Thursday, 12 March 2015

The Truth Finder

Motoring on with reviewing books.It is always a good sign when you get through a sizable book quickly. It was nice to read a well edited book, not all self published efforts are!

The Truth Finder by Penny Luker

The Truth Finder is set in the fifth millennium, in a world destroyed by nuclear wars. There remain but three inhabitable cities and the land in between (The kingdom of light). Some of humankind has evolved to possess special powers. Vrail is one such young boy. He is a Truth Finder, one who has the ability to read minds. At the start of the book we find him alone at the age of 17 after the death of his father. We follow his at times perilous journey into manhood. The author describes nicely how Vrail experiences his gift is as much of a curse as a blessing as he finds his own place in this dangerous world. Even though the story is set in the future, the land between the cities has more of a ‘Shires’ feel about it. People go about farming the land and use horses for transport. Some of this book reminded me about the Hobbit. Vrail also enjoys normality next to a cosy fireside and at times wishes he wasn’t special. I think this book will appeal to a young adult that likes to read adventure/fantasy.
My problem with the Truth Finder was that it screams for a follow up and I hope Penny is hard at work on book number two. There was a wealth of information to take in about this new future world, but I feel I’ve hardly scratched the surface of what there is to know about the cities. We got to meet many fascinating characters, but apart from the main character Vrail, we don’t know too much about any of them. Especially Vrails neighbour Grace, a fellow thruth Finder and the woman he is closest to seems very interesting. She is over 300 years old! She must have some interesting stories to tell. I’m looking forward to reading the follow up and I hope Penny goes a bit deeper into the many characters she has introduced me to.

Monday, 9 March 2015

Belarus update

When Elspeth Morrison and I decided to publish the bundle Something Short, she decided that she wanted to use the proceeds to help out a friend who was raising money to send a group of volunteers to Belarus. I whole heartedly agreed. We would have liked to have sold more books but I like think the little we contributed is making someones live better. Below is the link with the story of STAND international and how their volunteers fared in September.

Blago, September 2014

Of course you can still buy our book on Amazon. Even though the trip has been, the support for this project in Belarus is ongoing so any future royalties will go to this project.


I'm busy reading Penny Lucker's The Truthfinder just now, I'm totally engrossed in the story so a review should follow shortly.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Another one

Spring has certainly sprung here in the côte d'Azur. Maybe it is the fact that I can have my balcony door open that my work rate has increased. I mostly concentrating on reviewing and getting my name out there. It is a long term strategy, but I hope it will pay off in the end.

Now the following book review does not fulfil the usual criteria of only reviewing independent books, but it was sitting on my kindle and I read it a few months ago and I thought, why not do a review of some things I'd enjoyed and already read.

A year in the merde by Stephen Clarke

This book was recommended to me by a French colleague.  I was glad she wasn’t offended as the book isn’t very complimentary about the French at times, but it is very very funny.

It chronicles the story of a young Englishman who takes a job in Paris with a French firm. It is about working, living and finding love in Paris. 

Like the writer I live and work in France and I recognise many of the situations he describes. As it can be hard to get to grips with the differences in culture, France eventually changes you and you can’t but help falling in love with the place despite its failings. This is a light hearted, easy read and shouldn’t be taken too serious. I loved it.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

A Paris short

After reading two sizable ebooks I took a breather and tackled this short story;
Rendevous, Place saint-Michel By Felipe Adan Lerma

This is a short story about an American (Texan) Grand-father who takes his grandchildren for a walk one night along the streets of Paris. His grandson wants to photograph Paris at night and his two cousins come along for the excitement. What I liked about the story is the author’s description of Paris by night, and the rather sweet story of his granddaughter experiencing her first kiss.

The author describes this book as a short stand-alone story, but it also forms part of another book; Slumming it in Paris. I might have agreed if it was altered a little. We’re introduced to a bewildering seven characters but only four take parts in the story. The language the Author uses might be common in Texas but I found words such as ‘Kinda’ and ‘gonna’ sat uncomfortably with more poetic language like ‘Her eyes caressed a smile.’ I think this makes a much better chapter than a short story.
I give it 3 stars.


Saturday, 28 February 2015

Betrayal by Sharon Browlie

Not got up to much writing myself or anything else for that matter as I've been engrossed in my Kindle book. An excellent story set in Edinburgh, which was a very pleasant surprise when I started reading. I give it 5 stars:
Betrayal by Sharon Brownlie

Helen king is a young woman who has been abused by her father and betrayed by the very people that should have protected her. When she sought help from her father’s employers; the Army, she was sent away to a children’s home in Edinburgh. Here she befriended a boy Ashley Renton. When he was adopted she set out to Gloucester to find him.

At age 15 Helen was ill equipped to fend for herself and soon found herself in the clutches of violent pimp Addie. Her life descended in a never-ending nightmare of drugs and prostitution.

Then one day she overhears a conversation and recognised the voice of her former teacher. Helen decided then to no longer be a victim but return to Edinburgh and revenge the wrongs that were done to her.

Betrayal is a gritty crime novel mainly set in Edinburgh. We get to experience the story from the angle of Helen and from the eyes of D.I. Belinda Brennan as she investigates ‘Helen’s revenge’. I enjoyed this book immensely; the characters are well developed and believable. Edinburgh makes a great setting. And as I used to live there for many years I could clearly imagine where the author was taking me. A great first novel!

Wednesday, 18 February 2015


Here is the first of the reviews I'm doing of a series of four independent writers I promised to review. I did enjoy this one and gave it four stars.

Amie, An African Adventure
By Lucinda E Clarke
Working full time I don’t get to read a lot, so the fact that I managed to read it within a week says a lot about this book. It follows the story of Amie a young naïve English woman that follows her husband when he gets posted to Africa. Amie initially has her doubts about going and the author hints that at some point things are going to go very wrong, but convinced by her husband and her family Amie accepts her new life and sets out for Africa with her husband. There an experienced expat woman takes Amie under her wing and shows her the dos and don’ts of living as a white woman in Africa. As Amie initially struggles with the completely different mentality of the citizens of Togodo, she comes to enjoy her new live. So much so she longs to go back to Togodo and its capital Apatu during their annual visit back to England. And here is my slight quibble with the book, Togodo is a fictional country. It is obvious the author has a wealth of knowledge about living in Africa. I’m sure many of the things Amie experiences have happened or been told to the author. She certainly weaves all these impressions into a good story. But every time Apatu or Togodo were mentioned I was left disoriented wondering which country and which regime this was based on and where I was geographically as the story felt very real (somewhere in East Africa near the equator was all we were told) especially . However if you do like a riveting adventure story and to get a general insight into how western white workers live and work in Africa, I can certainly recommend this book.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Five and Four stars

The first review is in for Blood Ties  and it is a 5 star. This is great news and it reminded me to go and do some book reviewing myself. This is a book I read a wee while ago and the review is long over due.

Fat Vampire:an underdog vampire novella by Johnny B. Truant

I stumbled across this book when I released my own book Language in the Blood and wanted to see what else there was out there in funny vampire books. I liked the idea that not all vampires are slender and beautiful. This is the first in a series currently counting six books.

The story follows Reginald Baskin, an overweight young man who after suffering at the hands of bullies in high school now works at a fitness company. He finds that things are much the same since high school and he is still being tormented by the physically fit.

Things change when Maurice, a young shy Goth starts work. It is he who 'saves' Reginald after he is devoured by vampires. Maurice turns him into a vampire like himself.

Even though Reginald never felt so good, his physical shape hasn't changed. He might feel he is running at great speeds, but most prey could outrun him. I enjoyed the way the author described Reginald's slow acceptance of his new live and the humorous consequences of being a overweight vampire with low self esteem, but the author is also sticking very closely to most vampire myths. I'm looking forwards to reading more in the series and hope the author starts pushing the boundaries of vampire myths a bit more. Promising start to a fun series of books.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.