Monday, 4 April 2016

Eye of the Storm: The Silent grief of Miscarriage by Rachel McGrath

If there is one good thing about travelling it is that I can read in planes and trains, hence 2 reviews in short succession. This is not the sort of book I usually read, but I never mind reading a book that is well written and heartfelt. Very brave of this writer to put her painful experiences into words. I gave this 5 stars.
Eye of the Storm:The Silent Grief of Miscarriage by Rachel McGrath on

Kudos to Rachel McGrath for writing such a heartfelt and honest novella about a difficult subject; miscarriage. I was not aware that as many as 1 in 4 pregnancies fail. This book is well written and expresses eloquently some of the feelings many women feel. I’m sure it will bring solace to someone who has been through the same ordeal. The ending of the book is open as some things are not easily explained or solved, but I do hope in time to come there might be a happy ending or follow up.

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Dangerous Liaisons (Royal Command Book 1) by Sarah Stuart

Part two of this book was quite a shocker and kudos to the writer for taking a taboo subject and writing about it. I found some bits harder to believe, so that is why it got a four star. Well written in a fast paced and original style.
Dangerous Liaisons by Sarah Stuart on

If there was one word to describe this book it would be a roller coaster. The pace is fast and furious as it flicks from Lizzie; an heiress trying to find her place in the world, to Margaret; Henry the VIII sister; whose writings in the book of hours Lizzie is trying to decipher, and Michael; the man Lizzie has fallen in love with. The book is written in two parts and they couldn’t be more different in storyline. Part one is a sweet love story between two young people. Michael has ambitions as an actor and Lizzie wants to become a nanny. She has gone against her parent’s wishes to study management and take over the families hunting estate. After meeting Michael she puts all her efforts into furthering his career. Part two is about love too, but it’s rather twisted side and be prepared for a few shocks. Lisette; Lizzie’s daughter has now inherited the book of hours and is deciphering Margaret’s granddaughters writings. Lizzie and Lisette are descended from this queen and the thoughts in the book of hours have influenced the descendants. For Lisette this leads to rather reckless behaviour. There is a lot to like about this book and the characters are complex and not straight forward. It is a story with some unusual and original plot twists. The writer keeps the reader on their toes by a fast if at times confusing style. In part two especially as the mother’s and daughter’s names are so similar, but I understand why they had to be. One question mark remained for me; if a director cast a father and daughter as a pair of lovers in a musical that featured a nude scene too, would the audience not be gasping a collective breath of horror and disgust?

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Sun Sea and Secrets: A novel set in Greece by May J Panayi

This was a nice easy read and I gave it a generous 5 stars. It could have been a bit shorter as we didn't need to know what Ella the main character had for breakfast and the word delicious was overused. But I think it makes a great holiday read and a fun introductory guide to Greece. Well writen and edited.
Sun Sea and Secrets: A novel set in Greece by May J Panayi on

It’s unusual to feel the sun on your back when you read a book indoors, but this is exactly what I felt reading Sun Sea and Secrets. I also felt very hungry as May Panayi described all the wonderful Greek food in great (maybe a bit too much)detail. This is a story about a woman coming to a Greek island hoping to discover more about her mother who died when she was only five. She hopes to discover what happened during the summer when her English mother worked in a Greek tavern and find out who her father is. Ella retraces her mother’s footsteps and in doing so, falls in love with the island, its people, the cats and its wonderful food. I particularly enjoyed the anecdotes about the cats; anyone who has visited Greece will have been affected by the legion of scrawny little cats desperate for food. I don’t think I was the only sunburned tourist getting funny looks from the checkout girl when I went into the supermarket to buy cat food. I could hear her think, “do British people eat cat food?’
This is a very warm portrait of a visit to Greece and would make an excellent travel companion as it teaches some basic Greek and introduces the many dishes on offer. Feel good sunny read.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Beyond the Pale by Senan Gil Senan

It is good to be back reading books, especially if its an enjoyable book like this one. I rated it 5 stars.
Beyond the pale on

Senan Gil Senan has created in Beyond the Pale a very believable world, were two sets of humans have evolved in two very different ways. The character of River; a young Native American or outlander who lives a hidden existence outside of the city bounds and its controls; is the embodiment of the group that have re-embraced a more tribal way of life. He seems to be in tune with his environment and his own body. The differences between the groups become clear when River saves Nathan Carlson; a security officer from the fortified city of New Denver. Even though Nathan is grateful for River saving his life, he can’t avoid him being taken captive by the cities forces. He does however succeed in taking custody of River and he brings him home to live with his family. Here the differences become even clearer when we see how the somewhat dysfunctional Carlson offspring deals with life.  Both children had their intelligence artificially enhanced at birth, but in their society social skills seem less important. Anton the son is so involved with all his gadgets that he rather deals with a virtual woman than a real girl.  Audrina is the epitome of a hedonistic society that needs technology, drugs and sex for entertainment. River falls in love with Audrina and a relationship develops. It doesn’t make for comfortable reading, when Audrina plays games and pushes River into her dysfunctional world. Here our hero shows his moral fibre and stands up to her.
There is plenty of action in this book and I found it hard to put down. I wanted to rush to the end to find out how River ended up. The descriptions of the new ‘advanced’ world are vivid without overwhelming the reader with techno-babble. The writer also brought the Colorado landscape (or the outlands) to life for me. There are plenty more questions to be answered at the end of the book and I’m pleased that there is already a follow up to this book; The Fifth Seed.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Seer of Souls by Susan Faw

I'm happy to announce that Conversations with Tom is finally finish and has been send to my editor Penny Hunter. I'm sure there are still some things that need to be changed, but we are on the home straight. I hope I'll now have a bit more time to read and review, but also to get some more exercise. Sitting typing does nothing for the waistline or general condition. The weather here is warming up and I look forwards to many fine walks and swims.
This time I'm reviewing an fantasy adventure, fantasy is not my favourite genre, but I do enjoy a good adventure. This one was action packed and a good read. I gave it five stars.
Seer of Souls by Susan Faw

If you’re a fan of fantasy adventure stories set in a magical kingdom, then you’ll like this. I have to admit that I was bored to tears by the Hobbit as it had at times overlong descriptions of the things found in Middle Earth. Seer of souls thankfully doesn’t do this, the pace is fast and there is lots of action. I could have actually done with a bit more explanation as there remain many questions; like who exactly is the evil Queen Alcina, where did she come from, and what made her go to the dark side? There is a second book planed so I think we’ll get to know the kingdom of Cathair more in depth. I liked the character of Cayden as we see him developing from simple farm boy who likes to carve flutes, to reluctant leader of men. I look forwards to reading the next book as I want to discover more about these magic lands, the primordial people and Avery, Cayden’s twin. I hope the follow up in the Spirit Shield saga is equally action packed and exciting. This impressive debut novel is well written and edited and I think we will hear more of Susan Faw in years to come.