Category Archives: Book Reviews

Vikings to Virgin – The Hazards of Being King by Trisha Hughes – Review

Title – Vikings to Virgin – The Hazards of Being King: Book 1
Author – Trisha Hughes
Genre – Historical Fiction
Length – 333 Pages
Publication – Feb 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

In Vikings to Virgin – The Hazards of Being King Trisha Hughes provides the reader with a pacey introduction to the many pitfalls faced by the ambitious as they climbed the dangerous ladders of royalty. It is easy to think that monarchs are all powerful, but throughout the Dark and Middle Ages it was surprisingly easy to unseat one and assume the crown yourself. But if it was easy to gain … it was just as easy to lose.From the dawn of the Vikings through to Elizabeth I, Trisha Hughes follows the violent struggles for power and the many brutal methods employed to wrest it and keep hold of it. Murder, deceit, treachery, lust and betrayal were just a few of the methods used to try and win the crown. Vikings to Virgin – The Hazards of Being King spans fifteen hundred years and is a highly accessible and enjoyable ride through the dark side of early British monarchy.

Review

What I’ve learnt from this book is it wasn’t easy being King.. but at the same time it wasn’t always a good thing to be related to a King, your likely to be used as a pawn during a rebellion or murdered to eliminate your claim to the throne.

This was a most informative book and I felt the author did a great job of bringing each of these Kings and Queens to life while also giving the reader a great insight to such issues as disease and aliments suffered at the time.  I thought I knew a lot about Henry VIII but after reading this he’s even more shocking than I first thought.

I think what I loved about this book the most was how it’s presented. Rather than focusing on one person this book covers many and that made it different compared to anything else I’ve read.

Some of the rulers covered I’ve read about previously and I thought I might be bored reading things I already know but Trisha’s style of writing made it exciting again and I loved it from start to finish.

This is a historical fiction novel but only in the sense that the author has used dates/events to the best of her knowledge and research. There is of course periods in time where little evidence remains or when we do have sources available there’s generally another which says something different.

My advice to the hardcore historically accurate people, just enjoy the tale for what it is. This book brings together so many periods of time into bitesize chunks manageable by anyone and enables the reader to then delve further if they wish.

This is the kind of book that gives you the juicy interesting facts and ignites the flames of passion for history. I’m a big fan of history. It was probably my favourite subject at school and it’s certainly made me want to revisit a few historical characters.

If you like your history but don’t want to get into something a little too heavy then this is the prefect condensed but action packed and detailed version of history you’re after!

Enjoy!

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

Ghosts of Tomorrow by Michael R. Fletcher – Review

Title – Ghosts of Tomorrow
Author – Michael R. Fletcher
Genre – Dystopian
Length – 369 Pages
Publication – Feb 2017
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

The children are the future.
And someone is turning them into highly trained killing machines.

Straight out of school, Griffin, a junior Investigations agent for the North American Trade Union, is put on the case: Find and close the illegal crèches. No one expects him to succeed, Griffin least of all. Installed in a combat chassis Abdul, a depressed seventeen year old killed during the Secession Wars in Old Montreal, is assigned as Griffin’s Heavy Weapons support. Nadia, a state-sanctioned investigative reporter working the stolen children story, pushes Griffin ever deeper into the nightmare of the black market brain trade.

Deep in the La Carpio slums of Costa Rica, the scanned mind of an autistic girl runs the South American Mafia’s business interests. But she wants more. She wants freedom. And she has come to see humanity as a threat. She has an answer: Archaeidae. At fourteen, he is the deadliest assassin alive. Two children against the world.

The world is going to need some help. 

Review

Quite an interesting story this one. People now have the choice to live forever as a machine and the black market trade in children to be used as killing machines is big business!

I loved the idea of the different chassis you could be downloaded into.

Griffin is investigating this black market and the crèches that supply the children, things don’t go his way and children die..this just spurs him on even more but you can see it affects him.

One such kid who didn’t manage to escape a crèche is an autistic girl, who gets named 88. Some very bad people want to use her highly intelligent brain in order to make money but she starts to become more aware of what they have done to her.

Their worlds collide when they both decide to track down who is behind the illegal trade. Without spoiling the story too much it tracks back to one man..and let’s just say he’s a little crazy..and he’s getting more and more unstable.

I enjoyed the plot a lot, very easy to follow. The best thing had to be the development of the story itself. I enjoyed the characters for sure but the plot itself is what kept me hooked more.

The idea of harvesting kids isn’t an easy one to swallow and it gets a bit gory at times with some violence but it all adds to the tale and makes it unlike anything I’ve read before.

It a brutal vision of the future and I does make you think about what could happen if technology keeps advancing. At times the action is gut punching.

A dark and grim tale but full of action and detail. Brilliant development throughout. All in all not a book that you’ll easily forget. If you enjoy the genre this will be right up your street and if like me you like the idea of people being transferred into robot shells you’ll love it. I loved that the author touched on the moral side of things also asking if machines should have the same rights as humans.. if anything like this happened in real life you know this would be something that would crop up so the tale really does make you think.

I received a review copy of the book in exchange for an honest review, my thanks go to the author for the chance to read/review their work

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

 

Blog Tour – The Red Cobra by Rob Sinclair – Review

Title – The Red Cobra
Author – Rob Sinclair
Genre – Thriller
Length – 374 Pages
Publication – 4th April 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Carl Logan dedicated nearly twenty years of his life to the Joint Intelligence Agency. Now living in a secret location, under the new identify of James Ryker, he wants nothing more than to be left alone, the chance to start a new life away from chaos, violence, destruction and deceit.

It’s not long, however, before Ryker’s short-lived idyll is destroyed when he is tracked down by Peter Winter, his ex-boss at the JIA. Winter brings with him news of the murder of a woman in Spain, Kim Walker, whose fingerprints match those of one of Ryker’s former adversaries who’s been missing presumed dead for years – an infamous female assassin known as the Red Cobra.

A cyberattack at the JIA led to the Red Cobra’s profile being compromised, and Winter believes JIA agents may now be at risk too, Ryker included. But Ryker knew the elusive Red Cobra better than anyone, and when he sees the grisly pictures of Kim Walker’s corpse, he has news for Winter – she isn’t the assassin at all …

So just who is the mystery dead woman? And where is the real Red Cobra?

Review

So we are back with Carl Logan..or James Ryker as he’s now called. If you’ve not read The Enemy Series yet there’s no need to worry, a fan of the series will love this but it’s written in such a way that it works perfect as a standalone novel.

Ryker has tried to distance himself from his previous employers but how long did he really think it would be before someone tracked him down…not long enough and he’s soon sucked back into the world he tried so hard to forget.

The Red Cobra surfaces..Ryker never believed she was dead and this is his chance to finish what he started years before.

What we get is a very clever tale and it took a while to put all the pieces together, especially as we learn quickly not everyone is out to help Ryker. It’s one hell of an exciting tale and that ending left me in no doubt there’s more to come.

We get a brilliant backstory to the Red Cobra that shows how proficient a killer she is but has she met her match this time? And why has her finger prints suddenly resurfaced after so many years?

Engrossed would be an understatement. I loved this one and found myself totally fixated with finding out the truth much like Ryker.

The past has caught up to Ryker and as much as he wants to forget Logan, as he’s not that man anymore it’s easier said than done.

Brilliant from start to finish and the asking price of 99p on kindle is nothing so I happily snapped up a copy!

This is the best yet from Rob Sinclair.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

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Other stops on the tour –

Bits About Books
Baatty About Books
Chelles Book Reviews
Shelley Wilson Author
Ali The Dragon Slayer
Anne Bonny Book Reviews
The Great British Book Off
Relax And Read Book Reviews
By The Letter Book Reviews
Bibliophile Book Club
Segnalibro
Chat About Books
My Chestnut Reading Tree
Crime Book Junkie
Bookstormer

The Redemption Of Charm by Frank Westworth – Review

Title – The Redemption Of Charm (Killing Sisters, #3)
Author – Frank Westworth
Genre – Thriller
Length – 200 Pages
Publication – March 2017
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

JJ STONER HAS EVERY REASON TO KILL.

The ex-black ops assassin and former soldier has been betrayed three times over. His enemies brutalised his woman, corrupted his best friend. Stoner is now a danger to anyone who knows him. He’s isolated. Neutralised. Vulnerable.

Now he must confront Charm, the final Killing Sister, and find out whether any of his former friends and allies will stand by his side when the bullets start flying.

JJ Stoner has every reason to die.
Can he find a reason to live?

In ‘The Redemption Of Charm’, anti-hero JJ Stoner prowls the threatening territory familiar to readers of ‘Galveston’ or ‘The Winter Of Frankie Machine’ but with a distinctly British twist. Imagine what might happen if Jack Reacher lost the only fight that really matters…

Black humour and wry realism underscore intense episodes of brutal, no-holds-barred conflict. Snappy dialogue segues into surreal, sometimes deadly sexual encounters.

Finally, Stoner must take his last stand and face his ultimate foe. Survival is far from certain.

Perfect for fans of Lee Child, Don Winslow and Nic Pizzolatto.

Review

I must admit coming late to the series so I’ve not actually read the first two books in the series yet but I really wanted to see how the book would read without prior knowledge of the first two books. Well let me tell you, it wouldn’t be recommended to read this book as a standalone. The author does a great job at giving you tit bits of information to explain what has happened to get to where Stoner is right now but I feel you lack the character development this way, I was lucky to have read all the Stoner short tales so I knew a bit about JJ’s world and the characters to expect so can honestly say while it’s a great book regardless I think you’re better off having a fuller picture so you can enjoy it more.

Now on to the story..JJ is a man who knows how to kill, he’s a man of few words and emotions but in this story we find him broken after the events of the previous book. (If like me you come to the series at this stage don’t worry, the author explains everything nicely so I wasn’t confused at any time).

One thing is for sure..he won’t remain broken for long..he has an itch to scratch but first he needs to figure out who he can trust..not so easy for a man who is more than a little paranoid.

What we get is another great tale from Frank, it’s dark and gritty but Stoner adds his own humour to the tale which makes it fun. What makes this book different from the rest I’ve read from the author is the emotional development with Stoner. He’s a man of few words but we see in this book that he’s not a machine and he has to bring himself back from the brink.

Stoner slowly puts the pieces together and this is where Frank Westworth really shines..the suspense. You know everything is building up to the ending but you never know when a big event will happen and that ending certainly had the bang I was after.

Westworth did a great job of keeping me interested throughout the book. As with all the shorts Frank knows how to make his characters appeal. Motives are never clear at first and you can’t help but want to read more to find out what the hell is going on and who Stoner is going to kill. It’s all mystery and suspense building into one hell of a thrilling final act.

I won’t pretend to be some authority on authors but in my opinion Frank is a very unique writer and my only reason for a 4* is coming to the series late I found it took me a little while to figure out the killing sisters as their names are all very similar Charity, Chastity and Charm . I had to reread a few lines of text to remind myself who was who but it didn’t take any enjoyment away from the tale at all.

Full disclosure, I was given a review copy of the book in exchange for an honest review but if you’ve read my previous reviews for this author you know I’m more than happy to buy his work and that’s exactly what I’ve done.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

The Deadly Cavern by Grace & Thomas Lockhaven – Review

Title – The Deadly Cavern (Quest Chasers, #1)
Author – Grace & Thomas Lockhaven
Genre – Fantasy
Length – 164 Pages
Publication – Jan 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

If you knew that your curiosity may take you to a place from which you may never return, would you go?

Tommy and Eevie get trapped in an underground labyrinth filled with deadly traps and puzzles. They must solve each riddle to survive, but every solution leads them closer to what is certain to be their demise.

The Deadly Cavern is the first book of Quest Chasers, a fiction-fantasy series, where characters Tommy and Eevie are taken to a magical adventure you won’t soon forget.
If you like fantasymagical lands and puzzles, then you’ll love Grace and Thomas Lockhaven’s Quest Chasers!

Review

I’m a massive fan of young adult fantasy, I just love how simple, fun and enjoyable it can be and The Deadly Cavern was just that.

Tommy and Eevie have heard stories about a tree.. a tree that’s been around for years and holds a dark secret. When a fellow student claims to have been attacked by that very tree they set out to investigate.

Thery’re soon sucked into a labyrinth with challenges at every turn which they must complete in order to escape.

What I really enjoyed about the tale was the challenges themselves which had me thinking the possible solution in my head..it made it really fun an engaging.

I thought the writing was great and the plot sound, perfect for a young adult fantasy book. It wasn’t overly complex with its words but it never felt dumbed down either and the story flows easily allowing the younger readers to easily keep track of the events that happen. I’d say age range it’s aimed at early teens but I very much enjoyed it and will continue to see how the series plays out.

The ending really surprised me, perfect and sets up future books..It definitely left me with the wow feeling.

If you enjoy the genre you’ll love it! I’d also say if you’re looking for a fun easy read then why not give it a go. I’d certainly say this is a good one for parents to read with their children.

As kids we always dream of going on an adventure and its books like this that keep those dreams alive and the little boy in me excited.

My thanks go to Grace for supplying a copy of the book for review.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.

The Escape by Steven A. McKay – Review

Title – The Escape: A Forest Lord Short Story
Author – Steven A. McKay
Genre – Historical Fiction
Length – 19 Pages
Publication – 3rd April 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

All he wanted was a quiet drink…

It’s spring, 1323 AD, and John Little, notorious outlaw, seeks to forget his troubles in a Barnsley alehouse. He didn’t count on the place being packed to the rafters with drunk, belligerent Scottish mercenaries though.
The locals all respect – even fear John – but the strangers from the north only see in him the chance to claim a great bounty.
When the hard stares and furtive whispers turn into explosive violence the chase is on. Without any of his famous friends to help him though, will it mean the end for the giant outlaw?

This new stand-alone Forest Lord tale sees one of England’s favourite sons in a battle for his very life that will hugely entertain all lovers of action and adventure.

Review

So this is a super short fun tale that fits in with McKay’s Forest Lord Series. It slots in nicely between books 2 & 3 so I’d advise not reading this until you’ve finished book 2 at least.

McKay’s Forest Lord series mainly focuses around Robin Hood as you’d expect so this short is a good chance to shine light on Little John.

It’s short at 19 pages but does offer an action packed little tale to read. The plot is really good and it was a really nice change of focus Robin not being involved. Little John gets to show how much of a formidable opponent he is and the image McKay paints is spot on with how I’d imagine the character myself.

I do hope we see more short tales as I think these are the perfect accompaniment to the series.

As usual with McKay you get great writing and can expect a bit of violence but it’s not overly gruesome, which is one of the things I like about this authors books. I know it sounds weird but he manages to add fun to the fight.. That makes sense right? Ha

Overall this is a good short from McKay and it ticks all the right boxes but it really does highlight how much I miss the series. *Sighs*

Definitely one for the fans of the author and let me tell you that ending is what makes it 5*

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads

Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead by Owen Mullen (@OwenMullen6 ) – Review

Title – Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead
Author – Owen Mullen
Genre – Crime Thriller
Length – 272 Pages (Paperback)
Publication – 21st March 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Gavin Law was a whistleblower.
Now he’s missing.
Just another case for Glasgow PI, Charlie Cameron, until he discovers there is more to Law and his disappearance than anyone imagined.
Wallace Maitland, the surgeon responsible for leaving a woman brain-damaged may have abandoned his sacred oath and become a killer. Did the hospital which refused to accept responsibility for the tragedy have Law silenced permanently? Or, with his wife little more than a vegetable, has David Cooper, believing he has been betrayed yet again, taken justice into his own hands?
Charlie comes to realise the world of medicine can be a dangerous place.
Across the city, East End gangster, Sean Rafferty is preparing to exploit the already corrupt city council in a multi-million pound leisure development known as Riverside. The project will be good for Glasgow. But not everybody is keen to work with Rafferty.
With more than money at stake, Sean will do anything to get his way. His motto, borrowed from his old man, is simple. Never take a no from somebody who can give you a yes.
If that means murder, then so be it.
Charlie has crossed Rafferty’s path before and lived to tell the tale.
He may not be so lucky a second time.

Review

This is the third novel in the Charlie Cameron P.I. series. I loved the previous two books in the series so jumped at the chance to read this one. If you’ve not manged to read them yet you can see my reviews by clicking the images below.

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I honestly didn’t think Owen Mullen could top the previous book but he certainly did and it was lovely to be back with Charlie and the loveable rogue Pat.

Once again Charlie gets drawn into two cases while also handling his personal life.. which is never easy.

I think it’s this work life balance that makes Charlie the likable and believable character he is. His private life is more complicated in this tale when an old flame shows up which brings Charlie’s emotions to the foreground.

I’d recommend reading the books in order if I’m honest but it would work as a standalone too as the author explains the background well enough, I just think you’d be missing out on the character development that’s built up.

So you’ll want to know about the cases our P.I gets sucked into. Well first off Gavin Law has went missing and his overbearing sister is out for answers. There’s not much to go on at first and it takes Charlie a while to be able to piece the dark and disturbing case together with some twists in the tale that really knock you for six.

The other case involves Sean Rafferty a gangster we’ve met before. I won’t give the game away with this one but when a gangster is involved you know there’s bound to be a body or two.

I’ve always loved Charlie but in this tale his Police friend Andrew Geddes shined and developed so well for me. I can’t wait to see what’s next and hope Geddes gets more page time.

The plot is dark and gritty, twists come from nowhere and you really are kept on your toes. It’s another brilliant tale from Mullen. What I really enjoy is that he manages to give us two tales weaved into one and at no point did it get confusing, With so many characters it would be easy to get lost but not with Mullen’s tales..everything is so clear to follow.

What I really need to love a book is to feel like the characters are real and with Charlie I get just that. I couldn’t think of anything I didn’t like about this book.

To find out more head to Amazon or Goodreads.