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Dead Things
Dead Things

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A heck of a ride!, 11 Jan. 2014
This review is from: Dead Things (Kindle Edition)
I've been meaning to read this book for a few months now but somehow it didn't reach the top of my pile. It could be because I bought a hard copy rather than a kindle version - who knows, I'm just so glad that I finally got to it. Dead Things packs a wonderful wallop.

Eric Carter hits the ground running and doesn't really ever stop. He gets regularly knocked down, beaten up and broken down but he keeps getting up and ploughing on. He gets his hands spectacularly dirty and does it with a smirk. Most definitely the kind of man that your mother would warn you against - well assuming she had a world view wide enough to ever think he might exist. And yet...and yet, he is polite, he cares about the dead, and even some of the living, he will do a deal that can only be bad for him to try to get truth and vengeance.

The plot is classic film noir - Humphrey Bogart would have clawed eyes out for the role - the dames are forces of nature who hold their own on the page with ease, the weakest character by far is the nicest male. It's the kind of book where you just know that being nice isn't going to win you any points. For those of you who dislike guts and gore, don't worry - things take place for the most part off page. The results move the action along. There aren't heaps of twists and turns but I was honestly surprised by one development - I was so caught up in the action I wasn't trying to second-guess the plot. It's been a while since a book captured my attention so entirely.

All-in-all, Eric has shot to the top of my favourite anti-heroes list, a position I expected Chuck Wendig's Miriam or Mookie to hold for quite some time.

I read the book in one sitting and immediately ordered City of the Lost. Now that I know how good this author is, I'll be reading that as soon as it arrives!


A Different Kind of Girlfriend
A Different Kind of Girlfriend
Price: £0.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strong debut, 26 Nov. 2013
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This is not a traditional vampire book. And I mean that in a good way.

The vampires themselves aren't the sparkly, overtly sexual creatures that has become so much the norm. They also aren't the ugly, malicious creatures of Bram Stoker or Nosferatu. While there are some characters that are classically evil, the `good' characters have plenty of flaws and don't always operate in squeaky-clean ways. The underlying premise is interesting and I enjoy books that are realistically grey in their presentation of motives and actions. Sometimes questionable things are done for good reasons.

The `hero' of the story is Rayner who has been raised since childhood to become a vampire hunter working for the shadowy and clandestine Sect. The second most important male character is Lloyd, a maverick American member of the same organisation. To be honest, I much preferred Lloyd, but both characters are well drawn.

Our heroine, Miriam, is introduced gradually and we continue to learn things about her throughout the story. She's an interesting character with a lot of different sides to her - literally. I don't want to give any more spoilers than the blurb already contains so won't say more.

After an initial prologue, the beginning of the book is fast-paced. Characters and events are introduced that will be important to the way the story develops and we see the hidden world and how it operates. My attention was caught and I wanted to read more.

On the downside, it's quite a long book and there are flabby sections. For my taste, there is a little too much angst and soul-searching. But the action sequences are well-written and came often enough to keep me reading. And most scenes with Lloyd pick up the pace nicely. The ending neatly sets things up for a potential sequel, but is also good closure on the story of Rayner and Miriam.

I believe this is the first work by this author, and the reading experience would benefit from weeding out a few stylistic ticks, but it's a strong debut that deserves four stars.


FULL MOON ISLAND (Full Moon Series Book 1)
FULL MOON ISLAND (Full Moon Series Book 1)
Price: £0.99

2.0 out of 5 stars Needs a good edit, 8 Nov. 2013
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There is a very interesting idea trying to get out in this book.

A remote island stuck in a heck of a storm. Strange goings on. A cast of mainly unlikeable characters with their own agendas, weaknesses and strengths. Unusually for this genre, the hero is a rather weak man who makes questionable decisions that rebound on the whole group. The military are not depicted in a particularly heroic way. The ladies are an odd bunch. Beautifully set up for a keep-them-guessing plot with no real sense of who will make it through and who will fall foul of the creatures. Some interesting possibilities about who the real 'baddies' are and who the real 'creatures' are.

But, oh boy does this need to be edited properly. The plot really suffers from sections that add nothing or go nowhere. When you get a run down of who has released a particular song while you're in the middle of a page that's supposed to be building tension you know there is a problem. Some of what happens is telegraphed so extensively that I found myself wishing the author would just get on with the 'surprise' so that the story could move forward. And don't get me started on the number of typos, grammar and continuity issues. I had to make a real effort to continue to the end.

So why two stars? Because this could be a good book if it lost about 30 pages and was tightened up. I'm guessing that a sequel is already in the pipeline and, depending on price, I'll probably buy it. I'm just hoping that the author takes the time to properly revise the next one.


The Christmas Wish (Heart of Montana Book 2)
The Christmas Wish (Heart of Montana Book 2)
Price: £0.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect for a rainy day, 8 Nov. 2013
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This is a short and very sweet read. I finished it in one sitting but I finished it with a smile. It's a properly heart-warming tale, perfect for a rainy autumn day.

It's set in the same town as the author's Heart of Montana series and the way in which this tale touches on aspects of the first book worked well. I'd probably recommend that you read By Proxy first so that you have that background to fit Tess and Lucas's story into, but it's not absolutely necessary.

Tess Branson, our heroine, is your typical romance lead character in some ways - very pretty for example - but what my granny would have called `damaged goods'. The reasons for this aren't made apparent immediately but when they are they ring sadly true.

Our hero, Lucas Flynn, is a typical romance bad-boy with a past. Although, this particular bad boy's past is perhaps more realistic than most and has had proper consequences, which I found really refreshing.

It's a romance short-story so the ending won't be a surprise to anybody and, to be honest, it does feel a bit rushed. I have a feeling that this could have easily been a book on its own given the interesting material and back-stories to the main characters. But that is a very minor quibble really. And getting a good short-story is always better than a full-length book that feels overstretched for the plot.

I'm looking forward to seeing more from this author.


On the Matter of the Red Hand
On the Matter of the Red Hand

5.0 out of 5 stars An intriguing story by a great writer, 12 Oct. 2013
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This novella has everything that lovers of steam punk (or just a well-written story) are looking for in a book.

A hero with a suitably offbeat approach and whispers of Harry Dresden, John Taylor and Hawk while occupying his own space? Check. A heroine that is truly unique (in my reading at least) but fits the bill in terms of answering back and kick-assery? Check. Assorted side-kicks of more or less degrees of shady? Check.

Add that to a world that hints at vast but, for the purposes of this tale, is remarkably cosy and contained, and a villain who peeps round the edges of the story but is never put on full show – what more can you ask for?

The ‘magic’ system is well thought through and believable while not being run-of-the-mill. This is not a book where at any sign of danger that handy-dandy fix-exactly-this-situation spell is suddenly pulled out of the hat.

Unusually for a story of this length there is a reasonable amount of back story involved, but the author uses it to good effect and leaves enough out to keep you interested and imagining hours after you finish reading. A neat trick.

Another neat trick is that this tale is complete in and of itself, while very definitely paving the way for a sequel. Something that I am really looking forward to reading – hopefully soon.


UP THE HILL
UP THE HILL

4.0 out of 5 stars Painfully honest but a good read, 21 Sept. 2013
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This review is from: UP THE HILL (Kindle Edition)
I bought and read this book having had some interesting conversations with the author on twitter and having seen some good comments from others about it. It's not normally my sort of book but I like to try new and different sometimes.

It's an almost painfully honest story - very obviously about the author herself - but I found myself intrigued about what was going to happen next. I don't exactly recognise the situations she finds herself in, but the thoughts, feelings and reactions to events resonated. I think most people would find elements that they could completely sympathise with and similar situations where they too had discovered things about themselves, friends and family. I do wonder how the other participants in the tale feel about being laid open to the world so much if they are as undisguised as the author.

I can understand why it gets compared to Bridget Jones and Sex and the City and, if you've read and enjoyed the original books rather than just seeing the TV/film versions, think this would be very much for you.


The Warrior (Warriors Series of Crime Action Thrillers Book 1)
The Warrior (Warriors Series of Crime Action Thrillers Book 1)
Price: £3.23

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely loved it!, 20 July 2013
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Put simply this is one of the best books that I have read in a long time.

The plot is tightly woven and the action fast-paced right from the first page. The cast of characters is well-drawn and sketched out just enough to leave me with lots of questions and not over-burdened with backstory.

One of its main strengths is the tone of voice which, for me, perfectly captured the personality of the main character. It's not a massively long book but by the end I really felt that I knew him and then realised how little I actually did know. It's almost impossible to talk plot without giving spoilers but I cared about the ending. And everything else that I've started to say here would give too much away so I'm afraid you'll need to find out for yourself.

I gather that the author will be publishing something new later this year and I'll definitely buy it.


Gwynneth Ever After
Gwynneth Ever After
Price: £2.49

5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!, 25 Jun. 2013
I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review and - in the spirit of that honesty - have to say that when I realised it was a `romance' I was worried, not at all my usual genre. How wrong I was to worry - it turned out to be a single sitting, laugh out loud, page-turner with a real heart. I'm already looking forward to reading the rest of the author's work.

For a start it's beautifully written - I have an eye for detail but didn't notice a single error, for me the true mark of being caught up in the story.

It's a romance so some of the details are obviously not 100% hard-edged reality but these were real people. The dialogue is believable, the characters have depth and the interactions between all of them ring true. Friendship, fear, parenting, love, regret, pain, heartbreak are all there.

For me one of the best aspects was that nobody was portrayed as perfect, just as none of them were irredeemably appalling; building characters with a believable mix of strengths, weaknesses, fears and aspirations is hard work but this book made it seem pretty effortless. And I got to enjoy wanting to knock heads together!

Every character moved the story forward and I didn't find myself flicking forward through scenes that seemed redundant. I had fun guessing what role some of the minor characters were going to play.

If, like me, you've avoided romances in the past fearing poorly written and edited `mushy stuff' then give this book a go and it could change your mind. If you are already a fan then I think you are in for a real treat. Enjoy.


The Briefcase
The Briefcase
Price: £0.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Short but good read, 12 Mar. 2013
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This review is from: The Briefcase (Kindle Edition)
Very hard to say anything and not give too much away but thoroughly enjoyed this. Very short but very clever. With hindsight there are clues but the very brevity means that the ending does catch you by surprise.


Blaze (A Minxes of Romance anthology)
Blaze (A Minxes of Romance anthology)
Price: £2.33

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How do I find this village?!, 12 Mar. 2013
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What's not to love in tales of romance and firefighters? And sorry if that's a spoiler for anybody. I liked the idea of taking one village and one fire crew and getting different authors to do each member of the crew's story. It allowed for slightly different takes and definitely means there is something for everyone - or like me you may enjoy them all. My only question is, when do the twins get their happy ending?


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