Sunday, 31 December 2017

A Bed of Wild Roses: Flowers of the Aristocracy (Untamed Regency Book 1) by Jackie Williams

What I like about this author is her sense of  humour. It made this book such a easy fun read. If you like historical romance that has some naughty bits but doesn't stray into full erotica, this writer will be for you. This is the second book I've reviewed by Jackie Williams and the writing is such that I won't mind picking up another of her books soon. I gave this 5 stars. Click on the picture to take you to Amazon.

I love romances that are set in a more innocent time. A time where a lady’s shapely ankle could turn a man’s head and an innocent kiss could lead to being assaulted by the girl’s brother. There are many comedy moments as overprotective brother Brendon clobbers best friend Algernon because of some misunderstandings. Felicity is a feisty heroine with a heart of gold and we feel for her when Algernon struggles with his pride and fears for her safety. What should have been a straight forwards romance is anything but; due to a greedy uncle that will do anything to get his hands on Algernon’s estate.
When I say that this is set in a more innocent time; we do all know that behind closed doors things were less innocent! It is clear Algernon and Felicity share an attraction that leaves them both rather hot and flustered. Some off the scenes are sizzling hot and the writer correctly advises that this book is not for the younger reader. For any other fan of historical romance I recommend it. Fun, hot and a good read.

Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Top 5 of 2017

I was stunned when Goodreads told me I had read and reviewed 51 books in 2017. That is nearly one a week. I do love reviewing as it is the best way to help a (Indie) writer. I've became part the books go social reviewers group on Facebook. Its a great community of writers and reviewers. What I like about it most is that it is a large group and it has writers in all sorts of genres so I can pick and choose what appeals to me. I thought with 51 books read I should come up with a top 5. The 5 star reviews that shone extra bright. Number one and two were easy but then it got harder. So here is my Top 5.

1. The future of London series by Mark Gillespie.
A sharp and satirical alternative version of history. This book won because it had everything; Satire, action and some real human characters (Even a cat!) 

2. Moristoun by Kevin McAllion 
A very Scottish book that totally surprised me. 

3. Dance of Chaos by Tabitha Ormiston-Smith 
Laugh out loud, very Australian, comedy.

4. The Indigo Rebels by Ellie Midwood 
Historic fiction with strong female characters.

 5. The Troubleshooter by Bard Constantine
Original take on the film noir genre. (Bogart meets blade runner)

Vampire Hunters by Trudie Collins

Even though I write in the vampire genre, I'm not an obsessive fan. I do like it if a vampire book doesn't take itself too seriously. This one thankfully fell more into the 'lets kick vampire butt' rather than the brooding teeny stuff. The one thing that let it down was too many training sessions. I'm really not that into weapons and martial arts fighting. I also feel that the writer dealt rather coldly with the human victims of vampire attacks. It was a trick missed to bring some emotion into the story.
Anyway, this would suit fans of a sassy romance and martial arts fans.

I’m a fan of the vampire genre so this cover grabbed me and I downloaded it to my kindle. Craig is a young man who lives in a sanctuary with 7 other vampire hunters. There they train, ready to go out hunting for vampires. He introduces his best friend Sarah to this secret society of hunters and above all to his trainer and boss JD. As soon as Sarah and JD set eyes on each other, sparks begin to fly. The vampires take a rather supporting role in this book. It is all about the romance between Sarah and JD. The dialogue and battle of wits between the two sparkles and is highly entertaining. I would have preferred a bit more depth to the vampires they encounter and a bit less of the hunters’ training sessions; it dragged a bit in points. Towards the end things were hotting-up and there was some good action and tense vampire encounters.  This writer does write well and I wouldn’t mind trying some of her other books.

Monday, 11 December 2017

Forgotten Places by Johanna Craven

I've read a book by this author a few months back and thought it was excellent. So no hesitation to pick up this historical fiction novel. The history plays a bit of a supporting role as it is more about the two main characters in this story. But it was a surprising and good story. 5 stars.

This book is set in the 1830’s and inspired by a true story. An escaped convict hides out in the Van Diemen’s land bush (now Tasmania) after 11 years of hiding he has forgotten how to speak. Then into his silent world stumbles a young woman with a little girl in tow.
This was a great book that would also work as a stage play as most of the action is between the two main characters Grace Ashwell and Alexander Dalton. It feels quite claustrophobic as the two are enclosed by the unforgiving forest. She is not sure if she can trust him but needs him to survive. He is bewildered by having suddenly another human being around and isn’t sure what to do. He is also haunted by the ghosts of his dead comrades that escaped with him. Bit by bit it is revealed what happened to them both.
I was very surprised by this book as it didn’t go in the direction I thought it would and the second part was a real treat as the plot turned and twisted. Recommended if you like historical fiction or thrillers and ghost stories, there is plenty of story here to please a broad readership.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Dance of Chaos (Fiona MacDougall Book 1) by Tabitha Ormiston-Smith

I recently reviewed a short story by this author. She contacted me and offered me a free copy of a full length novel. I told her I liked comedy and cats and waited for her recommendation as she has published a few novels. I loved this book, it ticked all the right boxes for me. Very funny, a cat that gets up to all sorts and no mushy romance. A healthy dose of swearing and poking fun at the clergy might offend some people (and the South-Africans might take a sharp intake of air!) but it is all good fun and I thoroughly enjoyed it. 5 stars.

I loved this comedy and laughed out loud a good few times. Fiona is 20 year old who still lives with her parents, brother Patrick and cat, and we get her somewhat deluded view of the world.  She is stuck in a dreary office but thinks her career will become more exiting by becoming a computer programmer. At home things are made difficult by her teenage brother, (who’s raging hormones cause all sorts of havoc) a mother who is phobic about cleanliness and a cat that likes to misbehave at the most inopportune moments.  What I loved about the book is the more than realistic and at times unlikable characters. Who doesn’t have an annoying little brother who pesters us into stupid schemes?  Or a blustering boss who doesn’t recognise our skills or merit in the work place? The interaction between Fiona her family felt familiar, and was written with great wit and warmth. Even though they can drive you crazy, you can’t help but love your family. I think you will love this book if you enjoyed reading Bridget Jones and watching series like The Office. But this book has a unique and Australian edge to it and is very funny. I look forwards to reading the follow up.

Monday, 4 December 2017

In our Memories by Mark Morey

The Armenian Genocide of 1915 is largely forgotten by the world. I've worked with a number of people that are of Armenian descent so I was aware of some of their history. But this book tells the whole story and now I know why so many of them ended up in France. (probably the most famous of them Charles Aznavour, the singer of Armenian descent.) I gave this 4 stars as I wasn't blown away by the writing. I recommend it anyway because of the research and comprehensiveness. Everyone should know about this part of history.

I choose this book as I love reading historical fiction and non-fiction. This was certainly a story that needed to be told. I was aware of the Armenian genocide, but not quite how brutal the Turks were in driving the Armenians out of Anatolia. Mark Morey tells this harrowing story through Anoushka Hagopian and her family.
The book is written in 3 parts. Part one is about the events leading up to the persecution of the Armenians and Anouska’s very harrowing forced march to the de facto concentration camp. I liked that the writer explained the political climate and named the politicians involved, it puts the story in context. Part 2 is more about Karine, Anoushka’s daughter and how they are coping and acting after the fall of the Ottoman Empire. The last part is told from the point of view of the Armenian assassins who go after the 3 Pashas responsible for the genocide. It was a comprehensive and well researched book but I found the language a bit dry and somewhat repetitive at times. I would recommend it if you want to know more about this dark part of history.