Friday, 23 June 2017

Alive at Sunset (Rituals of the Night Series Book 2) by Kayla Krantz

I think this book would suit the reader that likes slasher movies like 'Scream' and gothic horror. I read that this writers favorite film is 'The Heathers' which I also love. I downloaded it as a freebie as the cover hinted at lots of blood and gore but also some dark humour. It was there but not enough for my liking (the humour that is) so 4 stars from me.

I came into this series at book two as I downloaded it when it was on a free offer. I don’t think this mattered a lot as the events alluded to only helped to build the tension. You know that bad stuff happened in book one, but you don’t know exactly what. As with all good horror, there are a fair few moments where you marvel at the bad decisions and the naiveté of psychopath Chance’s victims. I screamed a few times at Luna and her dippy roommate Amanda. Chance is a chilling baddie. We get to see into his deranged mind and he almost seems sad and human when he explains his motives for subjecting Luna to his special brand of murder and mayhem.    

Monday, 19 June 2017

The Du Lac Chronicles: Book 1 by Mary Anne Yarde

As the temperatures are soaring into the 30's here, the only place to be is the beach. After a refreshing dip I reach for my faithful Kindle and read until it gets too hot again. This one was great beach reading. One of my favourite genres; historical fiction. Quite a sweet Romeo and Juliet style plot, but with two more books in the series, I hope that the final outcome will be happier! 5 stars.

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This romance that mixes fiction, fact and legend works well. It kept me hooked from beginning to the end. The star crossed lovers were both characters I understood and felt great empathy for as they searched for a place of safety where they could be together. I liked that the writer has set this romance after the fall of Camelot so we recognise and know quite a lot already about the main character Alden’s father; Lancelot du Lac. Not much is known about the dark ages so the bringing in of a well-known saga was something that I liked and gave me some background. Unlike many romances that border on the erotic, this one was clean. In my opinion this was a big plus as the characters were in their late teens and early twenties, so their romance was suitably sweet and innocent. There was plenty of action as the young couple fled Annis’ enraged father and they made their way across ancient Britain. The dialogue contained enough humour to provide us with some lighter moments, overall an engrossing and well balanced read. I’m delighted there are another two books in the series as there are more secrets to uncover and adventure to be had.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

The Undertaker: A female undertaker in nineteenth century Scotland sets out to solve the mysteries of the dead by Carmel Audsley

This was one of these books that I just had to read. I love historical fiction and non fiction. The fact that it was set in Edinburgh a city I used to live in was the main attraction. When I saw that the main lead was a female undertaker I had to buy it. I loved the way Carmel Audsley took me around the familiar streets of Edinburgh. But also on the long journey to Dundee, in those days a 9 hour journey by train and two ferries. Well researched and an enjoyable mystery. 5 stars.

This book ticked all the right boxes for me in the blurb ; A murder mystery set in Victorian Edinburgh and an unusual heroine in the shape of undertaker and business owner; Kate Grainger. I wasn’t disappointed. Kate Grainger is a fascinating character, she is curious to the point of obsessive and she is determined. Not only is she determined to make it in a man’s profession, but also to bring justice to the woman who she suspects has been murdered. This book has been well researched and having lived in Edinburgh I recognise many of the streets and places she mentions. It was also an interesting look into the world of funerals and customs of the 1850’s. Above all it is a cracking murder mystery with a strong female lead. I’m sure Kate Grainger’s curiosity will no doubt entangle her into another investigation and I can’t wait to read more of her adventures.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

The Piper's Promise: Book 3 In The Ridge Walker Series (The Ridge Walker Adventure Series) by Alex Breck

I'm a sucker for a freebie and that's how the following book ended up in my lap. It is the third in the series. I don't think there is much point now of reading book 1 and two as the writer has given a few reminders about the previous books. Not enough for me to know exactly who every one is but enough to take the surprise out of the first. I gave it 4 stars and would urge anyone who likes high octane thrillers with a black ops plot to start at book one.

Ridge Walker finds himself in unfamiliar territory (Japan), when his friend Thad is accused of a murder he didn’t commit. He is out of his depth after making some questionable decisions and underestimating a ruthless killer. Luckily Thad has a powerful dad, but not even he can anticipate what waits for him in Japan. This was a high octane thriller with some nail biting scenes. I Liked the scenes set in Scotland, it is clear that the writer has a fondness of the Scottish Isles. The problem I had with the book was that I came into the series at book 3. I had not grown into the characters and some seemed to be a bit too unlikely, especially the diamond dogs. Alex Breck does fill us in about the characters pasts but a lot has happened in the previous books and I would recommend starting at book one.

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by Johanna Craven

This writer is enjoying a few days holidays. With some excellent beach weather, it means that I'm reading a lot. What after all is better than getting a golden tan while enjoying a good book. This one went particularly well with waves lapping away gently in the back ground. A great story with good character development. 5 stars.

I enjoyed this book immensely; it had everything a good seafaring yarn should have. A captain haunted by the past and teetering on the brink of insanity. A plucky heroine in the shape of French stowaway Catherine. Hiding below decks was  another female, a crew member, pretending to be a boy. Our anti-hero Harry; who went seeking adventure but got rather more than he bargained for. Add to this a rebellious crew and you have a powder keg of a pirate ship and all the elements of a gripping story. Captain Archer is a great character and we get inside of his whisky fuelled mind. He is temperamental and unpredictable and he took his ship and us the reader in some unexpected directions. The story is set against the back drop of a period where privateers no longer had the backing of king and count and some, like our captain, turned to piracy. Also the events that took place in Port Royal, Jamaica, in 1692. I Love reading historical novels and doing some further reading on Wikipedia to get more factual information. I couldn’t fault the writer on her research and the way she brought this particular time in history to life. But even if history leaves you cold, this is a riveting adventure story first and foremost.

Monday, 29 May 2017

The Elusive Highlander by Ju Ephraime

As a reviewer I read many books but not always are they my preferred genre. I have to admit that Romance and Sci-fi are not something that I love, but I have read some very good books in both genres. I know there is a large demand for Romance, especially the type that is bordering on the erotic. This one I picked as I love Scotland and History. It had both elements, but I think it will appeal more to the fans of the before mentioned books. I gave it 4 stars.

The story was a bit more complex than some other romances I had read. Two lovers denied their happiness by a treacherous poisoning. The mother of the murdered Highlander casts an ancient spell to keep him alive, but something is wrong and he wanders in time until he meets his love, in the shape of 21st century Coira, again. This meeting sends them both back to 14th century Scotland. There are a lot of elements to cope with in this book and some of it worked and some of it didn’t. As a romance this worked, there was enough sizzling dialogue between the characters and you could see why they would fall for each other. The history and the politics of the time was a suitable back drop. The descriptions of the beauty of the Scottish castles and scenery were lovely. Even the time travel element worked. The scattering of Gealic into the dialogue was just another distraction. I would have been happy if the mother was the only one to possess magic. To talk about Druids and Fae takes us in a whole other direction again.  It all was just a bit much to take in.
 If you like to learn a bit more about Scotland but find the history books a bit dry, try and absorb it via this steamy romance set against the back drop of Robert the Bruce and the wars of independence. Ju has changed a few details for the benefit of a good story but she fills us in on these changes at the end of the book.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Self-Publishing and Libraries: What Librarians and Self-Publishers Need to Know by Denise Weldon-Siviy

I've been a self-publisher now for 4 years. The idea of sending a manuscript to a traditional publisher never appealed to me. The expense of printing and then waiting for a likely disappointing reply wasn't what I wanted. I hoped to publish my book straight away, the opinion of my friends and family where the only ones I valued at that point. Since then I have been on a fascinating journey into the world of publishing and marketing. This book caught my eye as it opens up a whole other world of getting your work read; Libraries. This was an academic work but fairly easy to digest and it gave a good insight to the library system. I was actually pleasantly surprised that I had already taken the first step into getting onto the US-library shelves. I published my first book 'Language in the Blood' on Amazon. Later to make it perma-free I also published on smash-words. They pass their catalogue of books onto Overdrive; the system most used by US libraries for e-books. This book helped again with my still very steep learning curve. Excellent work Denise Weldon-Siviy. 5 stars.
Self-Publishing and Libraries:What Librarians and Self-Publishers Need to Know by Denise Weldon-Siviy on

This was a well-researched and documented book. I would say a must for the self-published writer who wants to get a deeper understanding of our industry. Denise Weldon-Siviy is uniquely qualified to write this book having worked in libraries and being a self-published writer. Her academic background gives her the skills to research this complex issue. As she states in her book; most self-published authors are very open to having their works in public libraries. Now I know why it isn’t that straight forward. Even donating your book to a local library won’t get you on the shelves as the cost of cataloguing is often too heavy for a small library with limited skilled employees. I will give this 5 stars because of the thorough research and useful information provided. One small drawback this has for me is that it is aimed at the US market and things are a little different for the UK and other markets. (That being said, there is still a lot of really useful info there for non-US writers as the market is so global now.) But if you are a US based writer or librarian I can recommend it.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

REPARATION: A Spiritual Journey by Maria Hall

This was a great book, I didn't think I would enjoy this story about a young woman becoming a nun, but it was well written and had me hooked from start to finish. An amazing true story. 5 stars

It never ceases to amaze me what people are willing to do or endure in the name of religion. I read this amazing story mostly open mouthed as Maria recounted her story of becoming a nun. It offered a glimpse into a world most of us never enter. Ms Hall has a very engaging style of writing and I was glued to the pages as she took us on her journey from New-Zealand to Australia and Spain. It was fascinating to get a look inside of a strict religious cult I wasn’t even aware off. It spurred me on to read a bit more about the Palmarian Church, which is still going despite its very strict rules.
It is also an inspirational story as the young Maria, damaged from her experiences in Australia, tries to find reparation in Spain. It is after her experiences there that she truly starts to rebuild her life and finds her voice and purpose.