My Review of INCEPTIO #TuesdayBookBlog by Alison Morton for #RBRT

INCEPTIO (Roma Nova Thriller Series Book 1) by [Morton, Alison]

 

I gave INCEPTIO  3.5* out of 5*

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as a member of Rosie’s Book Review Team 

Book Description:

INCEPTIO plunges you into a 21st century Roman world. Apart from kidnapping, heartache and a close encounter with Latin grammar, New Yorker Karen Brown must contend with a fascinating Praetorian elite forces officer. Oh, and a crazy killer pursuing her for a very personal reason. 

Karen flees to her dead mother’s homeland, Roma Nova, the last remnant of the Roman Empire. Founded sixteen hundred years ago by Roman exiles and now ruled by women, it gives Karen safety and a ready-made family – but at a price. 

In this adventure thriller set in an alternative timeline, Karen grows from a girl anybody might know into a strong female character not only intent on staying alive but also on finding out why the killer is hunting her.

A coming of age story, where an ordinary girl discovers there is a great deal more lying under her mundane existence, but also lethal danger. At what stage does she stop running from it?

My Review:

I need to say from the start that I may not have been in the right frame of mind to read what, to me, is a book with a complex and fantastical plot.  I wanted to like INCEPTIO; I started off really enjoying the book but as I read on I found the plot erratic; sometimes dragging, sometimes rushing  by. So I struggled to be totally engaged with the story.

Told mainly from the point of view  of Karen Brown, a modern New York resident, it is to the author’s credit that the protagonist is quickly built into a rounded character and it is easy to empathise with her in the rapid change in her circumstances. But, as the story progresses it becomes quite obvious that Karen,  soon renamed Carina Mitela as the most important resident of Roma Nova, wasn’t going to be beaten by any antagonist nor fail in any of the tasks she was given to complete. I felt there  were too many (and sometimes what I thought were ‘tongue in cheek’ ) attacks on the protagonist, designed to persuade her to sign away her  inheritance of vast amounts of money and, more importantly, a very successful business before her twenty-fifth birthday. 

 I did like the way the author built up some of the other characters: Karen/ Carina’s grandmother, Nona/Aurelia, the attractive, soon to be lover, Conrad. (I would have liked more time spent on the building of the relationships between the protagonist and these two characters – (I am always more won over by character-driven tales ). And I also enjoyed characters such as Lurio,  Apollodorus,  Aelia. Even the antagonist, Renschman (told from a third person point of view, so we were a little distanced from him but could still see, if not empathise, his mindset – he has personal reasons for hating Karen) had his moments of depth and true evil for me. Of necessity there needed to be a lot of characters to populate this alternative country. But I did find myself shuffling back and forth sometimes to find out who fitted where.

Must admit though, I did like the idea of a country where the women ruled and called the shots!!

One of Alison Morton’s strengths is dialogue, both internal an spoken; there is never any doubt which character is speaking, even without dialogue tags. Yet even here I tended to be pulled out of the story by the constant use of Latin (Yes, I l know it adds to the validity of the country but still… . I have to confess this might have brought back too many memories of the language from a certain teacher in my schooldays! Don’t ask!!)

There is a lot of dense detail and some quite long descriptions of the fictitious state of Roma Nova These build up a good sense of place of this civilisation that exists as a left over land of the long ago Roman Empire. Interesting- but I found they slowed the plot for me and I have to admit I did skip over some of them. And I found some of the narration, in parts, also dragged a little.

Loved the cover, by the way. I see this is a theme throughout the Roma Nova Thriller series.

Would I recommend? Well, yes to readers who enjoy alternative historical fiction with lots of action and lots of description.

Having written this review and then gone onto Amazon and seen how many 5* this book has been given, I think I’d like to read more of  Alison Morton’s work. Perhaps this just wasn’t for me at the moment

About the author

Alison Morton

Alison Morton

Even before she pulled on her first set of combats, Alison Morton was fascinated by the idea of women soldiers. After six years in a special communications regiment, she left as a captain, having done all sorts of interesting and exciting things she can’t talk about, even now…

The mosaics at Ampurias (Spain) and their creation by the complex, power and value-driven Roman civilisation made her wonder what a modern Roman society would be like if run by strong women.

Now, she writes Roman-themed alternate history thrillers with tough heroines, tends a Roman herb garden and drinks wine with her husband of 30 years.

Buying Links:

Amazon.co.uk: http://amzn.to/2igqjV0

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/2uUXQu2

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Today With Sally Spedding

More chatting  with authors who will be at the Tenby Book Fair, http://bit.ly/27XORTh, the first event of the Tenby Arts Festival http://bit.ly/24eOVtl .  I’m looking forward to having many more such chats over the next couple of months. 

So far I’ve interviewed Rebecca Bryn: http://bit.ly/1XYWbtF, Thorne Moore: http://bit.ly/1P6zDQh , Matt Johnson: http://bit.ly/1RUqJFg and Christoph Fischer: http://bit.ly/1svniAr . Over the next few weeks I’ll be introducing them all and I’ll also be showcasing the publishers who will be in attendance. There may also be a short chat with John and Fiona of http://showboat.tv/ who, as usual, will be filming the event.

 Today I’m bringing you …  author Sally Spedding!!! A good friend, a brilliant writer of things “creepy and suspenseful”.

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Hi Sally, welcome. It’s lovely to be her with you today

 Hi Judith, glad to be here.

Let’c start with a question most of the authors like to talk about. What were you like at school?

Old Palace School, Croydon,  a convent secondary school run by High Anglican nuns, was quite a leap from a Porthcawl primary! An incredible old building, whose dark, granite walls still pop up in my writing. Apparently, Elizabeth1 stopped there on her travels, and the place felt steeped in history. My main preoccupation was whether or not the nuns wore any knickers beneath their voluminous robes, and later on at Withington Girls’ School in Manchester, studying the pedigrees of Thoroughbred racehorses evolved from just three Arabian stallions, running a betting ‘ring’ and regularly jumping out of the window during Maths.

Were you good at English?

At Withington, we had an inspiring teacher who did read out my work. You only need one…

What are your ambitions for your writing career?

To keep writing what I want to read.

Which writers inspire you?

Too many to list, but  Emile Zola, Thomas Mann, Friedrich Dürrenmatt and Daphne du Maurier whom I’d read before starting out, still inspire me. Currently, Johan Theorin’s crime novels tick a lot of  boxes.

So, what have you written?

Since 2001, eight published noir crime/thriller/supernatural novels beginning with Wringland, set on the haunted Fens.; How to Write a Chiller Thriller; ‘Strangers Waiting’- a collection of short stories (now e-bk only); Crime short stories which are included in many outlets and CWA antholgies. Most recently, ‘Trespass’ in ‘The Mammoth Book of Jack the Ripper Stories.’ I have also written poetry for the past 20 years, exploring mainly betrayal and injustice. What lies beneath… Although many have won prizes and been widely published, I have yet to organise a collection.

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*All my titles and many excerpts can be seen on www.sallyspedding.com  and most on Amazon. For earlier books now out of print, Abe Books can supply them.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?

Delphine Rougier is the young, lead character in my new French crime series set mainly near Le Mans. Despite her impoverished background and a demeaning job, she dreams of becoming a gendarme. However, she must navigate her way through lies, treachery and danger to realise her ambition.

What are you working on at the minute?

This crime series. ‘Footfall’  and ‘Featherblade’ are finished. ‘Fearless’ is still in progress.

What genre are your books?

Like life, which can’t be compartmentalised, they cross genres. Crime is their core, but often involving historical/psychological/supernatural elements.

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What draws you to this genre?My family background and ongoing experiences in this world of ours.

How much research do you do?Setting is crucial, and always the start, so I have to be there and bring back visual imagery. Even a shell or  a few leaves…  By the time the book is finished, there will be a thick folder of ‘on the hoof’ information gathered but not necessarily used. It’s there as bedrock.

Do you write full-time or part-time?

In my head, all the time. Part-time and snatched moments. Life is complicated.

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?

First thing, post-dreaming.

Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?

Longhand, with drawings, maps etc. Then editing while typing on to a computer.

Where do  your ideas come from?

Observation. Being far too nosey.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

When the setting’s established, I ask, who’s there? Why? Who’s been there? What’s happened?

What is the hardest thing about writing?

Getting the best words in the right order, and keeping things clear for the reader.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

Several characters in ‘The Yellowhammer’s Cradle’ a gothic horror, historical novel, set in Argyll, need to speak in dialect, to varying degrees, without confusing the reader. They had to be consistent.

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What is the easiest thing about writing?

Sitting down!

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

At least a year for writing. Another for typing up/editing.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?

Paper.

What book/s are you reading at present?

Am well into ‘Motherland’ by Thorne Moore, and ‘The Luck of the Weissensteiners’ by Christoph Fischer, and really enjoying them. Will need a complete break to be able to continue and finish.

Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?

Our daughter, Hannah Spedding is a professional proof reader and doesn’t miss a trick.

Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

No. I do it while it’s fresh in the mind. Editing poetry however, seems never-ending.

Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

It’s crucial, as is a shout line, blurb, and author information. For an original-looking image, it may pay to look further than the usual internet stockists. With a mainstream publisher, the final choice is usually theirs.

How are you publishing this book and why? e.g. Indie, traditional or both)

‘The Yellowhammer’s Cradle’ will be published under the Death Watch Books imprint by Publish&Print.    http://www.publishandprint.co.uk/   Dave Lewis can be relied upon to create a quality product.

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Meanwhile, several mainstream publishers are reading my Delphine Rougier series, as my current publisher, Sparkling Books is no longer handling fiction. All part of the publishing roller-coaster that many authors experience.

What’s your views on social media for marketing?

It can be very useful indeed, but the danger is to overdo it, which ultimately becomes counter-productive.

Do you think that giving books away free works and why?

I admit to having a problem with this.

What is your favourite motivational phrase.

KBO  (Thank you, Winston Churchill)

What is your favourite book and why?

‘The Pledge’ by the late Friedrich Duürrenmatt. A study in obsession, in a picture postcard setting which becomes ever more claustrophobic and full of menace.

What is your favourite film and why?

Jeanne de Florette, for its setting and all-too believable character motivations.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?

Jesus Christ. To find out more about his conception.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Be true to yourself, and don’t be tempted jump on current ‘bandwagons.’

How can readers discover more about you and you work?

Website: www.sallyspedding.com

Everything is on it, including links to Facebook and Twitter.

 

 Thank you so much, Sally. Time for a cup of tea, I think

Lovely. Thank you, Judith!

My Review of Best Seller: A Tale Of Three Writers by Terry Tyler

 

Best Seller: A Tale Of Three Writers

 

I gave Best Seller: A Tale Of Three Writers 5*out of 5

The Blurb:

Three women, one dream: to become a successful author.

Eden Taylor has made it—big time. A twenty-three year old with model girl looks and a book deal with a major publisher, she’s outselling the established names in her field and is fast becoming the darling of the media.

Becky Hunter has money problems. Can she earn enough from her light-hearted romance novels to counteract boyfriend Alex’s extravagant spending habits, before their rocky world collapses?

Hard up factory worker Jan Chilver sees writing as an escape from her troubled, lonely life. She is offered a lifeline—but fails to read the small print…

In the competitive world of publishing, success can be merely a matter of who you know—and how ruthless you are prepared to be to get to the top.

BEST SELLER is a novella of 40k words (roughly half as long as an average length novel), a slightly dark, slightly edgy drama with a twist or three in the tale.

 

One of the most outstanding features of any of Terry Tyler’s book is her ability to create rounded characters that come alive the first time they open their mouths.

Best Seller, a Tale of Three Writers, is no exception.  And the reader is also allowed to observe the inner dialogue, the immediate and complex emotions of these young women, Jan, Eden and Becky, so we are drawn right away into this novella.

There is a consistent and steady rise of tension through the twists and turns of the various strands of the plot. Each character is striving to attain recognition in different ways and with varying success.

 Not one to give spoilers all I will add is that this is a clever and knowledgeable insight to the publishing world. And,as usual, Terry Tyler’s writing style is reflective, skilful and absorbing.

 This is a short read that leaves the reader wanting to know more and I thoroughly recommend Best Seller.

 Oh, and by the way, the end will make your jaw drop.

 

Buying Links here:

Amazon.UK: http://amzn.to/1pKn1IH

Amazon.com: http://amzn.to/1Rk6lBY