Tears of Fire Book Review

Tears of Fire by Gordon Bickerstaff This is another gritty and gripping political thriller from Gordon Bickerstaff. This is the second book I have read in the series but works as a standalone if you haven't read any of the others. Zoe is a ex SAS soldier and ferocious opponent with a softer side and her character makes the book compelling. In this book Zoe is being hunted by the very people she has saved from terror and they will do anything to capture and kill her. The story features evil twin sisters who have a love for torture and will mete out suffering in any way they can. It is a well-woven plot that starts with a bang and then continues full throttle right through to the end. If you are a fan of thrillers and don't mind some graphic violence then this book is a great read. Another page turner by a talented author.

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The Mitford Murders Review

The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes Having picked this one up at the Derby Book Festival where the author was speaking, I have to say that I loved it, particularly as I like historical fiction and a good cosy murder mystery. There is plenty of content to keep you interested as the story progresses introducing different characters along the way. The setting in the early 1920s, I felt was well researched and the effects that the Great war had on ex soldiers and nurses who were subjected to at that time was true to life. I liked the mix of fact and fiction and how the author brought in the true horrific murder of a war nurse, Florence Nightingale Shore, a murder that took place on a train and one that was never solved. I confess, I knew nothing about the Mitford family, except the link to Chatsworth House of one of them, but am intrigued now to know more about them and the controversy surrounding the family. The story of this book centres mainly around the oldest Mitford sister, Nancy. I also enjoyed the insight into the upstairs, downstairs life of the family which is interesting and continues in the vein of Downton Abbey from that perspective. The main protagonist, Louisa was plausible and her background believable as that of a young woman brought up in poverty during the era. Her love interest, Guy is also a likeable character whose tenacity to solve the murder of the nurse is admirable. I liked the plot and the introduction of red herrings at various points throughout the book that kept one guessing. It wasn't until nearer the end that I guessed whodunnit! I liked the writing style and the humour that was interspersed at various intervals. I would highly recommend it if…

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Portrait of Stella Book Review

Portrait of Stella, Susan Wuthrich Book Review 17th June 2018, Dawn Brookes A Great Start I loved this story from the beginning when Gemima finds out that her birth certificate is a forgery. The story spans two different times which took a bit of getting used to for me. The first timeline is that of Gemima searching for the truth of her birth and the second one goes back in time and follows the events of her mother, Stella. Apartheid History At times the story is sad and tragic and the history of apartheid is covered well and I learned a lot more about the era. I followed the protests about Nelson Mendela's imprisonment over many years but the experiences that people like Stella and even Gemima had were insufferable. Could have been a saga trilogy Initially I found the moving from one time to another tricky but I think the author introduced it in a creative way and made it a good read. I think the book could have been told in two or three parts as a family saga but it was an intriguing and enjoyable read. It could have done with a further proofread as there are a number of typos which, although they don't take away from the story, they can be irritating from a reader's perspective. I still think this is a great story though and loved it. It has a bit of everything included from World War II to the year 2000 and spans three generations and three continents which is why I think it could have been three books.

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Review The Art of Healing

The Art of Healing Jeanne Felfe May 18th 2018 Review by Dawn Brookes A beautifully written romantic novel set in the USA, that has healing of past hurts at the centre. Julianne and Jokob are brought together by chance it would seem but they both have scars from previous relationships that are hard to bear. Not a romp novel Devoid of graphic sex scenes this novel will not disappoint and provides a refreshing change. There is enough background about the characters to enable the reader to engage with them in a meaningful way. While their attraction to each other grows they are both frightened of giving away their hearts lightly, neither wanting to repeat the experience of pain already suffered. Engaging Characters Julianne is a children's nurse and comes from a close knit Italian family. Her best friend is married with children and wants nothing more than for Julianne to find the right man to love. Jokob is a photographer who travels around in an RV, not staying anywhere for very long. He has scars that will not be easily healed. Will they be able to move on? The story is told mainly from the POV of Julianne but some from Jokob's POV. Any romantic involvement means that these two will need to let go or come to terms with the past in order to look to the future. I like the way the story is told and I really like the ending but I am not going to give that away!

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Book Review First Dry Rattle

First Dry Rattle, Celia Boyd Review 16th May 2018 by Dawn Brookes An engaging and fearful look into the dark history encountered during the English Civil War. This book provides an insight into the chaos and mayhem that occurs when civil war breaks out. Tom Fletcher This first book in the series is set during the early days of the English Civil War. The very engaging lead character, Tom Fletcher is just a teenager. Tom is the son of a butcher and is expected to follow in his father's footsteps, something he doesn't want to do. The book begins with a bang that captures attention immediately through Tom's attempted suicide and it gathers pace quickly. Tom begins working as a doctor with his cousin before setting off on an errand where he meets with the young Phoebe who has suffered much. After rescuing her from bullies and asking her to join with him on his journey, it is not long before he tires and doesn't show her the respect she deserves. She is long-suffering and patient with him and he may grow to appreciate her for who she is over time.  The journey home results in a fateful meeting with an evil, psychopathic, parliament soldier, who becomes determined to see Tom's ruin.  The soldier causes the young Fletcher much heartbreak and pain. Dark Days As the civil war spreads through England, Tom meets with soldiers from both sides and determines to stay neutral. He tries hard to avoid the war altogether but finds it impossible. After an altercation with another parliament soldier Tom has to leave home to escape the gallows. During his travels, the young doctor meets with many people who become a part of this well-woven story. Tom saves the lives of many, including a captain, left for dead, and encounters…

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Writing a Book Outline

Writing a Great Book Outline and Writing to Target I have recently finished my debut novel so don’t consider myself an expert on this but I was greatly helped by using a system for writing the book. This system kept me to time and was just what I needed. The system I used I have adapted from one I learned from a course on Udemy called Reverse Engineer Riveting Fiction The first thing I need to say is that I did veer off but not hugely and you will see what I mean when I explain it. Storyline Obviously before you can develop a plan there needs to be a story in your head. My story evolved but I had the basics of the plot before I started writing. I had a main character (initially it was 2), sub-characters important to the plot, a scene (set on a cruise ship), a theme – murder mystery (initially thriller but turned out to be cosy as I don’t do graphic), a beginning, a middle and an end (I had two in mind). Word Count The next thing was to decide on a rough word count. There is some debate over words needed but in general they are as follows: Word Counts are not written in stone Depending on what you read there are different opinions on how long a book should be so I have gathered a few together but they are just guides. Publishers will have minimum and maximum word counts for different books and generally frown on shorter novels and those that are too long. Novel 40,000 words or over (generally 60,000 for mystery, 90,000+ for non-series novel). Some authors and publishers recommend 50,000+ with a maximum of 120,000 but Harry Potter and the order of the Phoenix is over 250,000 words!Young…

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