The herd mentality

The Cows Book Cover The Cows
Dawn O'Porter
humour, contemporary, literary fiction
HarperCollins
April 6, 2017
464

Fearlessly frank and funny, the debut adult novel from Dawn O'Porter needs to be talked about. COW [n.] /kaʊ/ A piece of meat; born to breed; past its sell-by-date; one of the herd. Women don't have to fall into a stereotype. THE COWS is a powerful novel about three women. In all the noise of modern life, each needs to find their own voice. It's about friendship and being female. It's bold and brilliant. It's searingly perceptive. It's about never following the herd. And everyone is going to be talking about it.

Well, not a book for those with a genteel mentality about how life can or ought to be lived by the young and fearless women of today.

It is frank about sexuality and Tinder and one-night stands.  It explains through the medium of a blog why women might not want children and why a single life with a young lover can be better for some women than marriage and 2.5 children.

And it demonstrates just how much there is a double standard when women are caught enjoying their sexuality as against men. And how the herd mentality works against women who don’t live by the conventional rules.

A great book for feminists and young women. We need to tell our young women that pink frilly dresses and blonde curls, and cute button noses and all that are not an essential requirement for success. And that we should applaud those who break the mould and become Chief Engineers and Space Scientists and childless by choice.

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Who is growling?

Leopard at the Door Book Cover Leopard at the Door
Jennifer McVeigh
history, literary fiction, romance
Viking
April 18, 2017
336

"Stepping off the boat in Mombasa, eighteen-year-old Rachel Fullsmith stands on Kenyan soil for the first time in six years. She has come home. But when she reaches the family farm at the end of the dusty Rift Valley Road, Rachel finds that much has changed. Her father has moved his new lover and her strange son into the family home. And Michael, the handsome Kikuyu boy from her childhood, has started to look at her differently. When rumours of violence between the Mau Mau freedom fighters and British soldiers start to grow, Rachel is faced with a terrible dilemma. Can she be her father's daughter, and be true to herself? And what if choosing one means losing the other?"

This is a disturbing tale of innocence under fire. When the colonialists lived their privileged life in Kenya, to their children the life seemed idyllic. The land was fertile. Their parents were rich and lived a life where there was plenty of leisure activities. They had servants and lived in an exotic country where they had freedom and the opportunity to see animals that were normally in zoos, living wild.

They were protected from politics and the harsh realities of life for the non-white population. They truly believed that the land had been empty before they arrived and that they were civilising the ‘natives’ and anyway, the natives loved them.

They were unaware that Kenya had had a flourishing civilisation in the 13th century which had traded across the world including China and Italy. They only saw the current nomads and disparate tribes and languages and made assumptions.

But by the 1950s  the Kikuyu people of central Kenya, wanted their land back. And the Mau Mau was born, its rallying cry the cough of the leopard.

This book takes through this disturbing era of history through the eyes of Rachel, who is 18 when the book starts, and who is returning from a very cold and unlovely schooling in the UK to her home as she believes. We learn of the strikes and the behaviour of the British officials as she discovers them and through her friendship with native Kenyans learns about the Mau Mau and what they have done and why.

Well written and graphic though it is, we need to read about the reality of our legacy and history as Britain began to lose control of its colonies, and the men who were in charge of them.

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Do a Crime – get Schooling? No Contest.

Lord of the Night Book Cover Lord of the Night
Rogues to Riches #3
Erica Ridley
history, literary fiction, romance
WebMotion
(20 July 2017)

Unlike proper debutantes, Miss Dahlia Grenville is secretly Robin Hood in a bonnet. Her home for wayward girls has too many dependents and not enough donations. But just as she’s about to pull off the heist of the Season, she tumbles straight into the arms of the handsome detective who has sworn to deliver Mayfair’s mysterious thief straight to the gallows. Highly principled Bow Street runner Simon Spaulding’s world is black and white. There’s no mastermind too clever, no criminal alive who can escape the hangman. Until he realizes the delightful young lady he’s been courting is a liar and a thief. Suddenly, his career—and his heart—are in peril. How can he bring her to justice when it means losing her forever?

And again Erica writes a good historical romance with a modern twist – or at least a feminist twist.

Here we have a nicely brought up young woman not only starting her own school for destitute and desperate young girls but also finding a way to support the school through somewhat illegal means – although she would point out that no-one was actually physically harmed, and anyway, those she took from could well have afforded to donate instead, but didn’t. So almost deserved it….

And we have the start of the Peelers to add to the mix. Which again will intrigue people who like their history and crime fiction…

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Where to find a body?

The Body in the Marsh Book Cover The Body in the Marsh
DCI Craig Gillard
Nick Louth
mystery, suspense, crime,
Canelo
(25 Sept. 2017)
Kindle

When a woman goes missing, it gets personal for DCI Craig Gillard. But he could never imagine what happens next.

Criminologist Martin Knight lives a gilded life and is a thorn in the side of the police. But then his wife Liz goes missing. There is no good explanation and no sign of Martin…

To make things worse, Liz is the ex-girlfriend of DCI Craig Gillard who is drawn into the investigation. Is it just a missing person or something worse? And what relevance do the events around the shocking Girl F case, so taken up by Knight, have to do with the present?

The truth is darker than you could ever have imagined.

A gripping novel that I couldn’t put down – until I guessed the ending about 3/4 of the way through. Shame, otherwise it would have been a 5 not a 4.

Still, if you like a UK police/detective novel, this one is for you. The ending should be a surprise (and rather gruesome at that) for many but there are clues in there – if you know something about chess….

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Guard the Blood?

Blood Guard: A Mission Novel Book Cover Blood Guard: A Mission Novel
Mission
Megan Erickson
romance, contemporary, supernatural, suspense
Loveswept
(12 Sept. 2017)
Kindle

Tendra: One minute, I’m a bartender in gritty Mission City; the next, I’m whisked away by a vampire named Athan who tells me that I’m the lifeblood of his clan. It sounds unbelievable, but he’s got evidence I can’t deny. Turns out, Athan belongs to an underground society of vampires who feed only on humans with their consent. Their enemies have no such qualms, and they want me dead. The only thing standing in their way is strong, sexy Athan. And the closer we get, the more tempted I am to let Athan feed. . . .

Athan: How could I have known when I snatched this snarky, beautiful human off the streets that she would change my destiny? As a loyal soldier, I must deliver Tendra to our future king—my brother. Empowered with the blood of ten generations of the Gregorie breed, she is fated to rule as our queen. But there’s something between us that’s so intoxicating, so carnal, I can’t help wanting Tendra for myself . . . even if it’s treason.

I’m afraid this book didn’t do it for me. I was bored and didn’t complete it. A tired story-line.

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