337 M. JONATHAN LEE

BY DAY

BY NIGHT

337 BY JONATHAN LEE

Hardback published by hideaway fall 30th November 2020

337 follows the life of Samuel Darte whose mother vanished when he was in his teens . It was his brother, Tom who found her wedding ring on the kitchen table along with the note. While their father pays the price of his mother’s disappearance, Sam learns that his long-estranged Gramma is living out her last days in a nursing home nearby. Keen to learn about what really happened that day and realising the importance of how little time there is, he visits her to finally get the truth. Soon it’ll be too late and the family secrets will be lost forever. Reduced to ashes. But in a story like this, nothing is as it seems.

MY REVIEW

337 is a special book that you can read it either in the settings by day with a yellow door on the front cover, or when you flip the book upside to the back the blue door by night will be upside down, you just flip it up so the blue door is up the right way, which means then that you will still be reading it in the normal way as you would opening any book.

The book tells the same story only up to chapter three. Its just up to the reader preference if you want to read this book by day or night. This double upside down book is only available to buy in the UK.

I decided to read by proof copy by day, with the yellow door on. Both of the parts of by day and by night has the exact same story for only with the first three chapters. When I finished reading the book by day I turned the book to the blue door by night.

And If you was read the book by night , the big surprise is when you flip the book open and start to read it by the time you get to the end of the third chapter it says NOW TURN THE BOOK AND READ ON FROM PAGE 16… which means you have to start reading the book by day.

Chapter 1 the first page

From a place high above the clouds, all you can make out is an expanse of green. The colour is deep, almost bottle, and from here it looks like the velvet upholstery of old dining chairs you’d find in a stately home or colonial house. It looks so soft you want to reach out and touch it. You want to push the brushed fabric in the wrong direction. Mess with its beauty.

As you pass through the wispy clouds ( which persevere in trying to spoil the perfect summer‘s day) you can see that the ground beneath is actually covered in squares of varying colours and sizes. Blues and yellows and reds all thrown down haphazardly across the land, like playing cards in a game of pairs strewn across the floor. Each is different yet by an area of green before the next one begins.

As you drift closer, you can make out movement. At first you could be forgiven the triteness of using a word like ‘ ants ‘ or insects to describe them. But such nouns have been used to death by humans travelling on planes or hot air balloons or standing atop skyscrapers or whatever.

Chapter 2 first page

We gather annually for the family picnic. I am told that in years gone by up to thirty family members would attend. That was back in the days when most of the family lived on the streets of endless terraced houses which surrounded the park, all within a couple of doors of one another. They would gather on the first Sunday of July each year ( which was the tradition, though nobody can now remember why ) and eat, play games and spend time together.

I have a vague recollection of playing badminton in the humid, windless summer days when I was much younger. I remember large, park-wide games of hide and seek with perhaps twenty participants. But the day of the picnic that I am describing to you is far more mundane. Family members have long since given up making the effort to attend. Many have died ( and therefore could be forgiven for their absence ) whilst others simply didn’t pass on the tradition to the next generation.

On that day, there are just six of us. I sit crossed – legged alongside my father on the west side of the blanket.

First page chapter 3

It is the sound of my phone vibrating that wakes me from the dream about my mother and a picnic that happened almost exactly twenty-five years ago. I have had the same dream so many times that I have been able to pinpoint every moment of the day that the picnic took place. In some ways it was easy to do. After all, I never saw my mother again after that day. You don’t forget the details of days as significant as that.

I roll over to my right and watch the phone progress slowly over the edge of the bedside table. It swings for a moment, attached to its charging cable, and then hands precariously like a mountaineer over a precipice.

I retrieve the stillvibrating phone and lie on my back. I push the button on the side and note that the caller is my father.

I could do without this.

The green circle allows me to answer, and am immediately greeted by the unusual recorded message. I press I accept and there are numerous clicks before his voice breaks through.

About author M. Jonathan Lee

M Jonathan Lee is a nationally shortlisted author and mental health campaigner. 

His first novel The Radio was shortlisted in the Novel Prize 2012. Since that time he has gone on to publish five further novels. 337 is his sixth novel.

He is obsessed with stories with twists where nothing is exactly how it first appears. He was born in Yorkshire where he still lives to this day with his twins, James and Annabel.

The Piper and The Fairy Carole Bulewski

THE PIPER AND THE FAIRY BY CAROLE BULEWSKI

PAPERBACK PUBLISHED BY DREAM’S EDGE PUBLISHING 14TH OCTOBER 2020

ISBN 9781923844097

Available to buy on Amazon

London-based sculptor Iris friend Tom has disappeared without a trace during a trip to Austria. Worse still Iris has no recollection of what happened when she was searching for him.

Stranger still, she regularly hears Tom’s voice in her head.

Fearing that she may be losing her mind, she consults a therapist to bring back the memories she’s temporarily erased.

The focus of the therapy quickly shifts towards the only two people who have mattered to her. Tom, the piper, a Sixties-influenced musician who reignited her creativity; and Matilda, her childhood friend, who encouraged her to pursue her artistic ambitions whilst inspiring her through her Wiccan practice.

What is it that Iris, the fairy in the trees as Tom called her, has buried deep inside that her mind, and will she be able to dig up the clues as to what happened to Tom?

The piper and the Fairy is a story of obsession, intense friendship and alternative realities that keep you guessing until the final scene.

My review

I must admit I found this story quite hard to get into, and didn’t get past the first chapter, however this comes down to preference, while other readers may well love this book. I have read other stories with folklore in and have enjoyed them. I just found this one difficult to get into. I do actually collect fairy figurines that’s why I wanted to read this book in particular, and love genuinely reading about fairies and folklore. I fully appreciate that the author has spent a lot of time writing this book making sure it sits well with readers. I do however think that the story is well written but just not my cup of tea.

There are references to weed in this story, but although the beginning of the story is about weed it’s there for a reason. However I’m not a fan of stories surrounding about weed, as my neighbours smoke it, making my life a living hell. During the hot summer I had to close my conservatory windows and my back door. I can smell it in my bathroom, when they smoke it. My loft smells of it a little too. I have part of the first chapter which will help you decide if this is the book for you.

I would like to thank the author Carole Bulewski who very kindly sent me a copy of her book in exchange for an honest review.

PART ONE LOSING TOM

Breaking Point.

London, May 2007

It wasn’t a difficult decision to make. In fact, it came naturally, almost as a relief after all the pain. But in a way, it was the easy part. Because then I had to come back – in actual fact I was forced to come back, and I didn’t even have a say in the matter.

Matilda told me she found me unconscious in the conservatory, bleeding profusely from my slashed wrists. Rushing to my rescue she walked on broken glass – the remains of the drink I had swallowed in a few laborious gulps before the glass fell of my hand and crashed on the tiles. She noticed the bust of Tom in blue alabaster next to me on the floor and grabbed it, before hurling it into the garden. There he was again, this Tom whom she believed had caused me so much pain, and she just couldn’t deal with it any more. I think she was angry with herself for not having foreseen that I would reach the point of no return, and she took it out on the statue that night because it was the closest thing to the real-life Tom. She couldn’t have guessed that Tom had spoken to me that very same night – to be honest, I’m not sure I believe her either.

Matilda only thought of calling for an ambulance when the sculpture fell flatly, almost silently, on the wet grass – how it didn’t break was in itself a little miracle. Maybe I invented this part, and in fact I cannot recall if she ever told me about this, but I can easily picture her that night, suddenly realising the seriousness of the situation. Matilda’s coping mechanisms when something goes badly wrong in her life are either to fall silent for hours, days even, or to express her anger boldly and loudly as she possibly can – and that night she chose the latter. The ability to think had momentarily deserted her, and only returned after this initial outburst.

That evening, upon coming home from work, Matilda went straight to her flat on the first floor, because there was no reason to check on m, because we hadn’t planned to spend the evening together and because we were entitled to our privacy. It’s only when she decided to roll a joint, something she wouldn’t normally have done on a week night, that she realised that her stash of weed had disappeared and that something wasn’t quite right. Neither Holly nor her mum, who were regular smokers with more than enough stocks to survive a siege, could have stolen it from her. There was only one possible culprit; me, Iris, the sister she’d never had, a sister not of blood but of fate and choice, Iris, the annoying younger sibling who made herb,ice impossible and exciting at the same time. Unless someone had broke into the house, I was the only one who could have stolen her stash of weed.

ABOUT AUTHOR CAROLE BULEWSKI

Carole Buleswski is a multi-faceted and accomplished author. She began her author career writing in her native French. Carole was born and raised in the south of France. Now writing almost exclusively in English and living in London. Carole’s writing weaves an almost mystical tale of fairy, folklore fantasy mingled with a darker undercurrent of urban despair

The Piper and the Fairy is the first of a trilogy of novels exploring Iris Low’s journey through a life entwined with pagan folklore and Iris’s own imagination which creates for her a parallel world that is shield against a truth she is not ready to face.

Carole has also written and illustrated a children’s book, although her mythical, magical, and metaphysic novels are Carole’s preferred genre.

In 202O, Carole signed with Dream’s Edge Publishing who will be releasing Water of Life, the follow up to The Piper and The Fairy, and the final book of the trilogy, The Little God of Queen’s Park.

The reckless Afterlife Of Harriet Stoker By Lauren James

THE RECKLESS AFTERLIFE OF HARRIET STOKER BY AUTHOR LAUREN JAMES

PAPERBACK PUBLISHED BY WALKER BOOKS 3RD SEPTEMBER 2020

Congratulations new kid. Welcome to the afterlife.

When Harriet Stoker dies after falling from a balcony in a long-abandoned building, she discovers a group of ghosts, each with a special power.

Felix, Kasper, Roma and Leah welcome Harriet into their world, eager to make friends with the new arrival after decades alone. Yet Harriet is more interested in unleashing her own power, even if it means destroying everyone around her. But when all eternity is at stake, the afterlife can be a dangerous place to make an enemy.

MY REVIEW

Oh my I’m crazy about this story. Every now and then I love to read a ghost story.

Eighteen year old Harriet Stoker had passed Mulcture Hall on the day she toured the University of Warwick. One night Harriet went into the abandoned Mulcture Hall to take some photos for a project, then get back to see her gran. When a freak accident happens, her foot got caught in something, tripped over the edge of the stairwell, crashing to the ground, with a pool of blood from the split of her skull.

We’re all ghosts. And so are you.

With Harriet coming too, she sees a boy looking at her. But how did she survive? She would have died. Then Harriet is told she died. She is dead. She didn’t quite believe him, but decided to play along and hope she could get rid of all of the ghosts that are in Mulcture Hall. But now Harriet is a ghost can she leave Mulcture Hall. She couldn’t be stuck there forever, with no way to return to her old life. What if death is only the beginning?

With so much more of the story to look forward to, I have to say this is the perfect Christmas present 🌲

First Page Of Chapter 1

Twenty minutes before her death, Harriet Stoker stare up at the hazard sign peppering the entrance of Mulcture Hall. The signs were very informative, stating in huge black letters: DANGER – DERELICT BUILDING! THIS BUILDING HAS BEEN FOUND TO CONTAIN ASBESTOS; UNSTABLE STRUCTURE – UNAUTHORISED PEOPLE FOUND ON THIS SITE WILL BE PROSECUTED and DANGER OF ELECTROCUTION ! Harriet was impressed. Confident of her life choices, she began to climb the chain-link fence.

Harriet thought that even when the newly built, Mulcture Hall must have looked like a place where architecture came to die. This colourful graffiti covering the pebbledash walls didn’t detract from the overwhelming greyness of the old halls of residence.

She picked her way carefully through nettles to the entrance. It was nearly dusk, so she used her phone to shine a light through a crack between the plywood boards covering a window.

When a face lunged at her from the other side, Harriet skidded back on her heels. She laughed. It was her own reflection.

About author Lauren James

Lauren James is the twice Carnegie-nominated British author of many Young Adult novels, including The Loneliest Girl in the Universe and The Quiet at the End of the World. She is also a Creative Writing lecturer, freelance editor and screenwriter.

Her books have sold over a hundred thousand copies worldwide, been translated into five languages and shortlisted for the YA Book Prize and STEAM Children’s Book Award. Her other novels include The Next Together series, the dyslexia-friendly novella series The Watchmaker and the Duke and serialised online novel An Unauthorised Fan Treatise. Her upcoming release is The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker.

She was born in 1992, and has a Masters degree from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and all of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. She sold the rights to her first novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university.

Her writing has been described as ‘gripping romantic sci-fi’ by the Wall Street Journal and ‘a strange, witty, compulsively unpredictable read which blows most of its new YA-suspense brethren out of the water’ by Entertainment Weekly. The Last Beginning was named one of the best LGBT-inclusive works for young adults by the Independent.

Lauren lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient. She has written articles for numerous publications, including the Guardian, Buzzfeed, Den of Geek, The Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2021. She teaches creative writing for Coventry University, WriteMentor, and Writing West Midlands, providing creative writing courses to children through the Spark Young Writers programme.

Deleted Sylvia Hehir

Deleted by Sylvia Hehir

Paperback published by Garmoran 28th May 2020

How much worse can Dee’s life get.

Having already suffered a traumatic break up with her boyfriend, her best friend is now warning her off the handsome new boy in the village. So what if his dad is a traveller? And life would be a whole lot easier if her phone would stop playing up.

I laughed when I saw the bin sign appear on my new mobile as I deleted Amy’s name.

I would have stuffed Amy in a bin for real after all she’d done.

Deleted is a lovely short book for young adults with a hint of romance. Some of the words in chapters made me laugh out loud! While other words made me gasp, and the most important part for me was I wanted the best boyfriend in the world for Dee.

PART OF CHAPTER THREE

with some of my favourite funny lines or the parts that made a little sad for Dee.

The party was in full swing. Outside the house a bare chested lad, wearing only a kilt and thick socks and boots, was dancing with the fat, plastic Santa that stood in the garden. Santa’s reindeer companion lay knocked on his side, his read nose beaming intermittently. Loud bass beats from indoors accompanied the flashing icicles on the roof.

Was John in there? And, more to the point, was I ready to see him again?

Tom followed Close behind me. Frankie took hold of my hand and led me in through the gate.

Come in Sandi called leaning out of a window. Her mum and dad believed her when she’d said she’d rather stay at home and revise than go with them to Tenerife. Fat chance of my mum ever going away and leaving me.

A heady mix of incense sticks and fresh sweat hit us full in the face as we pilled into the tiny hallway.

It was true I hadn’t spoken to Tom since we’d arrived. The party was fast becoming a nightmare. I needed something good to happen. I downed my drink and left the kitchen.

Tom was on the stairs. He wrapped a warm hand around mine as I trotted towards him and we climbed the stairs hand in hand.

When we reached the landing, he clamped his mouth over my lips and held me tightly around my waist with one arm.

He was interested then.

He moved an exploring hand over my back and down my hips.

I staggered backwards through an open door into Sandi’s old playroom. We lurched across the wooden floor as he guided me further into the room. He quite gently pulled me back towards him but again he clamped his lips on to mine. His arms held me tighter.

I pulled away from him. Don’t. I’m not….

He flicked some sort of reply. You came with me-

No. No. I managed to splutter.

No. I banged my fists against him and he dropped his arms against his side.

Tom sprang away from me like a startled cat and dashed out of the bedroom door.

Not tears rushed down my foolish face.

How had things gone so badly wrong? I fancied Tom.

Not just because of his looks either. He’d seemed shy and interesting. I’d wanted to talk to him, get to know him better.

Was I mistaken about him?

ABOUT AUTHOR SYLVIA HEHIR

Hi I write contemporary YA fiction set in the fabulous west highlands of Scotland. Deleted and Delivered are the first two books In the Love and the Village series They are fun reads with relatable characters. My debut novel, Sea Change is a YA thriller that will keep you turning the pages. I hope you enjoy them.

A Ruined Girl Kate Simants

A Ruined Girl by Kate Simants

Hardback published by Viper 7th August 2020

Two boys loved her but which one killed her?

On a dark night two years ago, teenagers Rob and Paige broke into a house. They beat and traumatised the occupant, then left taking only a bracelet. No one knows why, not even Luke, Rob’s younger brother and Paige’s confidant. Paige disappeared after that night. And having spent her life in children’s homes and the foster system, no one cared enough to look for her.

Now Rob is out of prison, and probation officer Wren Reynolds has been tasked with his rehabilitation. But Wren has her own reasons for taking on Rob as a client. Convinced that Rob knows what happened to Paige and hiding a lifetime of secrets from the heavily pregnant wife, Wren’s obsession with finding a missing girl may tear her family apart.

My Review

The author Kate Simants has worked her magic with a story where every character seems so real. The plot inclines to make you quiet believe that this event has happened is in true life.

Part of chapter 1

You’re getting out. Congratulations.

Yeah. His voice is dry with disuse, and his face is set as hard as concrete. They said I’ve to do visits?

That’s right. I’m going to take you round to see some people, and we’re going to have some conversations. The idea is that you find out what your actions have done, long term. Understand the wider repercussions.

What people though? Not a blink. Maybe not concrete after all, Wren thinks; maybe something older. Volcanic rock perhaps.

There’s a list. Victims of the crime. Obviously in your case there’s going to be… more to it. She lets that sit for a moment, daring him to ask her why. Eventually she says, For you, it’s your victim, and people connected to your accomplice.

Accomplish-you mean Paige?

She nods.

And by victim, your saying I’ve got to talk to Yardley.

Being the man you burgled and assaulted, yes, she says. Settling into it now, hitting her stride. That qualifies him as the victim.

PRAISE FOR KATE SIMANTA with comments I absolutely agree with.

A tense, unsettling and emotional engaging whodunnit that grips from the first page. Sophie Hannah

A complete triumph. An intelligent and deeply satisfying thriller with such vivid characters it’s impossible to believe they aren’t real. Elizabeth Hayes.

ABOUT KATE SIMANTS

Kate Simants was shortlisted for a CEA Debut Dagger for her first novel Lock Me In and won the UEA Literary Festival scholarship to study for anMA in Crime Fiction, graduating with distinction. She spent a decade as a journalist for Channel 4 and the BBC, specialising in investigative documentaries, police shows and uncover work. Her investigations into children homes were the inspiration for a Ruined Girl, which was awarded the Bath Novel Award. She lives near Bristol with her family.

Crime Dot Com Geoff White Review

CRIME DOT COM BY GEOFF WHITE

Hardback Published By http://www.reaktionbooks.co.uk


On May 4, 2000, an email that read “kindly check the attached LOVELETTER” was sent from a computer in the Philippines. Attached was a virus, the Love Bug, and within days it had been circulated across the globe, paralyzing banks, broadcasters, and businesses in its wake, and extending as far as the UK Parliament and, reportedly, the Pentagon. The outbreak presaged a new era of online mayhem: the age of
 Crime Dot Com. In this book, investigative journalist Geoff White charts the astonishing development of hacking, from its conception in the United States’ hippy tech community in the 1970s, through its childhood among the ruins of the Eastern Bloc, to its coming of age as one of the most dangerous and pervasive threats to our connected world. He takes us inside the workings of real-life cybercrimes, drawing on interviews with those behind the most devastating hacks and revealing how the tactics employed by high-tech crooks to make millions are being harnessed by nation states to target voters, cripple power networks, and even prepare for cyber-war. From Anonymous to the Dark Web, Ashley Madison to election rigging, Crime Dot Com is a thrilling, dizzying, and terrifying account of hacking, past and present, what the future has in store, and how we might protect ourselves from it. 

My Review

I love reading about cybercrime and what’s been hacked. I first got into computer hackers after reading many years ago the fictional story The Blue Nowhere By Jeffery Deaver.

Crime Dot Com is non-fictional about from viruses to vote rigging and how hacking went global. It’s certainly a well written book being well researched, that had me glued to every word. It’s a certainty a frightening world we live in today with cybercrime.

My own mother was conned out of money with a man claiming he was from BT and that she had to pay some money using her credit card at that precise moment or her line would be disconnected. When my mother gave him her bank card details, the man fraudulently took more money out of my mother’s account and spent it in Sainsbury. He wasn’t from our area, he must have lived far away near the Sainsbury he spent my mothers money. How the man got my mother’s phone number from in another area is beyond me. The man was very efficient with his manner sounding like he really worked for BT, which brings me think that the man may have previously worked from BT and kept telephone numbers of clients to take money from. Or he just may have been very cleaver at convincing people he worked at BT.

At the back of this book there’s further reading reference with other books that I’m quite interested in reading.

How the author Geoff White came about his creation on cybercrime is that he published on his website about the hacking of Talk Talk. After years of investigation he ended up with a heap of information about the incident. The Commissioning Editor from Reaktion Books read Geoff’s website and suggested he write a book on cybercrime and here is the interesting intelligent account of all forms of cybercrime.

Page one from the introduction

There is a reason cybercrime has surged up the news agenda. It’s not just because of society’s growing independence on vulnerable technology. And it’s not just because journalists, politicians and powerful institutions are increasingly targeted by hackers. Cybercrime has boomed thanks to a little-noticed confidence of the world’s most powerful hacker groups. In the years since the turn of the millennium, a cross-pollination of tools and tactics between these shadowy operators have shaped the technological threat we see today, elevating cybercrime to an omnipresent hazard. As our society has moved online, they have begun striking at the critical services on which we all rely; our hospitals, power stations, news media and political processes.

There are three forces driving this new wave of attacks: organized cybercrime gangs, hacktivist movements and nation-state hackers.

Organized crime has been present from almost the earliest days of computer hacking and has now become firmly entrenched, as its members have realized how much safer it is to rob people and institutions virtually, rather than in person. Their tactics run on high-volume low-margin model: if they can steal £5 from a million people the victims might not even notice, but the hackers are still £5 million richer. This has spawned a sophisticated industry that runs its lucrative criminal enterprise like Silicon Valley start-ups. But the gangs indiscriminate attack tools have leaked out, the losses have been far more than simply financial.

About Geoff White

Geoff White is an investigative journalist and one of the UK’s leading technology correspondents. His work has featured in numerous outlets, including the BBC and Channel 4 news, and he is the writer and presenter of the acclaimed podcast The Dark Web.

STACKED DECK EDWIN CLARK 

   

STACKED DECK BY EDWIN CLARK 

Independently published 26th October 2020

ISBN 978682613571 available to buy from Amazon 

IF GHOST FROM YOUR PAST HAUNTED YOU NIGHTLY COULD YOU KEEP YOUR LIFE STRAIGHT? OR WOULD YOU SET OFF ON A JOURNEY TO FIND ANSWERS? MEET WILL CAMERON POPULAR ENGLISH PROFESSOR AND VIETNAM VET WITH A TROUBLING PAST HE CAN’T SEEM TO REMEMBER.

Stacked Deck is a supernatural explanation into the darkness recesses of memory for unlikely friends. Told through the eyes of three veterans Will Cameron the introspective English professor and past squad leader, Algernon Carrington III. An u likely private who questions his elite station life and Tran Van Quan . A Buddhist Vietnamese solider and US transplant – The men stumble into a chance meeting that leads down a rabbit hole. Fate threw them together in the midst of the Vietnam war and they survived. When the rest of the squad perished. Now the bell is tolling fate will have its due.

Amidst entertaining philosophical debates. Quest of self-discovery. And a thrilling search for salvation skirting everything from rural America to triad hit men. The truth does not always set you free or keep you alive.

My review 

Fans of Sixth Sense. Slaughterhouse-Five. And Saving Private Ryan will love Stacked Deck. Join the supernatural journey. Read Stacked Deck. The fantastic debut novel of Edwin Clarke. And find out why someone would stencil “Not insane ” across the side of their VW Bus.

As I have read all of Weston Kincade books, this book Stacked Deck grabbed my attention. Edwin Clark has the wow factor making swift action easing the reader straight into the heart of the story. I strongly felt the atmosphere of what being in a war can do to you. In most cases I do expect that people who served in any war will bring home the ghost of from what they have actually accounted during their time in war, which will haunt them for many years to come. 


Will Cameron taught Literature at Carrington College. His job was reading and talking to the living about what the dead had to say in stories about life. But since he had cleaned out his attic of his military items, he often woke in a cold sweat from from dreaming, with every detail vivid. He would dream about men in uniforms with helmets, who carried assault rifles, which were North Vietnamese Army regulars. 


Like we all do think about old friends. Will often thought about his best friend Algernon Carrington lll physicist, colleague, president of Carrington College, his boss and former comrade in arms. Professor Will Cameron and President Algernon Carrington III had both served in the same rifle squad during the second Indochina War. 


While I enjoyed this book, and some other women may do too, I do feel that men readers this is a must read must buy for you all. And if you have served in the war I am convinced that you will totally love this book and understand and have compassion for what the characters are going through. 


Part 1

Chapter 1
“Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime. Ask the  infantry and ask the dead.”

Ernest Hemingway.

1998

The bedroom was dark and still but for the snoring dog at the foot of the bed. Will Cameron heard the faint, steady breathing of his wife next to him. The alarm clock said 3:30 am. The dream woke him in a cold sweat, every detail vivid. He crouched behind a large oak tree, looking down the barrel of an M16 across a gently sloping ravine. Fallen leaves littered the ground, sugared with a light dusting of snow. Men wafted silent as ghosts down the far side of the slope. He recognized them by their khaki uniforms and bird watcher’s pith helmets. Rather than binoculars, they carried assault rifles. They were North Vietnamese Army regulars, referred to by American soldiers with the acronym NVA, and there were dozens of them. He took aim at one, panned with his sights, and determined they were too many to fight. He chose to lay low and pray they passed him by. The trick had worked before. Then the radio sitting beside him hissed with static. The khaki-clad soldiers turned as one toward the sound and converged on his hiding place.

Will tried to fire, but his finger could not or would not pull the trigger. He knew if he did pull it he would die. He also knew he would surely die if he did not. He knew he could not run and live, and he knew if he did not run he would die. Paralyzed with fear and frozen by indecision, he watched his death glide silently across new snow beneath bare trees.


It was always the same. Not once in thirty years had anything changed. Even while dreaming he knew how it would play out, and he knew he could not alter one iota of it. When his heaving chest stilled, he tried returning to sleep. The recurrent nightmare was his private monster from the Id. It made him angry and ashamed of the power it wielded over him. His pulse raced. Vague shadows rose from black pits in deep recesses of his mind and reached for him. Finally, giving up on sleep, as he always did, he rose quietly for the sake of his sleeping wife and the dog, and because stealth in the dark and hyper-alertness were second nature to him.


The dream came more often now, almost nightly since his wife assigned him to clean out the attic several weeks earlier. It had been a wet, dreary Saturday, a good day for such chores. He was peeking into rows of rough wooden shelves, conflicted over what to discard and what to leave, when he chanced upon a dusty shoe box sealed shut with a strip of masking tape. Within he recognized a collection of faded military ribbons, medals and badges, a Zippo cigarette lighter with the inscription I should have gone to college, the black and white photograph of a smiling young woman, and a set of tarnished dog tags with his name, service number, blood type and religious preference stamped into them. After a quick examination, he taped the lid back on the box and returned it to its dark corner of the attic. That evening, he drank more than usual.


Putting a worn bathrobe over his shivering, damp body, Will moved barefoot and phantom-like through the dark house. You can fear the thing in the in the dark, dark, or you can be the thing in the dark he reminded himself. He turned on the coffee pot in the kitchen, let out the cats and the dog, then slipped into the guest bathroom. The face that looked back from the flat, white light above the mirror startled him. The graying, disheveled hair, crow’s feet, and wrinkles betrayed the passing of years. Only the eyes staring back were unchanged. Bright as emeralds, undimmed by time, but for round irises they could have belonged to a cat. They caused people to look twice at him. Lingering fear, reflected on the rest of his face, was absent from them. They bore fiercely through him, and drove his night fears scurrying into retreat.


He fed the animals, showered, and sat down at the kitchen table with a mug of coffee. His wife joined him unexpectedly. She was a slender, elegant woman with raven-wing hair highlighted by a thin, white streak down the left side. But for that and tiny lines at the corners of her eyes and mouth, she could have been twenty rather than fifty. Her maiden name was Thuy Dinh Mai. Mai had known Will for thirty years and been married to him for twenty-five of those. She was the owner and proprietress of a Vietnamese restaurant locally famous for its menu and profitable for a variety of reasons, not all having to do with ethnic cuisine.


She poured a cup of coffee, sat down at the table and said, “Hello, G.I.” She had greeted him with those words in mild derision the day they met. When they met again, some years later, she said them endearingly and had ever since.


“Good morning, dear,” Will replied as he sipped his coffee and smiled. “You’re up early.”


“I heard you rise and could not return to sleep,” she replied.


“Sorry.”


She shrugged and took a cautious sip from her steaming cup, gazing at him over the rim. “This is a good time, I think, to be awake, when the rest of the world still sleeps. It is a place between waking and sleeping, where the dreams of sleep and the illusions of waking meet a short while, a few heartbeats, then separate. I am rarely up to appreciate it.”


It was unusual for her to speak like that. He glanced out the kitchen window into the darkness beyond and smiled. Mai was the most pragmatic, rational, and unreflective person Will had ever known. He jokingly referred to her as his abacus capitalist, but there were times when she spoke with mystifying insight, more like an oracle than an entrepreneur.


He chuckled and shook his head. “I’ll need to ponder that over another cup of coffee and wait for the illusion of waking to kick in, if you don’t mind.”


Their home was large enough to house a small tribe, but they lived there alone. Their daughter and only child Amy was grown and married with a family of her own. She lived in Singapore and was chief financial officer of her uncle’s business empire. Unlike Will, his women each had a head for business. Both were graduates of excellent Ivy League schools that taught them the fine art of financial book cooking. With her gone, the place was quiet except when they entertained, or the dog barked or the cats fought. Now they sat in silence, sipping coffee and waiting for daylight. When the dog growled at something in the darkness beyond the window, Mai hushed him with a soft rebuke in Vietnamese, and they returned to the moment between things.


Will taught literature at Carrington College. He made a living reading and talking to the living about what the dead had to say in stories about life. The death part precluded most of the authors from participating in the conversations, so the living were left to argue among themselves about what the dead meant. An interesting profession, it generally attracted people only slightly less eccentric than crazy cat ladies and mad scientists. Will was able to make a handsome living doing this because the very rich were able to afford liberal arts educations for their children at expensive and exclusive private colleges. They considered such a rite of passage requisite for inheriting the earth and wielding the scepter of commercial rule over it. Carrington was just such an expensive and exclusive college.


After leisurely finishing their coffee and playing footsies under the table, Will went to get ready for work and Mai retreated to her home office. He stuck his head through the door on his way out. “I’m outta here,” he said. Mai was sitting at her desk. She turned and cast him a wanton glance while pulling a tortoise-shell comb through hair that descended to the middle of her back. Looking at her—even after twenty-five years, he still became short of breath. It was because of her, and only her, that life had meaning for him. Without her, he would have died drunk, alone in an alley, a flophouse, or under a bridge. With her, he was someone he could never have imagined being thirty years earlier. It was as simple as that.


“Have a pleasant day,” she replied. “A kiss please, if you would be so kind.” She always spoke that way, using modifiers like “pleasant” rather than “nice” in correct but non-colloquial ways, in the manner of many fluent but non-native speakers of a language. She rarely used idioms and never contractions. While most people would say something rhetorical like, “It’s a nice day. Isn’t it?” she would say, “It is a pleasant day, is it not?” She spoke French and Mandarin Chinese as correctly as English and Vietnamese.


The kiss took thirty minutes. “We should rise early more often,” she said with a sigh as he left the office, heading through the kitchen and out the garage door to the driveway. He caught the dog trying to chew off the front-left tire of his 1978 Volkswagen Camper Van. “Will, get the hell away from there!” he snapped. Mai had named the dog, Will the Dog. When asked why, she explained like one would to a child, in a tone of soothing sweetness and without batting an eye, “It is so I can summon the two of you while having to speak only once. It is a very efficient way to do things, and efficiency is always good for business.”


Will the Dog never bit the tires on Mai’s red Jaguar convertible. She owned nothing but red Jaguars and traded them in every couple of years. Red Jags were her eccentricity. She refused to drive anything else and only rarely condescended to be a passenger in Will’s van. She was particularly scandalized by what she derisively called the “advertisement” on its doors. Over the years, Mai and many others had grown accustomed to the phrase “Not Insane” stenciled on the van’s passenger doors in large, black letters. If anyone asked what it meant, Will shrugged and said, “It means exactly what it says.” If asked why it was there, he would reply, “Why not?” His tone always precluded further inquiry into the matter. He had become a curiosity of sorts because of his van. The regents considered it an affront to the image of the school. The administration defended it as a harmless oddity. The students and faculty championed it as freedom of expression publicly and joked about it in private. Because Dr. Cameron was admired and respected, no one was willing to take the meaning of the advertisement literally or seriously.


As the ancient van clunked and lurched down the road, Will sipped hot coffee from a battered travel mug and focused on a new rattle coming from the engine compartment. This particular vehicle was his second Not Insane. The first had been a 1960 Volkswagen T1 Camper he bought after his return from Vietnam. He traded his hot rod Chevy SS that had languished in a neighbor’s garage during his tour of duty for it. He got rid of the first Not Insane in 1982, but only after he could see the road passing by through rusted holes in the floorboards and replacement parts became harder to find than a missing sock in the laundry.


A new van had not altered his driving habits. He puttered down the road at sub-light speed, brooding over a lecture and discussion on William Faulkner’s novel Requiem for a Nun he was on his way to present to a cohort of graduate students.


He pondered his favorite Faulkner quotes as he poked through traffic: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past,” he mumbled to himself. I sure as hell hope that’s not true, he thought and sipped some coffee. This was not his favorite Faulkner quote. His favorite was: “Clocks slay time… time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.” The damn clocks can click away from the past and into the future as fast as their little wheels can take them so far as I’m concerned, he mused.


While waiting for a light to change, he thought of his best friend Algernon Carrington III, physicist, colleague, President of Carrington College, his boss, and former comrade in arms. Something Algernon said once after too many beers in the bar of Mai’s restaurant came to mind and pushed Faulkner out.


“Quantum theory,” the scientist had pontificated, “a pillar of modern physics, states that future actions cannot be determined by past events and that the random distribution of sub-atomic particle waves is more or less responsible for the cause-and-effect relationships that create the illusion of an ordered macro universe.”


“Bullshit. The past is prologue,” Will whispered as the light turned green. A car horn tooted behind him, and he moved along.


He next stopped at a crosswalk to let a man in a jogging suit lope across the street while he considered what literary lesson he could glean, relevant to the study of literature, from a science as exotic as physics. Another toot on the horn from the car behind broke his concentration. He noticed the jogger was long gone, so he put the van in gear and moved across the intersection. He smiled and admitted to himself that half the time he did not understand half of what Algernon meant and never had. But being an English professor, he reminded himself, means the search for meaning and relevance in the human story, so I have something interesting to lecture about in class.


He was almost to the campus entrance when he had an epiphany of sorts and became determined to construct his class lecture on the passage of time, quantum particles, the history of storytelling, and other props that might or might not be relevant to Faulkner’s clocks. The freedom to branch off into wild tangents—either rational or irrational so long as they bore even the slightest relationship to the text—was the reason the study of literature appealed to him.


“The ancient bards and poets,” he said to himself, “expressed similar sentiments on scientific theory while sitting around campfires and telling stories millennia before scientists even existed.” Their cause was the will of the gods, and the effect they called destiny, he suddenly thought. None of the characters in their stories had any more choice than subatomic particles as to whether or not they played their parts in the divine comedy of vain and quarrelsome divinities.


Will made a sweeping gesture to emphasize his point and flung coffee halfway across the van. “Whoops!” he mumbled. “That’s called fate,” He sat his cup in the holder and replaced his hand on the steering wheel as coffee trickled slowly down the passenger window. “Fate also creates the illusion of an ordered universe.”


A man in a hurry, driving a new BMW, flipped him off as he gunned the engine and roared around him. Will absently repaid the gesture in kind, and his mind returned to Faulkner.

About author Edwin Clark


Edwin Clark is a native of Settle, Washington, attended the University Washington, George Washington University in Washington DC, and currently resides in yes, Washington County, Virginia. Before coming a teacher, he served in the US Army, the Peac Corps,fought forest fires, worked as a commercial fisherman in Alaska, did some logging, ran a building maintenance business and managed to work his way through College.

These days Ed is a retired English teacher who lives in the Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia with his wife, dog, a six-pack of cats and a couple of adult kids when they come to visit. He likes to hike and fly fish, write haiku, read and write.

To find out more about Edwin Clark and his future projects visit him at

Sudsmacbrewsky.com


Christmas on the Home Front Annie Clarke 

    

Christmas on the Home Front Factory Girls Book 4 
Paperback published by arrow books 29th October 2020

Paperback ISBN.  9781787462601


Tis the reason for friendship and family.

October 1942: As Christmas approaches, the evacuees decide a pantomime is just what the village of Massingham needs.


Viola loves her new job away from the factory, and hopes that her romance with the handsome Ralph might have a happy ending. Meanwhile, married life is proving tough for Fran and Davey as they are forced apart by war work and an unexpected arrival on her doorstep turns her world upside down.


Following her husband’s shock confession, Beth finally feels as though she’s regaining control of her life, that is until he turns up . . .


A lot can happen on the home front, but Christmas is a time for family and friends, and the factory girls will do everything they can to ensure this year’s celebration is one to remember. 


My review

Christmas on the Home Front is the fourth novel by Annie Clarke, it’s wonderfully uplifting Factory Girls series about three women working in a munitions factory during World War 2.  Books by Annie Clarke are perfect for fans of Elaine Everest. As I like reading books by Elaine Everest, I found my self easily glued to my first book that I have read by Annie Clarke Christmas on the Home Front. 

Part of chapter one page 5 &6 

The girls copied Mrs Hall, first making a slip stitch onto a needle, then winding the wool around their thumbs, while Sarah muttered, But that’s all very well, Mrs Hall,for though Eva’s got us down as certainties, we still haven’t Mrs Hall continued to cast on and rode over her. Agreement’s nowt to do with owt, our Sarah and it’ll be good for you all to be involved in a party. And you know you want to send Melaine off nicely, for we’ll all miss her. They came as a pack, those barns. 

And as one, Sarah laughed. Mrs Hall nodded. That’s about right, little devils, but really it will for you all. For a start,it’ll take Fran’s mind of Davey, and calm Beth’s rage when she gets to thinking about her Bob and that divorce he wants. And let’s not miss you out Sarah, still swooning over our Stan,though you’ve been married, what, over seven months? If he’s busy at the Hall after his shift, sorting the tree or what ever else Nairn decrees, then you’ll be there, so might as well give you something to do. 

Concentrate, Fran. Dig that needle into the wool round your thumb, now you’ve finally made your slip knot. By, look st that pigs ear never seen such a do over a bitty cast n stitch.

Annie Clarke has 4 books in the Home Front saga series. 

 Book 1. Girls on the Home Front 

  Book 2. Heros on the Home Front
  Book 3. Wedding Bells on the Home Front

   Book 4. Christmas on the Home Front 

Annie Clarke’s roots are dug deep into the North East. She draws inspiration from her mother, who was born in a County Durham pit village during the First World War, and went on to become a military nurse during World War Two. Annie and her husband now live a stone’s throw from the pit village where her mother was born. She has written frequently about the North East in novels which she hopes reflect her love and respect for the region’s lost mining communities.

Annie has four adult children and four granddaughters, who fill her and her husband’s days with laughter, endlessly leading these two elders astray.


J.K.Rowling Harry Potter Complete Collection 7 Book Set

                     
J.K. Rowling Harry Potter Complete Collection 7 Book Set published by Bloomsbury publishing

Available from

J.K. Rowling Harry Potter Complete Collection 7 Book Set – Fiction – Paperback – J.K. Rowling

£29.99  ISBN 9781408856772

You can find Books2door  on Twitter @Books2DoorUK

This is a must buy for Christmas for any Harry Potter fan. As you can see from my photos I’m a big Harry Potter fan and I just couldn’t resist having this fabulous collection in this beautiful well designed book collection box. Each book is cover is absolutely stunning. Inside the book it has wonderful coloured illustrations of the other books in the series from the 7 book collection. What I absolutely loved and reading each book is that they are  much shorter than than any other versions. I was extremely pleased with how quick books2door sent my collection to me and how carefully they packed my heavy collection book set.

This magnificent shorter easy to read collection Includes:

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

Turning over, his hand trembling, Harry saw a purple wax seal bearing a coat of arms; a lion, an eagle, a badger and a snake surrounding a large letter H.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

‘There is a plot, Harry Potter. A plot to make most terrible things happen at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry this year.’

Prisoner of Azkaban

‘Welcome to the Knight Bus, emergency transport for the stranded witch or wizard. Just stick out your wand hand, step on board and we can take you anywhere you want to go.’

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

‘There will be three tasks, spaced throughout the school year, and they will test the champions in many different ways… their magical prowess – their daring – their powers of deduction – and, of course, their ability to cope with danger.’

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

‘You are sharing the Dark Lord’s thoughts and emotions. The Headmaster thinks it inadvisable for this to continue. He wishes me to teach you how to close your mind to the Dark Lord.’

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

There it was, hanging in the sky above the school: the blazing green skull with a serpent tongue, the mark Death Eaters left behind whenever they had entered a building… wherever they had murdered…

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

‘Give me Harry Potter,’ said Voldemort’s voice, ‘and none shall be harmed. Give me Harry Potter, and I shall leave the school untouched. Give me Harry Potter, and you will be rewarded.’

Paris by Starlight Robert Dinsdale

   

PARIS BY STARLIGHT BY ROBERT DINSDALE 

Hardback published by Del Ray 5th November 2020


Every city has its own magic.

Every night on their long journey to Paris from their troubled homeland, Levon’s grandmother has read to them from a very special book. Called The Nocturne, it is a book full of fairy stories and the heroic adventures of their people who generations before chose to live by starlight.


And with every story that Levon’s grandmother tells them in their new home, the desire to live as their ancestors did grows. And that is when the magic begins…


Nobody can explain why nocturnal water dogs start appearing at the heels of every citizen of Paris-by-Starlight like the loyal retainers they once were. There are suddenly night finches in the skies and the city is transforming: the Eiffel Tower lit up by strange ethereal flowers that drink in the light of the moon.


But not everyone in Paris is won over by the spectacle of Paris-by-Starlight. There are always those that fear the other, the unexplained, the strangers in our midst. How long can the magic of night rub up against the ordinariness of day? How long can two worlds occupy the same streets and squares before there is an outright war? 


My review 

Paris by Starlight by author Robert Dinsdale is the bestselling novel of The Toy Makers that was his first venture into magic. Paris by Starlight is a warm-hearted and beautiful a very well written adult fairytale full of fantasy and magic. 

Paris by Starlight is a beautiful tale of love and acceptance set in a magical yet familiar Paris. It’s just the perfect book to curl up with during our miserable winter. Paris by Starlight would make a welcome gift. The beginning threw me straight into the book. 

Esme is forbidden to open her bedroom shutters, that her father built to block out the night. The stories Esme loves are the ones her father tells her each night aren’t they full to bursting with courageous girls doing forbidden things? With Esme ‘s father telling her once upon a time stories this reminded me of when I was a little girl and my late father told me once upon a time fairytale stories, until I fell off to sleep. 

You can tell how talented this author is when he sets character Levon in an uncertain voice to tell a story. Levon began in English to start the story…..Past the forests of midnight, so the old stories say, a boy lived alone where the dark magic held sway. He’d been vilified, exiled, spat on and stoned for he was a pauper, who just hadn’t known, that pauper can’t ask for the hand of a queen, that a pauper must live life unheard and unseen. So they’d driven him off from our glittering tide, to an anchorage deep in the radiant wild.

This is not how it was, in that time long ago. We were bravest k then. We were nobel and bold. So the start of this tale is a terrible thing a lost, lonely pauper, who couldn’t be King.

Come sail with me, come sail with me, out across the land locked sea.

Isabelle had heard this tale before it was one of Maia’s favourites, the story of the boy who fell in ove with the moon.

Paris in Starlight will appeal to fans of Robert’s previous novels like The Toymaker. And if you haven’t read any of his previous novels like me, you will enjoy Paris by Starlight. 

I would like to thank penguin random house fir sending me this amazing hardback to read and review.


About author Robert Dinsdale 


Robert Dinsdale was born in North Yorkshire and currently lives in Leigh-On -Sea. He is the author of three previous critically acclaimed novels. 

THE HARROWING, LITTLE EXILES, and GINGERBREAD.

His bestselling novel THE TOYMAKERS was his first venture into magic.