Tag Archives: reading

Books I read in May

It has been a busy old month. I have been doing some beta reading for a couple of people as a result I have not had a lot of time for reading published books

Hope for the Best (Chronicles of St. Mary’s Book 10)

Hope for the Best (Chronicles of St. Mary's Book 10) by [Taylor, Jodi]

Jodi Taylor

Another outing for Max the Historian from St Mary’s.

If you have read the earlier books it will all make sense straight away, if you haven’t it will be difficult to pick the story. There are lots of references to other stories, I won’t say earlier because when you are dealing with “events in contemporary time.”

All the regulars are here, Max, Leon, The Time Police and resident bad guy Clive Ronan. A jolly romp in a series that readers of this page will know I really enjoy. If you are new to this delightful, wickedly funny series … start with Book 1, “One Damn Thing After Another.” It will make more sense, not a lot of sense but more!

5 Stars

The Thirty Something Snap

The Thirty Something Snap (2019 Revision) by [Helgasson, Alan]

by Alan Helgasson

Howie is heading towards his 40th birthday. He is worried about the way so many of his male friends undergo major lifestyle changes in their thirties, The Snap. He is a failed musician, he is divorced, he now has a good job, a very good job, so the thought of him ‘Snapping’ has him worried.

Then he gets a late night, well, early morning call from his ex-band mate and best friend. Peter is in hospital, Peter has burnt himself and his car is still at the place where the accident happened … A naturist resort. ‘Snap!’

The story is the classic boy discovers he actually likes girl more than just a friendship and loses her …

Has a second chance at fame as a musician …

A surprising and inventive story, even if it stretches your credulity, and ultimately a rewarding little light read. (It is not quite a #naturistfiction story but deals with naturism in a very mature way!)

Four Stars

Recipes for Gingerbread Children

Recipes for Gingerbread Children by [Beyer, Michael]

by Michael Beyer

A very clever book. It is easier to describe in terms of ‘Not’

  • It is not a children’s book
  • It is not an adventure story
  • It is not a light and fluffy fairy tale
  • It is not a piece of naturist fiction.

But it is all of these things at times as Grandma Gretel weaves her tales for the children that come to her cottage for cookies and stories.

This book is most certainly well written. It delivers moral judgements with all the force of the Brothers Grimm.

Five Stars and the Read of the Month

Myths and Mortals (Numina Book 2)

Myths and Mortals (Numina Book 2) by [Holmberg, Charlie N.]

Charlie N Holmberg

The second book in the three book Myths and Mortals series. Follows on directly from the end of book 1, with the heroine Sandis feeling betrayed by the male lead Rone.

I didn’t enjoy it as much as the first story, it was lacking in pace, with long periods of reflection by Sandis that I found ‘unsatisfactory’.

The action scenes are strong and the story arc is well planned but I felt that it had been padded-out and could have done with a few pages less. On the other hand I plan to read book 3 when it is published.

Four Stars

April 2019 Reads.

An eclectic bunch of books caught my eye this April. Here we go

Refusal

Felix Francis

Refusal (Dick Francis Book 3) by [Francis, Felix]

In the past, I have read most of the genuine Dick Francis books. The Sid Halley stories being in among the best of them. I was tempted into this one by while doing some research for a story.
Sadly, Felix is not his father. The book moves forward in leaps and pauses. The character of Sid has changed, much more than marriage and fatherhood alone should have done.
The secondary characters get very little development, even Chico becomes a cypher of his former self.
If you are new to the Francis canon, it is a perfectly acceptable ripping yarn, but …. 3 Stars

Forever War

Joe Haldeman

The Forever War: Forever War Book 1 (Forever War Series) by [Haldeman, Joe]

I read this as an almost new book while serving in the RAF and enjoyed it. Many years later I read Starship Troopers the story it was supposed to be antidote too.
Re-reading on the Kindle it was just as engaging as i remembered. The story follows Private Mandella as he manages to reach the heights of command simply by being just one of just two people to survive 2000 years of war, the other is his lover of choice. Haldeman manages to avoid the cliches of war fiction, by leaving most of it out. Probably as a result of being a Vietnam veteran. The end is a clever twist too.
A Good read.  4 Star

The Burning Issue of the Day

TE Kinsey

The Burning Issue of the Day (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery Book 5) by [Kinsey, T E]

The return of Lady Hardcastle delighted me.
It meant one of my favourite characters was back to, the diminutive, violent and supreme deflator of the pompous, Lady H’s maid, Flo.
The story appears to have been carefully researched and is a well written cosy mystery. If murder, arson and explosions are cosy.
Tucked into the mix are some wonderful observations on the class structure from the pocket lady’s maid. Plus there is a little bit of the history of the suffragette movement to round out the mix.
Well worth reading the whole series.

The return to form continues 5 Star fun

You Then, Me Now

Nick Alexander

You Then, Me Now by [Alexander, Nick]

A cleverly constructed tale of two visits to the Island of Santorini. (The Greek island where they take the classic white house, blue sea tourist pictures.)
For Becky, the two trips are a lifetime apart. For Laura, it is a painful return to try and find closure for the loss of the love of her life on the island.
Nick Alexander cleverly keeps the two stories separate and yet allows the reader to see how interwoven they are. Without revealing too much of the plot, let’s say there is a twist in the tail that I didn’t see coming until very close to the reveal.
Mr Alexander manages to weave an abusive, controlling, alcohol addicted character through the story. The hardship of life for the Greek people in the post-bail-out economy features too. This is not all the fluffy Shirley Valentine paradise.
An Excellent Read, worth every one of  5 Stars

A Dead End (A Saints & Strangers Cozy Mystery Book 1)

Keeley Bates, Annabel Chase

A Dead End (A Saints & Strangers Cozy Mystery Book 1) by [Bates, Keeley, Chase, Annabel]

As the blurb says “Kit Wilder is all washed up at the ripe old age of twenty-three. Blackballed by the producers of her hit TV show, she returns home to the affluent town of Westdale, chock full of Mayflower descendants, to enroll in college and lead a quiet life…until she discovers a skeleton in her house.” An absurd plot, ex-TV Cop helps solve murder. PS Mother is stinking rich, the must know person in town. The whole concept stinks.
On the other hand it is written with a deftness of touch that allows the authors to get away with a romantic lead … called Romeo.
Fun, a lot of good clean fun.  4 Stars

Going Home: The Barely Normal Life

Chef Martin

It’s not a novel, it is not even a good TV script (which is what it looks like)
No review, I didn’t read it beyond a few pages.

Dry Hard

Nick Spalding

Dry Hard

Funny, appalling, appealing and very contemporary … Classic Nick Spalding.
Kate and Scott have a wonderful fun-filled marriage. The partying hard and enjoying the odd drink, they drink a lot to find the odd one they enjoy. Sadly for them, it is destroying their lives, their marriage and their daughter’s life. Until their daughter posts a video of Christmas at home on the web …
The infamy is enough to get the couple onto the wagon … Can they stay there, can survive a year? What do the thousands of follows of various online gurus think ..
A funny moving story with a moral.
It hurt, I’ve cut back on the booze.  5 Stars

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

Pre-Christmas Reading 2017

While may people have been busy with the Pre-Christmas rush …

I have been busy getting my new book

“New House … New Neighbours”

ready for publication but I have done some reading.

Pre-Christmas Reads

Dispatches by Michael Herr

http://getbook.at/Dispatches

Five full stars

If you only ever read one non fiction book this should be a strong contender.

http://getbook.at/NakedAlliances

Shoot ’em up & Blow ’em up Rough Justice!
Set in the seedy underworld of Orlando this is a incredible detective story. Incredible in the sense of being outrageously outside the world of real life crime. Not that that is a bad thing in this case.
The body count is rather high, and nobody gets arrested as the action roars along … I’ll not say too much as it would spoil the plot!

I enjoyed reading this and will go for any new titles in the series.

The Marlboro Man: A Moira McElvaney Mystery by Derek Fee

 


http://getbook.at/Marlboro

I’m a big fan of Derek Fee’s DCI Wilson books. This spin off is well written but just a little soft.
Moira McElvaney is on her year sabbatical from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, to spend a year with the new love of her life Brendan in Boston.
Life is good but …. she misses life on DCI Wilson’s murder squad.
Then a chance to investigate a disappearance of a rather dull accountant is presented by the rich, handsome, interesting best friend of Brendan …

Just lacking a little of the ‘bite’ and ‘grittiness’ of the Wilson books, things fall into place rather easily or money, and Frank Shae has lots of it, gets results. Characterisation is a little shallow, by the end of the book I didn’t feel I knew the characters. That said the plot was strong and kept the pages turning!

Happy Christmas

November Reading

November was a busy month on the writing front, so rather less reading. Nothing was stand out brilliant either.

Holding Briefs, Without Prejudice and Duty of Care

by Andrew Calow

http://author.to/AndrewCalow

Three  stories in an almost continuous narrative, set in either a Barristers Chambers or a Naturist Swim, depending on your point of view.  The main tale revolves around a very slowly developing romance between two of the legal eagles. While interesting little plot lines bubble along in the back ground.

This is the second time through these books, the first time I really enjoyed them. This second time around I felt that the main romance develops frustratingly and unrealistically slowly. That said they are a great read. Watch out for more references to then on this site soon!

Hippie Hollow: Murder on a Nude Beach: A B.B. Rivers Mystery Series Book One

by Denniger Bolton

http://mybook.to/HippieHollow

A well written little detective story, that had precious little to do with a nude beach.

BB (Bilbo Baggins) Rivers is a failed cop. He is in a romantic relation with Patricia. Patricia’s uncle needs someone to take a look at a five year old murder case … and the story begins. BB aided by several rather larger than life characters, Lucinder the rich aunt of one of the victims, Max the psychic and T.Rex the journalist.

They take an absurd trip around the Austin and its environs in pursuit of a hit man … and the perfect Chiles Relleno (Whatever they are!)

Really good fun romp!

Clothing Optional

by Larry L. Evans

http://viewbook.at/CO

A very short story
A trivial story
Woman decides to join a gym with a Clothing Optional zone, and doesn’t like it based on a dream from the night before.

Autumn Reads

More reviews

I’ve been so busy this autumn  getting A Spring Break at L’Abeille Nue ready for publication so this has gotten a little behind.

Gaviota: The Nude Beach Murders

by Robert Josephs (Author)


Not a bad book nor a great yarn.
Death and mayhem on a Nude beach. A beach that provokes massive anger in the rich men around the area. That commands great loyalty from the dozen or so users.
No grounding in reality … but fun all the same

The Collective

by Olaf Danielson (Author)

What A GOOD READ!
The story of a an American man whose European roots turn out to be rather different from their day to day life is also found in Anders Zorn; Unveiled.
This variation is slightly more ‘Magical’ a giant …. human sacrifice all set in a magical location on the NE coast of the island of Ireland. A very enjoyable read.

The Redemption of Anna Petrovna

by James Gault (author)

A GOOD READ

An excellent tale set in the corrupt world of a city in a former socialist republic. A world run on graft, bribes and favours where who you know and who they own are your passport to success.

In this city is Anna, a young woman with a life plan … for it to work out she needs to avoid coming to the attention of the gangsters. Will she succeed? Will her plan come to fruition? …. Could ever have?

The Naked Witch (A Wendy Woo Witch Lit Novel Book 1) The Orphan Witch: (A Wendy Woo Witch Lit Novel 2)

by Wendy Steele (author)

Light fluffy rubbish. The main character spends an inordinate amount of time in tears (mainly of self pity) and in turning down offers of definite lust and possible love ….

Pendragon

by Mary Fitzgerald (author)
 

A GOOD READ

I followed the link in an advert and rather glad I did … I mean a book called Pendragon has to have something going for it!
I discovered a well written Fantasy Romance novel,
Newly married Rowan discovers Pendragon home of the very dysfunctional Caradoc family over the generations. At Pendragon she finds herself involved in a romance that has run through the centuries … and involved her family in the past.

Well written with good characterisation and a strong narrative.

Pancakes and Corpses (Peridale Cafe Cozy Mystery Book 1)

by Agatha Frost (author)

Light and Fluffy like the cakes the heroine bakes in her cake shop ….
I get the impression although the Author claims “She lives in a quaint village in a sleepy corner of England,” that she is not English. Her grasp of the financial realities of buy a house and a shop in a Cotswold village is missing! 
I’m not sure about a CID DI being based in the village Police Station is authentic either, but in a buttercream world everything is possible.
Easy reading if you can suspend reality!

Death a la Carte (Black Horse Inn Series Book 1)

by Lucinda D. Davis (author)


My third book by Lucinda D Davis in the past few weeks, and probably the best of them, a full 3 stars! Although I am still not convinced about “Police Process” for example it finishes with a grand reveal ….
Good little plot, well written let down by the poor research and depth of characterisation … I hope Alice (the Black Horse Inn’s resident ghost) has a bigger role in the rest of the stories as she was the most interesting character.

Murder on the Rocks (Boddington Bay Cozy Mystery Series Book 1)

by Lucinda D. Davis (author)

I get the feeling I was over generous with my Amazon review, Fair plot idea poor delivery.
This short book didn’t work for me.
I thought there was no explanation of why the heroine wanted to become involved in the investigation.
A slip in the timeline, with a day getting lost
A complete miss-representation of how a law enforcement agency would deal with ‘innocents’ on the edge of an operation – false imprisonment ?
Shame that silly mistakes have wasted a nice idea, good use of language but ….

SEA, SKY, and SKELETON: A Ravenwood Cove Cozy Mystery

by Carolyn L. Dean (author)

A neat little Cosy Mystery …. I am started to get a little jaded with this series and they are getting a little ‘samey’. So I’ll take a break before reading more

Death in Devon: A Coppin’s Locks Mystery

Mark of Fire (The Endarian Prophecy Book 1)

by Richard Phillips (Author)

An Amazon Kindle first offering … I got it for nothing and sadly that is what it is worth. A sword and sorcery type story with lots of strange names and unrevealed hidden powers for the baddies to suddenly wield … Stopped reading after a hundred or so pages and not planning to start again.

POOR

Free Short Story Weekend

Free Short Story weekend (Jan 14 -15, 2016)

This weekend you can read some examples of my writing for free.

Yes you read it right …. This weekend all four of the Rags to Riches short stories are available to download and keep for absolutely nothing, zip, nahda, bugger all, that is to say FREE.

As Leo Sayer sang back in the 1970’s I’m “Giving It All Away” … Because it is a big thing to do to invest in a book by a writer you have heard of and a book in a genre you have never tried.

  • What if I hate it as a result of the way it is written?
  • Maybe I’ll not be able to understand the subject?
  • Supposing I am embarrassed or offended by the content?

It is just a case of following these links to Amazon .co.uk to buy, read and keep or throw away at no risk, for nothing, for Free.

 

Free Weekend The Girls Trip to the Beach
The Girls Trip to the Beach

It is the weekend, Bea on a language course in France, she and a new friend take a trip to the beach. In addition it is a naturist beach.

Free Weekend cocoa-and-pyjamas-cover
Cocoa and Pyjamas short story

Invited to dinner and to stay over … what happens when the evening finishes with cocoa, dressed ready for bed … since you don’t own any pajamas?

 

Free Weekend Naked Warriors Cover
The Naked Warriors,
A Rags to Riches short story

A tale about a war damaged army officer and the a junior officer, a woman, who saved his life.

The Cutter's Tale - Free Weekend
The Cutter’s Tale

The prequel to the Uncovered Policeman, how does a normal couple from middle-England come to manage a naturist resort?

This Weekend …

Firstly 0rder one book or order all four. After all the price is the same this weekend absolutely nothing! All four books are Free.

Then (I hope) enjoy reading these stories, because

Next weekend …

Most of all, I’d love you to read the novellas and novels in the Rags to Riches series.  They are available as Kindle downloads and also as real paperback books!

Enjoy Your Holidays, Read Something New

Here’s hoping you’ll enjoy your holidays, read something new while you lie (naked?) on the beach or around the pool.

Naked guest at L'Olivette
Naked guest at L’Olivette

Try one of the books from the Naturist Fiction list … ideally one of mine.

At the moment there is little time for writing or reading here at L’Olivette. I am very busy looking after our guests and making sure that they have a super holiday.

The Uncovered Policeman is in the process of being re-proofed for a rather special development … More to come on that soon!

Meanwhile writing continues, albeit slowly, on the final part of the Uncovered Policeman’s tale, provisionally  titled “Goodbye Blues”.  No need to panic though,there is good chance that there maybe some other stories featuring other members of the extended Rags to Riches family.

Several other tales are in the process of being developed and some non fiction awaits too.