Sunday 30 March 2014

Richard Martinus

This is a little freebie which will give you the flavour of the author's writing.  Short but very enjoyable. Enraptured

My review -

Even in the many circles of Hell there are staff shortages. The three lamias who run one of the offices have to interview somebody from another circle to take up a vacancy. Lack of reception staff means that a group of human souls can be deposited in the wrong place and somebody has to sort it out. This results in disciplinary action!

This short story is a taster for the author’s longer books, one of which I have already read. The story introduces the concepts of this hellish after-life and some of the characters are wonderfully drawn. If you’ve worked in an office you’ll recognise some of the absurdities. Richard Martinus has a quirky sense of humour which suits this kind of tale. Enraptured is a little gem which, if you enjoy it, will have you downloading the novels. Note to self – must read the sequel!

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Ken Magee

This is the finale of an excellent trilogy - I've enjoyed them all immensely.

My review -

This is the third part of Ken Magee's Black Trilogy and if you haven't read any of them you're missing a real treat. Thousand-year-old magic comes into contact with the internet - for many of us, a modern form of magic. Evil Wizards are trying to get their hands on some magic spell scrolls and Tung and Madrick, old friends from the first two books, are trying to prevent this. However, due to the wayward effects of the Spell Spell, they have become separated. There’s a mad journey in a little car to Ireland while another group take the journey in the opposite direction. Will they ever find each other?

This is a smashing adventure story with huge amounts of added laughs. It has its solemn moments though, as Tung exacts vengeance and kills 40 people in Dublin with a plague spell. Ken Magee weaves this story from start to finish leaving the reader happy and satisfied. I wonder if he'll be able to leave these characters alone, though? I'll certainly be delighted to read more about them - or indeed anything else this author writes.

Sunday 23 March 2014

Will Macmillan Jones

And now for something completely different!

Will writes funny books for adults - and scary books for adults.  This book is ideal for reading to children.  I tried it on my nine-year-old granddaughter who loved it and wants a sequel. I think she'll get her wish! Snort and Wobbles

My review - 

Wobbles is a little girl whose name is really Lisa and from the fact that her older brother gave her the name, you can see what sort of relationship they have. She loves dragons: clothes with dragons on, dragon books, everything dragon. They have recently moved house and Lisa gets her heart’s desire – she meets a real dragon who introduces himself as Snort. There’s more in their new area than dragons though, and this one helps her when her brother is captured – by goblins.

I road-tested this story on my nine-year-old granddaughter who absolutely couldn’t wait between instalments. She really loved the dynamic between the brother and sister and felt the creepiness of the next door neighbour. I understand there’s a sequel in preparation and I know one little girl (and by now, probably her six-year-old sister) who will want to hear this one too. A lovely book to read to children and very nicely illustrated too.

Thursday 13 March 2014

Lisa Hinsley

This is a novel but it's written by a young woman suffering from bowel cancer - it rings so true.  I've enjoyed Lisa Hinsley's other work and this is no exception. Gripping.

That Elusive Cure  That Elusive Cure

My review - 

I was drawn in by the product description of this book – a notably difficult thing to write! – and by the fact that I’ve read and enjoyed previous work by the author. Kathy is being treated for cancer which has progressed to a horrifying degree. While waiting in the hospital for treatment she is approached by another young woman who tells her how she was cured. There is a mysterious futuristic machine in an old church nearby and Kathy is given the key and told how to use it. We are taken through not only her own hopes and fears but those of her family, best friend, husband and others. Each has something which she feels this machine could cure. There’s a spanner in the works though, in the form of her husband Jimmy.

This is an amazing book which, although it’s not particularly short, I consumed in one sitting. Lisa Hinsley’s direct writing draws the reader straight in. It is evident from the intensity of feeling expressed that this has been written from direct experience and from the heart. There’s no maudlin sentimentality here but there’s lots of determination and lots of hope. All Lisa’s readers will surely share it. A thoroughly gripping story.

Wednesday 12 March 2014

David M Staniforth

Classic fantasy here - the third book in a trilogy and I've enjoyed every one!

Elemental Cascade

Amazon .com Elemental Cascade

My review - 

We first met Davran in Fuel to the Fire, the first of this trilogy. As with all trilogies, you really need to have read the first two books to know who the characters are and what their relationship is to each other. This book is the archetypal battle between good and evil and there remains the possibility that many, even most, will die. This book is a gift for lovers of the dragon! They exist in number and variety and play a significant role.

David Staniforth has a gift for description and I’ve enjoyed this aspect of all his fantasy works. He is also skilled in writing the sort of villain you love to hate. You will find both in here and a plot which will leave you on tenterhooks to the very end. Excellent stuff!

Thursday 6 March 2014

Bo Brennan

This is a dark, gripping book. I love the style and it's a subject that people sweep under the carpet. It's the second book featuring these characters but it stands well alone.

Amazon .com Baby Snatchers

My review

This is Bo Brennan’s second book featuring the detectives AJ Colt and India Kane. This is a complex story with many strands, all woven around a corrupt system of child care. In order to meet government targets on adoption, local authorities are ‘procuring’ new born babies in a number of totally immoral ways. Our two detectives with their often unconventional and occasionally ‘in-your-face’ policing methods, manage to connect some high profile people and wealthy private fostering agencies with the dirty deeds going on in the drive to meet government standards. It’s the sort of story where dreadful things happen, you are shocked and astounded – and then it only goes and gets worse! 

Bo Brennan writes with great authority – it’s masterful stuff and the characters created here work particularly well together. They aren’t merely cardboard cut-outs; they have histories and seem very different from one another. Opposites attract though, and I have really enjoyed the way these two have come along since the first book, Stealing Power. Baby Snatchers is dark, chilling and disturbing. I adore this gritty, down to earth style of writing and look forward very much to more from Bo Brennan.