blog tour, books, reviews

12 Days of Clink Street: The Achilles Gene – N.E. Miller

My second stop on the 12 Days of Clink Street celebration tour. Check out my first post here and see the tour poster below for more reviews from other bloggers.

The discovery of the Achilles gene by Ahmad Sharif at the Middle East Centre for Cancer and AIDS Research (MECCAR), recently opened in Jordan’s remote Wadi Rum desert, had stunned Western scientists. Each gene having the potential to destroy its own cell should it ever become cancerous, the discovery had promised a universal cure for the disease. But there was a hitch. Although every one of our cells has the gene, only those of a unique Bedouin tribe have the extra piece of DNA needed to turn it on. Dr Stephen Salomon of the US National Cancer Institute claims to have invented such a switch, for which he will soon receive the Nobel Prize. But maverick Oxford don Giles Butterfield suspects his American friend’s invention might be fraudulent. After a sleepless night in his office in Magdalen College, he sets off for Heathrow in search of the truth. When his young assistant Fiona Cameron unexpectedly joins him in Washington, it is the start of a globetrotting adventure the outcome of which exceeds their wildest expectations, presenting Giles with a dilemma of epic proportions.


My thoughts: overall this was an interesting book, I was really intrigued by the Bedouin tribe with the interesting DNA strand, and the whole Achilles gene, secretive lab in the desert stuff as well, proper conspiracy thriller territory but I wasn’t too bothered about the dodgy American scientist scamming the Nobel committee – they’ve been mired in controversy for some time now.

I found Giles a bit pompous and annoying, his obsession with Liverpool, but a Liverpool that doesn’t exist anymore as it’s a modern city, not the fantasy one he romanticises endlessly, Dark & Stormy cocktails (rum, ginger beer, lime – not that amazing tbh), and old fashioned traditional English stodge cooking were all a bit of an affectation too far at times and verged on parody. Especially once his brother has been introduced and it’s so obviously put on. I wanted more of Fiona, whose main problem was being in love with Giles, who walks all over her.

She figures out the thing with the file dates, and he sends her off to teach his students while he goes off to be lauded as a hero by the Nobel people for preventing a fraud winning their top prize.

What started off as quite a tense scientific thriller confused me at first with the non-linear timeline and then lost me a bit with the endless section on the name of a file on a computer that went on a bit too long, but pulled it together in the final act. I got that the fact that the scientist had lied and his computer proved it but it was a bit fiddly and I wanted more on the dead man drowned in a swimming pool, there was definitely something fishy about his death, although that looks like it might be a case for book two.

I hope Fiona gets her own back in the next book and that Giles gets his arrogance brought down to earth, especially if he’s going up against governments this time, one’s who might have murdered an inconvenient scientist who said too much.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

12 Days of Clink Street: The Lottery – Peter J. Venison

The annual celebration of publisher Clink Street is back and full of great books. Check out the poster below my review to see all the fab bloggers taking part.

If you found an unsigned lottery ticket, what would you do if it turned out to be worth millions? Hand it in or claim the prize? Follow the twisting path of Maggie and Greg when faced with this dilemma. Who are the winners and who are the real losers? What is the price of honesty and does winning bring happiness? Can you do more good in the world if you are rich or poor? Find out in this intriguing tale of an ordinary family.


My thoughts: this was an entertaining and enjoyable read about what happens to an ordinary family whose whole world is turned upside down when they find a winning lottery ticket in the park. Suddenly insanely wealthy, Greg and Maggie decide to keep it quiet while also doing things they’ve always wanted to do.

Greg starts investing and growing his hospitality recruitment business, splashing out on a fancy car once he feels he can justify it to friends with his business successes, meanwhile Maggie wants to donate to wildlife charities, specifically ones that save African elephants (something my sister, who is obsessed with pachyderms, could definitely get behind).

Of course their plan to do all this but not let their sudden and obscene wealth change them doesn’t quite work and over the next few years things change massively for them and their children. Maggie becomes an international environmental champion and Greg becomes one of the wealthiest businessmen around. Things in their personal lives change dramatically too. Can their family survive all of this?

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

12 Days of Clink Street: Archie & the Lawlor Cat Hotel – Jane Lawlor*

Today is my second stop on the 12 Days of Clink Street blog tour. I hope you’ve been following all of the other bloggers in the tour poster at the bottom. If not, do check them out.

Congratulations! You have just found the best cat book ever written. I’m Archie and I am a ginger cat and the manager at the most incredible hotel just for cats. I’ve written this book so humans get to meet me and my guests as we get up to all sorts at night including cat rodeo, cat casino night, cat sailing and even skiing. I can’t wait for you to meet my guests and get to know their real personalities, not to mention my team, which includes Dan and Louis the horses and my three faithful hounds Buddy, Dougy and Alfie. Get ready for the read of your life.

My thoughts:

This is a brilliant book narrated by Archie, front of house at the Lawlor Cat Hotel, where as well as check in and out, he handles entertainment and activities for the guests, assisted by his staff of dogs and horses. Oh and the humans do the cooking and cleaning, as it should be.

Over a week of fun and games at the hotel Archie has organised all sorts of terrific activities for his guests, from karaoke to fishing, casino night and even dry slope skiing. He knows how to show these kitties a good time.

A fun and funny read with an excellent narrator and delightful photos of the staff and guests. Purrfect for cat lovers everywhere.

blog tour, books, reviews

12 Days of Clink Street: Olga’s Egg – Sophie Law*

It’s time for my first post in this annual celebration of Clink Street Publishing’s titles, full list of posts at the bottom. First up a tale of Russian art and Romanovs.

When Fabergé specialist Assia Wynfield learns of the discovery of a long-lost Fabergé egg made for the Grand Duchess Olga Nikolaevna, daughter of the last Tsar of Russia,

she appears to be the only person with misgivings. On travelling to St. Petersburg to see the egg, Assia moves among Russia’s new rich but finds herself pulled back into a family past she would rather forget.

With news that a friend is missing, Assia starts to dig deeper. But does she really want the answers to the questions she is asking?

Set in today’s glamorous world of Russian art with glimpses into the lives of the last Romanovs as their empire crumbled in the wake of the Russian Revolution,

Olga’s Egg is an enthralling tale of love, family secrets and the artistic treasures that conceal them.

My thoughts:

I went to Russia when I was 18 on a school trip, 3 days in Moscow and 3 in St Petersburg. It’s an extraordinary place with a fascinating and tragic history so I was really excited by the book, I saw a real Fabergé egg in the Hermitage museum at the Winter Palace and it was beautiful.

They are insanely expensive as only a limited number were made for the imperial family, and I can easily see why some people become obsessed with them, as many of the characters in this book do. They’re so rare and so priceless that collectors will pay almost any price.

The story that unravels in Olga’s Egg, supposes an egg made for the last Tsar’s eldest daughter, Grand Duchess Olga, lost following the terrible events of 1918. A supposed Olga’s Egg appears suddenly in St Petersburg, but Assia, an expert in Fabergé like her late mother, believes it to be a fake.

The conspiracy stretches into the very top of the Kremlin and is designed to show Russia’s might and that the Crimea belongs to Russia and not Ukraine. A strange thing for a young girl perhaps.

Assia’s investigation is fraught with danger, some secrets are considered worth killing for, and she risks everything to prove that the real egg is still out there.

Gripping, fascinating and set in the art world the author works in (as an expert on Russian art), this was highly enjoyable and clever.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.