Tag Archives: Book Lovers

Burn the Evidence: (The Detective Solomon Gray Series Book 2) by Keith Nixon – Review

Title – Burn the Evidence: (The Detective Solomon Gray Series Book 2)
Author – Keith Nixon
Genre – Crime Fiction
Length – 229 Pages
Publication – 12th December 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Keith Nixon’s latest Solomon Gray murder mystery pushes all the hot button issues of a traumatised post-Brexit UK in this dark tale of loss, revenge and redemption. Flawed and floored by personal tragedy, DS Solomon Gray is ready to take his place alongside DS Logan McRae, DS Roy Grace and DCI John Luther. Modern jet-black Brit Noir at its best.”
– Tim Baker, CWA shortlisted author of Fever City

Mixing business with family can be a murderous affair …

A body washes up on the beach near Ramsgate in the South of England. For DS Solomon Gray, the case appears cut and dried-a drowning. An immigrant. Another victim to the sea in his desperate attempt to reach the UK.

As the tidewaters recede, two more corpses surface. One appears to be a refugee, stabbed to death. The other, Gray recognises immediately. Regan Armitage: son of business tycoon Jake Armitage. Gray knows this means trouble.

A post mortem reveals ligature marks on Regan’s wrists. Drugs in his bloodstream. All signs indicate murder. Armitage swears to track down his son’s killer and avenge his death.

Gray’s investigation points to a deadly fire ten years prior, and soon Armitage comes under suspicion. But DS Gray knows what it’s like to lose a child and puts aside his distrust of Armitage to help.

How are the dead men connected to each other-and to the infamous fire?

It’s then that Gray gets another tip on the whereabouts of his own missing son, Tom …

BURN THE EVIDENCE is the second book in a series featuring Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray. The crime series is perfect for fans of Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride, and Peter James.

About the Author
Keith Nixon is a British born writer of crime and historical fiction novels. Originally he trained as a chemist, but Keith is now in a senior sales role for a high-tech business. Keith currently lives with his family in the North West of England.

 

Review

Burn the evidence is the followup to Dig Two Graves. We are back with DS Gray.. he’s flawed to the max but he’s good at what he does.

Gray has one hell of a back story which continues to unravel during this book. He can’t let go of the past, his son went missing years ago and when potential new information surfaces he can’t focus on the job at hand. That job being a triple murder.

When 3 bodies are given up by the sea Gray is trust into the case but are the bodies connected and if so how?

Something I really enjoy about the book is the back and forth from past to present..slowly giving the reader the full picture. If I’m honest it’s this type of writing that really grips me with a crime fiction book..the suspense, I want to put the pieces together just like Gray does.

Keith Nixon has written a brilliant follow-up book which combines multiple plots and twists that converge to keep you hooked. The author even dropped a bombshell which will no doubt be explored during the next instalment… it’s endings like this that keep me coming back to an author. I’m left with a  thirst that can only be quenched by reading the next installment as soon as it is released…other books can be put on hold but after an ending like that how could the next installment not be put on my most anticipated releases list!

This is what crime fiction should be for me. We have a flawed lead, (let’s face it no one is perfect, we just do the best we can) with a mix of personal and work issues to deal with. The cases develop at a good pace which keep me engaged and I must certainly want more. Chapter length was perfect, development felt natural rather than forced and there’s plenty of twists and turns to keep a real crime junkie happy also.

I’ve read a lot of Keith’s books and this is certainly a credit to his increasing collection of works and I hope there’s plenty more to follow.

Top notch work.

I would be lying if I didn’t say admit I received a copy of the book from NetGalley but I only did that so I could have a review up quickly, which I’m very grateful for, but if you take a look at Amazon you’ll now see that “verified purchase” next to my name 🙂

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

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Parsnips, Buttered: How to win at modern life, one email at a time by  Joe Lycett – Review

Title – Parsnips, Buttered: How to win at modern life, one email at a time
Author – Joe Lycett
Genre – Comedy & Stand-up
Length – 304 Pages
Publication – September 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Dear Reader,

Life is hard. We are a bombarded generation: Facebook, billboards, Twitter, Instagram, taxes, newspapers, watches monitoring our sleep, apps that read our pulse, terrorism. There’s such an onslaught to the senses these days it’s a marvel any of us manage to get out of bed. I love bed.

While we are overwhelmed and confused by the miasmic cloud of information, there are those that seek to take advantage: there are parking fines, hate Tweets, Nigerian email scams and Christmas newsletters from old school friends about their ugly kids. And just as we’re getting round to doing something about it, we’re distracted again.

I, Joe Lycett, comedian, wordsmith, and professional complainer, am here to help. During my short life of doing largely nothing I’ve discovered solutions to many of life’s problems, which I impart to you, dear Reader. Containing a centurion of complaint letters to unsuspecting celebrities, companies and anyone brave enough to clog up my phone, as well as illustrations, one-liners , jokes and life hacks, this little gem offers you a collection of tips and advice* for all manner of modern woe. By the time you have finished reading this book you will have learnt how to:

– Reverse a parking fine
– Manipulate the tabloid press
– Navigate social media
– Respond to hate mail
– Out-weird internet trolls
– Contest a so-called ripe avocado
– Send the perfect Christmas newsletter
– Defeat ISIS
– Take down multi-national companies
AND MUCH, MUCH MORE!

Joe Lycett x

* If you are looking for guidance with taxes, quitting smoking, moving house, love, divorce, education, healthcare or anything actually important may I recommend speaking to friends or family members and not consulting a book by a comedian who eats halloumi at least twice a day.

 

Review

Ah Joe.. I love Joe.

I bought this book as I just needed a release from the stresses of day-to-day life..Sometimes you just need to laugh at the things that get other people worked up and Joe has his own unique way of dealing with situations he’s unhappy with.

Joe has a number of aliases he uses when writing his emails, he doesn’t take the things thrown at him In life to seriously and puts a fun twist on the idea of a rant via email.

Joe is very funny man and I just loved how he takes things little further than most people do.. he does exactly what we all wish we could do but we get too hung up over being angry most times. He likes to joke a bit and take the piss a lot..

It’s an easy read, nice short funny chapters which means you can easily fly through it but enjoy every bit of it.

One thing Joe gets spot on is his comedic timing, just like his shows he’s planned the book out nicely.. just when you think we’ve seen the last of Samantha Peterson..bam she’s back to make you laugh again

Christmas is coming up fast so if you know someone who likes a bit of comedy I’d say you can’t go wrong with this one.

One thing I will say in case Joe ever reads this.. Crisp sandwiches are a thing!! I’m 32 and still enjoy eating them 🙂

 To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

The Hidden Face by S.C. Flynn – Review

Title – The Hidden Face
Author – S.C. Flynn
Genre – Fantasy
Length –  403 Pages
Publication – 25th Nov 2017
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

A face without a face – an unmasking that leaves the mask.

Once every few hundred years, the sun god, the Akhen takes on human form and descends to earth. Each Unmasking of the Face of the Akhen ends one era and begins another; the last one created the Faustian Empire. Where and when will the Face next appear, and who will he – or she – be?

Dayraven, son of a great hero, returns to Faustia after years as a hostage of their rivals, the Magians. Those years have changed him, but Faustia has changed as well; the emperor Calvo now seems eccentric and is controlled by one of Dayraven’s old enemies. Following the brutal death of his old teacher, Dayraven is drawn, together with a warrior woman named Sunniva, into the search for an ancient secret that would change the fate of empires.

Powerful enemies want the secret as well, including a dynasty of magician-kings who were thought to have died out long before, a mad, murderous hunchback and a beautiful, deadly woman who is never seen. Sunniva and Dayraven fight to survive and to solve the mystery while their own pasts come back to life and the attraction between them deepens.

The Hidden Face is a fantasy mystery drenched in the atmosphere of the Early Middle Ages and in Kabbalistic riddles, and is the first book in the Fifth Unmasking series.

Review

The Hidden Face by S.C. Flynn is a super-fast paced fantasy adventure.

There’s quite a nice build-up to start with as we learn about the main character Dayraven and his family history. Dayraven has been kept away from his homeland for many years and on his return he is quickly thrust into a quest to protect The Hidden Face.

Little does Dayraven know but those close to him have helped keep a secret safe for many years and after the murder of his old teacher things quickly start to unravel.

Sunniva quickly enters the plot, her family have connections to The Hidden Face also and she and Dayraven are thrust together to solve the clues left for them.

This is the fun part of the story as we find clues have been left.. but the answer are only something Dayraven and Sunniva would be able to figure out..and they need to work together to ensure it’s done quickly so they can keep ahead of those who wish to find The Hidden Face of themselves.

Who is The Hidden Face you might ask. A god turned human.. who  heralds the rise of one nation and the fall of another. Dayraven must stop the power of The Hidden Face falling into the wrong hands.

A major plus for this book is that I loved the vast and varied characters within the tale. To be honest I actually preferred the supporting cast over the main duo.

The only thing I can say I didn’t really enjoy was the love angle between Dayraven and Sunniva..the emotional connection wasn’t there for me so it just didn’t feel right…saying that if you read my reviews you’ll know I’m never a big romance fan.

Overall a decent plot with a fun ensemble of characters, there’s more to come and I’m interested to see what happens next.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

BLOG TOUR – The Silver Wolf by Rob Sinclair – Review

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Today is my stop of the blog tour for Rob Sinclair’s latest release The Silver Wolf, book 3 in the Jame Ryker series. Here’s the blurb –
Genre – Thriller
Length – 371 Pages
Publication – 17th Nov 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Still tormented by the disappearance of his wife, ex-intelligence agent James Ryker sets out on a personal mission of revenge, prepared to go to any lengths in search of the truth.

The trail takes him from the crystal waters of Mexico’s Caribbean coast, back to a place he thought he would never set foot again – his country of birth, England. But there he discovers more than even he bargained for. Stumbling across a terrorist attack targeted against his old employers – the secretive Joint Intelligence Agency -the faint clues to many events in his recent past are all seemingly linked to one mysterious character; The Silver Wolf.

But just who is the Silver Wolf, and why is he hell bent on punishing not just Ryker, but his closest allies at the JIA too?

Has Ryker finally met his match?

Review

We are back with Ryker, he now knows the fate of Lisa and he’s even more determined than ever to make those involved pay no matter the cost.

Ryker used to work for the JIA but not anymore..he’s happy to be a lone wolf on this one but will take any assistance offered if it helps him track down his targets.

While on his personal mission he ends up stumbling upon a much bigger issue and can’t help but be sucked in. His personal mission might not be the same as the JIA’s but while they are of use to him he will continue to do what he does best..cause trouble.

There are some amazing twists to this explosive and gruesome tale..Ryker definitely has a darker edge to him. I must admit this story plays out like a Jason Bourne kind of tale but it’s much more exciting.

The author takes no prisoners.. I’m not going to spoil it but there’s one scene that left speechless and I read it over again a few times thinking – “Oh MY GOD did he really just do that”. Damn it’s good.

The Silver Wolf offers everything you could need in a thriller, it’s dark and heavy hitting which gives it an edge, there’s suspense but plenty of action for the adrenaline junkies, twists all over and I can’t stress enough how amazing the overall plot is.

It was a true pleasure to read, seeing the big picture come together as Ryker but’s the pieces together. The author continues to knocking cracking tales time and time again and delivers every time.

It’s a must read series.

My thanks go to the auhtor and Bloodhound Books for the chance to read/review the book! I sense a paperback copy being ordered for my collection 🙂

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

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Author Bio:
Rob is the author of the critically acclaimed and bestselling Enemy series and James Ryker series of espionage thrillers. His books have sold over half a million 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

Light Dawning by Ty Arthur – Review

Title – Light Dawning
Author – Ty Arthur
Genre – Dark Fantasy
Length – 228 Pages
Publication – May 2017
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

Once known as the City on the Hill and revered far and wide for its independence and boundless opportunity, Cestia has become home only to the damned. Surviving under the brutal occupation of a southern empire for three long years, the oppressed populace has lost hope of liberation, turning instead towards an increasingly desperate rebellion willing to commit any atrocity for a chance at freedom. As total war approaches, four lost souls trapped behind Cestia’s walls are on a collision course with fate, destined to either save the city or see it utterly destroyed while calling on forces beyond mankind’s comprehension. For good or ill, the light of a new day is about to dawn.

Review

A once great city has fallen but rebels still plot from the shadows.. the problem is they are slowly being hunted down.

The four main characters in the book are Myrr, Tala, Father Erret and Casterly. Each has their own journey to follow but at the same time their paths will cross..but are they friend or foe..the line is blurred at times.

I really enjoyed the gruesomeness of the tale, there are some rather vivid moments that don’t leave you quickly and you are left in no doubt the author has a weird and wonderful imagination which works perfectly for a dark fantasy novel.

This book is all about the build-up. You’re expecting a rebellion to happen, for the main characters to rise and become heroes…well you’ll be waiting a bloody long time..that’s not this book.

It’s quite tense at times, you really don’t know where the author is planning to go but everything falls together nicely and the interwoven tales of the main characters work well.

Oh don’t you worry a battle is coming but it’s truly unexpected the plot that plays out. I read a lot of fantasy books and let’s be honest..quite a few follow the same pattern..not this one, it’s refreshingly different and that’s what makes it so good.

The dark nature of the tale is something that really gives this book an edge, theirs a darkness overshadowing all and it was fascinating reading Tala’s tale. I won’t spoil it but she does not have it easy. She has a power within her to open the door to beings from another plain and these guys aren’t pretty that’s for sure, how they are born into this world is pretty gruesome to say the least.

I think Tala was my favourite character I must say, but I enjoyed them all, a special mention has to be made of Casterly and his fate in life.. wow..twist alert..you’ll not see that coming.

If you are looking for an engrossing slow burn of a fantasy book, heavy on the darkness scale that you can really get to grips with then this is top-notch. For me the darkness overshadows all and I liked it.

Do I want to more from Ty Arthur? Yes please.

My thanks go to Ty for the chance to read and review the book!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Those Brave, Foolish Souls from the City of Swords by Benedict Patrick – Review

Title – Those Brave, Foolish Souls from the City of Swords (Yarnsworld #3)
Author – Benedict Patrick
Genre – Fantasy
Length – 268 Pages
Publication – 16th October 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Don’t draw your blade in the City of Swords, unless you’re willing to kill… or ready to die.

Young and filled with idealistic fervor, Arturo packs his blade and travels to the fabled City of Swords in the hopes of joining the dashing Bravadori. Yet upon arriving he discovers these masked vigilantes have more in common with brutal thugs than noble monster slayers. Disillusioned and mocked, he stubbornly refuses to give up his dreams.

When an impending bandit attack threatens untold depravities upon a distant village, and no others will heed the call for help, Arturo joins forces with a worthless outcast and a walking legend to attempt the impossible, to traverse the demon-haunted wilderness and prove that in the City of Swords, true heroes can rise from the unlikeliest of places.

Those Brave, Foolish Souls from the City of Swords is a gritty, action-packed standalone novel set in Benedict Patrick’s Yarnsworld, a land where folktales and fantasy mix, where the monsters from stories are real.

Start reading today to discover this epic tale of broken heroes and inspiring hope!

Review

We are back with Benedict Patrick’s Yarnsworld series and I’ll be quite honest I couldn’t have been any more excited. For me this series has been the biggest shock since I started reviewing as it was just so original and had an immediate wow factor.

This is the best yet in the series, it’s fantasy with a dark twist that I just love.

Those Brave, Foolish Souls from the City of Swords is the tale of Arturo, he wants to become a Bravador. The Bravadori are a thing of legend, they are protectors. Unfortunately for Arturo the Bravadori he meets don’t live up to the legend.

If the Bravadori won’t be the protectors of those in need Arturo will!

Here’s where the tale starts to get really interesting. He’s joined on his journey by Yizel and Crazy Raccoon, each of these has their own tale. Yizel is a fallen Bravador who needs to find her worth again and Crazy Raccoon..well he’s just got a chip on his shoulder and a point to prove.

A familiar feature in the authors work is the idea of a person’s “knack”, essentially something they are very skilled at and they have these moments when their knack will flare and the early scenes in the book really had the young boy in me on edge as I imagined the swordplay and the individuals knack coming into play.

The chapters flow easily and once again the author continues to break up the reading into easy and manageable sections, after each chapter you are treated to some folklore of the Yarnsworld, you hear about the people Arturo dreamed of becoming and it really did bring the story together well while at the same time keeping things fresh and interesting.

I always love the folklore feel with Benedict’s work, it’s like these books themselves could have been passed down through the ages..the stuff of legends.

What the author always gets right for me is the suspense.. the build up to something big you know is coming but until it happens you’ve literally no idea where the author will take you.. it’s so utterly engrossing.

Benedict’s works are a real gem and a must for fantasy lovers, there’s so much scope to the series that I can see many more tales to come. Even the cover gets me excited with this one, the vivid image suits the tale well and I just love the design.

I received an ARC copy of the book for review purposes but I’ll be adding a paperback to my collection soon!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

10 Questions with Alison Morton.

Today I’m very glad to bring to you a Q&A with Alison Morton, author of the Roma Nova series.

You can read my reviews of Aurelia and Insurrectio by clicking the images below to open a new window.

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One of the biggest things I’ve enjoyed about the series is that it turns the traditional and outdated idea of social structure on its head.

I hope you enjoy the questions, do let me know your thoughts 🙂

P.S look out for my review of Retalio book 6 in the series soon!


 

Q1 – For anyone who’s read my reviews of your works I’m sure they will know how much I’ve enjoyed reading them but for anyone new what would you say to convince them to give your books a try?

You don’t believe in starting with an easy one, do you, David?  😉

Seriously, I try to provide a cracking story and provoke a few questions along the way. Yes, my books are thrillers, but without dripping body parts and with a different take on what might have happened at the end of the Roman Empire.

I enjoy a good twist when I read, so I like to put a few of those in my own books, but of course, all good reads are not only about the story, but equally about characters. We love to gasp with horror, feel that frisson of fear, fall in love and celebrate along with our heroine (or hero).

Q2 – Strong female leads are something I’m starting to see more and more in books and I love it. Did you always set out to write a series that knocks on the head the idea of the male characters being in charge?

In brief, yes! I wanted a female character who led the action and pushed the story through. Too often the woman is the sidekick or the mother/daughter/sister/colleague who waves the hero goodbye as he sets off on his quest, whether in the 4th, 21st or 43rd century. Virginia Woolf wrote in 1929 about fictitious women, “But almost without exception they are shown in their relation to men.” So it’s nothing new!

A little secret: if I find myself slipping back into the action man/passive woman trap when writing, I reverse the dialogue to make sure my heroine is making the decisions!  But it doesn’t make Roma Novan men any less masculine or tough. (I explain it all here.)

Q3 – Your idea of alternative history and that the fall of Rome didn’t mean the end of Roman culture opens up lots of writing possibilities, where did the idea come from?

Several things! I’ve been a ‘Roman nut’ since I walked on my first mosaic at Ampurias in northeast Spain. In fact I’ve clambered over quite a lot of Roman Europe! The idea of a modern Roman heroine has been bubbling away in my head for years.  She would have to be modern as even in Late Antiquity no woman could have a public role, let alone a military one, and Rome was essentially a military society. Then I read Robert Harris’s Fatherland and learnt about alternative timelines and outcomes.Two more neurons connected in the brain!

No fingers were hovering above a keyboard yet, though. Then I saw a really bad film. The cinematography was gorgeous, it was set in modern Rome and it had the enormous bonus of starring Ewan McGregor. (Your women readers will understand the last one better than men, I feel.) However, the dialogue and continuity were rubbish. I knew I could do better. The trigger was pulled. Ninety days later I had a manuscript of 90,000 words. Rubbish, of course, but it went on after much slashing, rewriting and polishing to become INCEPTIO.  The legend of Roma Nova was born.

Q4 – The great thing about the setting of your tales is that you have some leeway with historical accuracy. Was the accuracy in describing the Roma Nova culture important to you?

Absolutely! I have an MA in History which has given me a grounding in being picky about accuracy and sources in a methodological way. I don’t think you can alternate history without knowing it first.

When you choose to diverge from the standard historical timeline, you have to know exactly what the world was like at that point. This is the last solid foothold you have on the historical record. For example, the Roma Nova storyline is that the group of senatorial families who trekked out of Italy at the end of the fourth century to become the first Roma Novans were pagans persecuted by Christian Emperor Theodosius II. This persecution really was taking place at the time (not something we’re taught about). Theodosius signed the final edict outlawing worship of the traditional Roman gods in AD 394; the punishment was death.

Once you have researched that divergence point in time ad nauseam, then you project forwards using historical logical until you reach thelater time when your story is set. It helps to have a general knowledge of ,and a feel for ,history here. If not, research!

In fact, everything has to be checked from technology and attitudes in the 1960s (AURELIA), how to mount a coup d’état, intelligence techniques, warfighting of the 1980s (INSURRECTIO, RETALIO), weaponry, signals, locations and transferable Roman practices for all the books. But I love research. Honestly!

Q5 – How long have you been a writer and what influenced you to first put pen to paper?

I’ve written most of my life, but mostly practical stuff: student theses, government papers, exercise reports, corporate documentation, PR copy, articles, an academic dissertation even. As a trained translator, my work turning foreign language text into English was precise with a touch of creativity in expression, plus I edited at least one million words in that time. Now, making up stories? Ever since childhood. Writing them down? That only started in 2009 with that bad film.

Q6 – Would you contemplate writing a book in any other genre?

Ha! The great Conn Iggulden who endorsed INSURRECTIO gave me a suggestion about that. But I’m not telling at the moment!

Q7 – How important is feedback from your readers?

Very important. I’m not so grand that I don’t read and take notice of my reviews. Of course, they are all subjective, but I’ve gleaned some excellent advice from readers and fans since INCEPTIO was published in 2013.

The Roma Nova Enthusiasts’ Group on Facebook is small but going well, as is my Facebook author page and I always love it when people react to my blogposts (alison-morton.com) or tweets (@alison_morton).

Q8 – Who have been your biggest influences within the writing community?

This is such a difficult question as it changes all the time! Like many Roman writers, my first Roman book was The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff. I grew up on a very mixed diet of fiction, swinging from Georgette Heyer, Leslie Charteris’s The Saint to Peter O’Donnell’s Modesty Blaise and Dennis Wheatley’s adventure tales.

I adore Gore Vidal’s Julian, and anything by Margaret Attwood and Tom Clancy. These days, Lindsey Davis is a clear favourite along with Steven Saylor, Ruth Downie, William Boyd, J D Robb and of course, Robert Harris.

Q9 – What books are currently on your reading shelf?

Legionary: the Roman Soldier’s (Unofficial) Manual by Philip Matyszak. I’m enjoying it tremendously. I’m ex-military myself, so it’s raising a few smiles.

Q10 – Future plans? More books I hope J

More books, certainly!  I’ve just completed a novella featuring Carina and set between INCEPTIO and PERFIDITAS. Perhaps I’ll write more ‘inbetweeners’ or a collection of short stories. Then there’s the foundation story of Roma Nova waiting for me…

Thank you so much for letting me ‘invade’ your blog, David!