Saturday, 18 July 2015

The Stranger in the Shed by Nicola Palmer

Nicola Palmer writes children's books.  I like reading Nicola Palmer's stories.  I'm not a (young) child.

Again, this is a fab story from this author.  There's an underlying story about bullying, but it's more about friendship.  Is smelly Angus real or imaginary?  Is Angus' world real or imaginary?  Does it matter to Rory when he's ignored by just about everyone else?

Even though this is aimed at 10 year olds, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Global Domination for Beginners by Will Once

We get James Bond's side of the story, The Saint's, Bourne's, Austin Powers' too.  But what about the bad guy?  What's his story?  Where did he get his inspiration from?  Why hollowed out volcanoes, why henchmen, why lairs?

Well, you don't have to wonder any more.  Read this book and you'll soon know how a power-crazed megalomaniac thinks.

Number One tells his life story to a spy he's caught and, literally being a captive audience, he has to listen.

This is a really funny story.  Things really aren't easy if you want to take over the world.  You can't imagine the minutiae that has to be taken care of.  Especially when nobody takes you seriously.

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Vegas, Lies and Murder by Sibel Hodge.

Vegas, Lies and Murder is the fifth book in the Amber Fox series.  This time Amber and her fiance Brad are off to Las Vegas to get married.  Amber's parents are joining them, along with her sister and Amber and Brad's friends and co-workers Hacker and Tia.

Obviously, being the chaos magnet that she is, Amber's holiday starts off bad and just gets worse.  Instead of getting married, they find themselves mixed up in a potential murder and having to go under cover in a gentleman's club.

I like this series of books.  Amber is a great character, although sometimes I get worn out with the trouble she seems to always get into.  I like how her relationships mature with each book.

This is a quick and easy and fast paced read and I thoroughly enjoyed it as expected.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Sleep TIght by Rachel Abbott

Sleep Tight is the 3rd in the DCI Tom Douglas series, however Tom's life plays a secondary part in this and it's not important that you need to have read the others.

Olivia's gone missing, but does her husband know more than he's telling?

This story weaves from suggesting one thing to another and makes you believe one thing, then twists it to the opposite.  I was totally gripped.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

Wizard's Brew by Chris I. Naylor

I like a bit of silly and this was certainly a bit of silly.
An inexperienced wizard is employed to cast a spell to help the fishermen catch lots of fish, instead the spell wakes up a nasty demon who has been trapped for a very long time under the sea.  The demon's form is a massive slug that eliminates anything it slimes over.

With the freedom fighter rabbits, the wizard and his dwarf friend banished from Camelot and the inhabitants of Redbrush Hall, this is a great cast of characters.  The nasty shape-shifting slugs need to be beaten, but none of the heroes are aware that there is any enemy.

My favourite characters were the rabbits and I loved their "rebel names".  And this book has my favourite line ever in it.  If you've read it, it's the "sym" bit.

So yes, this book is silly and a bit childish at times, but I found it wonderfully fun to read.  I came across it by accident, I think the cover is a bit rubbish, but I totally recommend giving it a go and I'm going to read the next ones.

Sunday, 31 May 2015

The Time Hunters and The Lost City by Carl Ashmore

The Lost City is the fifth and final installment in the wonderful Time Hunters series.  Becky, her brother Joe and Uncle Percy, the time traveller, are off to find El Dorado, the fabled Lost City.

This book starts off with a massive bang.  Emmerson Drake, their evil enemy blows up not only the Houses of Parliament, but just about every other major seat of power.  The story then ramps up as the family set off to find the last of the Eden Relics.

This may be a children's book, but I know of so many (alleged) grown-ups who love this series.  It has great depth, lots of action, humour and love.  What's not to like.

I'm a bit sad that this is the end.  The first Time Hunter story was the first kindle book I paid for and I feel I've been on this journey with the Mellors.  I'd like to think there'll be more stories set in this world.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Death in a Cold Spring by Cecilia Peartree

This is the ninth in the Pitkirtly series and is probably my favourite so far.

Amaryllis has put herself forward for being a councillor, but has this dulled her senses?  Christopher has loads to do at the Cultural Centre, but what's this art exhibition he doesn't really know about?  When Christopher and Amaryllis find something nasty at the Centre, they try to go their typical opposite ways, Christopher doesn't want to know, but Amaryllis needs to stick her nose in.

As with the previous 8 stories,  there's a crime in the community and the locals do their best to "help", although the police wouldn't call it that.  Keith is the only policeman around and he's struggling to keep up.

In each episode we get more info on a supporting character and this time it's Keith.  I enjoyed finding more about Keith in this story, now that Charlie is the pub landlord.  I particularly liked the dogs' stories.  They seemed to have a more starring role.

This story is best enjoyed having read the previous ones, but I think this stands on it's own.  You don't really need to know the cast's history, it just makes it seem that they are your friends.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

A Second Chance by Jodi Taylor

The third in the Chronicles of St Mary's series gets even darker.  Whilst these books are mostly light and witty and exciting, people do die and often not in a nice way.

This time, the team visits Troy to see if the wooden horse story is true.  They have to hang around and live there for a while.  This is no Star Trek, though.  They don't have communicators and universal translators, so they have to keep mostly to themselves.

I really enjoy this series of books. I think the concept is a great one and the execution very enjoyable.  So what if there are a few deus ex machinas along the way?

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Losing It by Elizabeth Armstrong

I found it hard to pigeon hole this book into a genre.  On the surface it's a paranormal/supernatural story, but only a little bit.  It starts reading a bit chick-litty, but it's more than that.  There's a bit of violence with the police involved, but it's more of a mystery.  But, for me, overall it was a satisfying story, with possibly a set-up for future stories.

Kate has just moved to London, she's lost her beloved husband in a car accident and is seeing pixies and mice in kilts among other things.  What is real and what is not?

I'm not one for paranormal fantasies, but as this was more about the mystery, I rather enjoyed it.  The supernatural elements were mostly on the edge of the story and sometimes added the comedic element.

Love ... Among the Stars by Nick Spalding

I didn't fancy the third in this series but jumped straight to the fourth as this storyline looked more my thing.  As with the others in this series, the story is told by both Jamie (on his blog) and Laura (in her diary) with the chapters going back and forth.

It seems that tJamie and Laura have been publishing the previous books themselves (we don't need Nick any more haha) and they have just published book number 3, so we follow them as they go through publishing and promoting it.  As ever, things never run smoothly.

My favourite bit was where they were invited to the film premier.  As it happened, things didn't really go as badly as they expected it to.  I also like the recurring character - you'll know who it is when you read it.

This was a very easy book to read.  Yes, it can be crude at times, but I found this to be quite a romantic story.  Jamie and Laura really love each other.  I didn't find it "laugh out loud" but did find it sweet and humerous.

Wordsmith by Nick Spalding

Max Bloom is back and this time he's had a year to hone his powers and he's the most powerful wordsmith in the land, but certainly not the greatest. He's still a teenager (in lurve) and is still immature.

This is a cracking romp and I flew through the story.

I'm unsure of the lower end of the target audience of this as there is some very minor swearing (such as bloody hell) which would make me reluctant to recommend it to my 10 year old nephew, even though I think he'd love the action and adventure. I certainly enjoyed it, the pace was high and it was very exciting.

Gray Redemption by Alan McDermott

Now my review for Book 2 in this series stated I wasn't as impressed with it as I was with the fantastic first book, so I'm glad to say that Tom's back.  But this one is more the search for Tom, rather than about Tom himself.  So did I like it?  Yes, more than book 2.  This time the good guys and the bad guys are after Tom, some of them not even knowing who they are after.

Ii was a bit muddled at the start as to who some of the characters were as it's a long time since I'd read the first two books, but it didn't really matter as the story and the action got going and I was along for the ride.  I did enjoy the Andrew Harvey character and I've since found out he's hopefully getting his own adventures, which is great.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Broken City by D.D. Chant

In the future, life has fallen apart and it's bad out on the streets.  There's no electricity and the people that are left in the city live in their own clans in compounds or apartment blocks.  Deeta is a teenager and has never been outside her block.  Other members of the block go out, but it's dangerous out there.  One day, everyone has to leave and Deeta's life changes.

I enjoyed this YA dystopian story more than I thought I would.  I wanted to know what Deeta would do as she finds out what life can be outside of her safe world.  There's a bit of romance going on and inter-clan violence and politics and some bits I thought were a bit unrealistic, but, on the whole, this was a good book.

Fifteen Days of Summer by Becky Perkins

This is the story of 15 days in 12-year-old Gerald's post-war summer holidays when he finds a caterpillar and forms a bond with it.

I found this to be a lovely gentle story set in a time that doesn't exist any more.  I'm not of the age to remember these times, but I've heard stories of my mother's childhood running around without a care in the world, out from dusk 'til dawn.  Gerald has a close-knit family, but he doesn't quite fit in with his older siblings.  They have to share not just rooms, but beds when the extended family comes to stay, so he has to find someone he trusts to help care for Gerald as he doesn't want to tell anyone about his new friend.

I think this story is aimed for children, however, I love reading books for any age and this was enjoyable from a grown-up's perspective.  Whenever I put it down I was wondering what would happen to Douglas the caterpillar next.

Even though this is Gerald's story, his family's stories were just as enjoyable and it all came together in the end.

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Wanted by Tim Arnot

I'd ignored this book for some time as "post apocalypse dystopian books are not my thing", but once I started reading it, it was a normal story of survival and teenage angst.  Flick meets Shea and even though she's young, sparks fly.  But is that because Shea has been shot down whilst in a flying machine ...  that surely doesn't exist in this post-technological world where old cars are pulled by horses?

Whilst this story is set in times where technology doesn't exist anymore, it's still a story that seems very true in that type of era.  It's now a hard life where every day is a struggle.

I took a chance on this and I'm glad I did as I enjoyed this.  It is obviously the first book in a series, but it was satisfactorily resolved and I don't need to read the next, but I'm sure I'll be tempted to sooner rather than later.

The Gardener of Baghdad by Ahmad Ardalan

Adnan, a bookshop owner in Baghdad finds an old book in his store and starts reading it.  But once he's started, he just can't stop, as it's the story of Ali - the Gardener of Baghdad who disappeared back in the 50s.

I really enjoyed this gentle story.  The book is paced as Adnan reads it. It is a love story across class and religion back in the times when it really did make a difference.

We are taken on a journey through hard times but where love tries to conquer all.  This was an enjoyable read indeed.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The Black Fox by Gordon Bickerstaff

This is the third story featuring Gavin Shawlens, a biochemist who gets caught up in bad guys plans for world domination in the previous two books.
This installment has him on the run with special forces trained Zoe as he has knowledge that must not get out.  Problem is, Gavin has no idea what this knowledge is so they go on the run whilst trying to find out what this knowledge might be with very few friends.

This is a fast paced thriller with a few deus ex machina twists.  I found it easy reading and I enjoyed the relationship that Zoe and Gavin have now built up.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Top Banana by Kath Middleton

Top Banana is a world away from this authors previous books.  It is a light slightly comedic gentle look at Steve's life from under his mother's thumb via becoming a superhero (of what, we're not sure) ending up a nice young man.

I din't find this a particularly laugh out loud story.  It was more a gently humorous tale.  I read it more with a smile on my face than a chortle on my chops.

I think I preferred the story early on when Steve was working in the grocers rather than when he started coming into his own later on.

The words I use to describe this are gentle and nice.  I felt content after finishing this.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Inquisitor: The Book of Jerrick - Part 1 by G. J. Reilly

Any book about a young boy going off to a special school with a bit of magic will inevitably be compared to Harry Potter.  I've not read the HP books but have seen the films and this is nothing like them.

The young main character, Michael wins a rare scholarship along with a friend from school.  Michael is 12 and I was picturing my nephew who is clever and just turned 13, but Michael seemed older, especially as he has to learn things such as his special powers and also quite serious fighting.  There are two enemies that want to get rid of each other, but which side is good and which side is evil?

Even though I'm not the target audience, I enjoyed this story.  It kept me gripped and interested and entertained.  More importantly, it left me wondering who really was the "hero" of the story. Although titled as Part 1, this is definitely a stand alone with a satisfying conclusion, whilst setting things up for further stories.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Sun Dragon by Michael Brookes

In the near future a spaceship sets off to Mars, its 6 person crew made up of more mature members.  They are all capable of doing each other's jobs.  It is planned to be a long mission there and back. 

The first half of this book is the journey there.  A few things go wrong, but nothing too bad.  This part of the story is interesting enough in a travelling across the universe kind of way.  I liked finding out the "boring" jobs they had to do to keep themselves alive and on track.

The second half is what happens when they get there and the consequences of what happened.  This then turned into a tense journey.  I liked this half even better than the first.  I didn't expect what happened to happen.  I don't read much sci-fi, but this was a great story.  I was very much gripped with wanting to just keep on reading and hoping for "my" ending to happen.