Tag Archives: review

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

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 *****

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

Kindle Family Reading

Having a Kindle Family sharing arrangement with the delightful Mrs Bun gives me access to some books I would not normally select. This week I read  two crackers I want to tell you about.

First up is:

Daughters of the Night Sky by Aimie K. Runyan

A Good Read

What a fabulous story, told through the eyes of one woman the story of the ‘Night Witches’ an all female bomber regiment of the Russian army from the start of the German invasion of Russia to the fall of Berlin.

It is a well written and captivating romance set against the barbaric background of the bloodiest fighting of World War 2. Both Katya and Vanna are serving as fliers in the Russian forces in separate war zones, so this is a long distance affair!

The strength of the female characters when confronted with deprivation, humiliation, hatred and violence, and all that from their comrades in arms, is impressive.

I enjoy this story from almost the very beginning to almost the very end.

I’ll give it  4+ Stars

http://getbook.at/DoNS

The second story from the Kindle Family Share is set over much the same period of history is:

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

The Nightingale: Bravery, Courage, Fear and Love in a Time of War by [Hannah, Kristin]http://getbook.at/Nightingale

A Great Read

Set in France during the second World War this book follows the lives of two sisters as they struggle to survive under the brutal Nazi regime that followed the fall of France in 1940.

The murderous attacks on the refugees escaping the fall of Paris, the treatment of the Jews and Communists and their transport to the concentration camps. The appalling hardship of the women left behind, the lack of food and energy for cooking and heating.

One sister struggling with a family to protect, the other, the black sheep, trying to fight back. In the background the father who was destroyed by the 1914-18 conflict and was unable to care for his girls. The young communist criminal prepared to kill any and all who try to stop him.

An ending worthy of being called an ending making the difference.

The full Five Stars

A Great Read

http://getbook.at/Nightingale

 

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.

Reading in August

 August Reading and Writing

Gone to Sea in a Bucket + The Skipper’s Dog’s Called Stalin + turn Left for Gibralter (Harry Gilmore novels) by David Black

Three stories following RNVR (Wavy Navy, Royal Volunteer Officer in World War 2) Sub Lieutenant Harry Gilmore, from non expectance and bullying aboard a capital ship to successful submarine officer. Great ripping yarns stuff, weakened slightly by having an obsessive senior officer trying to destroy his career over a instance early in book one.  The rate of attrition of the RN Submarine Service being such that in reality Gilmore was unlikely to a threat to the Senior Officer for long! But I nit-pick.

 

Bed Breakfast and Bones + Dune, Dock and Dead Man (Ravenwood Cove mysteries) by Carolyn L Dean

Nice little cozy mysteries set on the NW coast of the USA. The central character is Miss Goody Two-Shoes, her friends are wonderful and the love interest is a rugged good looking detective. Wonderful escapist froth, book 3 is ready to read!

Death on the Line by Derek Fee

Better than Rebus. As the Scottish detective slowly became a less interesting character dealing with more complex crimes; Ian Wilson’s character is slowly coming to life. The story is a case of murder and Wilson’s almost only friend,  is that almost his only friend or his only ‘almost’ friend, is wounded.

Corruption and  old allegiances of Ulster not with standing Wilson goes after his man.

Song of Edmon by Adam Burch

I don’t read much Sci-Fi these days. Too much of it is fantasy with new words for existing technology. This one starts that way. However it gets going in Dune type political model. Apart from the fact that there could be no life on either side of a non rotating planet .. it is a clever story of power and manipulation.

Writing

 

I hit a bit of a problem, I thought I had a Rags to Riches short story that could be published for the England and Wales Bank Holiday at the end of August. No such luck, the story is at 18000 words and still not at mid point, so watch out for the next instalment in the adventures of the Uncovered Policeman in the next month or two.

To make up for my missing that deadline I ran a free book promo on Amazon offering The Uncovered Policeman Abroad as a free download. On August 26th it was top seller 726 in the  Amazon UK Kindle  All Books chart!

Notes on More Reading

The Naked President (1)

Jack Holden

An engaging short read, about 3 hours beside the pool. Written mainly from a first person perspective in short sentences.

A non-family created by one man as he travels across the world finally focuses back on one person a naturist who others want to be President of the USA.

Throw in some Native American and Eastern philosophy, a pyramid and a biker gang treat everything with a few coats of Panglossian gloss … Yes I liked it.

The Fifth Doll

Charlie N. Holmberg

Charlie is one of my favourite young adult writers. , however,  am not part of the target audience for Charlie N. Holmberg’s books. I am far from a young adult but I enjoyed reading this story.
I found it a clever well written story. Just enough pace to keep you turning the page. Just enough tension to keep you engaged. No real shocks or surprises either.
The main character is a pleasant, peasant girl in an idyllic Russian village … until

Elements of Stepford Wives and John Wyndham’s Chrysalids …

The Unsworth Manor Nudes

Paul Z Walker

A clever, fact based story based in the late Victorian era.
Earl Unsworth has a German wife who is related to the Kaiser. They respond to an invitation to visit the German side of the family and the journey begins.
There are one or two slips in etiquette, for example Lady Unsworth referred to as Mrs.
Otherwise a fun read for a summers day by the naturist pool!

Stories for Nudists about Social Nudity: (and for those who are curious)

More Stories for Nudists about Social Nudity: Volume Two (The Nudist Series Book 9)

Martin Brant

Two collects of short stories and Novellas about different takes on naturism. I enjoyed the ones set in the American Mid-West (?) in the past 19930s to 1970s where is writing is particularly evocative. Good collections be warned if you are looking a t buying these are books 5 and 9 in the series they contain books 1-4 and 6-8 respectively!

 

Ignition, Episodes 1 – 4

Josh Duncan

Naturist Young Adult Fiction. I found it very wordy but a whole lot of stuff happens. Just the characters do spend a lot of time discussing everything. Even when somebody is about to get a thumping the protagonist talk about the whys and wherefores for several pages with fists drawn back. Either being young in Phoenix is scary or ……. read and find out

 

Parallel World book 1

Richard Schillig


Pretty good John Wyndham style story about very special children. Based in the here and now and a naked world they came from to save our world and theirs. I want to read part 2

A Quiet Life in the Country (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery Book 1

In the Market for Murder (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery Book 2)

Death Around the Bend (A Lady Hardcastle Mystery Book 3)

T.E. Kinsey

Really fun to read … I love the character of Flo Armstrong, she could be the best foil for the upper classes since Jeeves!
Mind you Lady Hardcastle is no slouch as an abductive detective! (Abduction is not to be confused with deduction as she has written to the famous author several times)
A clever comedy of manners, murder and social snobbery, I loved it! and read the rest of the series, book 2 is the least sharp but Death Around the Corner is also fabulous!

Naked Punks On Dope

Matthew Black

Another story based at the (seemingly restored) Hidden Lakes naturist club.
All the usual characters are present getting themselves involved in confused scrapes and outrageous misunderstandings.
More names dropped than in any episode of Absolutely Fabulous including Lulu

A totally harmless romp, ideal for the poolside

Naked Crow 6 – Hidden Village

P. Z. Walker

Another great story from the keyboard of P Z Walker.
The usual cast from the earlier stories are all present if not totally correct (apparently!)
The story stays close to the home location, Mighty Oaks Naturist Resort and is on a nicely compressed timeline.
I enjoyed the read
The missing star, proves I don’t always give 5 stars to #naturistfiction and I felt one of the new characters story was lacking in engagement in the main storyline and didn’t really resolve at the end.

Ready, Steady, Dig! (The Rooks Ridge Series Book 1)

Rosalind Winter

I’m stuck in permanent Winter on this one. NOT recommended. I have tried to get to grips with this tale of magical guardians of an ancient roman villa and the child that might be returning heir to the fortune, as battle against the local metal detecting jobs. As sticky as the mud that covers the ruin!

 Rae Leah’s Salvation (Tales From Aelfyce Series Book 2)

Aidian Stone

A really good story, I haven’t read book 1 but I enjoyed this one!

Magical reality in a non-Earth world as a hunter from our world falls through a void into the new world and finds himself trapped but somehow he survives to defeat the alien space monsters with the help of a beautiful female. Fun!