Thursday, 26 July 2018

Minstrel's Bargain: The Prophecy Trilogy Book 1 by Richard Ayre

I'm a sucker for a freebie and this one is free at the time of posting. Horror is not my favourite genre but I give it a try if free. If you're a horror fan and like your blood, gore and torture; you will like this. I gave it 4 stars.

This is the first book in a trilogy and what a start it was. Set in Newcastle of the late eighties, we delve into the world of emerging rock bands and the journalists that report on them. Philip Sturgess is one of those young journalists that write for a heavy metal magazine. He is happy with his life and girlfriend Shelley until he is sent to report on emerging rock group ‘Minstrels bargain’. The tension builds slowly as you realise Kick Bizarre is not your average rock star. The horror that follows comes as a shock, when people start to behave in rather zombie like trances and inflict gruesome acts. This horror novel has enough blood and gore to keep hardened horror fans on their toes. I liked the tension of the writing; it keeps up to the very end as Sturgess’ David takes on the Minstrel’s Goliath. We have seen the plot of good versus evil and a battle for the souls before, but Richard Ayre brings something fresh to the table by setting it in the eighties uk music scene. The writing was good and kept me hooked to the end. Couple of deep breaths now before I pick up the courage to buy the next one.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Dieselpunk Epulp Showcase Kindle by John Picha , Grant Gardiner , Bard Constantine, Jack Philpott, & 1 more

I was vaguely aware of this genre as I had read something by one of the above authors; Bard Constantine, before. I liked his book the Troubles shooter a lot and with this book being free it was a no brainer that I picked it up. The thing with showcases is always that you are going to like some things more than others and they are only snippets of books so in that respect it was a little unsatisfying. But a good sampler that deserves 4 stars.

Want to know what diesel punk is? Well here is your chance to sample some kindred spirits that write in the genre. There are many styles but they all draw their inspiration from 1940 film noir and comic book culture. I’ve read a book by Bard Constantine before and his characters talk like they walked off a Humphrey Bogart movie. John Picha’s Hero Pandora Driver is more like one of the larger than live comic book characters. So all in all a fun mix of styles, subjects and a good coherent sample selection with links to take you to the various authors sites if you like their work. Best off all it is currently free!  I will be checking a few of these authors out.

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.
Click the picture to take you to Amazon.

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.