Friday, 26 January 2018

Trading Darkness: A Dark Fairytale by Lisa Hofmann

Because the previous book was a short story, you are getting two book review from me today.(Plus it is raining otherwise I would have been for a long walk along the beach!) This is a dark fairy tale that I enjoyed very much. Maybe a little adult for a very young reader but I think this can be enjoyed by readers of about 12 and over. 5 stars.
Click on the picture to take you to Amazon.

This is a magical fairy tale that starts against the back drop of a witch hunt in 1650’s Germany, and is loosely interwoven with the story of Rumpelstiltskin. It is a dark fairy tale dealing with the dilemma of a father who has to give one of his daughters away to save his fiefdom and family. He picks one but cannot reconcile himself with that decision. I liked this book very much. Even though it is a fairy tale, many of the characters have to deal with very real human emotions, dilemmas and live with the decisions they’ve made. I loved the character of Louisa, so vulnerable and innocent, but she shows real grit when she finally gets to take her own decisions and finds her place in the above world. I’m glad Lisa Hofmann has followed a traditional route and readers who have grown up with the Grimm brothers and Hans Christian Anderson will feel right at home. But I’m sure the generation that has grown up with Harry Potter will love this too. Well written and moving at a good pace throughout, I can recommend it.

The Return of the Pumpkins by Lacey Lane

It has been a while since I reviewed Revenge of the Pumpins, so it was about time I reviewed the follow up. It is FREE on Amazon. I enjoyed this book too and the ending was great. I gave it 4 stars.

The Return of the Pumpkins is a nice little horror short. It follows on from the short story Revenge of the Pumpkins but it can be read on its own as Lacey Lane fills us in on the events that went before. A family brutally murdered and a boy, Peter left with horrendous injuries. We catch up with Peter many years later as he tries to put his live back together in a mental institution. This book mixes sweet young romance as Peter meets Sue, a fellow inmate, with horror as we edge towards the inevitable gory climax. This book was well written and held some surprises. Short and enjoyable.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Destiny of Kings: Epic Heroic Fantasy Series (Covenant of Grace Series Book 1) by Fiona Tarr

I was a little worried when I started reading this book as one of my least favourite genres is Christian fiction. Reading on I found myself swept up in a fantasy adventure that didn't feel too biblical. I enjoyed this and will probably get the next instalment of this series. A five star read that is currently free!

Fiona Tarr has taken the familiar story of David and Goliath, but retold it in a contemporary fashion. I’m not overly knowledgeable on the Bible, but I think some characters are added for dramatic effect and to flesh out others, to give them more of a back story. I enjoyed this book very much as I’m not a huge fan of Christian fiction and this book is more about the character of David, the boy and the man he is becoming. Religion is there but is thankfully not too in your face. The character Jezebel is both sexy and menacing and we become to understand why her name is still used to describe a woman of loose morals. The book is well written and moves at a good pace throughout. This mix of adventure, fantasy and well drafted characters will appeal to a broad range of readers and I recommend it. Christian fiction fans might have a problem with the dark magic and the sexual promiscuous character of Jezebel, but I found it fitted with the story and enjoyed every last page. Looking forwards to the next book; Seed of Hope.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Gift of Continence (Fiona MacDougall Book 2) by Tabitha Ormiston-Smith

Book one Dance of Chaos by Tabitha Ormiston-Smith made the top 5 of my favourite books of 2017, so you can imagine I was keen to read the follow up. This book is still very, very funny, but I enjoyed it less than book one. I will give this a 4.5 star.

Book one leaves us with Fiona losing her job and eyeing up a career in policing. It came as a bit of a surprise to find her  marrying long-term on-off boyfriend Tim. It is clear from the outset that Fiona is not marrying purely for love but also for the easy life Tim is willing to offer his stay at home new bride. Soon it becomes clear that living with her new husband is not a bed of roses and when she suspect her husband is cheating, Fiona drafts in the help of her foul mouth friend Gloria and little brother Patrick. This is a very funny book as Fiona and co. deliberate what to do with philandering hubby Tim. I did like the plot and there are a lot of laugh out loud moments, but I did enjoy it less than book one, mainly because I missed the cast of eccentric characters from the first book. Goebels, his sassy but foul mouth assistant and all Fiona’s other colleagues did add much comedy moments. I felt that Fiona was portrayed a bit too naive and silly, I mean she must have had some intelligence to do well on an aptitude test and land the job of programmer.  I would like to see what Fiona does next. What will do her good (like most of us!) is an honest day’s work and a fulfilling relationship, but knowing Fiona her delusional mind will lead her down the path of least resistance right into a big pile of trouble. Fun Aussi comedy, for people who don’t mind a bit of strong language and dark humour.
I got book one as a review copy of the author and enjoyed it immensely, so I promptly asked her for the follow up for an honest and fair review.

Monday, 8 January 2018

A Stitch in Time by Senan Gil Senan

So I finished 2017 having read and reviewed 52 books. Soon as it is the 8th of January I'd better get a review posted! This writer I liked a lot but it took me a while to get back to his work. I enjoy short stories as I mostly read in my lunch break. This bundle was great; 5 stars.

I’ve read a full length novel by this author before; Beyond the Pale; A dystopian fantasy with some very well written characters, thrown in with a good dose of humour. When I saw this bundle of shorts I was hoping to find more of the same but in bite size pieces. There is a strong common thread binding these stories together; time.
I loved how the writer used a number of genres (Sci-Fi, Horror, dystopian) to play with time in the narrative. I’m not normally a fan of Sci-Fi but I loved ‘Hold the bridge’ and it claustrophobic and tense atmosphere, as a space travelling officer wakes up from stasis before her crewmates do. Disoriented and with just one other crewmember awake she sets to work finding out why. The development and conclusion of this story was one of my favourites.
‘Hello Friend’ was also excellent, a satire of our reliance on technology but taking it a little step further into the future. The last story I was less keen on. Like the others it is narrated in the first person, but this one was told by a more advanced alien. I think this muddied the waters a little as we first had to get our head around this being, before we could get into the real story. I found myself drifting off a bit midway, but I did like the ending.
Altogether a bundle of stories that had a strong voice and a coherent theme. I enjoyed it and would recommend.