Tag Archives: Reviews

Beg For Mercy (Detective Solomon Gray #3) by Keith Nixon – Review

Title – Beg For Mercy (Detective Solomon Gray #3)
Author – Keith Nixon
Genre – Crime Fiction
Length – 199 Pages
Publication – 12th June 2018
My Rating –  5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Fifteen years ago Duncan Usher was sent to prison for killing his wife, Valerie. Young Detective Solomon Gray was first at the scene. His biggest case yet.

But Duncan Usher didn’t kill Valerie. While someone was strangling Val, Usher had another man’s blood on his hands. Usher took the fall for Val’s death, but now he’s out. Released on a technicality. He’s held a grudge all this time, and he won’t stop until he gets revenge on the dirty cop who framed him. Usher sets his sights on DS Solomon Gray.

And he has no qualms about using Gray’s son, Tom, as a pawn to get what he wants.

Beg for Mercy is the third book in a series featuring Detective Sergeant Solomon Gray. The crime series is perfect for fans of Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride, and Peter James.

Review

You’ve no idea how glad I am to be back in the world of Solomon Gray!

If you’ve not read the first two books in the series you should!

Click below to read my reviews –

Dig Two Graves

Burn The Evidence

So we are back with Sol and this has to be one of the best openings to a book I’ve ever read. Sure Sol is flawed but surely he’s not capable of murder or corruption!

As with previous tales we change perspectives and time periods throughout the book jumping from the past to the present. This style of writing really makes it an interesting read and builds the suspense up as the author reveals little by little the truth behind the case until all becomes clear.

This case has links to Sol’s past and his son Tim who was kidnapped many years ago and it appears a so-called friend might not be who Sol thought they were. But how does Duncan Usher fit in and what lengths will Grey go to in order to find out the truth.

There’s a few twists in this one that you don’t see coming and you can see relationships are starting to wear down. Gray doesn’t have many friends left to rely on. Who will he call in his time of need?

Beg For Mercy has to be the best in the series so far, which goes from strength to strength and the development of story just has me gagging for more. Will we ever know truth about what happened to Tom and is he alive? Oh I do hope the author lets us know one day but I’m happy to live with the suspense killing me if we get tales like this.

This is a suspenseful, thought-provoking crime thriller. I could give you the normal words I like to use like dark and gritty but the only way I can describe the book honestly is exciting! I just want to keep going!! More more more! The book has that WOW moment for me when things start to fit together and left me with that tingling feeling a great book does when you replay the events in your head to imagine what it must feel like.

I’m a big fan of the authors work and he never fails to deliver a cracking read!

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

 

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The Striding Spire (Modern Magick 3) by Charlotte E English – Review

Title – The Striding Spire (Modern Magick 3)
Author – Charlotte E English
Genre – Fantasy
Length – 192 pages
Publication – Feb 2018
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

As an agent of the Society for Magickal Heritage, Cordelia “Ves” Vesper has an important job: to track down and rescue endangered magickal creatures, artefacts, books and spells wherever they are to be found. It’s a duty that takes her the length and breadth of Britain, and frequently gets her into trouble. But somebody’s got to keep magick alive in the modern world, and Ves is more than equal to the job.

Fresh from an involuntary crash course in the Stranger Arts, Ves has a new mystery to solve: the inexplicable reappearance of an extinct species. The Dappledok Pup has not been seen in the flesh since the eighteenth century – so how does one come to be found, weak but alive, over two hundred years later? A creature with a unique talent for sniffing out treasure, no less, and that can’t be a coincidence.

Where did the pup come from – and is there something sinister afoot? Aided by a talking book, a spriggan with a taste for vintage fashion and the best Waymaster in the business, nothing can stop Ves from finding out the truth. Can it?

Review

The Modern Magick series is fast becoming a favourite of mine. Short and informative chapters make these books such an easy read and the plot keeps you hooked easily.

This is an ongoing series so I do strongly suggest you read the previous books before starting this one.

Check out my reviews below –

The Road to Farringale

Toil and Trouble

So we are back with Ves and the Society for Magickal Heritage and things are starting to heat up. We start to learn more about the decline of magic in the world but also the history behind the magic..both good and bad…secrets are waiting to be discovered.

I really enjoyed the character development and its great to see each character get their own share of page time so the focus isn’t always on Ves.

Another thing I really like about the style of the tale is real life touch added to Ves and her growing infatuation with Baron Alban from the troll court. This mix of development with the main plot and her personal development just makes Ves more real..more human.

This book is all about the build-up..magical creatures long forgotten have returned.. buildings are disappearing and reappearing but why and who’s behind it…did I mention theres also a dragon? albet quite a ncie one.

Many questions get half answers in this tale..it just leads to more and more questions which for me certainly hooked me in to buy the next book.

It’s another classic tale from Charlotte who certainly knows her target market well. Her writing style continues to keep me engrossed with fantastic use of words that engages the reader and is suitable from teens up easily.

The Striding Spire is a fun tale and the series has lots of promise. I’m starting to see a bigger picture emerging but the author keeps you in the dark and only reveals tit bits as we go along to tantalise the taste buds.

I’ve high hopes for this series..don’t let me down Ms English!

If you’re looking for a good fantasy book then I can’t recommend anyone more highly than Charlotte E. English.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Oh did I mention book 4 is out today? Find out more here and look out for my review soon!

A Whiff of Cyanide by Guy Fraser-Sampson – Review

Title – A Whiff of Cyanide
Author – Guy Fraser-Sampson
Genre – Thriller
Length –  360 Pages
Publication – June 2017
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

The third volume of the bestselling Hampstead Murders sees the team become involved with a suspicious death at a crime writers’ convention. Is this the result of a bitterly contested election for the Chair of the Crime Writers’ Association or are even darker forces at work? Peter Collins, who is attending the convention as the author of a new book on poisoning in Golden Age fiction, worries that the key clue to unlock this puzzle may be buried within his own memories. A character called Miss Marple offers her advice, but how should the police receive this? Meanwhile an act of sudden, shocking violence and a dramatic revelation threaten tragic consequences…

Review

Book 3 of Hampstead Murders builds nicely on to what is becoming a very exciting series. If you haven’t already read the first two books you should!

Click below to read my reviews of –

Book 1 – Death in Profile

Book 2 – Miss Christie Regrets

So back to book 3..well the author certainly knows how to throw a curve ball or two and once again the suspense is built up over the book until the final reveal and all becomes clear.

This time our favourite detectives are investigating the murder of Ann Durham and from the title of the book you’ll guess cyanide plays its part.

There’s reason to believe this could have been suicide but It soon gets interesting when the evidence (or lack of) points to murder. Who did it..and even more so..how!

We get twists and turns at every corner when the detectives start looking into Ann’s life and the potential motives behind her murder explored. This really gets the cogs in your brain working worktime.

The author also gives us an insight into the lives if the detectives and while I can’t spoil it for the reader let me say things are certainly heating up and things are about to become a lot more complicated.

What the author gives the reader is a real whodunnit, the perfect mix of plot and character development to really get me sucked into the world he’s created. I really enjoy the old school vibe these tales have relying on gut instincts to lead the investigation at times.

Overall a cracking plot that had me hooked right until the last page.It’s fun and witty and if I’m honest a delightful read. The Hampstead Murders series just keeps getting better!

If you’ve not started the series yet what are you waiting for?

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Virgin to Victoria by Trisha Hughes – Review

Title – Virgin to Victoria
Author – Trisha Hughes
Genre – Historical Fiction
Length – 308 Pages
Publication – 25th April 2018
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Virgin to Victoria is a powerful retelling of the history of the British monarchy, beginning with Henry VIII’s daughter, Elizabeth I, as she comes to the throne. Charting Elizabeth’s incredible journey, Virgin to Victoria travels in time through the confusion of the Stuart dynasty, the devastation of a Civil War led by Oliver Cromwell, horrific battles for the throne and the turbulent Hanover dynasty with its intricate family squabbles. Despite her amazing legacy, Elizabeth failed England in one vital area. She never married, nor did she leave an heir to the Tudor family. In making this one fateful decision, the Virgin Queen left the path open for a take-over and life would never be the same. Victoria did not ask to be Queen. It was thrust upon her by a series of events that removed all others who stood in line for the throne. She assumed it reluctantly and, at first, incompetently. Parliament was sure that the 18-year-old could be relied upon to leave the job of running the country to the professionals. Couldn’t she?

Review

Virgin to Victoria is the follow-up to Vikings to Virgin: The Hazards of Being King by Trisha Hughes. You don’t need to have read the previous book to enjoy this one but I highly recommend it simply because it’s one hell of a read.

So Virgin to Victoria..another history book you might think.. no not just a history book. What the author gets spot on for me is the way she writes, it’s like she’s talking to you one on one..rather than just regurgitating information in a text-book style you get a fact filled educational ride that quite honestly makes history fun and interesting.

What I particularly like is the way the author keeps things clear for the reader..If I’ve learnt anything it’s that King’s and Queen’s have a habit of naming their children after themselves or relatives so the same names pop up time and time again so it would be easy to get confused.. Trisha Hughes manages to keep things on track well by reminding you of key facts as and when to jog your memory.

Something that really stuck me is the high death rate of not only commoners at the time due to disease but that fact the royals did not escape it. Disease wasn’t the only thing that royals had to worry about..the act of child-birth posed its own dangers to not only the mother but the child also and mortality rates were shockingly high. This really shows you how much of a business being a King or Queen is..as soon as they come to the throne they need to produce an heir and the pressure must have been immense to say the least and even after a miscarriage you’d be expected to continue and try again..I can’t even imagine what this must have felt like but it did help me connect with the characters from history and made them more real for me… you really feel for them at times.

Being a relative of a King or Queen wasn’t good either..everyone is a pawn in the big game and marriages were made to build connections rather than love and because of this overwhelming need to strengthen their hold on the throne it’s very apparent becuase there was a limtied nubmer of royal families inbreeding occurred leading to many life limiting medical conditions..it’s quite scary when you read it.

The book flows well and I loved that key events are repeated so you can easily put the book down and come back to it later to read about the next ruler and have your memory refreshed.

Some of the most interesting bits about this book have to be the theories around Queen Elizabeth I (I’ll not spoil that if you’ve never read about it) .. The fact 3rd September seemed to be a very important date in history and how a man named Buckingham seemed to have the worst luck ever!

Overall the book is well written and sets out the facts in a fun and easy to read way. I can’t recommend the book enough.

My thanks go to the author and The Book Guild for the chance to read and review the book! This is most certainly one book I’ll be buying my dad (if you follow my blog you’ll know that’s only something I do when the book is simply amazing) because he’s not getting my copy 🙂

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Windcatcher by A.J. Norfield – Review

Title – Windcatcher (Stone War Chronicles #1)
Author – A.J. Norfield
Genre – Fantasy
Length – 332 Pages
Publication –Oct 2015
My Rating – 5/5

Synopsis

Far away from home, under the command of his brother, Raylan and his squad must retrieve an ancient relic stolen from their kingdom’s trading partner—the Tiankong Empire.

Traveling deep into unknown enemy territory to complete their mission, Raylan learns that the ancient relic holds unexpected life; a creature buried in legends, one not seen in their world for more than two hundred years.

With their enemies closing in, Raylan and his friends search, desperately, for a safe way home. Danger lurks around every corner: Warriors larger than any man, predators stalking them through the night and soldiers determined to hunt them down. Leaving them all little choice, except to keep moving as they strategically plot and fight their way back to those awaiting their return.

Review

Windcatcher is Book I of the Stone War Chronicles.

I’m a big fan of epic fantasy novels and this one ticks all the boxes and more.

The story is written well with a decent page count and the perfect amount of detail when it’s needed. The pace of the book is perfect for all types of readers in my opinion..it’s slow enough for new readers to get immersed in Norfield’s world without be overwhelmed but for the more avid readers it moves fast enough to keep the story flowing well and has the build-up you’ll want to keep you engrossed.

So the story follows Raylan. Raylan is a member of an elite team headed by his brother Gavin tasked to take back a stolen relic after an attack on the Tiankong Empire by an unknown force.

From the outset of the book you are totally hooked in wondering who this evil force are and what their plans are.

The author packs a lot into this tale and it’s riveting..sorcery brings to life warriors stronger and taller than Raylan could ever imagine and at times it looks like our heroes will never find a way to win or even escape with their lives.

Hope appears in the form of Galirras…I try to keep my reviews spoiler free so I won’t give too much away but if you go back to the book blurb you’ll see this line “a creature buried in legends”.. that’s as much as I’ll say. 🙂

Something I enjoyed even more than the plot were the characters, each is given time to develop when possible as we go along instead of just feeling like they have been thrown in to make up the numbers and to provide cannon fodder for the author.

This book brings you everything you need in a fantasy book. It has a great plot developing and I’m looking forward to reading book 2 which I’ve already purchased.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon

 

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Caligula (The Damned Emperors) by Simon Turney – Review

Title – Caligula (The Damned Emperors)
Author – Simon Turney
Genre – Historical Fiction
Length – 480 Pages
Publication – 8th March 2018
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Everyone knows his name. Everyone thinks they know his story.

Rome 37AD. The emperor is dying. No-one knows how long he has left. The power struggle has begun.

When the ailing Tiberius thrusts Caligula’s family into the imperial succession in a bid to restore order, he will change the fate of the empire and create one of history’s most infamous tyrants, Caligula.
But was he really a monster?

Forget everything you think you know. Let Livilla, Caligula’s youngest sister and confidante, tell you what really happened. How her quiet, caring brother became the most powerful man on earth. And how, with lies, murder and betrayal, Rome was changed for ever . . .

Review

Caligula is a very different book than I expected from Turney, it shows his true skill at storytelling to continually grow as an author and to keep churning out hit after hit even when moving away from his normal style of writing.

This story is told from the eyes of Livilla, Caligula’s sister. This gave the tale a real emotional feel and I easily formed a connection with her. This is the history I like.. not a text book..I need it to feel real.

The tale of Caligula is a dark one..he’s been watching is back for years..he’s learnt in that time how to play the great game but as we learn of the constant death and betrayal in his life we see him slowly loose his humanity and he becomes the tyrant we know.

What the author does well is building that connection with the characters, especially Caligula. You feel sorry for him..he just doesn’t know who he can trust so in the end he loses control and simply removes anyone who may be a threat..be it real or perceived.

It’s a real tale of how power can corrupt and warp even those with the best intentions and that when pushed to the limit what would you do to survive?

Truly a magnificent read, insightful¸ powerful, emotional and gripping from the start. This is unlike any book on Caligula you’ve read before..it challenges our preconceived views and the tale will certainly stick with you.

How much do I enjoy Turney’s work? Well I own a hardback copy and a kindle version of Caligula plus I bought a copy for my dads birthday..If me buying 3 copies can’t even convince you to buy one then I don’t know what will! 🙂

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

Blog Tour – Warrior of Woden by Matthew Harffy.

9781786696373_preview

Today is my stop on the blog tour for Warrior of Woden. Book 5 of The Bernicia Chronicles by Matthew Harffy.

Here’s the blurb

Genre – Historical Fiction
Length – 596 Pages
Publication – 1st April
My Rating – 5/5 Stars

Synopsis

Oswald has reigned over Northumbria for eight years and Beobrand has led the king to ever greater victories. Rewarded for his fealty and prowess in battle, Beobrand is now a wealthy warlord, with a sizable warband. Tales of Beobrand’s fearsome black-shielded warriors and the great treasure he has amassed are told throughout the halls of the land.

Many are the kings who bow to Oswald. And yet there are those who look upon his realm with a covetous eye. And there is one ruler who will never kneel before him.

When Penda of Mercia, the great killer of kings, invades Northumbria, Beobrand is once more called upon to stand in an epic battle where the blood of many will be shed in defence of the kingdom.

But in this climactic clash between the pagan Penda and the Christian Oswald there is much more at stake than sovereignty. This is a battle for the very souls of the people of Albion.

The tour has already started so you can check out the previous stops here :-

Historical Fiction Reviews

History… The Interesting Bits!

Review

I’m going to be honest from the start..this book killed me..my heart feels as shattered as Beobrand’s. So much happens in this book not only to excite you but also to crush you.

This series continues to go from strength to strength and it shows real skill by the author to keep the series going with such exciting plots.

So what is in store this time for Beo? Well war is fast approaching and Oswald must march to stop Penda’s advance.

Lets just say things don’t go the way Beo would like but he does get to show what he’s made of and he certainly makes sure the enemy remember his name.

What this tale really does well is show the growth of Beobrand. He’s older now.. his connection with men stronger but as the book goes on you can really see how events have taken a toll on Beo. He’s tired of this life but peace seems to be something he will never know.

I really enjoyed the addition was ÁstÍgend. I won’t spoil it for you but he stole the show for me, his character shining above others easily.

I also loved the development of Cynan the once thrall who really shows his worth to his lord and there’s a little side story with him that plays out that really give him some depth.

Ok so let’s get down to it..yeh this author holds no favourites and characters will die.. and you know it isn’t going to be pretty. It hit me hard this time..it was a death I didn’t see coming although I knew it could always happen to anyone. The great thing about Harffy is how he uses death to build on the emotional side of his characters which helps you form a  connection with them.

Another cracking tale that really knocks you for six. Brutal has always been my word of choice for The Bernicia Chronicles and I stand by that.

 

Follow to tour :- (Links will be added when posts go live)

What Cathy Read Next – 19th April

The Secret World of a Book Blogger – 20th April

Jemahl Evans – 21st April

Parmenion Books – 22nd April

Author bio

Harffy_Matthew_preview

Matthew grew up in Northumberland where the rugged terrain, ruined castles and rocky coastline had a huge impact on him He now lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and their two daughters.

Links to buy

 

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2I4PeTA

Kobo: http://bit.ly/2Gf2V1P

Google Play: http://bit.ly/2umk5ZO

iBooks: https://apple.co/2G7vhyW

 

Follow Matthew Harffy

 

Website: http://www.matthewharffy.com/

Twitter: @MatthewHarffy

Facebook: @Matthew Harffy

 

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