We Have Lost The Coffee by Paul Mathews

We Have Lost The Coffee by Paul Mathews

London, 2045. Three months into the Coffee Wars and Britain’s caffeine supplies are at critical levels. Brits are drinking even more tea than usual, keeping a stiff upper lip and praying for an end to it all. A secret Government coffee stockpile could save the day…but then mysteriously disappears overnight.

One man is asked to unravel the missing-coffee mystery. His name is Pond. Howie Pond. And he’s in desperate need of a triple espresso. Meanwhile, his journalist wife, Britt, is hunting royal fugitive Emma Windsor on the streets of the capital.

Can Howie save the British Republic from caffeine-starved chaos? Will the runaway royal be found? And just what will desperate coffee drinkers do for their next caffeine fix? Find out, in Paul Mathews’ latest comedy-thriller set in the Britain of the future…

‘We Have Lost The Coffee’ is packed with dry British humour, political satire, dozens of comedy characters and enough coffee jokes to keep you awake all night. It’s full of crazy action and adventure in London, and beyond, and is guaranteed to set your pulse racing faster than a quadruple espresso.

So, join Howie, Britt and friends – as well as some enemies – as you travel forward in time to 2040s London.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Today is my stop on the blog tour for We Have Lost The Coffee. And better still, today is also release day! We Have Lost The Coffee is the third outing in the series for Paul Mathews’ hapless hero Howie Pond. Once again our 007-dreaming secret agent finds himself stuck in the middle of a new Code Red Crisis.

We Have Lost the Coffee CoverBut worse than missing Presidents, lost pelicans and royals attempting a coup – the coffee is running out. To pay for his ridiculous campaign promises, President Zayn Winner needed a way to raise some quick cash. In all of his infinite wisdom, he decide to levy a tax on all countries exporting coffee to the British Republic.

This in turn led to a crisis. Brazil and the other coffee-growing nations placed embargoes on Britain, leading to caffeine shortages. A personal nightmare for me. A secret government stockpile of coffee from around the world in Romford has disappeared. Howie and Martha need to track them down urgently while the president is away in Las Vegas at a presidential summit.

Meanwhile, newly-married Britt finds herself disillusioned with constant reporting on the so called Coffee Wars and looking for the next big scoop to really catapult her career. With two out of three of the royal triplets who attempted to overthrow the government behind bars, Britt set out to catch the third running royal.

With a lack of caffeine the general state of society descends into deception and treachery to get their hands on some coffee anyway they can. And with just two days left on his 12 month contract as a secret agent, Howie needs this one solved sooner than soon.

The investigation uncovers political corruption, greed and stupidity all the way through. Blackmail and bribery become the order of the day in a desperate attempt to locate the coffee before the world gets wind of the situation. Britt meanwhile finds herself once again in a dangerous situation as she travels around the London area desperate to find the runaway royal.

As the coffee tax negotiations intensified, Howie comes up with a solution to the Code Red Crisis, and the entire Coffee Wars. And Britt has some tough career choices to make as she once again dodges the bullet at the hands of a deranged royal triplet.

Once again Paul Mathews has put together a fantastically entertaining book, and a wonderful return of Howie, Britt and Martha. As we speak he has started work on book four of the series, We Have Lost The Chihuahuas, which I for one cannot wait to read!

My rating:
goodread

We Have Lost The Pelicans by Paul Mathews

We Have Lost The Pelicans by Paul Mathews

London, 2044. The St James’ Park pelicans have gone missing – the day before the British President unveils the country’s new pelican flag. At the same time, British intelligence uncovers coded messages about possible anti-Government activity. Who are the bird-nappers? What do they want with London’s prized pelicans? And who is behind those secret messages? Britain’s hungriest secret agent, Howie Pond – licence to lunch – reluctantly agrees to try and find out.

Howie’s newshound fiancée, Britt, has a secret mission of her own – to identify the mysterious owner of Windsor Castle. That means calling on the help of her alter ego, Miss Pellie Cann, and her American charms. And to add to the chaos, Howie and Britt are supposed to be getting married tomorrow…

‘We Have Lost The Pelicans’ is the second comedy-thriller novel in the We Have Lost series and carries on from where ‘We Have Lost The President’ left off. It’s packed with the same great humour and exciting action, and a double mystery that will keep you guessing. Meet some old friends and a host of new characters when you take another trip to London, 2044.

We Have Lost The Pelicans is the second outing for Paul Mathews’ hapless secret agent wannabe Howard “Howie” Pond. Some months after the brief disappearance of President Jan Polak and the election of Vice President Zayn Winner, Howie looks forward to carrying on a sedentary life as Presidential spokesman.
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Just when life seems to be calming down for him, head of National Security and Intelligence Service Martha Blake sweeps back into his world with another Code Red situation. Some encrypted e-comms have been intercepted, and seem to imply some suspect activity. Not great news on the eve of the President unveiling his new flag for the Republic.

To make matters worse, the pelicans of St James Park – the symbol of the Republic – have gone missing. Given his contract to work for Martha was a 12 month contract, Howie sees he has no choice but to investigate what is going on. The evidence points to the disgruntled and failed opponent to President Winner being involved in the disappearance of the pelicans. Is she attempting to bring down the President to put herself in the big job?

Meanwhile, Britt is offered an opportunity to move out of the small pod she shares with Howie, and earn herself an incredible pre-wedding gift from the owner of the newspaper she works for, a luxury apartment. At what price? All she needs to do is track down the name of the owner of Windsor Castle, so he can make an offer to buy it.

Doning her persona of American journalist Pellie Cann, Britt sets out to uncover the true identity of Windsor Castle’s mysterious owner, even if that means breaking in. Her investigation ends up with her and a former Presidential staff member in a dangerous situation. Howie’s investigation crosses paths with that of his wife-to-be with the same dangers along the way.

We Have Lost The Pelicans is a brilliant follow-up to We Have Lost The President. It brings the laughs like it’s predecessor, but with a hint more menace. It’s well paced, entertaining and brings mystery, deception and Royal uprising along for the ride, setting things up very nicely for the third book. Something the author does very well is covering the trials Howie goes through in both his private life and in the course of his work, without either one tripping the other up.

My rating:
goodread

We Have Lost The President by Paul Mathews

We Have Lost The President by Paul Mathews

London, 2044. Britain is a Republic. President Jan Polak has vanished overnight from Buckingham Palace, just weeks before an election. Has he been kidnapped? Or even killed? One man is determined to find out – as soon as he’s had his breakfast. His name is Pond. Howie Pond – the President’s official spokesperson and wannabe secret agent. With just a love of James Bond films to guide him, Howie sets out on a mission to solve the missing-President mystery. But with Howie’s journalist girlfriend, Britt, soon onto the story, the race is on to see who gets to the truth first…

This debut comedy-thriller novel from British writer Paul Mathews is packed with sharp humour, great characters, dynamic dialogue and a mystery that will keep you guessing from beginning to end. It will transport you to a low-tech, high-drama, post-revolution Britain of the future. A world where some things, like the complete lack of internet and mobile phone access, are quite different. But other aspects, such as politics and big business, are very much the same.


On the 28th June I will be reviewing Paul Mathews’ third book in his series, entitled We Have Lost the Coffee as part of a blog tour. Before then, I am aiming to read the first and second books in the series. Today I bring you my thoughts on book 1, We Have Lost The President. Having read a fair number of thrillers recently, it was a nice change of pace to try a comedy-thriller. Having read It’s Killing Jerry not too long ago, I was eager to try this debut book from Paul Mathews.
31290976We Have Lost The President takes place in a near-future version of London where the monarchy have taken flight to live out their days in Florida, and the Republic of Britain now operates a presidency. Revolution took place to dethrone the royal family, leading to the change in ruling power. And since then, all has gone well, or at least, it had been until just a short time before a major presidential election, the President goes missing.

The task of finding him falls on the shoulders of Howard “Howie” Pond – 007 fantasist and presidential spokesman. Howie finds himself appointed into a security role to allow him to investigate the disappearance before the press get a sniff of a headline that might have catastrophic effects. Unfortunately for Howie, thinking is journalist girlfriend is asleep, mentions enough to his cat that she realises something is amiss.

While Howie faces a race against time to uncover the mystery surrounding the disappearance of the widely popular President Jan Polak, his girlfriend Britt Pointer faces the same race to uncover the details in time for her groundbreaking news story. The two investigations take very different, though at times equally ludicrous turns as both stop at nothing to uncover the answer. The book culminates with the mystery revealing itself to all involved, and bringing a headline of sorts for the intrepid journalist too, while setting things up nicely ahead of book two.

We Have Lost The President is a wonderfully fun mystery, with plenty of comedic elements to lift the story into something different. The story is well crafted, leading the reader on an enjoyable journey that sets the benchmark for the rest of the series.

My rating:
goodread

Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee

Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee

‘Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Broken Branches is the first book from a new start-up publisher in the UK, Hideaway Fall. As an aside from the book, I have to say that the publisher have done a fantastic job of getting their name out there. Not only did they approach reviewers like myself to review the book, but they also sent out a series of assorted goodies that loosely tie in to their name and logo. A brilliant effort on their part there!
15780940_1383406025003743_6187096019880036073_nNow, on to the book – Broken Branches. Ian Perkins is sat watching his marriage crumble around him, as his once-vibrant wife withdraws and becomes more and more distant. She sleeps in a spare room, behind lock and key, and barely says a single word to Ian if and when their paths cross.

Having grown up with the story of the family curse leading to an early grave for members of the Perkins family, Ian is certain the curse is to blame for his the strange behaviour in his wife. Having all-but given up on trying to talk to Rachel, Ian absorbs himself in researching the family history between the bright moments in his day when his young son Harry is around.

Strange things begin to occur around the house, adding to Ian’s certainty in the existence of said curse. His obsession becomes all consuming and taking over every waking moment, and the sleeping ones too. A showdown conversation with Rachel forces Ian to confront a tragedy in their recent past and come to terms with their issues.

Broken Branches is a little different to the usual psychological thriller I am used to. A history of tragedies build to a crescendo by the end of the book that lend a dark feel to the story. The unravelling of the family history, and the final revelation make for a refreshing new look on psychological thrillers.

My rating
goodread

Welcome to Styxworth by Danny Beattie

Welcome to Styxworth by Danny Beattie

A family friendly adventure set in the mysterious village of Styxworth. Can Peter Thwaites solve the mystery and summon the power to defeat the threat to the quiet village.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.

When I spoke with the author about Welcome to Styxworth, I was intrigued by the topline description. But the book is much more than these two lines of description. It follows the childhood account of Peter and his family as they head out on a summer holiday. The family stop off in a small village called Styxworth where they take an ice-cream break.
29861953The car breaks down and the family find themselves stranded in the village. Things become more and more mysterious however throughout their stay, as they discover Styxworth isn’t an average, English village. It’s a place between the plane of the living and dead, a place where those who are on the cusp of death go to wait their turn to cross the river.

This in its own right added a level of intrigue. I really liked the different view on life and death that this book presents. The way the lives of those in Styxworth changes upon realising their status, their decisions and how the approach “life” is almost a lesson on how we should all look at life.

There is a darker, more menacing element to Welcome to Styxworth, that threatens the balance of what passes for life here. While it casts a shadow over things, it works nicely with the overarching story. I found this a warm, pleasant tale and I look forward to reading the second book in this mini-series.

My rating
goodread

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the thrilling first installment in a new series of adventure mystery stories that are one part travel, one part history and five parts adventure. This first book of the Kitty Hawk Flying Detective Agency Series introduces Kitty Hawk, an intrepid teenage pilot with her own De Havilland Beaver seaplane and a nose for mystery and intrigue. A cross between Amelia Earhart, Nancy Drew and Pippi Longstocking, Kitty is a quirky young heroine with boundless curiosity and a knack for getting herself into all kinds of precarious situations.

After leaving her home in the western Canadian fishing village of Tofino to spend the summer in Alaska studying humpback whales Kitty finds herself caught up in an unforgettable adventure involving stolen gold, devious criminals, ghostly shipwrecks, and bone-chilling curses. Kitty’s adventure begins with the lingering mystery of a sunken ship called the Clara Nevada and as the plot continues to unfold this spirited story will have armchair explorers and amateur detectives alike anxiously following every twist and turn as they are swept along through the history of the Klondike Gold Rush to a suspenseful final climactic chase across the rugged terrain of Canada’s Yukon, the harsh land made famous in the stories and poems of such writers as Jack London, Robert Service and Pierre Berton. It is a riveting tale that brings to glorious life the landscape and history of Alaska’s inside passage and Canada’s Yukon, as Kitty is caught up in an epic mystery set against the backdrop of the scenery of the Klondike Gold Rush.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is a perfect book to fire the imagination of readers of all ages. Filled with fascinating and highly Google-able locations and history this book will inspire anyone to learn and experience more for themselves as Kitty prepares for her next adventure – flying around the world!

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold is the first part in a globe-trotting action and adventure series from author Iain Reading. The story follows teenage seaplane pilot Kitty Hawk on her summer adventure to document the humpback whales in the waters of Alaska. The intrepid young pilot takes her de Haviland Beaver from a small Canadian town and heads north where she spends her summer days flying over the coastal waters filming and photographing the movements of the sea mammals, and working with local fishing and sightseeing boats to mutual benefit. She learns a lot about the area through her time here, especially about the Klondike gold rush of the late 1800s.
KittyHawkNewCoverDuring the summer Kitty spots the whales on a number of flights, but also spots something amiss. A small boat puttering in and out of the area sitting far lower in the water than any other boat of its size should or would. This coupled with stories of a gold heist from a local resident fuel Kitty’s imagination and curiosity leading to her tracking down the boat.

What ensues is a failed recon attempt on the occupants of the boat in their makeshift campsite, clearly in possession of the gold, and her ultimate kidnap. This leads to a trek into the Alaskan wilderness through forests, up slopes and through the mountains to the border with Canada. The story runs the full range of emotions; fear, anger, hatred, frustration all feature in the young pilot, until she slowly begins to get to know her captors. Are they truly evil, or merely misunderstood?

Over the remainder of the book, Iain Reading takes us on the real adventure. A tale of deception, double crossing and family lies and histories entwining to up the ante and ratchet the excitement to a new level. In the early stages of the book I found myself mildly irritated by the character of Kitty thanks to her teenage exuberance that felt a little to sickly-sweet, but as the story progressed I found her sense of adventure infectious and found myself rooting for her throughout. Wider characters, including the kidnappers are well developed and believable. The other element that worked so well is the sense of adventure Reading creates, and the well-described locales make for fun reading. As book one in a series, this really sets up what is to come very well, if this is anything to go by, the rest of the series looks set to be brilliant!

My rating
goodread

Walking Wounded by Anna Franklin Osborne

Walking Wounded by Anna Franklin Osborne

Born at the end of the First World War, a young girl struggles to find her own identity in her big family and is pushed into a stormy marriage through a terrible misunderstanding from which her pride refuses to let her back down. As her own personal world begins to crumble, the foundation of the world around her is shaken as Germany once again declares war and her brothers and young husband sign up with the first wave of volunteers.

Walking Wounded tells the story of those left behind in a Blitz-ravaged London, and of the web of loyalty, guilt and duty that shapes the decisions of the women awaiting the return of their men-folk as the war draws to a close.

Spanning the period from the Armistice of the First World War to the exodus of the Ten Pound Poms to Australia in the 1950s, Walking Wounded is a family saga whose internal violence is mirrored by the world stage upon which it is set.

I received a free copy of this book courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.

Walking Wounded by Anna Franklin Osborne tells a story from the end of the First World War, through to and beyond the end of the Second World War. It is a tale of violence, grief, strife and struggle. But uncommonly, it is not a story of the men and boys who went overseas to fight. This is a story of those who are left behind at home. Those who are struggling to come to terms with the aftermath of the war, the outbreak of the second world war and the trauma it leaves behind.
32337397Walking Wounded does not just refer to the soldiers returning from war, but everyone touched, scarred by the war that almost brought the world to its knees. Tragedy strikes early in the book with the death of the elder sister and daughter in a family ahead of marrying her soldier groom. The youngest daughter suffers a turbulent life, coming into this world on the back of war. Trying to fit in with so many siblings around her, she falls into a hasty, dangerous marriage.

Dealing with the loss of her father, who never truly came back from the First World War, her mother to illness, she finds herself being brought up by her eldest sister. Finding herself in a relationship with a fiery, tempestuous young man, she enjoys the rush she feels being with him, until the fateful moment he turns on her, beats her. He manages to convince her she hurts herself in an accident and that he was trying to help, but this just seals her fate at his hands.

Her life goes through ups and downs, thanks to her abusive husband, the outbreak of World War 2 and a wartime pregnancy. She has to deal with evacuation to the market town of Hitchin, in Hertfordshire (my home town) to have her baby in relative safety. I had hoped for a bit more detail making the albeit short scene set in Hitchin to describe things in such a way it was beyond any doubt where the location was. That said, it was a minor scene, and that is my opinion as a born and bred Hitchin resident.

The story moves on to pick up the strife the family suffers through following the aftermath of the war, and significant upheaval. Our downtrodden young mother has to make some difficult decisions ultimately for her and her daughter’s benefit.
Walking Wounded is a novel approach to the strife and horrors of war. Not, as is so often the case, told from the side of the soldiers out in the theatre of war, but from the angle of those left at home wondering, worrying, uncertain. All in all, a wonderful read dealing with some dark and difficult subject matter.

My rating
goodread