Corruption of Power by G.W. Eccles

mylittlebookblog (1)

Hello readers, hope you’re well. It’s been a bit of a crazy week so apologies if I’ve been a little quiet. Getting my head back in the blogging game after Christmas took a little longer than I thought and I’ve just has 564758385757 post ideas but no time to get them all down. Saying that having the time off has meant lots more reading time (despite the reading slump) and I’ve been reading some stunning books – today’s is pretty wonderful, enjoy!

Independent troubleshooter, Alex Leksin, is recruited by Prime Minister Saidov when the plan to reduce Russia’s reliance on an ever more hostile Europe is put at risk. Hell bent on expansion, President Karpev’s strategy is first to shift the markets for his country’s vast energy resources to the East and Saidov has been charged with overseeing a planned pipeline for Russia’s oil through Turkmenistan and Afghanistan to access these markets. Failure could mean catastrophe, spreading the conflict raging in the Middle East to Russia’s own borders.

Against a background of political corruption, state-sponsored terrorism and increased Taliban insurgency, Leksin moves on to Turkmenistan, one of the world’s most sinister countries, right at the heart of Central Asia. Initially his enquiries reveal nothing to cause alarm. Other factors, though, suggest otherwise: wherever Leksin goes, someone tries to kill him; people in a position to help him are assassinated; and information turns out to be misinformation.


So you’ll have to forgive me a little because this is the second book in the series and I don’t believe I’ve read the first – it’s been one of those days. This book follows the protagonist Alex Leksin who is a trouble-shooter working for both Prime Minister Saidov and President Karpev. His job is simply to investigate and monitor the deal that will see Russia moving its vast energy resources to the East. Leksin is put in charge of making sure everything is above-board so to speak. However, there’s a bit of a time constraint, as Leksin only has twelve days to report back before Karpev needs to sign the contract with the President in Ashgabat – you still following? As Leksin continues his investigations he finds that there are people on his trail that will stop at nothing to take him off the grid and assassinate him and the knowledge that he has collected.

So now we’ve got through the nitty-gritty plot onto the good bits. Did I enjoy this book? Yes, although I’m not sure I understood all of it. When it comes to political, action books I do struggle sometimes. There is a lot of plot to understand and to keep your finger on and at times I did find myself confused as to what exactly was going on. However Eccles has created a really strong character in Leksin. Easy to warm to and a strong exciting character I really enjoyed reading along and learning more about the corruption of powers and the dangers that were constantly playing with our main characters.

Untitled design (2)

It is also important to know that this book is incredibly well-researched. It appears that Eccles has spent a large portion of his life living and working in Kazakhstan Russia and it really shows. The descriptions and the detail put in is of a wonderful quality and it adds flair to the writing – you can tell that this really is a passion of the authors and it comes through strongly on the page. It’s not just seen in the action and the political parts but also in the parts that talk about culture and the lifestyles that are found in the different locations of the book – whether we’re in Russia or in Turkmenistan it’s got so much flavour and understanding that can only come from real-life experiences.

Although it has a very real feeling to it there are parts that are a little, over-the-top. For me, this added to the plot because there were parts that were quite heavy and with these more exciting, action style interludes it helped to break-up the heavier bits of text. The book does include a lot of twists and turns and I enjoyed the juxtaposition between the two governments in Russia and Turkman and I think the author did a great job in explaining it in a way that was interesting and  exciting. I’m sure there are bits that I missed in terms of detail but I felt I got a very rounded experience from the book as a whole.

So would I recommend this? Yes, definitely. I not only really enjoyed this book but I felt that I learnt something. It’s been sold as a thriller but it is more than that. It’s a literary experience and one I really, really enjoyed. Thumbs up and can’t wait to see what the author writes next.




The Highway by C.J. Box

mylittlebookblog (1)

Helllllo readers, it’s time for another book review. I’m sorry for the lack of Christmas tales but I don’t tend to buy/get requests/have time around this time of year. It’s one of the wobbles with scheduling posts in the future and it’s something I want to get better at – but having to shut my review requests inbox I’ve been battling through the books and festive tales have just been disregarded this year *sobs.* I must just say before we start this is the second in the Cody Hoyt series by C.J Box and I haven’t read the first because I’m silly and didn’t realise! Without delay le review.

It was Danielle and Gracie’s secret. A teenage adventure. A 1,000 mile drive along the spine of the Rocky Mountains to visit Danielle’s boyfriend in Montana. Their parents were never to know. But now the girls have simply vanished.

The only person who knows they’re missing is Danielle’s boyfriend. He persuades his father – a disgraced, suspended cop – to search for them. But he too simply disappears.

Now it’s up to rookie cop, war widow and single mother Cassie Dewell to find them. Her investigation will introduce her to FBI’s Highway Serial Killer Task Force, compel her to confront a spate of roadside sexual mutilations and murders, and lure her towards a darkness greater than anything she could ever have imagined.


As the blurb states the book follows two sister Gracie and Danielle Sullivan who set out from their mother’s home in Denver to celebrate Thanksgiving with their father. However Danielle has a secret; they’re going to visit her old boyfriend Justin but neither her sister nor Justin know until they’re on the road. Justin’s father Cody Hoyt is an  ex-law enforcement officer fired for planting evidence and once he learns from Justin that the two girls have gone off the grid after failing to arrive, he goes out to search for them despite being fired for planting evidence in a previous murder trial. Cody aware that many young women have been vanishing in the region enlists Cassie to help him find the girls and the man he believes to be the kidnapper. Can they find the girls in time?

I’m going to try really hard to not give away any spoilers and yet still let you know how brilliant this book is. In terms of the writing the characters are wonderfully deep and full of character profiling. They spring from the page with realistic dialogue and believable actions.  The build up of the characters Danielle and Gracie is skillfully done and seeing one play the hero or survivor and one more of a victim was a good contrast. The author also really plays with the different personalities of Cassie and Cody. We see Cassie come into her own as the good cop who though having to deal with the stresses of being a female officer in terms of sexism and the like – although not from Cody, grows strongly in confidence.

Untitled design (1)

The action with the girls is continually intermixed with the life of a long-distance trucker who calls himself the Lizard King. Here we get insights into the life on the road and the traffic laws and the continuing hierarchy of the different truckers at the gas stations and the rules they live by. The writing has lots of different sub-plots that are intermixed well and flow well together. The descriptions are heady and the swapping between the girls, the Lizard king and the detectives story lines works well despite there being a lot to keep an eye out for.

I guess the only negative I can really come up with was there is definitely an unsavory tone to the book as a whole. The use of the truckers and girls they pick up and what happens next is disturbing and dark. There were quite a few horrific moments and this book definitely stayed with me and made an impact. For me, it’s a work of fiction and it’s important to remember that but there definitely was a very dark side to this book that surprised me a little. The only other complaint was some bits were overly repeated as if we couldn’t keep an eye on the plot twists which over time became tedious.

Overall though I thought this was a well crafted and created book. I thought the storyline was quite original (for me.) I know numerous readers would disagree with that looking at Goodreads and Amazon but I am yet to encounter a book that looks at this type of thriller plot. It also seems that those have read the first book in the series were a little angry. For me, reading the second only it didn’t affect me as much. Overall I solid although a little bit of a terrifying read.


Author Goodreads



Dwelling by Thomas S Flowers

mylittlebookblog (1)

Hellllo readers and happy Christmas Eve. I’m going to put in a small spoiler – this is a seriously gushy review. There are some authors that I continue to go back to and this author is up there with my favourites – I think I’ve read three of his books/novellas now and they are all seriously brilliant. Some authors just have a way with words – character build up, action, description, feeling, emotion it all just works. I’ve got so much to talk about it so little time so onto the review lovely readers.

A group of inseparable childhood friends are now adults, physically and psychologically devastated by war… A horrifying creature emerges from a sandstorm just before Ricky Smith dies in battle. Forced to leave base housing, his widow Maggie buys a home on Oak Lee Road in the town of Jotham. Maggie is isolated in the historic house…and disconcerted by strange clicking sounds inside the walls. 

When Maggie wakes in a strange subterranean cavern, she can’t deny her home harbors dark secrets. Desperate, she sends letters to her old friends to reunite in Jotham, and events conspire to draw them all to the house…unaware of the danger awaiting them. The friends have already been through hell, but can any of them survive the evil dwelling beneath the House on Oak Lee?

I’ve had to cut down the blurb a little because it is quite long but the crux of the book follows a group of former childhood friends (once named the Suicide Squad) who now as adults are each in situations they could never have foreseen happening. Each of them has been affected by war whether physically, mentally or emotionally but these are the least of the groups worries – there is something even more dangerous at play. When Maggie moves back in 1475 Oak Lee Road she unleashes an evil that is desperate on completely ruining everything.

So there’s kind of the nitty-gritty – onto the rest of the review. In terms of the group of friends the characterisation is utterly brilliantly. Each character is seamlessly created and they spring from the pages easily and with force.Maggie is a delightful character but the stresses and troubles from her past constantly undermine her and make her vulnerable, Jonathon wounded in battle and deeply traumatised by the death of Ricky is struggling with PTSD. Watching him try to deal with everything around him was deeply intriguing but utterly heartbreaking. Minister Jake Williams and Bobby are equally well drawn – both completely different and yet struggling to deal with the situations around them.
From the very first meeting with each of the characters you can relate completely to each and every one. It is very rare you can connect with so many characters so strongly so quickly. It is seamless. Utterly brilliant in fact. Additionally throughout we see each of the characters personally go through their minds for peace and understanding. There may be just one character in the scene and yet I was awestruck, mesmerised even, by the author’s ability to get me inside the characters head.
The Wacky Bookish(2)
The writing style (as always) is utterly brilliant – read this, the first paragraph;
Gunfire rattled off in the distance. Screams, but here in this place there’s a strange way the dust swallows the sound, making it impossible to tell where the shots were coming from. An eerie yellowness interfused and covered everything, like some symbiotic creature, draining life. It’s in the air we breathe. On our uniforms and the thawbs the locals wear. It cakes the ground. You can see tire and feet tracks in the soft plumes of smoke kicked just a few inches off the ground. It even covers the garbage. God…the garbage seems to have no end. 
and it continues all the way through. Every single paragraph, every sentence has been written with thought. You can tell that it’s all been utterly thought through and created to create this atmosphere that’s slightly uneasy and tense. I don’t know many authors that can do this. (Lizzy stop gushing) but honestly – bloody spot on.
In terms of the plot not all has been given away – we know there is evil, we know where it is but we’re not quite sure what it is, why is doing this and what it is doing. However throughout you are so compelled with drawing everything together it only leads the way to the next book and what further plot Thomas is going to draw together. I for one cannot wait. The writing is tense, exciting draws you in. This book is more of build up – getting to know each of the characters and yet the evil is building slowly but morbidly.
The Wacky Bookish(2)
This is  a fantastic horror story and I’m not surprised as soon as Thomas sends me a book I make a point to get it read as soon as. His writing is stunning, honest, open and full of passion and emotion. I believe Thomas served in the military and the emotion that is strong and honest especially in Johnathan’s story is just – perfect. Heartbreaking but perfect. I’m just going to leave with this. Hats off to you Thomas Flowers.

The Weight of Silence by Helen Gudenkauf

mylittlebookblog (1)

Hello readers, feel like this is going to be a regular occurrence but this lovely book came from the really upsetting closing of my local bookstore which I have bought books from throughout my time in the different world that is Stoke on Trent. I plucked up the courage to finally ask when it’ll be closing its doors and it’ll be the end of January which will be a really upsetting day. This book was not what I was expecting at all but did I enjoy it – yes I think I did.

Calli Clark is a dreamer. A sweet, gentle girl, Callie suffers from selective mutism, brought on by a tragedy she experienced as a toddler. Her mother Antonia tries her best to help, but is trapped in a marriage to a violent husband.

Petra Gregory is Calli’s best friend, her soul mate and her voice. But neither Petra nor Calli have been heard from since their disappearance was discovered.

Now Calli and Petra’s families are bound by the question of what has happened to their children. As support turns to suspicion, it seems the answers lie trapped in the silence of unspoken secrets.

As the blurb suggests the book follows Calli Clark who is a selective mute which is brought on by an incredibly stressful situation as a young child. Living in an amongst the woods with her alcoholic father and her graceful but fragile mother Calli is a dreamer and a delightful girl. However, one early morning Petra and Calli both disappear. We follow the story as the families attempt to find their daughters amongst the uncompromising forest and realign their lives.

These past few months there has definitely been a reading focus for me on different book focuses that I have yet to experience really and the only other experience with selective mutism was a Natasha Preston book which I struggled with if I’m honest. As a reader I immediately became engaged with the plot line and the many different narrative voices that are given to us. The writing is heady and evocative and really sold the landscape and the lifestyle of the characters we are reading about.Sometimes the multiple narrator doesn’t work but here it does -although only just. It does however allow the plot to become clear a lot quicker which means that you’re constantly moving between the different storylines.I also liked that Calli’s chapters were written in third person which helps to contrast with the first person used in the rest of the book – seeing as she doesn’t talk it helps to set the scene and keep the consistency of the novel. I thought the sixteen hour period of time worked well to engage the reader too.

Untitled design(20)

There are a number of wobbles – I was throughout annoyed at many of the characters especially both Calli’s parents. Griff is frustrating and difficult to agree with, although he is a flawed character there’s something utterly horrible about him. I really felt for Antonia and the difficulties that she has with Griff and protecting her children from his alcoholic tendencies but there was more to it. She’s irresponsible to her children throughout and I really felt for little Calli. I also thought the book was a little light for the heavier aspects of the novel as a whole; we deal with alcoholism, domestic abuse, child abuse and yet it falls slightly off the mark in really investing the reader and I think it’s because of the characters being so unlikable and so difficult to relate emotionally.

Overall though I did enjoy this; it brought me an interesting plot line the suspense was woven in well and I did gabble through to the end. I didn’t quite get the ‘who-dunnit,’ at then end but I did enjoy working through what I thought the ending would consist of. A little heavier, more likeable characters and I think this would have resonated more with me, but still a good read.







Close My Eyes Paperback by Sophie McKenzie

mylittlebookblog (1)

Helllllllo readers and happy Thursday – it’s an odd day of the week for me because it’s so close to the weekend but still so far away. It’s been an interesting week – a lot of ups and downs and still trying to slowly get through this quarter life crisis. I’m currently using the excuse of not yet passing my driving test but I’m getting closer and closer to passing and then I have to start making life decisions – like nuh-uh, still not ready. For now imma going to ignore all of that and bring you a review – enjoy bookworms.

It’s been eight years since Gen Loxley lost her daughter, Beth: eight years of grief in which nothing’s really moved forward, for all that her husband, Art, wills it to. Gen, once a writer of novels, has settled in to a life of half-hearted teaching, while Art makes his name and their fortune – and pressures her into trying IVF once again. For Gen, it seems a cruel act of replacement; life without Beth is unthinkable, unbearable – but still it goes on. And then a woman arrives on Gen’s doorstep, saying the very thing she longs to hear: that her daughter was not stillborn, but was spirited away as a healthy child, and is out there, waiting to be found…So why is Art reluctant to get involved? To save his wife from further hurt? Or something much more sinister? What is the truth about Beth Loxley?

As the blurb suggests the book follows the life of Gen and Art who terribly lost their little girl when she was born stillborn; something that Gen is yet to recover from. As Art moves on with his life Gen is trapped in the grief of her daughter’s death – however when a lady arrives on her doorstep tell her, her sister was there at the birth and the little girl was fine alarm bells start ringing. As Gen starts to dig into the history of the birth, her life is turned upside down as she struggles to come to terms with the fact her baby may be alive – is Art involved? How could the doctor have orchestrated anything like that? What did happen the day her daughter was born – read le book to find out.

Did I like this book? Difficult question – it did at the start pull me in, Gen is written with gusto and understanding although quite a tiring character at the beginning she begins to grow with every page turn – gutsy and determined she really grew on me as a character. Art is also really well written – mysterious, a total gentleman but quick to act he really gave this book strength and helped to cement my interest. In terms of plot the book the book does move with pace; the story kicks in very quickly and immediately we start pulling together clues as we discover what really happened in the hospital that night and I did find myself gabbling through.

Although predictable there is an original storyline and the plot moves with pace. The writing is evocative and mixes in a number of interweaving character plot-lines and the secondary characters are built up so that they become more involved with the main premise of the book. One major wobble though was the author tended to really build up a scene in a couple of chapters and then the actual scene would be over maybe in a couple of lines. I think if these scenes had been slowed down it would have created a much stronger impact and helped to tell the story better on the whole.

Untitled design(21)

However, and this seems to be the same as many of the readers I’ve seen review this book it is mindbogglingly far-fetched lapsing on pretty ridiculous. As the plot grows we encounter a number of murders, attempted kidnaps and a whole lot of mixed up character relationships. It felt a little like the author thought how the hell do I sort all of this mess out. I did enjoy it but the ability to believe what was happening meant I read it without really investing in the plot or the characters which was a little tiring because I had made it so far through.

Once the story is over it’s a very abrupt ending which although underwhelming was the only way it could have really ended – we then suddenly fly a number years later and Gen is  recounting all that has happened – the ending is a little dark which I liked but it was overwhelmed with the feeling of it all being too over-dramatised to really make me feel anything at all.

Overall I did enjoy reading this – but almost from the sense of what on earth is going on towards the end. Would I recommend buying a copy of this book and searing it out no, but if you saw in the library and thought I want something a little dramatic and over the top with touch of romance and suspense – maybe.




Buried (Tom Thorne Novels) by Mark Billingham

mylittlebookblog (1)

Hellllllllo readers, something really exciting for you today and something a little different. When I can’t find something to read I always find myself scouring the bookshelves of the parentals forgetting that my little sister (not so little now that she’s twenty – when did that happen!) has a number of exciting books for me to sneak. They are normally thriller/abduction/horror style books but her shelves are stacked (unlike mine) with books she honestly loves and so I know I’m almost always going to get something good; today surprised me so I’m going to see what she thought of said book; hope you enjoy.

A retired copper’s son is kidnapped. Many of the villains he put away had sworn revenge. So why does he fail to mention the one who is still the main suspect in a four-year-old murder?

Must admit at the start of this, that I’m coming into this series pretty late because this is the sixth book in the series but I often think with series books in a crime genre you should be able to throw yourself right in and to a point I could. Quite easily. The book follows the country music loving detective Tom Thorne who appears to be a little side-lined by his colleagues (I’m sure this relates to a book earlier in the series.) However he is moved back into the spotlight when he is chosen to investigate the kidnapping of a former Detective Chief Superintendent’s son Luke. The book continues as the police hunt down Luke and his kidnappers as the plot thickens with more deaths, a racial crime and a romantic love interest to boot.

So for the positives; the book is a well written in terms of the jargon police language and the main character (I’m sure over the previous five books) has been developed into a really strong character profile. I thought it really helped the plot feel grounded and was an interesting persona to read about. Additionally  the supporting main characters to a point were well written although at times under-developed and they helped to weave the two stories and add a feel to the novel. I thought the writing of the racially motivated murder was intriguing and helped to add a sub-plot. There are a number of red-herrings weaved into both the plots and I thought the use of the Former Detective helped to add some suspense. Throughout I knew there wasn’t something quite right and I thought the sense of unease was handled well.

For me though this book really struggled; it has a really slow pace and being such a hefty number of pages I felt bogged down and need something to really excite me, but it just doesn’t deliver. Many of the secondary characters are under-developed or seem to play very little part and I think in terms of the writing a good two-hundred of so pages could have been wiped and instead the other content should have been whipped into shape.

Additionally, and oddly, the title doesn’t match the book inside. T asked me why it was called Buried and I could only come up with a very tenuous link. The author however, appears to acknowledge this with one of the chapters starting with a line such as ‘It was like being buried.’ Nope – that is not enough to link the book to the blurb. Additionally I thought that the links between the first and second plot was so tenuously linked it was a struggle to see why Billingham has done it at all.


I needed to put this in because I wanted to rage about this to you. Towards the end the police find out who the killer is, they then discuss him without directly mentioning him for a good chapter or two and then when the name was revealed I had no idea who it was. Mainly because he had been spoken to once in the first couple of chapters. No, No, that is NOT okay! Gah *rages.* Additionally, there are so many last names that I had trouble defining who was who and who was female and not; crime novels are so bad for this but here it was overwhelmingly so. I thought the ending was messy too, I’m still not sure how it all connects. Finally, and this is a big one, I didn’t like any of the characters that much so when it all came to a resolution I kind of thought – right that’s over. That’s not the feeling I want to feel so I was quite disappointed.

Overall I was really upset about this and I’m annoyed. For something so long in length I wanted something really powerful  and to not get that after 350+ pages I feel cheated. Add to this that to have under-developed characters in something so long is unbelievable. I didn’t enjoy this and I’m not sure you will too.

(PS: Spoke to Char and she struggled with book too and has since suggested others *yay* #holla)





Four Seats by Aaron Cooley

mylittlebookblog (1)

I rather dislike Thursday’s it has to be said.  I think it’s because it’s supposed to be my day of the week where I drag my body out of bed and go for a run. Yes, a run. Normally however I’m in bed till twenty to eight, have time to jump into the shower, throw on clothes (hoping I haven’t picked up yesterday’s pyjamas) slap some cover on my face and whip mascara on my eyelashes. Grabbing keys, my purse (note not handbag) and a book I throw myself out the door and run to the bus station. It’s not a pretty sight. However, this is a book that could stir the most tired of reader to get up half an hour early to get a little reading done. Today I bring you Four Seats by the rather wonderful Aaron Cooley.

Each year on the first Monday of October, the Supreme Court reconvenes for another new term. But this year, the first Monday brings only terror and tragedy, as six bombs tear through their temple of law, killing 124 people.

Homeland Security immediately brands Supreme Court Police officer Jason Lancaster as their prime suspect. Jason must go on the run to find the persons responsible for the attack – and for the murder of his fiancée, Supreme Court Marshal Miranda Whitney.

Meanwhile, former First Lady Rosemarie Irving volunteers to assist the current President in nominating replacements for the four Justices lost in the tragedy. Is her motivation the lasting legacy of her husband, or something more nefarious?

Part legal potboiler, part HOUSE OF CARDS deal making drama, part 24-esque espionage cliff-hanger, FOUR SEATS is an enthralling new entry to the conspiracy thriller tradition.


First a little apology; I was supposed to review this book a while back but somehow managed to open the wrong PDF file and read a book that has nothing whatsoever to do with this series (although still written by Aaron) which caused a little confusion when posted on MLBB. However I think it was a sneaky plan to get both reviewed on the blog, although I cannot complain because both were terribly exciting to read.

Being an advocate of historical fiction, political style drama often features and here we get it full on, in-yer-face style commotion. I must admit now I haven’t watched House of Cards (forgive me) however the intrigue of the first chapter really pulled me into the book and has kind of stirred a want to watch the series. The book really starts with a bang; pulling the reader straight into the action with the bombing of the Supreme Court. We’re given very little time to breathe but the swift movement and cuts between different scenes and inter-changing characters helps to plunge the reader straight into the action. We follow the movements of Jason Lancaster as he struggles to reveal the truth and learn more about what the hell is happening.

Untitled design(22)

I thought the writing was strong and incredibly intense; it moves with such cuts and the frenzy of the characters movements builds as the chapters whir on. The book isn’t long (this is a series of six books) and therefore the author doesn’t hang about in swathes of description or mountains of character detail. The intense plot and the quickening pace kept me so engaged from start to finish. The book dallies between the terrorist attack and the consequences of such an event whilst also managing the potential of a conspiracy plot; what the hell is really going on? I like that our main character is kept in the dark much like us to help increase the stress and excitement. Although I don’t know too much on the subject I liked the search for the information on the victims and the constant confusion whether to find new replacements for the fallen Justices.

I liked the inclusion of the framing of our main character due to a rather intoxicated evening; the lack of alibi and his inability to piece what has happened together really plays on the readers feelings. Can we trust this character? I love it when everything’s a little uneasy. The writing is punchy; lots of whizzing between scenes but it never feels rushed. Everything is planned and written out wonderfully. My only complaint is I wonder whether it needed to be six books. This one isn’t particularly long and I have a problem sometimes with books that seem to be split up for the hell of it but I’m sure our writer has it all planned out.

So overall I really enjoyed this book; I’ve written this review a little jumbled but it has a wonderful writing style and really keeps the reader on the edge of their seat. Our main protagonist is well written gutsy and exciting I can’t wait to read more and learn more about this plot. Only wobble is I hope the author doesn’t run out of plot by book six or loses something in the telling by splitting it so much but I’m sure Aaron will keep his cards close to his chest in terms of that. If you like a thriller or are interested in political plot-lines get a copy of this daring book and see if you can put it down.





The Forsaken Queen by Paul Nolen

mylittlebookblog (1)

Afternnnnnnoon readers and once again happy Monday; If you haven’t noticed there have been many a review here recently and it’s because I’m having a little bit of a lifestyle change. When you’re at university and you’ve drank a pink of vodka the night before and eaten a pile of cheesy chips knowing you only have to attempt to make it to your four o’ clock lecture which will be on the Internet for you to look back at what you’ve missed you don’t have a huge amount to worry about. Now, as an adult with a full-time job you kind of have to look after yourself a little more; this means going to bed earlier, getting up earlier, reading instead of binge watching Supernatural and going for runs. I’ve just given myself a little more time, I try to stay off my phone a little more. It means I’ve got a lot more time to read and so a lot more books to review. I’m sure the influx will eventually die down but for now: the reviews are going to continue coming out of my ears. Today’s is an adventure you don’t want to miss.

What if our history is not as we think it – but as others want it to be? What if we believe only what others want us to believe? When a security guard at Hampton Court claims to have been attacked by a ghost, no one believes him, except that is, for three inquisitive children. A school trip provides them with an opportunity to investigate the guard’s claims, but when they slip away from their party, and conceal themselves within the darkest recesses of the palace, they encounter far more than they could possibly have imagined.Together with his new found friends, Dominique and Simeon, he scours the Great Castles of London, to unravel the secrets of the past, that have so long been locked away. The nearer he comes to the truth, the more he realises that not everything, or everyone, is what he once thought them to be.

download (18)

So the blurb is quite extensive so I’m not going to re-tell it to you but instead I’m going to get straight into the nitty-gritty if you like. The plot is really strong and a brilliant fit for the target audience of eleven plus. I think the genre mix of historical fiction/fantasy/adventure is a really strong mix and makes it a versatile read. As the blurb states the book follows the attack of a security guard at Hampton court which leads to Henry and his friends, Simeon and Dominque, going on a quest to unearth what is really going on. They deal with missing shoes, a surprise finding of a letter, the spilling of some rather special ink, an unfortunate event in the boiler room and a near miss with death. What more could an eleven year old reader want from a book.


In terms of characterisation all three are contrasted and written really strongly. I loved that Henry was a little quiet and stubborn but we really see him challenge himself through the book. I didn’t warm to Simeon throughout the book and at the end when the final twist occurs I think I was right to make that judgement however he’s still described well; a little stuck-up, intelligent and sure of himself he contrasts with Henry brilliantly. Dominique is both determined, graceful and full-on and I empathised with her and the pressures her parents were putting upon her. It all felt very genuine and lovingly portrayed. I thought the plot was really intriguing; I’m not going to give too much away because if I do it will spoil it, but it revolves around some rather special letters that could change the way we thought of Henry the 8th and his wife Jane Seymour.

Untitled design(5)

In terms of writing style it’s quite simple which is good because the plot it so full-on. There are twists and turns, adversities, near misses and with too much description it could bog down the plot and make it a lot slower. It moves with a lot of pace so you’re constantly gabbling to keep up and I think in terms of the target audience that’s what you want rather than long twisting descriptions. Overall this is a real credit to the author and I would have adored this as a younger reader. The mystery, suspense and the adventure added to the fantasy feel. In terms of the plot I don’t want to give too much away so I’ll say this, parents, if you’re trying to get your troublesome early teens to read a little more; this is for you and anyone else that just loves a good adventure.