Miedo by Kevin Cooper – My Review

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It’s not often that my jaw physically drops when I’m reading a book, especially in a biographical drama where you know you can expect a real life shocker or two, so you’re pretty much expecting them to come. I had a couple of those moments reading Miedo with the matter of fact way that Kevin Cooper tells his story. I read it in two sittings, because at every point you just have to know what happens next, and now I’m hoping that there will be much more to come from Miedo.
The author has a unique way of drawing you into these early years in a way that will keep you riveted, and the mixture of joy, shock, and some real hair-raising terror that are so skilfully woven into some of the delights of childhood not only had me right there in Miedo’s life, but also remembering things about my own childhood that I’m sure I wouldn’t have otherwise. The descriptive scenes in this book did for me what very few books do, and had me not only seeing the apple tree in the garden, but smelling the blossoms too. Even if the characters in this book were all fictitious it still makes for a five star read, and believe me when I say that a couple of them, like Miedo’s sisters, make for some definite jaw-dropping moments. For all the twists and turns in this child’s life, even though I was sometimes appalled at some of the things that happened to him, his strength shines through always, and you always feel rather safe and somehow comfortable in his presence. Wonderful reading, and I fully recommend it.

Author Spotlight – Jennie Orbell

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Today with me, in celebration of her novel Mulligan’s Reach, is my lovely friend and author Jennie Orbell. I read and reviewed this book a while ago, and now I want to share it with you. It appealed to me on many levels, and is one of those books that you really don’t want to put down no matter how many jobs you have on your to do list. Apart from getting totally involved with the human characters, I especially loved the horses in this story. Jennie writes as many of my favourite authors do, and pulls you right in to her tales. So, wanting to introduce this talented author to you, I invited her to join me here today to answer a few questions, and she graciously accepted.
Jennie Orbell
By way of a short introduction I can tell you that Jennie Orbell lives in the United Kingdom, writes romantic suspense, short fiction, contemporary fiction, and romance. Her likes and loves include positive people, cats with attitude, sponge cakes that rise, snails that stay in other people’s gardens and being a Scorpio extremist. She dislikes self-important/pessimistic people, broken promises and all forms of cruelty to animals. Her hobbies include; Tarot card reading, making home-made wine (although she rarely drinks it! No, really!) gardening, baking, and caring for the important things in her life. She shares her life with her partner, Richard, whom for some strange reason appears to accept all of the above.

Her life quotes are:

What doesn’t destroy you makes you stronger.
I will lay me down a while and bleed, then rise and fight again.
And, It is better to say nothing and appear stupid than to speak and remove all doubt.

And now straight in to the questions.

1. Why did you pick Australia as the locale for Mulligan’s Reach
For some inexplicable reason Australia was the natural choice. It gave me permission to delve into a land mystical and wondrous. I probably have to blame Paul Hogan a bit. His portrayal of Crocodile Dundee and that sound track appealed so much. I love the Australian accent and the words they use. I find it addictive and actually quite sexy. Opps. Probably shouldn’t have said that?

2. The horses in this book are very real characters in their own rights. Are any of the things that they did, or happened to them based on fact?
Ha ha – yes. I guess Alex sitting astride a bolting Holly is quite near to home. I was carted along a three-foot wide grass verge at the side of a dual carriageway on a friend’s racehorse. The horse was stabled across the dual carriageway, over the central reservation and across the opposite dual carriageway. I knew if I didn’t stop the horse it would reach the point opposite its stable and cart me straight across four lanes of heavy traffic. Fortunately I managed to haul it in or I certainly wouldn’t be here to tell this particular tale! I haven’t rescued a horse from the Pacific Ocean like Alex did – but I never rule anything out in this life?

3. What was the inspiration for the story?
I’m not sure I was ‘inspired’ in the true sense of the word. It was more like a manic interest to discover what might happen if I threw together an Australian boat captain, two American cowboys, two English women, a few mad-cap horses and an island paradise that became an island hell? I simply introduced the cast and they all played their parts.

4. Did you have to do a lot of research?
There was a certain amount of research regarding the Aboriginal content in the book. And it was also vital that I put the ‘imaginary’ island in the right area of the Pacific Ocean – a few miles in the wrong direction and I would have had an island nearer to New Zealand than Australia! Also the flora and fauna required a little checking up on.

5. Do you think you’ll ever revisit Mulligan’s Reach in another book?
I would love to revisit Mulligan’s Reach but I seriously doubt that I will. The story line was pretty conclusive, although I will admit that the idea has crossed my mind. And my mind is a dangerous place!

6. Can you tell us a little about your loves and interests?
Most of the things I love are very simple things. I love nature, or the kinder, softer side of nature. I’m not delirious about lions bringing down newly-born zebra or cats ripping birds to shreds but I do love dragonflies flitting over ponds, mist hanging low over fields, horses galloping, fruit ripening, the smell of warm soil and spring rain. I could never imagine not growing things. The garden with its seasons and its constant challenges appeals greatly. I love God’s flora and fauna and feel blessed that I have realised this in my lifetime.
I love country music above all other because each song is usually a story. Country songs, to me, are like shortened books or films and many an idea for a short story has been born from a country song. The fact that the odd song has wrist-slitting lyrics is just par for the course.
I read tarot cards and believe in ghosts and angels. I’m sure you are, at this point, laughing or tuning out but that doesn’t matter because I know these things to be true – and I have reached that knowing stage of my life where I feel that I don’t have to justify my beliefs. I have seen a ghost. I have felt the presence of an angel.
I think I actually enjoy being a little weird! It keeps the old Christmas card list to a minimum!

7. Tell us about your work in progress, The Sleeping Field.
Marrakesh Madder sees dead people – children mainly. Although many doubt her ability, D.I.Bart doesn’t and has, in the past, called on Mari to help. While some may call it a gift Mari calls it a curse and after finding a small child, Rosie Tucker, decides that she can no longer do it. Mari leaves London and the family home, bequeathed to her by her parents, and travels to Devonshire, to the home of her elderly aunts, Grace and Vi Madder.
The Madder sisters own and run Mill Cottage, a sanctuary for old and neglected donkeys. It is Mari’s intention to stay at Mill Cottage, to make it her home and help her elderly aunts, ploughing the money from her London house into the sanctuary.
Mari adores her aunts but swears to keep her secret from them. Little does she know that she has arrived at a place which has many secrets of its own – including the place that her aunt Grace lovingly calls the Sleeping Field.

Thank you for being here today Jennie, and for sharing your time with us. I can tell you that I’m really looking forward to reading your book number four. Now, hurry up and finish writing it!

Mulligan's Reach

Here’s where you can find Mulligan’s Reach. Kindle Book Kindle Book Paperback Paperback

My Review:

Riveting!, March 22, 2013
By Jo Robinson
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: Mulligan’s Reach (Kindle Edition)
I laughed. I cried. I fell in love. This is the third book I’ve read by this author, and even though I expected to love it on the strength of my enjoyment of the first two, the power of this story took me by surprise. It’s a wild and brilliant ride all the way through. It is unexpected and intense from the first page to the last, and hard not to gush about and give the game away. There is murder, intrigue, and unexpected passion. Alex Mc Bride has been so deeply hurt that she doesn’t ever want a man again. Her life is wrapped up in her stud farm on an island off the coast of Australia. The arrival of Kane Mitchell seems to be the trigger of a chain of terrifying events, and Alex can’t figure out who is to blame for them. I loved the people in this book. I loved the horses in this book. They are the kind of heroic that makes you cry a little – sometimes quite a lot. I especially loved Aussie boat captain Arthur “Plug” Towers. I highly recommend this book. Once you start reading it you won’t be able to stop.

You can find all Jennie’s books on her Amazon author page.
Jennie Orbell on Amazon

Or look her up on:

Jennie Orbell on Facebook
Jennie Orbell on Twitter
Jennie Orbell’s Blog

Review – The Treasures of Suleiman by Kevin Ashman

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This is a book that I have been eagerly anticipating.  After reading and loving The Dead Virgins, the first book of the India Summers murder mystery series, I opened the pages of the Treasures of Suleiman with relish, and was not disappointed.  Once again Kevin Ashman had me neglecting work and family because I could not stop reading.

India and Brandon reunite to solve the murder of an old acquaintance.  So begins their quest to find the Piris Reis map, which should lead them to a treasure like no other, and they are off on a journey of danger and intrigue, from the palace of Sultan Suleiman The Magnificent to exotic Istanbul and over the Caribbean to an island filled with danger from the earth, as well as danger from a man that wants them dead, and an ending that had me wanting to find this place and hunt for the treasure myself.

An absolute triumph of a story as far as I am concerned.  It all came alive for me, as did the first story in the series.  Kevin Ashman combines history, mystery, and a fantastic modern tale that makes you believe that it all happened, and has you gripping the sides of your kindle when the action starts.

I recommend it as highly as I can.  It stands alone, but having read book one I can’t wait to see what happens in the third.



Review – The Dead Virgins by Kevin Ashman

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From the first pages of The Dead Virgins, I felt the warm fuzzy glow of a new friendship.  Much as I did when I read my first Jean M Aueul, or Wilbur Smith, I knew that I had found an author whose new releases I would always eagerly anticipate.

Kevin Ashman’s masterful interweaving of historical fact and exciting fiction, as well as his brilliant descriptive ability, had me hooked until the very end, already clamouring for more.

The story moves between the ancient and modern worlds of Italy, Greece, and England.  A gruesome murder in the London Underground is somehow connected to Nero’s Rome, and a beautiful priestess.  Kevin Ashman effortlessly takes you back through the mists of time, into the mystical world of the Vestal Virgins, the treasures of their Goddess, secrets lost in legend, and then brings you rushing back to the present, with intrigue, humour, some seriously exciting action, and characters so likeable, that you know you have to meet India and Brandon again.

This is what a book is supposed to do, take you into the story, and The Dead Virgins does exactly that, in high definition, and with surround sound.  Of course I recommend it.  Bring on the next India Summers adventure.