Tag Archives: Magic

March 2019

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C.J. Archer 
I have been binge reading again this time the very absorbing Glass and Steele books by CJ Archer. The story of India Steele, the Time Magician brought up in ignorance of her magic by her parents, who were frightened by the anti-magic power of the Craft Guilds.  Her partner in crime (solving) Matt Glass, who is in turns a dead man given a second chance by magic, an American outlaw turned inlaw, the next Lord Ryecroft  and the unattainable love of her life.
Set in roughly Victorian London , retaining a great sense of place, these almost cosy, murder and magic stories draw you in and keep you held as the next layer of multi-layered adversaries is revealed in the next book.
Fabulous series only slightly running out of steam by book 7.
Series of the year?  Maybe!
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Take your average wife, mum, breadwinner and tired old frump, struggling to keep her family housed and fed, in a job situation that is far from perfect, while her wanna be writer husband does very little. You have Penelope.
Her best friend, the perfect, lifestyle blogging millionairess Jenny suddenly dies. Revealing that things were not as they seem.
As a result, Penelope decides that she needs to get honest about her life  … starting with her fading marriage.
It might not sound it but it is an entertaining read. Well developed characters and while it has no conventional plot it moves everyone forward through the pages.
Five Stars Read it
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The Irish ‘Rankin’ returns as strong as ever.
Wilson has another murder to solve, that of an ex-Drug Squad officer.  As ever there are tentacles that reach so much further and bring an extra dimension to the case.
Unlike so many ‘Wonder Cops’ Inspector Wilson is a team player. His team are his eyes and ears in the world. His boss gives him cover from above. He drinks but not to the excess of Rebus. He thinks but not to the depths of Morse. He has had failed relationships but is now in a fragile long term affair.
This is a series  of truly great thrillers, I cannot recommend them highly enough
FIVE BIG RED STARS
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The Case of the Nefarious Naturist

The Case of the Nefarious Naturist

by Jack Dearborn (author), Ellen Dearborn (editor)
Just as you thought it was all going to be 5star reviews this month.
This tale of a private eye hired to find the Blackmailer who is trying to extort money from members of a naturist club falls a little flat. Miles manages to track down the blackmailer by asking the same questions, word for word often as not of all the members. He then goes home and recounts it all to his wife and partner Luann, verbatim.  The one clever trick becomes a bit of a bore after the third telling too.
Three Stars a Potboiler
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The Black Spitfire by [Oliver, Nicholas]

The Black Spitfire

by Nicholas Oliver (author)
 Well …
Start with an injured spy obtaining a private Hurricane fighter in the autumn of 1940
Then we have a super squadron of invincible Spitfire pilots called Bulldog Squadron, not a number like every other RAF squadron.
The spy’s boss flies in for a meeting in a private Avro Anson despite being out of favour.
Captured on Jersey, beaten and tortured in an underground bunker in Normandy before escaping after a gun battle, (two up) in the Hurricane …
Then turning into a sub-Denis Wheatley type story …
And Amazon ‘Recommended’ it in an e-mail.
It just scrapes
One Star Dross
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A Picture of Murder (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery Book 4)
The lovely Lady Hardcastle and her faithful partner Florence are back on razzle-dazzle form in this latest offering.
A visiting cinema presentation brings murder and mayhem to the Village once again Lady Hardcastle puts it all together in the end.
Light, humorous and easy but I still think these are great well drawn and consistent characters. The two central stars being joined by a troop of lesser personages starting to develop into well rounded an interesting people bodes well for the next book in the series.
 4 Stars … I saw through the plot!
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Cold in the Soul: A pulsating serial killer thriller (Wilson Book 10)

Cold in the Soul:

A pulsating serial killer thriller (Wilson Book 10)

by Derek Fee (author)
 More Wilson, more murder, more excellent writing. A serial killer stalks the Belfast gay scene and thinks he is smarter than our hero.
5 more Stars
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Fifth Sun

Fifth Sun

by Otha Foster (author)
An enjoyable Little tale of a small-time newspaper reporter who, at his wife insistence sets off to resolve a mystery from his childhood. . He finally gets beneath the protective shell of his old home town. He is taken in hand by the local paper proprietor and the elderly librarian, both of whom are naturists, and uncovers a story of family and prejudice that slowly resolve to reveal more about the reporter than anything else.
4 Stars, a pretty good read

February’s Books

February 2018

I was busy doing a lot of writing in February, see the previous post! The Uncovered Policeman: Made for TV

I managed a rather fun series of fantasy books. I probably started in the wrong place, although I might not have done … So I’ll review as I read it

Natural Witch (Magical Mayhem Book 1)

by KF Breene

Natural Witch (Magical Mayhem Book 1) by [Breene, K.F.]

http://getbook.at/NatWitch

This is the one that might have been out of sequence, but it appears to have a sequel in preparation.

We meet Penny Bristol, a young woman with known but suppressed magical talent, standing outside a church in New Orleans. She is supposed to be attending a magical retreat. Somehow the dates have  gotten confused. Preparations for a battle between good and evil are underway. The question is who’s side should she be on?

After having accidentally helped to turn a coven of witches into zombies she ends up hiding in a cupboard  while a pitch battle rages around her. Being found by a self declared ‘good guy’ another young woman dressed in leather armed with a gun and sword she survives and is taken into the care of an older couple of ‘mages’ (magicians).

From then on we follow her tale as she tries to return to her old life, correcting the grammar on public notices with her friend Veronica, for example. However, her magic won’t let her and soon the corrupt Magicians Guild of Seattle have her in their sights.

Pace, humour and a strong internal logic hold this well written story together. A very entertaining read I’ll give it

A Good Read

I then followed back to the parent series, starting with;

Born in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy Book 1)

By KF Breene

Born in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy Book 1) by [Breene, K.F.]

http://getbook.at/BornF

The lead character in this series is a certain leather clad, sword wielding,  female Super Natural Bounty Hunter, Reagan.  As you may have surmised this is the same self proclaimed ‘good guy’ who appears in  Natural Witch.

There is far more to Reagan, as learn across the rest of the series …

Raised in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy Book 2) by [Breene, K.F.]
http://getbook.at/RaisedF

 

Fused in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy Book 3)

Fused in Fire (Fire and Ice Trilogy Book 3) by [Breene, K.F.]

http://getbook.at/FusedF

and that is a problem with trying to do a review of a series like this. The books are pretty well continuous  and to review Fused in Fire without giving spoilers on the earlier stories is rather tricky. So I won’t go there other than to say that the journey to the Cracks of Doom in Fused in Fire is very derivative of the Lord of the Rings, not that that is a bad thing in its self!

If you enjoy magic, dragons, vampires and unicorns with a bit of violence and a twist of humour …. You should find the whole trilogy worth the read!

Three Good Reads!

All four KF Breene stories are free for Kindle Unlimited.

Just to prove that not everything gets a rave review

The Hundred Grand Banana (A Raucous Giles Curtis Comedy)

By Giles Curtis

The Hundred Grand Banana (A Raucous Giles Curtis Comedy) by [Curtis, Giles]

https://amzn.to/2GgVdnV

I should have know from the title – I mean – A Raucous Comedy by The Author? As part of the title?

This just didn’t work for me.
I found the premise absurd rather than witty and the humour rather desperate.

A biochemist has made a (presumably) genetically modified drug producing banana. Some klutz confuses another klutz for the biochemist and I lost the will to turn to the next page …

Far from ‘Raucous’

Don’t bother

And for something a little different

We Have Lost The President

By Paul Mathews

We Have Lost The President by [Mathews, Paul]

http://getbook.at/LostPres

Start with the concept,  London, 2044. Britain is a Republic. President Jan Polak has vanished overnight from Buckingham Palace, just weeks before an election.

Howie Pond – the President’s official spokesperson is determined to find out what has happened- as soon as he’s eaten his breakfast.

A very British comedy, occasionally a slightly desperate comedy, ensues. Cue failing technology, robotic security systems that mal function.  Yep British comedy!

Not badly written but nor is it a book to stop you putting it down and going to sleep either.

I might read more of the “We have lost …” books. They are part of Kindle Unlimited .. so nothing lost!

And Finally

Mirror Earth Network

By PZ Walker

Mirror Earth Network by [Walker, P.Z.]

http://getbook.at/MENetwork

The third Mirror Earth series from the prolific pen of Paul Z Walker.
This tale of travel between largely benign friendly worlds, all called Earth takes a twist and arrives at the beginning.
Meanwhile the wicked Prof Holgar, the principle of the Laboratory where we started (on ‘our’ Earth) is still in pursuit of his dinosaurs that live on the first Mirror Earth.
Add in strange ‘going ons’ at Ayers Rock, flowers with power and data, a few Aliens and we are dashing across curved, distorted time and Space with out rockets or pockets!

Another great yarn from PZ!

A Good Read

Another Complete Series Read

I have read my way through another series the four books that make up the Hidden Academy series.  Overall the Hidden Academy stories start off very bright and action packed page turners. However over the series they become harder to read and ultimately less rewarding as I went on.

The Hidden Academy
by Jon Rosenberg

The Series start brightly as we meet troubled Guardian, David Ash trying to deal with a manifestation of a Unicorn. A Guardian? A member of the Hidden Academy, a trained Summoner {Magician of sorts) who is responsible for protecting the public from dangerous intrusions of magic creatures from other realities. David has help from a thousand year old Welsh dwarf, Llew. The story gets deeper from there as the cast grows. But who is the love interest … Jenny the American Summoner? Alanza, the tempestuous neice of a Spanish Summoner? or maybe Titania the Fairy Queen and wife of Oberon?

The Cast of characters gets bigger with the addition of Techie dwarves the Svartalfar and an AI entity Alpha. There is more trouble from Puck and Oberon. As David, Llew and Jenny (plus a little help from Titania) do battle with a mythical Wolf . Does AI Dream of Digital Wolves?

The Series starts  getting rather samey, with fewer active members of the Academy involved, the same type of action scenes …. as David Ash heads into Hell to do battle with assorted deities and demons.

A struggle if you are less than up on mythology.

Romans, roman gods and David Ash …. most of the development in the story is internal discussion set in Ash’s head and the head of Queen Titania of the Fey. I found it a slow read with a very disappointing ending. If it was a country house murder mystery, you’d be crying foul!