Thursday, 6 December 2012

The Bears On The Stairs - Julia Jarman & Lynne Chapman

Publisher: Anderson
Genre: Children's Books/Fiction
Stars: 5

This is an adorable children's book, beautifully illustrated and brimming over with colourful imagination.
Are there really bears on the stairs or is it just the clever tactics of a little boy who doesn't want to go to bed?
This is engaging, funny and sweet and the cat is a brilliant sidekick to the little boy.
I had more fun reading this than my child did.

Finding Emma - Matthew Iden

Amazon Media
Genre: Thriller/Mystery
Stars: 4

This was a fun short read, perfect for bedtime or a short distance travel read. I really enjoyed the unravelling of the tale and utterly believed the characters and setting. I especially liked the suburban location and the well described mentality of the neighbours: I could totally see them in my mind's eye.
The ending was delicious and somehow I couldn't help liking the main character Jack, even though no-one else in the book seems to.
A juicy morsel for those addicted to the thriller genre. I hope the author will write more.

The One You Love - Paul Pilkington

Amazon Media
Genre: Fiction - Thriller/Suspense
3.5 stars

Emma’s finance goes missing on her hen night. Cold feet or something more sinister?
This was a free book and it kept me turning the pages. Score one.
I did find the story believable aside from the suicide Houdini part and the plot was unpredictable, as true life really can be. Score two.
I also liked the ultimate ending, unexpected and welcome.  Score three
I won’t spoil it. It’s very easy if you are self published to let one or two spelling or grammar mistakes slip under the editorial radar, so it was a shame that this book had too many. Fail one.
Would I read another book by this author. Yes. Score four.
4/1 to the author.

Friday, 30 November 2012

The Greek Islands - A Notebook by Richard Clark

Kindle - Amazon

This is a beautifully written book, not just a travel companion but a journey in itself through Greek History, it’s culture and the countryside.

From the opening pages listing mouth watering food, to the useful brief Greek History lesson, the detailed descriptions of architecture, towns and harbours and the lovingly recounted memories of his time in Greece, it is clear that Richard Clark is a devotee to the country.

He was lucky enough to see the islands during a more innocent time, before tourism beckoned it’s grubby and bejewelled finger and yet he also has seen the effect, both good and bad on the country.
Reading this book was an escape unto itself, I sailed the Mediterranean, explored the streets, ate the food in tavernas and enjoyed the hospitable and often comic nature of the Greeks. It was like returning home. I recognised scenes and occurrences again and again.

Unlike most travel books which just list destinations and regurgitate senseless and boring historical facts, the author describes the locations wonderfully. He recounts tales, explains folklore or interesting sayings and instils in the reader a profound sense of empathy for the Greeks, their rich and tapestried culture and heritage. Reading this book is an education in itself and I found myself so much the richer in having read it.

The only negative thing I have to say is that after putting this book down, I felt a sense of melancholy, to be far away from my spiritual home brought so vividly to life on these pages. Bravo, Richard Clark!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Sasha's List - Lucy Tucker

Self Published

3 stars

The author Lucy Tucker is a straight talking Australian who likes sex and writing and combines the two. She delivers exactly what she says she will.
Although this is erotic fiction, it is fun and light hearted, there is sweetness about this story as the main character Sasha picks herself up after a break-up and pushes back her emotional and sexual boundaries. She literally makes a list of all the things she would like to try and with the aid of a new friend starts ticking off those new experiences one by one.
I liked the tongue in cheek way the book begins and this frivolous tone kept me turning the pages.
The sex is consensual, exploratory, raunchy and fun. This is far better written material than the 50 shades of snoredom and more realistic.  

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Season of the Macabre - Damien Kelly

Clarion Publishing
Publication Date: March 17th 2012

4 stars

Short stories for the winter season and the open minded.
An eclectic collection, ranging from a calculating little boy to a murderous wife. I enjoyed the mixture of stories as much as the authenticity of the writing which changed tone beautifully with each character: an upset little boy from Washington, a cynical and sassy pathologist, a stressed and busy Vicar’s wife with a secret. 

My only wish would have been to have even more sting in the tale of each story. 

Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Shuffle – Richard Blandford

The Publisher: The Big Hand 
Publication Date: 4 Oct 2012

4 stars
This is one of the best collections of short stories I have read since Roald Dahl’s Switch Bitch.
 A pastiche of postmodernist styles -  as the title explains - that take the reader on a swooping read through a range of subjects from art, sex, relationships, religion, the afterlife, science and social networking.
There are recurrent themes of bullying, rejection and guilt and fantastic dives into surrealism with ideas that could quite possibly happen in our information bombarded society, a society obsessed with the supernatural and the work hard/reward system. People stricken with a virus that makes them speak with the voice of Tom Baker, the spirits of the dead taking over the world’s digital media and astral projection of the sexual kind with dire consequences. Satire, irony, a glut of escapism.

Richard Blandford writes with a clear bold voice. This is frontline innovative writing, leaping out over the top and shaming all the dross in no man’s land. I devoured these stories in one galumphing read. More please.