The Blood Promise by Liz Mistry

Who Can Stop The Killings?

The Blood Promise by Liz Mistry is a marvellous contemporary novel that drew me in from the start. It is the first book in Solanki and McQueen series which promises to be gripping.

Solanki and McQueen are an unlikely pairing – a young police officer with a troubled past, and a more experienced officer whose daughter was murdered. Both their pasts haunt their days but they are determined to bring a killer to justice. Their personalities complement each other as they also build their relationship.

The reader is drawn in from the start as the book opens with a crime scene fifteen years earlier. We skip to present day and another crime scene – could they be linked? As the body count rises, it suddenly becomes personal. Can Solanki and McQueen catch the killer before more murders are committed?

The landscape and weather are dark and brooding, which mirrors the action.

All of the novel is set in villages in Scotland, around the Inverness area. It is a wild and rugged landscape which helps to heighten the tension.

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The Runner by Lloyd Devereux Richards

Twisting, Turning, Engaging

The Runner by Lloyd Devereux Richards is a contemporary suspense thriller that captured my attention from the start.

Lloyd Devereux Richards has created a complex and well executed plotline. The Runner is a thinking mans novel that keeps the reader on their toes throughout.

There are all the elements to make this an exciting tale – heroes and villains, cross country chases, assassins, FBI, innocent victims and much more. The reader buckles up for a roller coaster ride as we cling on, with pulses rising.

We see how upbringings shape the person we become – a character’s father did not believe he would amount to anything. How true was this prophecy? You will have to read the novel in order to find out.

A sister has a bond with her brother, caring enough to make a difficult phone call. Would he do the same?

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The Letter With The Golden Stamp by Onjali Q Rauf

Engaging & Heartfelt

The Letter With The Golden Stamp by Onjali Q Rauf is a powerful contemporary children’s novel. It is perfect for ages ten years and over. Whatever your age, this book will leave you full of admiration for the lead character nine year old Audrey.

The book is about a single parent family in Swansea. The mother is often bed-ridden with osteoarthritis, leaving Audrey to run the house, looking after her four year old twin siblings and mother who has more bad days than good. “Some days we used to have what Mam calls a Sunshine Day. That’s when her bones feel like there’s a strong bit of sun heating them all up, and she’s not in too much pain, and I can go to school without worrying.” Audrey continually worries that if the authorities know, then she and her siblings will be taken away. Audrey feels isolated as she cannot confide in anyone.

Just occasionally Audrey does ‘normal’ things. “I felt normal. Like I was doing something everyone else got to do every day but I never usually did.” Audrey worries, so her Mam doesn’t have to. “I have to make sure Mam doesn’t worry about things too much.”

Audrey searches for her Tad, believing that he could fix things for her. This search leads her to take drastic action.

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The Bird In The Bamboo Cage by Hazel Gaynor

Sunflower Seeds

The Bird In The Bamboo Cage by Hazel Gaynor is an incredibly powerful historical novel that will educate you as you read. It is based on true life events, making the book even more powerful.

Much is known about the war in Europe during World War II but far less is known about the war in the Pacific – this book helps to rectify this.

The story opens in China during 1941 at the Chefoo Missionary School. Many will realise the significance of the year as the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941, making war in the Far East a certainty. As the Japanese walked into China, they occupied the missionary school. The whole school moved twice to different internment camps, each one worse than the last. The Japanese guards were incredibly cruel but there were those who maintained their humanity, showing little pockets of kindness.

The tale is told through two alternating points of view – a teacher and a pupil. Their experiences are similar but different as the teacher tries to cushion her pupils from the horrors. Even within the camps, school learning and routines continued, in order to help maintain some familiarity.

In the filth and the cruelty bonds were formed, linking survivors together forever. If you weren’t there, you could never understand what happened.

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