LUCINDA’S BEST BOOKS 2019 (4)

The last of my 12 books (from a total of 100) for 2019. Remember they are in no particular order and I would be hard put to choose one above all the others.

THE MYSTERY OF JULIA EPISOPA by  John I Rigoli

THE MYSTERY OF JULIA EPISOPA

I have a weakness for historical fiction books set especially around the early Christian era. There is an aura of mystery surrounding the Vatican and the secrets of the early church and the manipulation of the elderly men who set a whole religion on a path that is still followed two thousand years later. An exciting, easy to read book which kept me turning the pages while the dirty dishes waited in the sink.

This was a great book to read. We meet Julia, the wife of a Roman official who was alive not long after the crucifixion of Jesus. Circumstances take her from Rome to Ephesus and then to Heracleum and back to Rome. In parallel, the story is set in the present day when two young archaeologists discover evidence of Julia’s life buried deep in the Vatican archives. What they find will rock the world. The tale moves at a great pace, not lagging for a moment and the characters were believable although I could relate more to Julia. Highly recommended.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078P5T17C/

THINGS FALL APART  by Sharon Brownlie

THINGS FALL APART

An emotional journey of awakening, through broken trust, heartbreak, and family conflict. Despite being at the depths of despair, in the face of adversity, there is always a belief in the promise of a hopeful future. This is a coming of age story with a difference. Thirty-five-year-old single mother Mandy is forced to mature and grow up quickly. By the time we reach the final chapters of this incredible chronicle she moves from the blindness of naivety into pain, despair and eventually, at great cost, the maturity of hard-won wisdom.
Set in the mid-nineteen eighties in Edinburgh, a city dubbed as the drug’s capital of Europe, it’s a town where Mandy faces a mother’s worst nightmare. The warning signs are staring her in the face, but at first, she doesn’t heed them. All she wants to do is love, nurture and protect her family, but despite all her efforts she has to stand by, watching helplessly as it fragments, and things fall apart. How does she bring things to a peaceful conclusion? Is it even possible?

I know I am reading a good book when the dishes are ignored, the world goes by and I sit and read it from beginning to end. This story had me transfixed. I can’t praise it enough. I am not sure if it is in any way autobiographical, but if not, then this author can get right inside her characters. You feel their pain, their joy and their precarious position. This is a book which should be read by every parent with teenage children and the teenagers themselves.  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07961BTBX/

CAPE OF STORMS  by Bianca Bowers

CPAE OF STORMS

Why did I choose to read this book? Initially, because it was set in and around Durban and Umhlanga and evoked almost forgotten memories of places I knew well having lived there for several years. I suspect the story has a hint of autobiography as the author grew up in South Africa and left to live in Australia when she was twenty-three, also considered by the heroine Rosalinde. The narrative is fast-paced and engaging as we first meet her as a young child questioning apartheid and its ramifications. The innocence of childhood accompanies her through school to university when she is brought face to face with a different culture and an alien mindset when her beliefs are shaken to the core. She is forced to face the same dilemma that so many white South Africans have encountered and to which there is no easy solution if there is any solution at all. The tension builds as Rosalinde is faced with the reality of being of Caucasian origin in the modern South Africa. Family members are brutally murdered, and from sitting at home with a panoramic view over the Indian Ocean, all this changes, to high walls, razor wire, and security cameras. She, like so many, becomes a prisoner in her own home. She struggles to understand the reasons for the anger and violence but it is hard to accept and she can see how the fledgling country is on the path to destruction. Not wanting to leave the land of her birth she acknowledges that leaving may be the only path to take to save her life. The dialogue is realistic, the narrative flows smoothly and once I read the first page, I did not put this book down until I reached the last one. If you have always lived in a western country and think you know what life in Africa is like because you have watched the news and read the papers, this book may open your eyes. It is a novel, yes, but nothing is far-fetched, it simply incorporates everyday life in a country I too fell in love with and was heartbroken to leave.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZJVKHPN/

If any of my top books sound fun, then do please go and check them out. They are the 12 best of the 100+ in 2019 that have taken me to new worlds, different places, and exciting situations. I could have included a lot more, many of the other books I’ve read this year have been good, but those I’ve featured over the last 4 weeks are the ones that have stayed with me and that is always the sign of a good book.

I’m currently scribbling my 14th book, it’s a follow on of my psychological thriller A Year in the Life of Leah Brand. You can take a look at all my books by clicking here  https://www.amazon.com/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914

I wish all my readers a wonderful Christmas or holiday season wherever you might be. I’ll be down south in Australia and wrenched away from my laptop, but I’ll do my best to keep in touch.

Stay safe and take care

Lucinda

 

 

 

Lucinda’s best books of 2019 (3)

Someone asked me how do I choose only a few books from so many? Since my memory went AWOL some time ago, l now list them on a spreadsheet. Those special books I highlight when I review, and I nearly always write up a few words, unless I really didn’t like the book or it was badly written.. All writers adore getting reviews (hint).  The three books in my top 12 this week are:-

PORTRAIT OF STELLA by  Susan Wuthridge

PORTRAIT OF STELLA

After discovering her birth certificate is a fake and there is no record of her existence in the UK database. Jemima Ashton is desperate to discover her real identity. With scant information and the burning question ‘who am I?’, she embarks on an incredible journey of detection. On learning of her late mother Stella’s disappearance during WWII, she retraces her footsteps across the globe and at a distant vineyard, unearths a family she had no idea existed.
While treading a path of narrow-minded bigotry, scandalous revelations emerge of two families inextricably linked by one woman and the drastic steps they took to hide the truth.

I didn’t think I was going to even like this book, but I loved it. I loved it so much I spent a whole day immersed flicking the pages as fast as I could. This is an excellent story, carefully crafted, exciting and packed with lots of information. Having lived in South Africa, I was aware of the apartheid rules and regulations – if you did not experience that, it will be a real eye-opener. The plot is quite complex but all the loose ends are tied up leading to a very satisfactory conclusion. The pace was fast, but the words flowed and I raced through the book through the eyes of both Stella and Jemima. The book grabs you from the first chapter when Jemima finds out that she is not who she thought she was and thus begins her search to discover her past. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B073QGDX9Y/

ONLY THE GOOD by Rosemary Reeve

ONLY THE GOOD

The third book in the Jack Hart series follows on nicely from books one and two but it can be read as a stand-alone. We meet up again with Jack, the kind-hearted litigator, his girlfriend and long-time friend Mark, not forgetting Betsy the dog with attitude. Mark is still hating his job in the Seattle law firm, but he finds himself in deep water when he is suspected of murder. He might be able to prove his innocence on one killing but then the bodies begin to pile up. Adding to this Jack’s family, a family he didn’t know he had, is involved and he finds himself in conflict on both sides of the law. Extra suspicion falls on Jack when it is revealed that he has inherited the family business, the mansion, a holiday home, and several yachts.
Rosemary Reeve has written another action-packed, fast-moving novel. The reader cannot help but love Jack and his friends, even the golden-haired almost out of control Betsy. The plot is tight, the words follow effortlessly and the scenes are described with just the right amount of detail, not too much but enough to take you into each location. The storyline had me guessing as the murders add up and suspicion falls on Jack time and time again. It does not help when the police in Bellingham are determined to pin all the crimes on Jack. At the same time, Jack is struggling with his own demons, about his past childhood in a selection of foster homes and his desperate desire to know who his parents were – all is not what it seems.      https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DDFS2QJ/ref

WILD CHILD   by Ian Mathie

Ian Mathie was an entertaining raconteur and writer who told his true-life stories with great vigour and enthusiasm. He had an amazing memory and was able to recall the smallest details, even from his early childhood. His life was packed with unusual experiences and adventures in distant places with strange people, wild animals, danger and fun.

When Ian Mathie sadly passed away some months ago, the world lost one of the last adventurers who grew up and loved the African continent and its people in the mid 19th Century. I have avidly read all of this author’s books and this last one, completed by his family in collaboration with his publishers, tells the story of Ian’s early days growing up in the bush. It recounts the freedoms, the adventures, and the creatures, running wild without a care in the world. His voice shines through on every page painting vivid pictures of a rural missionary school and the exacting punishments he received. He tells us of his African friends, getting to grips with a new language and the culture shock of boarding school back in Britain. Reading Wild Child takes you to Africa, surrounding you with the dust, the smells, the atmosphere of those vast areas densely populated with wildlife and vegetation. The book is a must-read for all those who have visited, lived there or who simply want to experience a world very different from any other continent on earth.

I should mention my books, shouldn’t I? I have penned 3 memoirs, one fairy tale for adults, a five-book adventure series set in Africa and my latest one is a psychological thriller set in England. Click here for my Amazon author page.

https://www.amazon.com/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914

 

LUCINDA’S BEST BOOKS OF 2019 (2)

Last year, 2018, I set my Goodreads reading challenge to 100 books. I only managed to achieve that by cramming in a couple of children’s books in December – well I wasn’t really cheating, was I? This year and last I read more than the totals as I could not include beta reading or other books that were not yet published.

In 2019 to take a little pressure off I lowered it to 80 books and that is a much easier target to reach, I’m already there.

I have traveled back in time, returned to Africa several times, lurked behind pillars in the Vatican, and again and racked my brains wondering ‘who done it’?

Here are the next three books I loved.

CONCLAVE  by Robert Harris 

conclave

I’m very curious about the Vatican with all its secrets, mysteries and the men who live there – those who are genuine in their beliefs and those who worship power more than God. I loved this book and read it in one day. The pope is dead, and behind the locked doors of the Sistine Chapel, one hundred and eighteen cardinals from all over the globe will cast their votes in the world’s most secretive election. They are holy men. But they have ambition. And they have rivals. Over the next seventy-two hours, one of them will become the most powerful spiritual figure on earth. I also learned much about the rituals involved when voting for a new pope and it was not as I had imagined. Why did I think they were all locked in one chapel for days on end? Why did I believe they might not be able to talk to outsiders in those days? This book explains a lot and the ending? While I was still debating – it had me fooled – as to who were the good guys – the ending was explosive and made me laugh out loud.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/1784751839

THE DUNG BEETLES OF LIBERIA  by  Daniel V Meier JR

dung beetles

I loved this book for its sheer honesty especially in an age where so many people are just willing and waiting to criticize and contradict and pc speech is strangling our literature. This book set in Liberia in the 1970s cannot be questioned, it tells of a time period well before we could all immediately find out the ‘facts’ as they now appear on the world wide web.

The Dung Beetles of Liberia is the story of a young college undergraduate at Cornell who drops out of school to take a job flying planes in Liberia. He leaves behind his astonished family and his almost-fiancé in a bid to escape the demons that plague him over the death of his brother. He’s learned that Liberia is one of the richest countries in Africa and has high expectations of what he will find there. America had repatriated many slaves in the 1800s and established a democracy and infrastructure. What young Kenneth found was the true state of Africa with its own interpretation of life, morals, and ethics. It shocks him to the core. Life is cheap, the hierarchy is absolute, the poor are driven to the point of extinction and he finds himself rubbing shoulders with other hard-drinking, wild and unprincipled expatriates.
The book is based on a true account of life there at the time – which I suspect has changed very little. This is possibly the most honest tale of Africa I have ever read. It is not as politically correct as other books set in similar places, but the author brilliantly highlights the cheapness of life, the lack of compassion, the willingness of the poor and downtrodden to accept their lot in life. Many readers may simply not believe the tales told with such pathos and humour but I can assure them that life is as wild and undisciplined as they are recounted. Kenneth Verrier is a typical young American from a good family who is shocked to the core with what he encounters. Flying small planes delivering equipment to the mines – and a little diamond smuggling on the side – paying no attention to overloading, air traffic rules, non-existent runways and centre of gravity safety regulations. Little by little Kenneth learns to adapt but never loses his humanity. He is a likable hero, and tells his story simply, honestly and clearly. This book is one of the best I have read in a long, long time and find it difficult to believe the author did not spend most of his life in Africa as he has grasped the problems, the customs, and the mindset so truthfully. Highly recommend reading – in fact this should be on the prescribed reading list of every high school as a window on a continent with a different way of life and a different mindset. Welcome to the world of Africa.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/1945448377

THE OPIUM LORD’S DAUGHTER  by  Robert Wang

THE OPIUM LORDS DAUGHTER

Moving continent to Asia, the author, now living in the United States, writes of a historical period in the land of his ancestors. In an east meets west scenario we meet the family of Lord Lee Shao Lin, his daughter Su-Mei and his number one son Lee da Ping during the time of the opium Wars between Britain and China. Many people may not know of the travesty of this unevenly fought war when the British navy attacked China to ensure uninterrupted trade in tea, porcelain, silks, and spices. Since China had no need to import anything from the west, the currency used to buy Chinese goods was Chinese silver which the British obtained by illegally importing opium into China. Everyone was involved, the Chinese merchants, the corrupt customs officials, the addicts who would do what it took to obtain more of the drug. But then the Emperor issued a decree to halt the trade and the troubles begin. At this time, Sue-Mei meets Travers Higgins from Yorkshire and falls in love – a cross-cultural affair unheard of and disapproved of in 1840. The stage is set for an explosive story in more ways than one.

The Opium Lord’s Daughter is one of the best books I have read this year. I read it in a day and a half and loved every bit of it. The characters leaped off the pages, I connected with Sue-Mei the heroine and the words flowed effortlessly. For the hours I was engrossed in this book I was living in the 1800s in China, surrounded by the sights and smells, the customs and the laughter and sorrow of the young couple and her family. The historical information was woven seamlessly into the story and I suspect the author researched the facts thoroughly, backed up by the pictures in the back of the book featuring many of the real characters mentioned at the time. A fairly balanced argument from both sides highlights the greed and avarice and arrogance of man which has not changed one iota in the last two thousand years. I highly recommend this book, and I shall file it away to read again in the future.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07T2N4GK9/

Have you checked out my books? Memoirs, humour, action-adventure and my new psychological thriller. This link will take you to my Amazon author page.

https://www.amazon.com/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914

 

 

 

MEET JOHN SEARANCKE

I am really happy to be part of a huge blog hop for John Searancke, whose name is familiar as he is also a member of the FB group We love Memoirs.  But first things first.

ALL JOHN’S BOOKS ARE ON SALE FROM MARCH 31, 2019 THROUGH APRIL 2, 2019 for 99¢/99£

The Author (1)

John Searancke is restaurant reviewer for the Tenerife newspaper Island Connections. Born in 1943 at Derby Royal Infirmary, a war baby, he lived his early life in Ashby-de la-Zouch and was sent away to be educated at Kings Mead Preparatory School, Seaford and afterwards at Rugby School. Later commissioned into the Territorial Army, he has been variously a director of a light engineering company, an hotel and restaurant owner, director and chairman of a marketing consortium, and latterly a partner with his wife in a commercial legal services company. He has enjoyed working in England and Switzerland and has homes in England and northern Tenerife, where he now lives with his wife Sally.

His latest book is

TheReluctantHotelkeeper

A Memoir

Available Wide in eBook, Paperback

ASIN: B07LB7WLZM

ISBN-10: 1789017572

ISBN-13: 978-1789017571

Non-fiction, Memoir

US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07LB7WLZM/

UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07LB7WLZM/

Amazon Smart Link: smarturl.it/TheRelHotelkeeper

Universal Wide Link: https://books2read.com/b/ReluctantHotelkeeper

A rescue mission originally thought of as lasting for a year or two turned into a 35 year lifetime love affair with a beautiful old building.

There were to be battles royal with neighbours not wanting their status quo to be altered, and with the local fire authority who sought to impose draconian new safety measures.

John Searancke came to the role of hotel keeper almost accidentally, and most definitely with much reluctance. After his parents’ marriage fell apart, he was dragooned in, at the age of 22, to pick up the pieces of their new venture, a barely-trading country house hotel that had, frankly, seen better days. Not only was it posting an annual loss, but the fabric of the building was crumbling and there was no money left to make improvements.

Over the years, and with the steepest of learning curves, the grand old building was renovated and transformed to meet the requirements of the modern discerning traveller. Accolades for the hotel and its restaurant were won; together they became a well-regarded destination for a number of celebrities – and those that deemed themselves to be celebrities but were not. Stories abound featuring idiosyncratic guests, overbearing public bodies, fractured family life and animals of all shapes and sizes. The local fire station next door was demolished one foggy night, people were frightened by flying dogs and snakes in the long grass, and there were, as befits a country house, strange goings on in the night. Many were the guests who checked in who really should not have been seen together.

This is a tribute to all the people behind the scenes who helped to make the hard-won transformation into a great success.

With a rave 5 star review from Readers’ Favorites, I can back up Matma Madhaven’s comments: “There are a lot of interesting stories about eccentric guests, how many guests who checked in should not have been seen together at all, and how it ended up being one of the favored stops for a number of celebrities. The author goes through the entire process, speaking about transforming the hotel methodically and in detail, taking readers along with him and his experiences while getting the old building renovated to cater to the needs of a modern traveler. There is not one boring moment in this memoir and the positive narration and outlook make this memoir an encouraging and motivating read. The author’s story and experiences are enriching, and the ups and downs of his life and the accolades he received for the hotel and its restaurant will encourage many readers out there to become hotel keepers.”

I’m not sure about that last sentence, but I sat and read John’s book in one sitting and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Other books by John:-

Dog Days In The Fortunate Islands: A new life in hidden Tenerife

https://books2read.com/b/DogDays

Prunes for Breakfast: One Man’s War: Based on a True Story. 

https://books2read.com/b/Prunes

Like most of us these days John has numerous addresses and if you want to find out lots more about him click on one of these.

Website: https://www.johnsearancke.com/

Newsletter sign up: https://mailchi.mp/57550f38f321/joinjohnsearancke

Author Interview: https://www.rukiapublishing.com/an-interview-with-john-searancke.html

FB: https://www.facebook.com/johnsearanckeauthor/

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/JohnSearancke

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/john-searancke

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/John-Searancke/e/B00J787XZ6/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7956383.John_Searancke

All the very best John for your new book.

Till next time, take care

Lucinda

 

A TRAILER AND YOUTH TRIALS

I was so thrilled with my very first video trailer which is for the Amie series, so I just can’t resist sharing it with you again, although I understand that over a thousand people have already seen it.

(Oh gosh that worked, such a great surprise!) Huge thanks to the very talented Susan Darlene Faw.

On a more serious note February 6th is the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation.

Yes, I know that it’s a subject that makes people squirm, like those personal adds that pop up in the middle of the Saturday night movie.

Despite that I chose it as a central theme in Amie Cut for Life – is it the teacher in me? Not exactly, I just wanted to raise awareness among the population that the practice of female circumcision is going on and, in some areas even spreading.

I’ve done lots of research on this for the book – and the subject matter there is handled very sensitively it’s an adventure story after all – and if it helps to spread the word … in classrooms, police stations, in communities and to mothers who may be planning to have their children cut.

Check out the slides below there is not one good reason for mutilating young children.

AMIE 4 30 JAN 2018

I read that the practice is not confined to Africa, the Middle East and Indonesia, but among those communities now living in Europe and America. The UK has pledged £50m to help end FGM across Africa by 2030 which hopefully will help but it’s also prevalent in other parts of the world.

Supporters are mothers and family members who believe that girls need this to make them suitable for marriage. It will also prevent them from unfaithfulness and ensure they remain pure for their future husbands.

AMIE book 4 5 JAN 2018

The good news is the first successful prosecution in the UK where a mother had her daughter aged 3 circumcised. She will be sentenced in March. I hope it will be a warning to others. So that makes the one point in that slide above out of date, but I compiled that a year ago.

I think I’d better stop now before I really began to rant!

Check out the book, I think you’ll enjoy it.

AMIE 4 20 NOV 2017

myBook.to/Ac4L

Actually, if you have read this far, the above statement is also a lie! I have 10 ARC copies of book 5 Amie Savage Safari – due out on Feb 26th. Anyone interested?  Drop me an email lucinda@lucindaeclarke.com

Till next time, take care.

Lucinda

THE DEMISE OF 2018

adorable baby baby feet beautifulSomebody, somewhere has got to slow things down a little, the years are flying past much too quickly. I believe the perception is that each complete year is a smaller fraction of your life so far and therefore appears to move faster. There is probably a mathematical formula in there but for someone who still counts on her fingers – and toes – let’s not go there.   A look back on 2018 –

IAmie 5 cover 1 hyena had a slump in the middle of the year – and I didn’t get Amie book 5 finished as early as I’d planned but it should be out very soon, I’m taking my time and not rushing it. I love the hyena in the top corner, once again Daz Smith has produced a cover I’m really happy with. We had a vulture in there at one time, but decided he crowded the picture too much so we flew him off.

But all was not lost as I published 2 back stories

We met Samantha, Amie’s elder sister in book 1 when she was the one leaking news about Amie to the press causing all sorts of problems and in book 3 she flew over to stay with Amie and Jonathon in Africa and was a very difficult guest. All is explained if you get to know her better in this comedy about her first visit abroad as she drags an unwilling Gerry into one disaster after another.

Why he ever married her I’ll never know. I think she might be good for another couple of stories later in the year.

 

Amie Back Story - Ben

The second backstory tells us more about Ben. He was Amie’s cameraman in Amie Africa Adventure but when the civil war breaks out he disappears.

He pops up in Amie and the Child of Africa when Amie chases off to rescue her foster child and then in book 5 as …  but I won’t spoil the surprise!

In Ben we meet him as he is about to undergo his passage into manhood and what happens afterwards.

Both back stories are priced at $/£0.99 so they won’t break the bank.

2018 was a great year for awards. I entered 7 contests and won awards in 5 of them, so I was really thrilled.

AMIE 2 WITH ALL 2 MEDALS 2018

Readers’ Favorite awarded Amie and the Child of Africa a Gold Medal and Amie: Stolen Future a Silver Medal.

AMIE 3 WITH ALL 3 MEDALS 2018

I was particularly thrilled as Headline books chose Amie book 2 for a possible publishing contract as one of 10 books entered in the competition – and I understand there were thousands. They didn’t take it in the end but it was a real boost that they liked it. Had a ball in America going to Miami and was thoroughly spoiled.

 

 

The Wishing Shelf Awards gave Amie and the Child of Africa a Red Ribbon and I understand a medal will be in the post soon

The Global Awards also gave the same book a silver medal.

In the New Apple Awards, Amie Stolen Future was solo medallist for action/adventure and Unhappily Ever After was solo medallist in humour (or humor if you live in America!)

Finally, Amie Stolen Future (book 3) won a gold in the e.Lit Awards.

If I was hoping these would catapult me to fame and fortune – it didn’t happen.

As followers of my blog and FB page know, we live in a small rabbit hutch and there is minimal wall space. DH did try to put all these accolades into one frame but I’m not sure it works and it doesn’t hang on the wall either. I tried to frame the medals but made a bit of a hash of that as well. It’s not as easy as you think but I’ll have another go when the other medal arrives.

IMG_0351

I had two large promos during the year. The first one was for Amie Cut for Life which incorporates the theme of FGM and I was invited onto Voice of America – Africa for my first TV interview. I blinked my way through looking like an owl skewered on the end of a cattle prod. The live FB page interview was a fraction better but not by much. I have the perfect face for radio and those interviews went better, both on Voice of America and on Talk Radio Europe in Spain.

None of these shot me to the top of the lists either.

I have popped the book prices up and down, taken part in joint promos, blogged, was a guest and had guests on my blog and tweeted my way merrily through 2018.

My Bookbub followers went up, my FB followers remained static (I’ve refused all those hearts, roses, cute kittens, top end cars, stethoscopes and little kid pics beside a variety of singled/divorced men offering friendship) and my twitter followers took a dive. My loyal mailing list remained pretty much the same but is woefully slow compared to other authors with millions of friends and fans, despite being offered a free book to join and an exclusive signed paperback of The very Worst Riding School in the monthly competition – it’s not on sale anywhere.

I’ll just pop the links in here in the hope someone, somewhere, reading this might just add their name too.

newsletter sign up:  http://eepurl.com/c-GqWr

twitter name   @LucindaEClarke     https://twitter.com/LucindaEClarke

Facebook  My page https://www.facebook.com/lucindaeclarke.author

BOOKBUB    https://www.bookbub.com/authors/lucinda-e-clarke

So, what of next year 2019? I have two wishes. To be a NYT Bestseller (or Wall St or similar) I’m not picky. The other is to prove the moon is really made of green cheese. I think it’s the second is the one I might manage to accomplish as it will be much easier.

I’d like to give everyone a huge hug for being my friend this year and reading my blogs and newsletters and FB posts. I still can’t believe how supportive, kind and helpful so many of you are.

It only remains to wish you all a wonderful last few days of the holiday and a fantastic New Year with everything you would wish for yourself and those you love.

Lucinda

 

 

2018 LUCINDA’S BEST BOOKS PART 3

This week the last five books that I have really enjoyed and recommend from the 100 I’ve read in 2018. To be honest I think I’ll lower my total next year, as I had to scramble and grab a couple of children’s books set for our book club to meet the challenge.

I’m sure they are not aware of it, but there are a few other authors I feel connected to as we started self-publishing around the same time. I hope they might think I have grown as I have seen them improve from book to book. The editing, dialogue, formatting, show not tell, have all taken huge leaps forward and they are among the books I’ve chosen this year, besides traditionally published books.

tears of fire

TEARS OF FIRE by Gordon Bickerstaffe

THEY GET BETTER AND BETTER

I’ve read all of this author’s books and each one is better than the last. For the first time, Zoe shows some fallibility and I liked that. She has been superwoman up until now and she has become more believable.  The story was excellent and the familiar characters were as lively as ever. It kept me guessing and the pace never faltered. I’ll be looking out for the next book in the series – I hope that will be soon. I was thrilled too to see that Gordon  got a gold medal at the Readers’ Favorite Awards 2018 for an earlier book, Tabula Rising.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DPSWZ3J

mateugus island

MATEGUAS ISLAND  Linda Watkins

LOVED IT

I really enjoyed this book. If there was one criticism it was the minute descriptions of everyday life which I would have preferred the author to omit, but the story was excellent, the imagery clear, the tension just right in all the right places and I was kept wondering until the very end how this book could have a happy ending. The configuration of the characters and their feelings for each other made that impossible, or so I thought. I shall be looking to buy more books written by this author. I see that Linda also won a gold medal and several other awards and I can understand why. I’m not sure what genre I would put this in, but possibly psychological thriller with supernatural undertones?  Wherever it fits it’s a great read.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00K0SDP9K

MOTHERLANDS DAUGHTER

A MOTHERLAND’S DAUGHTER, A FATHERLAND’S SON

GREAT READ

I have to include one of my favourite authors and having eagerly devoured many of her other books I was expecting a good read and I was not disappointed. It paints a brilliant picture of the reality of war and should be a compulsory read for anyone who thinks that battles are glorious and patriotic. Set initially in Poland and featuring both the Soviet and the German armies I understand the story was based partly on a true story.  Well written, characters I cared for and a book I might even read a second time. Highly recommended.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B079YF1BD9  

vase with many coloured marbles

THE VASE WITH THE MANY COLOURED MARBLES by Jacob Singer

From the descriptions of Cape Town, Johannesburg and Potchefstroom it is obvious that Jacob Singer the author is familiar not only with South African geography but with its history, often comparing the apartheid laws with those invoked in Germany under the Hitler regime. The story is quite unique, fast paced, attention holding and tense. Once I started reading I found the book impossible to put down. I was fascinated by the title, and it has a place in the narrative which is very clever. On reading the biography at the back I learned that part of the tale is based on truth, and only someone who had experienced living in South Africa could have brought this book to life as clearly as Jacob Singer. Well written, it flows beautifully and encompasses much of that country’s history and politics seamlessly into the story line. I cannot recommend it too highly, a really great read with a very unusual scenario.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B007H1T76S

 

echoes of the past

ECHOES OF THE PAST by Peter Rimmer

The blurb on Amazon says it’s for fans of the Courtney Series, the Kingsbridge novels and the Clifton Chronicles – so I knew it was also for me. Set in Rhodesia during the First War of Liberation it follows the fortunes of a family of early settlers, their infighting and their battles to survive. Adventure, excitement and historical set in the continent I miss, I was thrilled to find a new author on my favourite subject. Sadly, his author page has been updated and now tells us he passed away last July in his early 80’s. He has left several unpublished manuscripts and I shall be looking out for those as soon as I have read all his other books.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00S8TMJY0

 

I would hate to single out any one book as being the one I have enjoyed the most in 2018. Once I am engrossed in a good story, I am far away from my little place in Spain, right beside the characters, breathing the same air, hearing the same cries and living their lives. There are so many good books out there I’ll never have time to read all the ones I want, but I can recommend all the ones I’ve featured over the last three weeks.

Till next time, take care

Lucinda