4 Followers
24 Following
greatbookescapes

Great Book Ecapes

I love books

Thank you

he & She, Wayne Clark

he & She - Wayne  Clark

I loved the honesty in the story, it pulls no punches and has a sadness about a life that can never be.

 

It is a slow starter, but stick with because all of the emotional turmoil that you are enduring at the beginning is very relevant to the life of Kit.

 

The main character, Kit Cayman is a middle aged man lying in hospital paralysed the only thing he can do is masturbate. Such despair surrounds him as he rejects everything around him. From a beginning of the end, we look back on what brought K to this finality.

 

K is a middle aged man having a crisis. His life is stale. A translator, working from home, he has been seeing Anna for a while, he has no real social life, he is an alcoholic, stale stale stale. Then he sees a picture of the Egyptian Princess on a website and he falls in love. He meets this Dominatrix and fulfils his fantasy of being spanked wearing a body stocking and it changes his life.

 

If you are looking to read details of erotica then forget it, however, if you are expecting something deeper psychologically, then this is your book. It is the real deal, it is about the cruelty of life, mid life crisis, BDSM, fantasies and fetish and trust. It is about love, and obsession.

 

Losing his girlfriend by telling her of his fantasies, K steps into the world of BDSM; trust and power exchange. He become obsessed with his dominatrix the Egyptian Princess, who transforms his life by understanding and fulfilling his fantasy desires. Feeling empowered he deals with his drinking, loses weight and leads a much healthier lifestyle. His whole life gets better.

 

Having improved his sexual desires, fulfilling it is the one thing which is not part of their relationship and is his one regret. After constantly bombarding her with writing, one day without warning, she disappears from him and passes him to her colleague CC who gives him new experiences and fulfillments although his love obsession is still with his Egyptian Princess.

 

Forget frivolous descriptions, this is the real deal that explores the relationship between a Dominatrix and a ‘submissive’ or ‘bottom’. The love that comes with trust, the bond that develops between the giver and receiver. An account of just what people get from masochism experiences.

 

Would you move across country to follow your desires to feel alive? K did just that and meets with his Egyptian Princess once again, but was it the same?

 

I loved the characters of the Dominatrix, they were real people. Ordinary with a fetish side to them they enjoyed and played to make a living. There was an emotional frailty to the Egyptian Princess that made her endearing as a person.

 

Well thought out and well written, certainly a book that will stay in your head for a while.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Many thanks to the Publisher for a digital copy via NetGalley in return for my honest review.

Source: http://wp.me/p4nbAL-al

Hail Storme by W.L. Ripley

— feeling amazing

Cowboy boots, cigars, guns, humour and excitement – what more can I say. Oh yes, this author is at the top of my favourite list! 

 

I just love this series and they just get better! This is the first in the series of Wyatt Storme and Chick D Easton who are the most likeable pair of tough guys ever.

The book just oozes with testosterone in a good way, just breathe it in girls! Wyatt Storme ex vet and former pro football player of some note:

“I pushed my cart. Somehow it’s difficult to feel supremely manly while pushing a shopping cart. But I though manly thoughts."


Wyatt meets Chick, ex spook, in this book and they form a friendship that melds together like a comedy duo with weapons. These two just can't walk away from trouble, you know if there is injustice, Storme and Easton will be ahead of every man to sort it out.

"You don't like what happened to the sheriff. Wanna do something about it, like you were the Lone Ranger or something.”


Notice that Wyatt makes a statement not ask a question.  Way to go cowboys!

Every word that Ripley give us is exceptionally placed telling a story, describing a character, and building excitement. The humour throughout this book is wonderful, and enhances the story without diminishing the seriousness of it. Nothing is superfluous. I love this line as it is equally important within the plot as any other:

"She walked in the leggy way tall women have. She was tightly muscled and firm like a dancer or a swimmer. She might require further investigation. She was suspiciously beautiful. Maybe I could set up a second appointment, come an hour early. Keep an eye on her. Surveillance was important.”


There doesn't seem any real reason why these two should get involved in something as deep and nasty as this, other than bravado and adventure.

It is such an exciting plot that I could not put the book down and sat up till late reading till I finished it.  Boy it is good!

I will end with a description that surely is current in any city around the world today:

“Downtown Paradise was almost gone. Drained of its life by shopping malls, corporate discount chain stores, dual-lane highways, and recession. No jobs and few businesses. The American Dream. Gone without leaving a high-water mark on the buildings. Mortgaged tomorrows for today. Then tomorrow came.”


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Many Many thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for a copy of this book for an honest review.

Review: Mortal Threat (Threat #4) - by A.J. Tata

 

Goodreads Blurb…..

Medical school student Amanda Garrett and American doctors working secretly in Africa have found a cure for the Ebola and Human Immunodeficiency Viruses. Leaders of the Islamic State want the cure so they can show the world Islam is a benevolent religion that all Africans should follow. The President of the United States believes an alleged 30,000-year-old Sub-Saharan religious text called The Book of Catalyst identifies him as being of divine origin. As Amanda operates her portion of the clandestine CIA Project Nightingale in a Tanzanian orphanage, she is attacked and chased by brutal killers called The Leopard and The Cheetah. Amanda has 48 hours to escape across the Serengeti Plain before the remaining vials of the cure expire. The Islamic State escalates attacks across the Middle East using freshly converted fighters from Africa. The American President, however, chooses not to deploy sufficient troops to save U.S. Special Forces, including Amanda’s husband, assisting in the air war against ISIS. As Amanda attempts to save the rapidly decomposing formula for the Ebola and HIV cures, she finds herself at the center of a clash between warring media titans, Jonathan Beckwith and Zhor al Rhazziq, who are following her every step toward the Olduvai Gorge, which some scientists claim to be the origin of human life.

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 

What did I like best about the story:

I liked how the character Beckwith was manipulating the situation including the US President in his bid to get the formula for the ‘cure’ and find the tree of life. There was some very complex and clever thought out plot lines with him. I like how it showed the effect of religion producing war in countries. The US President just amplifies how gullible people in power can be. This is a complex political plot that includes several nations.

I also liked how Amanda’s character was both soft and caring, but with a no-nonesense strength inside which she shows later when in danger. It is good to see her be a real fighter instead of a whimpering woman. Us girlies who love a bit of excitement and adventure love to see a woman get stuck in with a weapon of some sort.


What did not work for me:

I believe Kiram and Mumbato are suppose to represent good and bad in their characters, with Kiram being the good ‘boy’ and Mumbato not always making the right decisions, however their characters are not quite strong enough to show this.

There was a bit of a ‘boy’ toy thing going on with detailed description of Beckwith’s yacht which to me seemed superfluous so I didn’t bother reading that bit! I do struggle with passages where the descriptions do not seem to add to the story.

I struggled with the continuity of various scenes in different countries, where more than one country is involved and different villains with different agendas it became very complex.

 

When the religious consequence of the new information is revealed I was not over-awed. It was like an ‘oh right’ moment.

 

I would give this book a rating of 3 stars, but I know that many will find it a thrilling read because there are some great scenes in the plot line, worth a read.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I didn’t know this was the fourth book in the series, maybe the first three would have given me greater understanding.  

There is also a lot of advertising blurb about what a great book it is, which seems a bit of overkill to me.  I really dislike it when I am being bombarded with “fantastic, great read, best ever, exciting, thrilling, book of the year” type of hype because it immediately makes me think that why do they need to push it so much if is brilliant?  

 

In my eyes a book speaks for itself, rather than its marketing strategy.

 

Many thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for a copy in return for my honest review.

Review: Crash & Burn by Lisa Gardner ☆☆☆☆☆

 

A well deserved 5 stars from me, I just love a book that is not predictable!

 

This is my first Lisa Gardner book I have read and love her writing style.

Brilliant…..


Intriguing, mysterious, perplexing, disconcerting, exciting, sad, beautiful, painful….

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Synopsis

I’m in hospital after crashing my car. I am afraid. The only thing that I can think about is Vero. I know I have to save her but why couldn’t I find her? She’s just a little girl.

The man standing in my hospital room tells me we are married but there is no Vero. That six months ago I suffered a traumatic brain injury which caused changes to my personality. I have dramatic mood swings, an inability to concentrate and large gaps in my memory. I’m much easier to anger these days. And I drink. All of which he says explains the car accident and my confusion.

Now a Sergeant Wyatt Foster is investigating. He has questions about the car accident. He has concerns about my husband. And he’s worried about a missing girl.

He would like to know what happened to me. So would I.

My name is Nicky Frank. This is my life.

Watch me crash and burn.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

My Review

How do you review a plot that is so brilliantly perplexing? Right from the start I could not guess at ‘what comes next’ or even ‘can I believe what I have just read’.

 

More than once I felt the narrative from ‘Nicky’ was sharing intimate moments of her confusing past with me alone. I felt the sadness and misery, the longing for it all to go away; but also couldn’t wait for the next sentence to reveal more and more.

 

Please don’t let this book end but please let me get to the end to discover the terrible secrets!

 

So, Crash & Burn is a book of secrets that kept me in suspense the whole way through. So many times I said to myself, whoa didn’t see that coming, no way. How many surprises can one book have? Let me tell you lots and lots…

 

Nicky’s car goes over the edge and down a ravine, injured and bloody she crawls back up onto the road and tells the emergency crew to find Vero.

 

This is not at all a depressing book to read, there are some lovely descriptive lines that says much more. I love the description of the Audi Q5 car she is driving:

“One of those vehicles designed to haul groceries, half of a soccer team plus the family dog, and look damned good doing it.”

This is Nicky’s third concussion and her head is already a mess of confusion and hidden memories. Thomas Frank her husband sits at her bedside, he is the man she both loves and fears, why?

 

‘Vero wants to Fly’ Who is Vero, and what does it mean? What a terrible start to life Vero had, how do you survive something like that?

 

Investigating a car crash Sergeant Wyatt is drawn into towards hints of child trafficking, forced prostitution, and a thirty year old kidnapping. Wyatt cares about his job and there is a nice touch when Gardner sets out how he will do all he can to find answers rather than hand this case over:

“Wyatt had given the matter a lot of thought, mostly because it was his thought to give”

When Wyatt goes to interview Nicky at home after her accident, he sees her battered and bruised face. I read this with the thrill of excitement – game on, I thought knowing that Gardner was going to throw something different to her readers:

“But the woman was standing. Head up. Eyes clear. Wyatt felt that thrum, big-game hunter on the prowl. This morning was looking good.”

Reading this book is like trying to untangle a ball of string that has become completely tangled. Where is the beginning and where is the end, and how has it got so messed up?

 

Wyatt is also starting out with Tessa an Investigator who becomes involved in the case. In trying to solve it their relationship will be tested because of the facts.

 

I loved this book, it kept me trying to guess all the way through, incorrectly I might add!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Many thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for a copy in return for an honest review.

Source: http://greatbookescapes.com/2015/05/24/review-crash-burn-by-lisa-gardner-☆☆☆☆☆

Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper

Etta and Otto and Russell and James - Emma Hooper

I am not sure how to describe this book at all, although I think it is an 'either you get it - or you don't. But here goes:

 

This is one of the most gentlest of books that tackles ageing, dreams, lost dreams, life and realities that I have read in a long time.

 

With a letter to start the book there is no doubt what 83 year old Etta is about to do.


Otto,

I’ve gone. I’ve never seen the water, so I’ve gone there. Don’t worry, I’ve left you the truck. I can walk. I will try to remember to come back.
Yours (always),
Etta.

When I started reading, I read it like any other novel waiting for it to grab me. But I got confused because the style of writing breaks the rules. But, there is also something very special about the writing, it feels intimate, so I left it a full day I started right back at the beginning again. I totally got this book from then on.

 

How glad I was to have read it again. Like a non-believer who can’t see fairies, there they were; beautiful words that felt like they were written specially for me to read. Emma Hooper made me feel that I had known these people all my life and I was simply being reminded of their story so that I can pass it on.

 

Otto is one of fifteen children born in a time when farming folks reared large families.

 

Every robust pregnancy running smoothly into a ruddy infant and every infant to a barrel-eared child, lined up between siblings in grey and off-grey nightclothes, some holding babies, some holding hands, leaning into the door to their parent room, listening fixedly to the moaning from within.

 

Doesn't that just give you a complete picture of the circle of life? With so many children they each had their own number which they called out at meal times to ensure everyone was gathered. (See, I am already re-telling the story as if I know them all!)

 

The death of Etta’s only sibling is devastating news that results in a grief that is conveyed so tenderly.


A word carried by Etta’s father up the stairs, oh so carefully. like a baby bird, to Etta’s room. He gave it to her more softly that she’d ever heard him speak. Etta took it and held it in her ears at first and then her head and then, suddenly, and horribly, her heart.

 

This is three friends' own stories: their lives and their final journey’s. How much is in their own failing minds we are never quite sure but there is such a tenderness in the telling that I was enthralled by it.

 

When Etta decides to go to the sea she simply walks out of the house and doesn’t stop, along the way a coyote who she names James joins her:


That night James did not eat Etta, just slept a little bit away from her feet. The next morning he ate a gopher while Etta ate mayonnaise on crackers.

 

This strange couple journey onward with Etta’s ageing mental fragility constantly slipping. She holds conversations with James; weird you might say, but he is so important to Etta on her journey.

 

At home, Otto patiently awaits her return and learns how to live on his own, finding his own way to express himself. Then Russell who has also loved Etta sets out to find her.

Throughout the story we learn the history of the three of them, growing up, Otto at war holed up in small towns and Russell learning farming. There is such a beautiful line from one of Otto’s letters to Etta, it is such a simple observation:


The jeeps are parked, so when we’re all inside you’d never know we were here. We wear this town as camouflage.
We are here, they say to hold the town. I like the idea of that. Like a kite.

 

It has one of those endings that leaves an empty space followed by a huge question mark. Of course we know that they are old and died, but are left to surmise details.

 

In my imagined ending all is content and peaceful and I think I am probably right....
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Many thanks for an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley.

Suffer by E.E. Borton

Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. I loved this book. Be warned though it is brutal and graphic…just what I love to read ;)

 

This plot was focussed and did not spend too much time on superficial chatter that could distract from the plot. Be warned though, it is brutal and graphic.

 

Borton did not spare the brutality of the scenes, describing the worst torture anyone can imagine ever. The brutal rape and torture of a young woman and her son is so shocking it cannot even be imagined. What kind of animal could do this to another human being? Her husband and friends finds them and there is only one thing that can be done. Without knowing that his wife is recovering against all odds, Paul commits suicide and Grey their friend vows to find who was responsible. Along with a few others, revenge is well planned and very sweet.

 

What did I like best?

I loved that this is a fast paced, exciting story, one which both filled me with horror and morbid desire to read how revenge would be described. There is a kind of air-punching satisfaction of knowing that someone suffers the same horrors as they inflicted. Should you be worried about me? Nah, I think that many who read this book will be just as eager to have torture metered out and described in such a visual manner. Why? Well you will just have to read it and find out won’t you!

 

This is a book that is well written and excellently put together, not once did I get lost in the plot or the characters. Talking of characters, I loved the strength of the vulnerable Kate, the victim. I loved how Borton gives her real character that both scares and amazes those around her. It made me think about whether in the same situation would I be able to be strong enough or sick enough to exact revenge as she did? Indeed it begs the question whether it is right or wrong - okay of course it was wrong but would I tell on her - no way, my mouth stays shut.

 

Those men around Kate and who love her for surviving, are wonderfully strong characters, no messing about - get the job done types. Who risk their lives for her.

Anything that would have been the icing on the cake for me?

 

Oh yes, without giving away the plot I would have like descriptions of one mans fear and emotions……. You’ll know exactly what I mean when you read it. (Alright that is probably a bit too creepy of me.)

 

I now need a follow up, because hey Mr Borton you can’t just end it there for me!!

Source: http://greatbookescapes.com/2015/05/06/suffer-e-e-borton-☆☆☆☆☆

Bryant & May: The Burning Man, #12 | by Christopher Fowler

Amazingly this is the first time I have read any of Christopher Fowler’s books.

You see the thing is, I love David Jason playing detective’s because he embodies the older generation of old style detective work through his on screen personality. So, when I started reading this book I immediately had the personality of Bryant in my head, absolutely bloody marvellous!

 

There is a line from a memo from Raymond Land his boss that sums him up for me:

The Police Federation’s outing to the Museum of London’s exhibition ‘Living History’: Senior Citizens Recall London in the 1950’s will take place on 25 October, although I understand that Mr Bryant will not be coming as he does not yet regard the 1950’s as history.

What's it about in a nutshell..

It is Halloween and two ‘should have retired’ detectives are asked to identify a body found in a doorway of a bank, torched by a protestor at a time when London is in full riot over bankers dirty dealings. Tucked away in the Peculiar Crimes Unit (PCU) after running up horrendous expenses for bizarre and dubious acts of fact finding, are all the people hard to place, in the hope that they will become redundant for any crimes to be solved by real modern detectives. Bryant and his long suffering partner May appear to be ‘too long in the tooth’ to do any real detective work, but Bryant can always find a real crime out of an incident to be cleared up.

 

It is full of the wittiest pieces of writing found anywhere.
In a memo to all staff, Land his boss again writes:

 

I don’t want anyone here thinking for themselves.

But remember this: we are in charge of London.

I love that this is a very British book, quirky and full of the history of London, wonderful stuff!

 

There is a real sense of serious policing underneath the humour along with the intrigue of gruesome murders continuing along with the build up of London’s riots. Then, Bryant has memory lapses and is often lost in his own head which remarkably sees connections before they have even been thought of. Seen as a liability by his seniors, and just odd by his colleagues they know he will solve a case if there is one to be solved.

 

What did I like best about this book?

I like that Fowler knows London and has captured its essence. He understands the peculiarity of Britishness and uses it with humour. His writing is knowledgeable, it is tense and relaxed at the same time. When Bryant becomes bewildered Fowler gives the reader the same sense with much compassion, which adds to the story rather than distracts from it.

 

The crime is complex and not easily guessed, just as the team is baffled I was too, especially as there are so many leads in different directions. The murders are suitably nasty for London, with just enough detail to be able to imagine the horrors of them. There is a time constraint for solving the crime and also the risk of having the CPU closed down if they don’t.

 

The best for me were the many characters in the book. Each one different and I think I have come across them somewhere, sometime!

 

Bryant is a legend as you read him, even his team quote him constantly. For me the most poignant line is about Bryant’s own thoughts of his memory lapses, and confusion of not recognising his home:


…because whatever else happened, losing his place in the world was the thing that terrified him most.

 

The importance of Bryant’s character is that he may have Alzheimer’s or something similar, and Fowler has showed that even with lapses, his intelligence and his personality is strong enough for him to still be useful. Well done Christopher Fowler.

 

I loved the conversation in the taxi when a cabbie interrupts Bryant that it was European Parliament Health and Safety that stopped children making a guy and collecting money in the streets,..


…..’I think you’ll find that the truth is somewhat more prosaic’, said Bryant, ever the enemy of misinformation. ‘With the retail ascendency of Halloween, children’s spending power is used up before Guy Fawkes Night...

 

In fact I had hi-lighted so many brilliant lines I could not decide which to show you.

 

What did I not like?

This is the 12th in the series and I have not yet read the first 11!!!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Many thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book for an honest review..

Source: http://www.greatbookescapes.com

Remember Me Like This by Bret Anthony Johnston

 

This is probably the heaviest novel I have read for a long time. It is a deep analysis into what the kidnap of a child does to every member of a family and when that child is found and home again. How nothing can be the same, how they struggle to cope with how to be normal, how to continue. There is no fast action, no end goal in sight for the family, because nothing can ever be the same again.

 

How does this change someone, change a family. What small intimacies between parents and children become uncertainties of acceptance and truth.

 

The brutal reality of how families fall apart in a sea of sudden uncertainty of parenthood. How each person deals with the trauma in their own way. How it impacts on their relationships both inside and outside of the family, and then again when Justin is home again after 5 years, how they have no idea how to begin again, and have to learn how to be a family all over again, but with the knowledge of what has happened to Justin.

 

I struggled reading this book because it is so heavy I could feel it dragging me down with it. However, that is the mark of how a good writer can make you feel a story and not just read it.

 

What makes it different?
It is written so beautifully and insightful. It is not a story of the kidnap and search, but of what how it impacts on personal lives day after day. When doors close it offers a reminder of how families live with the trauma of a missing child. After that child is brought home, this is an account of the trauma starting over again in a way that is heartbreaking. There is a tenderness that will touch every parent who reads it.

 

What did I like best?
I love the descriptions that convey the pain of coping in their world, which feels so real you are afraid it has to be true.

 

Eric, Justin’s father describes his pain:


“How often in the last four years had he almost knocked? [Justin’s bedroom door] Then, when his thoughts fitted themselves to reality, he felt cored out and drugged, groping awkwardly through his days as if he’d lost a limb in an accident, an arm or leg whose weight he still anticipated. He recognised its absence, and yet he could still feel the arteries as they dilated, the nerves as they burned."

Johnston describes how each member of the family cope in their own way beautifully, so that you have a real sense of how they move through their days in their own way. Laura throws herself into an anonymity of volunteering at a Dolphin research place, Griff his brother disappears into his own anonymity of being the brother left behind, and Eric his father has an affair. But each feels responsible for Justin’s disappearance.

 

What was not so good for me?
Because of the ‘heaviness’ of the writing, I almost lost the will to live and nearly gave up reading! It has a feeling of being one long pain driven account of despair when a child is kidnapped, which is most likely true, but to read it in a novel can be very depressing.


BUT
It is stunningly accurate in its emotional account of how a family falls apart coping when a child is kidnapped and found five years later. I had to keep reading to find what  the conclusion was.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Many thanks to the publisher via NetGalley for a copy for my honest review

A brilliant psychological thriller beautifully written.

The Winter Foundlings - Kate Rhodes

Now here is an author I could read again and again. This psychological thriller had me riveted from start to finish so much so I read it in a day!

 

Whats it about?

 

Young girls are being snatched off the streets and their bodies turn up sometime later all dressed in white victorian nightdresses similar to the ones in the Foundlings Hospital Museum.

 

There is nothing for the police to go on to find the killer, and so psychologist Alice Quentin is asked to help find something they can start with.

 

(Goodreads) Synopsis: Four girls have disappeared in North London. Three are already dead. Britain’s most prolific child killer, Louis Kinsella, has been locked up in Northwood high-security hospital for over a decade. Now more innocents are being slaughtered, and they all have a connection to his earlier crimes. Psychologist Alice Quentin is doing research at Northwood. She was hoping for a break from her hectic London life, but she’ll do anything to help save a child – even if it means forming a relationship with a charismatic, ruthless murderer. But Kinsella is slow to give away his secrets, and time is running out for the latest kidnap victim, who is simply trying to survive.

 

Told between Alice’s point of view and one of the young victim’s telling her own story which is distinguished by using a different font, it is a powerful touch with some powerful words:

It’s his stare that frightens her, his eyes wide and comfortless. She resorts to the method that always works best, twisting her mouth into its biggest smile.

Arriving at the Laurels psychiatric prison for the criminally insane to start some research, she is searched and here Rhodes gives us a lighthearted explanation of the seriousness of being there.

The smaller woman ave me an apologetic look before turning my handbag upside down and sharing it vigorously.
……..’’You wouldn’t believe the stuff people try and take inside. Drugs, flick knives, you name it.”
I processed the idea while she searched my belongings. It was hard to imagine anyone bringing weapons into a building packed with psychopaths, unless they had a death wish themselves.

Then she begins a nightmare relationship with the notorious child murderer Kinsella, whose work is being copied or directed(?) by him with these murders and it seems that everyone around him is a suspect.

 

Somehow Rhodes manages to bring a sense of genuine evilness in Kinsella with such small pieces of conversations, I just shuddered with horror as he meets with Alice.

 

Each of the characters have such a depth to them, the staff of capable professionals with seemingly damage in their pasts which you get to know throughout the novel.

 

Of course I did my usual, ‘he’s the one, no maybe its woman, no maybe all of them!’ but the intrigue is that all of them showed something that all was not as it seems.

 

The draw and fascination of such a vile serial killer was totally evident in the writing, and who hasn’t been drawn into a real life news item that both fascinates, horrifies and disgusts at the same time? Rhodes shows us the need to try and understand how people can carry out such terrible deeds and the need to stop it happening.

 

I love the pace of the book, steady yet thrilling. As the investigation is struggling to come up with anything concrete the victims’ point of view reminds me of how little time could be left for this child. Such clever and knowing observations about people makes this book an intelligent read. I like the way comments’ are revisited so that every line written has meaning.

 

There is so much more to this novel than a crime thriller. This is as much about Alice’s own story as we learn about her family and relationships which all blend nicely together. I liked Alice and wanted so much for her to find a relationship that mattered.

 

The Foundlings Hospital museum reminds us of our history in relations to caring for orphans and this is summed up compassionately by Rhodes with her description of what Alice sees in the exhibits:

I stared at the rows of tokens, neatly labelled and dated. There were buttons, matchboxes, and pincushions, but the one that touched me most deeply was a scrap of red fabric, cut in the shape of a heart. Every mother must have dreamed that her luck would change, and one day she could return to collect her child. I felt sure the killer had stood exactly where I was standing now.

Far from being all doom and gloom Rhodes brings us back with some lighter characters and moments that stopped me from feeling all doom and gloom as I read. I love the description of the snow filled scene she describes:

So far the cottage had resisted every attempt to raise its temperature, but when I pulled back the curtains, I stopped caring. Edgemoor Woods had turned into the perfect Christmas card, the sky an empty shimmer of blue, lines of fresh snow balanced on the branches of conifer trees.

I absolutely loved this book.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Many thanks to the publisher for a paperback copy in return for my honest review.

Wonderfully witty, gritty and totally engaging

Storme Warning(A Wyatt Storme Thriller) - W. L. Ripley

 

 

 

I absolutely love this book.  Wonderfully witty, gritty and totally engaging. Cowboy come-back and guns in modern USA.

 

Ripley gives us a man’s book, and and as a woman stepping inside that world I just loved every single word of it.

 

What’s it about?

The making of a cowboy film being made on his land, should pose no problem for Wyatt Storme reclusive ex footballer since retired, but hey of course it does! With his friend Chick Easton hired as bodyguard to arrogant, irritating actor Cam Fogarty, they get caught up in action that Chick relishes with the biggest smile on his face, and Storme wishes would just go away.

 

What did I like best?

I loved the characters that Ripley gives us putting them in a setting that is wide open, with cowboy boots and cigars, all wrapped up in a film set.

 

I was visibly grinning and chuckling the whole way through this book - not just a bit of it, ALL of it. I loved the sarcasm, the cigars, the guns, if I could be a man I want to be Wyatt’s friend Chick D. Easton.

 

The book leads up like a cowboy film, someone needing someone’s help being told the ride may get rough.

 

Don’t make the mistake in thinking this is simple piece of writing, Ripley shows skill in weaving in classical writing. Look at the way he describes Wyatt questioning the actress Valerie about Fogarty:

"Come back sometime. The door’s always open.” She smiled, pleased with her playfulness.

Thoreau says man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to leave alone. I would tend to agree with him. So I left.
Alone.

Both Wyatt and Chick have the same humour so that you know whenever they open their mouths to speak, you just want hear what comes out.

 

Rory Marchibroda who is a nasty piece of work wants to pay Wyatt back for putting him in jail, is another great character. He models himself on cool guys in films played actors like by De Niro, it is so funny:

Stay cool. De Niro would be cool, wouldn’t he? Yeah.
…”Ya know,” he said, composing himself, “had a lot of time to myself in the slam. Thought about a lot of things.” Like how it was going to feel to bust a cap on your backward country ass, you smug piece of shit. “You know what I thought about?”

“what it was like in the third grade? Back when your mental processes stagnated?”

This is a novel of substance too, starting out with guarding an actor, becoming interweaved with gang bosses, and hit-men at cross purposes. A community fighting to stay alive, with shallow actors who live in another world, and at its centre unwillingly is Wyatt Storme and Chick Easton wearing cowboy boots.

 

I can’t help but show you guys just what excited me about this book:

Marchibroda. A guy who wants to kill me called to keep me from being killed by someone else. What a life.

 

I reloaded the Remington pump with double-aught buckshot and loaded a Browning autoloading rifle with soft-nosed .30-06 bullets. I loaded four fourteen-round clips for the twin Browning nines and strapped on a shoulder holster, hanging one of the pistols in it. I placed the other pistol in a clip-on at the small of my back. The only thing more uncomfortable than carrying a concealed large-frame handgun was carrying two concealed large-frame handguns. I was also carrying a Puma knife strapped to my leg.
Had a nine-mill gun in my pocket for fun and a razor in my shoe.

What’s not to love about fiction that promises action on every level with a sardonic wit to match.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Many thanks to the publisher for a copy via NetGalley.

Wonderfully witty, gritty and totally engaging

Storme Warning(A Wyatt Storme Thriller) - W. L. Ripley

I absolutely love this book. Cowboy come-back and guns in modern USA.
This gets a well deserved 5 star rating from me.

Ripley gives us a man’s book, and and as a woman stepping inside that world I just loved every single word of it. This is the fourth in the series and I now have to read the first three!

Format: Kindle Edition, File Size: 3306 KB
Print Length: 279 pages
Expected publication: February 3rd 2015 by
Publisher: Brash Books
ISBN:1941298664
ISBN13: 9781941298664
Get your copy from: Amazon UK Amazon US

What’s it about?

The making of a cowboy film being made on his land, should pose no problem for Wyatt Storme reclusive ex footballer since retired, but hey of course it does! With his friend Chick Easton hired as bodyguard to arrogant, irritating actor Cam Fogarty, they get caught up in action that Chick relishes with the biggest smile on his face, and Storme wishes would just go away.

Synopsis: Vietnam vet and former Dallas Cowboys player Wyatt Storme just wants to be left alone in his remote Ozarks cabin – but violence and trouble have a knack for finding him. And when it does, he doesn’t back down. This time, Chick Easton, a hard-drinking, shockingly lethal ex-CIA agent, asks his buddy Storme for back-up when he’s hired by the director of a big budget western to protect a bad-boy movie star who is getting well-deserved death threats. There’s also an annoying catch: the director wants to shoot the star’s new western on Storme’s land. Storme reluctantly agrees to it all, unaware that a sociopathic mob enforcer that he once put in traction, and in prison, is on his way and gunning for revenge.

What did I like best?

I loved the characters that Ripley gives us putting them in a setting that is wide open, with cowboy boots and cigars, all wrapped up in a film set.

I was visibly grinning and chuckling the whole way through this book – not just a bit of it, ALL of it. I loved the sarcasm, the cigars, the guns, if I could be a man I want to be Wyatt’s friend Chick D. Easton.

The book leads up like a cowboy film, someone needing someone’s help being told the ride may get rough.

Don’t make the mistake in thinking this is simple piece of writing, Ripley shows skill in weaving in classical writing. Look at the way he describes Wyatt questioning the actress Valerie about Fogarty:

“Come back sometime. The door’s always open.” She smiled, pleased with her playfulness.

Thoreau says man is rich in proportion to the number of things he can afford to leave alone. I would tend to agree with him. So I left.

Alone.

Both Wyatt and Chick have the same humour so that you know whenever they open their mouths to speak, you just want hear what comes out.

Rory Marchibroda who is a nasty piece of work wants to pay Wyatt back for putting him in jail, is another great character. He models himself on cool guys in films played actors like by De Niro, it is so funny.

Stay cool. De Niro would be cool, wouldn’t he? Yeah.

…”Ya know,” he said, composing himself, “had a lot of time to myself in the slam. Thought about a lot of things.” Like how it was going to feel to bust a cap on your backward country ass, you smug piece of shit. “You know what I thought about?”

“what it was like in the third grade? Back when your mental processes stagnated?”

This is a novel of substance too, starting out with guarding an actor, becoming interweaved with gang bosses, and hit-men at cross purposes. A community fighting to stay alive, with shallow actors who live in another world, and at its centre unwillingly is Wyatt Storme and Chick Easton wearing cowboy boots.

I can’t help but show you guys just what excited me about this book:
Marchibroda. A guy who wants to kill me called to keep me from being killed by someone else. What a life.

I reloaded the Remington pump with double-aught buckshot and loaded a Browning autoloading rifle with soft-nosed .30-06 bullets. I loaded four fourteen-round clips for the twin Browning nines and strapped on a shoulder holster, hanging one of the pistols in it. I placed the other pistol in a clip-on at the small of my back. The only thing more uncomfortable than carrying a concealed large-frame handgun was carrying two concealed large-frame handguns. I was also carrying a Puma knife strapped to my leg.

Had a nine-mill gun in my pocket for fun and a razor in my shoe.

What’s not to love about fiction that promises action on every level with a sardonic wit to match.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Many thanks to the publisher for a copy via NetGalley.

The Reaper by Nicholas Irving - A great read from an Army Ranger Sniper

 

Irving gives a good account of being an Army Ranger Sniper to someone who has little idea what that is and there is just the right mix of personal and professional accounts to make this a good read.


“Lots of people think of war as being between armies and governments or between this platoon and that unit, but it really does sometimes come down to one guy with a gun and another guy with a gun.”

I liked the fact he gave us his thoughts about what he was doing and how he coped with them and was pleased that he explained everything well enough for me to understand military jargon. I got a real sense of how important the relationships between your men were when you are trusting your life to them, and theirs to you.

 

When first deployed in Afghanistan in 2009, in his first role as leader there is a nice description of being gathered together in their ready room to brief his men which shows how random the mind works in fear situations:


I was gathering my thoughts while eyeing the screens, watching the predator drone while wondering how it was that the smell of pine could still be so strong. A whole lot of sweaty, smelly men had been in that room, and I thought that maybe the whole paneling thing served as a kind of room freshner. The Special Forces version of those tree-shaped car deodorisers.

Reading actual accounts of the Taliban fighters using women and children as shields, and suicide bombings designed to kill everyone regardless of age, sex and nationality brings home the reality of how worlds apart nations are and how difficult their jobs were. One nation cannot be compared by its behaviour to another, because cultures are too different.

 

Having read this book I am in awe of Irving who at only 24 working with so much responsibility on his shoulders. I totally get the pride he has in his work and his men, but it does not always make for easy reading. Most people want war on terror ended but don’t really want the details. As an objective to carry out whether morally or politically right or wrong, he did it extremely well. That was what I liked about the book there was no glory about the killing but of a job well done.   Earning the title ‘The Reaper’, with even with an exaggerated amount of kills he is understandable proud to be given that name, because in reality he was doing a job just same as if he were continuously voted top ‘salesman’ of the year. (My analogy but I recognise we all have different opinions on the subject).

 

'We all, I think, tried to make death an abstract reality.'

There was enough detail about the special operations carried out to make it understandable, informative, tense and exciting and it gave a good account of the stresses of being a sniper for those far removed from anything military like myself. This is not about how lucky he was, but how hard he worked to acquire the skill needed to be the best.


'Knowing that there are other armed personnel out there who are bent on getting at you is a weird feeling, especially at night. It’s like your thoughts expand to fill up all the darkness, the blank black chalkboard ahead of you.'

Reading actual accounts of the Taiban fighters using women and children as shields and suicide bombings designed to kill everyone regardless of age, sex and nationality brings home the reality of how worlds apart nations are. One nation cannot be compared by its behaviour to another, because cultures are too different.

 

I also got the sense of the cultural difference that made fighting seem ‘chaotic’ when there was an expectation that somehow the Taliban was thought to be more organised as soldiers than they sometimes were(are).

 

There were some observations of night time sexual exploits between Taliban men seemingly on a regular occurrence from footage taken by drones at night, which confused Irving and his men which I mention because there was no judgement in this account which I thought showed maturity in the book.

 

For a taste of Special Ops and Snipers engagements Brozek did an excellent job putting Irving's story into words.

 

Yes, I would recommend this book.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Many thanks to the publisher for ARC via NetGalley for an honest review.

Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper


Debut Novel by Emma Hooper, I found it absolutely delightful although I am not sure how to describe it. I think it is an ‘either you get it – or you don’t.

 

It is one of the most gentlest of books that tackles ageing, memories, dreams, life and realities that I have read in a long time.

Synopsis: I’ve gone. I’ve never seen the water, so I’ve gone there. I will try to remember to come back.

Etta’s greatest unfulfilled wish, living in the rolling farmland of Saskatchewan, is to see the sea. And so, at the age of eighty-two she gets up very early one morning, takes a rifle, some chocolate, and her best boots, and begins walking the 2,000 miles to water.

Meanwhile her husband Otto waits patiently at home, left only with his memories. Their neighbour Russell remembers too, but differently – and he still loves Etta as much as he did more than fifty years ago, before she married Otto.

 

With a letter to start the book there is no doubt what 83 year old Etta is about to do.

Otto,

I’ve gone. I’ve never seen the water, so I’ve gone there. Don’t worry, I’ve left you the truck. I can walk. I will try to remember to come back.
Yours (always),
Etta.

When I started reading, I read it like any other novel waiting for it to grab me. But I got confused because the style of writing breaks the rules. BUT, there is also something very special about the writing, it feels intimate, so I left it a full day and then started right back at the beginning again. I totally got this book from then on.

 

How glad I was to have read it again. Like a non-believer who can’t see fairies, there they were; beautiful words that felt like they were written specially for me to read. Emma Hooper made me feel that I had known these people all my life and I was simply being reminded of their story so that I can pass it on.

 

Otto is one of fifteen children born in a time when farming folks reared large families.

Every robust pregnancy running smoothly into a ruddy infant and every infant to a barrel-eared child, lined up between siblings in grey and off-grey nightclothes, some holding babies, some holding hands, leaning into the door to their parent room, listening fixedly to the moaning from within.

Doesn’t that just give you a complete picture of the circle of life? With so many children they each had their own number which they called out at meal times to ensure everyone was gathered. (See, I am already re-telling the story as if I know them all!)

 

The death of Etta’s only sibling is devastating news that results in a grief that is conveyed so tenderly.

A word carried by Etta’s father up the stairs, oh so carefully. like a baby bird, to Etta’s room. He gave it to her more softly that she’d ever heard him speak. Etta took it and held it in her ears at first and then her head and then, suddenly, and horribly, her heart.

This is three stories of three friends: their lives and their final journey’s. How much is in their own failing minds we are never quite sure but there is such a tenderness in the telling that I was enthralled by it.

 

When Etta decides to go to the sea she simply walks out of the house and doesn’t stop, along the way a coyote who she names James joins her:

That night James did not eat Etta, just slept a little bit away from her feet. The next morning he ate a gopher while Etta ate mayonnaise on crackers.

This strange couple journey onward with Etta’s ageing mental fragility constantly slipping. She holds conversations with James; weird you might say, but he is so important to Etta on her journey.

 

At home, Otto patiently awaits her return and learns how to live on his own, finding his own way to express himself.

 

Then Russell who has also loved Etta sets out to find her and begins his own journey.

 

We learn the history of the three of them, growing up, Otto at war holed up in small towns and Russell learning farming. There is such a beautiful line from one of Otto’s letters to Etta, it is such a simple observation:

The jeeps are parked, so when we’re all inside you’d never know we were here. We wear this town as camouflage.
We are here, they say to hold the town. I like the idea of that. Like a kite.

Finally, it has one of those endings that leaves an empty space followed by a huge question mark. Of course we kind of know what happens, but are left to surmise details.

 

In my imagined ending all is content and peaceful and I think I am probably right….

 

This has got to be a 4.5 stars for me (I woke up having dreamt about it this morning!)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Many thanks for an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley.

Come Out Tonight by Bonnie Rozanski

 

Anyone remember the old detective Eliot Ness wearing a gabardine belted mac and a trilby hat, in the Untouchables. The straight-shooter who believes that the law, whether good or bad, is paramount ? Well, this book reminds me of that but totally up-to-date! Love it, love it, love it. If you are too young to know who I am talking about don’t worry you will get the sardonic style as you read it.

 

This book was so complex and exciting I hung on every word and hadn’t a real clue right until the end. This is a; who killed who with a cast of several characters to choose from, and I switched back and fore like a child in a sweetshop!

 

Written with the two main characters point of view, Henry Jackman and Detective Donna Sirken, for me it worked extremely well.

 

Henry is mild mannered wishing he was somebody, Sherry his girlfriend was an intelligent somebody who gets attacked in Henry’s apartment. Somehow Henry seems to get most things wrong but tries so hard to find out who attacked her and why. Here is where it gets really interesting. When other characters come into play the intricacies double. Behind the facade of murders and attacks there are seemingly totally unrelated undercurrents of behaviour.

 

Rozanski, gives the reader a hint of marrying everything together with crafty wink, the journey wonderfully compelling and the destination satisfactorily rewarding.

 

Henry so determined to do his own investigations into the attack on his girlfriend he drives Detective Donna Sirken mad with each theory he comes up with.  This is a book that explores how consciousness works, our waking selves vs our sleeping selves.  Henry sleepwalks and you guess that he gets up to all sorts of things during the night, but that doesn’t really help you what is going on.

 

There are real depths to the characters which questions how well you know people. The seemingly mild mannered man in Henry, and the single minded Donna as a detective but a pushover in her private life.  Henry’s austere parents, the friend who offers comfort; well I never guessed that!   The more Henry accuses others of being of not behaving honestly, the more bizarre his own behaviour becomes which is a nice touch throughout the novel. Each crime is seemingly fathomable but there still appears no real reason or perpetrator to pin them.

 

I just have to give you a taste of this entertaining book, here is Henry on one of his investigative missions:


“A hundred and fifty commuters were waiting for the shuttle by the time it rolled in, in its usual lackadaisical way. A hundred and fifty New Yorkers pawing at the ground, stamping and snorting and ready to bolt onboard the moment the car opened its doors, on guard to jump into the first available seats. Me, I don’t bother. It’s only a short ride to Grand Central; and the sardine crush of people keeps you upright even if there’s nothing to hold onto.”

Doesn’t that just conjure up the most descriptive picture in your mind?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Many thanks to Biting Duck Press for an ARC via NetGalley.

 

Snowblind by Christopher Golden

 

 

Reading this book during a stormy night certainly does make for atmospheric reading! Two of my favourite things in one place - snow and suspense/horror.

 

Not gory or heavy but a good one t

hat creeps up on you.

 

What’s it about in a nutshell? A small town with a tight knit community used to harsh winters until the Big Storm. Heck there were some real nasty things happening out there. Things that left everyone edgy as anything when winter storms come in case another one ‘like that one’ happens again. During the 12 years that passes the relatives of the dead try to rebuild their lives. Then along comes another big storm and their fears are realised.

 

I love how this story is not rushed, spreading slowly, gathering momentum like a snowball being rolled up a hill, and when it gets to the top; there is one heck of a ‘snowman’.

 

Golden introduces the characters in a way that allows us to get to know them as people. I felt a sympathetic connection when the horror starts, really I did. Even for the characters may be a bit mean, and a sense of community always makes more of a good story than simple facts.

 

The blurb describes Snowblind as being in the same vein as a 'King' novel, and I would agree with that.

 

I love my horror’s to be intermeshed throughout with characters that are linked and Golden does just that. When the children are no longer who they are, and adults who act like children the spookiness just gets darker. Families get torn apart, some drawn together but nothing is quite so simple as it seems.

 

There is just the right mix of wonderfully delicate snow and brutal blizzards that kill, I felt chilled as I read all cosied up under a blanket, with just a quick glance out of the window…just checking.

 

This is a well written novel and and author who I shall be looking out for in the future. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and recommend it to those discerning readers who love a 'King-esq' horror.

The Brain Within It's Groove by L.N. Nino

The Brain within its Groove: A Novella (Variations on Images from Emily Dickinson's Poems) (Volume 1) - L. N. Nino

‘A novella in the vein of Freud vs Marquis De Sade, interesting dark read.’