Quick good old fashioned witty sharp book with just the right amount of action and intrigue. This is the type of book that makes it look easy. I know its not but Silas Payton writes effortlessly with a quality that leaves me as a reader feeling like I am in the hands of an expert. There is nothing off balance here. The book opens with and bang, rolls along on a smooth exciting train and gave me just about everything I needed. In truth I have eclectic tastes but this I think is one of those every man (woman) books that pretty much anyone will like. Hats off for making it look easy. Very enjoyable and 5 stars for this one.
Fantastic book. I really loved this story, the very notion of a collector of women is fantastic and simple, quite chilling and there is a very definite nod and a wink to the paranormal in here also. The quality of the narrative is fantastic. I was completely hooked from the very opening of this book. The author grabs hold of you and never lets go. Morgan Kelley has such a distinctive voice, clear, direct and her story telling ability is of such a high standard, I am happy to give this book 5 stars. Forget the genre thing here, if nudges on a few. What I got was a book I read over three stressful days that took me into another world where I completely escaped inside a very clever story. What more can a book do for you.
I suspected I might enjoy this book and I was right. In my earlier years I was a student of European history and came to this book very familiar with the story of Emile Zola and the Dreyfus affair. Many people have heard of his open letter to a Paris newspaper ‘J’accuse’ without ever knowing the story behind the story and the French Naturalist writer who was responsible for it. The late 19th century was a time of turmoil, suspicion and anti-Semitism and Paulette Mahurin captures the essence of the time here perfectly. This book is based on actual events but uses a fictional friend and narrator to bring it to life and in the process playing with some of the more interesting facts. That Emile Zola died in suspicious circumstances is relatively well known, some accept that it was an accidental misfortunate death but because of his lifestyle, writing and politics, he had many enemies so conspiracy theories have always surrounded his passing. This is a hard hard book to pull off, but the author has done it with ease, turning a period of history that many will not have accessed into an enjoyable book. Even though I pretty much already knew much of the finer detail, (I suspect most won’t ) that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this book. A great story from the past , perfectly crafted into an entertaining and enjoyable read.
What a cracking read. I am generally irked by most prologues but here is an example of using this device to perfection. I was immediately intrigued and hooked by the writers style and I loved the author’s immediate ability to convince me that she was a good story teller. The story then jumps straight into the action followed quickly by the introduction of our detective, Annie Mc Pherson. Primed by the past worked very well for me as a reader first and foremost because Barbara Speake is a talented story teller and what a clever tale she tells hers. The characterisation is well rounded, simple crisp narrative and prose which is exactly what a good thriller needs to keep up the pace and that very thing – pace, is handled just right. I absolutely whizzed my way through this book, and that is chiefly down to the way the author keeps up the momentum of story and style. It is never boring, stays on track at all times which kept me interested to keep me reading. It is a very difficult genre to get right in my opinion but I think this is one of those examples where a writer has worked extremely hard on all elements of a book clearly keeping the reader at the front of her mind in the process. Too many detective thrillers, are self absorbed clichés, this is anything but. Definitely worth picking up, absolutely glad that I did. 5 stars.
I’m turning into a Diana J Febry fan. This is the second book I have read from her in the last month and I have to be honest – that’s a rarity for me. I like to add variety to my reading schedule but in this case I had picked up both books for my Kindle and having read and enjoyed the first, I decided to read the second and I am glad I did. I had forgotten all about good old fashioned murder mystery tales of late as I have veered away from them in recent years. They can be tedious and predictable but not so with this book. While both Bells on her toes and this follow on book Point of no return, retain the same two detective leads, they stand alone and there is no need to read the first before the second although for character development I would say it is best. This book is an example of a writer getting better with experience and also a good demonstration of how to develop characters in follow on books. Very much in the vein of solid thought provoking, keep you guessing, old fashioned, dare I say English (as a compliment) murder mystery stories, this is a quality piece of work. The great thing I think is the pace of the story, it engaged me from start to finish and the thing I had forgotten that I mentioned earlier was the fun I had as I began to try and guess the ending. Believable dialogue, a strong narrative and very much a character driven book, Diana J. Febry hit all my key markers for a good read here. Most importantly, I enjoyed the story. She sets the scene right from the start and allows it to develop in a way that is natural, entertaining and engaging. I can forgive most things if a story is good, here I had nothing to forgive. Really worth adding to your library. Pick it up you wont be disappointed.
An illuminating, fascinating account of the siege of Mafeking and a period in history that has shaped Africa to this day. The origins and development of the Boer conflict, the innocents that suffered as a result of a war between nations from outside their geographical sphere, is something that was to be repeated time and time again in the great continent of Africa. Here Graham Watkins demonstrates his wonderful writing prowess and his studied historical scholarship. The combination of his style and flair as a writer with his knowledge of history, make him one of my favourite writers. This is a tale of conflict filled with individual tragedy and some bizarre logic that is very much of its time. Cricket matches mid siege on Sundays to boost morale for example are just some of the strange happenings of the siege. That Baden Powell is known more for his founding of the scout movement is perhaps a legacy issue, for at the time he was hailed a hero. I really loved this book not just because I love a bit of history, but Graham Watkins fills the pages of his books with drama that keeps the reader engaged from the very first paragraph. This is my third Graham Watkins book and it will not be the last, Pick it up today 5 stars from me.
I read Andrew Updegrove’s Alexandria Project and knew I had to read another book by the same author, such was the quality of the first. Sometimes that can be a disappointing experience and there is nothing worse than having high hopes based on a first book, only to discover it was a flash in the pan. The Lafayette Campaign didn’t let me down. If anything I found that the author has further developed his own sense of style and voice along with the shared character of Frank Adversego. I loved both books and the development of character is what most interested me. They are stand alone books for sure but both books have a common theme with cyber security at their heart. Although I am not American, like many Irish I am obsessed with politics and have a fair understanding of the U.S. system but I am confident that it is not a consideration for readers because the author navigates and informs along the way with such intelligence and simplicity that he makes it all very entertaining. It is a political thriller but don’t be put off if that word political scares you. Some associate politics with boredom and this book is anything but that. The Lafayette Campaign grabbed me , held me and I raced along with every twist and beautiful piece of chicanery that was slipped between the pages. It is satirical, exciting, beautifully told, filled with sometimes lengthy but always necessary and enjoyable narrative and it is a cliché but I literally couldn’t put this one down. I enjoyed the Alexandria Project so much, I doubted the Lafayette Campaign could match up but it more than did. Definitely a book to pick up, I would love to get this as a present, absolutely 5 stars from me.
It is a tricky thing to write across varying time lines. Sometimes it falls flat and other times the reader just gets sucked in. Dangerous Liaisons certainly grabbed my attention at the start and held it throughout. This is a story with familiar themes of love betrayal and has significant sexual content some of which is taboo so as long as you go in with that in mind, you won’t be offended. The sex scenes are probably the weakness for me but that is my personal perspective, I am a terrible skipper of sex scenes in books. It is a significant and important part of the story however and when I say sex there is also something much darker in that Sarah includes rape and incest also. Overall, she pulls this off with a great deal of subtlety by which I mean while graphic, it is not prurient. Overall I have to recommend this as a very clever read. Talent shines throughout in terms of storytelling and that is my number one priority when I come to read and review a book. Great story, well told, inventive, original and enjoyable. 5 stars from me.
Haruffa Tales is a well worked story set in a fantasy world of great imagination and will be enjoyed by a young adult audience in particular I feel. A lot of work has gone into this one for sure. Completely out of my comfort zone from a readers perspective, I nonetheless took on the challenge to read a fantasy book, something I generally avoid. I say all this to put my review into some kind of perspective. Not being a particular fan of, or experienced in the genre, I know I am probably underscoring this one to some degree. On top of that I am clearly outside the target age group so I need to clarify that to begin with and I hope to offer a broader perspective if I can. The story is clever, moves along at a nice steady pace and has all the elements of a great read for me. Where I struggled as an outsider to fantasy books was in the long passages of narrative, which I suspect are commonplace for the style and type of story this is, but added to that the stilted nature of the dialogue again may be normal for the genre, but it slowed me down. That being said, this criticism is from a very personal perspective and if you are a fantasy reader, I am confident you will really enjoy Haruffa Tales. I know from the ending without spoiling the plot, that there is more to come and I am sure this could be a very successful series for the author. A younger audience than I will really enjoy this book which includes some excellent illustrations. Top marks for ingenuity, originality and style. This is an enjoyable tale that I am sure will gain a larger audience over time and certainly as part of a series, I can see such an audience growing even more. Worth picking up.
It is always good when I can enjoy a book that is outside my comfort zone so to speak. I was tempted by other reviews and decided to take a chance and I wasn’t let down. Maybe it is because the plot reads more like a thriller than a romance to a large extent. There is an edge here that I wasn’t expecting and maybe that is just the best summary from me, unexpected. Of course when I say that, I have to back it up by saying it was a nice surprise. The characters are strong and while there are some long narratives, they are handled very well and they always kept me engaged. Now for the tricky bit, the bit that steers me away from the genre and that is the sex scenes. I must be an old prude but I tend to skip past sex in books unless it is handled well and in context. It is here and I have to give credit to the writer because I kept reading and that’s a fairly big compliment in my case. Nice twists, a good back story with a nice edgy pace. Very enjoyable story-telling from a talented writer.
I take a lot of risks in my reading choices and this one paid off. There is nothing like finding a surprise under the Christmas tree for me, it’s always better than the present you expected anyway. Katharine Hamilton’s Unfading Lands was just that, a lovely surprise. This is old fashioned story telling executed with a very definite style that I liked. I did struggle initially to slip into the mood of the book but that is entirely because this is not the type of book I would usually ever read to be honest. The fact that I did get sucked in and started to think in the unfamiliar voices of the characters is a testament to the skill of the writer. I never plot spoil but I know that there is clearly a follow up to this book in the offing if not already out I have not yet checked. I say this because I think the ending could let you down slightly if you are not prepared for the fact that there is more to come. That being said, I loved the story and the style of writing. My recommendation is pretty much for all to read, the blurb gives you a good sense of what to expect and really if that attracts you in the first place, you will be delighted with the book itself. A really good book, go pick it up.
What a wonderful story this is. Right up my street. I have a penchant for books that are at heart simply told with characters I can connect to. I read a lot and have eclectic tastes, but sometimes a book like this comes along and lifts my spirits. Selikie could in simple terms, be called a coming of age tale I guess but it is much more than that. Sam Harris, the girl at the heart of the story is a wonderful centrepiece on which to balance a story that hovers around the mythical Selkie of the title. Told from her perspective, the imagery, pace and splendid sense of place is so well crafted that I was captivated throughout. Julia Lund writes with an understanding of how to translate her characters emotions to the reader. For me every book has love somewhere at its heart, be that as a central theme, its absence or loss or the effect it has on an individual. Here the changes in Sam’s life and circumstances, her falling in love for the first time and the competition for her affections create a wonderful drama that unfolded to create a splendid story. Lovely book, pick this up if you like book that will engage your heart as well as your head.
Thoroughly enjoyable collection of tales from a writer who is clearly at home with the craft of short story writing. Short story books can be often disappointing due to inconsistency but here I found each tale to be completely engaging. Right from the off with the story from which the book takes its title, Tom Benson set the scene and injected just the right amount of dramatic tension to grab my attention. Then he switches almost straight away into a more suggestive and slightly steamy tale and on it went. Great story telling one after the other, switching faultlessly from genre to genre, a book filled with stories of just the right length, not too long , not too short, a skill in itself. Lovely touching tales, exciting action stories, tales of killers, survivors, deceit and all beautifully written. This is the perfect introduction to a great story teller. A deserved 5 stars from me.
There is a wonderful connection between Christoph Fischer’s books. I read The Healer some time back and was tempted to come back for more by this stylish author. While both books are very different, it is the writers narrative style and voice that links them. There is a simplicity and authenticity that is very attractive. Here he tells the story of Ben Andrews, a man whose life is changed by fortune and continues to be changed throughout, by the choices he makes. The cover and the title say little and everything. I wont reveal plot spoilers but the transition from the opening lines on board a flight to New York right through to what is a superb ending ensured that I have another favourite author. I read this book a couple of weeks ago and have been slow to review it but in the intervening time, the story has stayed with me. I have seldom read a book that took me along the way this one did. The Gambler’s didn’t take off at 100 miles per hour but there is a gradual, growing l intensity that grabs hold of you and never lets go. Perhaps the biggest compliment I can pay this writer and this book is to say that I found it somewhat addictive. I read it on holiday and literally kept sneaking a few more pages in every time I got a minute to myself. I would go further than to say pick up The Gamblers if you want a wonderfully written story. Having read two Christoph Fischer books, I now have a third on my Kindle so I have to say, take your pick, you can’t go wrong. There is even a nice introduction to ‘The Healer’ thrown in at the end to tempt you to another book I heartily recommend from a genuinely great story teller in a slightly old-fashioned sense, which is a good thing, The Gamblers is one of my favourite reads this year.
What a sweet book. Unfortunately my own children are all grown up and this would have been a great book to read to them at bedtime over a few nights. I am a big dog lover and never had the pleasure of owning a bunny, but after reading this I’d be tempted. Told from the rabbit’s perspective the author successfully weaves theme into the daily life of the rabbit and the family and other pets that surround her, Thoroughly enjoyable , I think as a writer Linda Bartash-Dawley has shown her considerable talent in achieving a highly entertaining book out of what I initially thought was a mad premise. How wrong was I. Pick it up, especially if you like rabbits. Great book.
Definitely an enjoyable read. Loved Tavia the main character, loved the characterisation in general which was very clever as here the story deals with werewolves and the author has created her own set of rules and social norms for the pack that made sense despite the fact that she is dealing with creatures of myth and fantasy that have been written about so many times, it is tricky. However here she creates a world where it is easy to become engrossed in the plot and happily suspend belief to enjoy the story. There are some long passages of narrative which can be difficult to get right in order to maintain momentum but the book was perfectly balanced for me. I read it in two sittings lounging in the sun and it is a testament to the writer that I raced through the book so fast. Perhaps the most important thing from my perspective are the characters. I have to be engaged with the characters as an absolute and Sallyann Phillips really knows how to create believable characters that I could picture perfectly and in Tavia she has made a nicely imperfect, well rounded heroine that I completely got. Nice twist on a well used genre, good use of language, a pacey tale with more than enough going on to keep those pages turning. I really enjoyed this one. Five stars.
Simple but not simplistic, sharp and intelligent, I really enjoyed this tale of a killer on the loose in Florida who likes to kill when it rains. Giving different points of view, the author switches seamlessly, telling the story from different perspectives, and it is not something that I have often seen done with such aplomb. I read this book sitting in the sun on my vacation and it was perfect. My mother-in-law is 90 and no longer reads for her self and she loves this type of story so I began telling her the shortened version of each chapter and she also enjoyed it, so much so, I was pestered every day to tell her then next instalment, high praise indeed believe me. The pace of the book is perfectly balanced and while it took me several days to read it, that was down to other distractions and I constantly wanted to get back to where I had left off. In order to successfully see different point of views, the author has had to occasionally use long passages of narrative and while it can be distracting if not handled correctly, here we see how it should be done. Essentially and importantly, at the heart of the book is a great story and that for me is the most important thing in any book. This is the first book I have read by Mike Billington, but I can promise it won’t be the last. Great read, pick it up.
More truth Lies and Propaganda, takes up nicely from where Truth Lies and Propaganda left off. I picked this one up purely on the basis of how much I enjoyed reading the first book and I was not to be disappointed. Lucinda E Clarke is one of those writers who can tell a story effortlessly in a way that just carries you along with her adventures. I have to say she is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. The book revolves around a period of her life as she returns to work in Africa and she uses her natural writing ability to not just recount events but to entertain along the way. I have no doubt she is an excellent raconteur and I felt as though I was sitting around a dinner table with her as she told me of her life and experiences in this truly excellent book. Her skill is not in telling extraordinary tales but in making often ordinary real life stories come to life and it is in the smaller details of each story that I often found myself most enthralled. I cannot recommend this book and indeed the previous one highly enough. If your next book purchase is from the pen of Lucinda E Clarke you will have made a wise decision indeed. A thoroughly deserved 5 stars out of 5 from me.
Great short read, I thoroughly enjoyed this cop story which was quite stylish and wonderfully paced. I read it in one session and from the opening paragraph it had me entertained. Witty and well plotted, here is a short book that demonstrates how such concise pieces should be written. It is difficult to create and develop characters in the confines of what is little more than an extended short story but Silas Payton has made a fine job of it. The story line is quite clever and substantial enough to develop a number of interesting characters in a plot involving visiting police officers becoming entwined in a plot to kill the mayor of Toronto at a police conference. If you like a quick exciting read , pick this one up. I will be looking for more work by this author for sure.
For me this is a very classy thriller. Superb opening to the story and what follows is an intriguing story of espionage with the cyber security expert Frank at the centre of the story. But it is much more than that. I loved Frank, a wonderfully flawed genius who I warmed to immediately. The author is skilled when it comes to characterisation across the board but Frank is the perfect example of how a writer needs to give depth to their creations. The narrative is strong and consistent and the writer shows off his technical knowledge without detracting from the story or losing the reader. He clearly is more familiar with the world of computers than I am and it is a complex book in terms of plot strands and the actual technical background information. However Andrew Updegrove brought me along with him every step of the way. I never for one second felt overwhelmed by this side of the book, a tribute to his knowledge of the subject matter behind the storyline and his great story telling ability. I am not generally a fan of books about espionage, cyber terrorism or conspiracies for that matter, but I was completely engrossed in this book from start to finish. There is a great sense of style here. I believe that having read this book that I know exactly what to expect from his next one. Thriller writers often revert to cliché and can be lazy in terms of recycling the ideas of others. Not so in this case. I found The Alexandria Project to be original and it carried a strength of voice that appealed to me greatly. This is a gripping, funny, clever and above all entertaining read. I am officially an Andrew Updegrove fan and cannot wait to read his next one.
The Fifth Seed is the second book of the Beyond the Pale series that I have read by Senan Gil Senan. The first book was so entertaining; I had no hesitation in going back for a second bite as it were. Set in a wonderfully contrived future, the author has demonstrated yet again his ability to conjure up incredibly imaginative and original concepts and ideas and I was gripped from start to finish. It is difficult to write a review on this story without spoiling the plot but I will do my best. Set in the future, using originality and a complex but easy to follow plot, he ties together, different worlds through characters familiar to me from the first book. There are many themes here relating to religion, spirituality, philosophy and science, but for me the book works by the simple fact that the author ultimately deals with the fundamental elements of human nature, love, greed, bravery, loyalty and family for example. There are some clever well thought out narratives and even some biblical analogies, plenty to get your teeth into alongside an exciting story line. He examines questions of consciousness and God on a variety of levels and looks at the influence of technology and imagines a vast array of wonderfully original future technologies. While many writers fall down trying to invent or imagine futuristic worlds, here the imagery is so clear and well thought out that you can’t help but see exactly what he is trying to evoke. Don’t just pick this book up, go find Beyond the Pale and read that first. While both books should stand alone as separate reads, why not read them in the right order. Great read for me, excellent stuff and I can’t wait for more.
Well now, what a nice surprise this was. Took a chance on reading way outside my comfort zone and was rewarded with a short but enjoyable story that I think deserves a round of applause. The book’s title gives away the plot to some degree, -a god thing- as it centres around the facades we put on – in this case more dramatically highlighted by the central character who is famous. There is a clever twist and I wont spoil it for you but the enjoyment I got from this book was from it’s readability. I read the opening chapter on day one and finished on day two. While it is a short book that’s still a compliment in my world. A clever take on the nature of people when we try to be who we are not to the world this is a book you’ll enjoy.
Without doubt one of the cleverest books I’ve read in a while. Funny, smart and charming this is a book that goes off on a very nice tangent. It is a book for me that was all about two subjects that when handled well, are the things I love to read about, love and loss. The main character heads to Paris from Phoenix after the loss of her friend and the device of the perpetual diet that she is always on, gives a lovely line of connection and humour throughout the book. I won’t spoil the story by telling you what happens in Paris, but let’s just say that the wonderful city of Paris is a challenging backdrop for her and what happens will keep you amused and engaged in equal measure. I love the rules, although not a dieter myself, the ‘hand mirrors everywhere’ is one I won’t be doing in a hurry. Bravo S.K.R.Burns. This is a great read.
I have read three other books by Lesley Hayes so I came to this one to some degree, knowing what to expect and based on her other books, my expectations were high. There is something in the way Lesley writes that brings her characters to life, much better than almost any other writer that I have come across. There is often a sadness blended with stoicism that I find very real and touching. Her opening story is beautiful and the title is taken from it, but one of the reasons I often shy away from short story collections is that they can be inconsistent. Not so with this collection, far from it. There is a flow through the book, a tangible connection of theme where you get to meet people on the brink of something in their life that you know will have some profound effect if not instantly then later on in their life. I say meet because, I felt as though once I wiggled my way into the comfort blanket of her beautiful stories, I felt quite at home with the people she had allowed me to encounter. This book was a truly pleasurable experience. Lesley Hayes writes Literary fiction in a class of her own, she is a clever writer, balancing stories of normality with profundity and a deep understanding of the human condition. I loved this book. Download it today and I promise you will be going back to pick up the rest of her catalogue. A splendid collection.
Very much away from the normal type of book I would read, I found myself immersed into this autobiographical tale from the opening. I can’t imagine writing a book like this. It reads like a fictional tale at times, that is to say I have often found autobiographical work to be more stilted which is not at all the case in this book. The sense of time and place is beautifully captured, as is the appreciation of what it would have been like for a woman working in a male dominated career in Africa. I enjoyed her reference to working on the stage in the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin as a child, a classic overstatement to secure success at an audition. Truly this is one of the more enjoyable books I have read this year. Do yourself a favour and pick up this lovely book.
A short book perfectly told about a trio of vampires and I really enjoyed it from start to finish. I whizzed through this book and while I am not normally a vampire book fan as such, John Hennessey did the genre proud. I always look for originality, pace, and great characterisation in a book. Murderous Little Darlings scored on all counts. The story is simple enough but cleverly contrived to catch the reader out which I liked. Five stars well deserved. You can’t go far wrong with this clever little tale.
My kind of book. I completely loved it. Dark and compelling. This has what I want in a book, great characterisation, believable dialogue and a super narrative. I love character driven books and I simply adore an anti-hero. Helen the central character in this story is so very flawed and the way Sharon Brownlie gradually brings her to salvation (in my eyes anyway) is brilliant. It starts with a violent scene but the book never crosses into gratuitous violence for me and I like that. It does contain other violent scenes as it is the story of a damaged woman addicted to drugs and who is dealing with the emotional and physical scars that result from the abuse she suffered as a child. It is often a tough read but all the better for it. I couldn’t put this book down. No plot spoilers but get this book. It is original, superbly paced and I want more.
A funny tongue and cheek short read, that might offend some but you would really want to take a chill pill if that’s how you perceive this book. Irreverent and taking a few pot shots at conventional Christian teaching for sure, put that’s largely the point. This is a clever book and it is very well constructed. I liked the writers logic and how he has gone through in some detail, despite the shortness of this one, a lot of Church teachings and unravelled the logic or lack thereof within. Of course none of it is not real and it is a funny, fast paced, stylised and clever concoction. I really enjoyed reading this. Read it in one sitting and that’s a rarity for me. I will go again for Alan Hughes. Pick this up it will make you smile.
A good book not in my normal reading pile and a very enjoyable read. I wont touch on the plot for me far too many spoilers in previous reviews for this book anyway. Instead I want to comment on style and content. A well structured well written story with indeed a very promising plot. Ramona writes a wonderful story of paranormal romance with plenty of twists and turns. I often think love is at the heart of every great book and of course it is central to this teen tale about a girl who is the focus of two suitors with a dark and old secret at its heart. I really enjoyed this one but I have 2 tiny criticisms. One is that the cover for me does not relate to the story, in that I think it might throw some potential target readers off because it seems to be aimed at a younger audience than the story itself. That I hope falls under constructive criticism because it is a lovely book. The only other minor thing is for me the ending was a little bit too neat and tidy. However, that’s probably just me and as I mentioned I am not normally a fan of this genre so perhaps it is par for the course. Well done Ramona Wray, very impressive and I heartily recommend this to fans of the genre in particular.
I’ll start by using the F-word. Flippin’ great read. What a clever and original story. I can’t possibly refer to the plot without completely giving it away. This is an original piece of writing that held more than one surprise for me. It is not the usual type of book I would read but it caught me right from page one and never let go. The book for me comes in three parts and is well written. Nico Laeser tells the story of Daniel, (that’s all I can say) in the first person and initially I had no idea where it was going. That is the beauty of the book. The transitions within the story are handled with aplomb and it is truly well crafted. I have to say it is one of the best books I have read in some time. I am officially a Nico Laeser fan now and I will be looking for more from this stylish writer.
I read this superb little book in one sitting. What a well told story. It is indeed harrowing and taught but fundamentally this is a story with an instant hook that just pulls you along in such a fashion that you don’t want to let go. The dramatic tension is so well crafted that I have rarely been so absorbed in a story literally from start to finish. My only criticism and it is not a fair one for it is selfish, is that I would have preferred the book to be longer because I enjoyed it so very much. I wont spoil the story other than to say that it is a simple premise and set in Libya under Col Gaddafi. The main Character is an ambitious Egyptian salesman who bites off more than he can chew and through his naivety finds himself in peril. Enough said I wont spoil it for you. A brilliant read.
What a good book. I rarely opt for â€˜funnyâ€™ books because most of them fail when they try too hard. I have high standards when it comes to cracking a smile when I read a book but Carl Jones made me laugh out loud on more than one occasion.
The banality of the setting is the perfect foil for the characterâ€™s humour. I love horror sprinkled with love, violence contrasted with tenderness in my books and in this, we have boredom lavished with quick wit. There is nothing like a contrast to highlight the quality of a writer. The story (and Iâ€™m not giving too much away here) centres on the main character Christian and his mundane, dreary, work life alongside the complications of his personal home life. The dialogue sparkles and feels very real indeed. So many writers fall down when it comes to humour because the narrative is trying too hard or the conversations are stilted. The Lunch Hour is a great example of a writer getting the balance just right. Pick this up and put a smile on your face.
Just read this for my Grand Niece.. Now I have to read it again and again and again and again… What more can I say. Praise from Caesar
A lovely book with fantastic illustration s that children will adore. Trust me.. I have to go read it again now .
I took a punt on a new author to me and I was delighted that I did. This a book has an original plot that at the same time makes you feel like you already know the chief protagonists. From the opening page you are immersed into the story and what a story. I like to be drawn into a book but I need to be kept interested and I most certainly was.
No chance of spoilers from me, I would ruin the book for you if I did. All I will say is that the story centres around Erika, who choses to seek alternative treatment for her cancer. The alternative treatment she seeks and the deceit, plot twists and intrigue that follows, just mount up. I wanted to put the book away several times but kept going back for just one more chapter. You will love the flow of this book. Perfectly paced for me, a well balanced study in character I have become a Christoph Fischer fan today. If you are the sort of person who is afraid to take a risk with a new author, you need not worry, you are in safe hands. Pick this book up and look for his next one.
I like a cracking tale and I am not afraid of a bit of swearing but I tend not to go for romance books. I expected more romance than action, drama and in particular suspense so I was actually pleased that while there is romance involved it didn’t kill the mood for me. If you don’t like sex violence and bad language this is perhaps not for you but if you want a sparky, well paced piece if intrigue that keeps you guessing then this is definitely the one for you.
Plenty to keep the reader engaged, this has all the right ingredients. I like the setting, Salem seems so familiar to me as it has been used in so many books and movies, but importantly The Killing Times is very original. I liked Elizabeth La Rue and that went a long way to help me engage with the book. Lead characters have to have something special about them so when a writer gets that right, it is half the battle. Definitely one to pick up with my earlier warnings in mind, but there is the added bonus that if this is your cup of tea, you can find plenty more Morgan Kelley books to keep you going. Great Mystery and suspense, I am officially a fan. Pick this one up.
I loved this book. I cannot think of a more honest and simple appraisal. Lesley Hayes is a writer with such enormous talent and thoughtful depth, that I have returned to look for her books time and time again. Round Robin centres on the fragility of human relationships and how each of us touches and affects those around us and how sometimes we are at the mercy of decisions made by others. I have barely had time to read anything these past few weeks, but I found myself drawn back to just squeeze in another few pages at every opportunity.
Here is a book that express itself quite simply while addressing quite complicated emotions. Lesley gets to the soul of every character and writes eloquent and smart narrative that is so polished and considered I find it hard resist. At the heart of the storey is Robin a young boy preparing for the next stage of his life and the shift in family circumstances that are about to change everything. I daren’t give away any spoilers except to say that this is a book with love in its many forms at its heart. But it is more than that. This is a book about relationships and responsibilities, pain, loss and redemption.
I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Having read Lesley’s ‘The Drowned Phoenician sailor’ and ‘Oxford Marmalade’ I thought I knew what to expect, but in Round Robin Lesley has raised the bar even higher. Her understanding of the human condition shines through as every character comes alive on the page with a truth and honesty that is hard to achieve for a writer. Next book please Lesley Hayes… Loved it.
This is an insightful tale, well written, with structure and integrity. A flowing narrative and realistic dialogue are not always easy to achieve but Brian O Hare has managed to find the perfect balance. Living as I do next to a seminary and while long lapsed, I grew up in a very Irish Catholic world so I was able to recognise so much that was familiar in this book. The voice is so authentic and the themes are handled with great care and attention to detail. This is a book inhabited by priests, Catholicism, guilt, grief and the turmoil of a life lived in a world that we rarely get to glimpse. I ultimately found much of the book sad but that may just be my perspective and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is not a book I would automatically have picked up, but I was glad I did.
In a Taste of Honey, Tom Benson embodies everything that is good about this genre. Right from the opening paragraph I was gripped when Kimberly receives a terrifying telephone call from her sister’s phone. What follows is a tale of revenge with no holds barred and a heroine who will stop at nothing to achieve it.
This book embodies everything that is good about the genre, action-packed, smart and with an attention to detail that leaves others in the shade. This is a book where everything has been cleverly thought out and researched, that kept me just wanting to get back to the next chapter over and over again. There is no letting up, yet the clever thing about this book is the balance in its pace. In order to get to where it is going, the reader is not short-changed in the detail and Tom leaves no lose ends.
Where other stories can get bogged down in the finer detail and lose you, A Taste of Honey keeps that balance just right and I couldn’t help but find myself equally absorbed by the story, whether our heroine was getting her hair cut or exacting painful revenge on one of her targets.
Intriguing, exciting and eloquent, this is a thumbs up from me. I have read two Tom Benson books that led me to this one and all I can say is he just keeps getting better.
I am not usually a fan of short stories but having been surprised by another excellent collection recently I thought I would chance my luck. I was not disappointed. There are some dark goings on here and it took me a while to get a sense of the authors style but once I did, I found the tales to be rather compelling. As psychological horror goes, I would class these as on the gentle side and I would say that the stories are more peculiar than anything else, but that is a compliment not a criticism.
Rebecca is a writer who has found her own style which is always refreshing and she works hard to draw the reader into something in each story where you feel that you are not quite sure where you are being led. I wont plot spoil, I never do, but I will say that while each story is unique, there is a similar feel across the collection. They are individually quick reads so you should get through it in no time, hopefully leaving you wanting more. Short story fans pick this one up and enjoy.
Vrail, the central character of this story is a Truth Finder, someone with the gift to read other people’s minds to discover as the title suggests, it they are indeed telling the truth. An excellent theme with some really good evocative settings, Penny has created an attractive hero that looks like continuing on into a series. Her characterisation is really very good and while the pace may have been a little erratic for me, I think this may be more down to Penny catering for her typical target reader rather than to suit my particular preferences.
This was a relatively quick read for me and I found her book to be very good indeed. Set in the future, Penny Luker’s tale is very much suited for the young adult market audience but I nonetheless found it quite entertaining. I am confident that the style of writing and the characters in particular will appear to the younger reader and I suspect there is more to come from this clever story teller.
Sometimes a book surprises me and that is nearly always a good thing. Having read Tom Benson’s page turning ‘Beyond The Law’, I made assumptions about Amsterdam Calling before I read the first page and one should never make assumptions. This was a very different book but nonetheless equally enjoyable. Tom showed he has more than one trick up his sleeve here.
Amsterdam calling has a more delicate side if you will, with romance and intrigue cleverly intertwining to tell an intricate tale or should I say tales as this is a multi-stranded plot. Once again as with ‘Beyond The Law’, Tom has a desire to bring the reader into the location where his books are set. Quite often this can put me to sleep in a book, but Tom Benson is never boring and he details Amsterdam perfectly.
As with any review I am loathe to give away any spoilers but this is essentially a thriller with just the right dose of romance, that revolves around the two central characters Dan and Crystal and stories from their past. With both in danger from very different directions, Tom builds this one at a wonderfully steady pace with just the right injection of action when needed. I suggest you pick this one up; it is my second Tom Benson book and it has sent me looking for number three.
Having enjoyed the superb ‘The Drowned Phoenician Sailor’ it did not take much enticing for me to pick up another Lesley Hayes book. I was not disappointed. This is an enthralling collection of stories that cleverly intertwines the lives and emotions of the complex characters therein as she moves from tale to tale. Lesley not just writes beautifully, but her ability to get beneath the skin of her characters, allows the reader to easily delve into the broad spectrum of emotions on display.
Set in Oxford, it is an exploration of human behaviour told in a bright and wonderfully paced manner. The often unintended consequences of people’s life choices and the misunderstandings that exist between the key characters are used, to brilliantly show us the effect of how the behaviour of one, can often have harsh consequences for another.
This was such an easy book to read. With a true gift for intelligent narrative, Lesley Hayes has created a lovely collection of short stories that you will enjoy and no doubt send you looking for her next title. A true five star read.
Graham Watkins The Iron Masters is far from my usual target read but I was delighted to have picked it up. Quite an epic tale spanning not just time, but place and capturing the complex chicanery of the great 18th century industrial era, this book has it all. Graham has filled the pages with clearly well researched detail, but cleverly entwined a riveting tale between the many historical details, that I must confess I can only assume to be true. I am never a plot spoiler but I can tell you that you will enjoy the journey and the ultimate destination in the well written historical novel. Well done graham, Lovely Characterisation, wonderful detail and a great read.
Claire has a great sense of where she is going and a very definite personal style with this unusual story. Outside my usual comfort zone in terms of genre, I nonetheless enjoyed her tale and read it through in two sittings, (always a good thing for me).
This dystopian tale involving a band of Amazonian women, a ruthless and frightening monk leading a monastic crusade to ensure a frightening prophesy is fulfilled is well drawn and destined to lead to an outcome that I doubt you will predict.
I never give the plot away in a review and will not change that rule for this review. Nonetheless, I will say that this book is full of dark twists and plots revolving around an ancient prophecy, its believers and its doubters.
A quick read for me I enjoyed Claire’s vision and story-telling ability and I hope she continues to develop her craft and write many more books in the years ahead.
This a well told enjoyable, pacey little story about something lurking… I always like something lurking. Nice even tension that builds right from the off, simple, descriptive, clear narrative and I have to say entertaining from start to finish. I was tempted to drop a star for what is a way is a compliment so I decided against it and gave 5 full stars instead. The reason is I felt I would have enjoyed more than I got and this book would be better for being longer. That being said that is hardly a criticism more a compliment.it is a relatively well trodden path, that is to say, monsters in the lake , but originally handled and I will definitely go back to this author for a second helping. Pick this up, it is a quick and enjoyable read.
This is a book that is definitely more than the sum of its parts. I have been a fan of Tom Benson for some time but primarily from his excellent thrillers. Although not a genre I am familiar with, the fact that it was a Tom Benson book gave me the comfort in assuming it would be a book of quality and I was not let down. Steer clear if you are uncomfortable with graphic sex but to be fair I think it is clear from the title and cover what the subject matter is so no one should be surprised by what is between the covers of this erotic story. Perhaps the most striking thing for me about this book is that it opens pretty much straight into the action only to draw back and tease before going back to the action again, quite an unintentional sexual reference I assure you and I wonder if this was deliberate, I suspect it was. I won’t go into the plot, I hate spoilers, but I can say it is not what I was expecting. Being unfamiliar with erotic fiction, I suppose I may have made assumptions about how these things go and I shouldn’t have been after all this is a Tom Benson book and the quality shines through. Not for the prudish, a really superbly structured book that I enjoyed sometimes through my squeamish blushes, but I’m a bit of an old prude. From reading the notes in the book, this was an experimental gamble to some extent I suspect but one that paid off, A well-deserved 5 stars from me.
This is a rather nice story and while romance books are generally not for me, I still enjoyed the read. Given I chose to read a genre I am to be fair, a little unfamiliar with, I need to be careful in a critical sense. I prefer pacier books with a bit more tension, but I expect that is not what most readers who pick this one up are looking for. Having said that Sherrie Sushko is a writer who shows some serious promise. There is a very definite sense of her writers voice, different, unique which helps her stand out from many writers who I suspect simply copy the style of others. Not an easy genre to write in I would imagine, given the complexities of human relationships, the author creates a believable scenario one which offers some intrigue and dilemma that most of us would perhaps not like to be caught up in. I was surprised where it went ultimately, (no plot spoilers from me) but in a good way. Looking back on past love has never been so well described, this is book for a wet day with your feet up. Well done Sherrie Sushko an enjoyable read, pick it up and see for yourself.
I enjoyed this book very much. This is a story about a search for a daughter long since given up on to some extent but never forgotten. For those unfamiliar with the stories of the Magdalene Laundries in Ireland, they were places where young girls were sent when they became pregnant out of wedlock and many terrible tales have come to light about what happened there particularly in the 1960’s 1970’s although they existed I believe, from at least the turn of the century if not before. While there have been many true stories written about such places, here we have a clever fictional account using the heart-breaking story of a mother who lost contact with her daughter in 1974 when she entered such an establishment and the story picks up thirty five years on as she tries to find her once more. I won’t plot spoil, but the title gives you the general idea and in order to achieve this, Maria employs her son to assist in finding her daughter. Darius is flawed and struggling himself, not just with relationships but life in general. The story moves along very nicely and kept me engaged throughout with perhaps a minor personal dislike for the use of character names as headers repeatedly to guide the reader perhaps. For me it was a distraction rather than the guide I assumed it to be, but nonetheless this is partly what made this a 4 rather than 5 star read for me. This is of course very much a personal criticism but I include it here to explain the rating given. Having said that, this Is a book well worth reading. I kind of got where it was going early on but I believe this is intentional and it worked for me. How it resolves is of course all important and you’ll have to read to the end to discover the outcome for yourself. Enjoyable, engaging and entertaining, I enjoyed this tale from a time an place I am very much familiar with. I know from the end that there is a sequel and it is a book I for one will add to my reading list.
Hats off to a writer with the courage to share such a deeply personal memoir. Here Rachel gives account of her attempts to conceive and the resultant multiple miscarriages, as well as the heartbreak and trauma along the way. It felt very honest, emotional and touching but didn’t wander too deep into the abyss for me as a reader which made it quite endearing. Perhaps it was the structure, short chapters keeping my attention, sometimes it was simply the positivity humour and hope. Near the end there are chapters called ‘no rain no rainbow’ and over the rainbow which I think reflects the character of the writer very well indeed. It is informative and at times difficult but interspersed with such clever touches that I really enjoyed this book. Struggling to conceive, people inevitably seek advice and information from a variety of sources. One chapter gets this really well – what did Google say… Need I say more. I never read other reviews before I write mine, but here I was tempted to look at reviewers names and as I suspected, I could only directly figure one male review. There may be more as it can be hard to tell. The title cover and subject matter, no doubt contribute to the gender bias in readership but I would encourage male readers to dip their toe in here also. I for one, read this book in a twenty four hour period which in itself is a big compliment. Not my usual read for sure but all the more deserving of 5 stars for that very reason. Well done Rachel McGrath.
I really liked this book. Good old fashioned detective murder mystery that resonated with me because I grew up on murder mystery books. In fact I think I went through a phase where they were my chief source of entertainment. Here we have a writer whose ability to draw character and develop plot is unquestioned. A tiny criticism for me was perhaps a little over complexity made me stutter a little but that aside this is an excellent read. The book opens wonderfully, not wham bam thank you mam but an excellent character introduction followed by dipping straight into the dead body in the barn (no plot spoilers) What I particularly liked here was the pace of the story. I felt comfortable getting to know the characters and I liked the two lead detectives and how they interacted with each other. I have read so much in this genre that I can safely say that Diana J..Febry knows her stuff, perhaps a student of the genre as much as a writer. My criticism in terms of complexity is only minor but I know from whence it came. I could see what the writer was trying to achieve, because all great detective novels need dead ends, diversions and red herrings. I suspect in my case it is more an anxiety to find out the answers that made me impatient .Fundamentally, this is an excellent story, well told and perhaps the best compliment I can give it is to say I have the follow up book on my Kindle and I am looking forward to getting stuck in. Sit by the fire, have a cup of tea and wallow in a lovely murder mystery. What could be better. Five stars.
This is a really good gothic story that I quite enjoyed. I love the time scape and the themes and while I think there is a great deal to be enjoyed in this book I had one minor difficulty in that this is a book that uses present tense – which for me at least, has to be almost perfect to work. It has too many disadvantages that stilt the author in that it restricts the timeline, complexity of characters and sometimes diminishes suspense. In Montenegro this is for the most part well traversed but on occasion it threw me off a little. Having said that I know it is very much a style of writing that is in vogue now so this is something where many other readers will disagree with me. The characters here are certainly well rounded, beautifully developed and the ability of the writer to draw me in to an intriguing tale was very impressive. A slightly loose ending suggests a sequel of course as does the Book1 in the title, so that works well enough for me. There is a very definite quality to this work that demonstrates a talented writer who I think will shine in book 2 for sure. Notwithstanding my minor and very personal struggle with most books written in the present tense, this is a book filled with quality. I loved the cover which didn’t look to great sadly on my old kindle but it sets the book up nicely. There are always challenges for writers to be original and fresh especially when writing on themes that are familiar. Estela has crafted a story here that is very much that, original and I think there are few who will resist its charms. Definitely one to pick up, and I suspect if like me you are a fan good stories well told then you will find your way back for more from Estela Vazquez Perez.
While in theory I am too old to like a book like this, I personally was not at all surprised when I did. I quite liked Xavier and in a book like this that is all important. I read the blurb and expected a Harry Potter rip off to be honest but it is anything but. This is a book full of originality and flair that demonstrates just how to build and maintain dramatic tension. I know that there are clearly more books in the series and I suspect that they will be a big hit. This book certainly has all the right element to be the beginning of a successful series. For me there is a need for a hero to be flawed, uncertain and to struggle for this type of fantasy book to work. But far too often this is attempted through cliché and dare I say plagiarism. No such shortcuts are taken here. E.M. Cooper has developed a unique world here, where old age battles between good and evil are played out and it is the landscape in which they are placed, the interplay between the characters and the darkness that I loved. I am a bit of a dark soul and I need to feel the tension, to smell the fear and to taste the action. I think this is a great book especially as it is not targeted at old codgers like me and the author’s voice is very distinct and I can only say well done 5 stars from me.
A dark, at times difficult account of a man trying to cope with depression and making so many bad choices and decisions along the way. Having said that, I found the book funny at times and even uplifting. Here is a writer with a great sense of himself, clearly exposing some of the less pleasant aspects of his history in what I found to be a deeply touching memoir. There is a line I won’t quote verbatim from early on in the book where he refers to men as unwilling to ask for directions and then asking why therefore are we surprised that they won’t ask for directions or help with the complex world inside their heads. He then proceeds to outline what happens when they don’t. Depression is a devastating and much misunderstood problem for men and for women, and while this is a uniquely male perspective, I think it gives a wonderful insight for anyone who has to share their lives with a sufferer. Leaving that aside, this is more than that. It is a well written, highly entertaining, engrossing read and I loved it. Well-deserved 5 star read.
Great book. Living through the 80’s in Dublin in many ways gave me a connection to Edinburgh during the same period. Both cities were ravaged by drugs, particularly an influx of cheap heroin and families and communities were destroyed by the devastating effect it had on them. Here we have a mother trying to cope with her children as the epidemic sneaks up on her and her struggle with the self-denial is at sometimes painful. This is an excellent portrayal of people on the edge, fighting to cope with the colossal assault that addiction is on a family. Having witnessed the effect on families in my own community at the time, I can confidently applaud the author for getting her portrayal spot on. But leave that aside for a minute. Was I hooked from early on, did I love the narrative and was I convinced by the dialogue and drawn in by the story as it developed. It was a yes in every case. This is a cracking read. A well deserved 5 stars from me.
This is a clever enough book, with a story that while at times might be a little overly complicated, it is nonetheless a well put together tale. At the heart of the tale despite the time line, is Arthurian legend and when I first read the blurb, I wasn’t sure how the author could make it work. I was pleased to see that it more than came together and indeed the blend of new and old demonstrated the talents of a skilled writer for sure. Given that this would not necessarily be my favourite genre and I was attracted by an enticing blurb that I started out slightly sceptical of, I am delighted to recommend this one on the basis that I was won over on all fronts. My only critical point on the complication of the plot may be very much a personal thing so don’t let that distract you from buying this book. If you like an intricate, nicely paced, book with strong characterisation and a strong narrative, then pick this one up. I’m glad I did.
Malbed Mews is a lovely, carefully balanced tale of horror and I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this clever story about a haunted apartment block with its fair share of secrets. . It opens straight into the action and them diverts somewhat but the key to this book is how beautifully paced it is. The balance in a hoor book is vitally important. Here we have an author who has built and built at just the right pace showing us just enough at every stage without spoiling the ending by giving away too much. The characterisation is excellent and as each new character is added the story is embellished. There is a lot for the writer to work with here and she could easily have got lost in over-complicating the plot but not so. The first quarter of the book gave me the introduction to various players and the location itself. Malbed Mews has a past and this too is explored cleverly through Guy and his discovery of some of the history of the place. Using gradual revelation through a number of devices including nightmares, the author has again given just enough before the action really begins. Then the fun starts and as the madness begins to unfold a word of warning, there is some adult content which did not offend but important to note if that’s not your cup of tea. The setting is perfect, the voice of the author is distinct and engaging at all times and for me the most important fact is that this is a ripping good story. I really enjoyed this book from May.J.Panayi, it was the first book I have read from this talented writer and I know I will be back for more. A well-deserved 5 stars from me.
This is the third book that I have read from the very talented Christoph Fischer. It is not my favourite of the three but that is hardly a slight on the book or the writer who has given me The Healer and The Gambler, both of such an incredible high standard that it is hard to compare. This story felt a little different in style for me, but nonetheless compelling for that. The subject of Alzheimer’s and how it infiltrates a family is one close to my heart having first hand experience of the illness. I have to applaud the author for demonstrating a close understanding and portrayal of the effects of what is ultimately a traumatic time for those touched by the terrible blight of the illness on a family. The characterisation here needed to be top notch and Christoph Fischer once again proves here how good a writer he is. I felt the pain, hurt, anguish and desperation as it oozes from the pages of this book. He uses such simple techniques to draw the reader in with engaging narrative and simple dialogue. I was quite touched at times here and I am generally often left cold by books that try too hard to touch me. Time to Let go does no such thing. It feels true and effortless again demonstrating the craft of a writer who knows exactly how a story should be told. I am already eyeing up my next Christoph Fischer book. an absolutely well deserved 5 stars from me.
I take my hat off to Peg Glover. This book scores on three very distinct levels. Firstly it is a marvellous source of reviews, a brilliant selection if I may say so and it has directed me towards authors I would never have found on my own. Secondly, the structure of the book is perfect. It is broken down so that you can search through with ease and I actually dipped in and out over the course of a couple of weeks, constantly referring back with ease. Finally, the reviews themselves are well written cogent and intelligent. If you like reading and want an excellent resource to help you find something new and interesting, you simply have to add this book to the top of your collection. Well done Peg Glover 5 out of 5 stars for a quality book.
This is an incredible collection of short stories from a variety of international Indie authors, who have come together to help raise money for MacMillan cancer care. It is a book to be picked up not only because this is such a worthy cause, but the multiple talents of the authors involved make this one of the finest collection of short stories you will ever pick up. From the elegance of Lesley Hayes opening story right through to Nico Laeser’s beautiful tale at the end, this anthology is peppered with fantastic stories. It is almost impossible to single out any one story due to the sheer quality of each of them. I enjoyed them all, Dolphins Dance by Mike Billington was a wonderfully evocative piece for me, Katerina Sestakova Novotna has a touching story using Hawaiian mythology and traditions as a backdrop. Brilliant stories from BL Pride, Sylvia Fae and Andy Updegrove and clever tales from Tom Benson, Luicinda E Clarke, Christoph Fischer and Eric Lahti. I could really list them all. This is the book to pick up for two great reasons. Number one, all funds go to a great cause and number two it is a superb and I will repeat that superb example of what a short story collection should be. Often books of short stories falter under the demand on an author to be consistently good with each tale they tell. Perhaps it is the sheer variety and individual talents on display here, that puts this up there as a fabulous book worth reading. Pick up this book today, I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
I was really rather surprised by this book which I enjoyed very much indeed. One of my favourite classics is Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and everything suffers by comparison when it comes to vampire tales. That being said, Angela Lockwood has written a highly entertaining, cleverly thought out book with enough pace and intrigue through the years to keep me interested. Right from the off I was intrigued and I believe the author has a great deal of talent. There was a little bit of lag midway through the book due to the timeline switch but it won’t distract you from the overall enjoyment of the book although it is why I have dropped a star in the rating. It is hard to create a good and original vampire tale, but here it has been achieved with sufficient originality and style for me to say that this is a book I can highly recommend and I will be looking for more books to read from this author. If you are a vampire fan or even if not, so long as you like a well told yarn then pick up Language in the Blood, you will enjoy it for sure.
A tale to deal with the universal problem of children who won’t tidy away their toys. I read it to my Grand Nieces who loved the book but seemed dubious about following through on the message. It is the second book I have read to them from Denise McCabe, the other being Gubble Bubble Kingdom and they thoroughly enjoyed both story and lovely colourful artwork in both cases. Suitable for the age group, I can only give what the girls gave this book and that is a giant thumbs up. 5 stars out of 5 from the target audience.
I read this to my grand niece who is five and her name is the same as one of the main characters called Ava and she was enthralled. It wasn’t just her namesake however that gave her enjoyment. This is a beautiful children’s book, full of great colourful illustrations with a simple story that our Ava certainly enjoyed. I chose my audience well as I thought if I was going to give a review then I would engage the services of an expert. The verdict, she literally gave me a big thumbs up when I asked her what she thought and then summed up her opinion in two words that I will share to complete my review… Loved it.
Sublime and Lyrical, a fantastic book.
A remarkable tale, The Galapagan of the title is Gabriel, isolated from the world as a child because of his dysfunctional family; he has grown up different to the rest of the world. This book owes so much to a great Irish tradition of writing. There are literary equivalents to Joyce except this is accessible in a way Joyce is not to so many people; there is a sense of darkness like Frank O’Connor, the humour of Behan and Flan O Brien and the eccentricity of Patrick Mc Cabe. But this writer has his own distinct voice and he is a delight to read.
In here we have the brutal and savage Anton Crow a veritable monster in the tradition of Frankenstein’s monster. Gabriel feels responsible for his Anton in a way I can’t explain without spoiling the plot, but it is this sense of responsibility for what he feels he has created in some ways, that is at the heart of the book. There is much violence and terror between the pages of this brilliant book but all to a purpose. There is line after beautiful line in this book that demonstrates the author’s wonderful turn of phrase like, “He is abandoned, like an outcast from the tribe, beneath the night the like of which he’s never witnessed, the stars like dandruff across an undertaker’s back.”
I have read two other books by Jim Murray, Brother and Double Ugly and here again he returns to familiar themes of guilt and connection, characters whose fates are somehow bound together, who have a sense of responsibility, are tied to, or hold a grudge against another and ultimately turn in on themselves desperate to understand their own purpose, value and meaning in the world. Lyrically splendid, emotionally addictive, this is a book that is filled with all sorts of gems. The narrative is magnificent, the dialogue sublime and the plot rips along at a fantastic pace. There is so much to enjoy. It is a wild ride and there is madness and fear and a blend of mayhem and terror that kept me on edge. But there is more, colours – hints of Dostoyevsky and lyricism that flows through every page.
There are few writers who can maintain this standard of quality writing and Jim Murray is up there with the best of them. I loved Double Ugly, Brother is still one of my favourite books from last year but The Galapagan has surpassed all my expectations. There is little else to say except that if you have read Jim Murray before you will know what a talented writer he is so you will certainly want to read this book. If you haven’t then I urge you to open up this wonderful book and discover a writer you will instantly become addicted to. Five stars out of five for a book that deserves ten.
There is a lot to enjoy in this story set in a time of uncertainty, state control and mistrust before the outbreak of World war II. While not generally a big fan of historical fiction, I was able to engage with this plot twisting tale and enjoy the clever narrative created by the author. She has clearly done her research and while I am no expert on the period, I have read enough for it to feel authentic in almost every way. The book opens straight into the action with Hedwig losing her brother to the Hitler youth and her husband to a violent assault. Not a fan of plot spoilers, I don’t think this gives too much away and how Hedwig copes with the loss and what she does to get retribution is what follows. The plot crosses the Atlantic to draw in a wider perspective which works well and the author has added enough layers to the story to keep you intrigued throughout. There is a lot of dialogue in this book and at times it becomes a little stilted and stiff, perhaps the writers desire to get into the formal controlled minds of the Nazi enforcers I am not sure. That being said, it doesn’t detract form what I found to be an engaging read, that interspersed well researched facts with the narrative to keep me entertained right the way through. If you like war time stories you will enjoy this one, and even if not this is well worth picking up.
This is the second book I have read by Nico Laeser and while Skin Cage enthralled me and sent me looking for another title by the same author, Infinity has ensured he is an author I will return to time and time again. Beautifully written with a complex story on many levels, made simple by a clear narrative that kept me wanting more. There can be no doubting the talent of this writer. The devices and imagery he draws upon are so skilfully handled that I was completely in touch with him on so many levels throughout. There is depth to this book, layers that unfold and keep you looking for more. It is dark but always engaging. I believe a good book should be more radio than television, by which I mean the writer needs to conjure up images that the reader will see in his or her own way by using their imagination. I wont give away any plot except to mention that from early on, when I read about the Mudmen I knew the author was spot on in making my reading experience something special. This is my kind of book. Brilliant.
I dipped my toe into Joshua’s Island, only realising after I started that I was perhaps not the intended target audience. That being said if anything the fact that it is a YA book and I still enjoyed it, says a lot for the story-telling ability of the author. Told from two different perspectives, Joshua and Eve, this is a book that will connect with many because of the subject matter, bullying. Skilfully handled but more importantly from my perspective it gave me what I want most from a book, a good story well told. While dealing with an important and sensitive matter, it is never preachy not does it lose itself in sentimentality. The world is cruel as the victim of bullying and Patrick Hodges captures the pain and anguish suffered by the main character Joshua perfectly. I enjoyed Joshua’s Island and expect there is much more to come from Patrick Hodges.
There’s nothing like a good story well told. That’s what you get with this perfectly paced well balanced tale from a writer I know I will be going back to. I like a bit of creepy, especially when it is well done. The trick is to keep the momentum up and where so many others have tried and failed Lost Girl gets the balance just right. I never spoil a plot so I wont change that today. I will say that while I am only familiar with the setting for the book from films or TV, I found myself reading with a Tennessee accent after a few pages and that for me means I am right in the story. Great descriptive writing, smart dialogue with an intriguing narrative. I know this is part of a trilogy so I can tell you for sure I am going to be reading more from this spook spinner. Pick it up and enjoy.
This was my second visit to a Graham Watkins book and like my first time around I was not to be disappointed. The story is set in what could be a mundane world of the Iron foundry business in late 18th Century Merthyr in the hands of someone with less skill and imagination. Graham Watkins writes with a style and flair that kept me captivated. At it’s heart are the threads of love and the cut-throat business shenanigans of the Iron foundries as the American war of independence ends. It is a time where the main character Nye takes a gamble on travelling to a new place and indeed world when he leaves his rural background to work in the foundries. He is a driven man who quickly works his way up in the business world but it is not an easy path. In his way are other more callous and calculating men who want nothing more than for him to fail. Outstanding dialogue, wonderful characterisation and an exciting plot, kept me stuck to this book to the end. The sense of time and place is marvellous and this is a book full of surprises, twists, a love story, even murder. Pick it up today and you will get to know the imaginative world of the talented graham Watkins.
I really liked this book. It gave me the creeps which is good. It is a well told, fast paced, suspenseful story that I assume was also well researched, or else the writer has some medical background. I thought it was going in one direction as the story began but it turns out that I was duped and the book has a lovely turn of events that left me feeling concerned about ever going under the surgeon’s knife. ( say lovely but it might be more appropriate to say horrific – I say lovely because I liked the way it went) A thoroughly enjoyable book, full of suspense and imagination. A well deserved 5 stars from me.
This book has a very strong story line which works quite well and as far as the overall book is concerned, I did enjoy the story. A couple of things I struggled with where the fact that it is very heavy on narrative, very little dialogue and for me that can be a little bit of a struggle at times. There are some formatting issues which could be dealt with easy enough. However that’s not to take away from the story more to explain three stars out of five. A good story but not exactly my particular cup of tea but may well be yours. If you like a good story well told involving the influence of drugs the involvement od the devil and written in a strong narrative style then this is one to pick up.
I love salads. The key thing I got from this book (apart from some fabulous recipes) is – why didn’t I do this before? Great little book, the overall concept strangely blew me away as I can’t believe I have never thought of something so obvious. The recipes sound gorgeous, I have to admit I haven’t tried them yet – but only because I have no Mason jars. So I am off to buy some! There are really only three things left to say. Buy this book, get some mason jars and start making.. Brilliant.
I forget who said it, but I read somewhere a quote which goes along the lines of I don’t read a book to get to the middle, I read a book to get to the end. This is a book that get’s you there fast. It is a sparkling little read. Loved it. A short story around 5,000 words and to be honest that was the only disappointment because I was left wanting more. Full of action and great characterisation. It is a self contained story with two feisty main characters and the setting, dialogue and narrative are all top notch. If you want a quick and action packed read, pick this one up today. I can see myself reading more from this author.
I have to admit that while I struggled to finish this engaging book it was down to the fact that I made the fatal mistake of reading two books at once and my struggle was not the fault of the author. This book really demands your total attention. It has so many intriguing twists and the interplay between superbly researched historical fact, myth, legend and downright fiction and the different aspects are masterfully handled. This is a book you can sink your teeth into. The characters are wonderfully crafted and the book is action packed.. It needs to be because it is a meaty enough tome. The pace is excellent and the story complex but not so that it loses you. Engaging, entertaining and great value I can see how it was previously split in two but suspect it is all the better for being combined into one single book. Bottom line, I enjoyed it, I recommend it and this book won’t disappoint. Really good book.
This is a lovely book of short stories and flash fiction by Paul Ruddock with a few guest writers thrown in for good measure. It is a thoroughly enjoyable collection of stories, plenty of variety and entertaining throughout. The style for me was somewhat old-fashioned which I like and indeed there is also a great sense of the writer’s origin, in that the stories were for me reminiscent of an older generation of classic British writers, again- a good thing. I read this book over a couple of days as it was easy to dip in and out of the tales which are short and pithy. This is the first collection of stories from Paul Ruddock and I know he will go on to produce even more fine work. It is also a book whose proceeds are going to a worthy cause, another reason to pick this lovely collection of stories up today.
I have to confess that this is the first â€˜Zombieâ€™ book I have read. I am a fan of some of the classic zombie movies and I do like The Walking Dead, so there are my zombie credentials up front. What did I think of Salby Damned? Loved it. What are the key ingredients of a good zombie fest? Well first you need a good source story. How do they come about? In Salby damned Ian D Moore handles this perfectly but no plot spoilers. How do you kill them? What happens when you do? Again these details are handled well and as original as you can be, within the limitation of the premise that zombies have to actually meet the general undead criteria of zombies in the first place. The level of peril that the main characters are put in must be high and the hero must have the right strengths and qualities to persevere. In each case Salby Damned succeeds in ticking all the right boxes. More than that, I would think it difficult to be original in a genre that has been done to death (excuse the pun), but this book manages to feel fresh and entertaining, including enough twists along the way to make it a very enjoyable read indeed. I liked the pace, great opening, no hanging around and nicely finished off which is always important. Great read for me, I enjoyed it from start to finish. Look forward to the planned sequel.
What the…? This is a seriously entertaining if not somewhat hard to classify book. That’s a good thing for me. Henchmen gets straight into the action and it never lets up. This tale of villains that you really have to love rather than hate is told from the point of view of the writer’s chief protagonist and Henchman, Stephen. Eric Lahti has played around with genre here, which can be dangerous but works very well indeed in this case.
Key to the success of his style is his use of humour and a superb ability to create likeable characters who while you sometimes need to suspend belief to accept, are in fact characters that the reader quickly attaches to and this for me made the story work. Quite gruesome at times, it is a dark, funny tale that for me has more than one eye on a future cinematic ambition. There is nothing wrong with that. Perhaps I got a sense of comic book or graphic novel about Henchmen as it has a very visual impact on the reader. I could imagine each and every scene as I read the book, a credit to the author who’s attention to detail is a big part of the enjoyment. My only criticism is that the blurb for Henchmen might put some people off reading the book as it lists the varying parts of the book that on the face of it may not appeal to everyone, but this book is more than the sum of its parts, so I for one am glad I picked it up. I want more from Eric Lahti, a new departure in reading for me and one to watch for the future.
Writing in the first person requires a particular skill. While it goes in and out of fashion, it is not normally a style that immediately appeals to me. I say normally because there are always exceptions and J.C. Hannigan’s ‘Collide’ is one of them.
The key to getting it right is to have a strong narrative and a really good story to tell. It may sound obvious but too many people fail on both counts. J.C. writes with her own style and not inconsiderable ability, succeeding on both fronts. The characterisation is excellent and the story of forbidden love is handled with intelligence and sensitivity. This is a story that could have easily slid into cliché and crassness but never did. Harlow is a great main character that you will be rooting for throughout. Great story telling with a really close understanding and interpretation of the lead characters motivation, I found this a captivating read. Lovely book.
The book opens with a quote from the great Irish writer orator and statesman Edmund Burke.. “triumph of evil is that good men do nothing”… and it is an apt opening to set the scene for this terrific book. I am hard to please sometimes, but here Rebecca has written a book that is so stylised, clearly well researched but most importantly a book that tells a ripping tale that I was engrossed in from start to finish.
A tale split in two from war torn Germany to present day, the way in which she switches back and forth creates the perfect tension that kept me deciding to read ‘just one more chapter.’ It is one f my favourite tactics employed by some writers, but it can fall flat on its face if not balanced and engaging. As always, no plot spoilers from me. I have read a lot of books in the past few months and for me this one is competes at the top end in terms of quality and in particular, engagement. Loved it and will have to go back to the Rebecca Bryn well again. Pick this one up.
While not afraid to try different genres, I am quite often put off by a description of a book. In this case I came to Reborn with a touch of apprehension but I need not have worried. Here is a book with originality and style that is not just well written, but I sense well researched as well. I am far from an expert in Greek mythology but it’s incorporation to the plot felt quite natural.
The main character has a uniquely Irish name which I suspect many will pronounce phonetically and therefore incorrectly and I had a wry smile at that thought. Siobhan is a strong character and while I never ever give away a plot in a book even from reading the blurb you will know this story revolves her relationship with a dark angel called Jasper and a pair of wings. Don’t be put off, Reborn is a book that incorporates the themes of love friendship and perhaps above all redemption as all good books should. It is clear that there will be more to follow and I think this is a writer who has found their voice and will only get better. Bravo.
As an experienced long distance and indeed marathon runner, I expected I might not like this book as I have read other books that touch on the subject that have left me wanting. In this case I was pleasantly surprised, to find a light style of writing that kept me engaged throughout. While the basic premise of the story begins from a slightly improbable encounter and wager the story ticks along nicely at a pace that engaged me throughout. This is a story filled with humour and importantly the main character is an engaging soul. There is a point of improbability in every good book and the key is perhaps to engage the reader more deeply around this point so it goes unnoticed and if I had one criticism that would be it. Having said that it did not take from my enjoyment of the story, and if you want a relaxing, fun, tale written with a clear voice and believable dialogue then pick this one up. You will not be disappointed.
The opening paragraphs threw me slightly as did the cover, perhaps an intentional piece of misdirection, but intentional or not the ultimate direction that Amanda’s Just Two Weeks took was both surprising and entertaining.
This is the first book I have read by the very talented Amanda Sington-Williams but it most definitely will not be the last. The dialogue, narrative and characterisation are perfectly considered, well written and very engaging.
Thoroughly entertaining, gripping and well crafted in equal measure, I can whole heartedly recommend this book. Great story so pick it up and enjoy, you will not be disappointed.
I like to be drawn in by a book, enticed to read more if you will. Right from the beginning I was caught by this well written, curious story that encouraged me to keep picking it up right to the very clever end. The title is more than apt and other reviews have only teased at the plot and for good reason I believe. I wanted to know what was coming next as each development unfolded and you will too.
Here we have well-structured, believable dialogue and strong intelligently written characters that I simply loved. The tension that is evident from the start is written with a distinctive style and the pace is perfect for the plot. Perhaps one of my quickest reads of the year despite its length, I can heartily recommend B.L. Pride’s addiction, something I can imagine readers developing for this talented writer’s work.
Refreshingly, here is an author comfortable with dialogue and narrative in equal measure, unafraid to have a unique voice and in the process Katerina Sestakova Novotna has written a creative and original collection of short stories. I say short, some are longer than I would traditionally expect from short stories but if anything their detail only enhances the reading experience.
With what is clearly a strong understanding and relationship with Hawaiian traditions, culture and spirituality, I found myself intrigued by tales of a place and culture unfamiliar to me and while I found common themes recurring throughout this collection, every story has its own particular quality. Themes of love, passion, sexual awareness, spiritualism and sometimes a disassociation with reality give weight to what is a clever, well written book. Katerina managed to keep me intrigued throughout, never quite sure where the stories were heading but always finding a satisfactory destination. Definitely a writer I will seek out again, pick this one up and enjoy.
What I always look for in a book is the writer’s ability to tell a good story. Senan Gil Senan tells a great story here and he tells it well. Right from the beginning I was hooked, drawn in by the well written narrative. The post-apocalyptic world he has drawn cleverly, without resorting to cliché and it has a feel of originality that I liked.
I am not necessarily a fan of this genre so I am all the happier to report that Senan may have converted me. The personal relationships between closely connected characters and those on opposite sides of the fence so to speak are very well drawn and the themes of love, honour sacrifice and duplicity while common place in most well written stories, are handled here with a simplicity I enjoyed in his new world creation. Senan has clearly not only done his research on Native American culture, but he has applied it with thought, to inject a very unique feel for the reader.
I really enjoyed this book and the more I got into the story the more I wanted to rush to the end to find out what lay in store. Five well deserved stars for Beyond the Pale, pick it up if you like a cracking book filled with adventure.
I was drawn to read ‘Double Ugly’ having read the wonderful ‘Brother’ by the same author. Jim Murray has a very distinctive voice and I could hear it clearly and beautifully in both books. This is my kind of book. I should really say this is my kind of author for Jim, has a mastery of narrative like few others and the flow of dialogue is natural and easy.
Double ugly is both exciting and enjoyable from the opening where we meet the wonderfully written Armand, through the intricacies of a well-crafted twisting plot, right to its ultimately satisfying conclusion. Its characters are rich, the setting for me is home and plot is clever and riveting. I cannot give away the story line, nor would I want to but I will encourage readers of this review to pick up Double Ugly. If you like a cracking story told with style and at a pace that kept me picking it up and flying through the pages, you will find it hard to do better than Jim Murray’s Double Ugly.
A good short story, Rebecca Scarberry has written a neat compact fast little piece of entertainment. It is definitely a quirky enjoyable little tale and is probably a good introduction to those who might want to delve a little deeper into Rebecca’s work. Pick it up, you will read it in a jiffy, thanks Rebecca.
What can I say about Brother by Jim Murray? Perhaps the most honest thing I can say is that I read the entire book in three sittings. It is simply enthralling.
I was captured from the very first page. I could say that my own Irish understanding of time and place gave me an added insight and delight in this book set mainly in Dublin, but that would be such an insult I fear. ‘Brother’ should be read by everyone. I was absorbed. Jim writes so simply and so honestly. His dialogue works perfectly and his narrative had me loving every second and wanting more.
One of the best books I have read in years, this had the feel of a shorter book. The pace and timing is immaculate and the characters are drawn just as I like them – in my mind. Congratulations Jim, you have written a genuinely beautiful book telling a story like only a true story teller can. Five stars out of five for ‘Brother’. Get it; read it, you will adore it
Intelligent and beguiling I was drawn to turn each page by the wonderful craft of Lesley Hayes. My biggest problem is trying to review this lovely book without giving away too much. Undoubtedly different people will get different things from this story and certainly I get the impression that this may be intentional. From my perspective it is an exploration of the human condition in a very original fashion. At the heart of the story the main character Fynn (Fiona) is troubled by many issues from her past and here I will not give away too much, but the mechanism by which Lesley explores this, gives us a very clever plot line and I thoroughly enjoyed the story from beginning to end.
I saw a rather troubled heroin from the start and loved that I could not see where Lesley was going to bring me. The journey is both original and smart and Lesley keeps you guessing throughout the book. For me it is an exploration of happiness and where it comes from, how it is ultimately a choice and not a given without our consent. The path to finding that happiness is explored here in such an unusual way and I am the better for finding this gem of a book.
Importantly the above is my personal conclusion not a summary of the plot. Lesley tells her tale with much intrigue, drama and a lovely balanced pace. Each character is perfectly drawn and with the introduction of every new person to the story, the reader gets a deeper knowledge of Fynn and perhaps more importantly it feels as though we are witnessing Fynn’s growing understanding of her own life through her eyes not ours. For me this is the real quality of Lesley’s craft.
I am not genre-centric so I read many varied books, few I have read and enjoyed as much as this one. The only thing you will need as a prerequisite to reading this one is a desire to find a really good story. Pick up The Drowned Phoenician Sailor and you will have found one. Well Done Lesley Hayes. This book is one to read and recommend wholeheartedly. I Loved it. Five stars out of five.
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