Monday, 18 September 2017

Moristoun by Kevin McAllion

This was a wonderful and very Scottish book. I don't want to give any of the plot away because things are revealed slowly and I want any reader to be surprised like I was. Kevin McAllion has a journalistic background and it shows in the broad vocabulary and well crafted sentences. But the book is also dark and comedic and shows a great warmth and knowledge of human nature. One of my highlights so far. Click on the picture to take you to Amazon.



I loved this book; it is witty and very well written. The characters are well developed and not obvious. You don’t need to be Scottish to like this book but it will help a lot if you understand the vocabulary and get the cultural references. If you have been to one of the Scottish Islands you will get that they are one man’s paradise but another man’s desolate godforsaken rock in the Atlantic.  Henderson, McCall and more recently McSorley are happy just to prop up the bar at the Tortured Soul and ogle pretty barmaid Gail, while Buchan strives to find a way off the island. The story builds slowly and it is a fair bit in before you realise what Moristoun is all about. A wonderful story, dark, comedic and full of real characters, men and women you could find if you walked into any bar in Scotland. I read a lot, but this was one of the highlights of the year so far.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Resisting the Challenges of the 21st Century: How Much Extra Does No Cheese Cost? by Rembert N Parker

I got this book based on title description and cover photo. I don't mind a bit of a rant at things that annoy the people that grew up in the fifties and sixties. However this book should come with a bit of a warning; for Americans only. A lot of the cultural references I did not get. Also, this writer is the owner of a comic book store, a world I know nothing off. However if you are an American of a certain age and you like films and comic books, this is a witty observation of life in 2017. I gave it 4 stars as I found it more of a collection of blog posts than a book. I did love the idea of ending all the chapters with a link to some music, so the book had a sound track.
Click on the picture to take you to Amazon.



This is a great book if you are the right demographic. Being female and European a lot of this book was a bit over my head. I’ve never opened a DC or Marvel comic and a lot of other cultural references were wasted on me. However if you are living in the US there is a great chapter on tax and a lot of observations about culture, politics and food that will be spot on.
So I’m judging it purely on writing. What Rembert Parker has done is create a mixed tape for the modern age. (If you don’t remember them you are probably too young for this book!) The chapters are short and engaging and even though I didn’t relate to everything, I had no problem finishing this book. All the chapters are finished with a link to a music video. It’s a great way to combine music, the internet and a book. The chapters read a bit like blog posts and a personal rant. If you are an American baby boomer fed up with today’s state of affairs this will be a great fun read.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

The Complete FAB Trilogy: What If John Lennon Had Lived? by Mark Gillespie

You might remember my reviews of the future of London books by Mark Gillespie. It was one of my highlights of this year so far. When I saw that this trilogy was on offer at 99p I was over at amazon in a shot. This is still a very entertaining if totally bonkers read. From alternative history to time travel it is quite a wild read. Why only 4 stars, well I had difficulty believing some of the decisions the writer had our John make and maybe it was a bit too out there for me. But give it a try, it is very entertaining.
Click on the pick to take you to Amazon.



What would John Lennon have done had he not been assassinated on the 8th of December 1980. This is the basis of the trilogy FAB, to write an alternative history for a hypothetical John Lennon.
 To take a well-loved figure like a former Beatle and to put words and actions to him will always be controversial and maybe a bit sacrilegious, so this Beatles fan took a few sharp breaths at the direction the story was taking. However I was glad I bought the whole trilogy as the story really comes into its own in book 2.
In the second book we follow former and now obsessed FBI agent Vogel in his hunt for the fugitive John Lennon. The story moves to Britain and the world of emerging Britpop.
 Book 3 takes yet another completely unexpected turn, but was for me the most entertaining. I think by this time I had reconciled myself with the fact that the writer was not trying to blacken the name of a much loved icon but just wanted to create an entertaining story with some roots in our pop culture and a satire on the direction our world is heading. The chapter headers are Beatles songs and will maybe spur you on to rediscover some of their great songs. I would advise, sit back and enjoy this writer’s imagination. (Or if you are John Lennon, you might drop a tab of acid and enjoy FAB in glorious technicolour, but I, of course, would never advocate the use of drugs!)

Friday, 18 August 2017

Red Dust and Bones by Timothy Masters

I'm not a huge fan of Sci-fi as it can get a bit serious at times with the techno babble. This book however didn't complicate things with too much technical details. It was more about the intrigue and company politics. I prefer that, it makes you relate to the story if it is not too far fetched. So a 5 star from me.
Click on the pic. to take you to Amazon.



This was a tense Sci-fi thriller that had enough surprises and originality to keep me hooked. Marie and John Hellman are separated by thousands of miles as he leaves on a mission for mars while she works on the science that might save them and maybe mankind itself. The part of the mission to mars reminded me a little of Alistair Maclean as a cast of characters is cut off from the rest of the world and they suspect that they might have a murderer in their midst. The part on earth reads more like a political thriller as Marie is made aware by her Colleague Tom that they might be in danger from forces high up the command chain that have more sinister uses for the science than they do. Both parts are tense, full of twists and turns and well written. I really liked the end where Marie starts experimenting with some unknown Martian stuff. I don’t want to give any plot away but my nails got a lot shorter during that chapter! If you like Sci-fi and or thrillers I can highly recommend this.

Monday, 7 August 2017

The Seven Year Dress: A Novel by Paulette Mahurin

I was initially attracted to this book by the title which I think is great. A book about the Holocaust is not my favourite subject as it can be a harrowing and graphic read. (As it was in this case.) But I must say that Ms Mahurin handled it well. Why not 4 stars, well I had a few issues with the research and have contacted the writer about this. I liked the book but didn't feel it was a five star read.
Click the picture to take you to Amazon.



What I liked about this book was a number of things. It wasn’t just about the Holocaust and a woman’s struggle to survive; it had many more facets to the story. We follow Jewish Helen as she grows up in increasingly hostile Germany, and through her eyes we see how the Nazis came to power. Ms Mahurin writes in an engaging style and captures well the almost descent into insanity as Helen and her brother are in hiding. More than all that it is about a woman wanting to express her femininity and to be a feeling, sensual, human being.  A simple dress reminds her who she is and who she wants to be, despite all the ugliness around her. It is a gripping story about hope and staying true to yourself.