Tag Archives: Writing

Somewhere in San Diego by Dennis Macaraeg – Review

Title – Somewhere in San Diego
Author – Dennis Macaraeg
Genre – Thriller
Length – 226 Pages
Publication – April 2016
My Rating – 4/5 Stars

Synopsis

A thriller about best friends, scientific data, hired guns and a harrowing race with a past lover to stay alive. Marine biologist Danny Maglaya must meet with his best friend and fellow scientist Blake Mason to upload the data demanded as ransom by the kidnappers of Blake’s fiancée. The task might have been simple, but every time the two scientists try to rendezvous, two contract assassins show up. With Danny and Blake’s phones hacked and each move they make monitored, the only way to survive is to outwit the men wanting to eliminate them. With an ingenious but risky solution, Danny teams up with his ex-lover to piece together secrets that only she, Danny and Blake know. A series of perilous events follows as Danny and his old flame, Valerie, race through San Diego County, solving clues about Blake’s whereabouts and about their possible future together. Will their love for each other be the catalyst for success or will the bitter pain of their breakup be a recipe for disaster?

Review

Before I get down to what I thought of the book have you read my review for Somewhere in the Shallow Sea? If not take a look.

Now while I think it works better if you read Somewhere in the Shallow Sea first it’s not 100% necessary.  Personally I would just so you can see the progression of not only the tale but also the author.

The plot follows the same sort of pattern as the previous book. Danny is a biologist who created a compound that can attract fish. While Danny and his friend Blake have been collecting data on their research Blake’s fiancée has been kidnapped.

The kidnappers want this information uploaded for all to see otherwise Blake’s fiancée dies.

So of course Danny wants to help. The only issue is he’s being hunted down by two assassins who seem to want him dead and the data destroyed.

What we get is a fast paced tale with twists and turns all the way as Danny tries to but the pieces together.

Again we have some romance for Danny, as much as I don’t like romance in my books this worked well and built up nicely so wasn’t forced on me as a reader.

What I really liked is the tale is fun and exciting and a super easy read.

Yes it’s a bit outrageous that this is the second kidnapping to involve Danny and that these assassins seem a little useless at times but that’s what give it a fun edge.

Overall for me this was an improvement on the last tale. The development worked better especially between Danny and Valarie.

If you’re looking for a fun action thriller rather than the dark gritty thriller then this is the book for you.

To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon.

My thanks go to the author for the chance to read/review their work.

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Q&A with Charlotte E. English!

Regular followers of my blog will know the name Charlotte E. English..quite probably my favourite author right now. The biggest thing I’ve enjoyed is how she manages to write books that are different but at the same time the same..Have I confused you? Well take the Malykant Mysteries series, currently 7 books strong. Each has the same basic idea.. Konrad Savast brings justice for those murdered but each tale is very different from the last but builds nicely on the foundations set in the previous tale.

Charlotte has kindly answered some questions for me 🙂

Thank you Charlotte!

Enjoy!


 

First I must ask, if you are willing to share, who does your covers? They are so eye-catching and for me fit with the tone of the tales perfectly.

I have a few different cover artists by now, but the ones for the Malykant Mysteries are done by Streetlight Graphics. They do terrific work every time, and I’m looking forward to seeing what they come up with for the next batch of covers!

Covers for me are so so important, get it right and someone will buy the book..get it wrong and they won’t even look twice at it. Do you agree with a covers importance?

Yes, of course. As a buyer of books as well as a writer, I know that the cover is the first thing that catches my attention when I am shopping. It also sets the mood for the story, and creates expectations in the reader as to what they’ll be getting if they dive into the book, so it’s important to get it right. I think the Malykant Mysteries covers work well in both respects – they are eye-catching and also set the mood well.

Where has your inspiration for the series come from?

Well, funny story… the short answer is that I don’t know, because I never set out to write anything like it. There came a winter some years ago when I had just finished writing a long novel, and my mood at the time was as grey as the weather. I felt in need of a change of pace before I embarked upon the next long project, so I thought: I’ll write something shorter, and light-hearted, and funny.

I couldn’t write a word of any of this. I sat in a chair with a notebook and pen and tried… and what I got instead was Konrad Savast, grim as winter itself, chasing murderers through a frozen forest. Which I enjoyed, in spite of its being the very opposite of what I had planned to do. And so I learned that sometimes, it’s best to let my subconscious drive, because who knows where we might end up?

How do you manage to keep the series fresh?

I think it helps that the series has a lot of scope to begin with – the basic story is quite simple, in that somebody dies and Konrad has to figure it out. There’s infinite variation possible within that. Meanwhile, this is the only dark fantasy series that I write; my other projects are very different. This means that every dark and creepy idea that I get is Konrad’s by default. And there is a lot to draw on from popular mythology; Konrad has encountered my own take on vampires and werewolves, not to mention ghosts galore, and there’s so much more still left to work with.

7 books in, does Konrad have an expiration date looming?

Not at all! We are barely getting started here. In the last few titles, I’ve been laying the groundwork for some new story arcs which will take the series through many more books. I expect to be writing about Konrad and friends for some years to come.

I’ve said it before but for me you are Queen of the short story although I love your longer works too. Do you have a preference on which you prefer to write?

Once I would have said longer novels, without hesitation, but at the moment I’m finding that I prefer the shorter stories. I think it’s because I have always needed variety, as a writer – however much I love and enjoy each series that I write, I cannot stick with the same thing for too many months together without growing stale. Shorter books lend themselves well to this approach, as I can produce a complete title in a relatively short time and then swap to something else. I’ve just started a new series of shorter-length titles, Modern Magick, and like the Malykants, I’ll be writing these in between all the other things I do. Maybe it sounds a bit mad that way, but it works for me.

Do ever find yourself scrapping paragraphs to make the books fit a certain word count?

Strangely, no. I didn’t plan the length of the first Malykant Mystery, any more than I planned its content. The story took shape by itself, and I haven’t had any trouble keeping the later books to approximately the same word count (although, book by book, they are gradually getting longer…).

What’s next for you?

My next release will be the first story in the new Modern Magick series, and currently I am writing one of those colourful fairy tale things that I love so much. Later in the year, I have the next Tales of Aylfenhame book coming up, and of course, book 8 of the Malykant Mysteries.


I’m very happy to know there’s more to come from Charlotte! If you missed my recent review of her latest work click here – The House at Divoro

You can learn more about Charlotte via her website here – http://www.charlotteenglish.com/  . The site also links nicely to her social media accounts so you can connect with the author whichever way you like 🙂

I’d love to know if you’ve read Charlotte’s work before of if you indeed plan to.

Tales of Greed, Scandal & Mayhem from Colin Goodwin

So once in a while I find myself with a TBR list that is falling over under the weight but authors keep churning out high quality work to tempt me in. If I’m not able to review the book quickly sometimes I like to highlight the book on my blog..

Why do I do this?

Well firstly I’d like to know if any of my fellow bloggers have read the book and secondly of course I’d like to tempt some readers but more so i’d just like to get some feedback..tell me if you’ve read the book and if it’s something I need to bump up the list.

Today I’m highlighting the work of Colin Goodwin. Take a look below at his books and what some readers had to say about them. Do they take your fancy? Have you read them already? Do you like the covers? Let me know your thoughts.

Don’t Get Mad Get Even – Published by 2QT Publishing ISBN 978-1-910077-60-3

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5.0 out of 5 stars Intrigue on the cricket pitch! Enjoyable novel about a cricket team threatened with closure unless it wins big

By Worldly traveller on 9 June 2016

Format: Paperback

I really like intriguing rustic tales of greed, scandal and farce. In this entertaining novel, the local cricket team is threatened with closure when a money baron decides he’d like to acquire the land to build on. The cricket club is told it must win a trophy this season or it will be closed. The club employs all sorts for tactics to secure the elusive trophy, bringing on expert cricket players. Even the locals conspire against the cricketers.

 

5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read

By Wendy Taylor on 29 March 2016

Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase

Really enjoyed this book. If you like the ‘Agatha Raisin’ series by M. C Beaton then you’ll love this series too. Can’t wait for the next one.

Synopsis

As the cricket season starts, so do the shenanigans…

Life is tranquil in the quintessentially English village of Throttle – until the local cricket team receives a devilish demand.

When industrialist and landowner Sir Alfred Bullock is laid up, his devious son Roland, devises a get-rich-quick scheme. He gives an ultimatum to the cricket club: win a trophy by the end of the season or we take back the ground you play on and sell it for development.

In a desperate attempt to win games and hold on to the pitch, the club enlists the help of a professional whose skills – to the delight of the local ladies – extend far beyond the cricket Field.

Roland, together with an unscrupulous estate agent and two dodgy builders, hatches malicious plans to ensure the team loses its games. Meanwhile, village residents whose houses are devalued by being on the perimeter of the pitch take matters into their own hands to ‘fix’ the club’s failure…

Greed, scandal, tragedy and farce ensue as the cricket club fights for survival against increasingly dangerous sabotage…

 

When in a Hole, Stop Digging – Published by 2QT Publishing ISBN 978-1-910077-80-1

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5.0 out of 5 stars A most enjoyable sequel

By Nigel Hanson on 7 September 2016

A really enjoyable read, just as good as the first book. Just a pity it was finished all too soon.
Really hoping for and looking forward to the extent one.

Synopsis

An ordinary day in a sleepy village deteriorates into chaos.Livid boat owner Albert vows revenge after a humiliating event, and shocked residents of a brand new housing estate mysteriously find fish in the plumbing.A heartless double murderer on the loose and a gun-toting farmer send shivers through the town of Throttle as two amateur sleuths try to make sense of it all.

Meanwhile a pair of sixties throwback detectives attempt to piece it all together, but in reality make matters worse. The local free press needs a story fast, but the novice reporters get a shock as they enter a world far beyond their capability.  Finally, one resident, pushed to the edge by a marital issue, sinks to a new low.   The mayhem continues…..

Author bio

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Colin Goodwin enjoyed a successful career as a welding and fabrication engineer, working in the aircraft industry and welder training for the oil industry.  For the past twenty years he worked in further education, where he also taught stained glass window making.

In the late 80’s he built and fitted out a 40 foot steel narrow-boat, but sold it because it was not fast enough.  He maintains an active lifestyle and has completed London marathons and Great North Runs.  Both Colin and his wife now prefer to go on long distance cycling holidays. Retired 6 years ago, Colin continues to indulge his creative side by repairing anything mechanical, motorbikes (Harley Davidson, BSA, Royal Enfield), cars (1951 Ford Anglia) and model steam engines. The books are available through Amazon, all good book shops and from under the counter at The Hardware Store, in Padiham. The last in the trilogy ‘A Likely Story’ is currently nearing completion.

Mestlven: A Tale from Perilisc by Jesse Teller – Excerpt

Hi all,

Well as some of you will know I’m recovering from an issue with my wrist, something to do with cartilage and the nerve being aggravated..so these means I’m trying to take it easy for a little while.

This has lead me perfectly to posting some guest blogs/excerpts I’ve been holding on to!

First up is a excerpt from Mestlven by author Jesse Teller!

Here’s the blurb

Revenge, Insanity, and the Bloody Diamonds

Meredith Mestlven was abused and betrayed by her nobleman husband. After a desperate fit of retaliation, she fled for her life and lost her sanity. Now nearly 20 years later, she returns to her home at Sorrow Watch to destroy her enemies and reclaim her jewels. How far will she go to satisfy her revenge? Dark, cunning and beautiful, Mestlven will win your heart or devour your mind.

Would you like to read to read a bit from the opening scene? Well here you go –

Festival of The Pale

The Pale, the goddess of death, fixed her rotting eyes squarely on the city of Mestlven where grew a darkness, patient and terrible. Her murder lifted from the battlefields of Corlene to swoop and brood on Mestlven’s roofs and scream at her citizens. Enormous crows, two feet tall with four-foot wingspans, terrorized the city and ate her trash, her vermin, her dead. When those sources of rotting meat and bloated flesh ran out, the crows began hunting her young. The coming of the crows marked the goddess’s intent for the city to host her annual festival. The clergy of The Pale arrived in force while her citizens cringed and waited with dread.

Mort arrived in Mestlven on the eve of the festival, her garrote stashed in the cuff of her robe, her dagger hanging from her hip. She murmured the prayers of The Pale and witnessed the spectacle of the massive city. Built by a long-dead race of giants, the scale of the buildings reached beyond her understanding.

Her wagon lurched ahead, rumbling along the cobblestones. The idols it carried trembled. Navigating the hills and winding alleys of the city proved difficult. Citizens pressed in tight to see The Pale’s cloth march through their streets like the slow and steady onset of some plague. Hunched over the reins of the wagon, Mort was used to the way they stared, fear branded on every face. Her brown wool cloak, befitting a priestess of her rank, gave no hint of the trim body she hid within its folds. They could not hope to guess her size. With the grinning skull she had painted on her face, and the scowl their pie-eyed looks teased up from her, she knew their fear nearly crippled them. No city wished to host the Festival of The Pale, but for some reason the goddess’s considerable murder had chosen this town. Mort found her anticipation growing.

For long years she had been a brown robed priestess of The Pale. She longed for advancement within her order, for a better understanding of her goddess and a closeness to The Pale that had been lacking these past months. She thought again of her bishop’s groping hands and the rage they had inspired in her, and she felt at odds with her church’s leadership and its goals. She had never been chosen to attend the Festival of The Pale before, but she knew something grand was about to happen.

The Grim stalked ahead, the personification of The Pale in the world of man. She rode the great albino horse that never died, and a black fog issued from the hem of her rotting robes to crawl the ground in all directions, seeking out the corners and recesses of the city. She carried the staff that claimed everything before it. Mort had never been so close to The Grim, and her excitement for the festival brought her near to panting.

The procession stopped at the center of town. The Grim dropped heavy to the street beside her mount, and with a clawed hand, stroked the beast’s muscled flank. She shuffled forward, dragging her feet and leaning heavily on the staff until she reached the very center of the courtyard. There, she slowly lifted the staff a few inches from the ground and held it aloft.

“Wretched mother of death, we come to this place at this time to make tribute and receive tribute in your honor.” The Grim’s prayer broke across the air, dry like the rattling of bones. “I claim this city for the duration of the festival for you and your enjoyment.”

She slammed the staff into the ground. The street trembled as a circle of power exploded in all directions and embraced the entire city. The crows lifted into the air, screaming as they stained the Mestlven sky as black as a cloud of noxious gas issuing from a ruptured corpse.

If you liked what you’ve read you can find out more about the author and the book via the links below!

 

Author bio:
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Jesse Teller fell in love with fantasy when he was five years old and played his first game of Dungeons & Dragons. The game gave him the ability to create stories and characters from a young age. He started consuming fantasy in every form and, by nine, was obsessed with the genre. As a young adult, he knew he wanted to make his life about fantasy. From exploring the relationship between man and woman, to studying the qualities of a leader or a tyrant, Jesse Teller uses his stories and settings to study real-world themes and issues.

Author links:
https://jesseteller.com/

https://www.facebook.com/PathtoPerilisc/

https://www.amazon.com/Jesse-Teller/e/B01G0ZB7JG/

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15269506.Jesse_Teller

Book links:

https://www.amazon.com/Mestlven-Tale-Perilisc-Jesse-Teller-ebook/dp/B06X8YNCF1/

https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/mestlven-a-tale-from-perilis

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.

 

10 Questions with…Frank Westworth

Today I bring to you my 10 questions feature with author Frank Westworth. If you’ve been following my reviews you’ll know I’m a big fan of his work.

 

Frank is the author of the brilliant Killing Sisters series and also the JJ Stoner short tales I love so much.

If you havent already please take a look at the Author Spotlight I did for Frank last year.

You should also check out my recent reviews for the following books –

The Stoner Stories – Volume 1

The Redemption Of Charm

I hope you enjoy the Q&A 🙂


 

First of all welcome to my blog Frank. The first question has to be the most important… so obviously I want to know if you are a tea or coffee kind of man? Or do you prefer something stronger?

Both. Everything. No limits. Whatever tastes right. No constraints. If I want to drink a coffee – I drink coffee. Tea’s the same, there are tea days and there are coffee days. And there are … something stronger days too. They are the jewels. When that time is the right time, only Stolichnaya will do … if there’s none nearby, then maybe Famous Grouse, or a lot of cheap beer. A lot… an awful lot.

Once a month I tend to let my hair down (not that I have much these days) and enjoy a slap up takeaway meal. I mean as much as I can eat. It’s my guilty pleasure. What’s yours?

Guilty? There is a thing. Why feel guilt about a pleasure? You deserve pleasure, and so do I. But… rules got laid down in all of us when we were growing up. I can still feel a little guilt about breaking those rules. So… ordering more food than I can eat, and wasting the rest. Drinking more than is sane, to the point of embarrassment. Riding a motorcycle further and faster through the wildest storm in the darkest night through the Welsh mountains…
Forbidden conversation in the dark hours on forbidden topics with people you don’t know and do not even like.

Are you afraid of anything strange? I myself am afraid of clowns which I believe is totally justifiable.

No. Fear is a strange thing. I’ve died twice – although I can’t recommend this much as a learning experience – and after that very little is a concern, almost nothing is an actual fear.

Are you a morning or night person?

Depends. A beautiful dawn is as beautiful as a beautiful evening, and the blackest night is as challenging as the brightest day.

Rufus appears out of nowhere with a time-traveling phone booth. You can go anytime in the PAST. What time are you traveling to and what are you going to do when you get there? (For those of you who don’t know who Rufus is… watch Bill and Ted. I love those movies!)

  1. I want to endlessly sit in an audience anywhere and listen live to Jimi Hendrix playing Little Wing. Loop. Repeat. Forever.

Now an important question. I don’t want facts, I want opinion. How many sides does a circle have? (I’ve had many a drunken conversation on the topic, exciting I know)

Four. Accept no other answer.

Ok so I guess I should ask some questions about your writing. Give me five words to describe JJ Stoner.

Relentless. Loyal. Vindictive. Clever. Violent.

Do you have any inspirations inside and outside of the writing community?

Oh yes. Far too many to list – you’d doze off. Every brilliant book is a unique inspiration, like every outstanding movie, and every great piece of music, and standing in love with mountains, forests, rivers, ships and cities. Everything, pretty much, is an inspiration – something to think about and enjoy.

What’s currently on your own bookshelf?

I’m reading Entanglement by Zygmunt Miloszewski, after that comes Kings of America by RJ Ellory. And after that? I’m not sure whether to dive into something SciFi or maybe another thriller of some kind. There’s a lot of books on the shelves.

What’s next for Frank Westworth?

A holiday – off to Malta. Holidays are the very best times to write fiction, and as I’ve hit the end of the trilogy I need to get into the fourth book. Trilogies always have four books, right? Right.

Thank you Frank..this is a fun little Q & A 🙂 Ha

To find out more about Frank’s work head to Murder, Mayhem & More or Goodreads