Saturday, 16 June 2018

THE CHOCOLATE LABRADOODLE CAPER: A Damien Dickens Mystery (Damien Dickens Mysteries Book 3) by Phyllis Entis

I think this book falls under the genre Cozy mysteries. A crime novel without swearing sex or graphic violence. The sort of books Ms Marple fans would enjoy. I didn't mind it, it was well written and had some good plot twist. Just a little too comfortable for me. But if you like cozy mysteries, go and give this a try.
Click on the picture to take you to Amazon.

This is the third book in a series, but having not read the previous two I didn’t feel that I missed anything vital; the book stands on its own. There are some references to previous events and they explain the relationships between some of the characters. The book is set in 1980’s America and Canada especially Montreal. It also fits with the style of the book which reads like an old fashioned crime novel (I use old fashioned in a positive sense, as in familiar and wholesome.) There are some good plot twists and turns and the private detective duo of Damien (Dick) and Millie are likable and gutsy. Wouldn’t mind reading the previous books for an escape to a different era. A little disappointed that the Labrador in the tittle didn’t feature in the crime, but that didn’t take away from an enjoyable book.

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

King's Ransom by Tabitha Ormiston-Smith

I've reviewed quite a few of this authors books. Her Aussi sense of humour appeals to me a lot. And like in this case; she is always willing to send me a free copy for a fair and honest review.
My favourite genre is historical fiction, so I was pleased that Tabitha had something in the genre. Even though the book was well researched the dialogue and the characters seemed more modern than the 1190's. The book is firmly in spoof territory. I gave it 4 stars.

I’ve read a few of Tabitha Ormiston-Smiths books and short stories. Most of them have been contemporary comedies, but this one intrigued me as it is set in the middle ages. I like that she often uses a cat or dog as one of the characters and, like in this book, they add a lot of humour. Here it comes in the shape of a great big Deerhound named Pansy, a dog that his owner John (King Richard the Lionheart’s brother.) is convinced is a she, even though it is clear that she has bits that say otherwise. The story is very loosely based on the story of Richard and the time when England was struggling with the costs of funding his crusade and ransom. It also weaves in the legend of Robin and maid Marianne and makes some unusual (and somewhat scandalous) assumptions. Tabitha has taken a motley crew (or merry band) of familiar characters and rearranged them to her own unique blend of comedy. If you are a fan of Monty Pythons Holy Grail and more concerned with comedy than historical fact, this will appeal to you.

Friday, 18 May 2018

Upside Down in a Laura Ingalls Town by Leslie Tall Manning

This was rather a fun read and I have no hesitation in giving it 5 stars. I wasn't a big fan of the cover, but don't let the embroidery fool you, this is contemporary YA fiction.
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This book surprised me, from the cover I could not have guessed it would be a modern YA fiction. This book certainly has a bit more grit than the usual YA books. Brooke is a modern heroine that has to deal with adversity (the death of her mother) and everyday teenage dilemmas. Her way of dealing with grief is to party, drink and smoke pot. She is a normal teenager that is on the cusp of going off the rails. Her father’s rather novel solution; to drag them all on a reality TV show, I found really refreshing and original as a story line. The writer’s immaculate research into 1860’s America showed through as Brooke had to dress, cook and take care of personal hygiene with only 1860’s means. Hilarious but also brutal as an attempt at shaving legs goes pear-shaped. A stark reminder that we do live a comfortable and privileged life now. (Especially women, my god what would we do without our monthly sanitary products!)
The message of the book is firmly in YA territory; live a clean and simple life, value your nearest and dearest and don’t throw yourself at the first boy that shows an interest. I liked this book a lot and would recommend this to YA and adult readers alike. Enough plot twist and turns to keep me interested.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Unlikely Soldiers Book One (Civvy to Squaddie): (A coming of age novel about life, love and friendship) by Deb McEwan

You know by now that if a book is free I read just about anything. Drawing the line at erotica and gory horror. I read a lot of YA, it isn't my favourite genre but if it has a good story line I don't mind. This one grabbed me as it is set in 1970's Britain. The title is somewhat misleading as it made perfect sense to me that Guy would join the army, Michelle maybe more unlikely but not that much. Anyway, I enjoyed the read and gave it four stars.
Click on the picture to take you to Amazon. Currently still free.

Two youngsters with some problems in their personal lives decide to join the army. I liked the fact that this book is set in late seventies Britain and the Armies role in Northern Ireland and the thread of the IRA form an important backdrop. It adds tension to the decisions these youngsters are taking. I also liked that the story is told from Guy’s perspective and also from the perspective of a girl; Michelle also known as Mouse. The writing was YA and it would suit a younger person, but not too young as the book deals with issues like being gay in the military, rape, domestic assault and sex. It does steer clear of anything too graphic and I only counted one mild swearword. The romance is rather sweet and I was rooting all the way for Michelle and Guy to get together. There is a follow up and I would like to find out what happens to our young heroes. The title left me a bit confused though as both Guy and Michelle are not that unusual for joining the army, just ordinary kids hoping to get away from home and making something of their lives.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Never Going to Happen: Who watches the watchers? by Anders Teller

This book is currently still free on but might be too if you are in a different region. I liked it but had some criticisms too, but as it is a freebie give it a go if you like a very contemporary political thriller. Four stars. Click on the picture to take you to Amazon.

I liked the premise of this book. A political thriller set against the backdrop of the aftermath of the Brexit referendum. Kudos to Mr Teller for getting a well written book out so quickly, I only spotted a few typos. The character of Tom Antony was intriguing, suffering from amnesia after a car crash; he is trying to piece his life back together. The article he was writing before the crash is leading him back into a dangerous conspiracy. This plot I liked, but there were a few other subplots that for me slowed the story down. His partner Jan, his previous work, a new romance all linked into the main plot. It read like real life, which isn’t always that interesting. We were also a lot in Tom’s head where he kept summing up all the things he found out and what it meant. I did like the character of Emily and she brought some fun to the book. Good dialogue between Tom and her. Worth a read if you are into current affairs and like a political thriller. Best read soon while there is still some uncertainty about Brexit.