All posts by Ted Bun

New Year, New Reads

The Haunting of the Harlequin Goat: Revenge with a supernatural twist

Richard Savin

The Haunting of the Harlequin Goat: Revenge with a supernatural twist by [Savin, Richard]

Psychologist Lydia Kroll gets a new patient … and ends up investigating a haunting that involves a goat, a scarecrow and a dancer.
Tension abounds from the opening line, “The last of the light was fading.”
The story takes the reader from the hustle and bustle of big city life to the prejudices and introvertion of small town life. As we follow Lydia from her shower to an abandoned house on the edge of town in a quest to find the source of her clients haunting .

There is a twist. The humour that underlies the story.

I heartily recomend this very well written story by the author who brought us The Girl In The Bakers Van, which as a romance set in wartime Europe belongs in a totally different genre

5 Star Super,  Supernatural Story

Taming Mrs Archibald’s Schnauzer

Matthew Black

Taming Mrs Archibald's Schnauzer by [Black, Matthew]

Silly, Silly, Silly

Once again Matthew Black takes us back to the Hidden Lake Naturist Club for more fun and frolicks with the Dixon family. This time Brad gets involved in club politics “Brad Dixon Eco Warrior” and well, if you know Brad …
It is a total absurd and very amusing read.
No Schnauzers are hurt in this story!

4 Stars a fun read!

Navigator -The Complete Series

SD Tanner

Navigator - The Complete Series

Four books in a series sold as a single unit.

An all action Sci-Fi adventure based on Earth, very soon. Alien invasion. Mass destruction and a brave group of survivors fight back. Rather similar story in some ways to Independence Day (the movie) none the worse for that.

The characterisation is a tad thin as is the rational for the final attack but by the time that happens you are at the 95% point so why worry.

4 Star Sci-Fi romp

A Change of Nature (The Rents Series Book 2)

Simon Butterworth

A Change of Nature (The Rents Series Book 2)

I really wanted to enjoy this the second book about the young Irish naturist Sasha.
Home from her holiday in Greece Sasha is determined to carry on with her naturist lifestyle. I found her undertaking some very high risk activities and fretting a lot about minor issues. Getting naked in the woods but worrying about a boy she doesn’t like claiming they had a coffee date.
I am not a fan of the narrative heavy style of writing which I suppose didn’t help.
A 4 star idea dragged down by the telling.
2 Stars  Uninspiring

The Bonny Boy (A Harry Gilmour Novel Book 4)

David Black

The Bonny Boy (A Harry Gilmour Novel Book 4) by [Black, David ]
Another episode in Harry Gilmore’s undersea war.
The tension and woderful descriptive work is all here. The characters are well observed and empatheically written but ….
The exploits are starting to merge into a single blur. The only real difference between this and the earlier books is that Harry is now in charge of the periscope and planning the attacks.
Still a good read, I’m not sure how many more stories it can continue.
4 Stars, slowly loosing momentum

The Floating Boy: Unexpurgated Edition (Heretics in Occupied Eden Book 1)

Kenneth Moe

The Floating Boy: Unexpurgated Edition (Heretics in Occupied Eden Book 1) by [Moe, Kenneth]

 

A book that takes you on a metaphysical pathway through a complex weave of beliefs and non-beliefs while remaining thoroughly entertaining.

This is a new expanded version of the story of Cloud, the eponymous Floating Boy, from his early child hood through school and Vietnam and from evangelical Christian church to atheism. The story is littered with anecdotes and personal histories of the interesting casts of characters. The school bully, the childless spinster next door, the couple living opposite.

In other section of the book we follow the life of Terp, who is destiny is wound up with the Floating Boy.

I found myself empathising with Cloud’s father, Lloyd far more in this expanded version of the story. Which is part one of the Heretics of the New Eden series

If you enjoyed Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, you’ll love this book. If you found it heavy going the lighter, humorous, touch of Kenneth Moe could open it to you.

5 Stars Book of the Month (February)

Pioneer: Murphys In Space

PZ Walker

Pioneer: Murphys In Space by [Walker, P.Z.]

One day you are an Air Traffic Controller, who sees strange faces in the radar screen.
Then you discover your wife’s uncle has left her something in his will.
Then your home burns down
Then … Well read it and find out!!I think PZ Walker has either been inspired by the old TV Show “The Twilight Zone” or the producers should hire him to write for a new series!
5 Stars Well worth the read!

Smoke and Summons (Numina Book 1)

Charlie N Holmberg

Smoke and Summons (Numina Book 1) by [Holmberg, Charlie N.]

A slightly more adult than young adult book from the prolofic pen of Ms Holmberg.

Sandis the central character has been kidnapped and used as a conduit for evil. The young girl, an orphan alone in the world apart from her co-kidnapees, survives by keeping a low profile. She is suddenly scared by the death of a colleague she makes a run for it. Alone and on the point of recapture she meets Rone an young man of devious means comes to her help.
The story is tense and edgy with more than a hint of evil magic. Well written and very engaging. A page turner worthy of the name!
While it works as a stand alone story right up to the very end, the final scenes are very much about setting up part two as a seperate book, my feeling is there are at least three stories with these characters.

5 Stars Book of the month (January) 

December Reading

December (and November) Reading

It has been a busy period, has December and November 2018. What with the new covers for the Uncovered Policeman books having to be done, uploaded and approved by Amazon.

Then there was finishing The Uncovered Policeman:THE LONG ROAD in time for the publication date 23rd December … so two months reading in a single post. Buy it

The Body In the Dales (A Yorkshire Murder Mystery Book 1)
The Quartet Murders (A Yorkshire Murder Mystery book 2)

JR Ellis

The Body in the Dales is an interesting whodunnit. Featuring a taciturn, cultured, separated DCI who has a reputation for solving complex cases by taking the path less travelled. A new DS joins the team and they set off to solve the murder of a thoroughly disliked potholer. The caver’s body has been found at the bottom of a cave complex but since he was dead before his body dumped. Lots of suspects with motive, but the means and the opportunity?
****

The Quartet Murders once again features DCI Oldroyd and DS Carter and starts with a violinist being shot on stage while the DCI is watching and the disappearance of the very valuable Stradavarius at the same time takes the story into the murky world of collectable musical instruments.
Lots of suspects with motive, but the means and the opportunity? (sound familiar) Lots of description of another DCI’s sweet eating habits, the violin is always called the ‘Strad’ no variation, The Violin, the instrument, the precious antique whatever.

**

Three Girls

Sally Dixon

Security expert Logan Kennedy flies into Schiphol airport to be met by Marianne and the first moments of a romance starts. The story is set mainly in the Rotterdam area against the background growing extremism, From Environmentalist, Radicalised Muslims and Right Wing Political Parties. Logan is here to protect an oil company from attack.
The other two girls are from the Muslim tradition, one very westernised the other trying to escape a strongly orthodox family.
So there are the ingredients for the story.
The plot weaves its way in and out of the characters lives, the oil company which they all work for providing the link until it reaches its conclusion. There is very little tension in this easy to read novel so it is a romance, with social comment rather than a thriller
A Good Read  4 Stars****

The Filey Connection (#1 Stanford Third Age Club Mystery)

David W Robinson

Joe Murray, Cafe Owner, Curmudgeon, Divorcee, President of the Stanford Third Age Club and Amature Detective, gets involves in the hit and run killing of a member of his club. The killing has left a space on the Club’s weekend trip to Filey. A space Eddie Dobson is keen to fill. Then things get worse.
On the downside, the characters, especially Joe, failed to engage me and I never developed an interest in them.
I picked this because the whole series was high in the Amazon charts. It turned out to be a bit of a potboiler whodunit, with no tension in the story. I’m not going to be reading the other 15 books in the series.

Well, others like it  2 Stars**

More Unsworth Manor Nudes

PZ Walker

The follow up to the original Unsworth Manor story starts at the other end of world war 1.
The Manor is up for sale and American War Hero Avery Montague is looking for a new home in the United Kingdom. A match made in heaven?
Well, it is after Avery finds a document left by the late Lady of the House.
A full on Cosy International Crime story, with a sprinkle of a Romance (or two, you old dog “War Hero!”)
It would benefit from another run through by the author.
Great Story, Could read better 4 Stars ****

The Mortal Word

Genevieve Cogman

The latest instalment of the tales from the Invisible Library has been on my pre-order list for months. I was slightly disappointed in the end. The characters are all there, Irene the Librarian, Kai the Dragon princeling, Vale the human detective and Silver the Fae. Once again they all meet in a world that is foreign to them all. This time they are there to save a peace conference between the Fae and Dragons.
The plot is well mapped out and keeps you engaged throughout but where has the quirky humour, that had silverfish attacking Irene in book one, gone? All the threats to the lives of the heroes were all too real. Hopefully the absurd will be back for book 6.
A Slightly below par Good Read 4 Stars ****

The Lodger – The sequel to Requiem for a Page Boy

Andrew Calow

When you open an Andrew Calow book expect to find a convoluted story littered with classical music references and a smattering of incidental social nudity.
This book is no different, it ties together the Holding Briefs loose ends and the Brothers Head with many of the characters from Requiem for a Page Boy.
It is a well-crafted story, that twists and turns as much as the River Thwait on its way to Kingsthorpe Harbour, past a repurposed pub and on the North Sea.
Yes I enjoyed the book, even as it swung into areas that in the end had nothing to do with the story … this time

December Book of the Month 5 Stars *****

Live From The Northsea and Other Places

Stuart Vincent

Tales from ships with tall masts. Stuart Vincent worked as a radio engineer on several pirate radio stations during the 1980s. The book is his recollections of his time with the Voice of Peace, Radio Caroline and Laser. The author is a radio engineer so not surprisingly, if a little sadly, we learn more about RF Modulation than we do about the personalities of his shipmates, what they ate, how they lived and how they stayed sane for periods of up to twenty-nine weeks stuck on a ship in the Northsea with irregular supplies of … well, everything. These things are touched on but never developed.

It is an interesting, if slightly chaotic, account of one man’s experiences. Sadly that is the downfall of this book as a read. It is very poorly edited, stories begin in one chapter and then again in another, only this time with an ending. Still if like me you are an Offshore Radio nerd it is an important record of the time and the technicalities of the ships.

An Interesting Read if you are Interested 3 Stars ***

The Watchmaker’s Daughter (Glass and Steele Book 1)
The Mapmaker’s Apprentice (Glass and Steele Book 2)
The Apothecary’s Poison (Glass and Steele Book 3)

C J Archer

The slightly magical stories of the Watchmakers Daughter, Londoner, India Steele and her struggle with her magic, her employer American (or is he an English Lord) Matthew Glass’s uncertain future and the romance between them. Matthew has to find Chronos another magical watchmaker the only person who can stop him dying. However, Chronos has disappeared and there are other people in pursuit of Matthew. They are seeking to take revenge on him for other actions in his past. No wonder the romance is in denial!
Very well written and very engaging main characters I read the first three of the seven stories on the bounce. I’ll be reading the rest soon, I expect
Joint November Best Read 5 Stars *****

The Uncovered Policeman: THE LONG ROAD

The Long Road

Ready for pre-order the Uncovered Policeman: THE LONG ROAD is the tenth book featuring Rags the Uncovered Policeman in the Rags to Riches series.

There are huge changes afoot at L’Abeille Nue. The naturist resort in the South of France that Rags and Bea Adiscombe opened on the site of a failed riding stables many years earlier.
Now Rags is on a mission at the behest of Bea.  It could have been a lonely mission.  Fortunately, he has a network of friends and family to help him along the way.
Some are new to the story, like Horse, who takes him along the length of the most famous road in the world.
On the way, there is still time for him to find the normal mix of sun and laughter … a general lack of clothing

This is a stand-alone story but is most definitely better read in the sequence set out in the series.

A perfect Christmas Read for all ages!

October 2018 Reading

October a holiday month here at Bun Towers,

A holiday and a bit of time to get into some reading. The thing is I got stuck into a series of long books. Which meant a few sleepless nights!

The Series?

  • Separation (A World War Two Chronicle Book 1), 

  • Change (A World War Two Chronicle Book 2),

  • Love (A World War Two Chronicle Book 3), 

  • Deception (A World War Two Chronicle Book 4),

  • Retribution (Lives Apart: A World War Two Chronicle Book 5) 

by

Carole McEntee-Taylor

Separation
Separation

The story of three families and several other individuals told in short vignettes interwoven with each other. Each book covers a year of the war (well roughly) as the character fall in love and face dangers and deprevations of wartime across England, France, Poland, and into Spain.

There is an amount of sexual violence as well as physical violence in the story.

The other problem is one of historical facts.

Like using a Bren gun to stop a tank, one of several slight slips about the hardware of war. Another is the amount of car use by private citizens. However, these little slips don’t matter much in the storytelling .

I read all five one after another … often reading late into the night!

A Great series 5 Stars across the piece 

buy it here

Checking Out

Nick Spalding

Checking Out Cover
Checking Out

Checking out is the story of a great musician who by accident has created a hit series of singing vegetable songs (think Teletubbies or the Herbs if that helps) Who manages to sell the franchise so he can move on … just as the symptoms of a brain tumour start to effect his behaviour. His strange stammer and language difficulties help lose his girlfriend … but he finds another. The thing is, is it fair on her to let her fall in love? Should he tell her? Can he tell her?

Varying from laugh out loud to deeply saddening it is a really well told story.

 

A Great Read,  5 stars

Buy Checking Out

The Girl from Berlin: Standartenführer’s Wife

Ellie Midwood

The Standartenfuhrer's Wife
The Standartenfuhrer’s Wife

 

I was going to start on the World War Two Chronicals, when I opened this book in error. I’m glad I did. A captivating read about a young lady Annalise, the want to be ballet dancer daughter of a family of “hidden” Jewish refugees in Berlin in the 1930s. The story gets darker as the power of Nazi Party grows.  Strangely Annalise finds love in the arms of Nazi officer the “Standartenfuhrer” of the title. The twist and turns mount as we discover that the Standartenfuhrer is not just a Nazi with friends in high places.

Great Read 5 Stars

Buy The Standartenfuhrer’s Wife

Montana Cherries (The Wildes of Birch Bay Book 1)

Kim Law

 

A bit of slushy Romance to finish the list. Fun, light and bit of psychology about narcissistic personalities. The story centres around the Wilde family. A family of cherry growers (originally) torn apart by their narcissistic (late) mother.

This story focusses on the daughter Dani Wilde and the changes in her life that happen when her first and only real lover returns to Montana.

At times very frustrating as they dither and dance around each other but still

A fun read. 4 Stars  

Christmas Sale

Yes, A Christmas Sale in November …

but it does give you time to plan, order and gift wrap these fun books (or you could just tick the Gift Wrap option!)

  The Uncovered Policeman
New House ... New Neighbours
New House … New Neighbours

The Christmas Offer

Between now and 15th December 2018 I have taken £1.00 off the price of all my paperbacks

  • The Uncovered Policeman   £4.99  NOW   £3.99
  • The Uncovered Policeman Abroad £4.99 NOW  £3.99
  • The Uncovered Policeman In and Out of the Blues £5.99 NOW  £4.99
  • The Uncovered Policeman Goodbye Blues  £6.99  NOW  5.99
  • The Uncovered Policeman Two Weddings  £4.49  NOW £3.49
  • The Uncovered Policeman Caribbean Blues  £5.99   NOW  £4.99
  • The Uncovered Policeman Family Album  £6.99  NOW £5.99
  • The Uncovered Policeman Spring Break £4.99   NOW  £3.99
  • The Uncovered Policeman Made for TV  £4.99  NOW   £3.99
  • While Bees Sleep  £5.99 NOW  £4.99
  • New House … New Neighbours  £5.99   NOW £4.99
  • New House … New Address   £5.99   NOW £4.99

Give someone the gift of naturist fiction,

An ideal Secret Santa present! Laugh when you see how the recipient reacts … or doesn’t!

Just click a link on the left to buy!!

The Uncovered Policeman: In and Out of the Blues

Books for September

September has been a strange month, still very hot here. Lots of writing being done too. So the list of books for September is quite restricted. The books this month have in general been rather weak reads too!

Cupcakes and Casualties (Peridale Cafe Cozy Mystery Book 11)

Cozy Mysteries 10 Book Box Set: The Peridale Cafe Series

by Agatha Frost

Cupcakes and Casualties (Peridale Cafe Cozy Mystery Book 11)

Why did I do it? I mean reading the whole ten book box set and then book 11?

Well despite the appalling lack of accuracy about English life and the nature of small Cotswold villages, they are fairly engaging characters. OK, there is death, multiple deaths where ever Julia goes. Even a simple birthday party for her new man results in a killing! And it is not the first illegal death in the family. Julia’s baking must be pretty fantastic, otherwise, the whole population of Peridale would have moved out to escape the Grim Reaper.

Book 11 sees an actress, a diva, buying the remains of Barker, the boyfriend’s, house damaged in a storm (and uninsured) to build a modern monstrosity on the site. Until murder takes a hand!

All very silly but easy reading

3 Stars

Buy from Amazon

Naked Crow 7 – Sacred Arrows by P.Z. Walker

Naked Crow 7 - Sacred Arrows by [Walker, P.Z.]

Ah, that is why! Mr Walker has come up with an inventive set of stories for his heroine Shelia, the modern day Crow nation Shamen, her friends and her spirit guide. At least four different storylines intertwine their way through the book, some light-hearted others potentially darker.

A fun light read. I loved it, even the sometimes idiosyncratic use of English!

5 Stars

Buy from Amazon

Gallows View (Inspector Banks Series Book 1) by Peter Robinson

Gallows View (Inspector Banks Series Book 1) by [Robinson, Peter]

Mentioning darker plots … I was tempted by a low-cost edition of book one of the Inspector Banks series (the first of twenty-four, it could be expensive). On the other hand, it was not a strong book.

Written in the 1980’s which I managed to pick up from the smoking in public buildings and one mention of synthesiser and drum music, some of the plot devices had not stood the test of time. The opera-loving hero and the Radical Woman character. Some of the writing was very repetitive ‘Banks lights another cigarette!” Headlines in the Eastvale Herald. Many of the characters are very one dimensional, all the women are stunningly attractive, the bad guys are irredeemably evil, petty but evil.

If I was going for a post-Rebus detective … Derek Fee’s character Ian Wilson is far better. Definitely in the

I gather there is a TV series based on these books. Reviews indicate they might get better so I may try another.

2 Stars

Buy from Amazon

What Have You Done by Matthew Farrell

What Have You Done by [Farrell, Matthew]

Another dark and nasty American murder psycho-drama with a twist in its tail, story. I am struggling with this book. So much so I re-read the Lady Hardcastle mysteries to avoid it.

Buy from Amazon

August Reading

August …

The month of heat and reading in the pool. Loving the August reading experience.

Silent Deception: A Paranormal Gothic Romance Novella by Cathie Dunn

Dark Deceit
Dark Deceit

 

4 Stars a Good Read

The Forgotten Summer by Carol Drinkwater

The Forgotten Summer
The Forgotten Summer
This one really didn’t work for me.
The mystery was so obvious that I had resolved it about a third of the way into this story.
Likewise the sub-plot, why is Mother-in-law so horrid, was pretty easy to work out.
That made the reading of the rest of the book heavy going.
The digression into wine and olive oil production whilst informative added little. As did the description of the towns and villages and the mention of the swimming pool being cleaned …. no body even goes in the pool.
An inventive story padded to novel length instead of edited to a short story.
Just a  Fair Read

Oh! To be in England & A Little of What You Fancy by H E Bates

A very painful read in more was than one. There is the pain of Pop’s heart attacks … Ma’s refusal to recognise how much she was contributing to his problems.
The relationship between the Vicar, Mr Candy, and Primrose is worrisome to. Last time we met them she was just 14! The period of time elapsed since is never clear but Oscar is now at school so several years. Phew!
Then you get the casual racism of Ma’s disapproval of bare-breasted black women on TV. The narrow minded anti Common Market slogans bandied about . All very uncomfortable stuff written 7 years after Oh! To be in England but actually not the England it was.

A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge

 

Skinful of Shaddows
Skinful of Shaddows
A Young Adult fiction story of a young girl growing up with her runaway mother in Poplar just before the English Civil War.
Makepeace is not a normal girl, she has a space for ghosts inside her …
A very cleverly plotted story, spoilt slightly by the use of different fonts to differentiate the different voices.
 Four stars and a  GOOD READ

Time, Tide and Trouble.  Sun, Sand and Secrets.  Rocks, Roses and Riptides by Carolyn L Dean

Three more cosy crime stories set in the Oregon sea side town of Ravenwood Cove.
Amanda gets involved in solving murders with her boyfriend James the detective. All very gentle and as comfortable as a room at the Ravenwood Inn and as sweet as the cakes served in the towns café.
Gentle  EASY READING

Varied Traits by Patrick Brown

Varied Traits
Varied Traits

The first book featuring Salem Reid.  A private vigilante . This story revolves around the ‘adult entertainment’ industry as a background to crimes of sexual violence and extreme violence. How on earth Salem gets away with the trail of death and mayhem is beyond my belief. On the other hand it is a readable page turner. The excitement keeps the pages turning, even if smacking the head of a bad guy against the pavement until his skull is pulp tends to push the other way.

A three star Fair Read

Magic Vodka Wardrobe by Sheila Patel

Insanity, in a young woman’s wardrobe is a vodka only disco bar from the 1970s.
Shaz, her sister and her aunt are the only customers. They get blasted, dance to old disco and have failed relationships with assorted blokes, who sit on a sofa outside the corner shop.
I had volume 2 on Kindle Unlimited, I sent it back unread … nuff said!
No picture, no link, don’t go there unless you like strange alternate urban realities, vodka and YMCA!

New Cover Art

Announcing the New Cover Art for the Rags to Riches Series

I have been fortunate to be given permission to use the images from Andrew Chambers to use as the cover art for the Rags to Riches (the Uncovered Policeman) books.

Andrew, who was the creative talent behind Chamber Cards and now runs Chambers Concrete, making concrete candle in Byfleet in the UK. Sounds whacky but take a look, I recommend them for that ‘awkward’ gift purchase. https://www.chambersconcrete.com/

So the New Covers

Starting with the original story ….

The Uncovered Policeman

We meet PC Adiscombe and he meets Beatrice Johnson

The Second Story

The Uncovered Policeman; Abroad

A holiday in the South of France … Hand luggage only?

The third story

The Uncovered Policeman: In and Out of the Blues

Back to some real police work

 

Did You like the new cover art?

Let me know … comment or tweet me Ted Bun @Mr_Ted_Bun

 

New House … New Address

New House … New Address

is out!!  My new book, New House … New Address was published 27th July 2018!

New house ... New Address

http://mybook.to/NewAddress

The follow up to my best selling book, New House … New Neighbours, continues the story of Fran and Jerry’s New Life in France, with their New Neighbours, in their New Community while enjoying skinny dipping!

Available in Paperback, and for Kindle – free with Kindle Unlimited.

Read, Enjoy, Review  …. pretty please!!

http://mybook.to/NewAddress

OOPS … It’s been a while

Digging In by Lorretta Nyhan

 

Digging In

http://getbook.at/DiggingIn

The story of the salvation of woman, and her son, after the death of her husband. The road to salvation … digging up her garden

I enjoy this story and the relax style of writing. I’m not sure why but enjoy it enough for 4-stars and a Good Read

The Lost Girl by Carol Drinkwater

https://amzn.to/2JYlXum

An almost smash,
The easy road to success of the actor husband …
The rapid success in a new career are not realistic.
The romance that leads to the story line is rather mundane.
The ending was just a little too “tidy”
That said I enjoyed the book
The main story is one of drama, tension, kindness and pain.
The secondary story of a historical romance is beautifully written and very engaging
The Palestine section of the story is important but burying it in this book wasted it.

4 stars a good read

Roar of the Storm by Adam Burch

 

I’d read part one of this story, Song of Edmond, which I called a clever story a while back.

Except apart from the hero being the semi-indestructible Edmond it has nothing familiar from book 1. In fact it has nothing in common with it. Very uninspired Space Opera

I’ll give it 2 Stars,

Building a Family Book 1 -A new Life Begins by William Corgan

 

A really uplifting tale of building a home and a family starting from scratch. Well not quite scratch. An amazing house in a wonderful location ready for conversion from house to home. Money, lots of money to finance the conversion. Oh and good will, stacks of good will.

All a little bit far fetched but if you can suspend belief …. a wonderfully happy family story but I’m not going to read the second story in the series.

3 Stars

The Plastic Magician  by Charlie N Holmberg

https://amzn.to/2A96isk

I love Charlie Holmberg’s writing. aimed at the YA market these are fun  stories.

The Apprentice to one of the few Polymakers is a young American girl, Elvie. She travels (partially) magically to London for her apprenticeship. There she finds herself involved in a struggle for power and influence in the new world of Polymaking, the Magic of Plastic.

This story has a much better sense of place compared to the earlier Paper Magician, which had some inaccuracies of geography. Since this is my only ever criticism of the “Magician” stories a full 5 Stars and a Good Read

Natural Dual-Madge by K F Breene

https://amzn.to/2uSZiuO

Ms Breene is another excellent writer in the YA magical realism world. I reviewed the earlier books in this “reality” back in February. This book ties the two journeys through this world together to produce an exciting gathering of the ends …

The corrupt Magicians Guild is trying to reassert itself, the only real opposition is a rag bag of untrained “Natural Madges” aided by some Vampires and Wereanimals. Oh and the heir of a powerful one. If you have read  Fused With Fire you’ll know who I mean.

5 Stars a Good Read

A Convenient Death by Derek Fee

https://amzn.to/2LCcYnn

A second Moira McElvaney story set in Boston Mass. (rather than Belfast for Inspector Wilson, her former Boss) Wilson looms large in the background of this tale as Moria agonises over her future. Meanwhile multi-millionaire Frank Shea, who fancies the pants off his best friends girl friend, (yes Moira!) stands accused of the murder of the man who’s testimony sent him to prison.  Moria has weeks to clear her boyfriend’s best friend of murder.

Lacking the grit of a Wilson story … 4 Stars a Worthwhile Read

Brave Nude World by A D Rowen

 

https://amzn.to/2AewRfO

So imagine that public nudity is no longer a crime in the United States, and a new generation of nudists has begun to become visible in towns and cities around the country.  Rachel, encounters a couple of nudists and gradually becomes involved in the naked recreation and then the politics of naked living.

An easy read, well written.

4 Stars an OK Read

To Die in Vienna by Kevin Wignall

https://amzn.to/2Ae4Gh9

Kevin Wignall writes nice tense thrillers set on the edge of the shadowy world of espionage and international secret agencies This one is set in Vienna. He carefully draws a picture of a retired British agent who is conducting an observation on a younger Chinese man, when everything goes horribly, horribly wrong. He is forced to run and hide as everybody associated with his last job is murdered.

To stay alive he is forced to kill or be killed.

5 Stars a very Good Read

The Beekeeper’s Promise by Fiona Valpy

https://amzn.to/2NMsQRG

A wonderful book comprising of two narratives set 70 years apart spoilt by a twee ending. If you don’t read the last couple of chapters it is a very worthwhile read. It counterpoints the contemporary story of Abi a widowed victim of a controlling husband and her journey from door mat to  person with the wartime tale of Eliane. The Beekeeper of the title and her struggles to survive and resist in war torn France .

Sadly the ending looses it a star 4 Stars a Worthwhile Read

Back Lash (Anna Travis Book 6) by Lynda La Plante

I expected more from the pen of a successful TV writer, but ….
I felt the characters Anna, Langton, Mike, Joan lacked any depth or reason why I should care about them.
Likewise the baddies, the main one Oates, who we are told is super-bad, have no character at all!…

Just 3 Stars … An OK Read

The Air Raid Killer by Frank Goldammer

https://amzn.to/2AcTtxj

Oh My Goodness! An absolutely incredible read. Set in war time Dresden where a string of savage murders are taking place. The hero Detective Max Heller, a non-Nazi police officer, veteran of the Great War has to investigate these murders despite obstruction by his ‘politically’ minded boss. Mid-way through the investigation the Fire storms are inflicted on the city and the Russians arrive.

More red herrings than a kipper factory, confused romantic feelings and strange alliances.

Translated from the German by Steve Anderson.

It  struck me as being in a very similar in tone to the writing of Richard Savin. Who’s “The Girl in the Baker’s Van” I had just beta-read.

5+ Stars a  GOOD Read

The Battersea Barricades (a St Mary’s Short Story) by Jodi Taylor

https://amzn.to/2uQSj5D

Short and slightly unfulfilling, the Battersea Barricades have been aa event referred  to on a constant basis in the stories of St Mary’s. It was seen as a turning point, a heroic stand and victory in the UK revolution. The  story describes how to be a rebel you need skills like bike stealing and canal navigation.

As usual with Jodi Taylor you get a wonderful self depreciatory humour and a slight sense of the absurd.

No stars … it is an anorak fans story filler.

An Argumentation of Historians (St Mary’s Book 9) by Jodi Taylor

https://amzn.to/2OkT52Y

OK so I am that anorak.

Max and the team of time traveling historians from ST Mary’s are off on their travels up and down the timeline of history. Observing the last joust of happy King Henry VIII, laying traps for arch baddie Clive Ronan. Which don’t work out as well as anticipated., leading to Max getting marooned in time and heading for extermination as she approaches a time she has visited before.

Humour absurdity and in jokes all abound.

5 Stars a Good Read

Death on D’Urville + Straight and Level both by Penelope Haines

Claire Hardcastle is a commercial pilot and flying instructor, who operates out of Paraparaumu airport in New Zealand. Both stories are a little bit the Famous Five meet Magnum PI (or the TV detective of your choice)

https://amzn.to/2OkQC8A

Death on D’Urville is a straight forward murder who dunit. Clair finds the clues that love interest Hunky Cop follows up to solve the crime. There are twist and turns enough to keep you reading

4 Stars an OK Read

 

Straight and Level is a more complex plot that starts with a demonstration by environmental activists and ends in murder, kidnapping and an attempt at starting a racially motivated guerrilla war. Far fetched? Did I mention the Famous Five?

3 Stars a Fun Romp

 

The Ripening Sun + La Belle Saison both by Patricia Atkinson

 

The Ripening Sun is a great (true) story about a woman, who follows her husbands dream to make wine in France. Then it all goes horribly wrong. The wine is awful. Her husband contracts lupus and goes back to the UK and she is left with some else’s dream to live. The story is then of her struggle, helped by some amazing friends, to succeed.

4 Stars a Worthwhile Read

La Belle Saison

A failed attempt to write copy for the French Tourist Board.

2 Stars not worth the effort, unless you are in hospital with no WiFi.