Sunday, 28 August 2016

Sam's Song: A Sam Smith Mystery (The Sam Smith Mystery Series Book 1) by Hannah Howe

 I would like to give you a work in progress report, but I've been rather distracted by work, the beach and, well I'm just looking for excuses here; it is too hot to write! Penny Hunter is going to do the editing again on 'Conversations with Tom' but due to other work projects, we have put the publishing date back to Christmas.
Meanwhile I'm working on a series of short stories. It is in the shape of a number of interviews by a journalist that works for a Edinburgh paper and is about some of its fictional famous citizens. As per usual it will be tongue firmly in cheek. I have been reading, and this first in a series of detective novels was very enjoyable. I gave it 5 stars.

Sam's Song: A Sam Smith Mystery (The Sam Smith Mystery Series Book 1) by Hannah Howe on Amazon

Sam Smith is a tough wise cracking private detective, but behind the confident exterior hides a rather damaged woman. She is prone to self-doubt and suspicious of men. This book reads like a classic detective novel, narrated in the first person with a lot of humour. It reminded me a little of Sam Spade and there is also a fond nod to Phillip Marlowe in the name of the main characters cat. This book however is very modern and I like the fact that Hannah Howe has worked some very current topics into her novel, like domestic violence. This is a very good start to a series of currently eight books. Sam Smith is someone I can relate too and I admire her courage. There is still a lot to explore in her character as she gingerly embarks on a new romance and I’m sure her next case will have me glued to my kindle again

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Darkness Divided: Part Two in The Unfading Lands Series by Katharine E. Hamilton

The glorious summer is slowly coming to an end. We still are having hot days but we also are seeing a few clouds and the occasional shower. Still using my beach time productively to read some books. This one is the second in a YA series. I really enjoyed the first one and was looking forwards two part two. It was still good but not as pacey as the first. I gave it 4 stars.
Darkness Divided:Part Two in The Unfading Lands series on

It was a while since I read the first book in the unfading lands series and part two had been on my ‘to be read list’ for a while. As I enjoyed book one I was looking forwards to the follow up. The book starts with Elizabeth and her brand new husband Clifton, traveling to his Kingdom. There events take a dramatic turn and I was once again gripped by the story. The writer has developed Elizabeth into a character I like very much; she always seems to see the good in people and the positive in a situation. Here we also get to know the character of Isaac a little better as he continues his transformation from spoilt Prince to hero. We find out more about Lancer and what made him the bitter man he is. I would like to say I enjoyed this book as much as the first, but somewhere in the middle my mind started to wander a bit; the story had slowed and I think the writer wanted to explore the romantic sides of her characters a little more before the final exciting finish. I could have done without some of these bits as it was clear at the end of book one who has feelings for who. Darkness Divided stays firmly in YA territory but I would warn against very young readers picking this up; some limbs do get separated from their owners and the battle scenes are bloody. The book finishes with many questions unanswered and I’m pleased that the third book in the series is ready. I think the first book appealed to the girl in me that likes to see a strong-willed-sword wielding heroine and the second part slightly annoyed the girl that hates romantic yucky stuff, so I look forwards to more battles and magic. (Maybe even a marriage or two, I’m not completely heartless!)

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Black Bead: Book One of the Black Bead Chronicles by J D Lakey

A bit of a departure from my normal reviews as this is not an Indie but a published writer. However even published writers need a little help. The writer requested reviews and made her book free on kindle so I downloaded her book and put it on my list. It turned out to be a great read that had me on the edge of my seat. I was initially a little put off by the new age infused world, but when I got going I found myself reading a very exciting adventure story. 5 stars.
Black Bead Chronicles book 1 by J D Lakey on

This is a book that will appeal to a lot of YA fans; a group of children needing to prove themselves in a confusing world full of danger. Cheobawn is a young girl that is deemed to be unlucky by the adults in her group. She has strong psi abilities and she is chosen by 3 boys and her friend Megan to form a pack. I found the world the writer has created at times bewildering as the social structures and the creatures in this world are so unfamiliar. I would advise to just go with the flow and not focus too hard on having to figure it all out. What you are left with is a thrilling adventure story that moves at a fast pace. You hold your breath as the children race against time to make it back to their home dome. This is part one of a series and I’m sure the complex social set up of this world will be further explained. This is a riveting start to a sci-fi series that will no doubt appeal to a lot of youngsters and adults. Looking forwards to the next instalment.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Little Big Boy by Max Power

What links my last and current weeks review together is the fact that they are both about a family from Dublin, but there all similarities end. Well, they were both five star reads, but that's it! If reviewed a book by this author before (Darkly Wood) and I think he is one of the great indie authors out there.
Little Big Boy by Max Power on

Little Big Boy is a bitter sweet, but mostly painful portrait of a young boy growing up in 1970’s Dublin. Childhood should be a happy and carefree time, but for many of us it is anything but and it helps us to empathise with the main character. For this seven year old boy things are especially hard as his father is a violent alcoholic. His Mother tries to keep him safe, but she has three other kids to care for too. School isn’t a safe haven either as our Little Big boy has to negotiate the perils of the playground and the sadistic Christian Brother teachers.
I’ve read Darkly Wood by the same writer and I think here, he has again masterfully created a sense of dread that builds throughout by cleverly hinting at events to come. (In Darkly Wood it was by tales from the past, but it sets a tone that makes the reader suck in his breath and move to the edge of their seats. You want to know what will happen, but you know it won’t be good. What stops this book from being sentimental is the little touches of humour and warm nostalgia. I think Max Powers has succeeded in bringing 1970’s Dublin to life for me. Max Power has a very distinct and readable style, I’d recommend it.