Thursday, 19 November 2015

Henchmen by Eric Lahti

I had the pleasure of working with Eric Lahti on the Anthology; Holes. This was Eric's project and he steered it to a book of short stories we are all proud off. We're using it as a showcase for Indie authors and hopefully by reading the book you will discover some talented authors. Here is the link again:
Holes on
So it is high time I discover some of Eric Lahti's books.
Henchmen by Eric Lahti on

Buckle up and let the Henchmen take you for a ride. You might not understand all the fantastic characters Eric Lahti introduces us to, or even agree with them; but trust me getting on this thrill ride will certainly beat reading the paper. I’m a kitten loving European, that doesn’t get America’s fascination with guns and it’s paranoia about their own government, but it certainly makes for good, high octane entertainment.
What sets this book apart is its cast of strong and original characters. The group of self-proclaimed super villains are let by a seven foot tall woman called Eve. She has assembled a group of henchmen to tear down the Government. Each of the men has been approached by Eve for their set of skills. Jean and Frank are a gay couple that can get them into any building or computer system. Jacob is a biker that loves his guns and has many useful contacts. Steve; the narrator has worked for the government but has valid personal reasons to hate them. He is also a good guy to have around in a fight or provide an inappropriate wise crack. The interaction between the gang provides many comedy moments and there are some great lines here.
One night whilst out for a night of Sushi served on a naked woman (Is this hygienic?) The team help a young woman, (the serving dish) Jessica, when some Yakuza want to do very bad things to her. (I kid you not, worse than tying her up and serving sushi from her stomach!) The Yakuza gangsters are after a secret weapon her father helped develop. Eve and her henchmen offer their help in finding her father and Jessica becomes part of their team. This leads them on a very dangerous path of secret government projects and things that should probably not see the daylight. Eve is evasive about who she is and why she is bullet proof, but she has a clear agenda and the others are willing to follow her. Why? I think because they share her ideology, she pays well and cares about her team. Steve at one point muses whether she is a minor goddess but none of them knows. The thing is, Eve is intriguing and as a guy with a grudge willing to do bad things you have to ask yourself; why wouldn’t I join a seven foot bullet proof blond, intent on creating some serious havoc?
There is a fair bit of graphic violence and strong language, but I think with a title like Henchmen you should be prepared for this. Guns, violence and the odd alien thrown in for good measure; just enjoy. Part 2 is already out and part 3 is in the process of being released, which is good news.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

Betrayal: The Consequences by Sharon Browlie

This is the follow up to a book I enjoyed and reviewed earlier. The sequel is much shorter and i think the author has missed some opportunities. I decided to give it 5 stars anyway as it was a very good read. I always enjoy Sharon's descriptions of Edinburgh in the late 1980's. I've lived in the town from 1991 to 2011 and know all the land marks she describes. One of the places she goes to in this book was a nightclub called Cinderella's rockefella's in St Stephen street.
This is right around the corner from where Cameron grew up; Clarence street. Cameron would have known this building as a theatre, which it remained from it's opening in 1890 until 1915. Then it became a riding school, a cinema, a dance hall and in the 80's a nightclub. It burned down in 1991 and I lived in Clarence street at that time but had the misfortune to be on a family visit that evening and therefor missed the fire. (And by all accounts it was the fire of the decade!!!) Now the review of the book:
Betrayal: The Consequences by Sharon Brownlie on

I hugely enjoyed Sharon Brownlie’s debut novel, Betrayal, so I was looking forwards to the follow up Betrayal: The Consequences. We catch up with DI Brennan and her team at the day of Helen King’s sentencing. If Brennan thinks this will be the end of her involvement in the case she is mistaken. A heart wrenching letter from Helen lands on her desk shortly after she is taken off to prison. So is the sequel as good as Betrayal? I would have to say yes and no. The book was engrossing and Sharon brings her characters to life, we feel compassion for them and we understand them. The only reason I say no is because the book is very short and I think the author has left some obvious avenues unexplored. I wanted more of Brennan and her team and the carrot of a fresh case was not taken. I hope Ms Brownlie will come back to Gayfield police station as I think she has a great cast of characters here. Her descriptions of Edinburgh in the late 80’s are wonderful and provide a fantastic back drop for a gritty crime thriller such as Betrayal.

Friday, 6 November 2015

Paradox Book 1&2

Next to designing beautiful book covers like the two for the Language in the Blood series, Patti Roberts is also a prolific writer of books. Needless to say that the covers for the series Paradox are stunning. I will be reviewing the first two books just now, but I've already bought book 3. The series is 4 books and I think I will need to read the whole series to get all the answers. (And after reading the first I have many questions, but it will be fun getting to the end) If you're a fan of fantasy you will enjoy this and I gave both books 5 stars.

Paradox - The Angels Are Here (Paradox series Book 1) on
This book is the first in a series, but what a promising start. A war is raging in a parallel universe of Aquila, between two Houses of angels the Grigorians and Bulguardians. The Grigorians have taken the upper hand and the imperial city of Altair has fallen. This is bad news as the Grigorians are fallen angels that feed on the blood and souls of humans. The seven pinnacles, key to the survival of the human race have been taken to earth. The Paradox is that in our universe time passes much quicker. While the war still rumbles on in Aquila, on earth 900 years have passed and we’re now in Darwin Australia 2001, where we meet Grace an eight year old girl. Her life takes a rather tragic turn and later she is haunted by visions and the experiences of a girl named Julliete.
The story of Grace, who loses her father at a young age is very well told and heart breaking. We find out that she is special and angels have been sent to protect her. First one comes in her life as an imaginary friend, but later come into her life as normal people too; a police man or a class mate. I particularly like her neighbour and friend Angela as this angel has some trouble fitting in and is just too serious for her own good. This provides some comedy moments. The Grigorians are excellently portrayed as a depraved family that is cruel and blood thirsty with very few morals. The story is at times complex and I think I’ll need to read on to find out what is going on. But that’s not going to be a chore! There is no gratuitous sex or swearing, but some of the descriptions are gruesome, so not suitable for a very young adult.

Paradox - Progeny Of Innocence (bk2) (Paradox series) on
Paradoxically in book 2, only days have passed in Altair, but on earth, Grace is now a girl of sixteen. She is still non the wiser about her visions, but she takes them seriously and jots her dreams down. We find out that things at Graces school are rather precarious as the Grigorians have taken the cover of a group of goths at her school. Despite needing to stay hidden, their blood lust often gets the better of them.
 Grace also discovers boys and is attracted to Damon, one of the Goths. One day in class she feels utterly compelled to kiss him. Angela has her doubts about him as he is one of the goths/Grigorians, but is he as evil as they are? Then a Pizza delivery boy Riley catches her eye and she has a spooky feeling she has known him before. I think book 3 will have a very interesting love triangle. I’m glad Angela still has a big role next to Grace; her cool head saves the day on a few occasions.
 The story is at times complex as we learn a lot more about the world of Aquila and its inhabitants. There are many magical creatures and we just get just a look into this world. Also on earth we get introduced to a lot of new characters as we follow Grace and her school days. There are still many mysteries to be solved and loose ends to be tied up. The second book ends on a great cliff-hanger, so I ran straight to Amazon to buy part 3. There is no gratuitous sex or swearing, but some of the descriptions are gruesome, so not suitable for a very young adult.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

The drowned Phoenician Sailor by Lesley hayes

Having read and enjoyed a number of Lesley’s short stories, I thought it was high time I read one of her novels and it didn’t disappoint. I gave this 5 stars.
I admire the way Ms Hayes construct a sentence and she has a lightness of touch that stops this work from sinking into melodrama or becoming heavy. Her lightness and sense of humour makes this book very readable and enjoyable despite dealing with serious issues such as loss, abandonment and emotional abuse. I know the writer is a psychotherapist and it show in how she approaches her characters. Her main protagonist Kaya/Fynn we get to know as she finds her own therapist dead when turns up for their regular session. Fynn still has a lot of issues to sort out and maybe this is why the therapist manifests itself as a ghost. I found it at times uncomfortable as we got such an insight into her life. (Like listening at the door of a therapist session in progress) At times the pace dropped a little, but I put that down to relating more to some characters than others. (I think Jack would be someone I would hide from in a pub, for the fear of him dragging me into a deep philosophical discussion.) Lesley Hayes has written a beautiful book that will appeal to most, as the number of emotions explored, are many and I think every reader will recognise themselves at some point. 

In other news:
I'm pleased to announce that Blood Ties Language in the Blood book 2 is now also available on smashwords at $2.99 keeping it at the same price as Amazon.
Book 1 has been free now for a week and without any advertising, 150 copies were downloaded. I hope Amazon will follow suit, but for the time being please feel free to report it to them. (I'm also free on Itunes, Barnes and Nobles, Kobo and Fnac to name but a few.)

Saturday, 10 October 2015


Another day another skill learnt. I now know the difference between a mobi and an epub. I didn't want to know, but in the last few months I've picked up a lot of knowledge unwillingly. The reason I picked up some more skills screaming and kicking is because Amazon refuses to make a book permanently free unless you can prove that it is sold or rather given away at another retailers. I went with Smashwords as many of my writer friends use it and they distribute to many other retailers like Barnes and Noble. Very soon I'll ask people to bombard Amazon with complaints about having seen Language in the Blood for free on another site. Here is the link:

Language in the Blood on Smashwords.

So why give a book away for free?
I often run promotions by giving books away free, but Amazon only lets me do this for 5 days every 90 days. This will allow me to run promotions more often. Some writers have really seen sales of their books take of after making one book perma free. As I have a series, it makes sense to entice people in with book 1 for free.
What did I think of Smashwords?
To set up an account was very easy, as I'm making the book free I didn't need to provide much information. Then when it came to upload the book I opened their style guide. This was one of the most complex and sleep inducing works I've ever had the misfortune to look at. I decided to ignore the thing and upload. It's formatted for Kindle (a mobi) so how bad can it be?
Their previewer promptly came up with some errors, mainly the table of contents. I set to address each one with the 'help' of this guide. I've looked at some e-readers and put it through a epub gizmo and most of it looks fine. All in all an afternoons work. I know it's probably not perfect on all e-formats, but the main focus is the books on Amazon.
Other news:
I jumped the gun a bit and ordered some books before my editor had a look at the proof.
I know this was hasty, but I wanted to give out books to many people that I don't see that often before Christmas. Book 2 Blood Ties is absolutely perfect, but book 1 has an issue that I didn't spot in the e-previewer which meant the pages went a little out of sink. Only a problem if you want your table of content to match with the chapters;)
The plus point is that some people will get a very rare copy of Language in the Blood as we will update this error very soon. If you like your books less than perfect but rare, go to Amazon now before it's too late:

Language in the Blood in Paperback

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Bob is in my Head and Wants Me Dead by IDK Emcee

I liked the title of this book and downloaded it as a freebie. I really would have liked this book but I think the author and I just like very different things. Reading a bit more about the author, he is inspired by beat poetry, not something I'm keen on. So not more than a 3 star from me. If beat poetry does rock your boat you might like this.
Bob is in my Head and Wants Me Dead by IDK Emcee on Amazon

I always appreciate when a writer pushes the boundaries. Sometimes it works; sometimes the world is not yet ready for it. I think I’m not ready for this book; I did not get this. It reads like the ramblings of a deranged serial killer who now has a voice in his head ordering him to kill someone or else become the victim. What I did not get was what the book set out to do. Is it a comedy? It is well written and quite poetic at times, but then is interspersed with pages of the same sentence repeated over and over again. (Which I found very annoying, as we get the point after half a page.) I didn’t mind the swearing as we obviously are dealing with a tortured angry character, but I found it very hard to find any sympathy for the narrator. Could be enjoyed by someone smarter than me, who gets what the author is trying to express.