Off visiting …

… my lovely friend and writing buddy, Nicky Wells – virtually that is. Am over at her blog talking about Arundel, the setting for my book, United State of Love, and sharing some of my pictures.   Feel like I should ask the local Tourist Information Office for a job 🙂

CentreStage – Sue Fortin Photographic Walk Around Arundel

Devils With Wings, Silk Drop – Harvey Black

This exciting fictionalised retelling of the invasion of Crete is written by an author with extensive experience in army intelligence. It’s the follow up to Devils With Wings, and continues the wartime adventures of Fallschirmjager paratrooper Paul Brand and his Feldwebel Max Grun. On a high after their successful subjugation of Fort Eben Emael, Paul Brand, now in command of his own company, and Feldwebel Max Grun, are parachuted into Greece to help capture the bridge spanning the Corinth Canal. Tough times are ahead when the German High Command decide to invade the Island of Crete. This will be the first ever airborne invasion in military history. The Fallschirmjager, supported by the famous Gebirgsjager mountain troops, are up against 40,000 allied soldiers – who will fight to the bitter end to protect Crete. Operating behind enemy lines, Paul Brand and Max Grun will face challenges that not only tests their fortitude but strains the close bond between them. Silk Drop is a thrilling sequel to Devils With Wings and is based on a factual episode.

My Thoughts

This is the second book in the the Devils With Wings series and my review of the first can be found here.  I really enjoyed the first book so was looking forward to reading Silk Drop – I’m pleased to say it lived up to and beyond my expectations.

From the beginning I felt involved with the story, it was set at a good pace and I had trouble putting it down.  I liked the feeling of being up close to the action, with some very intense scenes depicting personal battles, which had me on the edge of my seat. I enjoyed learning more about the strategies involved in preparing for operations and how these translated in battle.   The setting was described extremely well and again I had a real sense of being there – I could picture  the island and villages clearly in my mind.

Silk Drop also showed the contradiction of war. One minute men are injuring and killing each other, the next when the battle is over, they are caring for the wounded and trying to save the lives of their enemies.  The novel showed the human side of war and the effects it can have on individuals which added another dimension to the story.  I felt very connected with the characters and was concerned as to what would happen to them.

An excellent read with all the things I enjoy – action, tension, great scene setting and characters I became very fond of.

Links for Harvey Black

Blog – http://harveyblackauthor.wordpress.com/

Website –  http://www.harveyblackauthor.com/ 

Twitter – @Black_Author  http://twitter.com/#!/Black_Author

Facebook – Harvey Black  http://www.facebook.com/HarveyBlackAuthor

Harvey is also a member of the Author/Reader group

http://loveahappyending.com/

and

 http://famousfiveplus.blogspot.co.uk/

Night Watcher – Chris Longmuir

Dundee Crime Series – Night Watcher is Book 1; Dead Wood is Book 2

A mysterious stranger arrives in Dundee, Scotland, with a mission to find a new Chosen One to punish. His inner voices guide him to Nicole, a ruthless business woman with a weakness for the husbands of other women.
One of Nicole’s paramours is found hanged and everyone assumes he has committed suicide. However, his estranged wife, Julie, knows better and blames his death on Nicole. Obsessed with the need to punish Nicole, Julie stalks her, unaware that there is another stalker, the deranged and dangerous Night Watcher.

Who will exact punishment on Nicole first?
What price will Nicole have to pay for her misdemeanors?
Will Julie’s mind games drive Nicole over the edge?
And what price will Julie have to pay for her obsession?

Only the Night Watcher knows!

My Thoughts

The creepy Night Watcher sent shivers down my spine! I loved the way we got inside his mind, got to see what he was thinking, how he saw the outside world and why he was doing what he was.  He certainly was a creepy character although, I have to admit, he was quite fascinating.  I even felt a bit sorry for him at one point.

There was insight into the lives of the people involved in the the story, making the characters real, giving them a rounded feel  rather than just standing alone in the main plot line.

It was great the way the watcher was watching another watcher – the way the plot wove together.  I wasn’t entirely sure who was responsible for the going-ons.  Was it the Night Watcher or was it Julie? Maybe the husband or a colleague?  Lots of tension and suspense from the first to the last page.

I don’t like the dark or basements at the best of times, I like them even less now!

Links for Chris Longmuir

Blogs – http://chrislongmuir.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter – @ChrisLongmuir

Love A Happy Ending – Featured Author http://loveahappyending.com/chris-longmuir/

Famous Five Plus – Author http://www.famousfiveplus.com/

Rough Cut – Owen Carey Jones

The Blurb

When a New York dealer in gemstones discovers a number of top quality synthetic diamonds in a batch he has bought, industry watchdog, the Federation of International Diamond Traders calls in Belizean, Carter Jefferson to trace their origin. 
Carter, a synthetic diamond specialist who recently quit working for the FIDT to concentrate on writing but who still works for them on an ad hoc basis, is reluctant to take the case until he finds a reference in the file which takes him back 25 years to the time when he was a geology student at Oxford University.

Old relationships are revived and family secrets emerge as an attractive English girl and a passionate young Frenchman are sucked into the web of deceit and death surrounding the illicit gems.

My Review

Rough Cut is a fast paced thriller/mystery set in the world of diamonds and the glitz and glam of the south of France.

I enjoyed following Carter Jefferson as he worked out who was behind all the going-ons and liked the fact that we got a small glimpse into his personal life too.  This could equally be said of Jacques – a central character to the plot.  He inadvertently found himself in the middle of the shady dealings and, as such, being caught up in a lot of the tense and thrilling action.  At the same time he was battling to deal with personal problems and family secrets that emerged as a result of the criminal activities.

One or two of the scenes were a bit gritty but they were in keeping with the genre of the book.  Other scenes I found myself willing the good guys on, anxious for the right outcome.

The plot is full of twists and turns that keep you guessing all the way. Sometimes I thought I had cracked the plot, only for something else to be thrown in, thwarting my attempts to work it all out.  The surprises kept coming right until the end.

Author website Carey Films: www.careyfilms.com
Rough Cut website:  http://www.roughcut-thenovel.com

Author blog – Living with a creative mind:  www.lwacm.blogspot.com
Facebook page: Owen Carey Jones
Rough Cut The Novel FB page: http://www.facebook.com/roughcut.thenovel
Twitter A/c @owencareyjones: https://twitter.com/#!/owencareyjones

Amazon.co.uk (buy): http://amzn.to/x23HnD
Amazon.com (buy): http://amzn.to/xrRb6o

Devils With Wings : The Green Devils Assault of Fort Eben Emael by Harvey Black

The Blurb

A military thriller based around the adventures of two young Fallschirmjager paratroopers during the early part of World War II. It is a fictionalised adventure based on the famous assault on the impregnable Belgian Fortress, Eben Emael. Tall, gangly Paul Brand is supported by his junior sergeant, Unterfeldwebel Max Grun, as he experiences his first action as a platoon commander in Poland, September 1939. The mutual respect between the two comrades grows as they experience the sights and smells of battle at close quarters Following their success in Poland, Paul, Max and the platoon are sent to a clandestine camp in the foothills of the Harz Mountains to train for a secret mission. Confined to camp for six months they undergo intensive training for their next mission – the subjugation of the Eben Emael Fortress. Two German secret weapons will assist them to complete their task; the first is the glider, used for the first time to deposit troops directly onto a target, and the second secret weapon is a new Hollow Charge Weapon, capable of blasting through steel or concrete. On completion of their training, nine gliders containing seventy two Fallschirmjager land on top of the fortress, before the troops move in to the depths of the tunnels to finish the job. Over one thousand Belgian troops fail to stop them. This exciting fictionalised retelling of the assault on Eben Emael is written by an author with experience in army intelligence.

My Thoughts

Although I have tended to review gentler books on here, I do actually enjoy reading a good action/thriller type of novel, so when Devils With Wings came to my attention it was definitely one to go on my ‘to be read’ pile.

The novel starts off right in the thick of the action and introduces you to the main characters, Paul Brand and Max Grun. After reading the first chapter, I knew I was going to enjoy it.

I liked finding out about the characters’ back stories and how they came to become part of the elite Fallschirmjager. Likewise, it was really interesting seeing what they had to endure throughout their training and I enjoyed getting to know Paul and Max more as they embarked on their highly secretive and daring operation.  The bond between the two men really came through.

The assault of Fort Eben Emael followed each glider’s mission and then the final attack on the fortress. The battle scenes were sometimes graphic but in no way gratuitous and only added to the atmosphere of the book.

Prior to reading this book, I knew absolutely nothing about the Fallschirmjager paratroopers and now I’m quite fascinated by them.  Afterwards I spent time flicking around the web and YouTube looking at photos and documentaries about the real event.  It was good being able to see exactly what the Fallschirmajager were up against and how it had been translated onto paper by the author.

So in summary – fast paced with action and tension – obviously well researched and backed up by the author’s own personal knowledge.  I shall look forward to reading the next book in this series.

(P.S. I think I have a crush on Paul)

Links for Harvey Black

Blog – http://harveyblackauthor.wordpress.com/

Website –  http://www.harveyblackauthor.com/ 

Twitter – @Black_Author  http://twitter.com/#!/Black_Author

Facebook – Harvey Black  http://www.facebook.com/HarveyBlackAuthor

Harvey is also a member of the Author/Reader group

http://loveahappyending.com/

and

 http://famousfiveplus.blogspot.co.uk/

An Audience with an Author – Mandy Baggot talks about her latest novel Taking Charge

Mandy Baggot is with me today to talk about her latest novel, Taking Charge. My review of which can be found here. Although this is Mandy’s fifth novel to be released, it is her first with American publishers, Sapphire Star Publishing.   Today, I wanted to ask Mandy a bit about the American influence of Taking Charge.

Hi Mandy, first of all many congratulations on your publishing deal with Sapphire Star Publishing, it’s great news.  How do you feel, now you’ve had time to get used to the idea?

Taking Charge is set in Portage, Michigan – what made you choose that town?

Portage is the town where my Dad lives! He moved there in 2000 and we went to visit him for the first time in 2010. It was my first trip to America and I just fell in love with the area and the people that live there. We were supposed to stay for ten nights but when that volcano in Iceland erupted the day we were meant to return, it meant we couldn’t get home for another eleven nights. When we got back to England I spent a long time pining for Portage. I had the idea for Taking Charge about three days into the holiday and it started to grow from there.

Is the roadhouse in Taking charge based on a real one in Portage and do they have an ice hockey team?

Eddie’s Roadhouse in the book is very loosely based on a roadhouse I went to in Portage called Logan’s Roadhouse on Shaver Road, Portage. Mr Big and I went there and LOVED it! It was a traditional roadhouse like you see in the films with beer, food, sports on the TV and bands. We saw two great bands while we were there called Special Guest (who are featured in the book) and LTD (Living the Dream).

Logan’s doesn’t have an ice hockey team connected with it but Kalamazoo (the county Portage is in) does have an ice hockey team. They are called the Kalamazoo Wings (K Wings).

Did you ever go to any ice hockey games when you were over in the States?

Of course! It would have been rude not to! Lots of hot men, going really fast on skates, smashing into each other and scoring goals – it’s Lady Baggot’s idea of Heaven! We went to watch the K Wings as the stadium was just down the road from my dad’s house. The atmosphere there was amazing! I loved it – the thrill of the game, the music they play (a mix of strange fairground style organ and Van Halen), the fights and the fluorescent green duck called Slappy who is the mascot! I think he’s a duck!

Was it difficult for you to give your characters an American voice?

I thought I’d done an excellent job with that until Sapphire Star Publishing took me on. Then I realised how little I knew about American terminology. I had some of it down but it’s those little UK expressions we take for granted that kept sneaking in there! There must have been something realistic about the setting and my writing to make them take me on though!

Have you got any plans to write more novels set in America?

Ooo that’s a toughy. I don’t know and in a way I guess it depends on the success of Taking Charge. I have a few books at the beginnings of their lives at the moment and I’m just weighing up my options to decide which one to concentrate my efforts on. One is set predominately in the UK with flashbacks to France, the other is set in the UK and then moves to Cyprus and the third one is set in Spain so, who knows? Maybe I should have another America based novel on the backburner!

Do you think you’ll do a book signing in Portage?

I would love to do a book signing in Portage. There is a big Barnes & Noble store just down the road from my dad’s house. How cool would it be to sign there? HELLO! Barnes & Noble? Want to host Lady Baggot?

Thanks for dropping by Mandy, as always, it’s a pleasure chatting to you.  Very best of luck with Taking Charge.

Mandy has her own website and blog at http://mandybaggot.webs.com/

Mandy is on Twitter @MandyBaggot and Facebook

Taking Charge – Mandy Baggot

The Blurb : Is going back Robyn’s only way forward?

American-born Robyn Matthers is going home. With her dad in hospital, his roadhouse in ruins and the ice hockey team slipping down the league, she needs to take charge. But does she have the strength to do it? 

Cole Ryan is a hockey player on a personal mission. He’s tall, dark, hot and Robyn’s noticed! But can she trust her feelings – or his? And what will Cole do when he finds out the truth about her?

Robyn returns to Michigan and things aren’t quite the same. Her best friend has grown up and is thinking about marriage and babies, the ice hockey team is no longer the life blood of the community and her father is engaged!

When Robyn’s twin cousins drag up past events that hold painful memories for her, she and Cole are forced together. But are either of them ready to start something new?

With an ill father, a trailer trash almost step-mom and ex-boyfriend Brad desperate for another chance, does Robyn have time to contemplate a relationship? Does she really want one? And is it physically possible for two people to fall in love in just three days?

My Thoughts

Taking Charge storms along from the word go – the characters are up and at you from page one and stay there right until the final word.

There are some really fun and eccentric characters that make you smile and the author has captured the lively banter and spirit of an all male team, in this case an ice hockey team. My favourite team mate was Mickey – he made me laugh a lot.

The key characters, Robyn and Cole have a sparkly relationship although both have issues from the past that they haven’t yet resolved.  The exact nature of these problems are gradually revealed as the story progresses and you can’t but help try to guess and re-guess what these demons are.  The book touches on some more serious issues and there are a couple of emotional scenes but these are handled in an easy to read way, with a light touch that is in keeping with the genre.

It’s a dynamic, pocket rocket of a book so hold on to your hats and enjoy the ride!

Links for author Mandy Baggot

Website:http://www.mandybaggot.webs.com
Blog:http://www.mandybaggot.webs.com/apps/blog
Twitter @mandybaggot: http://bit.ly/lTo8Xa

Sapphire Star Publishing:http://sapphirestarpublishing.com/ssp/