Rupee Millionaires

 

rupee1When Frank teams up with Spud he thinks he’s got it made. But he hasn’t. He’’s made a deal with the Devil. ‘Dodgy’ Frank Kusy, born into poverty from immigrant parents, learns to live on his wits––first as an unwitting money collector for Ronnie Kray, later as a Buddhist trader in London’s St Martin’s-in-the-Fields market. Then he meets up with thuggish ‘Spud’ who is so good at scaring people, notably the Petrovs, two encroaching Russian gangsters, that he hires him on the spot as his business partner. But it’s a deal with the Devil. Spud is a loose cannon, liable to blow up at any moment. The two travel to India to become the largest wholesaler of hippy-Hindi glad rags in the UK, and to fulfill their dream of becoming rupee millionaires. Along the way, they pick up a motley crew of kooky characters––Ram, a lovable, crutch-bound Rajasthani, George, an irascible American, Nick and Anna, a quirky Canadian couple, Susie, a Dagenham girl gone ‘native’, and Rose, the secret love of Ram’s life. These become the ‘Pushkar Posse’, a group of oddball traveler-entrepreneurs who meet once a year to have fun and make money in equal measure. Join Frank on this wild rite of passage through India.

This book is available to download at Amazon UK or Amazon US

Rupee Millionaires – Frank Kusy

This was an enjoyable story, easy to read, and probably based on the writer’s own experiences as he travelled around Asia, with particular emphasis on India. A likeable person, trying to make a living buying in India, importing his goods (mainly silk clothing and later silver jewellery and fake designer goods), and selling on in the UK. We hear of his adventures both in business, love and travel. He starts with a market stall, takes on a rather dubious business partner and they expand rapidly. Eventually however, the two fall out as his partner is pulled further and further into the world of drugs and eventually almost bankrupting him. His tales of India, its culture and religions are enthralling and he brings to life the characters and corruption that were rife in India during the 80s and 90s. Funny in places, sad and scary in others, the main character has huge swings in fortune being almost a millionaire at one stage of his life, and virtually bankrupt at another. He has himself admitted to a rehabilitation unit at one point in order to avoid the taxman and has to move because he is under constant threat of murder from his paranoid and frightening ex-business partner. Eventually, rather late in life he does marry and starts to slow down his workaholic life style. Whilst all this is happening he has changed religion and tries (somewhat unsuccessfully) to becoming a practising Buddhist. His intentions are good but he makes many human errors along the way and this just makes his whole character likeable and easy to identify with. India has always been on my list of places I would like to visit and even if I never go there physically, this book makes me feel as though I have! A good story, full of adventure and very interesting characters, I would urge anyone with an interest in entrepreneurism or travel, to give it a try!

Sharon Peterson

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Two Old Fools and a Camel

BookCover6x9_Cream_210 copy

☆ New York Times Top 20 Bestseller ☆
Reluctantly, Vicky and Joe leave their Spanish mountain village to work for a year in the Middle East. How could they know that the Arab revolution was poised to erupt, throwing them into violent events that would make world headlines?

Teaching Arab kids, working with crazy teachers, forming life-long friendships and being placed under house arrest, Vicky and Joe laugh and lurch through their year in Bahrain.

With grateful thanks to Nadia Sawalha for the wonderful Arabic recipes.

This book is available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

This being the 3rd book in the series, it does not fail to capture the readers attention once more. We are again treated to video clips to click on during the chapters, as well as being able to enjoy more delightful recipes accompanied with every chapter. Joe and Victoria, leave Spain for a year to go to teach in Bahrain, and while they are there is uprisings and riots, which made worldwide news. More life long friendships were formed, and some sooner forgotten, but not without everlasting memories. Joe and Victoria return to Spain, to their home, and are greeted with a homecoming, that makes them realise that this is why they have missed home. I hope that Victoria continues her writing and book 4 comes out sooner rather than later. Well done Victoria another page turner to delight your reader.

Karen Knight

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The Diary of a Single Parent Abroad

 

jillWhen Jill and her family moved to Italy she expected life to change but she had no idea how massive that change would be. Shortly after the move, she discovered her husband had been having an affair and had no intentions of staying in Italy.

Despite being in a foreign country with no income, limited language skills, a house that needed rebuilding and three young children to care for, she never once considered returning to the UK. With strength and determination she accepted any challenge, dismantling a derelict house to ground level, digging out a three metre deep well with her hands to get free water and overcoming her fear of the chainsaw to cut the winter wood. When there was very little money for food she made risotto with nettles collected from the roadside. She overcame many problems, learned new skills and discovered that money is not important, the only things in life that matter are health, happiness and her children.

Jill’s story is delivered with an ever present hint of humour because, as she says, ‘Without laughter life wouldn’t be funny’.

You can find this book on Amazon UK or Amazon US

The Diary of a Single Parent Abroad – Jill Pennington
I began this book after supper one day expecting to read for a couple of hours and then put it down to go to sleep. Instead I welcomed the new day, with the lightening sky as I finished the last chapter. I did not expect to be captivated by this story but needless to say, I was.

I have read quite a few accounts of people living abroad and, in fact, that is how I spent the first 20 years of my own life. What I didn’t expect is to become so involved with this writer and her children and the people who surround her in her adopted country, Italy.

Because this is a memoir I try to stay away from commenting on particular characters as they are real people, living and breathing humans (well some of them are). Let me just say that, in my opinion, this writer faced some amazing challenges with grace, humour and maybe a glass or two of wine.

I admire her ability to keep the health and welfare of her children at the forefront of each of her decisions. Hard to do when all the decisions and responsibilities fall onto a single set of shoulders. I admire her ability to find something to laugh about when other, more violent options, might feel preferable. In general, through some very trying times, our author raised 3 children from childhood to the cusp of their adult lives. We each make choices, that in hindsight we would change in the future, but that is never an option and we continue to make the best of each situation. It seems to me that this writer is very good at doing that.

I enjoyed learning about the renovation of two very different types of home. Being introduced to life in rural Italy, not one of the countries that I lived in though we did visit. Ms. Pennington’s prose allowed me to absorb some of the native beauty of the country that she chose to call home. Her love of her new lifestyle, despite all the challenges, shows throughout the tale. I wish the book had continued but am glad that there is a forum to keep “in touch” this this brave and amazing woman.

Paula Histon

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MonuMental: The Hack’s Back

monumental‘Am I real or just a v’game character?’ In the future, it can get very confusing.
  
The follow up to EleMental(Or read it first - it’s up to you!)
  
Willis, Zeb and Arizona stumble into a dangerous v’game (virtual videogame), and while they struggle to get out, they meet another v’gamer – a mysterious girl named Trinity, who leads them to question their very existence.
 
Meanwhile, someone deadly is trapped in an obsolete corner of virtual space – and he’s trying to tap into Zeb’s special gameblur power to get out.
 
MonuMental is designed to be enjoyed either as a standalone book or as a follow up to EleMental. It’s up to you!
This book is available on Amazon UK or Amazon US

MonuMental: The Hack’s Back – Steven O’Connor

This is the second book of the “Mental Series”.  Are you a gamer or do you want to be?  If so you will love this series.  In this book you have three friends, Zeb, Willis and Ari who are serious gamers and can stay in their own bedrooms and be in the game together.  Zeb has a power (gambeblur) he needs to control but is having a hard time.  As a result the three of them get sucked into someone else’s game.   In the new game they find Trinity who thinks she is from Mars, but guess what, her mind has actually be altered by the Hack who has withered and is trying to return to power.  Zeb can give him the power and the book takes you through the many games you have to go thru to make it to the end.  Will they all make it?  They only have three lives each.  This is a very exciting book and it also teaches the value of friendship but also shows the decline of family when computers take over your life.  This is a great read and anyone that picks it up will want to read the rest of the series.

Susan Jackson

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The Reversal

 

Connelly_Reversal1When Mickey Haller is invited by the Los Angeles County District Attorney to prosecute a case for him, he knows something strange is going on. Mickey’s a defence lawyer, one of the best in the business, and to switch sides like this would be akin to asking a fox to guard the hen-house. But the high-profile case of Jason Jessup, a convicted child-killer who spent almost 25 years on death row before DNA evidence freed him, is an intriguing one…

Eager for the publicity and drawn to the challenge, Mickey takes the case, with Detective Harry Bosch on board as his lead investigator. But as a new trial date is set, it starts to look like he’s been set up. Mickey and Harry are going to have to dig deep into the past and find the truth about what really happened to the victim all those years ago.

This book is available on Amazon UK or Amazon US

The Reversal – Michael Connelly

This is one of those tense court room dramas where anything could happen and is absolutely riveting. If you have read other M Connelly books you will recognise some of the characters. A guy who has just served 24 years in prison for child murder is being tried again for the same crime, as new evidence is available, via new DNA technology, that could overturn the first verdict. Many thousands of government dollars are at stake, via possible compensation for wrongful imprisonment, and attorney Micky Haller, who always works for the defence has been asked to prosecute. He chooses his ex-wife to assist him and Harry Bosch to investigate. It becomes evident to the prosecuting team that the defendant is indeed guilty of the original crime and it looks as though he is guilty of others and also could be planning something at the very moment. However, it is their difficult task to prove this in the controversial court case, that everyone is watching. An exciting, emotional novel, that keeps the reader in suspense and does not end the way you are expecting! If you like a good court struggle, with a well-rounded, emotional story, then this is for you. I loved it!

Sharon Peterson

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Made in Acapulco

 

Made-in-Acapulco_June2013With hot nights on the beach and suspense straight out of the headlines, this short story introduces a new mystery series featuring Emilia Cruz, the first and only female detective on the Acapulco police force.

A HEAD IN A BUCKET
Emilia Cruz is a fighter who has figured out how to cope with a surly squadroom and a distant lieutenant. Until the day someone leaves a severed head in a bucket for hotel manager Kurt Rucker to find. Suddenly Emilia’s routine traffic case suddenly becomes a murder investigation.

On a dark and winding road above Acapulco Bay, it’s clear that someone does not want the murder to be solved.

WITH A KILLER MESSAGE
Emilia and Kurt survive the night, but daylight will bring a different fight for survival. As Emilia tries to come up with a way to save herself and Kurt, she knows that she can trust few other cops. The influence and violence of Mexico’s drug cartels are pervasive and savage, threatening to destroy the soul of the fabled Pacific coast city and those who have sworn to upload the law. Emilia can’t back down but must face challenges with a strength and resilience she doesn’t knows she has.

How she feels about Kurt Rucker is one of those challenges–and maybe the hardest to handle.

MEET EMILIA CRUZ
Emilia Cruz is a good liar, a fast thinker, a determined investigator and a mean kickboxer. The mystery series is as raw and action-filled as the headlines coming out of Mexico today, but just like the country, Emilia is also resilient and warm-hearted. An Acapulco native forced to grow up too fast, she’s been a cop for nearly 12 years and a detective for two; a strong Latina woman in a squadroom that didn’t want her and is still trying to break her. But Emilia isn’t afraid to defend herself and get what she’s rightfully earned. She won’t let up and neither does the suspense.

The Emilia Cruz series continues with the full-length novel Cliff Diver. Grab a margarita, think hot nights on the beach and come on down to Acapulco . . . if you can take the heat.

This book is available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Made in Acapulco – Carmen Amato

Short stories about the life of the first female detective (Emilia Cruz) in the Acapulco Police Force, is realistic and a world away from the police as we know them. Corruption and sexism makes a dangerous world, without the ongoing battle with the drug cartels. If Emilia is to be taken seriously, she has to try extra hard and achieves the status of top police officer in both written and physical tests. This does not make her particularly popular with her colleagues but she gradually wins their respect. She should have automatically been promoted to detective, but will anyone accept her as their partner? Life is not easy for Emilia but she is stubborn and determined to try and make a difference in the beautiful city that is her home. She demonstrates courage and determination, throughout each story. Things don’t always go the way she wants them to and she is never quite sure who she can trust because corruption is rife. Culturally different, but easy to read, although quite violent in places. There is also some flirtation but no real romance (not in the short stories anyway). I enjoyed reading this. It was a little bit different. Not for everyone but if you enjoy this kind of thing then I recommend it!

Sharon Peterson

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Fifth Life of the CatWoman

 

5th life“It’s easy to find history written by those who win, those who hold power. It’s hard to find history written by the ones who lose,” says the mystery history teacher, Kat O’Malley. Unbeknownst to her students, she’s living the nine lives of a cat, and her history lessons come from four hundred years of underdog experience with witch trials, prejudice, intolerance and poverty. With much coaxing from the school’s headmaster—a man with as many secrets in his past as Kat has in hers—“the CatWoman” ventures out from the mirage oasis she shares with fifty cats to teach lessons that never made it into the history books. Through her considerable gifts as a storyteller, she teaches a new generation to live as if they, too, had to live nine lives and jump back eight times into any messes they create. But when history repeats itself and the nightmare intolerance of Kat’s past resurfaces, will she retreat forever into the safety of her cat-filled mirage? Or will she embrace her new life, her teaching and the love of the one person who knows her secret?

This book is available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Fifth Life of the Cat Woman – Kathleen Dexter

Sweet and novel (excuse pun), are the first two adjectives that come to mind on reviewing this lovely story. I am not quite sure what I was expecting, but nothing as different and refreshing as this! The story is about a female who is half woman and half cat. She lives inside a mirage, alone with 50 cats with whom she converses telepathically. She does not want to mingle with other humans. She distrusts them as her previous four lives have ended disastrously. She works hard on her small piece of land within the mirage (other humans are unable to see it), and she feels safe there. However, one day another half-cat, half-human turns up and they realise that many years ago they were closely related. This particular person is the head master of a local school and he persuades her to take a part time job there teaching history. There is an attraction between the two of them, which she is fighting. Also, she makes a huge impact with her pupils which attracts some adverse attention from the school governors, particularly in view of the fact that she will not let others into her lessons. She is an enthusiastic teacher who excels at her subject and has the art of making her lessons very interesting and practical. She teaches the children how it feels to be hungry whilst the aristocracy throw their food away and how it feels to be stoned to death for being different. She tells them stories (based on past lives), to make them think really long and hard about what is wrong with certain people and why things happen as they do. She does not want them to make the same mistakes that have been made in the past throughout history and she grows to really love her pupils and the love is returned from them. However, it all goes wrong when she upsets one of the governors and then there is a tragic death of one of her class. An interesting, thought-provoking book that is recommended reading!

Sharon Peterson

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Shattered Dreams

 

shattered dreamsTwo stories – one life.
As a teenager Tony Walker was injured in a road accident and was left without the hope of ever becoming a professional footballer, the only dream in his young life. We follow his progress as he deals with this calamity and starts to build a new life for himself. He even finds love until…

At the same time we meet Tony as an adult, a successful advertising executive but alone. He has comes to terms with most things in his life, has accepted he will never walk unaided. Then by chance he discovers the last 15 years of his life were not as they seemed.

Heartfelt, emotionally compelling and laced through with honesty and insight this story charts the bittersweet emotional journey of a life thrown from its intended course by a random twist of fate.

This book is available at Amazon UK and Amazon US

Shattered Dreams – Kristen Stone

A lovely and compelling story of adversity and heartbreak on many levels. The author visits several tough, almost forbidden themes and describes accurately and with sensitivity the thoughts and feelings of a person tormented by rejection, disability and bereavement. We follow the life of Tony Walker, an aspiring football player. This is all he lives for until he is involved in a car accident that leaves him without the use of his legs. This is our introduction to Tony. From here we read two stories. We have the young Tony, trying to come to terms with his disability and the changes to his life, whilst at the same time we read about Antoine the adult. Antoine is a successful, very good looking advertising consultant. He is still disabled. His life has been a tragedy in many ways. Antoine is very lucky in the fact that he has unlimited support from his boss, who believes wholeheartedly in his ability and talent as an artist. Since his accident, the younger version (Tony) is now treated differently by his father. His mother died giving birth to him and his father has always resented him, never recognising his birthday or Christmas. He realises how wrong he has been and tries to make amends to Tony, now giving more time to him. They move to a bigger council apartment that has been adapted to meet the needs of a disabled person and Tony seems to deal well with the changes, even returning to school. Suddenly, depression hits him and those around him are afraid he may take his own life. However, on medication now, he returns to his studies and works really hard to make up for lost time. This is where he meets the love of his life, who he later marries but unfortunately she dies! It sounds all gloom and doom but it is a really well-written story. There are some surprises along the way where I thought “Oh no, don’t do that.” That is one of the reasons I liked it I suppose. It was unpredictable and oh, so very human!! Put it on the top of your ‘must read’

Sharon Peterson

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Cairo Caper

 

Cairo-Caper-200x300Part-time tomb raider and full-time real estate broker, Wendy Darlin joins her lover, archaeologist Roger Jolley, in a quest for Cleopatra’s tomb.

All they have to do is get from Cairo to the Temple of Taporisi Magna alive. Armed only with a couple of hijacked ashtrays and faced with a trek across the blazing Sahara desert can Wendy out-maneuver Russian oligarchs, a dozen Dark Force mercenaries, and Roger’s chubby ex-girlfriend in time to find the tomb and seal it before chaos erupts in Egypt?

~ Egypt, You are loved and respected around the world. ~

This book is available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Cairo Caper (A Wendy Darlin Comedy Myster) – Barbara Silkstone

When I first started reading I wondered if perhaps I had made a mistake with this book. You are thrust into the action from the very first page, with lots of one-liners and situation gags I wondered if I would stomach that for the whole book. I carried on reading and by the third or fourth chapter I relaxed in the knowledge that this was the style for the whole book and was consistent so I started to enjoy it. After all this book is called Cairo Caper and what a caper it is! The book is well written and the style of the story and the way various characters acted did remind me a bit of the carry on style of films, which I am a big fan of. The descriptions are vivid too and I could visualise many of the scenes, even the more quirky ones, which certainly helped. Wendy Darlin is an engaging character and many of the side characters were interesting to read and the story is certainly fast paced and the ending is a satisfying conclusion. Aside from a slight disorientation at the start and the suggestion in the book of some history between key characters, which I assume featured in the first two books, I don’t think it mattered too much that this isn’t the first chronological Wendy Darlin story, it acts well as a stand-a-lone, with a few minor head scratching moments. The one thing that is certain is that the story grabbed me and I just had to know what happened by the end. There are a few parts where I groaned at the jokes and others where I laughed out loud. I have to admit that some of the character names had my rolling my eyes, but others amused me more than they probably should have. The end of the book includes a bonus chapter of the first Wendy Darlin book, which has intrigued me enough that I plan to check it out and the other Wendy Darlin books when I get the chance. If you enjoy a fast paced story, with some action and plenty of comedy and don’t mind a bit (well a lot really!) of silliness along the way then this is the book for you. I have given this 4 out of 5 stars, I just deducted one star because a few times I felt like I was missing out on a bit of back story between various characters, which may have helped me understand a bit of interaction better, but I realise that most readers will start from book one and read in chronological order.

Caroline Lee

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How to Greet Strangers

how-greet-strangers-mystery-joyce-thompson-paperback-cover-artArcher Barron is rebuilding his life after hiding from it for years. Once he had grand expectations—graduating law school, donning drag to express his feminine aspects, and the love of a devoted boyfriend—but fate became cruel. HIV-positive cruel. And a growing involvement with an Oakland Santería priestess who promised a cure in return for devotion and a lot of cash. His lover died. His faith and spirit almost followed.

Now Archer works a sorry job as a university night watchmen and volunteers at a free clinic. The walls he’s built in the years since his loss are about to come crumbling down when a former member of the Santería family he belonged to comes seeking legal help. And then the police discover the body of the priestess. Archer’s grudge makes him a prime suspect.

In Joyce Thompson’s newest novel, How To Greet Strangers, the Bay Area welcomes a new detective: he’s black, he’s spiritual, he’s stunning. And he’s in great danger.

This book is available from Amazon UK and Amazon US

How to Greet Strangers – Joyce Thompson

This compares with nothing I have read before! It is so different that at first I was unsure if I was going to like it. However, as the novel progressed I became more involved with it and my interest grew to the point where it was difficult to put down. The story is based around an HIV positive, black gay male (Archer Barron) who has recently been very involved in a religious cult. He is a good man, undoubtedly confused about religion. The cult leader is murdered and after being under investigation, and the lead detective realising he studied law, he is invited to help solve the case. Other murders occur, someone he knows is charged with the murders and this person’s wife asks Archer to help prove his innocence. It is an intriguing and complex story, not easy reading by any means, but it draws you in because it is so well-written. The author deals with gay issues, religion and spirituality and the psychology that goes with this. Although not from an abusive family, Archer has his own issues. His mother is an extremely beautiful woman, and it is almost as though he is in competition with her. He likes to dress and go out as a woman and has several different personas. He lives a very healthy life style through necessity, although not afraid to face danger. There is an unexpected twist at the end of the tale too. Thoroughly enjoyable (once you get your head round the cult overtones), and very modern, tackling different and difficult issues. This book assists you to gain entry to the gay scene of San Francisco and look out of the eyes of an intelligent, spiritual man and face the world as he sees it. Brilliant writing by J Thompson. Highly recommended!

Sharon Peterson

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