Category Archives: Book Reviews

Snowbound (Malykant Mysteries Book 8) by Charlotte E. English – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Snowbound book 8 in the Malykant Mysteries by Charlotte E. English.

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Fantasy.

Detective. Judge. Executioner.

Konrad Savast is the Malykant: the most secret servant of the God of Death. His job? To track down the foulest of murderers and bring them to The Malykt’s Justice. No mercy. No quarter.

Konrad may be finished with the coven at Divoro — but are they finished with him? Outside the gates of Ekamet, a new ice-palace has arisen, its grisly contents aimed squarely at the Malykant. Its message is clear: interference with the necromancers’ aims will not be tolerated.

Forced to return to Divoro, Konrad does so with trepidation — for murderers tend to run away from the Malykant, not towards. What dark purpose does the coven have in mind, and is he walking straight into a trap?

Review

To say Charlotte E. English has been prolific with the releases would be an understatement so I’m a little behind but catching up fast.

Longevity isn’t something easy to achieve in my opinion.. it takes a fantastic imagination to keep tales fresh and interesting.. Charlotte E. English knows the recipe well and serves up another delicious read.

If you aren’t familiar with the series it follows Konrad Savast.. he’s the Malykant.. he’s one person you hope you’ll never meet..his job is to deliver justice for those murdered.. and if you are unlucky to be on the wrong side of him it’s a lifetime of pain that awaits you.

The series has been developing at pace and Snowbound is linked heavily with the last book in the series The House At Divoro, so please do read the books in order otherwise it won’t make much sense.

Forced to return to Divoro Konrad is set for an out-of-body experience which has you gripping the edge of the seat. This tale shows how vulnerable Konrad really is… his Malykant powers can’t always save him.

For me this books screams character development as Nanda, the inspector and Tasha come to the foreground to save Konrad, this enabled the author to explore relationship dynamics but also have a little bit of fun with Konrad who is quite powerless for once.

Snowbound is another cracking tale. The page length is short at less than 150 pages but the author’s style fits perfectly, effortlessly packing in so much yet keeping the flow natural rather than forced. I’m always surprised how much plot the author can fit in within a few pages.

Dark and humorous is the only way to describe this series and Konrad’s serpents Ootapi and Eetapi epitomise the series, they always put a smile of my face.. the back and forth with Konrad is just a delight to read.

It’s another 5/5 stars for Charlotte E. English.. once again proving she’s the Queen of the short story.

Look out for my review of book 9 in the series The Zolin Conspiracy shortly!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

No Stone Unturned (The Lucy Lawrence Mysteries Book 1) by Pam Lecky – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing No Stone Unturned (The Lucy Lawrence Mysteries Book 1) by Pam Lecky.

Here’s the blurb:-

Genre – Historical Mystery.

A suspicious death, stolen gems and an unclaimed reward: who will be the victor in a deadly game of cat and mouse?

London October 1886: Trapped in a troubled marriage, Lucy Lawrence is ripe for an adventure. But when she meets the enigmatic Phineas Stone, over the body of her husband in the mortuary, her world begins to fall apart.

When her late husband’s secrets spill from the grave, and her life is threatened by the leader of London’s most notorious gang, Lucy must find the strength to rise to the challenge. But who can she trust and how is she to stay out of the murderous clutches of London’s most dangerous criminal?

Review.

I’m a big fan of Pam Lecky’s work and have been following her progress since 2015 when I read The Bowes Inheritance. When I got wind of the latest release I couldn’t wait to grab a copy.

The tale follows Lucy, whose life has just been shattered by the death of her husband.. but nothing makes sense.. he shouldn’t have been there..what was he doing and why didn’t he tell her where he was really going?

Soon Lucy learns her husband was in league with some very bad men and her life could even be in danger.. but what are they looking for?.. to top it off her finances are a mess since her husband kept these affairs from her.

To escape the stress and the building pressure she heads to her childhood home..but things aren’t going to easy there either and while she’s trying to find out what to do with her life she ends up in more hot water… this time she gets to see the inside of a prison cell.

Lucy gets a helping hand by Phineas Stone.. they have briefly met before.. but why is he here? What is he after? Can he be trusted? Can anyone?

Soon a dark web of deceit is uncovered that goes further than either of them could have imagined.

When the pieces start to fall into place we see Lucy, who is determined to be independent, head out to solve the mystery and the revelations will have lasting repercussions for Lucy and her family.

So down to the nitty-gritty. I loved the plot and it played out at a perfect pace. The characters were fun and developed well but what Pam Lecky got spot on once again is her writing style..quite literally for me it was the perfect mix of plot progression, descriptors & character development.. nothing was forced in there.. it was a natural progression.

I also really enjoy Pam’s style of female leads.. they a flawed (like all the great characters are!), they are independent, head strong and can be ruled by emotions at times.. it’s not anything against men certainly but Pam shows female driven stories work just as well and as male driven stories.. better even. Like with all good characters there worth moments I loved her and moments she had me screaming inside to see what’s right in front of her… I wasn’t frustrated with her.. more I was invested and wanted her to succeed.

Overall a fun little historical mystery tale which ticked the all the boxes. It’s mystery, thriller and suspense all thrown into one and I do hope it’s not the last we see of Lucy and Phineas!

5/5 stars!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

Empires of Bronze: Son of Ishtar by Gordon Doherty – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Empires of Bronze: Son of Ishtar by Gordon Doherty.

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Historical Fiction

1315 BC: Tensions soar between the great powers of the Late Bronze Age. The Hittites stand toe-to-toe with Egypt, Assyria and Mycenaean Ahhiyawa, and war seems inevitable. More, the fierce Kaskan tribes – age-old enemies of the Hittites – amass at the northern borders.

When Prince Hattu is born, it should be a rare joyous moment for all the Hittite people. But when the Goddess Ishtar comes to King Mursili in a dream, she warns that the boy is no blessing, telling of a dark future where he will stain Mursili’s throne with blood and bring destruction upon the world.

Thus, Hattu endures a solitary boyhood in the shadow of his siblings, spurned by his father and shunned by the Hittite people. But when the Kaskans invade, Hattu is drawn into the fray. It is a savage journey in which he strives to show his worth and valour. Yet with his every step, the shadow of Ishtar’s prophecy darkens…

Review

Wow! Where to start..

Son of Ishtar starts with a brutal heart wrenching prologue which sets the tone for the story perfectly.

Prince Hattu makes his way into the world..but the cost is great. Ishtar the Goddess claims Hattu has her man and a dark prophecy is written.

As Hattu grows up he’s shunned by many as the cursed son.. always in the shadow of his siblings but when the Kaskans attack its time for the prophecy to be fulfilled.

Hattu is a strong character.. he holds himself well, he’s selfless, loves his family and wishes only to prove himself to the King.. finally Hattu has his chance to train as a solider but it’s not going to be easy. The King expects him to fail.. but that’s not going to happen!

As Prince he’s afforded no respite..rather the opposite..he’s pushed harder than any man before him and slowly but surely you see boy become man. As he grows you see a change to how others view him as he earns their respect.. this causes its own issues though as jealously is a cruel emotion.

I’m not going to spoil the tale.. I just couldn’t ruin such an exciting and gripping read for you. Lets just say.. Hattu has something to fight for..someone to fight for, and when all is said and done his hands will be covered in Kaskan blood!

Son of Ishtar is a fast paced riveting read from the first page to the last.. it’s a dark harrowing tale of betrayal and loyalty.. of love and hate!

The battles are intense.. the deaths brutal and unforgiving..and I loved being along for the ride with the men of the Storm, the Wrath, the Fury and the Blaze!

I can say with certainty that Son of Ishtar is my recommend book of 2019! Highly anticipated and well worth the wait.

As a fan of Gordon’s I can say he’s got it spot on once again, the balance between plot, character development and detail. Never once do you feel anything is forced.. the book just flows perfectly.. plot and descriptive details mixed seamlessly.. no boring segments.. no boring characters.. no confusing sub plots.. just pure intense reading that sucks you in.

Gordon Doherty has put so much time into this book and it shows.. utterly breath-taking, heart stopping goodness that leaves you craving more!

5/5 stars!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

The Bastard Cadre by Lee Carlon – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing The Bastard Cadre by Lee Carlon

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Epic Fantasy/Dystopian

Take a stand. Defy the gods.

Avril was raised salvaging tech in the dead cities left behind after the apocalypse. He was happy, living quietly and avoiding the chosen’s holy wars, but a chance encounter reveals people are coming for him. Whether he wants it or not, he has a role to play in the holy wars and life will never be the same again. Neutrality is not an option for Avril as forces on all sides of the conflict learn who and what he is and set plans in motion to use him to gain the upper hand.

The Bastard Cadre is an ambitious science fantasy saga set in a futuristic dystopia where dragons soar above cities of technological splendor, and what’s left of humanity must choose between kneeling to malevolent gods and risking annihilation to fight them.

Review

I actually read The Bastard Cadre series some time ago and loved it..my only comment to the author was the covers lacked the first impression to make a reader buy the book.. well the author has clearly took that on-board and has released the series with fab new covers..not only that but book 1 in the series has had a rewrite… and to tease me there’s also now a book 5 to the series I’ve yet to read. To do the series justice I thought the best idea was to read the series again from the start to enjoy the ride once again J

What originally caught my eye was the author’s tag line.. epic fantasy without the word count. At 178 pages it’s perfect for a quick read and a great way to test if a series is for you.

The Bastard Cadre is the best series I’ve read and the rewrite for book 1 served only to improve on what I deemed perfection.. as if that was even possible.

The tale follows Avril.. he’s being raised (or rather protected) by Ethan Godkin but why?

After Avril and Ethan are attacked while on the road their life is turned upside down and Ethan does everything in his power to protect Avril… and that means calling someone he’d rather not..he’s stuck in a hard place and there doesn’t appear to be an easy way out.

Set in a futuristic dystopia era where cities are now wasteland you can’t trust anyone as most are struggling to survive… only the rich thrive while the gods play their little games.

A series of events lead Avril to the conclusion he’s not just another lost soul..he’s part of something bigger…but what…. there’s a connection to the gods themselves.. but why was Ethan hiding this truth?  Who can he trust?

I really enjoyed the setting along with the futuristic technology used by Avril to stay alive. I’ll be honest.. the plot was great and the setting perfect.. the detail given in under 200 pages sucks the reader in and leaves so many questions open setting the series up perfectly.

5/5 stars!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

Rise of the Warlords by Brian K. Larson – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Rise of the Warlords by Brian K. Larson

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Epic Fantasy/Science Fiction

Journey along with Gor’con of the Crimson Guild as he tells the stories of how his ancestors became the Warlords. Answering an urgent call from Empress Ruki’ Grey’con, Admiral Jedidiah Fitz and Colonel Race Jennings return to the Rising Star of Antares. When they arrive, their former Queen Danielle is told that the Kron’Shulooka has returned and so has the beast of the trenches – the deadly Antarian Dragon.

Empress Ruki’ reveals to them that several tombs were discovered empty when the Dragon’s screech returned to Serintin once again. Danielle’s Bron Vis’Ka was not successful as the scrolls foretold, sending Danielle, and Jed’s team, on a dangerous quest. Now they must unravel the mysterious disappearance of their missing dead and to harvest more of the dragon’s blood to partake of the blood spirit once again.

Review

Rise of the Warlords is book 4 in the Warlords series by Brian K. Larson. After the events of book three in the series you could be forgiven for thinking that was the end of the journey but with Brian K. Larson you know the end is never going to come that quick.. he has a talent for keeping a series going, so I was more than a little pleased when book 4 was released.

Just when Race and Danielle thought they could get back to life on Earth we find out that the blood lust will return to the Rising Star of Antares and the Warlords will once again rise unless Danielle partakes of the blood spirit one final time.

Once we are back in the thick of the action we learn of the disappearance of those we thought were dead.. including Dumakas and it’s time to look to the past to save the future.

Something I really enjoyed was the back story as we learn more about the history of the Warlords and how they came to be. Perfectly paced and with great detail made this the most riveting of the series yet..the author even managed to give time to describe some of the planets visited which made the tale come alive.

Brian K. Larson is clearly a fan of the epic fantasy/science fiction saga and I for one thoroughly enjoy his work..it’s fun and exciting and his style of writing is easy to read. Rise of the Warlords is a fast paced tale..take your time and enjoy the ride.

For me the word to describe this latest instalment is development..you can really start to see the bigger picture. Sometimes you can get sucked along for the ride, this time Brian gives you time to reflect and learn more..it’s a winner for me! I really enjoyed the character development too as we see emotional bonds tested. Loved it!

5/5 stars!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

Lions of Rome by S.J.A Turney – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Lions of Rome book 4 in the Praetorian series by S.J. A. Turney

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Historical Fiction.

Rufinus is dead, crumpled at the base of a cliff in far-off Dacia. Or so the world believes. Back in the west, secretly in the entourage of the fierce Septimius Severus, the young hero moves in the shadows with fellow conspirators in an attempt to finally bring down the would-be tyrant of Rome: Cleander.

Under assumed names and in a variety of roles, the former Praetorian conspires with some of the most important men in Rome, bringing the city to the very brink of disaster in a grand and complex plot to cause the fall of the untouchable chamberlain.

And as governors, prefects, Praetorians and consuls work their secret plots in the seedy underbelly of Rome, Rufinus finds he has an opportunity to settle old scores along the way.

The empire is suffering. Rome is seething. Rufinus is back.

Review

We are back with Rufinus for his fourth adventure , you’d think after past events he would want the quiet life..not so.. he still wants to see the downfall of Cleander.

Plot wise I think the author took a slight risk, although it worked pretty well, as the series takes a more fun tone at times. The author provides insights into this in his author notes and it was really interesting to see his thought process.

So on with the nitty-gritty…  Rufinus is for all intents and purposes is dead after a nasty fall from a cliff.. he survived barely and now he’s fit and healthy it’s time to get back to Cleander and his downfall. But he’s going to need the help of some likeminded and powerful individuals to do it.

Along the way we learn more about the men sent to kill Dis, a frumentarius, loyal to the Emperor who was murdered way back at the start of the series and now he’s this close Rufinus vows to take vengeance.

We see Rufinus tackle each foe In turn.. getting closer and closer until the time is right to strike..some chances come sooner than others and the waiting game certainly frustrates Rufinus whilst building up the tension for the reader.

What Turney get’s spot on for me is the detailed plot. Whilst a little bit more outrageous with Rufinus changing his appearance to stay hidden time to time the frankly exciting and well planned plot was easy to get sucked in. You can see the cogs turning slowly as Rufinus works his way through his targets and the author managed to show his impressive knowledge of roles within the empire and how individuals would interact with each other day-to-day.

I also really enjoyed the links to the past..I’m not going to say much but I’m glad Merc wasnt forgotten.

Lions of Rome is a slow burner..not to steal a phrase but we are in the endgame now..and the pieces on the board need to be set in such a way that Cleander won’t see it coming! While you might feel the frustration just like Rufinus does the author knows just what to give his readers, just wait until you get to the last 3rd of the book when everything starts to come to fruition..you won’t want it to end!

Overall a detailed and fun story that didn’t disappoint..i’m excited for more from the author although I fear he churns hits out faster than I can read them! Ha

One final note for the author.. I missed Acheron greatly.. and for anyone who gets the reference don’t worry too much 🙂

4/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

Blog Tour – The White Scorpion by Rob Sinclair

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing The White Scorpion, book 5 in the James Ryker series by Rob Sinclair!

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Thriller

Rule number one for an agent of the secretive JIA is to follow orders, no matter what.

But James Ryker has never cared much for rules. He only wants to do what is right.

Assigned to join of crew of elite security personnel in Chabon, Africa, Ryker’s mission objective is clouded by politics and obfuscation, and he knows only that to protect British interests in the region, he is to infiltrate the close protection team of the government of Chabon, a country with a dark and violent past.

Arriving in Chabon’s crumbling capital, Kilpassa, Ryker finds a country on the brink of civil war. A growing civilian rebellion threatens peace, with claims of atrocities committed by both sides, in-cluding the frail government run by enigmatic President Benyu – a former military general who took control of the country in a violent coup.

Drawn into Benyu’s inner circle, it soon becomes clear to Ryker that in Chabon, the lines be-tween good and bad, and right and wrong, are nearly impossible to identify.

With a crisis of epic proportions unfolding before his eyes, Ryker knows one thing for sure: with or without the backing of his superiors, he must take drastic action, and quickly, or risk putting mil-lions of innocent lives in danger.

Review

The main issue with a long running series is how do you keep things fresh and engage the readers time and time again.. Well Rob Sinclair certainly has the magic formula as we are back with James Ryker for his 5th instalment which for me is quite honestly the best yet.. the series just gets better and better!

The White Scorpion starts with an explosive prologue.. Ryker is on a mission and things have went south once again! it’s not just his life on the line either as he’s got a team backing him up on this one. At first it seems like a simple hostage exchange.. but nothing is simply in Ryker’s world.

After that blood pumping start we are catapulted 3 weeks previous to learn of the events leading up to the hostage exchange and we see Ryker slowly sucked back into the life he so desperately wished to leave behind.. but he knows deep down this is where he belongs, he just wants to do things on his terms with full disclosure… its more than a job to him.. this is his life.

Peter Winter is back as Ryker’s handler and for me I loved his development in this tale as he really gets his hands dirty.

Ryker is sent to Chabon under the guise of him being part of an elite security team.. not far from the truth, but he’s got another mission too!

We get the usual spy craft we’ve come to love of Ryker, sneaking around trying to obtain data, playing his cards close to his chest not only to keep himself safe but everyone else too.. he doesn’t know who is trustworthy…

The plot develops quickly as the risk of civil war increases with every turn of the page.. you never know if someone is good or bad.. or in Ryker’s world, bad or really bad.. Can Ryker stop this before things go too far?

There’re quite a few twists along the way, things that certainly have that wow factor.. let’s just say not everyone is being truthful with Ryker and he’s not going to stand for that once he finds out.

Action packed would be an understatement.. brutal and thrilling just wouldn’t do this book justice…outrageously perfect is the only way to describe this one!

If you like you action thrillers or spy novels this is certainly a must have book for the collection!

My thanks go to the author and Bloodhound Books for the chance to read/review the book as part of the blog tour! I’ve followed Rob Sinclair for a while now and he never disappoints!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

Why not follow the blog tour?

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About the author

Rob Sinclair

 

Rob is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Enemy, James Ryker and Sleeper series of thrillers. His books have sold over 900,000 copies to date with many reviewers and readers having likened Rob’s work to authors at the very top of the genre, including Lee Child and Vince Flynn.

 

Rob began writing in 2009 following a promise to his wife, an avid reader, that he could pen a ‘can’t put down’ thriller. He worked for nearly 13 years for a global accounting firm after graduating from The University of Nottingham in 2002, specialising in forensic fraud investigations at both national and international levels. Rob now writes full time.

 

Originally from the North East of England, Rob has lived and worked in a number of fast paced cities, including New York, and is now settled in the West Midlands with his wife and young sons.