New Sherlock Holmes Anthologies #CazVinBooks #MXPublishing #DavidMarcum #Sherlock #SherlockHomes #CrimeFiction #Review #BlogTour

Sherlock Holmes Anthologies
By Various and MX Publishing
– David Marcum

I am pleased to be on the blog tour for 3 Sherlock Homes Anthologies of short stories and wonderfully written forewards as to why this has been done. If you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes, these would sit very well in your collection. Later in the year I will also be reviewing some other newly written Sherlock Holmes books, so watch out for those. For now, here is a bit about the anthologies and my review on a few rather good pieces and buying links are below too. I thank Caroline for the blog tour invite and Steve

Sherlock MX Blog Tour May 2020 _ New Sherlock Holmes Stories (1)

 

About the New Sherlock Holmes Anothologies

The books of new sherlock holmes stories ~ 2020
book XiX, XX, and XXI

Mx publishing ~ David marcum

64 new, traditional Sherlock Holmes Stories making up the latest three volumes in the world’s largest collection of Sherlock Holmes Stories – XIX, XX and XXI.

In 2015, the first three volumes of The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories arrived, containing over 60 stories in the true traditional Canonical manner, revisiting Holmes and Watson in those days where it is “always 1895” . . . or a few decades on either side of that. That was the largest collection of new Holmes stories ever assembled, and originally planned to be a one-time event. But readers wanted more, and the contributors had more stories from Watson’s Tin Dispatch Box, so the fun continued.

Now, with the release of Parts XIX, XX, and XXI, the series has grown to over 450 new Holmes adventures by nearly 200 contributors from around the world. Since the beginning, all contributor royalties go to the Stepping Stones School for special needs children at Undershaw, one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s former homes, and to date the project has raised nearly $60,000 for the school.

As has become the tradition, this new collection of 64 adventures features Holmes and Watson carrying out their masterful investigations from the early days of their friendship in Baker Street to the post-War years during Holmes’s retirement. Along the way they are involved in some fascinating mysteries – some relating Untold Cases, others sequels to Canonical adventures, and a number progressing along completely unexpected lines.

Join us as we return to Baker Street and discover more authentic adventures of Sherlock Holmes, described by the estimable Dr. Watson as “the best and wisest . . . whom I have ever known.”

Featuring – Roger Riccard, Matthew White, Kevin P. Thornton, Chris Chan, Nick Cardillo, MJH Simmonds, Craig Stephen Copland, Will Murray, Ian Ableson, Thomas A. Turley, David Marcum, Dick Gillman, David Friend, Arthur Hall, Brenda Seabrooke, James Moffett, Robert Stapleton, Andrew Bryant, Will Murray, Andrew Bryant, Peter Coe Verbica, Sean M. Wright, and Tim Gambrell, with a poem by Christopher James, and forewords by John Lescroart, Roger Johnson, Lizzy Butler, Steve Emecz, and David Marcum

Sherlock 3 Anthologies May 2020 (1)

Review

There is much to be read within these anthologies that would satisfy any Sherlock Holmes fans. I have selected a small amount to review. This isn’t to do with any quality or not with the writing of those I have not, it is merely a time constraint on my part and also the publisher and blog tour organiser saying a few will be enough. After all, you’ve got to discover something for yourselves right?

The title The Raspberry Tart, written by Roger Riccard; grabbed my attention first, It all takes a rather theatrical turn. The author has Sherlock down to a “T”. I simply love, even though it is creepy and you seriously wouldn’t want it done to you, when Sherlock analyses a person and quickly goes through everything to explain how he knows your profession and who you are. He does this with his client, Mr Ellington, who has fallen in love with an actress at a theatre, called Judith Morrow and it takes a twist here and there. It is a good piece of observational writing and very astute.

Now, here is a title of a story that has a recipe in it, whether it works or not and what it tastes like, I honestly couldn’t tell you. It is for De Burres Orange Fool and you will find it at the end of this particular short story. It features in The Nauch Night Case by Brenda Seabrooke. It’s the middle of the night when Mrs Hudson and the rest of the household are woken up by Scotland Yard, desperately needing Dr. Watson to act as Coroner as their usual one is up in Scotland. Holmes then goes to DeBurres Club, near Boodles, where he once hada bit of a to-do with the chef over a pudding. Things aren’t as you can imagine, quite as pleasant as they first seem on the face of it. There’s been a death and Lestrad is onto it, along with Holmes and Watson of course. There’s some mild amusement in this well-told tale that has enough to hold the attention of its readers. It also flows particularly well and has a very good storyline.

How about a Game of Skittles anyone? A Game of Skittles is written by Thomas A. Turley. It begins with the political situation between Gladstone and Chamberlain as Mycroft keeps himself busy with foreign affairs. Skittles is in this case of course, not a game, but rather a person who was rather youthful in demeanour and attitude in her younger days. There are hints of blackmail in this case. The notes immediately after this short story are also well written out and actually interesting.

Sherlock MX anthology 19 FC mockup

Within the second volume there are stories like Blood and Gunpowder by Thomas A. Burns, Jr. Dr. Watson is alone in the world in France, until Sherlock Holmes turns up. Persano is the victim before a duel could happen. It is an intriguing read.

Mrs Hudson is with Dr. Watson in The Atelier of Death by Harry Di Maio. The mystery takes place around a south London art gallery and there is a dastardly case afoot involving poison, a student programme and a twist at the end, which all in all is very well conceived and enjoyable.

It is certainly an intriguing start to The Adventure of the Beauty Trap by Tracy J. Revels when you want to know just what Holmes and Watson are looking at as Sherlock rebukes Watson. Enter Arabian baths, meet the retired Major Winston and Miss Louvois and her ladies and a strange, sinister atmosphere, conveyed, skillfully in the writing for how characters behave and react in certain situations. There is more than meets the eye to the business and it isn’t as pretty as the customers would believe before they enter.

Sherlock MX anthology 20 FC mockup

In volume 3 – The Case of The Missing Rhyme by Jospeph W. Svec 111 is in actual fact all cleverly put together in a rhyming poem, which is all rather fun about what a scandal it if it cannot be found.

The Adventure of the Grand Vizier by Arthur Hall takes place in the British Museum amongst the egyptian artifacts before heading to Cheam Passage, near Berkley Square area to pay Sir Oswald a visit to question him on the disappearance of the Sceptre of Nubis. It all ends rather nicely and there’s a sweet thought for Mrs Hudson in this well written and good story.

There are so many stories each of the 3 anthologies that Sherlock Holmes and anthology fans will enjoy and can feast their eyes on. There will, no doubt be some you like more over others, but they seem of a pretty good standard and are well thoughtout and feel somewhat respectful to Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation and original works, which in my opinion is a good thing too. I have, in my selection attempted to give a wide as possible view of the different sorts of mysteries you can expect.

Buying links:

Amazon UK:

The MX Book for New Sherlock Holmes Stories XIX
The MX Book for New Sherlock Holmes Stories XX
The MX Book for New Sherlock Holmes Stories XXI

MX Publishing – website: www.mxpublishing.com
MX Publishing – twitter: https://twitter.com/mxpublishing

 

Sherlock 3 Anthologies May 2020 (1)

Review of Lionheart by Ben Kane @BenKane @orionbooks @gigicroft #HistoricalFiction #LionHeart #MedievelFiction #SundayTimesBestSeller #Review

Lionheart
By Ben Kane
Rated: 5 Stars *****

Lionheart by Ben Kane is the first in a new series of books. Now writing in medievel times, this is very accomplished writing of fiction that has been expertly woven together with an amazing amount of research. It is unputtdownable and highly addictive reading. It is a must for fans of Ben Kane, the 1100’s or even if this isn’t your usual genre, it is absolutely one I would recommend you gave a go.

With thanks to Virginia Woolstencroft at Orion Publishing for slotting me into her blog tour and for sending me an advance review copy (ARC) of the book.

About the Author

Kenya born, Irish by blood and UK resident, Ben Kane’s passion for history has seen him change career from veterinary medicine to writing, and taken him to more than 60 countries, and all 7 continents. During his travels and subsequent research, including walking hundreds of miles in complete Roman military gear, he has learned much about the Romans and the way they lived. Ten of his thirteen novels have been Sunday Times top ten bestsellers, and his books are published in twelve languages; a million copies have sold worldwide. In 2016, his research was recognised by Bristol University with an honorary Doctor of Letters degree. Kane lives in Somerset with his wife and children, where he writes full time.

LionHeart by Ben Kane.jpg

Blurb

REBEL. LEADER. BROTHER. KING.

1179. Henry II is King of England, Wales, Ireland, Normandy, Brittany and Aquitaine. The House of Plantagenet reigns supreme.

But there is unrest in Henry’s house. Not for the first time, his family talks of rebellion.

Ferdia – an Irish nobleman taken captive during the conquest of his homeland – saves the life of Richard, the king’s son. In reward for his bravery, he is made squire to Richard, who is already a renowned warrior.

Crossing the English Channel, the two are plunged into a campaign to crush rebels in Aquitaine. The bloody battles and gruelling sieges which followed would earn Richard the legendary name of Lionheart.

But Richard’s older brother, Henry, is infuriated by his sibling’s newfound fame. Soon it becomes clear that the biggest threat to Richard’s life may not be rebel or French armies, but his own family…

Review

Don the armour and join the knights to be ready for Richard Lionheart. A rebel, leader, king in this exquisitely written novel, where Boots and Fists and Countess Aoife is also encountered and Henry 11’s army that has swept through England, Wales and now Ireland. This is a the first in a new series from Ben Kane, that takes readers into the 1100s. It is as every bit as a accomplished at writing about the Middle-ages/Medievel times as he is at writing about the Romans.

The book begins in 1179 and the Medievel scene is written with such artistry. The main character is Ferdia, which comes from a legendary taine/toyne/story told in Ireland. He is incarcerated in a cell, wondering if he would ever return to Cairlinn and see his family, although given some freedoms. The word choice is evocative and moving.

The writing is simply a treat to read, as every paragraph and word engages. Every smell, nuance is remarkably captured and written in this book, placing you right there in the scene as you look onwards to see what’s going to happen next. It is almost cinematic in feel and panoramic in scene setting.
The scenes of trying to even get a glimpse of Duke Richard’s arrival are lively and one of the most splendid and grandest meals are served for him.

The years roll on by to 1182-1183 and there are fine sets of armour and word of battles.
The mind too can be dark as dreams can become murderous as night falls. There are battles with many consequences in Southampton and the Duke is perhaps courageous and won’t retreat. Later it is fascinating meeting the Duke’s family with their rebellious nature.

Travel  to the third part of this tale and enter the period – 1187-1189, to fortresses and camps on the border of Aquitaine and the kindom of France, which becomes quite hostile, after what seems like a more relaxed start of these years. There is also meetings of Phillipe and depictions of the holy land and Saracens and Christians to encounter.

There is also some very moving moments that are written with a light touch and delicacy, as the story moves on, that changes the mood from the battles and the harsher clunking of swords of before. It’s quite a contrast that is written with aplomb! 

Surprisingly, there is actually some mild humour and a little romance to be found within this book, that also has betrayal and trechery within it, for this is however, a serious book that grips tight and doesn’t let go until the end. It is very addictive reading as the pages glide across the hands with the lightest of touches and the time ticks on by with barely a noticable sound and before you know it, you’ve been at the book for a good long while.

The end made me smile as there is such a fitting conclusion to the book. Even if this is not your usual genre or time period to read, it is absolutely worth reading. It is pleasantly surprising and an incredibly well-written and researched book. As I eluded to, I could barely put it down until I reached the end and only then, because, well, the end forces you to.

The author’s note is incredibly interesting, for a bit more insight into the medievel times, depicted within the story, why Ben Kane moved away from writing about Romans for his latest book and a bit of endearing insight into himself as he shares a bit about his charitable work.

There will be a second book within this new Lionheart series, which is set to hit the shelves in 2021. I may just need to take a read at that one as well.

Partner’s In Crime Podcast with Adam Croft and Robert Daws @RobertDaws @AdamCroft @CrimeFicPodcast #podcasts

It’s been awhile since I have talked about this podcast, so, as I just listened to one, I thought I’d do a quick write-up as you may be interested in listening in too this evening as the weather is rather mixed, or indeed any time.

Grounded in their own homes, Robert Daws and Adam Croft are still doing their podcast – Partner’s In Crime, that has been running for over 100 episodes now.
Now, you can watch them do it too via YouTube. I have provided a link at the bottom.

They’ve had a bit of bother in their gardens in the episode called Simply Not Cricket, especially Adam Croft… who’d have thought gardens could be so hazardous! It all involves a pot and finger.

They reckon time spent on reading books have now doubled. The stats are interesting that are discussed. Thrillers seem to be a favourite. They talk about Peter May’s book called Lockdown. I would also like to suggest people try out The Health of Strangers series by Lesley Kelly too.

Robert Daws talked about how he got into detective series. Also look out for Trueman and Riley, available on audiobook, which sounds a good one.

There’s interesting talk about Agatha Christie.

There’s interesting chat called Cold Bones by David Mark, makes me feel a bit cold listening to it due to the setting. It sounds intrguing and gritty.

As podcasts go, being in lockdown, this is a pretty good one.

Click here for links to the podcast Twitter Page with further links within it for the episodes

Click here for the podcasts

Both have books as well, which you will find around my blog about, so check out those too as they’re very good.

 

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman @CharityNorman1 @AllenAndUnwin #TheSecretsofStrangers #RandomThingsTours #Thriller #CrimeFiction #BlogTour #Review #MustRead

The Secrets of Strangers
by Charity Norman
Rated: 5 stars *****

Tense, compelling, touching, The Secret of Strangers is an excellent read. I can well see why the author has made it to the Radio 2 Bookclub and with a previous book – The Richard and Judy Bookclub. It is with thanks to the publisher Allen & Unwin that I have the great opportunity for reviewing The Secrets of Strangers – a stand-alone novel. It’s a Must Read thriller set in a cafe and one, I am ecstatic to share with you as a tale of one gunman and three hostages unfolds. I loved this book so, so much!!! Read on for more info and my full review, that I’ve approached from a slightly different angle this time of writing it.

About the Author

The Secret of Strangers Charity Norman Author PicCharity Norman was born in Uganda and brought up in successive draughty vicarages in Yorkshire and Birmingham. After several years’ travel she became a barrister, specialising in crime and family law. In 2002, realising that her three children had barely met her, she took a break from the law and moved with her family to New Zealand. THE SECRETS OF STRANGERS is her sixth novel.

 

Secrets of Strangers Cover

Blurb

A regular weekday morning veers drastically off-course for five strangers whose paths cross in a London café – their lives never to be the same again when an apparently crazed gunman holds them hostage.

But there is more to the situation than first meets the eye and as the captives grapple with their own inner demons, the line between right and wrong starts to blur. Will the secrets they keep stop them from escaping with their lives?

Another tense, multi-dimensional drama from the writer of the Richard & Judy bestseller After the Fall.

Review

This book is absolutely terrific and so unputdownable. Sleep eluded me. I didn’t want to get to the end because I seriously didn’t want to have to leave this book and yet I really, really needed to see how it would all end. It was seriously that good and it’s a book I imagine I will read again someday. I was pulled into this book gripping book within the first few pages and time knew no bounds as it ticked on by as the pages turned ever so easily from one to the next, never stopping to look at a clock.

Told through 6 main characters – Abi, Eliza, Mutesi, Sam, Neil, Rosie as they more or less take on the chapters, this is a captivating book which is incredibly well-written and the more I read, the more I want to keep going through the intensity of what is ultimately an eloquently told story within the premise of a hostage situation in a cafe. This is a story of the time of being taken hostage and the very human story surrounding this and how people get to know each other a little more and about the secrets they have.

Meet the characters:

Neil is quickly established as being homeless, but used to work for a company making medical equipment. He used to be a teacher prior to being made homeless and has quite a story to tell.

Abi works as a barrister and has worked on many cases. She has also been struggling to conceive, even with IVF with Charlie. It’s emotive.

Mutesi cleans in the church – St. Judes and is a nurse in a carehome and you wonder what more there is to her, which is discovered in the book.

Eliza works for the MET in the serious crime unit and is also a hostage negotiator. She has a family – a teenage son and a husband – Richard who is self-employed. It was all love at first sight, whilst travelling on a train on the beautiful East Coast Railway. A line I have travelled often on, as has many people. She has quite a role to play as is involved in negotations.

Sam at 8 years old, helps around his parent’s farm and is keen to be a farmer and less keen on school, where he gets support for his dyslexia. I do love how his dad likes when the school is on summer holidays and comes across as having a terrific attitude to them. This is until tragedy strikes. Everything changed! Psychologically everything changed. There is a powerful theme within that, handled sensitively and so well as destruction ensues. More secrets come out and there’s some cause and effect that is presented in the story. There’s some sinister goings on with him being manipulated for years. It is interesting to see how and why he ends up where he is as an adult.

Rosie – despises her dad- until she really needs his help that is and is interesting how that unfolds

The rest of my thoughts on what is an exceptional book

There’s a lovely sounding cafe called Tuckbox, whose usual hustle and bustle is disturbed one day when a gun man walks in and the atmosphere rapidly changes and there’s a real sense of urgency in the writing as circumstances change.

 The tension that builds is just phenomenal, as is the clarity of writing and that with the music references that are scattered throughout works so well together.
What else that is is so great about reading this book, is it is so easy to follow because it flows so well from character to character. The book really is like looking into The Tuckshop Cafe and seeing exactly where each character is and what’s happening in each of their lives at every step of the hostage situation they find themselves in.

You feel the anguish of each person as the hostage situation builds and also at times, an almost claustrophobic atmosphere as they try and find hiding places to keep safe. Also as tension builds up, so do the characters as readers get a deeper insight into their lives.

There’s the sense of danger and delicacy of negotiating the hostage taker, that is written so naturally and well.

What else can be said, except, this is an exceptional book that I highly recommend as a Must Read.

Do follow the rest of the tour too.

The Secrets of Strangers BT Poster

 

The Sound of Music @OfficialALW #TheShowMustGoOn #YouTube #OnlineEvent #VirtualTheatre #Review #Musicals #TheSoundOfMusic

The Sound of Music
By Andrew Lloyd Webber and Rodgers and Hammerstein
Rated: 4 stars ****
Available on You Tube Now
until later on Sunday

The Sound of Music

“Raindrops on roses” certainly goes with the weather today. Perhaps battered roses where I am with the ferocity of of the wind and rain. It’s a good day for staying indoors and watching a bit of online theatre instead of to “Climb Every Mountain”, that can wait until things are safe again to protect each other and ourselves and the NHS. So, hopefully everyone is well and able to keep dry and can enjoy that aforementioned song and many others.

It is as the film is, jolly and upbeat, but with the dark undertones of war brewing and the Nazis wanting to occupy Austria. The film still rules, but the stage version has pretty good performances too and when you know all the songs like Doh-Re-Mi to learn your scales and the fun I am Sixteen Going on Seventeen and the emotional Eidelweiss, they’ll be sure to cheer up the day, at least for a little while and see if you too can enjoy some “Favourite Things”. On that note I’ll bid you “So long, Farewell” for now until a book review on Sunday about a book that everyone is finding hard to put down, it is that good.

For now you can find The Sound of Music on You Tube on The Show Must Go On channel. It is available from now until some time on Sunday.

Grown Ups by Marian Keyes – It does what it says on the cover @MarianKeyes @PenguinUKBooks #GrownUps #Review #Fiction

Grown Ups
By Marian Keyes
Rated: 4 stars ****

I thought I would check Grown Ups out via Audible. It is also available on e-book and print/physical form. So, I present my review of the book about what it means to be a grown up and what a life it can be. So, without much further ado, I introducereaders to the blurb and  my review as well as a bit about Marian Keyes. You will also find a link to her website.

About the Author

Marian Keyes is one of the most successful Irish novelists of all time. Though she was brought up in a home where a lot of oral story-telling went on, it never occurred to her that she could write.
Marian Keyes is the international bestselling author of Watermelon, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, Rachel’s Holiday, Last Chance Saloon, Sushi for Beginners, Angels, The Other Side of the Story, Anybody Out There, This Charming Man, The Brightest Star in the Sky , The Mystery of Mercy Close, The Woman Who Stole My Life, The Break and her latest Number One bestseller, Grown Ups. Her two collections of journalism, Making it up as I Go Along and Under the Duvet: Deluxe Edition are also available from Penguin.

Click here for her website

 

Grownups.jpg

Blurb

They’re a glamorous family, the Caseys.

Johnny Casey, his two brothers, Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together – birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they’re a happy family. Johnny’s wife, Jessie – who has the most money – insists on it.

Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much…

Everything stays under control until Ed’s wife, Cara, gets concussion and can’t keep her thoughts to herself. One careless remark at Johnny’s birthday party, with the entire family present, starts Cara spilling out all their secrets.

In the subsequent unravelling, every one of the adults finds themselves wondering if it’s time – finally – to grow up?

Review

I thought I would listen to an audiobook whilst doing a bit of exercise and so, chose Grown Ups to see if it lived up to the hype. I pretty much does. The audiobook is actually narrated by Marian Keyes herself, which is very pleasant and actually fairly relaxing and she has narrated her story very well. It’s a book that is perhaps a little overly long, but you know what, to listen to it, the book, pretty much grabs you and I just had to find out how it all ended, even though by this time, to listen to it, it became quite a pleasant ritual and you can’t help by then, having a sense of involvement, so I’m pleased I did decide to give this a chance.

It certainly is an interesting family and is impressive in the amount of themes and different adult types it covers. Grown Ups is the perfect title for it. It does what it says on the “tin” or rather cover. I did also  wonder, in certain parts who would want to be a grown up with so much to deal with, after reading this as I decided that the cover looks somewhat appropriate.


Grown Ups covers so much of adult life and is certainly inclusive in that way, almost like no other book I’ve read or listened to. It’s quite original in that sense. It also makes you hungry to begin with, with all the food in the restaurant business. The family are far from as perfect as they seem to begin with, when it all seems like fun and romantic. Secrets just tumble out from Cara and everything starts to unravel as truths are presented.

Apart from the fun and lovely food, there are relationship troubles in every sense, there’s mental health issues in terms of bulemia mostly and therapy, it mentions the couples, the singles, business doing well and not doing so well and having to face challenges of restructuring. Even period poverty gets a mention. It did like almost every aspect of adult life was mentioned and yet it did all tie together to create a story that has some humour and some light entertainment throughout the emotions and at times is quite profound. There is also hope and light through some of the darkness presented as readers will head to the very satisfying conclusion.
The storytelling is very good and if you read it in book form, I know, from the way it was told, it would be to a very good standard too.