Sunday 19 November 2023

 Third Wheel by R Becker

There was so much I loved about this book, and nothing with which I could find fault. A perfectly balanced story with characters so real you could reach and touch them, and a captivating story line perfect for its intended audience. There was no holding back in this tale of young people tempted into a world of drugs and crime, only to find themselves way out of their depth. In particular, I loved the ending and how the author, without undue sentiment, without exaggeration, brings the story to a satisfactory, realistic and utterly convincing conclusion. The whole tale is told in sparse and captivating prose and with authentic dialogue. Yep, I loved this book. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Sunday 5 November 2023


A Festive Juxtaposition by Paul R Stanton

A delicious, whimsical Christmas book. Not to be missed. Read my review.

"I love a delightful, whimsical Christmas story, especially when it is written with gentle humour and in an appealing style. Yes, this is something – if you can take the irreverence - to read on those homely Christmas nights to the sound of carols from the street – or from the radio. I already know a couple of friends who are going to love it. I started smiling on page one and barely desisted until the end. Nicely written with gentle humour and a central character with an ironic take on society and a nature rather different to what you might expect. A lovely book, through and through."

Sunday 29 October 2023

 My review of this deliciously dark novella

An original and intriguing novel, eerie at times, mysterious at others and always with a feeling that all is not well in this place where the protagonist finds himself.  Underlying questions grow in intensity and with them, the reader’s uncertainty and unease, until they are finally resolved at the end of the book. There is a nicely paced sense of dread, uncertainty and suspicion which grows with each chapter - people who are just too friendly, wounds which heal too quickly, questions which arise but receive no answers. This is a well thought out, imaginative novella with a powerful Gothic feel. Yes, well worth reading. 

Sunday 1 October 2023


My Review of this Fast-Paced, Contemporary Thriller

This novel is set in a quiet, peaceful (if a little corrupt!) town which the authors juxtapose nicely with the violence of unfolding events. The narrative demands you reflect on the question, ‘How can people like this exist in an inconspicuous, ordinary township?’ The answer comes back, of course, that these people hide their extraordinary evil behind a mask of normality. They may be weird, oddball loners or they may be pillars of respectability – but they’re normal. Worse still, once you start looking, they can be anywhere.
The novel contains all you would hope for in a book of its genre, a good story told with compelling pace, full of drama, suspense, nicely sketched characters and a good central character. If you’re looking for deep character development and psychological insights this is probably not for you, but for anyone wanting an adrenalin rush of a novel with very contemporary concerns, this is well worth a read.

Sunday 24 September 2023

 My review of Luminous by Samantha Wilcoxson

Told with compassion and deep emotion, this tale of the horrors of radium dial painting in the early twentieth century is not without resonance in the world of 2023. The exploitation of the powerless by owners concerned about matters far more significant than mere human life – like profit, growth and investment – have echoes across the globe. Because the focus remains on one central figure throughout the book – and a deeply sympathetic figure at that – the reader engages emotionally from the very outset. And what a range of emotions he or she experiences – pity, grief, sympathy, horror, shame, outrage, anger, disgust. The book is an emotional rollercoaster of a ride, well researched and convincingly told. The only quibble for me – and there will be many readers for who this is no criticism at all - is that the writing veers too far towards religiosity in the latter stages and, as a consequence, relationships become idealised and the tone sentimental.  Nonetheless, a remarkable story, finely told, and one I can recommend.

Sunday 3 September 2023

 My review of this beautifully written novela by Miles Watson

On a journey to the edge of empire, to the outermost boundaries of what he knows and understands, Crowning slowly sees stripped from him everything he takes for granted. Eventually, only the incomprehensible, alien wilderness of forest and ice remains. This is the very edge of human experience. Everything familiar is gone and the sounds of the wilderness gather in intensity. He is alone to face a land where creatures, animal, half-human, not human are masters and the rules he has learned to live by hold no sway. Only duty remains. The scenes depicted so real you can see the landscape, feel the cold, experience the isolation and share the fear. Strangely, you also feel the hypnotic appeal of this strange land, where the values of civilised life have been stripped away, to be replaced by…what? There are echoes of Joseph Conrad’s ‘Heart of Darkness’ here and the writing is simply superb. This is a powerful, imaginative novela. Five stars all the way.

Sunday 20 August 2023


My Review of Empire's Daughter by Marian L Thorpe

Empire’s Daughter is set in a beautifully constructed world in a fictional historical time similar enough to our own to be credible and engaging, and close enough for us to hear and feel echoes of our own selves and our own past. The agricultural and fishing community is also different enough to challenge and intrigue us - a divided society underpinned by different values and sexual mores. At the heart of the book there is a central character / first person narrator with strength, courage and human frailties, with whom the reader cannot help but engage. She is surrounded by a range of credible and very real supporting characters.   There is jeopardy, danger, a quest. This book really does have it all. I cannot praise it highly enough. If the rest of the series is as good as this, readers will be queuing up to read it. Five stars all the way.

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