charts one man’s journey from a destructive life of anger and alcoholism into fatherhood.

From overcoming the resentments and fears harboured as a result if his own abusive childhood, he was then faced with a high risk spontaneous pregnancy as a first time parent.

Convinced that the principles of love and patience would be enough to hold his young family together through the most stressful of events, this is a raw and honest account of the emotional ride taken by a new parent in a remarkable situation. In becoming a triplet dad.

My Thoughts

I was instantly drawn into S.C Wood’s personal story which begins at the very beginning, from his birth and childhood all the way through to fatherhood. The fact that many of us have unfortunately gone through similar childhoods makes it a very relatable read.

Si writes openly about his struggles with alcoholism and his destructive behaviour and it really is an eye opener, not to mention admirable to see how he pulled himself away from that with the use of meditation. Throughout his journey Si does have moments where he slips away from meditating regularly and you can see the impact that has on his day to day life and struggles. Faced with a high risk spontaneous pregnancy, a terrified wife and a step-daughter struggling with the changes, Si uses the power of meditation to get through each day, one struggle at a time, being the most supportive partner and parent he can be.

I honestly struggled to put this book down, we had contractors due in to fix our windows when the book arrived. I really should have tidied up some more but instead, I found myself wandering around with From Triples to Triplets in my hand doing smaller jobs.

It certainly gave me a different perspective, seeing what a new dad faces, especially around a high-risk pregnancy. I have to admit this made me apologise to the Mr, I never really took the time to consider how he felt through my pregnancies. I simply saw it as my battle to get through. Now I realise just how terrified he was when Eva was born premature and now I completely understand why he wasn’t happy when we discovered Izzy was on her way. I honestly believed he was being selfish but it was me being selfish. Both pregnancies were high risk and he knew that it could have gone very wrong.

The way S.C Wood has overcome each challenge in his life is admirable and his use of meditation has genuinely intrigued me. I have begun meditating using the same method myself, something I wouldn’t usually do in all honesty. I have after just a few days, noticed the calming effect meditating is having on me. I can see how it has helped Si stay calm and focused with triplets to look after!

Overall, I couldn’t recommend this book more. It really is a great read and whilst it is a personal story and not an advice book, I would definitely recommend new fathers giving this a read as they will face similar struggles and may find it a very useful read.

S.C Wood author photo

S.C Wood

Si is a welder, musician, husband, author and a first time biological father to triplet girls and an older daughter. From Triples To Triplets: The Making of a Triplet Dad is his first book and he also blogs over at Tripletdad.blog about his life with triplets and personal struggles.

Hands Up By Stephen Clark

I received Hands Up by Stephen Clark to review last month. After the Christmas Mayhem and lots of hospital appointments for the girls I finally got a chance to finish reading it last week. I haven’t read Stephen Clark’s previous book, Citizen Kill but was interested to see what Hands Up was all about.

Hands Up By Stephen Clark

Hands Up

Officer Ryan Quinn, a rookie raised in a family of cops, is on the fast track to detective until he shoots an unarmed black male. Now, his career, reputation and freedom on the line, he embarks on a quest for redemption that forces him to confront his fears and biases and choose between conscience or silence.

Jade Wakefield is an emotionally damaged college student living in one of Philadelphia’s worst neighbourhoods. She knows the chances of getting an indictment against the cop who killed her brother are slim. When she learns there’s more to the story than the official police account, Jade is determined, even desperate, to find out what really happened. She plans to get revenge by any means necessary.

Kelly Randolph, who returns to Philadelphia broke and broken after abandoning his family ten years earlier, seeks forgiveness while mourning the death of his son. But after he’s thrust into the spotlight as the face of the protest movement, his disavowed criminal past resurfaces and threatens to derail the family’s pursuit of justice.

Ryan, Jade and Jelly – three people from different worlds – are on a collision course after the shooting, as their lives interconnect and spiral into chaos.

Stephen Clark

Stephen Clark is a former award-winning journalist who has worked for the Los Angeles Times and FoxNews.com. He is also the author of the critically acclaimed political thriller Citizen Kill. He grew up in the suburbs of Philidelphia and now lives in North Jersey with his wife and son.

My Thoughts

You jump right into the chaos from the start with Hands Up, beginning with Ryan Quinn facing the fact he has just murdered a young black male on duty. The story line is full of twists and turns making you wonder what on earth is going to happen next. Jade is clearly very damaged from her childhood and seeks revenge in the strangest ways.

All of the characters emotions and thoughts are clearly portrayed and you get to know each of the characters quite well. Jade stands out as very damaged, confused and acts in ways you wouldn’t expect. Kelly quite clearly can’t escape his past even whilst working to help people stay away from the gangster life style. Nothing seems straight forward in Hands Up and you will be left wondering what’s coming next.

Have you read Hands Up of Citizen Kill

Into The Dark By Karen Rose

I received Into The Dark by Karen Rose to review as part of the Random Things Blog Tours. The Sunday Times bestselling author Karen Rose is back with the gripping fifth instalment of the Cincinnati Series.

Into The Dark By Karen Rose https://amzn.to/33mI73R

Into The Dark

When Michael Rowland saves his younger brother Joshua from the clutches of his stepfather, he runs for his life with his brother in his arms. From his hiding place he sees the man who has made their lives a misery taken away in the trunk of a stranger’s car, never to be seen again.

Doctor Dani Novak has been keeping soccer coach Diesel Kennedy at arm’s length to protect him from her dark secrets. When they are brought together by the two young brothers who desperately need their help, it seems they might finally be able to leave their damaged pasts behind them.

But as the only witness to the man who kidnapped and murdered his sterpfather, Micheal is in danger. As Diesel and Dani do all that they can to protect him, their own investigation into the murder uncovers a much darker web of secrets than they could have imagined.

As more bodies start to appear it’s clear that his killer wants vengeance. And will wipe out anything that gets in his way…

Karen Rose

Karen Rose Author Picture

Karen Rose was introduce to suspense and horror at the tender age of eight when she accidentally read Poe’s The Pit and The Pendulum and was afraid to go to sleep for years. She now enjoys writing books that make other people afraid to go to sleep.

Karen lives in Florida with her family, their cat Bella, and two dogs, Loki and Freya. When she’s not writing, she enjoys reading, and her new hobby – knitting.

My Thoughts

Having read some of Karen Rose’s – The Chicago Series, I was really looking forward to Into The Dark. It definitely didn’t disappoint! Right from the start you find yourself hooked as Michael runs for his life with Joshua in his arms.

I found myself walking around tidying up with the book still in my hand thinking I’ll just read to the end of this chapter. Into The Dark is full of suspense and so many twists and turns. As each dark and dirty secret unfolds it makes you wonder what they will discover next. Dani and Diesel’s complicated relationship with Dani’s own dark secrets keep you just as hooked right until the end.

Having utterly enjoyed Into The Dark, I think I’ll be reading some of the other series I have missed!

Have you read anything by Karen Rose? Does this sound like a book for you?

The Three Hares – The Jade Dragonball Book Review

We received The Three Hares – The Jade Dragonball by Scott Lauder & David Ross. This children’s quest fantasy is packed full of action and adventure!

The Three Hares -The Jade Dragonball by Scott Lauder and David Scott Ross

The Three Hares – The Jade Dragonball

Sara Livingstone’s school trip to the Beijing Palace Museum takes a terrifying turn when an encounter with the ancient Qingming Scroll thrusts her a thousand years into China’s past. With secrets in the shadows and danger around every corner, Sara must take her place in a cosmic battle and find the courage to face an unworldly ancient magic.

Scott Lauder

Scott Lauder Author Picture

Scott Lauder was born in Ayrshire, Scotland. Having taught in Greece, Japan, and England, he now lives with his wife and four cats in the UAE where he teaches English. In his free time, he enjoys hiking and drinking good coffee. His other books include The Right Thing, A Single Shot, and The Boy-King Tutankhamun.

David Scott Ross

David Scott Ross has traveled and taught throughout Asia since he first moved there in 1987. He currently teaches in upstate NY, where he lives with his wife and two sons. When David is not writing or teaching, he dreams about becoming a chef, a rock star, maybe an actor, but probably not all at once. At present, he is wrapping up two projects: Pastimes, encounters with a Stone Age people, and Dim, a detective novel.

Eva’s Thoughts

I really enjoyed the book because it reminded me that we have forgotten how to make and build things without using machines to help us. When Sara Livingstone visited the museum she saw a vision of a strange person talking about the QingMing Scroll which I loved. When Sara visited ancient China she used her wits and Granny Tang’s stories to survive which was amazing! I think everyone will enjoy The Three Hares – The Jade Dragonball just as much as I have, it’s packed full of adventure and magic a bit like Harry Potter.

The Purple-Bellied Parrot By William Fagus

I received The Purple-Bellied Parrot By William Fagus to review as part of the Random Things Blog Tours. This children’s action and adventure book follows The Purple-Bellied Parrot on his quest to live his would-be life.

The Purple-Bellied Parrot by William Fagus

The Purple-Bellied Parrot

Discover…

The power of the ‘HhhuuuUUUUTTT!’

Ever feel you are living the wrong life?

Ever feel another life, your should-be life, is out there waiting for oi, if only you had the courage to…

Have you answered yes to any of those questions?

Then follow the Purple-Bellied Parrot on a rip-roaring globe-spanning adventure packed with unforgettable characters. His quest to live his should-be life.

It Begins: In the sterile apartment of a city executive with unruly nasal hair where the Purple-Bellied parrot cannot even do the very thing he was born to do.

It Ends: On the shores of a distant land after an epic journey which tests his courage, his ingenuity and the bonds of friendship – to the limit.

The Purple-Bellied Parrot Blurb

William Fagus

William Fagus Author Picture

The publicity-shy William Fagus live in a remote location in an upturned fishing smack with a parrot and sundry antique musical instruments and carpentry tools.

The redoubtable Mrs Lush, his cleaning lady and confidant, is his most frequent visitor.

Our Thoughts

Eva and I both read The Purple-Bellied Parrot and really enjoyed it. The Purple-Bellied Parrot finds himself remembering a time before being stuck in a cage looking up at nostril hair. He decides he needs to live his would be life and has quite an adventure doing so. You can’t help but laugh and cry while reading this book. Humour and sadness are weaved cleverly into this beautiful story as the Purple-Bellied Parrot learns about the world around him.

Overall we both think children from around 7 to 8 years and adults will love this book. It’s perfect for reading aloud to all the family. With characters such as the Spuggies, Sergeant Troggers and Millie, the Purple-Bellied Parrots adventure will have you hooked!

The Birthday House By Jill Treseder

I received The Birthday House by Jill Treseder as part of the Random Things Blog Tours. This murder mystery is a fantastic read, set in 1955, based on a disturbing real-life crime.

The Birthday House By Jill Treseder

The Birthday House

A Friendship. A Murder. A life that will never be the same.

The year is 1955, the location picturesque Devon. In a house by the River Dart, schoolgirl Josephine Kennedy posts invitations to her twelfth birthday party a party that never takes place. Horrific violence is committed that night in the family home, leaving all of its occupants dead.

Based on a disturbing real-life crime, this compelling story explores Josephine’s fate through the prism of friends and family – the victims and survivors who unwittingly influenced the events that led up to the tragedy.

Josephine’s best friend, Susan, is haunted by the secrets of the birthday house. Can she ever find a way of making peace with her past?

Jill Treseder

Jill Treseder - Author of The Birthday House

Taken from www.jilltresederwriter.com:


I started writing in a red shiny exercise book when I was seven years old. But in that time and place it was an ‘invalid’ activity, was overlooked, but never went away. It was many years before I felt able to call myself ‘writer’.
But there came a day when the phrase ‘I am a writer’ no longer sounded pretentious, but legitimate, and even necessary. Was it because I had a writing room instead of the corner of a landing? Or because I spent more time writing? Or because I’d got better at it? Or because I get miserable and bad-tempered if I don’t write? Probably a combination of all of the above.


Writing is my third career. The first was as a social worker with children and families, a job I loved, but left because I could no longer cope with the system.


This led to a freelance career as an independent management consultant, helping people to handle emotions in the work context. I worked in the IT industry, in companies large and small, as well as public organisations. Later I became involved in research projects concerned with the multi-disciplinary approach to social problems such as child abuse. So, in a sense, I had come full-circle.


All these experiences feed into the process of writing fiction, while my non-fiction book ‘The Wise Woman Within’ resulted indirectly from the consultancy work and my subsequent PhD thesis,‘Bridging Incommensurable Paradigms’, which is available from the School of Management at the University of Bath.


I live in Devon and visit Cornwall frequently and these land and seascapes are powerful influences which demand a presence in my writing.
Writers’ groups and workshops are a further invaluable source of inspiration and support and I attend various groups locally and sign up for creative courses in stunning locations whenever I can. I try doing writing practice at home but there is no substitute for the focus and discipline achieved among others in a group.


I have written some short stories and recently signed up for a short story writing course to explore this genre in more depth.
I live with my husband in South Devon and enjoy being involved in a lively local community.

My Thoughts

I couldn’t wait to read Jill Treseder’s The Birthday House, I love crime novels and being based on a real-life crime made this even more enticing. Beginning with Mrs Harrison, the house keeper discovering the bodies to Josephine’s best friend Susan as she hears the news and later on in life discovers there is more to the story.

I really enjoyed reading from everyone’s perspective, it gives you a clearer picture of how these crimes affect everyone from housekeepers, best friends. It also gives you am understanding of the murders thought process and a good look at the emotions and grief felt by everyone both in the lead up to the murders and after.

I read The Birthday House in one sitting as it was such a compelling and convincing read. Whilst this is only a fiction based on a real-life crime, you get the feeling Jill is very close to the mark. I would definitely recommend this novella to crime fans.

The Lagotti Family Series By Leopold Borstinski

I received The Lagotti Family Series by Leopald Bostinski to review thanks to Damp Pebbles Blog Tours. This noir crime/crime thriller includes 4 books; The Heist, The Getaway, Powder and Mama’s Gone.

The Lagotti Family Series Books 1-4 Complete Collection Including The Heist, The Getaway, Powder and Mama's Gone.

The Lagotti Family Series

Two generations and four decades in the lives of Frank, Mary Lou and the rest of the gang.

The Heist. Book 1 in The Lagotti Family Series by Leopold Borstinski

The Heist

After Leaving Baltimore Penitentiary, Frank’s get rich quick scheme to rob a bank requires his girlfriend, Mary Lou to sleep with an inside guy and for his gang to stay together long enough to take down the vault. Meanwhile Mary Lou falls for the inside man and can’t decide whether to go with him or Frank. If she chooses the wrong fella she’ll be penniless and wind up dead. How would you choose between a fool and a dreamer?

The Getaway. Book 2 of The Lagotti Family Series by Leopold Bostinski

The Getaway

After ex-con Frank and his girlfriend Mary Lou rob a Baltimore Bank, they must flee across the country before the Feds find them and the mob ices them for stealing from an organised crime boss. As they dash to California, trust becomes the most important currency as Frank and Mary Lou grapple to decide whether love is enough to keep them together. And by the time they reach their goal, they must fight to the death to survive hired guns and trained police shooters. If they don’t kill everyone in their way then they will die themselves. Would you risk everything for a sack of greenbacks?

Powder. Book 3 in The Lagotti Family Series by Leopold Borstinski

Powder

When Mary Lou takes the proceeds from a bank robbery to start her heroin dealing business, old enemies circle overhead and threaten the lives of her twins. How will she keep them safe in such a dangerous place and what is she prepared to do to secure her new venture?

Mama's Gone. Book 4 in The Lagotti Family Series by Leopold Bostinski

Mama’s Gone

When Mary Lou makes some bad decisions, her twins and her husband must decide whether she’s losing her mind. If they an get that cleared up then all they have to worry about is their feud with the Russian mob. And then someone goes and ices the old lady. Who would have the cajones to murder the head of the Lagotti family?

Leopold Borstinski

Leopold Borstinski

Leopold Bosrstinski is an independent author whose past careers have included financial software companies, consulting and product sales and marketing, as well as teaching.

There is nothing he likes better so he does as much nothing as he possibly can. He has travelled extensively in Europe and the US and has visited Asia on several occasions. Leopold holds a philosphy degree and tries not to drop it too often.

He lives near London and is married with one wife, one child and no pets.

My Thoughts

I was looking forward to the Lagotti Family Series, I love reading books like this. I felt there was a little too much sexual content that took over the main story line but outside of that this 4 book series is a great read. In the Heist, Mary Lou has to make some tough decisions regarding which man she truly wants to be with, or who has the most money. All four books are action-packed with car chases and violence which I really enjoyed. The characters are strong with a sense of humour and crudeness that will have you chuckling to yourself at times. Overall the series is great but a little too much sex for my liking. I quite enjoy romantic thrillers but this felt a little over the top.

The Scent Of Death By Simon Beckett

I received The Scent of Death by Simon Beckett to review by Damp Pebbles Blog Tours. This is the 6th book in the David Hunter, crime thriller series.

The Scent of Death By Simon Beckett

The Scent of Death

What began as a straightforward case is about to become a twisted nightmare…

Once a busy hospital, St Jude’s now stands derelict awaiting demolition. When a partially mummified corpse is found in the buildings cavernous loft, forensics expert Dr David Hunter is called in to take a look. He can’t say how long the body’s been there, but he is certain it’s that of a young woman. And that she was pregnant.

Then part of the attic floor collapses, revealing another of the hospital’s secrets: a bricked-up chamber with beds inside. And some of them are still occupied.

And it soon becomes clear that St Jude’s hasn’t claimed it’s last victim…

Simon Beckett - Author of The Scent of Death/

Simon Beckett

Simon Beckett is the No.1 international bestselling author of the David Hunter series. These include:

  • The Chemistry of Death
  • Written in Bone
  • Whispers of the Dead
  • The Calling of the Gave
  • The Restless Dead
  • The Scent of Death

His books have been translated into 29 languages, appeared in the Sunday Times top 10 bestseller lists and sold over 10 million copies worldwide. A former freelance journalist, he has written for The Times, Daily Telegraph, Independent on Sunday and Observer. The inspiration for the first David Hunter noel came after a visit to the world-renowned Body Farm in Tennessee introduced him to the work of forensic anthropologists.

Join-winner (with Arne Dahl) of Europe’s largest crime fiction prize – The Ripper Award 2018/19 – he has also won the Raymond Chandler Society’s Marlowe Award and been short-listed for the CWA Gold Dagger, CWA Dagger in the Library and Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year awards. He is also the author of several stand-alone novels including Stone Bruises and Where There’s Smoke. Simon Beckett Lives in Sheffield.

My Thoughts

I was instantly hooked with The Scent of Death, it reminds me of Patricia Cornwall’s Kay Scarpetta novels which I love. You just know St Jude’s is going to open up a can of worms and it does just that! The detail when it comes to David Hunter doing the autopsies is incredibly impressive and had me totally sucked in. Beckett covers police procedures perfectly making this a fully believable piece of fiction. I genuinely need to read the other 5 books in this series asap, Simon Beckett is an amazing writer filling the story with macabre details and twists and turns everywhere, interesting characters, and dark secrets, keeping you hanging on to every word.

Justice Gone By N. Lombardi Jr. Blog Tour

I received Justice Gone By N. Lombardi Jr. to review thanks to Damp Pebbles Book Tours.

Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr.

Justice Gone is a legal thriller and the winner of three awards including:

  • 2019 American Fiction Award
  • National Indie Excellency Award – Best Legal Thriller of 2019
  • Silver Medal Winner 2019 Reader’s Favourites Awards

The book was also chosen by Wiki.ezvid.com among their list of 10 Gripping and Intelligent Legal Thrillers.

***Trigger Warning – This book touches on subjects that may be triggering for some. ***

Justice Gone

When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.

A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counsellor, is caught up in the chase.

Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets of to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture.

Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?

N. Lombardi Jr.

N. Lombardi Jr.

N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nichola, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese and Khmer (Cambodian).

In 1997, while visitibg Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on the The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.

Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotion culture, Buddhism etc. http://plainofjars.net.

His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.

His latest novel, Justice Gone as inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police. Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

My Thoughts

Justice Gone is everything you want in a legal thriller. It is filled with so much courtroom detail it is honestly astounding! Starting off with a gruesome beating of an innocent war veteran by cops. Lombardi pulls you into a complex story line full of twists and turns.

Lombardi explores the plight of war veterans from homelessness, police brutality, political cover ups and PTSD through Justice Gone. These are very real and serious issues making this novel extremely believable. My favourite character was the rather flamboyant and wise lawyer. Nathaniel Bodine uses his blindness in such a clever way without overdoing it to make his plans work. But can he help Donald escape the lethal injection?

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