Monday Magic – Inspiring Blogs for You!

Monday Magic 29 JanGood morning on the last Monday of January!  Our week has passed in a flurry of parents’ evening, book club, Burn’s night celebrations and not forgetting our son’s better half being offered a great new job.  Funnily enough we haven’t had any news on the politics student other than a text about football scores – oh, the life of a first year student!

Parents’ evening was like a speed dating event…five minutes per teacher and when the bell rings get up and run!  Not sure the computer goblin automatically churning out slots on the online booking system had allowed for mass movement between the hall and the library, and he hadn’t allowed for a wheelie like me – although hubby just used the wheelchair to barge through other parents!  For Burn’s night we were greeted by a piper resplendent in kilt , sporan and full regalia.  How is it that one set of bagpipes can sound as loud as the  (what is the collective term for bagpipes – haggis? sporan? noise?) whole Edinburgh Tattoo?  It certainly had the desired effect of moving guests swiftly from the lobby to the dining area, but I think the ladies serving whisky must have been deaf and in need of a few drams by the time the meal was served.  Slightly disappointing this year was the lack of kilts….couldn’t persuade hubby into one!

Our book club read the new Emma Donoghue book The Wonder this month – review to come – and as usual we had lively debate from the actual book, to last month’s book again (The City and The City by China  ……..) which is being made into a TV series starring David Morrisey, to the current BBC TV series McMafia and Hard Sun.  Amongst the blog posts that I have for you this week is an online book club aimed specifically at those who would find it hard to get out of the house to attend one.  This could be spoonie friends, elderly, young/new mums….anyone who enjoys a good book.  Talking of which, I am taking part in a blog tour this week so will just drop a flier in for it – more info later this week.Review Tour

I am sitting here Nil By Mouth and have a hot date with a gastroscope this afternoon, so it does pain me somewhat to invite you to pick up your coffee…..but I will do just that and encourage you to kick off your shoes, sit down and enjoy some great posts from some lovely bloggers.  Maybe I will give the pilates a go whilst you down your caffeine….

https://survivinglifeshurdles.com/the-surviving-life-book-club/

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courtesy of Surviving Life’s Hurdles blog

https://www.midlifesmarts.com/theres-new-ism-plump-ism-and-its-rife/

http://achysmile.com/index.php/2018/01/25/daughters-migraine-school/

https://www.nicolefrancesca.co.uk/homepage/2018/1/22/i-am-the-1-10-statistic

http://millysguide.com/6-reasons-pilates-good-mental-health/

https://www.chronicmom.com/2018/01/how-to-deal-with-people-who-dont-believe-youre-sick.html/

https://reclaiminghope.blog/2018/01/26/whats-your-favorite-01-26-18/

https://www.trulymadlysassy.com/2017/12/19/the-gift-of-loneliness/

https://ribbonrx.com/2018/01/29/two-frightening-side-effects/

https://emlinthorpe.com/2018/01/22/being-blanked-made-me-smile/

 

Please comment, like, and share the posts you love.

Have a lovely week,

Claire x

Time for a Book Review: “Tabula Rasa” by Gordon Bickerstaff #Thriller

Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of this book by The Book Club on Facebook and the author in return for a fair and honest review. All views are my own. Post contains affiliate links.

This is the fifth book in The Lambeth Group thriller aka Gavin Shawlens series – I must be honest that when I dived into Tabula Rasa I had not read the previous books and had no knowledge of the main characters. So the first thing to tell you is that this can be read as a standalone book.

 

The thriller launches straight into the territory of the underworld and secret agents, and an introduction for new readers, or a reunion for old to Zoe Tampsin – A Special Forces trained agent now working for The Lambeth Group. There is a description of extreme sexual violence at the outset, but don’t be put off as this is important in setting the story up. Her mission is to investigate the death of a government scientist and the mysterious “abduction” and guardianship of his son by a family of aristocrats, the Silsdens. This is where Zoe’s partner from previous cases, scientist Gavin Shawlens comes in to play as he is a personal friend of Lord Silsden’s son. Odd couple Zoe and Gavin go undercover as an engaged couple to try to unearth the secrets of the Silsden family business but someone wants to stop them at every turn. The mysterious phrase Tabula Rasa is brought to their attention – can Gavin’s knowledge of the world of science help them to understand what it means?

Pin for later:

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I don’t intend to give any spoilers away here. But I will tell you is that this plot moves in so many directions and has twists and turns that are so unexpected that I defy you to be able to put it down! I hadn’t met Zoe Tampsin before, and whilst the books seem to be labelled the Gavin Shawlens thrillers, for me Zoe is the stand out character. Gordon Bickerstaff has created a strong woman with a great sense of self-worth, duty and loyalty. She has grown up in the military with a serving father and brother, has served an exemplary career herself and is a natural leader. I love the way that she can slip so easily into and out of character, doing whatever needs to be done, fooling even those who know her, and yet her love and loyalty for her family and closest comrades is uncompromising. Her strength of character is tested to the extreme both mentally and physically in this book – she is the ultimate survivor and a wonderful female protagonist.
Based on this book alone I felt that I didn’t get to know Gavin Shawlens particularly well and he at times feels the weak link when put alongside Zoe and her team. It feels that Mr Bickerstaff is asking us to question the need for Shawlens and whether he can be relied upon to remember which “side” he is working with. The attention to detail of the science is superb, and I really like the fact that not everything goes to plan and the characters have to think on their feet, make life changing instant decisions and show their vulnerability. This feels like real life, if in a world very removed to my own!

I could not put this book down and felt exhausted when I did reach the end. For me there were so many things that I just did not see coming – the sign of a great thriller, surely? My first thought on completing the book – “WOW!”. My second…..well, let’s just say it involved a certain online book store and I now have the first 4 books sitting on my Kindle too – I loved it that much!

Five stars from me!

Available from Amazon

Other titles in the Lambeth Group thriller series:

Deadly Secrets: The Truth will out…

Everything To Lose: The Chase is on…

Black Fox: Run For Your Life…

Toxic Minds: The Damage is Done

About the Author: biography from Amazon page

I was born and raised in Glasgow but spent my student years in Edinburgh. On summer vacations, I learned plumbing, garden maintenance, and I cut the grass in the Meadows. If I ran the lawnmower over your toes – sorry.GFB pic

I learned some biochemistry and taught it for a while before I retired to write fiction. I like DIY and I do some aspects of DIY moderately well and other aspects not so well. I live with my wife in Scotland where corrupt academics, mystery, murder and intrigue exists mostly in my mind.

I write the Gavin Shawlens series of thrillers: Deadly Secrets, Everything To Lose, The Black Fox, Toxic Minds and Tabula Rasa. They feature special investigators Zoe and Gavin. More will come in due course.

I enjoy walking in the hills, 60s & 70s music, reading and travel.

 

Monday Magic – Inspiring posts for Halloween!

Good evening – yes, I know, evening, Pain Pals!  I am just about managing to make this a Monday Magic post, having spent yesterday and today asleep after The Book Club party on Saturday – I could tell you that it was over indulgence, but sadly these days it is just down to fatigue.  Those of you in the know appreciate how hard it can be to do anything – and believe me when this mum doesn’t even care what is going around her in the house (yesterday) things must be dire!! But a good time was had by all and we came away with some fantastic goody bags full of TBC author books – all arranged by the lovely Tracy Fenton (TBConFB and Compulsive Readers blog).22886045_10156006115356495_3468543215709480442_n

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The lovely Tracy Fenton – we got the cake there in one piece, just!

 

Anyway feeling a bit more human now, and noting the date…..I thought I would have a flick through some of the fab groups I belong to and find my favourite Halloween inspired posts.  There are some spooky books, scary films, ghostly doughnuts and a haunted Indian fort.  My personal favourite as a baker is the Brain cake! So it is time to sit down, grab your favourite tipple and enjoy some All Hallow’s Eve fun!  As for me…on the topic of all things eerie, I’m off to start season 2 of Stranger Things!

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http://www.imagineeredvacations.com/the-ultimate-disney-halloween-2017/

http://www.annanuttall.com/6-ghost-books-for-adults/

https://thephilfactor.com/2017/10/24/top-ten-tuesday-the-ten-scariest-movies-of-all-time-3/

https://jaipurthrumylens.com/2017/10/28/bhangarh-fort-ghost-haunted-stories-rajasthan/

https://butterflyinremission.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/funnybones-my-halloween-flashback-nostalgia/

https://www.momtrends.com/2017/10/delicious-healthy-candy-swaps-halloween/

http://www.natalieshealth.com/2017/10/halloween-ghost-vanilla-donuts/

https://justanotherblogfromawoman.blog/2017/10/26/halloween-playlist/

https://www.yourvetonline.com/halloween-top-safety-tips-keep-pet-safe/

https://fancypaperblog.wordpress.com/2016/11/02/how-to-theme-a-one-year-olds-party-for-halloween/

https://www.judyedwinamartin.com/couple-of-halloween-limericks-witch-and-werewolf/

https://marriedcatladysite.wordpress.com/2017/10/26/decisions-decisions/

http://www.sherbakes.com/2016/10/step-by-step-tutorial-on-how-to-make.html

Halloween Brain cake
Image from Sherbakes.com

Please like, comment and share anything you enjoy!

Claire x