Monday, 12 November 2018

The Summer of the Bear

Bella Pollen is a new author to me and this book was chosen for out local book club. I may never have read it otherwise.


Amazon UK
Amazon dot com

My review -


It took a while for this story to get going, for me, bobbing about as it did between the points of view of various characters. Once it gripped me it didn’t let go. Some of the characters were unlikable. The bereaved Letty, losing sight of her children’s need in her own grieving. Alba, monstrous  middle child. But I adored Jamie with his deep connection to his late Dada. The story of the father’s death and its repercussions is beautifully interwoven with the family’s problems and the story of the castaway bear. A great read.

About the author -

Raised in New York , Bella Pollen is a writer and journalist who has contributed to a variety of publications, including American Vogue, The Spectator, The Times & The Sunday Telegraph.

Author of four previous novels, Midnight Cactus, Hunting Unicorns, Daydream Girl and All About Men, Pollen has tackled a broad spectrum of subjects from the decline of the British Aristocracy to the immigration issues of the US/Mexican Border.

With Summer of the Bear, Pollen returns to a place beloved of childhood holidays, an isolated and wind swept island off the west coast of Scotland where a young boy believes an escaped bear may hold the key to his diplomatic father's sudden death. Part mystery, part ghost story, part family drama, Pollen has delivered a riveting and magical story about a family rocked by loss and bereavement. Pollen is married with four children and divides her time between London and the American mid-west.

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Just a thought - You know you've reead a good book when you turn to the last page and feel you've lost a friend. Paul Sweeny.

Dead Crow

David Haynes tells a brilliant horror story and Dead Crow, which has a touch of sci-fi in the mix, is no exception.



Amazon UK

My review -

What a fantastic name for a down-at-heel little town. This story is fast-moving and so well described I can visualise it – I’d love to see it made into a film. There are dodgy goings-on by the mayor of the town and the underfunded police department are trying to look after the townsfolk against what turn out to be tremendous odds. There are creatures invading the town with the rising floodwater. Clear your diary – I read this in 24 hours. This is horror with a sharp sci-fi edge to it and I enjoyed it immensely.

About the author

David Haynes has been making up stories since he was very young. His first story entitled, "How the Greenhouse Actually Got Smashed, Dad!" got him into trouble and went unpublished. Nevertheless, the stories continued and the desire to write them down grew stronger. 

David now writes stories in the genre he loves the most - the dark, mysterious and delicious world of horror! The two main influences on his writing are Stephen King and Edgar Allan Poe who he considers masters of the shadowy world.

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Just a thought - some books you read. Some books you enjoy. But some books just swallow you up, heart and soul. Joanne Harris.


Friday, 9 November 2018

Her Last Move

John Marrs never fails to tell a good tale. This one's a corker.


Amazon UK

Amazon dot com

My review -

She is on the police team trying to catch a killer. He has a list of his victims and he’s working through it very quickly so the police won’t have time to work out if there’s a pattern. Some of his victims are, or were, members of the emergency services. We see the story unfold from his side and from the police’s viewpoint. Gradually the two begin to mesh.

As always, John Marrs creates a page-turning story with complex characters. His people are deeper than many a fictional character. We can see how they have become the people they are, and have sympathy for them, even when they behave monstrously. It’s a gripping tale from start to finish and I had a lump in my throat at the end.

About the author -

John Marrs is the author of #1 Best Sellers The One, The Good Samaritan, When You Disappeared, and Welcome to Wherever You Are. 
After working as a journalist for 25-years interviewing celebrities from the world of television, film and music for national newspapers and magazines, he is now a full-time writer.


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Just a thought - It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it.  Oscar Wilde

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Murder Served Cold

I love a cosy crime or mystery story that's packed with humour. This one, by Paula Williams, is excellent.


Amazon UK link

Amazon .com link

My review - 


This is a murder mystery told by Katie (call me Kat), newly returned to her home village. It positively sparkles with gems of village life and I swear I know some of the characters. There are numerous dodgy goings-on and lots of people have the motive to get rid of the village trouble maker. It’s a very accessible, readable and humour-filled story and I enjoyed it immensely.



About the author

Paula Williams is living her dream. She's written all her life – her earliest efforts involved blackmailing her unfortunate younger brothers into appearing in her plays and pageants. But it's only in recent years, when she turned her attention to writing short stories and serials for women's magazines that she discovered, to her surprise, that people with better judgement than her brothers actually liked what she wrote and were prepared to pay her for it.
Now, she writes every day in a lovely, book-lined study in her home in Somerset, where she lives with her husband and a handsome but not always obedient rescue Dalmatian called Duke. She still writes for magazines but now also writes novels. A member of both the Romantic Novelists' Association and the Crime Writers' Association, her novels often feature a murder or two, and are always sprinkled with humour and spiced with a touch of romance. 
She writes a monthly column, Ideas Store, for the writers' magazines, Writers' Forum and has a blog at paulawilliamswriter.wordpress.com. 

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Just a thought - Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read. Groucho Marx

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Goth of Christmas Past.

Debbie McGowan's new book, Goth of Christmas Past. A good reading touching on many aspects of growing up and becoming independent.


Amazon uk link

Amazon.com link

My review -


Krissi and Jay have been friends since school and the story hops back and forth between the present day run-up to Christmas and past occasions with their friends and family. The characters are from the author’s Hiding Behind the Couch series, which I haven’t read. There was a large cast, both the main characters’ friends and their parents’ friendship circles and at times I wished I had read the earlier books. Nevertheless, the story stands well on its own. There are danger points and threats, and both Krissi and Jay have their own baggage. The author excels at characterisation and this is what draws you in. They feel real, and you care. It’s not a Christmassy story in the traditional sense but it’s a community pulling together at that time of year. A very good read.


About the author

Debbie McGowan is an award-winning author of contemporary fiction that celebrates life, love and relationships in all their diversity. Since the publication in 2004 of her debut novel, Champagne—based on a stage show co-written and co-produced with her husband—she has published many further works—novels, short stories and novellas—including two ongoing series: Hiding Behind The Couch (a literary ‘soap opera’ centring on the lives of nine long-term friends) and Checking Him Out (LGBTQ romance). Debbie has been a finalist in both the Rainbow Awards and the Bisexual Book Awards, and in 2016, she won the Lambda Literary Award (Lammy) for her novel, When Skies Have Fallen: a British historical romance spanning twenty-three years, from the end of WWII to the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1967. Through her independent publishing company, Debbie gives voices to other authors whose work would be deemed unprofitable by mainstream publishing houses.

I haven't read a Debbie McGowan book I've been disappointed in.

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Just a thought - We lose ourselves in books. We find ourselves there too.