Pen & Sword TBR Pile Review: Richard III – Fact and Fiction, by Matthew Lewis

41093351
Hardcover, 127 pages
Published March 20th 2019 by Pen and Sword History
ISBN1526727978 (ISBN13: 9781526727978)

Blurb

King Richard III remains one of the most infamous and recognisable monarchs in English or British history, despite only sitting on the throne for two years and fifty-eight days. His hold on the popular imagination is largely due to the fictional portrayal of him by William Shakespeare which, combined with the workings of five centuries of rumour and gossip, has created two opposing versions of Richard. In fiction he is the evil, scheming murderer who revels in his plots, but many of the facts point towards a very different man.

Dissecting a real Richard III from the fictional versions that have taken hold is made difficult by the inability to discern motives in many instances, leaving a wide gap for interpretation that can be favorable or damning in varying degrees. It is the facts that will act as the scalpel to begin the operation of finding a truth obscured by fiction.

Richard III may have been a monster, a saint, or just a man trying to survive, but any view of him should be based in the realities of his life, not the myths built on rumour and theatre. How much of what we think we know about England’s most controversial monarch will remain when the facts are sifted from the fictions? 

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ARC TBR Pile Review: She Who Became The Sun, by Shelley Parker-Chan

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Paperback, 416 pages
Published July 22nd 2021 by Mantle 
ISBN1529043395 (ISBN13: 9781529043396)

Blurb

She’ll change the world to survive her fate . . .

In Mongol-occupied imperial China, a peasant girl refuses her fate of an early death. Stealing her dead brother’s identity to survive, she rises from monk to soldier, then to rebel commander. Zhu’s pursuing the destiny her brother somehow failed to attain: greatness. But all the while, she feels Heaven is watching.

Can anyone fool Heaven indefinitely, escaping what’s written in the stars? Or can Zhu claim her own future, burn all the rules and rise as high as she can dream?

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan is a re-imagining of the rise to power of Zhu Yuanzhang. Zhu was the peasant rebel who expelled the Mongols, unified China under native rule, and became the founding Emperor of the Ming Dynasty. 

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TBR Pile Review: The Deep, by Rivers Solomon

42201962
Paperback, 155 pages
Published January 30th 2020 by Hodder Paperbacks (first published November 5th 2019)
ISBN:1529331730 (ISBN13: 9781529331738)

The water-breathing descendants of African slave women tossed overboard have built their own underwater society—and must reclaim the memories of their past to shape their future in this brilliantly imaginative novella inspired by the Hugo Award nominated song “The Deep” from Daveed Diggs’ rap group Clipping.

Yetu holds the memories for her people—water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners—who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one—the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.

Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities—and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.

Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past—and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity—and own who they really are.

Inspired by a song produced by the rap group Clipping for the This American Life episode “We Are In The Future,” The Deep is vividly original and uniquely affecting.

My Review

I learnt about this novella from the Narrative of Neurodiversity Network, and have one of Rivers Solomon’s other novella’s, An Unkindness of Ghosts, on my TBR pile. The Deep draws on the terrible history of the Middle Passage, during which sick and pregnant people were thrown overboard as too much hassle. The ‘what if’ question of what if the babies born to their dead parent were able to breath underwater and survived.

The Historian holds the memories of the people, but for Yetu it is a painful position to hold every touch, every movement of the water, every memory is real. Getting lost in the pain at the wrong time almost kills her. In her pain and anger she shares the memories with all of her people and runs away.

Oh, it’s so beautiful! I found Yetu so relatable. The sensory perception of everything, of feeling overwhelmed by life, is familiar. Also, the way water feels and the pressure of the sea is familiar, I feel like that in the pool, and in the sea when I get a chance to swim in the sea. I love the love story between Oori and Yetu, it was so gentle and powerful. I totally understand the hesitancy and shyness. It’s a powerful story of history, memory and love for family and friends.

Totally in love with this novella, highly recommended.

Review: The Devil’s Shadow, by BJ Edwards

The Devil’s Shadow

In a vault beneath the Mediterranean Sea, a creature from myth and folklore sleeps. Government agents David Coswell and Hannah Martin join forces to find and study the creature with the hopes of harnessing its power for their country’s good. Accidentally, they release the creature and London is plunged into chaos. Lawlessness and hedonism spread as Lord of the Flies regains his strength and uses violence and fear to build his new kingdom.

David Coswell, along with his ‘handler’ Sentinel Nutbeam, retired soldier Nigel Carter, and Spanish matriarch Maria Perez help the Prime Minister confront the beast and take back control of a fractured country.

The Devil’s Shadow is a fast-paced supernatural thriller. Sometimes scary, sometimes sexy and always exciting, it is an absorbing tale of friendship, loyalty, faith and belief.

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1528985540 

US – https://www.amazon.com/Devils-Shadow-BJ-Edwards-ebook/dp/B08Z8KDK2X

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Review: Ruabon (Tales of Lost Solace #4), by Karl Drinkwater

Ruabon

Welcome to Tecant.

Nothing ever happens here.

Until today.

Ruabon Nadarl is just another low-ranking member of the scan crew, slaving away for the UFS which “liberated” his homeworld. To help pass the time during long shifts he builds secret personalities into the robots he controls. Despite his ingenuity, the UFS offers few opportunities for a better life.

Then Ruabon detects an intruder on the surface of a vital communications tower.

He could just report it and let the deadly UFS commandos take over, while Ruabon returns to obscurity.

Or he could break UFS laws and try to capture the intruder himself. For the UFS, only the outcome matters, not the method. If his custom-programmed drones can save the day, he’ll be a hero.

And if he fails, he’ll be dead.

Purchase Link – https://books2read.com/b/Ruabon

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Review: Girls Who Lie, by Eva Bjorg AEgisdottir

PUBLICATION DATE: 22 JULY 2021 | ORENDA BOOKS | PAPERBACK ORIGINAL | £8.99

At once a startling, tense psychological thriller, and a sophisticated and twisty police procedural from a rising star in Icelandic literature.

When single mother Maríanna disappears from her home, leaving an apologetic note on the kitchen table, it is assumed that she’s taken her own life – until her body is found on the Grábrók lava fields seven months later, clearly the victim of murder. Her neglected fifteen-year-old daughter Hekla has been placed in foster care, but is her perfect new life hiding something sinister?

Fifteen years earlier, a desperate new mother lies in a maternity ward, unable to look at her own child, the start of an odd and broken relationship that leads to tragedy.

Police officer Elma and her colleagues take on the case, which becomes increasingly complex, as the list of suspects grows ever longer and new light is shed on Maríanna’s past – and the childhood of a girl who never was like the others…

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Children’s Picture Book Review: Bertie at the Worldwide Games, by Wendy H. Jones, Illustrated by Barry Diaper

Blurb

Bertie the Buffalo is having fun on the farm where he lives in Scotland. Then a mysterious letter arrives inviting him to represent Scotland in the Worldwide Games. Bertie and his friends fly to Tokyo where they meet new and exotic animals and try to win first prize in all the different events. Bertie is sad when he isn’t winning any medals but finds out if he works together with his friends, he will be a winner in the end.


My Review

Thanks to the author and publisher for a copy of this book. I read a Bertie book last year and was so pleased to see another, Bertie is an adorable little buffalo.

Aww, this is so cute! Bertie and friends represent Scotland in running races in Tokyo, and learn the importance of team work.

I think the writing and illustration have improved since the first book. There’s something more vibrant about the illustrations. The story has a strong rhyme and I’m sure it’s ever so slightly more complex than in the first book. Maybe Bertie is getting a bit older so the prose is getting more complex?

I like it! The colours of the pictures are eye-catching the writing is fun and bouncy, and the message is good.



Author Bio

Wendy H. Jones is the award-winning author of the DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries and Cass Claymore Investigates. She lives in Scotland and is also an international public speaker and the president of the Scottish Association of Writers.

Illustrator: Barry Diaper  

Barry Diaper is best known for his cartoons and caricatures for The Beano. He was once short-listed for the Daily Mail’s ‘Not the Turner Prize’. He lives in Salisbury, England.

Blog Tour Review: Clarissa (Lost Tales #3), by Karl Drinkwater

Clarissa

If you’re reading this: HELP! I’ve been kidnapped.

Me and my big sister stayed together after our parents died. We weren’t bothering anybody. But some mean government agents came anyway, and split us up.

Now I’m a prisoner on this space ship. The agents won’t even say where we’re going.

I hate them.

And things have started to get a bit weird. Nullspace is supposed to be empty, but when I look out of the skywindows I can see … something. Out there. And I think it wants to get in here. With us.

My name is Clarissa. I am ten years old.

And they will all be sorry when my big sister comes to rescue me.

Purchase Link – https://books2read.com/b/Clarissa

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Review: The Beresford, by Will Carver

PUBLICATION DATE: 22 JULY 2021 | ORENDA BOOKS | PAPERBACK ORIGINAL | £8.99

Just outside the city – any city, every city – is a grand, spacious but affordable apartment building called The Beresford.

There’s a routine at The Beresford.

For Mrs May, every day’s the same: a cup of cold, black coffee in the morning, pruning roses, checking on her tenants, wine, prayer and an afternoon nap. She never leaves the building.

Abe Schwartz also lives at The Beresford. His housemate Smythe no longer does. Because Abe just killed him. In exactly sixty seconds, Blair Conroy will ring the doorbell to her new home and Abe will answer the door. They will become friends.

Perhaps lovers.

And, when the time comes for one of them to die, as is always the case at The Beresford, there will be sixty seconds to move the body before the next unknowing soul arrives at the door.

Because nothing changes at The Beresford, until the doorbell
rings…

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Children’s Picture Book Review: A Tiger Named Lee, by Sinead Murphy, Illustrated by Shannon Chresham

Blurb 

Lee is a tiny tiger who lives with his Mum in the safety of his treetop house. There he feels safe from the dangers of the dark jungle below. But one wild stormy night, Lee and his Mum are thrown to the ground and Lee is forced to face his fears in order to help her. A Tiger named Lee tells the story of a timid little tiger who refuses to leave his tree-top perch and go down to the jungle floor for fear of what may lie there. However, he and his Mum are thrown from the tree on a stormy night and the little tiger has to overcome his fears.

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