Showing posts with label Scotland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Scotland. Show all posts

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Murder In The Bush: The Tale of William McDonald by Carmel McMurdo Audsley

I love historical fiction and non fiction. This was based on a true story but it reads like an adventure story and it should appeal to a broad readership. As it deals with murder and rape it is not for the younger reader. Five stars.
Click on the picture to take you to Amazon.



I read the undertaker by this writer, which I loved as it was set in Scotland and the historic background was meticulously researched. Apart from that, it was a great read so I was keen to read something by this writer again. I was not disappointed. It is clear the writer has a great love for Scotland and its history, as she has set the start of this story in the very north of Scotland. William’s journey from 1885 the north of Scotland all the way to Brisbane Australian is as harrowing (the conditions on board the ship) as it is fascinating.
William McDonald the hero of our story, we are told in the foreword was a real person that was murdered in the Australian outback. Both his story and the story of his murderer are chronicled.  Knowing the ending of a book is normally a big let-down when reading a book, but in this case the story was fascinating enough to not let it spoil my reading pleasure. It was a great window into 1880’s Australia and the dangers and hardships the early pioneers experienced. William McDonald died young, but is a perfect example of one of those pioneers that made Australia the place it is today; a modern prosperous country. Recommended.

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.

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.

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.

Friday, 24 June 2016

Primed By The Past: Introducing Detective Annie Macpherson by Barbara Fagan Speake

As I'm still reeling from the Brexit vote, I'm trying to take my mind of it by reading and writing. I wonder what Detective Annie MacPherson would have made of it all. She and my husband are Scottish and I lived there for 20 years. Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain, but will now see it selves being dragged out of Europe. Worrying times ahead for all of them. The Annie MacPherson is the heroine of the novel I'm reviewing and it was a great work. Full of surprises and a 5 star read.

Annie MacPherson is a Scottish detective on an exchange program to the Westford Police department in the USA. She has broken off her engagement to her fiancee and is hoping to forget her heartbreak with a fresh start in a new country; a chance to learn and become a better Detective too. Her first case comes with some guilt: The victim who was beaten nearly to death had come to seek her help only a week before. As they delve into victim’s life, a number of suspects are questioned, but Annie feels there is a deeper, but yet unknown motive for the brutal attack. As the book goes on we discovering more and more information; I was hooked and on the edge of my seat by the time of the nail biting finish. This first book in the Annie MacPherson detective series is a promising start indeed. Gripped from start to finish I followed Annie about as she got to grips with her first case during her secondment. I think what makes her so likeable is that she is an ordinary woman; someone I could totally relate to. She has a few problems back at home. She is affected by them, but dedication to her work drives her on. Meticulous police work and trusting her instincts make her extraordinary. She is also a real woman, someone that cannot help herself from falling for the victim’s brother and feeling jealous when he grows close to the victim’s best friend. I feel I got to know this woman well and I want to find out where her work and love life will take her next. Bring on the follow up Programmed to Kill.

Monday, 2 December 2013

The internet part two



If you are writing a book you will often turn to the internet to check facts or look up places. I’m quite a lazy researcher as A. it takes a lot of time and I’d rather be getting on with writing and B. the truth sometimes gets in the way of a good story. If you are using historical facts they will have to be accurate. For book 2 I’ve been turning to the internet again to get answers to some important questions I’ve been asking myself:
Can vampires be tattooed?
Can vampires be recorded on audio tape?

Here are some answers to the first question I found on: http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20081116184120AAOdO1Ti
(The typos and misspellings etc. have nothing to do with me, I’ve copied these directly from the site) 

I do not believe they can. this question makes me think of The Vampire Lestat, where Lestat's mom Gabrielle wanted to cut her hair and look like a guy. but every day when she slept, her hair would grow back to the length it was when she died. she was very distraught about it. i imagine a tattoo would be the same, like an injury to the body that is almost immediately healed. so heres your life lessons from this: 1) make sure you properly groom yourself constantly in case you become a vampire cause you'll never get the chance to change yourself afterwards lol and 2) go ahead and get a tattoo if you are a vampire cause if yo udont like it tomorrow, it'll be gone lol

As usual there is a bit of vitriol too:

Well duh...theyre not real.There are however a lot vampires in literature,movies and surprise, mythology and folklore.Hence why this question is here.If you have nothing to contribute quite frankly don't waste your time or mine.

And the indignant souls who take it all just a bit too seriously

 Why wouldn't they be able to? The pain will obviously fade away, but the ink is another thing. The ink is like permanent skin paint, it itself is not pain and will not fade away like it would if it WAS pain. That's all their is to it(Besides the fact that vampires really DO exist).
Hope this helps.

When you read fantasy You mind becomes filled with thought of fantasy... For there is no way that any real vampire would expose itself to such danger.... And with you not really knowing what a real demonic vampire is, I can understand your question... First off there are some very serious vampire hunters that exist all over this world and they take joy in the demised of vampires.... So I seriously doubt that they would expose themselves in that manner...... When maintaining there secret is on the top of every vampires list.......

that is a very good argument. I would imagine the answer being no. But i'm not sure. I would think since they are always so clean and beautiful(since they heal so easily) that it would heal immediately but since it is ink idk? and don't some have piercings so it probably just depends on the writer or imaginer.
awesome argument though!

This is probably why I write fantasy, you can make up your own mind and do whatever you want! I’ve decided that Cameron can have his arm tattooed with a Saltire and Scotland underneath.

To my other question, I found a good answer on:

No reflection (often because the vampire has no soul). This sometimes extends to shadows. But it depends on the vampire apparently. In one medium there are several types of vamps who have various weaknesses. In more recent examples this has been 'modernised' in terms of the vampire not being able to be picked up by audio or video recording or transmitting equipment.

Then this next snippet caught my eye. I thought this was a really fun character flaw for a vampire to have and I’m certain I will do something with that. I think that modern vampire stories sometimes take them self too serious, I can’t imagine the vampires in twilight to get distracted by having to absolutely count some spilled rice, but I would have maybe enjoyed twilight  if they did. 

Occasionally suffer from severe OCD. One folkloric method of dealing with Vampires was to drop thousands of grains of rice in their coffin, the theory being they'd be compelled to count them all when they awake, wasting the whole night instead of getting up and terrorizing people.
  • The folklore version also is told with sesame seeds, and may also extend to any small, numerous nut or grain, if not any particulate (handfuls of sawdust?). Fairies also have this problem.
  • Dropping a bunch where you stand is a known way to escape the OCD variant of vampire.
  • A similar folklore variant involves hanging a sieve, colander, or other household item that's full of holes outside your front door. That way, the vampire will stop and count all the holes, leaving them vulnerable at sunrise. ONE! TWO! THREE! FOUR! FOUR GRAINS OF SAND! AH-HA-HA-HA!
  • Apparently poppy seeds were used to great effect in Greece, as they had the additional benefit of putting the vampire to "sleep".
  Also on the OCD theme, vampires will, like fairies, be obsessed with out of place and messily-tied knots, and must stop what they're doing to untie them.

The internet, always wonderfully enlightening!