2018 LUCINDA’S BEST BOOKS PART 2

The books I’ve chosen this year are not all published by independent authors, but those I’ve chosen as I think I will enjoy them.

My special interests are Africa (no surprises there), history, a good thriller or murder mystery and stories that unravel the inner workings inside those bastions of power. I hate to guess the ending of a book and admire those authors who cleverly wrap up the red herrings and leave me breathless on the last page.

Here are the next 5 for 2018.

DANDELION

THE DANDELION CLOCK  by Rebecca Bryn

THIS TOOK ME ON A ROLLER COASTER RIDE

A cleverly written book that made me both smile and cry – not many books do that. Based on a true story it features England in war time, both from the point of view of the soldier who went overseas to fight in 1918 and the girl he left behind. The research was excellent, the characters well defined and this book lifts the lid of the situation so many young couples faced in a time of crisis. Sad, but oh so realistic and I cannot recommend it highly enough. Another author I have seen go from strength to strength over the years – I shall always buy her books the moment she publishes them.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07FW8LBXN 

girl he left behind

THE GIRL HE LEFT BEHIND  by Lesley Hayes

This is not a book to be read lightly, but slowly to savour the excellent use of language and prose. It falls squarely into the literary category – one which will live on long after the ‘quick read’ novels have been forgotten. There is much to think about when you turn the pages and the author has made good use of her knowledge as an integrative psychotherapist, taking the reader into the dark reaches of the mind and the complex feelings of human emotions with its many contradictions and moods. While part of you wants to drag Kat away from Alex and her unhealthy hold on her, you can still understand the reasons Kat returns time and time again. Each character leaps off the page and by the end of the book I felt I had known them for years. I highly recommend this for all book lovers who prefer a well-written, solid read with great depth and meaning that makes you question the human spirit and the decisions made in relationships.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077HVN4BP

tipping point

TIPPING POINT  by Terry Tyler

I’VE FOUND A NEW AUTHOR I LOVE

I bought this book on the recommendation of a friend as she told me I would love it – and I did. Written with an underlying touch of humour, despite the catastrophic story, I was held captive from the first chapter. If you’ve ever wondered how man can solve the over population of the planet, this is one way and it is all too realistic and plausible. It was one of those books when the dishes  are left in the sink and the bed unmade, I couldn’t put it down. I immediately turned on the computer to buy the second and third books in the series. Stories about the apocalypse do not usually appeal to me, but I’m glad I stepped out of my usual genres to try this series.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074LSCX5M

his name was ben

HIS NAME WAS BEN  by Paulette Mahurin

HEARTBREAKING YET UPLIFTING

This is the bitter sweet story of two people meeting in the oncologist’s office and how their relationship developed from there. Much more than a love story begun in the knowledge that life may be short with the need to take each day for what it could bring. The story itself is realistic and believable and I cared about the characters. I love books by this author and I have read them all and will read every one she publishes. While this book is good, it’s not quite my favourite but I still recommend it as it’s a great story. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XRM6BLX

 

creadle of the serpent

CRADLE OF THE SERPENT by Linda Lee Greene

EVERYTHING TO LIKE

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I chose this book as I’m not a great lover of romance stories, but every now and again I try to vary the genre I read. Wow! This was so much more. The amount of research it must have taken is phenomenal and I learned a lot and for me, that always makes for an excellent read. I checked and the author is part North American Indian, and her love for her people and history shines through. There is also extensive information on spinal cord injuries, archaeology and brilliant descriptions of the American south west. The story is a dilemma in itself. Not a fluffy boy meets girl scenario but something much, much deeper. Great book I recommend if you like thoughtful reading and something to get your teeth into.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XRM6BLX  

Next week the last of my great reads for 2018. till then, take care

Lucinda

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2018 LUCINDA’S BEST BOOKS PART 1

For the third year I would like to share with you the books that I have enjoyed the most in 2018.

This is the first time I joined the Goodreads challenge and optimistically filled in 100 books. I will manage that, just, and I have reviewed all but two of them. And note, this is besides some beta reading and proof editing for author friends. Yes, I love reading.

These are not the only good books I’ve read this year, but those that have stayed with me long after I’ve put them down. These are the stories that either touched my heart, entertained me, taught me things I didn’t know or caused me to weep, sit and question.

I wish I could include more but I have managed to get the list down to 16. The first 5 this week in no particular order:-

tears of innocence

TEARS OF INNOCENCE  by T R Robinson

A HEART BREAKING STORY

The introduction tells us this is a true story and it is one of the saddest I have ever read. Don’t let that put you off buying it as it demonstrates the amazing resilience of one woman who, from one trauma after another from the age of 5 managed to survive against the odds. The author lived through World War II and the horrors of that time. Every time she thinks she has found safety and shelter, life throws her another curved ball. A brilliant tribute to a brave and courageous women you cannot help but admire more than any other writer whose biography I have read. Every woman should read this book and gain strength from it. I immediately bought the second book in the trilogy. This book deserves to be up there in the bestsellers once I started reading it I was unable to put it down.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DUSKEYU 

eVERY NOTHERS FEAR

EVERY MOTHER’S FEAR by  Joanna Warington

GREAT STORY

Having a relative who gave birth to a child after taking Thalidomide, I was drawn to this story. It recounts the lives of two women affected in quite different ways to the effects of this insufficiently tested drug. I had already decided in my mind what path the story was going to follow, but I was so wrong. It’s a well written book, fast paced and you cared about the characters Rona and Sandra – they are excellently portrayed. I admit to being a fan of this author and will buy and read anything she writes. Highly recommended, especially if you remember living during the 1960’s, there were so many references to life at that time it brought back memories.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B078JX8559

origin

ORIGIN by Dan Brown 5 stars

GREAT!

Now I know that his writing has been panned by the literati, who pronounced Dan Brown couldn’t string two sentences together, but he writes great stories – stories that make you think and stretch your brain. And remember his books were picked up for Hollywood films something most of us only dream about. I enjoyed this book the 5th in the Robert Langdon series. The research must have taken days, I learned a lot and used my kindle dictionary many times. Well written, the story was fascinating although there were no real surprises at the end.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LXCD7FU

 

PONTIFEX MAXIMUS

PONTIFEX MAXIMUS   by Damien North

THOROUGHLY GOOD READ

I raced through this book, it was an easy read as the words flowed beautifully and I kept going page after page. It’s not often I finish a book and then go to look for the next one to buy, but this is the second time this week it’s happened to me. Be warned, this ends on a cliff hanger and if I’d known this I would have waited until books 2 and 3 were available before starting this one. An author after my own heart who isn’t afraid to kill off his main characters just as you get to love them. I also appreciated the in-depth knowledge of the higher workings of the Catholic Church. Good book, would recommend. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M9DOBVX

THE PENCIL CASE

The Pencil Case by Lorriane Cobcroft

Much has been written about the indignities meted out to the Aborigines by the Australian authorities, but this is the first book I’m aware of that relates the injustices to white children. This a harrowing read, but I could not stop turning the pages. The book is so well written, I felt I was there with Paul and Jenny, suffering with them, feeling angry at how they were treated and routing for a happy conclusion. The writer takes you into the mind of Paul as he struggles to adjust, contain his anger and frustration as he attempts to cope with the demons who rule his life and his behaviour. The Pencil Case by Lorriane Cobcroft is one of those books which will remain with you long after you have read the last page. A sad story, beautifully told and I wish I could award it ten stars.  https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00C4B9QLW

Next week the next 5 on my list.

Until then, take care

Lucinda

ST VITAS AND A VEHICLE

TRAVEL – PRAGUE

This week a few pics of St Vitus Cathedral. I usually take a photo of the name of a church, but this time I forgot and I’ve had to hunt on Google maps street view to identify it.

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It was quite awe inspiring.  It’s 600 years old and has in turn been called St Vitus, St Adalbert and St Wenceslas. (When I was little and sang that carol “Good King Wenceslas looked out…”  I thought it was – last looked out – and wondered what happened to him after that. My writer’s mind had him hung drawn and quartered, strung up, boiled in oil, burned at the stake or something worthy of the saint status).

In olden days in was the venue for coronations of kings and queens. It’s a Roman Catholic place of worship and this form of Christianity was forced on the Czechs under dominance by the Habsburgs. I discovered that in 1910 Catholicism was the professed religion of 96.5% of the population. The latest figures show 39.8% as atheist and 39.2% as Catholic.

HISTORY – ISABELLA OF SPAIN

To be honest, Ferdinand is a bit cheesed off acting as a servant to one of the merchants. He’s a bit of a spoiled brat and doesn’t like being bossed about. He’s not too good at this undercover stuff, and grooming the mules and serving at tables and to now skulk around dressed in servant’s clothes on the way to a country where he is only going to be the king consort is demeaning.

The party travel mostly by night, but when they stop at an inn, they become fearful they have been discovered.  As soon as they finish their meal, they decide to press on with the journey. They discover that they have left the purse with all their travelling money behind.  It’s too risky to go back for it, so they ride on, penniless. Is there no end to this excitement?

AFRICA FACTS

Of the 54 African countries I have only lived in and or visited 12 of them. I count myself very privileged to have travelled deep rural, into informal townships and many places not frequented by either tourists or local residents.

CATO MANOR 8

With the film crew, we spent days in communities talking to local people, in broken English or with an interpreter. We also talked to wealthy people in positions of power. People are the same the world over, yet I saw more resilience, more fatalism and more courage than I have seen in so called civilised, western countries.

They  have a more happy go lucky approach too, as this picture below shows – yes the caption is true, I saw the paperwork.

KZN 05 Silver-2

I was thrilled to hear that Truth, Lies and Propaganda was chosen by a book club in America. I do hope I get to hear what they thought of it.

Till next time, take care.

Lucinda

STREETS AND SECRECY

TRAVEL – PRAGUE

I don’t think of myself as a travel writer, so it’s always a tussle between noting down what I have seen and taking time to look at things. I didn’t keep a diary when we were in Prague, so I’m relying on my memory here and that’s a very dangerous thing to do.

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Many of the roads are quite wide and there are tram lines everywhere. We did take a short ride on one on the last day, and they are more fun than riding on a bus, but don’t ask me why – they just are.

Two views from the Charles Bridge.

HISTORY – ISABELLA OF SPAIN

Now we’re coming to another exciting bit. I left off when Isabella is in hiding but under protection and she has decided it’s time for Ferdinand to come and marry her, but he must be quick. Lots of people want to stop them.

ferdinands dad

 

But there is a problem – isn’t there always? King John of Aragon, Ferdinand’s dad has fallen on hard times and he doesn’t have enough money to fit out his son with all the clobber needed for a royal wedding. Sad eh?

That’s King John on the left.

Ferdinand 5

First though he tries to fool King Henry of Castille – remember he doesn’t want Isabella and Ferdinand to get married. So King John makes very noisy preparations to send a whole retinue to the court of Castille.

Meanwhile, a party of 6 merchants quietly leave for Valladolid which is where Isabella sits waiting.

That’s Ferdinand on the right. Can you see the family resemblance? No, I can’t either.  I just love that saying “Momma’s baby, Poppa’s maybe.”

AFRICA FACTS

There are a total of 54 countries on the African Continent, among which are the 5 poorest in the world –

  1. Central African Republic — GDP per capita: $656 (£535)
  2. Democratic Republic of Congo — GDP per capita: $784 (£639) …
  3. Burundi — GDP per capita: $818 (£667) …
  4. Liberia — GDP per capita: $882 (£719) …
  5. Niger — GDP per capita: $1,113 (£907) …

The two richest are Nigeria and South Africa followed by Egypt, Algeria and Angola. Much of this wealth is due to the minerals beneath the ground, especially the oil in Nigeria and a wide range including gold and diamonds in South Africa.

Maps often distort the size of Africa, this one is more realistic. This shows you how large it is in comparison to other places.

AFRICA REAL SIZE

Often I get carried away and forget to mention my books, but you can find them all here on my Amazon page,

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

or click through from here to my web page.  https://lucindaeclarkeauthor.com

Whoops, just remembered – Unhappily Ever after my political satire is on sale for $/£0.99 until the end of the month. Picture Fairyland in chaos as the royals wallow in their misery and unhappy marriages and the Green Giant is sent from the Red Party to foment unrest among the happy peasants.

Till next time, take care

Lucinda

MEET MARK MOREY

I’ve lost count of the number of guests I’ve had on my blog, and I have not read all the books featured, but this week is different.

My guest is Mark Morey and I have read two of his books and thoroughly enjoyed them and the third, the one set in Japan is on my kindle and second in the queue to be read and I’m really looking forward to it.

I enjoy his stories as they are set in different countries and the first one that caught my eye was No Darkness as it was set in Zimbabwe.  But Let Mark tell you his own story.

MARK MOREY HEADSHOT

I hadn’t thought of writing fiction until I went to the local library to borrow a book, but couldn’t find anything which interested me.  By that stage I was tired of writing dry, technical dissertations, so I set myself the task of writing something more interesting.  It had to have interesting characters, and it had to have an interesting and unusual setting.  I thought authors better than me have written about many aspects of past and contemporary Western life, so I should tell a story far from that.

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My most recent novels please me the most.  No Darkness is set in my wife’s country of Zimbabwe, where we were married and had our honeymoon, and which has been through terrible times since then.  She and her people are the most wonderful people on this planet, and those good people don’t deserve what they’ve been through.  Nobody deserves what they have been through, but particularly not the people of Zimbabwe.  I have an insight into African culture and memories of my time there, which helped to write this story.  I hope those who read No Darkness will understand more about the tragedy of modern-day Africa.

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I like contemporary French music.  One of my favourite albums has a song ‘Dans Nos Souvenirs’ or In Our Memories.  I didn’t understand what it was about, until eventually I came across the Armenian Genocide of 1915.  I was quite shocked that I had never even heard of the first genocide, and I was sure that others would be the same.  Indeed, reviews have shown this is the case.  In Our Memories is currently under consideration for the UK school curriculum.

cover

 

The Syrian Civil War is complicated, and I set myself the task of writing Blood Never Sleeps about the rise and defeat of Islamic State in Syria.  For this I got the help of Syrian Kurds, who have translated my novel into Kurmanji Kurdish for use in their schools.  For Westerners, the stoicism of Kurds and Arabs under stress may seem a little distant at times, but this is how they are.  Even in battle, living or dying is in God’s hands, and if you die for a good cause then you will be a martyr.  But there is more to Blood Never Sleeps than battles and war.  These Kurds are aiming not for women’s equality, but for the total dismantling of the patriarchy.  I do thank Komutan Rodja Felat for allowing me to use her and her words in my story.  Also a big thank-you to ‘Clara Raqqah’!

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My country of Australia was shaped by the Pacific War against Japan.  My father and my uncle fought in this conflict, while my mother was terrified the Japanese would invade Australia and brutalise her.  At the time it seemed Japan would, but ultimately that was not their plan.  But how did a small nation decide to go to war against the rest of the world; a war they could never win?  After reading a crime novella set in pre-war Tokyo I was fascinated by the setting.  So Ketsumeidan opens in Asakusa, Tokyo in the year 1932, where forces seem determined to drag Japan to war.  I have been to Japan, and when I was younger I lived in Hong Kong and in Korea for a time, so I do understand the Asian way of thinking to a degree.  I have a friend who was born and raised in Japan, who helped me with aspects of Japanese culture.  Finally, a geisha helped me to get my geisha character right.  Ketsumeidan is the most truthful of these four novels.  Almost everything in Ketsumeidan actually happened, and wherever possible I used actual words of the people involved.  A letter by Shumei Okawa, the police interviews with Sada Abe, or the sad story of Chang Jiazhi (her real name was Zheng Pingru).  Zheng even had a Kenpeitai lieutenant as a friend.  It seemed like all the pieces were there waiting to be written, and all it needed was three, strong characters to bring this story to fruition.  For Australians and Americans, the war against Japan is well-known but not necessarily understood; while those in other parts of the world might be surprised that this brutal conflict was being fought two years before Hitler invaded Poland.  But Ketsumeidan is not about war and battles, rather individuals going against the flow because it was still possible that war wasn’t inevitable, and then when war happened; those who truly loved their country had to stop it from destroying itself.

All Mark’s books are available in e-book and print on demand paperback, from Amazon, Apple iBooks and other online retailers.

https://www.amazon.com/Mark-Morey/e/B00I3U8V2S/

Thank you Mark for being my guest this week. I hope lots of readers will check out your books and enjoy them.

 

 

 

I MUST BE ON A WATCH LIST BY NOW

I got the following email this week:

 

My nickname in darknet is ryley58.
I hacked this mailbox more than six months ago,
through it I infected your operating system with a virus (trojan) created by me and have been monitoring you for a long time.

So, your password from lucindaeclarke@gmail.com is …..

Even if you changed the password after that – it does not matter, my virus intercepted all the caching data on your computer and automatically saved access for me.

I have access to all your accounts, social networks, email, browsing history.
Accordingly, I have the data of all your contacts, files from your computer, photos and videos.

I was most struck by the intimate content sites that you occasionally visit.
You have a very wild imagination, I tell you!

During your pastime and entertainment there, I took screenshot through the camera of your device, synchronizing with what you are watching.
Oh my god! You are so funny and excited!

I think that you do not want all your contacts to get these files, right?
If you are of the same opinion, then I think that $859 is quite a fair price to destroy the dirt I created.

Send the above amount on my BTC wallet (bitcoin): 1NXNt72qfMhPZDffUEqryCYpEUzyR6LmgH
As soon as the above amount is received, I guarantee that the data will be deleted, I do not need it.

Otherwise, these files and history of visiting sites will get all your contacts from your device.
Also, I’ll send to everyone your contact access to your email and access logs, I have carefully saved it!

Since reading this letter you have 48 hours!
After your reading this message, I’ll receive an automatic notification that you have seen the letter.

I hope I taught you a good lesson.
Do not be so nonchalant, please visit only to proven resources, and don’t enter your passwords anywhere!
Good luck!

But it gave me food for thought – I had checked out a site which I guess could have been called porn but it was in connection with my story about Ben and his circumcision ceremony – honestly!

Like many other writers I’m probably on a watch list by now as I merrily google guns, explosives, torture techniques and similar stuff. I was warned by the team at Quora that my question about the distance you could throw certain kinds of bombs was inappropriate.  I guess they have a point  but it was information I couldn’t find on Google and several helpful people told me what I needed to know before the post was pulled.

And recently I needed to gather information about embassies and consulates and how they worked for Amie Savage Safari. Now put those altogether and I’m really a shady character.

This is maybe why I always get pulled over at the airport for that extra frisking. It can’t be my stunning looks or legs which start at my armpits, as I’m  old and wrinkly, and if the clefts in my face get any deeper they will make excellent smuggling hidey-holes.

Writing can be a minefield but we need vital and correct information for our books – the experts out there are ready to pounce and review our mistakes in CAPITAL LETTERS for the whole world to read.

Not one but 2 new books out in the Amie Backstory series – Samantha and Ben. Both available wide and both only $/£ 0.99.

Sam is a light, fluffy, cozy, comedy set in Benidorm, Spain and Ben is more serious – he is about to enter manhood in his rural African village where things don’t go to plan.

This is the link for Sam https://www.books2read.com/u/3J8B7e  

I’m still hoping to publish Amie Savage Safari before I go to Miami but it has to be just right and I’m a picky Virgo.

Take care

Lucinda

CLOCK AND CLUELESS

TRAVEL – PRAGUE

One of the main things to see near the Old Town Square in Prague is the special clock.

It is currently being repaired and was covered with a sheet that only showed the picture of the clock.

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This is a pic off the internet to show the real thing – when it is not covered by a sheet.

prague clock

It is an astronomical clock first installed in 1410, so I guess it is due for an overhaul. The 12 apostles pop out on the hour.

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I’m ashamed to admit I have no idea what this building is, but I like the architecture. I popped the signage into Google translate and it told me it’s the  Law School.

HISTORY – ISABELLA OF SPAIN

Now there were quite a few important and powerful people who didn’t want Isabella to marry Ferdinand but despite that, the two young people sign their agreement on February 7th 1469. Now all that remains is for them to meet and do the marrying thing.

The princess sneaks off but someone tells on her and Henry’s soldiers are sent to arrest her. (Told you this was an exciting story).

Bishop of toledo

Just in time the Archbishop of Toledo rescues her and takes her to Valladolid where she is safe.

Isabella summons Ferdinand from Zaragossa 200 miles to the east to come at once and marry her. Will he? Find out next time!

 

 

AFRICA FACTS

We were filming in a deep rural school and the teacher had prepared a Q & A session for the cameras. The question was “Who is the greatest man in South Africa?”

Rows of eager little faces were desperate to answer. “My Chief – Mr Magwane (the Headmaster) – Mr Sonenze (a teacher) – a famous footballer.”

After each ‘wrong’ answer, the teacher became more and more frantic. She gave them hints – such as prison on Robben Island – where is that? they wanted to know. Nobel prize winner – what is that? they asked.

mandela

Finally, she gave up. “Mr Nelson Mandela,” she told them brightly.

“Who?” they asked.

She gave up.

We wanted to laugh, but as an ex-teacher I felt for her.

AD BREAK

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http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lucinda-E-Clarke/e/B00FDWB914

Till next time, take care.