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Parm (A bookshop near you)
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The Fire Sermon
The Fire Sermon
by Francesca Haig
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £9.09

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a heart warming tale of two people thrust into an impossible race for survival, 26 Feb. 2015
This review is from: The Fire Sermon (Hardcover)
Review Debut novels are something i love to get my hands on, and the hype around this book made my desire to read it double… then i saw the cover art, im a sucker for a good cover and this one is crack(l)ing. As i started the book i have to admit to a small struggle, but world building take a little time, if done well it can draw in the reader, suck them into the mind and wonder of the writer. This book is no different, before i had hit chapter three i was hooked, drawn into the compelling concept of linked twins, with an unjust un-equal relationship. A relationship that breeds division and different classes. I was very much reminded during the reading of this book and its treatment of the omegas, of the way humanity treats those they feel inferior, the nazis and the jews, black and white, make and female. The human inability to just live as one. The book had the potential to be very dark, but i felt that the author brought a lightness, a ray of hope, that in amongst the darkness and the struggle there is the potential for redemption, for some one to shout out and topple the crazy leadership that we seem to so easily fall in behind and serve. There are for me subtle parallels in that the council have a dark agenda, one that they pursue without mandate from those who may have put them in power, some may say in a similar way to our own modern politicians who seem to promise anything to get power and then deliver nothing but pursue their own ends.

Fire Sermon as well gives us a heart warming tale of two people thrust into an impossible race for survival, pursued by odds too great to survive, chasing a dream, and ideal, and really just wanting to find peace and time to live quietly. Its a truly original tale, with a compelling and addictive plot and deep rich characters.

Highly recommended (Parm)


Obsession in Death
Obsession in Death
by J. D. Robb
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £12.91

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars strong and clever,, 20 Feb. 2015
This review is from: Obsession in Death (Hardcover)
Review

I have never read this author before, so i have to say i was astounded that this is book 40 in the series, and not the authors only series.

That fast alone meant that i was fairly sure the book would be credible, no one gets away with 40 books of average or below. So my first concern, how on earth does a newbie step into a series so late on? Not a moment of concern, not a beat missed, there is nothing in the story that made me stop and think i was missing out, not seeing a hidden reference or joke, the author has very cleverly woven the plot to keep fans happy and suck in new fans.

Her characterization is complex, strong and clever, and woven so carefully into a future setting that i was sucked straight into the authors world. Add in some great twists turns and plot devices and any reader can see why the Name J D Robb is a regular feature in book shop crime sections.

I recommend these… well worth a read.

(Parm)


The World Beneath: 1 (A Joe Tesla Novel)
The World Beneath: 1 (A Joe Tesla Novel)
by Rebecca Cantrell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Its not like the author hasn't proven herself with the simply impeccable ..., 17 Feb. 2015
Review

No messing around on this one, straight into a simple question, please read these two books and someone please tell me how on earth these are being self published and are not coming out via a major publishing house?

Its not like the author hasn't proven herself with the simply impeccable Order of the Sanguines series, she and James Rollins have created one of my favorite supernatural series of all time, each author seemingly bringing something better, deeper out of the others writing.

The Tesla series is an excellent, original and addictive series. Book 2 the Tesla Legacy shows some of the skills that i think consciously or unconsciously that she has drawn from writing with James Rollins, im going to be very intrigued to read his next stand alone, i feel he will also have picked up something.

I find that the series is very brave with its lead character, trapped as he is by his agoraphobia, any resolving of a crime or running from authorities, criminal, anyone at all is hindered, restricted to the tunnels. But those tunnels are vast, bigger than you can imagine. They go everywhere and give access to so much. Rebecca Cantrell brings those tunnels to life, makes them living arteries to the world of Joe Tesla. Unlike many authors she also knows the power of the supporting cast, who are drawn in, filled out and made fully fledged members of the plot, so you care what happens to them.

I rocketed through both of these books in a couple of days, and really want to get my hands on book three. Rebecca Cantrell is firmly ensconced as one of my go to Thriller writers now, bring on book 3

Highly recommended

(Parm)


The Tesla Legacy
The Tesla Legacy
by Rebecca Cantrell
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Electric thriller, 16 Feb. 2015
This review is from: The Tesla Legacy (Paperback)
Review

No messing around on this one, straight into a simple question, please read these two books and someone please tell me how on earth these are being self published and are not coming out via a major publishing house?

Its not like the author hasn't proven herself with the simply impeccable Order of the Sanguines series, she and James Rollins have created one of my favorite supernatural series of all time, each author seemingly bringing something better, deeper out of the others writing.

The Tesla series is an excellent, original and addictive series. Book 2 the Tesla Legacy shows some of the skills that i think consciously or unconsciously that she has drawn from writing with James Rollins, im going to be very intrigued to read his next stand alone, i feel he will also have picked up something.

I find that the series is very brave with its lead character, trapped as he is by his agoraphobia, any resolving of a crime or running from authorities, criminal, anyone at all is hindered, restricted to the tunnels. But those tunnels are vast, bigger than you can imagine. They go everywhere and give access to so much. Rebecca Cantrell brings those tunnels to life, makes them living arteries to the world of Joe Tesla. Unlike many authors she also knows the power of the supporting cast, who are drawn in, filled out and made fully fledged members of the plot, so you care what happens to them.

I rocketed through both of these books in a couple of days, and really want to get my hands on book three. Rebecca Cantrell is firmly ensconced as one of my go to Thriller writers now, bring on book 3

Highly recommended

(Parm)


Half the World (Shattered Sea, Book 2)
Half the World (Shattered Sea, Book 2)
by Joe Abercrombie
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £5.00

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great series, 12 Feb. 2015
Review

Book Two in Joe Abercrombie’s Half a World series, set not long after book one, Yarvi is Minister and is trying to work his deep cunning to keep the kingdom of Gettland safe. Yarvi isn’t the main focus of this book. Book two follows the plight of Thorn a female warrior, derided by her peers, daughter of a dead hero and determined to follow in his footsteps, that determination see’s her fall foul of her training master and pulled by oath into the orbit of Minister Yarvi and his cunning plots.

Hard as it seems i think Joe has out done Half a King with this latest book, book two is a similar story type, coming of age, the sudden growth from youth to adulthood, thrust into the forefront of politics and battle. The similarity is even there with the ship voyage providing the ever-changing backdrop for the growth. But it comes into its own with the growth of Thorn as a fighter, with Brand and his struggle with the morality of war. and all of it mixed up in the deep cunning shenanigans of Yarvi. Because of the authors skillful handling of author growth and creativity the similarities are all blended into something unique and mind-blowing. There is always the thought that you know where the plot is leading but not always why, and that there is so much more tantalizing at the edge of the plot, particularly regarding the elves and who they might have been wand what they left behind.

The book leads us half way across the world and back again, it leads to the High kings and his minister trying to destroy Gettland, and it leads to old enemies meeting on the battle field.

Once again its a surprise this is a young adult novel, but when you think back you can see that it is toned done , not overt in the death and violence, but the implication more than enough to make this a tense and dramatic tale, the characterisation and world building realistic enough to suck you in from page one and have you rowing at the oars with every page.

I highly recommend this series, and cannot wait for book three

(Parm)

Series

First Law
1. The Blade Itself (2006)
2. Before They Are Hanged (2007)
3. Last Argument Of Kings (2008)
The First Law Trilogy Boxed Set: The Blade Itself / Before They Are Hanged / Last Argument of Kings(omnibus) (2012)
The First Law Trilogy (omnibus) (2015)
The Blade ItselfBefore They Are HangedLast Argument Of KingsThe First Law Trilogy Boxed Set: The Blade Itself / Before They Are Hanged / Last Argument of Kings

First Law World
1. Best Served Cold (2009)
2. The Heroes (2011)
3. Red Country (2012)
The Great Leveller: Best Served Cold, The Heroes and Red Country, together in one omnibus volume (omnibus)(2015)
Best Served ColdThe HeroesRed Country

Half a King
1. Half a King (2014)
2. Half a World (2015)
3. Half a War (2015)
Half a KingHalf a World


Blood Infernal: The Order of the Sanguines Series
Blood Infernal: The Order of the Sanguines Series
by James Rollins
Edition: Hardcover

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars End of a splendid series, 10 Feb. 2015
Review

When i first heard about this series i worried that it was just another vampire series, that it might be a bit of true blood band wagon jumping. But books 1&2 soon put paid to that. This book 3 is a bitter sweet experience, endings are always tough with a really good series, and this is one that has been a favorite for a couple of years, ending can however be complicated, can the author (s) get it right?

Yes is the answer, James Rollins is one of my favorite thriller writers, and having read Rebecca Cantrell’s Tesla books i can see the where and why the blending of talents has worked so well. Its not that one is better than the other, its similar to when Feist and Wurts got together and wrote the empire trilogy, a set of books that took both authors beyond their normal writing. This is what i feel has happened again here.

Each and every book in this series has been an original action packed supernatural thriller and Blood Infernal is no different. But more important its a fitting and sublime end to a wonderful series. In any thriller like this there is a risk of going OTT, of taking the action beyond the mildly plausible, even with the supernatural you need to avoid that risk. Both these authors avoid doing that with style and panache, keeping the reader on the edge of their seat through-out. So many teasing tit bits from biblical myth brought forth and used in this story, so much action and so much energy and emotion. The characters will make you laugh and cry out in surprise, gasp and sob in anguish. Its going to be up there with my favorite books at the end of this year.

Very highly recommended for this book and this splendid series.

(Parm)

Series
Sigma Force
1. Sandstorm (2004)
2. Map of Bones (2005)
3. Black Order (2006)
4. The Judas Strain (2007)
5. The Last Oracle (2008)
6. The Doomsday Key (2009)
6.5. The Skeleton Key (2011)
7. The Devil Colony (2010)
7.5. Tracker (2012)
8. Bloodline (2012)
9. The Eye of God (2013)
10. The Sixth Extinction (2014)
11. The Bone Labyrinth (2015)
The Doomsday Key / The Last Oracle (omnibus) (2011)
The Sigma Force Novels (omnibus) (2013)
Sigma Force Novels 1 (omnibus) (2014)

Jake Ransom
1. Jake Ransom and the Skull King’s Shadow (2009)
2. Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx (2010)
Jake Ransom Complete Collection (omnibus) (2014)

Order of the Sanguines (with Rebecca Cantrell)
0.5. City of Screams (2012)
1. The Blood Gospel (2013)
1.5. Blood Brothers (2013)
2. Innocent Blood (2013)
3. Blood Infernal (2015)

Tucker Wayne (with Grant Blackwood)
1. The Kill Switch (2014)
2. War Hawk (2015)
The Kill Switch
Novels
Subterranean (1999)
Excavation (2000)
Deep Fathom (2001)
Amazonia (2002)
Ice Hunt (2003)
Altar of Eden (2009)

Novellas
The Devil’s Bones: Cotton Malone vs. Gray Pierce (2014)(with Steve Berry)
The Devil's Bones: Cotton Malone vs. Gray Pierce
Series contributed to
Indiana Jones (Films)
4. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull(2008)


The Sword of Attila: Total War: Rome
The Sword of Attila: Total War: Rome
Price: £3.59

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As with so much of David Gibbins amazing Jack Howard series, 5 Feb. 2015
Review:

Book one in this novel new series, starts with the real birth of the roman empire, the sacking of Carthage, the beginning of their real power in the Mediterranean. Book 2 The Sword of Attila focuses on the end of the empire, Rome has been sacked a hundred years previously by the goths, and are now on the verge of being kicked out of Africa by the vandals. In the east a new power is rising ruling over the Hun.

A much underwritten part of the Roman history, yet there is so much rich, action packed history to delve into. David Gibbins as usual provides immaculate research, he then couples it with highly plausible fictional action. This series is linked to a computer game, it is potentially its flaw, the book provides the reader with all the knowledge needed to play and win the game, to understand the history, and all the elements in it. The soldiers their equipment, the countries the alliances and so much more, so much in fact each book could and maybe should be a series on its own. It is this that made me struggle a little with book one, book two however had the winning extra of including a fictional but highly plausible character Arturus, a dark age figure tied to British folklore and myth. As with so much of David Gibbins amazing Jack Howard series, he gives enough fact to the fictional to show just how possible the it is for Arturus to have existed in this way, and been the basis for the myth.

Arturus, coupled with Flavius and many other very real characters really make this book, the occasionally slightly stilted plot (by this im using the comparison of the flowing plot that is the Jack Howard series) is more than made up for with scope, the characters and the copious author notes at the end, making this a very very readable, enjoyable 4/5 stars.

(Parm)


The Devil's Assassin (Jack Lark)
The Devil's Assassin (Jack Lark)
by Paul Fraser Collard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.58

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Author, 30 Jan. 2015
The book starts out with a splendid and evocative title, I have been speculating for some time as to the plot of this next Jack Lark book. Fortunately due to the vagaries of ordering some copies from the publisher im luck and they arrived so nice and early, my wait was finally over. Paul Collard has rapidly become mush read material, since the first book burst onto the market in 2013 (it seems so long ago) Scarlet Thief Review

Since that first book I have seen Paul Collards work get better and better ( Maharajah’s General Review ), more detailed, the plot tighter and tighter, the character growth sharp, to the point that you wonder if Jack will survive the book. There are the inevitable comparisons to Bernard Conwell’s Sharpe, Jack is a man from the ranks, brought up in the gutter. But that’s where in the main the similarities end. Sharpe never tried or pretended to the gentry, where Jack is living the lie, always looking over his shoulder, not to be stabbed in the back by some posh boy, but to be caught out, denounced. Will he get something wrong, will he bump into someone who knew the man he has assumed the identity of? That anticipation and fear oozes from the pages but only as the underlying heartbeat to each storyline, to each character that Jack dons and each dramatic situation he becomes embroiled in.

In devils assassin we are introduced to our usual cast of side characters, those who form the plot for Jack, the players in his elaborate scheme, those who really are the gentry of the regiment, the men who might find him out, the men he wants to prove he can be as good as , better than, to prove it’s the man not the lineage that defines.

Right from the start this book felt different, someone knows Jacks secret, and uses it to recruit Jack as a Spy Catcher, for once the fear of being discovered is reduced, and it has meant that the author is required to dial this back in the writing, it also means that that fear can be channelled into something else, and that’s the battles, the wild indiscriminate danger of war. No matter his orders Jack cannot restrain himself from being in the thick of the fight, a born leader, always at the front, going where many would fear to go, Jack has lost that fear, or at least lost the need to be controlled by it, because dead he has no more to worry about, and alive he must keep proving he is the better man and he can only do that from the front. Paul Collard has captured all of this perfectly.

I feel that many reader like me with be sat smugly from early in the book, saying “I know who the spy is”… I caution you now… beware that smugness, there is a twist in this tale, I had that smugness wiped off my face. Despite my protestations earlier in the review about the Lark/ Sharpe comparison, I have to admit to thinking that Devils Assassin could well have been a Sharpe tale, and that said fully as a compliment, I loved Sharpe. I think its because there was less fear at being caught as a pretender in his own life and more that he was an honest down to earth soldier thrust among the dandies and crazy gentry, trying to add some professional soldiers quality to the story, with a proper mission rather than just hiding in plain sight.

Personally I think Paul Collard has become one of the most readable figures in Historical Fiction, it helps that he is in a time period that is covered a lot more lightly than, eg, Rome, but I think he could pick out any period and his writing style would shine through. This truly is edge of the seat writing.

So once again I end a Jack Lark review with … HOW LONG …until the next one… a Year…. Sob??

Enjoy everyone, because if I get reading time I will do so again.

Highly recommended

(Parm)

Series
Jack Lark
1. The Scarlet Thief (2013)
2. The Maharajah’s General (2013)
3. The Devil’s Assassin (2015)
Rogue (2014) (Short story)
Recruit (2015) (Short story)
The Scarlet ThiefThe Maharajah's GeneralThe Devil's AssassinRogue


The Devil's Assassin (Jack Lark)
The Devil's Assassin (Jack Lark)
by Paul Fraser Collard
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.58

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Major new voice in the genre, 30 Jan. 2015
The book starts out with a splendid and evocative title, I have been speculating for some time as to the plot of this next Jack Lark book. Fortunately due to the vagaries of ordering some copies from the publisher im luck and they arrived so nice and early, my wait was finally over. Paul Collard has rapidly become mush read material, since the first book burst onto the market in 2013 (it seems so long ago) Scarlet Thief Review

Since that first book I have seen Paul Collards work get better and better ( Maharajah’s General Review ), more detailed, the plot tighter and tighter, the character growth sharp, to the point that you wonder if Jack will survive the book. There are the inevitable comparisons to Bernard Conwell’s Sharpe, Jack is a man from the ranks, brought up in the gutter. But that’s where in the main the similarities end. Sharpe never tried or pretended to the gentry, where Jack is living the lie, always looking over his shoulder, not to be stabbed in the back by some posh boy, but to be caught out, denounced. Will he get something wrong, will he bump into someone who knew the man he has assumed the identity of? That anticipation and fear oozes from the pages but only as the underlying heartbeat to each storyline, to each character that Jack dons and each dramatic situation he becomes embroiled in.

In devils assassin we are introduced to our usual cast of side characters, those who form the plot for Jack, the players in his elaborate scheme, those who really are the gentry of the regiment, the men who might find him out, the men he wants to prove he can be as good as , better than, to prove it’s the man not the lineage that defines.

Right from the start this book felt different, someone knows Jacks secret, and uses it to recruit Jack as a Spy Catcher, for once the fear of being discovered is reduced, and it has meant that the author is required to dial this back in the writing, it also means that that fear can be channelled into something else, and that’s the battles, the wild indiscriminate danger of war. No matter his orders Jack cannot restrain himself from being in the thick of the fight, a born leader, always at the front, going where many would fear to go, Jack has lost that fear, or at least lost the need to be controlled by it, because dead he has no more to worry about, and alive he must keep proving he is the better man and he can only do that from the front. Paul Collard has captured all of this perfectly.

I feel that many reader like me with be sat smugly from early in the book, saying “I know who the spy is”… I caution you now… beware that smugness, there is a twist in this tale, I had that smugness wiped off my face. Despite my protestations earlier in the review about the Lark/ Sharpe comparison, I have to admit to thinking that Devils Assassin could well have been a Sharpe tale, and that said fully as a compliment, I loved Sharpe. I think its because there was less fear at being caught as a pretender in his own life and more that he was an honest down to earth soldier thrust among the dandies and crazy gentry, trying to add some professional soldiers quality to the story, with a proper mission rather than just hiding in plain sight.

Personally I think Paul Collard has become one of the most readable figures in Historical Fiction, it helps that he is in a time period that is covered a lot more lightly than, eg, Rome, but I think he could pick out any period and his writing style would shine through. This truly is edge of the seat writing.

So once again I end a Jack Lark review with … HOW LONG …until the next one… a Year…. Sob??

Enjoy everyone, because if I get reading time I will do so again.

Highly recommended

(Parm)

Series
Jack Lark
1. The Scarlet Thief (2013)
2. The Maharajah’s General (2013)
3. The Devil’s Assassin (2015)
Rogue (2014) (Short story)
Recruit (2015) (Short story)


The Long Sword
The Long Sword
by Christian Cameron
Edition: Hardcover
Price: £16.58

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Writer, 30 Jan. 2015
This review is from: The Long Sword (Hardcover)
Long Sword: Review

I’m sure many of my regulars are expecting my usual litany of effusive comments about the remarkable writing that Christian produces. I do feel a bit like his English fan boy some days when I write the review, but I love the writing.

That said I struggled with the start of this one, be it my state of mind coming into my 10th book in January, or back to back to back historical fiction? I don’t know, but it felt a bit mired in detail, detail that Christian releases normally so effortlessly, it seemed to come out a little like a manual… I even think that I may have had a Tom Swan hangover, Tom Swan is one of the great unsung heroes of the Historical Fiction genre, an e-Book only serial, but so brilliant I miss it every day.

But William Gold didn’t/ couldn’t let me down, and neither did Christian, almost without noticing I went from the mire to brightness and solid ground.

As ever with Christians books this isn’t a light tome, its 448 pages long, but if you are like me, it will only be a 48 -72 hour read, after my initial struggle, which TBH was really only about a chapter when I checked back, I was fully caught up, I could not put it down. Christians research is amazing, he packs in such detail, but effortlessly, you feel the weight of armour, and you feel the maneuverability, and the exhaustion of wearing it, and I know this comes from the fact that he does wear it, and he does fight in it .

chris 3

Christian was also a warrior in his own right, and an intelligencer, so he knows how battles are fought, he knows the nuances, the thought process used by commanders, subordinates etc and dare I say by those who have to go and gather the intelligence in the most dangerous of circumstances.

What isn’t written down in history book (and even things that are) he checks. If how to swing a sword doesn’t sound right he will practice, if the clothing doesn’t sound authentic he will check with someone who knows, or even try to make it. I don’t think I have ever met someone so full of and yet still desperate for knowledge, and we the reader benefit from all of this.

Long sword isn’t Christians best book, but it is still an excellent book and I desperately want the next book in the series… as I seem to for every next book in every one of his series.

I highly recommend this, this isn’t just a book about fighting and the crusades, this is a book about chivalry, about love, and abstinence and its difficulty and temptations and about the glory of true friendship and a man striving to be better than he was yesterday.

(Parm)

Series
Tyrant
1. Tyrant (2008)
2. Storm of Arrows (2009)
3. Funeral Games (2010)
4. King of the Bosporus (2011)
5. Destroyer of Cities (2013)
6. Force of Kings (2014)
TyrantStorm of ArrowsFuneral GamesKing of the BosporusDestroyer of CitiesForce of Kings
Long War
1. Killer of Men (2010)
2. Marathon: Freedom or Death (2011)
3. Poseidon’s Spear (2012)
4. The Great King (2014)
Killer of MenMarathon: Freedom or DeathPoseidon's SpearThe Great King
Tom Swan and the Head of St George
1. Castillon (2012)
2. Venice (2012)
3. Constantinople (2012)
4. Rome (2013)
5. Rhodes (2013)
6. Chios (2013)
CastillonVeniceConstantinopleRomeRhodesChios
Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade
1. Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part One (2014)
2. Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Two (2014)
3. Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Three (2014)
Tom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part OneTom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part TwoTom Swan and the Siege of Belgrade: Part Three
Novels
Washington and Caesar (2001)
God of War (2012)
The Ill-Made Knight (2013)
The Long Sword (2014)
Salamis (2015)


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