Monday 26 August 2013

Jonathan Hill

This is the first book of Drabbles I've come across for the kindle.  I really hope that Jonathan Hill is trailblazing because I'd love to see more.

100 One Hundred Word Tales 100 One Hundred Word Tales

My review -

I’ll confess to partiality here - I’ve recently become very keen on drabbles – one hundred word stories. When they are well done, the story is a little gem, often with an unexpected twist at the end. These are very well done. I intended to read one or two per session and to allow myself to digest them before reading more, but this is the ebook equivalent of a tub of Pringles. Once you pop, you can’t stop! I confess to having read them all back to back but I know I’ll have this on my kindle home page for a long time, just to dip into. 

This book is the first I’m aware of with a collection of drabbles from a single author and I was impressed at the range of styles. We have gently amusing, outright funny, some rather risqué stories, dark horror and a number of moving and sad tales here. There’s a lot of food for thought in some of them. I enjoyed the ‘linked’ ones scattered throughout the book, on the same theme or with the same character. 
I hope this book takes off because I’d love to see more drabble collections. They are the ideal ‘only got a minute’ reading. 

Sunday 25 August 2013

D A and M P Wearmouth

These author brothers are new to me and I'm very impressed with their story. It was a real thriller and I'm looking forward to a sequel.

First Activation First Activation

My review -

Brothers Harry and Jack are aboard a plane heading for JFK Airport when some serious turbulence cuts off all communication with the world. What they find when they get there is wholesale carnage. How did it happen? Why? Those left alive have a compulsion to kill one other person, then commit suicide. The brothers are trying to survive in a world with no power, decomposing bodies and the need to find out what and who is behind it all.

This is a really gripping post-apocalyptic thriller which I enjoyed a great deal. The characters were believable and although I didn't always like their actions, I have never been in that position. I wonder how I'd behave. I think I'd be the first to be killed off! The authors are brothers and I do hope they will be collaborating again soon. There’s room for a sequel but it stands very well by itself. Highly recommended.

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Vernon Baker

This is the second in Vernon Baker's Slow Boat to Purgatory series.  I enjoyed it just as much as the first.

The Arimathean The Arimathean

My review - 

This is the second in the Slow Boat to Purgatory series by Vernon Baker. It’s filled with good and fallen angels, demons, Templars and holy relics. If you like that kind of thing, you’ll love it. I do and I love the style in which it’s written. We go back to a couple of times in history with Gaspar de Rouse who is charged with guarding the relics. He is a Templar knight who has been granted immortality. Our present day protagonist is Alex, a former SEAL who has come to know and trust Gaspar.

There’s heaps of action in this and although it’s a story which requires you to suspend your disbelief, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I know there’ll be another book in the series soon and I long to know what happens to Alex – and Gaspar.

Thursday 8 August 2013

David Haynes

This novella length story from Mr Macabre is a triumph.  It's gruesome and totally satisfying.

The Scream of Angels The Scream of Angels

My review -

This is another book from David Haynes who has established himself as a teller of Victorian style horror tales. This one is set in Paris, in the Belle Epoque times, and centres upon a writer, Robert Bishop, and a theatre in which he is eventually employed. Bishop writes the sort of material that is too horrific to be performed in an English theatre as it’s based on nightmares he has had since childhood. There’s a family connection between several of the characters and the story is an involved tapestry. I really enjoyed the fact that the book cover is a very good representation of a Parisian theatre poster of that era. It sets the scene beautifully.

David Haynes writes with a convincingly Victorian voice and for me, his stories always have a satisfactory ending. He is able to tie up numerous narrative threads that makes the story almost circular. There’s a fair bit of blood and guts here and the squeamish will have nightmares – but for the true fans of a bit of nastiness, few do it better!

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Helenka Bednar

Helenka Bednar has written a short, funny, informative book here, and I enjoyed it hugely.  I hope you do too.

The Excellence of the Bacon Sandwich The Excellence of the Bacon Sandwich

My review -

I spent yesterday evening reading this excellent little book and you’ll never guess what I’m going to have for lunch! Helenka Bednar gives us an interesting read, with information about the breeds of pigs which make the best bacon, the curing and smoking methods and a variety of condiments and additions to the basic bacon butty which have whetted my appetite to add more of to them to my diet. (Diet! Ha!)

This is nicely written, anecdotal and ends with a number of recipes – or should we call them serving suggestions. I’ve never been one to mix sweet and savoury – I’m the one with the egg on her gammon when pineapple is offered – but some of these are making me wonder whether I shouldn’t just give them a try. Maybe not chocolate and bacon though! A very interesting read and an inspiration in the kitchen.

Monday 5 August 2013

Lynda Wilcox

This is the first in the Verity Long stories.  I came across them by reading the novella which features the same characters.  I love the style and the humour so I came back for more!

Strictly Murder Strictly Murder

My review - 

This is the first in a series of murder mysteries in which the brilliantly conceived character of Verity Long acts as unofficial sleuth. Verity is the researcher for a successful crime writer and in this story she finds a body while she’s looking for a house to rent. It's the body of a well known 'celebrity' who fronts a dance show. Feeling that because of this she is somehow involved, she’s unable to let it go, in spite of finding herself ‘interested’ in the senior police officer in charge of the case who want her to back off.

This is a funny story and most of the humour comes from the characters and the author’s own take on things. I loved the writing style, the dialogue, the interaction between characters. I started this series by reading a recent novella featuring these characters and soon realised I’d have to read the lot! It’s a really good romp – with bodies!