Title: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service

Author: Ian Fleming

Pages: 326 Pages

Publisher: Penguin

The Blurb

The eleventh novel in Ian Fleming’s James Bond series.

In the aftermath of Operation Thunderball, Ernst Stavro Blofeld’s trail has gone cold-and so has 007’s love for his job. The only thing that can rekindle his passion is Contessa Teresa ‘Tracy’ di Vicenzo, a troubled young woman who shares his taste for fast cars and danger.

She’s the daughter of a powerful crime boss, and he thinks Bond’s hand in marriage may be the solution to all her problems. Bond’s not ready to settle down-yet-but if Tracy’s father can lead him to Blofeld, he’ll consider it.

After tracking the SPECTRE chief to a stronghold in the Swiss Alps, Bond uncovers the details of Blofeld’s latest plot: a biological warfare scheme more audacious than anything the fiend has tried before. Now Bond must save the world once again-and survive Blofeld’s last, very personal, act of vengeance. 

(Goodreads Blurb)

The Review

I’m not a fan of the James Bond movies. Actually, if I am really honest, I have never watched one in its entirety but I get the feeling that they are not for me. However, I decided to give one of the books a try because I didn’t want to be too judgemental without cause to back it up. Maybe I just prefer books to movies.

What I found was this: the books haven’t aged aged well. They are quite mysogenistic and I really don’t think glib conversations about rape really endear a reader to the characters.

However, taken as an action thriller and removing sexual abuse I can see why the books (and I guess the movies) have such a following. They are fast paced, have clear discernible villains and heroes and as a reader you have the clear knowledge that you know the hero will win.  It is is the knowledge that you know that the story will end well that makes readers (and viewers) enjoy the stories. The knowledge that they good guy will win that makes it quite satisfying.

I have surprised myself by acknowledging that I would be willing to read more of the Bond, James Bond series.

On Her Majesty’s Secret Service by Ian Fleming is available now.

For more information regarding Ian Fleming (@TheIanFleming) please visit www.ianfleming.com.

For more information regarding Penguin (@PenguinUKBooks) please visit wwww.penguin.co.uk.

Title: American Dirt

Author: Jeanine Cummins

Pages: 480 Pages

Publisher: Tinder Press

The Blurb

Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.

Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?

American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our times.

Already being hailed as “a Grapes of Wrath for our times” and “a new American classic,” Jeanine Cummins’s American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.

The Review

Wow.

It has been a good few years since I have read a book that has opened my eyes to a completely different way of life but man oh man American Dirt did that for me.

Whilst I am aware of the controversy that has surrounded the release of this title I am also aware that books of this ilk need to be written. And yes, author Jeanine Cummins may not get everything right and may have ruffled some feathers with her creation the alternative is that we never get a glimpse into other worlds.

I mean, isn’t that the point of literature? To make us more empathetic?

With American Dirt I felt the desperation of a situation that I couldn’t even begin to contemplate. A mother’s love, a journey across borders, chance encounters. It is a book of an epic journey.

I cannot recommend American Dirt enough. It is one of the strongest narratives that I have read in2020 so far.

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins is available now.

For more information regarding Jeanine Cummins (@jeaninecummins) please visit www.jeaninecummins.com.

For more information regarding Tinder Press (@TinderPress) please visit www.headline.co.uk.

Title: The Dilemma

Author: B A Paris

Pages: 352 Pages

Publisher: HQ Stories

The Blurb

It’s Livia’s 40th birthday and she’s having the party of a lifetime to make up for the wedding she never had. Everyone she loves will be there except her daughter Marnie, who’s studying abroad. But although Livia loves Marnie, she’s secretly glad she won’t be at the party. She needs to tell Adam something about their daughter but she’s waiting until the party is over so they can have this last happy time together.

Adam wants everything to be perfect for Livia so he’s secretly arranged for Marnie to come home and surprise her on her birthday. During the day, he hears some terrible news. He needs to tell Livia, because how can the party go on? But she’s so happy, so excited – and the guests are about to arrive.

The Dilemma – how far would you go to give someone you love a last few hours of happiness?

One day that will change a family forever, The Dilemma is the breath-taking, heart-breaking new novel from the million-copy-selling, Sunday Times bestseller, B A Paris

The Review

Ooh this was a book with a difference. The Dilemma by BA Paris is a fascinating look at the responsibility of secrets and the duty that we have to those around us. It focuses on one family. Mum, Livia is about to turn 40; daughter, Marnie, is living abroad but is returning to surprise her mum; dad, Adam, is in cahoots with Marnie but is also finding his relationship with his son difficult. Alongside these characters lies the extended family who are also impacted by the secrets and lies.

In a weird sense nothing really happens in this book but equally lots of things happen. I think with the mix of one day of real time events with the series of flashbacks we get a fuller picture but nothing big or explosive happens throughout the majority of it which given that it is a thriller is something that we are expecting. It is exciting and keeps you on the edge of your seat but it is not a thriller in the sense of high speed and guns. However, it is a thoroughly enjoyable read.

The Dilemma by BA Paris is available now.

For more information regarding BA Paris (@BAParisAuthor) please visit her Twitter page.

For more information regarding HQ Stories (@HQStories) please visit www.hqstories.co.uk.

Title: Sleep

Author: CL Taylor

Pages: 368 Pages

Publisher: Avon Books

The Blurb

All Anna wants is to be able to sleep. But crushing insomnia, terrifying night terrors and memories of that terrible night are making it impossible. If only she didn’t feel so guilty…

To escape her past, Anna takes a job at a hotel on the remote Scottish island of Rum, but when seven guests join her, what started as a retreat from the world turns into a deadly nightmare.

Each of the guests have a secret, but one of them is lying – about who they are and why they’re on the island. There’s a murderer staying in the Bay View hotel. And they’ve set their sights on Anna.

Seven strangers. Seven secrets. One deadly lie.

Someone’s going to sleep and never wake up…

The Review

Crime fiction is not necessarily my genre of choice; however, I am the perfect audience for crime writers. I never see the ending coming.

Sleep by CL Taylor is one of the few crime/thriller books that I will probably read this year but if any story was going to get me reading more then this would be the one.

The majority of the story is set in a secluded hotel (already it had me creeped out) on an island that is difficult to get to or get off for that matter. It has a cast of characters that all seem to have secrets. One of them is the killer and we need to figure out who before it is too late.

I honestly loved Sleep. I would have read it in one sitting but everyone in my house was going to bed and I was that freaked out I couldn’t read the rest. I know I am no expert in this genre but CL Taylor seems to have mastered the craft.

If you like crime dramas then Sleep is the perfect book for you.

Sleep by CL Taylor is available now.

For more information regarding CL Taylor (@callytaylor) please visit www.cltaylorauthor.com.

For more information regarding (@AvonBooksUK) please visit www.avonbooks.co.uk.

Title: All of This is True

Author: Lygia Day Penaflor

Pages: 432 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

The Blurb

When four Long Island teens plot to meet Fatima Ro, the elusive author of their favourite novel, they’re stunned when she befriends them and invites them into her eccentric life. Suddenly their lives seem charmed, and as they grow closer to their idol, they find themselves revealing their darkest secrets to her.

But a year later, Miri, Soleil, Jonah and Penny are shocked to discover that Fatima’s newly released YA novel is based on those same secrets. The revelations are devastating, and they can’t escape the spotlight. The friends’ interview transcripts, emails and journal entries reveal how willing they were to sacrifice everything to win Fatima’s approval – and how those sacrifices led to a tragedy from which one of them will never recover.

The Review

One thing I really like in books is when I have a handful of narrators that all see the story a specific way. They are all unreliable because their truth is not the same as someone else’s. This is why I really enjoyed All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor.

It is a story set in high school so there is already a he-said-she-said element to the narrative. Add in a mystery, an author, and a character in hospital with life threatening injuries then you really do have the making of a good thriller.

What the author really manages to highlight is the fundamental need to be seen and acknowledged. She shows how this is a spectrum depending on the need of the character and how that can be manifested in both good and negative ways.

I really liked All of This is True. I loved the mixed media element of storytelling and how distinct the different character voices where. As far as YA Thrillers go then All of This is True is a brilliant poster book for the genre.

All of This is True by Lygia Day Penaflor is available now.

For more information regarding Lygia Day Penaflor (@lygiaday) please visit www.lygiadaypenflor.com.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.