Tuesday 25 February 2014

Various Authors Anthology

This is the third collection from the KU Forum and the first I've been able to review on Amazon, since I had stories in the first two. These are all great authors and really enjoyable stories - and exceptional value!

My review -

At the price this must be the Kindle Bargain of the Year! Six Indie authors, each with an excellent track record, have contributed a novella length story to this superb collection.

Cecilia Peartree, whose work is new to me, has the opening story which takes place on a train to Scotland. It’s what tends to be called a cosy mystery and I enjoyed it very much.
The second story is by Carl Ashmore, famous for his Time Travelling series for youngsters. This one, also aimed at a young audience, has a message for all.
Nigel Bird gives us one of his best novellas here with a slightly science fiction style story which touches upon the controversial technique of ‘fracking’ – some great characters here.
Maureen Banks is a lady of a certain age whose pretensions and clumsiness are legendary. She’s the author of her own downfall in most cases, but inspires affection in readers. Jonathan Hill’s three Maureen stories stand well by themselves but if you haven’t already, you’ll want to read the others.
The same applies to David Wailing’s story which is one of those included in his longer book Auto. These are great – gems in their own right – but when you string them on the necklace that is Auto they become more than the sum of their parts.
The final story is by Jennifer Hanning. It looks at how a sudden acquisition of wealth affects the members of an ordinary family. It’s the grandmother who comes into the money – a charming story with a real feel-good ending.

It you can’t find something in there to enjoy I’ll be very surprised!

Rachel Abbott

Another great thriller from Rachel Abbott! 

Amazon.com Sleep Tight

My review - 

Olivia is controlled by her husband Robert. He watches her even when they are in the same room. Early in the book, he takes the children away, telling her he’s taking them for a pizza, but doesn’t return straight way. She knows he is giving her a message here – what he will do if she leaves him. The story gathers momentum as we follow Liv’s point of view, her husband, her best friend and the police who try to fathom what has gone on, as Liv and the children go missing. 

The writing as always, is excellent, and the beginning of the novel is tight and claustrophobic. It becomes tense and exciting as the hunt is on. Fans of the policeman Tom Douglas will be pleased to see him playing a lead role in the story. There are twists and turns in this tightly constructed plot and towards the end I felt my hear t racing as I hoped for a good outcome for a trio of innocent children. A darned good read!

Monday 24 February 2014

Nicola Palmer

This is the first in the Alice Parker series. It's delightful!

Alice Parker's Metamorphosis

Amazon .com Alice Parker's Metamorphosis

My review -

In this book for young adults, Alice Parker is a thirteen year old with all the typical problems. A major one is her older brother, studying science at Oxford. She begins to find her school work easy and gets top marks in subjects into which she’s put no effort. Great, you might think. Not so when it leads to problems with her classmates. It’s not just her sudden acquisition of brain cells that leads to such a change in Alice’s life.

This is a lovely story with an interesting premise. It’s something a bit different and the dialogue between Alice and her best friend and her brother rings so true. It’s got problems and difficulties for Alice and her friends to solve – it’s not all plain sailing – but it’s a great feel-good story. Excellent for old and young alike.

Sunday 23 February 2014

David Haynes

Another creep-fest from the horror-meister!

My review - 

The intriguing locked cabinet of the title stands in the basement of Moreton and Sons, Undertakers. The business is failing and Bobby Moreton is on the verge of selling. He changes his mind when a new and decidedly creepy undertaker comes to the town and makes to grab all the business. The story occasionally flashes back to the 1850s where we discover the origins of the Moreton family business and the obsession which led to the creation of the Undertaker’s Cabinet. 

The author has built a solid reputation for writing Victorian melodrama in the horror vein and although much of this book is set in the present day it reaches back into Victorian times. It brings forward the original Jerome Moreton’s quest and is creepy and disturbing – but in a good way! Fans of David Haynes’ work are not going to be disappointed.

Saturday 22 February 2014

John A A Logan

Slow to start but this builds up to a real climax.

Amazon.com Agency Woman

My review - 

This story is told in the first person by someone we later know as Jim. He has worked for a Scottish 'Agency' which deals with espionage and terrorism. He has dropped out, attempting to retire, but is effectively kidnapped by a group of fellow Agency members, including an attractive green-eyed woman, to take part in another mission. She awakens things in Jim he thought long lost. We get snatches of his past life and details of how he came to lose earlier memories. 

The writing is superb as anyone who has read any of John Logan's previous work will expect. However, if I find any fault in it, I found the beginning difficult to engage with and slow to grab my interest. I also found all but the two main characters a little sketchy and kept mixing them up. This is probably because they were referred to both by Jim's description and later by their names. The second half of the book became full of action and I was drawn into it at that point and eager to read on. My little niggles are not enough to fault writing of this quality, but if you feel as I felt, stick with it! There are immense depths as we learn with Jim the role of the Agency Woman.

Sunday 16 February 2014

Julie McLaren

This is a real work of intrigue! I enjoyed it a great deal.

Deceiving Ellie

Amazon.com Deceiving Ellie

My review - 

Ellie is a creative writing student who falls for the enigmatic Adam. He sometimes seems cold or distant and occasionally disappears off home and out of touch. To her delight he invites her to stay for a week with him in a caravan in the wilds of Shropshire but things don't go as she's imagined them.

This story had me intrigued all the way through. Whenever I felt I was on top of the story it shifted in a subtle way and I was back wondering again. Even in the last few percent I was thrown off-course a couple more times. I really enjoyed this unusual story.

Jamie Sinclair

This is a sequel and a worthy successor to the 24 Hour Jazz Cafe.

Ballrooms, Bars and Seawater Baths

Amazon.com Ballrooms, Bars and Seawater baths

My review - 

This book is the sequel to The 24 Hour Jazz Café and again features Mitch and Rupert, the two childhood friends who now own the café. Mitch has some psychic abilities and is called in to help the local police, specifically Jane Harper, in her search for the murderer of a local man. Mitch, however, is out of contact. Even his best friends Rupert can't get in touch.

This story weaves gang rivalries and family feuds into a gripping plot. The main characters become real; Mitch the larger than life and slightly off-the-wall man affected by his childhood and his unusual abilities and Rupert, the man still grieving eighteen months after the death of his beloved Emily, the woman they both loved. A great sequel!

Wednesday 12 February 2014

Lynda Wilcox

This is the first in a new series and features twin girl private detectives.  It's ace!

The Lockington Legacy

Amazon .com The Lockington Legacy

My review - 

The Lockington Legacy is a very valuable diamond necklace which is stolen during a private house party attended by a wonderful selection of self-obsessed characters. The newly formed Gemini Detective Agency investigates. The idea of twin girl investigators is an inspired one. One twin is logical and analytical and the other intuitive. What a team! The case becomes more involved and soon the girls are investigating a murder.

Lynda Wilcox has a warm and comfortable story-telling voice which is always easy reading but full of humour. I very much enjoy her style of mystery stories which are so far removed from the gritty crime and police drama category. There is most definitely room for both. This is a very enjoyable read and I hope to see more of the Geminis before too long.

Saturday 8 February 2014

Simon Jenner

This is the third in the Ethan Justice series - and they get better!

Ethan Justice: Incendiary

Amazon.com Ethan Justice: Incendiary

My review - 

I would imagine if you are reading this you have read the two previous Ethan Justice stories. This one would still be a good read if you haven’t but I think pre-knowledge of the characters adds so much to this book. It’s full of action of course, and there’s another evil baddie with big ambitions and no conscience. The two main protagonists are involved in helping to keep Ethan’s sister safe so this time, it’s personal. 

The writing is clear, accessible and exciting. I love the fact that the characters aren’t the usual cardboard cut-outs but have quirky foibles and interesting backstories. It’s all too easy for this kind of ‘special agent and international skulduggery’ story to become repetitive and boring but this never happens in a Simon Jenner book. Another excellent read!

Wednesday 5 February 2014

Mark R Faulkner

This novella is a real horror if your an arachnophobe! I loved the writing in this one.


Amazon.com Infested

My Review - 

This book begins with an idyllic canoeing holiday starting in the early morning when the world is yours alone. The writing here is observant, beautiful, and the reader floats along with it. The reason the man is there comes as a shock. The world comes to its knees and it appears very few humans survive an incursion from space. We watch Michael's struggle to reach London, then the coast, hoping to find he isn't the only survivor.

This book is to all intents a classic apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic story but it differs in that it is concerned with an individual and not the whole of humanity. I found it beautifully written and I enjoyed it very much.