These are totally my own personal and subjective views about books.
The Secret, Karen Mossman 4****
Reviewed 9th January 2016
Kerry was part of an ordinary, happy family until her father died. Struggling on her own and with few choices left, Kerry’s mother eventually accepted the shelter of another man’s home, a man who loved her until things turned sour. In hindsight, it was probably the wrong move, but sometimes you have to live through these circumstances before you realize it’s not what you want. It certainly wasn’t what Kerry wanted.
The way this author wrote about one family’s life in 1970 Manchester was authentic and enjoyable. It was an easy read but somewhat short for me because I prefer a longer read. Nonetheless, I enjoyed being lost in nostalgia for a short time and wallowing in the memories of that era’s music and singers. The well-developed characters seemed realistic and the places were vividly described.
My Barsetshire Diaries by Lord David Prosser 4****
Reviewed 9th February 2016
I enjoyed this light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek look at the lives of Lord and Lady Prosser mainly because it didn’t need me to do anything but read. As a lover of thrillers with suspense and intrigue, my reading involves trying to remember every detail and clue. This book was a refreshing change. It’s an easy flowing, non-taxing, absorbing read, liberally splashed with good clean humour.
Between garden fetes, fund raising events, a visit to the opera house, endless shopping, and dining out, they lead quite busy lives. I was amazed how little time they spend at home despite not having jobs. Then there are their pets and other family members to fit in. All this activity and Lord David’s charming way of looking at things made the book charming and interesting.
Although it was a good read which I would recommend to anyone, I knocked half a star off for the very few editing errors, and another half a star off for it being less than 200 pages. Sorry, but this is just one of my quirky rules unless the shorter story is reflected in the price.
BloodMarked by Lu J Whitley 5*****
Reviewed 26th February 2016
Lu J Whitley demonstrates her wonderful talent for creative writing well in this, her debut book. Even though her fantasy characters are purely fictional, they’re created with remarkable skill and utterly believable. It’s the same with the setting. A modern-day world co-existing with the living remnants of a much older one, yet, it doesn’t seem odd at all when you’re reading it. Not even when two unlikely characters like the troll, Stein, and Jami, the 800 year old guardian of Greta, both take a plane ride with normal passengers. I put that credibility down to the author’s clever writing style.
I won’t go into the story since it’s already explained in earlier reviews, and I couldn’t really add more without giving spoilers. It’s sufficient to say I was hooked from the first page to the last. It was fast paced, engrossing and thoroughly enjoyable. The only let down for me was the ending which seemed abrupt and left just as many questions as the story began with. For this, I would deduct 0.5 stars but since Amazon doesn’t allow me to award 4.5 stars and the fact there will be a sequel, I’m awarding it 5 stars. I’m sure further books in the series will resolve everything. I’ll certainly be buying the rest of the series to find out what happens.
I’d recommend this book without hesitation, even if it does whet your appetite for more.
The Lost Heirs: The first Story of Eshla by Amanda Soley 5*****
5th Nov 2014
Although this book is described as YA, in truth, it’s an enjoyable read for any age group. It has all the elements of the Harry Potter stories, and more. This author knows how to create a fascinating make-believe story. Her wonderfully descriptive scenes pull you right inside the world of Eric who has stumbled upon another world. He and his friends are given a task to solve leading them into mystery, excitement, and danger. Cleverly written, it’s sprinkled with humour to contrast with the tense moments. It had me laughing out loud at the colourful phrases used, like: ‘He spoke quietly and dangerously again, his massive walrus moustache quivering like a dying slug in the last spasms of life.’ Wonderful! I can’t wait for the second story.
‘Ice’ by Jessica Wren 5*****
5th November 2014
(I think this book has now been removed from Amazon)
I really enjoyed this book. It has all the elements you expect to find in a small American town where everyone knows all there is to know about everyone else, and strangers are treated with some suspicion. What’s not expected is the special telepathic capability the community have. It’s an unusual story with some unexpected twists, especially the crime scene. The author has cleverly handled the large number of characters well and you feel as though you get to know most of them quite quickly. It’s a well written, easy read that flows nicely. Well done!
Review of ‘Transitory’ by Ian Williams 5*****
13th Jan 2015
‘Transitory’ has opened up a new genre for me. Its well thought out plot, though complicated, is executed extremely well. It keeps the reader guessing the outcome all the way through. The writing is superb, overpowering the very few typos that managed to slip through, rendering them insignificant. The author, Ian Williams, took me to a fantastically different location without the normal dreary travel time evident in some science fiction books. His characterisations were brilliant. They made me care about Nate, the main character, and also the others who were helping him get to the truth. They also made me really hate Stuart and the hired assassin. I congratulate this new author and look forward to reading more of his books.
Review of ‘Imogene’s Message: A Thriller of Extreme Prejudice’ by Christine Sherborne 4****
16th Feb 2015
The story begins with one chilling scene, and continues with many more, each one even more suspenseful and weirder than the last. The characters are imaginative, and extremely diverse. The religious zealots trying to eliminate Xantara, the Energy Guardian of Avebury circle were terrifying. I was wondering what awful torture they would dream up next, and it didn’t disappoint; it was more horrific than I expected. I did get a little confused in places, but generally, it was an enjoyable read. If you like fantasy this book has plenty to keep you interested.
Review of ‘Kissing Demons’
by Jen Winters 4****
1st Mar 2015
Kissing Demons is mostly a fast paced fantasy, but does slow down in places where necessary explanations are given. As a new reader of fantasy, I found these passages helpful but others might think differently.
It has all the usual elements of guardians, demons, werewolves, fae, and witchcraft. The heroine Geneva, an immortal guardian, along with her sister guardians have to fight and destroy a powerful demon who’s sired many Halfling children. Geneva discovers one of them is her soul mate, but as a good guardian, she is willing to sacrifice him, if need be, for the world good.
I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline, but for me personally, her servant of God character was spoiled a little by the graphic sex scenes. They seemed superfluous to the plot.
Johnny Nothing by Ian Probert 4****
3rd Mar 2015
Although this book is primarily written for children, I found myself laughing out loud in places. It’s dark, but cleverly written and witty enough not to frighten the younger reader. Reading certain passages might make them squirm a little, or even a lot, especially when Felicity has to kiss her brother’s corpse. Yuk! The author has been creative with the characters, especially Felicity, who is colourful and completely over the top. There are plenty of lessons for children, although maybe repeated a little too often. I’d recommend this book to anyone wanting a quick read with a bit of humour.
The Corner Booth by Kelly Ilbode 5*****
17th March 2017
A Treat of a Read
What a treat of a read this book was. I thought I had grown tired of the romance genre but this has rekindled my interest.
The plot follows the traditional romance pattern of a male/female attraction with something getting in the way of their romance. In this story about Cassie and Sakis, it’s his secret life as a Greek Mafia gangster that gets in the way. Sakis is arrogant and controlling, expecting Cassie to follow his every whim. Cassie is a strong minded individual, determined to live life on her terms. She’s not impressed by his obvious wealth and doesn’t like the way he treats her. She seems to get on better with his more sensitive and caring bodyguard but it is Sakis who stirs her emotions. Nothing runs smoothly though as another Mafia family arrives on the scene and issue threats. Sakis eventually learns to take her feelings into account. He has to if he doesn’t want to lose her.
Trying to analyze what it is about this book that made it so enjoyable, I came to the conclusion it’s partly due to the clever way the author slowly uncovers each layer of her characters, giving them a depth not always seen. Also, the detailed sex scenes were not unnecessarily smutty, which is often the case, but written with taste. It’s a well written book with nothing to pull me out of the story. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and look forward to seeing more of Kelly Ilbode’s work.
Awarded 5 stars
Captured Lies by Maggie Thom 5*****
4th May 2015
‘Captured Lies’ delightfully captured me from the very first page. The story of Bailey Saunders’ birth, upbringing, and eventual realization of the truth is gripping. The reader is taken on an action-packed, express journey through some dangerous situations as Bailey slowly comes to term with her life of lies, and discovers her true heritage.
I loved reading this book which held my interest right to the end. There was just one part where I became confused and had to speed read from the beginning again. Once I’d done that, it was perfectly clear I’d been reading whilst a little tired and had not taken it all in. You have to be alert for this one as the clues are all there but easily missed.
Maggie Thom liberally enriches her writing with supremely descriptive, inventive phrases. She is an expert wordsmith who has produced a great, suspenseful thriller. I will certainly read her next book in this series, and would have no trouble recommending it to others. Well done!
Run, Amy, Run! by Elizabeth Grimes Brown 5*****
2nd July 2017
Well Worth a Read
A riveting tale of a young girl’s experiences when she runs away from home and heads for London. Fleeing her abuser leads her into even greater danger at times, though she also meets many helpful friends whose comradeship sees her through some of her darkest days. I cared for young Amy a lot and cried at her suffering. The author’s portrayal of her, a few other characters, and the locations are brilliant. I would recommend this book as well worth a read.
‘The Glade’ by Harmony Kent 5*****
8th September 2018
The story begins in the most beautiful of settings, deep in the forest of Dean. After a terminally ill woman and her husband spend a week holidaying there, she discovers her illness is somewhat eased. Going against the advice of local villagers about living on the site of an old ruin in the forest, they return, buy the old cottage and rebuild it to live in. Although she continues to improve in health while she’s there, things are not as straightforward as they seem. There are forces at work that make this into an exciting, suspenseful read.
I thoroughly enjoyed this fast-paced, page turning horror story, even though I wasn’t sure what to make of the first spooky incident, laugh or be terrified. It was so bizarre! The rest of the story left me in no doubt. The weird goings on The Glade were definitely scary and horrific. A true horror story evocative of Stephen King’s books.
Harmony Kent does a great job of creating believable, authentic characters. Her descriptions of the locations are superb too. A brilliantly written tale which I enjoyed so much, I will read it again. I’d certainly recommend ‘The Glade’ to everyone who likes a little suspense in their lives.
‘Just a Drop in the Ocean’ by Grant Leishman 4****
Reviewed 29th October 2018
This book has an easy, flowing style which helps the reader get into it immediately. The story begins with Nick and Theresa, two young children from different countries, who pair up as international pen-friends for their school project. In time, their ongoing correspondence inspires each of them to conjure up an idealistic caricature of what their pen-friend is like.
Distance and circumstances end this brief flirtation with what might be, and eventually they both settle down to married life and children with other partners. Despite their new relationships, Nick and Theresa still think often about what might have been.
Their respective lives turn out very different from their original dreams as both, for separate reasons, indulge in illegal activities. Many years later, when life couldn’t throw any more hurdles their way and they are both single again, Theresa and Nick meet again.
The characters are well defined, if a little infuriating at times. When someone as intelligent as Nick, an expert in accountancy, kept making the same bad financial choices I wanted to shake him. Also, despite him continually pledging to find Theresa, he was easily sidetracked. His flawed character makes him all the more believable, though. We humans do make bad choices and it does give this tale greater depth.
Review of ‘Loving in Fear‘ by Elizabeth Grimes Brown
9th January 2019
I was hooked by this book from the chilling start and it continued to keep me engrossed most of the way through, right to the end. This cautionary tale should be read by all females since the warning signs of a controlling partner are similar in most instances. It was a brilliant read except for the fact I felt in parts it wasn’t saying anything new. It appears there are endless ways of saying how controlling he was and as I’d got the message, I just wanted it to move on. However, eventually it did move on and was brought to a thrilling end. A well written, smooth-flowing story by an accomplished writer.
‘Circus of Horrors’ by Carole Gill 4****
Shocking? Yes, it was. For these were no ordinary circus carnies. Difficult and troubled pasts had made them do things way beyond normal. Then, the introduction of an over-friendly conjuror escalates their sick behaviour even further, causing a deep division between the depraved carnies and their former self-appointed carer, Fred. He’d looked after them all in the past even though he disapproved of their cannibal ways.
Horror? Certainly! You’ll find it in bucket-loads here. If horror is your thing, then you won’t be disappointed. This is a really imaginative story with extremely diverse characters. Their actions certainly evoke disgust.
Scary? No, not really. The characters would certainly be scary if you came across them alone at night. However, I didn’t feel afraid at any point. It flows well and is very readable but, for me at least, there is no edge-of-your seat tension, suspense, or scariness. That’s only a personal requirement in horror for me though. For some it’s not necessary. Either way, it’s still a great read for those who love horror.