Tag Archives: Book Reviews

Surviving Hell: the brutal true story of the Chennai Six by Nick Dunn – Review

Next up I’m reviewing Surviving Hell: the brutal true story of the Chennai Six by Nick Dunn. Nick is a fellow Ashington boy who was mixed up in events that cost him years of his life.. it’s a true account of his imprisonment and treatment at the hands of the UK and Indian government.. it’s one hell of a read.

Here’s the blurb

THE BRUTAL TRUE STORY OF THE ‘CHENNAI SIX’

The remarkable story of former British soldier Nick Dunn, who was caught up in one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in the modern era.

Arrested and imprisoned in India as one of the ‘Chennai Six’, Nick wasn’t just innocent of any crime – there was no crime. Stationed on an anti-piracy ship to protect vessels against Somali pirates, the six were arrested and falsely charged with intruding in Indian waters and the possession of illegal weapons.

Nick lost four years of his life trapped in a legal nightmare in India, thousands of miles from home and his family, spending the bulk of his time in appalling conditions at Chennai prison with extremely limited contact to the outside world. Despite this, Nick refused to buckle, and now he tells his full story of endurance and survival for the very first time.

Review

Nick Dunn is a former British soldier.. After serving his country he decides to take a job in security, specifically on an anti-piracy ship protecting vessels for Somali pirates. While aboard ship the Indian coastguard board and accuse the men of being in Indian waters with illegal weapons. The men know this to be untrue and believe it will be sorted out quickly…fat chance.. due to the vindictive and corrupt nature of the Indian justice system Nick and the rest of the men are about to be trust into hardship and uncertainty that would break many.

This tale isn’t just about his time in prison.. it’s a reflective look at his life and event that ended up with Nick being in India.. Nick had a lot of time to look back at things.. he doesn’t have regrets.. it’s just a simple series of events that have led him here but he won’t let this get him down.. he has to be strong.

We also learn of Lisa, Nick’s sister who campaigned tirelessly for his release and the amazing connection between the two of them.. a bond that could never be broken no matter the distance.

In the current climate this book is the perfect read.. Nick had to deal with isolation.. had to deal with the stress of things being out of his control.. I know it’s a very different situation but reading about his strength during that time can help you see that things could be worse.. if he made it through so will we.

What amazed me was the telling of his time in jail… you’d be forgiven for thinking he was just imprisoned from day 1… not so.. in and out of jail, on bail, back to jail, freedom of sorts..to have it crushed and forced back to jail seemingly out of spite more than anything..I can’t imagine the stress that must have caused Nick and the other men.

Nick was shockingly let down by many.. just not those closest to him.. his family. It wasn’t an easy ride for them either. As we all know life moves on regardless of events that might happen to you.. how do you balance a life when a member of your family is locked up on false charges.

To say this book is a brilliant read is an understatement.. that seems like the wrong word if you look at the subject matter.. it’s a harrowing tale of corruption and imprisonment but also sheer strength of will.. that in the end sees Nick home with his family.

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

 

An English King by Gabriel Stein – Review

Reviewing as a hobby means sometimes I forget to read books I really want to as I take on too many review requests.

During this year I’ll still take on requests but I’m going to focus more heavily on my own reading pile.. I’ve some brilliant books just waiting to be picked up.

Next up being An English King by Gabriel Stein.

Here’s the blurb

Gerne – Historical Fiction

Constantinopolis. 1096.

Sometimes the enemy comes from within.

Edmund has fought the Normans most of his life – at Hastings under King Harold of England, and later in Greece as a soldier in the Varangian Guard of the Byzantine Emperor.

His dream is to lead an army of battle-hardened warriors back home and expel the Normans from England.

With the Empire finally at peace, Edmund feels that the time has arrived to fulfil his duty and avenge his king.

But there are rumours of a new threat. Large hosts of armed Latins – westerners – are marching towards the city, brandishing the sign of the Cross. One of the Crusader leaders is Bohemond of Taranto.

England will have to wait, while Edmund is tasked by his Emperor with a delicate and dangerous assignment: find out if Bohemond is friend or enemy. And if he is an enemy – stop him.

Edmund’s assignment will take him through Anatolia. Battles and sieges await.

The Varangian’s strength – and spirit – will be tested like never before.

Review

An English King is book 2 in The Varangian Series. I very much enjoyed the 1st instalment so I was looking forward to this one.. did it disappoint..not in the slightest!

We are back with Edmund and the Varangian guard.. this time he’s no fresh recruit.. he’s a seasoned warrior and life is looking good for him.. he still dreams of a return to England but he has a family now who rely on him.

A new threat arrives.. the issue is they aren’t really an enemy… it’s the Crusaders.. the problem is they will pass through the Emperor’s land..someone needs to make sure they behave themselves.

As they pass through the Emperor agrees to send in his own troops to support the effort.. the upside for him means he can hopefully reclaim lands long lost to the Empire. The downside for Edmund means he’s tasked with going along with Bohemond of Taranto…. Enemies once… can he be trusted now?

There’s battles aplenty.. treachery.. and loyalty when you least expect it and it will test Edmund to the fullest.

While fighting physically Edmund is also dealing with the mental side of things.. he’s been part of the Empire now for a long time.. will he ever go home.. does he want to.. will it be the place he remembers.. it’s an internal struggle for him. Edmund will need to put these thoughts on hold if he’s going to make it back in one piece.

The battle sequences were detailed and exciting to read. I really felt immersed in Edmund’s world.

As the battles continue the stress begins to show and loyalty is tested..without the Emperors presence the Crusaders trust starts to wane… how long can Edmund and the Emperor’s men keep everyone on the same side.

While An English King is a work of fiction it’s very detailed and shows a keen interest in the subject matter.. this adds to the tale..it’s what sucks you in.

If you are looking for an interesting and exciting historical fiction read you could a lot worse than this. A beautifully brutal tale at times.. showing the stress Edmund is under … it’s a slow burner..it’s all about the build up but when the action really hits it’s cracking! For me it’s all about the development of Edmund as his place in the Empire is solidified.

4/5 Stars!

To find out more head to GoodreadsorAmazon.

Flash Gordon – Massacre In The 22nd Century by David Hagberg – Review

One of my aims in 2020 is to focus more on the books I want to read rather than just review requests. I’ve found myself being snowed under so much with requests that I’ve got a cupboard full of forgotten books.. well no more 😊

Today I’m going to be reviewing Flash Gordon – Massacre In The 22nd Century by David Hagberg.

To give you a little background into my choice of story I’ve had a few Flash novels in my collection for years… I used to be part of the local Scout group who held regular jumble sales.. I wasn’t a big reader but I loved books.. the covers attracted my eyes and at the time I would be paying around 10p for a book.

I remember quite vividly those days, I used to help out at the jumble sales by sorting the clothes that had fallen on to the floor.. When I got a bit sick of that I’d pester my mam for some change to do some bargain hunting myself and it was either toys, bric-a-brac or books that took my fancy. I remember spending around £5 and having bags of things to take home. My mam didn’t mind I don’t think. We weren’t exactly poor but we couldn’t waste money either so I made the most of my time at the jumble sales.

I remember I picked up a Flash Gordon book.. I loved the cover.. It was book 3 of the series but thought for 10p why not. That book has lived with me ever since. A few years ago when I started reading regularly I looked into buying the rest of that series of books which even ended up with me buying a few online from America.. I might not have read any of the books but when I commit I commit fully.

Here’s the blurb

Sent on a mission to investigate the mysterious reappearance of the Interstellar Exploration ship GOODHOPE, Colonel Flash Gordon and his companions, Dale Arden and Dr. Hans Zarkov discover much more than they had bargained for. Stranded in deep space, the trio find themselves drawn against their will into a war of worlds which has lasted thousands of years…and which threatens the very existence of the planet Earth.

So here we are.. after around nearly 20 years here’s my review!
Review

Massacre In The 22nd Century is the first in a 6 part series by David Hagberg.

An interstellar starship arrives home to Earth..the issue is this ship departed 200 years ago and was presumed lost.

No one is answering onboard, Hans Zarkov is enlisted to gain entry onto the spaceship to investigate what was happened since he’s an expert on older technology. Dale and Flash are going along for the ride.

What they find onboard will change their lives forever and will catapult them into a war which has been going on for thousands of years..will they ever make it back to Earth?

Quite honestly the plot of this book blew my mind.. It was fantastic! Detailed and well structured but overall utterly fascinating and the ending left me In no doubt I’ll be reading the entire series. I was hooked from chapter 1!

Characters wise I loved Flash and Zarkov.. Dale’s a little bit annoying when she ignores what’s asked of her.. she’s impulsive.. hopefully as the series continues, she will start to work better with them as Flash/Zarkov accept her as part of the team.

As the story continues it setups the series perfectly.. it gives you just enough to grab you.. suck you in.. masterfully securing my attention.. so much so I’ve started book 2 already.

What Massacre In The 22nd Century shows me is that a good story will stand up to the test of time.. this story was written 5 years before I was born but still effortlessly consumed me.

Old school science fiction and I loved it!

5/5 Stars!

To find out more head to Goodreads!

If you fancy a copy why not try Ebay or AbeBooks 🙂

Christmas Gone Crazy by Jamie Adams – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Christmas Gone Crazy by Jamie Adams.

Here’s the blurb

A weirdly sweet Christmas tale about two twenty-somethings who find themselves on a Christmas mission in the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland.

Review

I know it’s not Christmas but we all need a little Christmas cheer don’t we?

A reporter is tasked with heading to the Swiss Alps to look into reports of someone claiming to be Jesus.. while there things take a turn with a surprising ending that left me wondering what could happen next..

For me this short tale was about a miracle..anything can happen.. when you least expect it.. and leaves it up to the reader as to what they want to believe.. was this just coincidence or did the stranger claiming to be Jesus play a part? I’ll guess we will never know.

The tale is short at just over 20 pages and is a fun read that kept my interest. Perfect if you’ve not got a lot of time and fancy a quick read.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

4/5 Stars.

The Zolin Conspiracy (Malykant Mysteries #9) by Charlotte E. English – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing The Zolin Conspiracy (Malykant Mysteries #9) by Charlotte E. English.

Here’s the blurb

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.

Out in the deep snow lies the body of a gentleman, dressed for a party — and missing his head. Konrad investigates, only to find a surprising dearth of information about the victim. Bogdan Zolin was a man with a glittering social record — and little else.

Just who was he? What secrets lie in his mysterious past? With the help of a wayward witch, a mild-mannered police inspector, and an undead street urchin, Konrad must delve deep into the hidden secrets of the aristocratic world. And hope to emerge alive.

Review

It’s been a while since I reviewed a book of Charlotte’s.. why you may ask.. she’s just so prolific I can’t keep up! Ha.

In all honesty I’ve been reading lots.. life got in the way of reviewing but it’s time to make up for that and get some reviews up J

So we are back with Konrad Savast.. he’s the Malykant and gives a voice to those who no longer have their own..Trust me.. you don’t want Konrad knocking on your door! He’s a hunter..with a talent for tracking down murderers.

This time Konrad finds the headless body of Bogdan Zolin.. but who is he? And why do people seem to know so little about the man? He’s a mysterious figure that’s for sure but Konrad is duty bound to bring the killer to justice.

While hunting the killer we continue to see the character development from Konrad that has been building over the series..he’s not the person he once was..can he still trust in his powers to be there when he needs them? And ultimately what will happen to him in the end? It’s not like you walk away from this type of job.

As usual theres twists and turns and hidden truths to be found. I don’t think I’ve read a more fun series that also happens to be pretty gruesome in its portrayal of death.. but the humour is perfectly balanced. His complicated relationship with Nanda will keep fans of the series hooked too!

I don’t want to spoil the plot but the details but the character of Bogdan was fascinating.. a task made difficult since he’s dead.. but he’s effortlessly brought to life and the major twists with him really gave him something.. made him more than just a footnote in the book.

I bang on about this a lot but Charlotte E. English has the perfect style of writing to hook you in, short sharp and ultimately easy flowing chapters means you can be forgiven for demolishing this book in a of couple hours.

What I really love about the series is the fact it never gets boring or repetitive.. yes there’s the underlying character development of Konrad.. but that’s something I want to see.. mix in a fun and fresh plot each time just makes this one of the best series to read. Dark and magical with the humour to match.

Another cracking read from the author who continues to give the readers just what they need.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

5/5 Stars.

Legionary: Dark Eagle (Legionary 8) by Gordon Doherty – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing Dark Eagle book in in the Legionary series by Gordon Doherty!

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Historical Fiction

Winter, 382 AD. The Gothic War is over. After years of bloodshed, the Eastern Roman Empire and the Goths have struck a deal for peace. Imperial heralds crow about the treaty as if it were a triumph. Feasts and celebrations take place across the Eastern provinces. Every hero of the war is honoured and acclaimed… except one.

Tribunus Pavo languishes in exile, haunted by a dark truth: that it was Gratian, Emperor of the West – the most powerful man alive – who caused the war and manipulated its every turn. Tormented by memories of loved ones lost during the great conflict, one word tolls endlessly through Pavo’s mind: Justice!

But in this great game of empire, justice rarely comes without a grave cost…

Review

We are back with Pavo and Sura.. or should I say Urbicus and Mucianus…after the events of the last book and Pavo’s brush with Emperor Gratian our lions are believed dead.. and they need to keep it that way.

While Pavo struggles to deal with being separated from his men of the Claudia they themselves are feeling his loss keenly.. and it’s about to get a hell of a lot worse.

The war with the Goths may be over but tension is bubbling and on top of that the tension between the Eastern and Western emperors that has been growing is about to boil over.

I’m used to Gordon’s work by now but he continues to amaze me with gripping plots and fascinating characters. As the title suggests this instalment is dark.. Probably Pavo’s darkest moment to date and once again not all our lions will live to tell the tale.

One chapter stands out for me as a bone crunching heart fluttering smack in the face.. Chapter 9.. it cemented just how far Gratian’s power can go and shows just how high the climb will be for Pavo to get to him.. it won’t be easy.

Along with way we get a wonderful new cheekiness from Darik..he bounces off Sura’s character brilliantly.. While Sura likes to think he’s the best at everything… to him Darik seems to have it all.. Including the looks.. there’s never animosity.. rather a budding friendship when you can tease but know when to draw the line… to see how they connected was refreshing to explore as I’m so used to it just being Pavo and Sura with a supporting cast.. Darik shines through.

Now to the nitty gritty without giving the game away.. yes there’s battle and Gordon did his usually with pure brilliance in describing the different units and how they are formed/where they are from.. for someone like me who likes the action this extra detail doesn’t distract at all but will really hit the mark for those who like authors going that little bit further. If anything it makes me want to learn more.. do my own research.. I’ve always known the Roman army encompassed many nationalities/groups but it’s amazing to see how far their reach was at one point.

With every chapter I smelt defeat on the cards… followed by hope..only to have it dashed again and again.. but wait.. hope arrives again.. Pavo is not the only one who want’s to see Gratian overthrown after all.. but as always all is not as it seems!

Damn you Gordon with all those marvellous twists!

Another little thing Gordon does that I really like is there’s always little titbits thrown in to remind the reader of those lost and fallen..the series may focus heavily on Pavo but he’s happy to share the limelight.

I felt Libo came into his own in this instalment too.. without Pavo he steps up and along with others like Pulcher show what the Claudia are all about.. they won’t go down without a fight.

I really don’t want to spoil anything but of course the Speculatores show their ugly faces again.. but Pavo is ready for them… if he can figure out who he can trust… one gets a rather gruesome death.. I can’t lie… I thoroughly enjoyed it!

I made one note when reading this book and it simply said… hard hitting gut hurting masterpiece.. and I stand by that.. 5*

Now enough.. go buy the book! 😊

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!

The Innkeeper by MJ Porter as JE Porter – Review

Next up on David’s Book Blurg I’m reviewing The Innkeeper by MJ Porter as JE Porter.

Here’s the blurb

Mann has a secret he can tell no one, and it’s not that the beguiling whores of Slutet believe he’s the best shag they’ve ever had.

No, being able to summon anything he wants, from thin air, is not something he wants to share. Neither is the fact that he has no recollection of his past, or that, as time goes on, his life never ends. (He doesn’t mind if the whores want to tell everyone about his prowess in the bedchamber, mind, and neither does he mind sharing it with all who come asking).

Not that his summoning power is his only secret, but the end of the millennia and a meeting of apparent strangers might be about to answer the questions he never even realised he had.

Whether a Nine or a None, Mann has a duty only he can fulfil, and this cycle, he’s failed, spectacularly. But there’s always tomorrow, or, rather, yesterday, to do it all over again, if he can only find what he lost.

As a Nine or a None, Mann must uncover his destiny by revisiting the past.

Review

The Innkeeper follows Mann.. he appears out of nowhere near Slutet.. why or how he doesn’t  know but he soon learns he has a special ability to summon the things he needs to survive.. but where do they come from and why does he have this power?

Full disclosure this book is like nothing I’ve read before.. it’s a magical fantasy/mystery tale but Mann is quite an enigma so the only thing you learn quickly is that he likes the word fuck a lot and he’s fond of his lady friends.

Mann soon settles in Slutet as an Innkeeper. As the years pass he sees those he knows live and die.. but he’s still here….and he’s not aged a day… at some point people will start to notice won’t they? Surely? He needs an exit plan.

This is a complex plan involving him leaving his home… at least for a while.

Just when he feels he has a way out others like him appear.. they are searching for someone.. is it him? If not who?

The major issue is he doesn’t know who he can trust…and even if they seem honest is this just an act?

As the tale progresses we see Mann learn to master his powers which made the chapters intriguing as he tried to put his plan into action.

The Nine and the None are a fun idea.. neither group seems to really know who is which or if they even like each other but the conversations between them were fun to read.

Looking at characters The Innkeeper has a vast array of weird and wonderful  individuals to get to know.. not many like to give much away though.. but it’s this lack of connection with them that actually makes them very appealing.

The plot itself is insane..crazy and bloody marvellous.. I can’t quite explain it.

For being so wonderfully strange and original it’s a 4* star from me.. The Nine and the None are so mysteriously baffling and I found myself really enjoying it.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

4/5 Stars.