#BookReview The Edge of the Cemetery (Ghost Killer Book Two) by Margaret Millmore #RBRT 

I chose this book to read from Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team book list.

This second book in the series can be read as a stand alone, but to get the full effect and understanding of the story I do recommend reading the books in the correct order. 

Having dealt with Vokkel in the last book, our team of ghost killers are confronted by a new and devious enemy in the shape of a seventeenth century muskateer and a teenage boy. As they unravel what they can about this dangerous duo they become aware an old enemy is lurking in the wings for revenge, which he hopes to gain by unleashing a huge amount of evil as per an ancient prophecy.
The narrative in this second volume is crisper and more concise giving this thriller a brisker pace than the first. We learn more about Billy’s mother and the truth about her father too. 
The book starts in the midst of a big show down and ends with one. I found the unravelling of clues in this thriller fascinating and could not put this book down. I look forward to reading the next one in this series of supernatural thrillers. This book is available to read for free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

Links To Book: 

Amazon UK

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Book Review: Sisters by Patricia MacDonald

​Alex has lost both parents in a car accident and has come home to sort out her childhood home and her parent’s possessions. However, there’s a letter from her mother that changes Alex’s life as she learns she has a half-sister she never knew about. 
After taking the decision to find her sister, Alex is shocked further to learn, she is incarcerated for the murder of her adoptive sister. Despite encouragement to back away Alex wants to see Dory and becomes involved in the effort to have her released. 
I enjoyed reading this book mainly because of the interesting premise of two sisters finding each other only to be faced with a multitude of differences and difficulties. I was desperate to find out what had happened to Lauren and who the real killer was. 
There is an undeniable daytime movie feel to this book and it definitely lies in the style of writing and the somewhat stilted dialogue between characters. The characters themselves apart from the reasonable Alex, Seth and Gareth, are more like caricatures, as they seem oddly staid and exaggerated.
However, despite these criticisms, I cannot deny I enjoyed and was gripped by Sisters and Alex’s quest to get to know Dory, her half-sister. The story isn’t rose-tinted and it’s to the authors credit that she takes into account the many issues Dory will have even at the every end of the book.
A surprisingly gripping read with a gripping premise. 

Links To Book: 

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Goodreads

Book Review: The Hummingbird’s Cage by Tamara Dietrich

​The Hummingbird’s Cage is an unusual read, which starts with Joanna’s account of her abusive marriage to Jim and how she shields her daughter. When given an opportunity to get away from Jim, Joanna takes it, but finds herself in a strange little town called Morro, with no recollection of how she got there.
I wasn’t expecting this thriller to go the way it did initially it felt like Morro was going to be like an idyllic refuge for Joanna a bit like Harrison Ford grinding the Amish in the old eighties flick, Witness. However, Morro  turns out to be more mysterious and magical but before we settle and get too familiar with the place we are warned that Joanna has unfinished business.
I actually quite easily adapted to the possibly supernatural/spiritual feel of this read but the climax for me was a little underwhelming. However, this is a great read for those who like thrillers that are more unusual than the traditional fare and definitely hooked me until the end.

Links To Book: 

Amazon UK

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Library Membership

It’s been years since I had membership of a physical library. Some of my earliest formative memories are of living in Romford, Essex and walking to the library for books with my mother and brother. 

Libraries have always played an important part in my life, up until the time I was no longer inclined to go out. However, in 2015, in a run of positive actions I renewed my passport and driving license allowing me to apply for a library membership.

Birmingham has a number of libraries other than the rather extensive and ornate central library that has come to be identified as a symbol of the city. My husband has a library card and up until recently he took out books for me to read. However, I found my local library in Kings Heath quite overwhelming and also unsatisfactory when it came to finding books I wanted to read.

With my own membership this year, which I completed weeks ago online, I also discovered the online facilities that as me to reserve books from across the city and pick them up from my local library. 

Rather excitedly I got straight onto making sure my online login worked and started reserving books straightaway. My first haul of four library books were a mixture of new books I really wanted to read by favourite authors and books I would have purchased and never read again.

I’m halfway through reading the four books I borrowed and will be returning the two I have read and reviewed. I will be waiting in great anticipation for any of the ten I have currently reserved to become available for collection locally, thus making good use of a valuable local resource. 

Book Review: The Tea Planter’s Wife by Dinah Jefferies

​Set in the 1920s and 1930s, The Tea Planter’s Wife is about the life of Gwen a young bride who has married a man who owns a tea plantation in Ceylon. After her marriage her relocation to Ceylon has its ups and downs but Gwen is thrown into turmoil after the birth of her son. Neither Gwen nor her husband are willing to be upfront about the secrets they keep, which has tragic consequences in the long run. 
A beautifully written book which is very visual as you are placed in the idyllic surroundings in Ceylon. I enjoyed reading the issues Gwen faces as a young woman in a new country and the intriguing unfolding of family secrets.
Although the story was somewhat predictable, it was still ahoy to read for the way the scene was set and how invested I became in the characters particularly Gwen and her cousin Fran. 
Not a fast paced, high octane read but a leisurely beautiful walk through a different country at a very different time. 

Links To Book: 

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Goodreads

Book Review: When I Was Invisible by Dorothy Koomson

​When Veronica Harper, Roni, starts at a new school and meets Veronika Harper, Nika they become bestfriends at the age of eight and soon discover a love for ballet at eleven. However, this deep friendship is put under stress by the difficult situation both girls find themselves in, which propells them both into a life neither one envisioned for themselves.
I finished this book and drew breath as all I could think was, wow. This was a magnificent read on so many levels that showed great insight into the themes the book dealt with. From teenage rebellion to abuse and bullying along with acceptance, forgiveness and repentance this book was very difficult not to engage with as both Roni and Nika’s lives entwined through the story on an emotional level. 
There are difficult to read themes in this book but it is sensitively and as tastefully handled as is appropriate for the subject matter. For me this is probably one of the best books I have read from Dorothy Koomson, as well as one of my best reads for 2016.

Links To Book: 

Amazon UK

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Becoming My Mother

As time goes by, I notice myself becoming more like my late mother, both in appearance and attitude. My Mum hated walking long distances. I avoid walking long distances because I get short of breath easily and this causes concern more to those around me than myself.

Mum preferred to eat out than to cook but then had very specific tastes when it came to food. Although I don’t share her love for fish, I do enjoy sticking to a number of favourite dishes. In fact there are things I no longer eat because my Mum isn’t here to make them and I do not know anyone or have anyone who could recreate those dishes in any way that could do them justice.

Although I have had my driving license since I was seventeen and have clocked up thousands of miles over the years I find myself anxious behind the wheel and am happy to let my husband drive. However, I am probably one of the worst passengers in the world as I flinch, comment and basically am a pain of a backseat driver.
 

This too is very reminiscent of my Mother who was a nervous passenger and driver. In fact, my husband rejoices if I take the wheel when we go anywhere, because he feels I benefit from the experience and my driving skills are wasted. I debate having any skills, such is my loss of confidence in middle age.

Mum was a type two diabetic from a young age and so am I, having been diagnosed with diabetes at the age of thirty-two. I’m not sure whether it’s all completely psychological, I strongly suspect not, but since my diagnosis I crave the things I’m supposed to avoid or eat in moderation. Thankfully neither one of us took to smoking, as that would have only added to our predisposition of ischemic vascular risk factors.

Unlike my mother, I choose to handle my diabetic management with a firmer line and make sure I take my metformin at the prescribed dose daily and I hope to avoid having to go onto insulin in the near future and hopefully avoid diabetic complications for as long as possible. 

Most of all I check myself before sounding like my Mum. I think we all subconsciously if not consciously try to recreate the environment we felt safest in childhood and with that comes adopting prejudices, beliefs and attitudes that mirror parents. Parents are not flawless and nor should they ever be, but it is our responsibility once we steer ourselves to examine what we think and say for their true meaning and practice what we think we believe. 

As much as I loved my mother I question my reactions to certain situations and think hard about their implications in terms of my shortfalls. I don’t think my Mum ever thought she had any shortfalls, but I cannot say the same about her or myself. Being human means being flawed, but not everyone can bear to see their flaws and learn to love themselves anyway. I think a lot of people can see flaws in others but love them regardless, but it is much harder to accept your own shortfalls and be happy. 

Shortfalls and imperfections in people are not reasons to think less of them. I totally agree with the concept that staying angry just results in punishing yourself repeatedly. So I let the anger go. I don’t dwell in the past, despite having many clear memories going back decades. Instead I choose to remember the good times, the times I felt loved and part of my family. However, I am under no illusions that the key problems in the family I have known centre around blame and focus on what everyone else needs to do, rather than finding positive change in ourselves. 
It’s difficult to hear rhetoric and advice that could and should be applied in equal measure by the advisor. There can be no dispute about the love I know I felt for all those I spent time with in the past. I’m just shielding my dysfunctional heart from further pain by keeping my distance, in which respect I’m nothing like my Mum.


Book Review: The History Major by Michael Phillip Cash

​This unusual read will divide readers, as Amanda Greene, a freshman in her first week at college wakes up to find everything she has known changed. She encounters a stranger as her roommate and finds she has been enrolled in a history class she is forced to attend. The resulting nightmare leaves her as confused as the reader as to what is happening to her, but fortunately there is some explanation to the surreal images she experiences.

This short read is not a thriller in the traditional sense but more of an exploration of where we go in the afterlife and the inbetween. I am not a regular reader of this author’s work but I found this short read different and thought provoking. 

If you’re looking for something out of the norm and enjoy the mystery horror genre then this one might have been written for you. This book is available to read for free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.

Links To Book:

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Goodreads

Book Review: Redemption by NF Steiner

​Christina, an ex-ballerina is encouraged to start her own dance company by her husband but when the venture runs into an issue with funding she is bailed out by a businessman who has quite an extreme idea of quid pro quo. 
I found this book easy to read but obviously dated as it is set during the sixties, which made the attitudes towards women and rape culture somewhat hard to wrap my head around. 
The saving graced the book was the curiosity it enlightened in me to see how the story would finish, but I found the overall attitudes of the characters in the book difficult to understand. This book is available to read for free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers.
Links To Book: 

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Goodreads

The Symptoms Conundrum

Anyone with chronic illness knows they have their ups and downs, but how much of the reality of how we feel do we really share with friends, family and healthcare professionals? 

When asked every quarter about my mental health, I usually just say, “I’m fine, thank you.” I don’t elaborate about the numerous sleepless nights or the feelings of worthlessness that lurks daily, inbetween and during, things I do. I highlight the positive and sweep away the negative, because in all honesty I am playing a game to enable myself to remain in the status quo. 

For me personally, change is hard, I dont adapt as well as I think I should or it appears I need to in order to meet the demands of everyday life and I have no hope of better circumstances. Hope is a currency of youth I simply depleted long before I should have felt aged. That is the tragedy and effect of long hours of worry and mental anguish. From time to time I do see a glimmer of hope, but it’s usually a faraway flash and translates to acceptance of my ever growing limitations.

Under the medically compliant and effusively practical surface there lurks a deep and dark well of dread, doom and despondency. I’m doing well if I ignore it most of the day, but after days it becomes impossible to carry on regardless. Superimpose on that the chest pain, shortness of breath, current soft tissue injury threatening to become infected and the anaemia making me tired and anxious, and it just seems too much to cope with at any given moment.

So, I hit the books and thank heavens I don’t face all this alone and am living with the ying to my yang. I try to recapture that feeling of once being free of any burdens of expectations and simply living in the moment and enjoying my life, which is the point of being here as much as we are here to help each other, but somehow I overlooked the simplest of pleasures, whilst trying to cope with the multiple doubts of my existence.

Some say I over think things, some say I cannot see the wood for the trees but I can’t stop and I just want to sleep for a thousand years.