Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Salby Damned by Ian D. Moore

Nearly finished my short story for another anthology my writers and reviewers group is compiling. It is rather a dark story about a man being trapped in purgatory. Luckily also had some time for reading. Even though this is not my favourite genre, I could appreciate this Zombie novel and didn't mind reading it at all.

No pun intended, but the Zombie genre has been done to death, so you will need to add something special to make it stand out from the crowd. I think Ian Moore has succeeded. He stays in familiar territory with a virus being released from a top secret laboratory, created by a group of scientists that really should have known better. Soon the North English country site is overrun by blood thirsty Zombies. I loved that the author has taken a controversial local issue such as fracking and made it the cause of the accident. It nicely puts the novel in a local contemporary setting.
There is a strong cast of characters with strong emotional attachment. The main focus is on Nathan and his budding romance with Evie as they try to reach a military base and safety. It’s hard not to care for this scrappy couple and the two children they have taken under their wing.
I cared less about the very detailed descriptions of various military hardware and the zombie-human ‘encounters’ were very gruesome. But then again, I’m a forty something female that loves fluffy kittens, so not your target audience. I did think it firmly belonged in this type of novel. The occasional limb will need to be separated from its owner and if you’re preparing for the Zombie apocalypse, it might be useful to know that a Remington pump action shotgun, might be the easiest to master in a hurry, and will make a fine mess of an approaching Zombie.
If I had one complaint about this novel, it would be that the pace dropped now and then. I would have liked a bit more action. What put the icing on the cake for me and made me decide on 5 rather than 4 stars was that there has to be an idiot that breaks the 1st rule of Zombiedom:
Always, no really ALWAYS! Check the back of the car for Zombies, before you drive off.

Thursday, 23 April 2015

Frantish conversations with Clicquot

My Scottish husband and I have been living in France for nearly four and a half years. We talk English with each other, but in the work place it is mostly French. It wasn't long before French words started cropping up in our conversations. We do apologise to friends when this happens, as it's not a sign of pretentiousness but merely us getting comfortable in our surroundings. We do lampoon our self by quoting an Armstrong and Miller sketch:

I've only been living in France for 20 months, but are already forgetting the English.

The other day I caught myself having the following conversation with my cat Clicquot:
Me: Oi
He: What? (stopping temporarily from trying to pry open the kitchen cupboard.)
Me: Just gonnie no. ( translation: don't do that!)
He: How? (transl: Why?)
Me: I dinnea want you raking in the Poubelle. (Transl.: I don't want you to go through the stuff in the bin.)
I had to throw a coaster at him to get the message across; cats don't get negation.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Reborn by S.L.Stacy

Even though this was a great read, I had some issues with it, so 4 stars to this debut novel:

Reborn by S.L. Stacy

This was a sexy, fast paced YA story, and I enjoyed it very much. (YA but contains some sexual content.) I read this book in a few sittings, which is always a good sign.

 Who knew that there is more of a link between the ancient Greek city of the gods Olympus, and an American sorority, apart from the use of the Greek alphabet? At some points I was a bit puzzled by the plot, but decided to not question it too much and go with the flow.

 The main character Siobhan Elliot is a perky American College student and initially I sympathised a lot with her. She carries a secret that seems impossible to reveal to people, and she ended up pushing the ones she loves away. What made me scream at the pages, was the fact that when Siobhan had the chance to mend bridges and rekindle a lost love; she ends up making some terrible choices. I suppose she is very human in thinking she can turn a bad boy good. But with the YA feel of the book I would have liked Siobhan to be a better example. There is a follow up, so here’s hoping.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Gagged and Bound by Nick Jones

A book of puns, one-liners and Dad jokes.

I normally just review fiction so doing a book of puns and one liners was a bit different. If you can’t talk about plot and characters what do you say. I decided to ask and answer a few questions.
Is it funny? Yes! It had me chuckle a good many times.
Will it offend anyone? I don’t think so, most are puns on words. Maybe if you’re from Birmingham, but then you’re probably used to having fun poked at your fair city.
Did I get the joke? Yes I did, but someone without knowledge of British pop-culture might not get a few of the puns.
Stop me if you heard this one before? The large majority of the puns, I had not heard before and I’m amazed with all the fun lines Nick Jones has come up with.
Why should buy this book? It is very funny and unlike a novel you will open this book time and time again. I will look at it before I go to a dinner party and shamelessly plagiarise Mr Jones’ work. I will also open this book whenever I need a bit of cheering up.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Kindred Killers (a Stanford Carter murder mystery) by Gary Starta

Keeping busy with writing this week. The short story for the charity anthology is ready and edited. (Many thanks to all the volunteers who have contributed either with a story or their editing skills.) Now I just have to wait with baited breath for it to come out. I'm also hard at work on a story for another Anthology......
Meanwhile reading on and doing reviews. Sorry Gary Starta, not to keen on this one, so 3 stars only. But if you like serial killer books with a lot of plot turns, give it a try.

Stanford Carter a Detective with the Boston PD is called up on to investigate a murder. The victim had been stabbed with many acupuncture needles and there are nearly as many suspects. A private investigator that worked for the victim’s wife stands out. As Carter struggles with the case, he also has to deal with personal matters. His bride to be and valued colleague Jill Seacreast is facing a transfer due to departmental rules; married couples can’t work together.
This book was fast paced and had many twists and turns in its plot. But I found the characters rather plot driven, rather than the plot is being steered by believable characters. I found many to be very contradictory in their actions and motivations. I’ve not read the Caitlin Diggs series and I think I might have liked Stanford Carter better if I had. Here it just states he is an excellent detective, but there was very little evidence to cement this. Maybe the Romantic liaison between Jill and Stanford started there too, because in Kindred killers I don’t feel a strong attraction between them. I might give the Caitlin Diggs series a try as I do like the Author’s writing style.

Friday, 10 April 2015

A Bucket Full Of Lies by Robert K Swisher jr

I'm currently involved with a book that we hope will raise a lot of funds for the Mac Millan cancer support and in particular its nurses. Ian Moore from my writers reviewers group is compiling the anthology and a number of us including myself are contributing a short story. I'm very excited to see this hitting the virtual shelves. So watch this space.

In the mean time here is a review for a detective novel I enjoyed very much. I gave it 5 stars:

A Bucket Full Lies (Roosevelt Mystery series)( book 1) by Robert K Swisher jr

Bob Roosevelt is a down on his luck private detective, who finds himself in Des Moines, Iowa after he has to make a hasty retreat from Florida. He runs into an old friend, Sam, from his old hippie commune days. Against his better judgement and the advice of his guardian angel, he follows Sam home to find out what ever trouble his friend is in. Sam is shot dead before they even get inside. His beautiful young wife asks him to stay. Bob knows he should get out of Iowa as soon as he can, but what private eye isn’t compelled to solve the murder of a friend.
This has all the components for a great detective novel; a corpse, a wife an ex-wife, a kidnap plot and some shady gangsters. It has the familiar feel of a Raymond chandler novel, but is yet truly original and modern. Bob Roosevelt is an interesting character; he has done a tour in Vietnam, lived in a hippie commune and drives around in a vintage VW beetle named Mathilda. But the best moments come from the obnoxious wise cracking guardian angel. The blunt comments on Bob’s investigation provide many laugh out loud moments.
I loved this book and after finishing, I ran straight to the Amazon store to buy the follow up Trout fishing for bodies. Well done Mr Swisher you have gained a new fan.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Lunch Hour by Carl Jones

 I'm progressing well with Conversations with Tom. A long way to go, but 8.000 words already written in Word and more on scraps of paper and in my head.
You may know I work at Nice airport. Even though the number of flights has increased and the number of passengers probably doubled in the last month, my work place is still very quiet. I work in a tiny last minute boutique in the non-schengen lounge. Most passengers (or PAX as we call them in the trade) have done their shopping before they come through passport control and into the lounge. So between flights and pax, I write ideas down and get a lot of thinking done. Once at home I just have to sit down and key it all in. Like the review below that was the result of lull between British Airways flights.

Lunch Hour by Carl Jones
Lunch Hour has like any great sitcom a great cast of characters. There is Christian who is the intellectual big fish in a small pond of inane lunch time banter. He secretly enjoys this even though he knows he bores the pants of his colleagues with his lectures on, well pretty much anything. Barry, his bigoted confrontational counterpart can be found in any work place. (I certainly had a few run ins with the Barry’s of this world. Then there is John who’s input mostly stuns the room into an incredulous silence. He is the bloke you dread being drawn into a conversation with. Saul is the youngest of the odd group, that is thrown together each day twice during their lunch breaks at the night shift of a DIY store. Saul manages to amuse his co-workers quite unintentionally with his naive statements. These are just a few of the skilfully created cast members.
The book is not what I initially expected but all the better for it. Apart from a witty comedy about colleagues chewing the fat during their lunch time break, it is also a sharp and very well informed critique of the 20th century and an even better snapshot of Britain in 2013/14.
The book is written from Christian’s perspective and it’s his opinions and observations that provide many of the laugh out loud moments. We get a hint of his troubled home life when he goes from the guy who usually sits quietly in the corner and on the fence, to taking part in the conversation and spouting opinions. Even though we got hints that all was not well, the ending of this book will guaranty that this is one read I will remember.
So who should read this book? I think Americans and UKIP voters will be befuddled and annoyed by Mr Jones, possibly both. I would recommend this to anyone with a good understanding of British contemporary culture and a love of satire. Go read it now before we forget who Cheryl Cole (or Tweedy?) is.