Velvet Undercover

Author: Teri Brown
Published: October 20, 2015
336 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

Samantha Donaldson’s family has always done its duty for the British Crown. In the midst of World War I, seventeen-year-old Sam follows in their footsteps, serving her country from the home front as a messenger for the intelligence organization MI5. After her father disappears on a diplomatic mission, she continues their studies of languages, mathematics, and complex puzzles, hoping to make him proud. When Sam is asked to join the famed women’s spy group La Dame Blanche, she’s torn—while this could be an unbelievable adventure, how can she abandon her mother, who has already lost a husband? But when her handlers reveal shocking news, Sam realizes she can’t refuse the exciting and dangerous opportunity. Her acceptance leads her straight into the heart of enemy territory on a mission to extract the most valuable British spy embedded in Germany, known only as Velvet. Deep undercover in the court of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Sam must navigate the labyrinthine palace and its many glamorous—and secretive—residents to complete her assignment. To make matters worse she must fight a forbidden attraction to the enemy—a dangerously handsome German guard. In a place where personal politics are treacherously entangled in wartime policy, can Sam find Velvet before it’s too late . . . for them both?

Kim’s Review:

I saw this in a Book Nerd Problems video from EpicReads waaaaay back near the beginning. The cover is gorgeous and the description sounded intriguing so I decided to read it. I did enjoy it.  Unfortunately, there were some things in the book that kept me from loving it. The main thing is that it is technically historical fiction, but there was just too much suspension of disbelief. If I’m going to read historical fiction, then I want some realism. During the whole story I kept thinking “why would they send a child into a warzone to spy with almost no training??”

Samantha was a likeable enough character, though like a typical teen who probably shouldn’t be sent out on a secret espionage mission in the middle of a world war, she let her emotions get the better of her at nearly every turn. The first chapters of the book highlight how smart and intelligent and special she is, but then the whole rest of the book seems to contradict that. She’s great at codes and languages . . . because that’s all it takes to be a spy!!!!

I’ll admit that the twist at the end caught me by surprise. I had my suspicions about who Velvet was, and I was pretty excited to find out I was right! The story itself was pretty interesting and I enjoyed reading it and watching it unfold. Overall, it wasn’t a bad book, but I doubt I’ll read it again. I would recommend this book to some teens, but not to many adults.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Blog Tour: The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part Two

Today I am one of the stops on the blog tour for The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part Two by Audrey Davis!  This is the second in a three part novella series about a ghost that can’t or won’t keep away from his wife. I will be sharing my review today. This is an entertaining series that I can’t wait to find out how it ends!

In case you want to know about Part One before you learn about Part Two, my review for Part One is here.

Novella Description:

The story continues … 

Hattie is used to her deceased husband Gary dropping in and out of her life. His timing might not always be great, but at least he’s still around. Although – when Hattie tentatively tries a spot of dating – his interference isn’t entirely welcome.

Best friend Cat is lapping up her new relationship with teacher Jamie, but ex-husband Stewart isn’t prepared to fade into the background.

Hattie’s mother Rachel faces a daunting battle, one she doesn’t want to burden family and friends with. But there’s someone waiting in the wings who might be more than a shoulder to cry on.

Gary still doesn’t know what his mission on earth is, and spirit guide Clarence isn’t offering any clues? Will an encounter with another provide him with answers, or put Hattie in an impossible situation?

Prepare for more laughs and tears in the second installment of a trilogy which takes a darkly comic look at life … and the afterlife.

***Warning: Cliffhanger Ending***

The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part Two
Author: Audrey Davis
Published: Today, March 21, 2018
95 pages in Kindle

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: March 12-18, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Jessica’s Review:

I enjoyed The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part One and was given the opportunity to be on the blog tour for Part Two. I could not wait to see where the story went next, so of course I said yes!

Part Two picks up where Part One left off which was a cliff hanger.  Hattie is trying to move on but Gary just keeps showing up! Gary has helped Hattie in both positive and negative ways.  He’s the ghost that just can’t or won’t stay away. Gary doesn’t know why he hasn’t moved on and what his purpose is, but he might be getting closer. These novellas will leave you laughing, but be prepared as they end with cliffhangers and leave you wanting the next novella now. Bring on Part Three!!

The lightheartedness is counterbalanced with some serious situations. I hope they have satisfying conclusions and I wonder what Hattie will do next.  When the description warns you that it ends in a cliffhanger, be prepared: You will want the third and final part now!

I have enjoyed these first two novellas and look forward to the third and final part. I am attached to all the characters and really care and want to know what will happen next. I can’t wait to see how Davis winds down this story!

The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part Two is recommended.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

About the Author:

Audrey Davis survived secondary school on the West coast of Scotland. Rubbish at science but not too bad at English, she originally wanted to be an actress but was persuaded that journalism was a safer option. Probably wise. She studied at Napier College in Edinburgh, the only place in Scotland at that time to offer a journalism course.

Her first foray into the hard-nosed newspaper world was as a junior reporter in Dumfriesshire. Duties included interviewing farmers about the prize-winning heifers to reporting on family tragedies. She persuaded her editor to let her launch an entertainment column which meant meeting the odd celebrity – or just the downright odd. From there, she moved to the loftier rank of senior reporter back in her home patch. Slightly more money, less farm animals but a higher crime rate. As Taggart would say: ‘There’s been a murrrrder!’

After a stint in London on a video magazine – yes, she is that old – Audrey moved to Singapore with her fiancé. She tried valiantly to embrace the stinking heat, humidity and lack of jobs, although she did work briefly on a magazine which was banned by the government for ‘artistic’ use of naked men’s bottoms.

Next on her adventures was a land Down Under where her main focus was raising Cost Centre One (aka firstborn) and coming to terms with the imminent arrival of Number Two. Still, she loved the Aussie way of life – BBQs, beaches and bring your own booze to restaurants – so it came as a blow when OH announced a move back to the UK. Not a job between them, the climate a possible deal breaker and an Exorcist-style vomiting infant on the flight home didn’t bode well …

Always a survivor, Audrey sought out similar-minded friends (i.e. slightly bonkers), got the children into a good school and thought about taking up writing again. Sadly, thinking about it was as far as she got, unless you count shopping lists. Then, hubby drops another bombshell. Switzerland. As in – it’s packing time again. Off to the land of cheese, chocolate, scarily efficient trains and a couple of teeny, tiny issues. Like driving on the ‘wrong’ side of the road and speaking a foreign language (French). The former was conquered fairly quickly (we’ll skip over the wall demolition in week two), the latter remains an ongoing battle of the hopeful against the hopeless. At least she provides amusement for the local workforce.

It wasn’t until 2016 that Audrey rediscovered her writing mojo with an online Writing Fiction course. From there, her first novel – A Clean Sweep – was born, although it took a bit longer than nine months from conception. A short, darker prequel – A Clean Break – followed, and in November 2017 she published the first in a novella trilogy, The Haunting of Hattie Hastings Part One. Part Two is published on 21 March 2018, with the conclusion following in May/June. After which she might have a wee lie down …

Contact Audrey:
Twitter @audbyname

Check out the whole tour: Coming to a blog near you!


The Eye Opener: Collection of Short Stories Volume 2

The Eye Opener: Collection of Short Stories Volume 2
Author: Indrajit Garai
Published: December 8, 2017
238 pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars

Book Description:

In this collection, meet:
Franck, who has to align his desires with his needs;
Nathan, who has to adjust to his constantly changing turf;
and, Cedric, who has to open his eyes to reconstruct himself.

Kim’s Review:

The family of the author offered me this book in exchange for an honest review. Overall, the stories were pretty good. I liked the characters and I looked forward to seeing how each story unfolded. Unfortunately, the writing threw me off. It was very choppy and there were no transition points. I’d be in Cedric’s home and then BAM! next paragraph, he’d be in jail a month later. It was very distracting.

I think if each story was divided into chapters, it would solve the problem. The characters were realistic and I empathized with them easily. I also liked how each story ended on a positive note. Garai did an excellent job of showing how messy life can get, but also how mankind is capable of some good. I would recommend this to people who like emotional stories and even those who like “thinking” stories.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK