Book Review: Watching Glass Shatter by James Cudney (Perceptions of Glass #1) #Book #Review #Mystery #Fiction

Goodreads Synopsis:

The wealthy Glass family lost its patriarch, Benjamin Glass, sooner than expected. Benjamin’s widow, Olivia, and her 5 sons each react to his death in their own way while preparing for the reading of his will. Olivia receives a very unexpected confession from her late husband about one of their sons that could shatter the whole family.

Prior to revealing the secret to her children, Olivia must figure out which boy Ben refers to in the confession he left her in his will. While the family attorney searches for the mysterious Rowena Hector whom Ben says holds the answers, Olivia asks her sons to each spend a week with her as she isn’t ready to let go of the past. When Olivia visits her sons, she quickly learns that each one has been keeping his own secret from her. Olivia never expected her remaining years would be so complex and life-altering, but she will not rest until her family is reunited after Ben’s untimely death.

We all need family. We all want to fit in. We’re all a mix of quirky personalities. Will Olivia be able to fix them or will the whole family implode? What will she do when she discovers the son behind Ben’s secret? Check out this ensemble cast where each family member’s perspective is center stage, discovering along the way who might feel the biggest impact from all the secrets. Through various scenes and memories across a six-month period, you’ll get to know everyone, learning how and why they made certain decisions. Welcome to being an honorary member of the Glass family where the flair for over-the-top drama pushes everyone to their limits. 

I’m a blog tour host for the upcoming release of the second book in the series, so this is my review for #1 Watching Glass Shatter.

My review:

I loved this. Fantastic family drama, strong female characters, so moving it made me cry! Enjoyed the characterisation of all the five brothers. All so different and engaging. Great characters, and dialogue. Interesting look at how shocking secrets exist in families and how circumstances can alter how we deal with them when they are revealed. The story line elaborates on many important concerns within the family dynamic: vulnerabilities, mistakes made and forgiven, pressure to succeed, the far reaching consequences of drug dependency, ‘coming out,’ accepting a love one’s different lifestyle choices and learning to forgive a husband’s decision, whilst coping with the most terrible heartbreak to remain strong. The beginning and end are powerful. My recommendation 5 stars read this! 

I’m a blog tour host for the upcoming release of the second book in the series. I’m currently reading Hiding Cracked Glass and so looking forward to being part of the tour which begins on 5th October.

About The Author

Background

James is my given name, but most folks call me Jay. I live in New York City, grew up on Long Island, and graduated from Moravian College, an historic but small liberal arts school in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with a degree in English literature and minors in Education, Business and Spanish. After college, I accepted a technical writing position for a telecommunications company during Y2K and spent the last ~20 years building a career in technology & business operations in the retail, sports, media and entertainment industries. Throughout those years, I wrote some short stories, poems and various beginnings to the “Great American Novel,” but I was so focused on my career in technology and business that writing became a hobby. In 2016, I refocused some of my energies toward reinvigorating a second career in reading, writing and publishing.

Author

Writing has been a part of my life as much as my heart, my mind and my body. At some points, it was just a few poems or short stories; at others, it was full length novels and stories. My current focus is family drama fiction, cozy mystery novels and suspense thrillers. I think of characters and plots that I feel must be unwound. I think of situations people find themselves in and feel compelled to tell the story. It’s usually a convoluted plot with many surprise twists and turns. I feel it necessary to take that ride all over the course. My character is easily pictured in my head. I know what he is going to encounter or what she will feel. But I need to use the right words to make it clear.

Reader & Reviewer

Reading has also never left my side. Whether it was children’s books, young adult novels, college textbooks, biographies or my ultimate love, fiction, it’s ever present in my day. I read 2 books per week and I’m on a quest to update every book I’ve ever read on Goodreads, write up a review and post it on all my sites and platforms.

Websites & Blog

Website: https://jamesjcudney.com/

Blog: https://thisismytruthnow.com

Amazon: http://bit.ly/JJCIVBooks

Next Chapter Pub: https://www.nextchapter.pub/authors/james-j-cudney

BookBub:https://www.bookbub.com/profile/james-j-cudney

Goodreads Book Links

Watching Glass Shatter (October 2017)

Father Figure (April 2018)

Braxton Campus Mysteries

  1. Academic Curveball – #1 (October 2018)
  2. Broken Heart Attack – #2 (November 2018)
  3. Flower Power Trip – #3 (March 2019)
  4. Mistaken Identity Crisis – #4 (June 2019)
  5. Haunted House Ghost – #5 (October 2019)
  6. Frozen Stiff Drink – #6 (March 2020)

As a blog tour host for the second in the series I also received a copy of Watching Glass Shatter. All opinions are my own and unbiased.

Have you read James Cudney’ books? Do comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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Kyrosmagica Book Reviews: The Magician’s Curse by Linda G. Hill #Paranormal #Romance

Goodreads Synopsis

Even true love can be cursed …
When Herman Anderson leaves home to make a better life for herself, she doesn’t expect to meet a tall, dark stranger with whom she’ll fall hopelessly in love.
Charming and mysterious, Stephen Dagmar is a stage magician seeking an assistant. The moment he sets eyes on Herman, he knows she’s the one. He brings her home to his Victorian mansion where they embark upon an extravagant romance. Yet a shadow hangs over their love. Will the curse on his family end Stephen and Herman’s happily ever after, before it really begins?
Amidst lace and leather, innocence and debauchery, The Magician’s Curse begins the Gothic tale of The Great Dagmaru. Magic and romance await.
*Winner of the 2017 Paranormal Romance Guild’s Reviewer’s Choice Award for Gothic/Mythology/Folk Tales 

My review

This is one of those books that you read and some of the niggles don’t stop you from reading it more! It’s definitely a page turner.

So what are the niggles? The characters annoyed me! They aren’t likable, but perhaps they aren’t meant to be? The magician is a Casanova type with magical powers whose actions are excusable by a curse that forces him to procreate with another until he finds true love. I suppose with such a curse it is bound to be in his genes to be so full of himself! All the women vie for his attention. But he seems pretty heartless in his treatment of his servant (no spoilers – you’d have to read the book to see what I mean.)

The young woman with the unusual name – Herman who falls in love with him is naive, inexperienced and doesn’t spare a thought for his poor servant either.

So, out of all the characters I related to the servant’s plight the most! Though, I thought her to be a bit loopy too!

The Magician’s Curse plays to various tropes: a masterful, dominant lover, unrequited love, first love, a virgin losing her virginity, love at first sight.

The sensual scenes are extremely well written – 5 stars!! Hats off to Linda G. Hill for them. They are sizzling. I can see why people would like them. I like them!

The plot idea for this story is good, and with further development I think this could be a 5 star read. The love affair between the magician Steven Dagmaru and his assistant Herman (who he meets on the train,) is sudden – even with his magical powers. Maybe I am a cynic! Lol. Personally, I would have liked to have seen more magic development within the story. This would have helped to make Steven’s power over the ladies more believable.

So, to sum up, this is definitely for you if you like to read a sizzling sensual romance and don’t mind some scenes of a sexual nature (so, not for younger readers,) with a light flourish of magic/paranormal as a backdrop.

I wasn’t sure where The Magician’s Curse fits in terms of the age group of readers who might enjoy it. Perhaps New Adult? Or anyone who likes a bit of sizzle…

A difficult one to rate. I wavered between 3.5 and 4 stars. I’d say overall 4 stars, the sizzle… took it up there!

There is more… a book two… The Magician’s Blood. Details about both books here: https://lindaghill.com/my-books/

Have you read The Magician’s Curse? Do comment below if you have.

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Book Review: The Seventh Train by Jackie Carriera #book #review

Synopsis:

What if you can’t stand where you are because there’s nothing there? What if you don’t want to end up anywhere else in case that’s empty too? When life has lost its road map, sometimes the only way to get back on track is to get back on the rails.

The Seventh Train is a ride – a ‘road movie’ on the railways. It’s a journey that Elizabeth invented; the only original thought she has ever had in her previously uneventful life. Unbeknown to her, she is not travelling alone. If only she’d pretended that the spare seat was taken.

With a wonderfully eclectic cast of characters, The Seventh Train takes its passengers on a journey from the tragic to the strange, arriving finally at hope. By turns heart-breaking, thought-provoking and hilarious, this tale is a life-affirming exploration of the human spirit via the British railway timetable!

“Ingenious, great fun, and wholly original” – Fay Weldon CBE, on The Seventh Train.

My review:

This is the second book I’ve read from Jackie Carreira, both of which are gifted copies from the author. I am thrilled to give an unbiased review of both. Her first Sleeping Through War was equally as good, if not better. I’ve rated both 5 stars as I’m really impressed by this writer.

My review for Sleeping Through War: https://mjmallon.com/2020/07/27/book-review-sleeping-through-war-by-jackie-carreira-literary-fiction-historical-womens/

The Seventh Train is a great concept from Jackie Carreira and a thoroughly engaging read. Loved it. If you appreciate a great tale about unexpected happenings in train journeys, this is for you. I’ve always enjoyed travelling by train – meeting people, listening to conversations, imagining what these strangers might do when they arrive at their destinations. This is the fodder for writers!

Jackie Carreira’s The Seventh Train takes that idea a stretch of the imagination further. This is a lovely tale that begins with a middle-aged lady, Elizabeth. She is waiting in a Cambridge train station cafe and doesn’t want anyone to sit with her, or talk to her. Of course, she doesn’t get her wish, quite the opposite! What happens next overturns everything you might imagine. A group of unconnected, different people of varying ages end up journeying together becoming unlikely companions. They have one extraordinary thing in common. Read the book to find out what that is!

This is a thought-provoking book, one which also touches upon regret, sadness, a life not lived to the full. It also expresses many concerns about the working life of train drivers. What do they have to cope with in their job? We experience many different emotions when our train journey is delayed by a fatality on the line: sadness at the loss of life and what has brought that person to that desperate decision. There is also a sense of inconvenience as well, we are delayed in our journey. We don’t know the person; we didn’t see them jump. What impact do jumpers committing suicide have upon the train driver, who can see them?

Things to note: This story was originally a play. The author is also an award-winning playwright with QuirkHouse Theatre Company.

Highly recommended. 5 stars.

I received a paperback copy from the author. My opinions are my own and not biased.

Authors Website: https://jackiecarreira.co.uk/

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Book Review: Life’s Rich Tapestry by Sally Cronin

Life’s Rich Tapestry is a collection of verse, microfiction and short stories that explore many aspects of our human nature and the wonders of the natural world. Reflections on our earliest beginnings and what is yet to come, with characters as diverse as a French speaking elephant and a cyborg warrior.

Finding the right number of syllables for a Haiku, Tanka, Etheree or Cinquain focuses the mind; as does 99 word microfiction, bringing a different level of intensity to storytelling. You will find stories about the past, the present and the future told in 17 syllables to 2,000 words, all celebrating life.

This book is also recognition of the value to a writer, of being part of a generous and inspiring blogging community, where writing challenges encourage us to explore new styles and genres. 

My review:

What a lovely book from a lady who does so much for the indie author community. I’ve been following Sally’s blog for many years. The title: Life’s Rich Tapestry sums this beautiful book up perfectly. I enjoyed this immensely. It is like a treasure trove with a range of delights for everyone: poetry, micro fiction and longer pieces of writing too.

Sally Cronin is a talented story teller and I have so many favourite pieces in the collection!

Here they are:

Speculative Fiction section: A moment of alignment, Onions, The Enhancement Project.

There is a very cute dog section titled: The underdogs! Lol. And of course…The Superiority of Cats.

CAT FAVS: For the love of Lily. (my tied favourite in the collection – loved this.)

DOG FAVS: An Ugly Mutt, The Junkyard Dog (my tied favourite in the collection – loved this.)

Micro fiction:

FAVS: Strawberry Jam, Storm Windows, Splashing Good Time, Rock Star, Recycling Centre, My Mouse (so funny!) Following Elephants, The Charm Bracelet, Broken.

Poetry FAVS:

Random Thoughts: In touch with the earth

Celebrating Pets: My best friend, A Dog’s Life.

Fav poems in Remembrance: Wedding Anniversary Septhember 11th, The Poppies

Fav poems in The Natural World: The Beach, The Cave, A Magpie’s Prize, The Magnolia

FAV Poems in Fairies and Other Folk: Fairy Gold, Fairies at play.

FAV poems in the All Things Human section: Romance, Youth,

FAV Poems about the Seasons of the Year: Glorious April, March Hares,Hallowwen – This Night, Rust and Gold, November Trees, December.

Do make sure to follow Sally’s wonderful blog: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com

I mention my favourites only so you can see the variety of stories, poems and microfiction in this collection. The cat and dog sections are superb so this collection will really appeal to those who love their cats and dogs!

My recommendation: 5 stars. An excellent collection. Highly recommended.

Purchase link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0827SXLF4/

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#Bookreview – The Italian Assistant (previously Poggibonsi) by Dan Alatorre

A review by Robbie Cheadle for The Italian Assistant by Dan Alatorre.

What Amazon says “Funny, Sexy, Heartbreaking, Hilarious” When a married man’s overseas business deal goes wrong, the one person who can help him has ideas of her own. A madcap comedy where true lov…

Source: #Bookreview – The Italian Assistant (previously Poggibonsi) by Dan Alatorre

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Book Review: P.S. I Forgive You: A Broken Legacy by D. G Kaye #Memoir #Family #Mother #Daughter

Goodreads synopsis:

“I hurt for her. She wasn’t much of a mother, but she was still my mother.”

Confronted with resurfacing feelings of guilt, D.G. Kaye is tormented by her decision to remain estranged from her dying emotionally abusive mother after resolving to banish her years ago, an event she has shared in her book Conflicted Hearts. In P.S. I Forgive You, Kaye takes us on a compelling heartfelt journey as she seeks to understand the roots of her mother’s narcissism, let go of past hurts, and find forgiveness for both her mother and herself.

After struggling for decades to break free, Kaye has severed the unhealthy ties that bound her to her dominating mother—but now Kaye battles new confliction, as the guilt she harbors over her decision only increases as the end of her mother’s life draws near. Kaye once again struggles with her conscience and her feelings of being obligated to return to a painful past she thought she left behind.

My review:

This is a very personal account of the author’s experiences of coping and coming to terms with the emotions experienced after the death of a narcissistic mother. D. G Kaye’s mother is herself a product of the terrible parenting she experienced as a child. My own mother struggled with many heartbreaking problems as she grew up. She overcame these and was and continues to be a wonderfully caring mother. I have a deep, unbreakable bond with her which I also have with my daughters.

As I continued to read further into this memoir I kept on comparing our circumstances. How sad and damaging such an uncaring, selfish parent is to her children. How can a mother behave in such a way? P.S. I Forgive You is an important read for all of us. This memoir is about letting go, releasing the emotional turmoil which began in childhood.

It is a compelling read. It courageously deals with the extremes of family relationships. Relationships are complex and difficult, even in what I would deem to be ‘normal’ families. There are many who struggle to understand or relate to their son or daughter, sister, brother, wife or husband.

But this memoir takes those problems to a whole new level that no one should have to experience. After such a damaging upbringing, D. G. Kaye has suffered but has learnt to forgive. She lives a happy, fulfilled life. That is a wonderful testament to her strength of character and her can do attitude.

My recommendation: Read this. 5 stars. I’d highly recommend this memoir to us all whatever our circumstances. Also read the first book in the series: Conflicted Hearts.

Authors Website: http://www.dgkayewriter.com

Authors Twitter: pokercubster

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Book Review: Wisp II Sea Dragons by Adele Marie Park #Dark #Fantasy

Synopsis:

The malevolent and ruthless mage, Dante Asano is defeated but victory came at a horrific price.
Before Wisp and his companions could intervene, Dante possessed Pendra Thorn’s body. In order to stop Dante without killing Pendra, a magic sleep spell was cast.
A glass coffin warded with powerful spells encased her body while her mind fled to a favourite memory; unfortunately, Dante is also trapped with her.
The magical coffin will only keep her alive, and Dante contained for a short time.
A desperate plan to undertake a treacherous journey across an unknown sea means Wisp and his companions must disband. Some journey with Wisp to find an ancient spell to release Pendra and banish Dante’s spirit.
Those left behind must guard Pendra in a city under threat.
An ancient evil casts a shadow over Edra causing burgeoning unrest and setting the inhabitants against one another.
Wisp’s journey must be successful not only for Pendra’s sake but also for Edra itself.

I was lucky to be part of the beta reading team for Wisp II and was entrusted with an early copy before release. This a highly imaginative fantasy book with many aspects to it to keep you entertained. It is the second in the series continuing the tale from the first book which I read and enjoyed also.

The story begins with the news of the death of the senior law enforcer Nether Green. Could this be a murder case? Marsh fairy law enforcer Wisp is drawn into the mystery and must try and discover what has happened. Alongside this, there is a change in the tone of writing – becoming darker – in the sections devoted to Pendra who is sealed in a glass coffin. We are whisked away on a trip across the Great Sea to Samoyer, (Wisp’s father’s homeland,) to find a spell to separate Dante from Pendra.

There are times when Park’s writing takes you to a very special place drawing you into the narrative beautifully. An author to watch, a talent in the making.

I enjoyed the amusing dialogue which gave the protagonists a distinct voice and style.

I’d recommend reading the first in the series before continuing with WISP II.

Here is the link to my review of the first book:

My recommendation: 5 stars. Read this if you like dark fantasy tales which are full of intrigue, mystery and murder! A definite recommendation for fantasy readers, and may also be of interest to LGBT YA Fiction readers due to the (continuing love story between Wisp and Finn.)

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Book Review: Sleeping Through War by Jackie Carreira #Literary #Fiction #Historical #Womens

Goodreads Synopsis:

The year is 1968 and the world is changing forever. During the month of May, students are rioting and workers are striking across the globe, civil rights are being fought and died for, nuclear bombs are being tested, there are major conflicts on every continent, and war is raging in Vietnam. Against this volatile background, three women strive to keep everything together.

Rose must keep her dignity and compassion as a West Indian nurse in East London. Amalia must keep hoping that her son can escape their seedy life in Lisbon. And Mrs Johnson in Washington DC must keep writing to her son in Vietnam. She has no-one else to talk to. Three different women, three different countries, but all striving to survive – a courageous attitude that everybody can relate to.

Although Sleeping Through War is a work of fiction, this somewhat hidden history attempts to humanise a few weeks in time that were so stuffed with monumental events that it’s easy to forget the people involved. The author was a child in 1968 and lived in London and Lisbon during the 1960s. She met women like these and didn’t want their voices to go unheard into the future. Readers of both history and literary fiction will enjoy this emotionally-vivid work that weaves fiction into fact. 

My review:

I’ve never read anything from Jackie Carreira before so I was thrilled to receive a gifted paperback copy of Sleeping Through War from the author. This in no way influences my review. All opinions are my own.

Did it meet my expectations? More than. I loved these intimate stories set in 1968 told from the perspective of three very different women: Amalia, a widow living with her much loved young son in Lisbon (after her husband dies in the war between Portugal and Angola.) Amalia is struggling financially, she takes desperate measures and tries her utmost to keep her son away from taunts and unkindness. Rose, a West Indian Care Home nurse in London is struck by the dreariness of London compared to the vibrancy and colour of her homeland: St. Lucia. Rose experiences discrimination but her nature is to shrug it off and be forgiving and kind. She helps a young mother through difficult times. Mrs Johnson writes poignant letters to her son who is fighting in Vietnam. The three women are admirable characters. All live in different countries and yet their story-lines all share a common thread of courage, and fortitude, coping with their experiences as best they can. All three are caring individuals – Rose cares for the elderly in the care home, a young woman with a new baby, and an inebriated person she finds in the street. Amalia will do anything to keep her son away from harm and Mrs Johnson’s much loved son, (who is serving in Vietnam,) is the focal point of her letters. I don’t want to say too much about these other than to say that they are heart-wrenching.

These poignant stories sit alongside factual short news reports of the turbulent civil, and political unrest of this time period.

My recommendation: Read this novel, it will draw you into the lives of these three women in a way that will make you think of them often. 5 stars.

Looking forward to reading more from this author, a real find. I have The Seventh Train on my list too.

Author Bio:

Jackie Carreira is a writer, designer, musician and co-founder of QuirkHouse Theatre Company. British-born of Portuguese parents, she grew up in East London and lived for a while in Lisbon as a child. After travelling the world playing music for 12 years, she hung up her bass guitar and picked up a pen. She’s been writing ever since and twice been a winner of the Kenneth Branagh Award for New Drama. Some of her plays are available online via lazybeescripts.co.uk. If Jackie could have another life, she would be a full-time philosopher and get paid to ask questions all day.

http://jackiecarreira.co.uk

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Book Review: Songs of Heartstrings by Miriam Hurdle

Synopsis:

Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude depicts a road traveled with optimism, hope and appreciation amid heartache and unpredictable circumstances. It also celebrates genuine love and fulfilling relationships. The poetry collection includes nine themes: Songs of Nature, Songs of Dissonance, Songs of Physical Healing, Songs of Marriage, Songs of Parenthood, Songs of Tribute, Songs of Reflections, Songs of Challenge, and Songs of Inspiration. Each of these themes covers various aspects of her life experience.The poems are inspiring to the mind, heart, and spirit. The readers will resonate with these experiences. Hurdle illustrates the poems with her photograph and watercolor paintings.

My review:

What a lovely collection of poetry, photography and paintings. I really enjoyed this poetry collection. Songs of Heartstrings tells the story of the author’s life and the many difficulties she has overcome. It is heartfelt and personal. Miriam Hurdle’s poetry touches upon human frailties: struggling through cancer, learning to love again, rejoicing in the gifts of parenthood, music, exalting in the joy of nature, friendship and the sadness that returns with loss.

There is much that I related to, especially the poems of nature and the sea. Both of which mean a lot to me. It’s clear that Miriam Hurdle takes a great deal of comfort from religion and she shares her faith in her poetry.

The reader is enriched from reading Songs of Heartstrings with a sense of shared reminiscences and a deeper connection. Miriam Hurdle’s poetry is simply that, truthful, personal and real.

My recommendation: Highly recommended. 4.5 stars.

Author Website: https://theshowersofblessings.com/

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Book Review Life and Other Dreams – Richard Dee

Goodreads Synopsis:

“Sci-Fi and psychological thriller fans are in for a treat.”
“…action, adventure, romance and cerebral high-jinks…”
Rick lives here on Earth now, with Cath. His life is boring, writing adverts for cat food and exotic holidays. When he’s asleep, he dreams vividly.
In his dreams, he lives as Dan, spending his time with his wife Vanessa. They live six-hundred years in the future, half a galaxy away. They’re explorers, searching for valuable minerals on Ecias, an alien paradise.
Dan has no dreams about Rick’s life, he lives on Ecias, loves his life and Vanessa.
When the two worlds overlap, Rick starts to question what is real. Events in his waking and sleeping lives are mirrored, similar people inhabit both and coincidences mount up. Then disaster strikes in each world at the same time. In his dreams, Dan is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Meanwhile, after one coincidence too many, Cath thinks that Rick’s dreams are hiding an affair and leaves him.
Is Rick going crazy, or can he be living in two places, in two times, at once? If not, then which one of them is the reality? Will one life carry on when the other is on hold?
Richard Dee’s fast-paced, edgy science fiction -cum- psychological thriller will keep you on the edge of your seat until the last page! 

My review:

I loved this, so imaginative, exciting and relatable. Awesome writing Richard Dee. My hubby has action-packed, crazy, dreams all the time, so this really appealed to me. Though, I don’t think my hubby’s dreams have taken him off planet as yet, at least, if they have he hasn’t told me!

Poor Rick, he truly does get into trouble with his dreams which take him off galavanting to planet Ecias away from his married life, ( with Cath on earth,) into the arms of Vanessa. In Ecias, he has a name change too and becomes Dan.

Cath begins to think that Rick is having a real affair… And her jealousy leads her and Rick to disastrous measures.

Oh, can’t say I liked Cath much… But she redeemed herself somewhat… Jealousy can bring out the ugly in people.

Which is real? Life on earth, or life in Ecias?

My recommendation: 5 stars. If you want to read something different – in the Sci Fi/Thriller category give this a go. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the audio copy.

I loved the ending by the way!

Authors Website: https://richarddeescifi.co.uk/

I also really enjoyed his Andorra Pett cosy mysteries (review link below,) which recently got a mention on YouTube….

I received a free audio book from the author but this in no way influences my review.

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