Sunday, 26 March 2017

Book Review: Blood Cravings by Angie Blake

25841131


Synopsis: 

This is not just a vampire story. There are no glitter or frills. This is not some love story. This is a story about vampires. A battle between the vampires vs. the underworld. They've come back to reclaim their spot on the dark side. They're tough. They're mean and they are craving blood.

Review:

A short story that re-imagines the vampire legend in a way that hasn't been seen for a while. For this reason alone, the author deserves credit. 

The blood cravings of the title are well described and make you consider what it was really like to be a member of the undead. 

However, I was unsure where the story was going until the final third, but once you get there (and it won't take long - the story is short but jam packed with incident) you will be well rewarded. It ends in such a way that leaves you wanting more. A strong vampire tale from Angie Blake.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Book Review: Flings With Rings by Katerina Sestakova Novotna

34606464

Synopsis:

Evelina is a Hawaiian beauty with a strange hobby: she collects engagement rings from successful men without intending to marry them. She is showing her collection to a pious friend while revealing her secret tricks and opinions on men. Evelina's motivation to share her life story seems as mysterious as the reason why her friend keeps listening and asking questions despite their strong disagreement. Will Evelina's behaviour ever catch up on her? 

Review:

Flings With Rings introduces us to Evelina, a woman on a quest to collect rings from men but not necessarily with a view to capture them as husbands, but to use and discard them as needed.

Told through a first person perspective, the friend of Evelina sees her acts through her eyes and hears them through her ears. She appears to be a more refined and decent woman, and is practically horrified at what she hears coming out of Evelina’s mouth.

However, it is hard to dismiss Evelina entirely. The half-Japanese half-Hawaiian beauty knows what she’s got and she is not shy to flaunt it.

She accurately depicts the well held view that men do want flings but not the commitment that a wedding ring would involve. As our first person point of view identifies, a ring should indeed symbolise love, but Evelina’s point is hard to dismiss entirely – she mentions how if a wedding ring was so special, it would be worn on more intimate parts of the body. That’s true, if not rather impractical.

"You have to decide if Evelina is evil or if the poor sap of a man actually deserves the treatment he gets."

Men would find it easy to dismiss Evelina as easily as she appears to dismiss them. Whether she is a likeable character or not is up to the reader to decide. For my own viewpoint, I found Evelina not the kind of woman I would want to know, but at the same time, she is not the kind of girl one would find easy to ignore. Moths to a flame, perhaps.

The twists in the story are many, but one that readers may enjoy and is not a spoiler to say so is that Evelina gets more joy out of collecting engagement rings than actually wedding rings.

Evelina does not ply her trade on every man though, she takes a perverse enjoyment in taunting one particular man. You have to decide if Evelina is evil or if the poor sap of a man actually deserves the treatment he gets.

As usual for the author, one can feel more enlightened and educated from reading her books. Flings With Rings is a short story, but not so short that you feel short changed. The story is packed with a really interesting character dynamic – we almost want Evelina to fail against somebody, but at the same time it is hard to deny that she has a logic to her actions that in her place, we would almost agree with.

The story is a clever and insightful study of marriage, it just utilises an interesting counterpoint about what men and women really want.

What I really like about this story is that it is brave enough to suggest that the best times are after an engagement but before a marriage. Not a lot of people say this kind of thing. Many would say that sex, at least in those initial months of marriage is the best, but this is not always the case, nor should it be, if we are honest with ourselves.

The story works not necessarily because we could relate to Evelina’s outrageous hobby, but perhaps because we cannot relate to it. She is a woman on a mission all of her own. Readers can condemn her, be fascinated by her, but one thing is for certain – she cannot be ignored.

Her looks are one thing – but maybe she has a dynamism about her that men cannot help being attracted to, and women might just appreciate her stance on men, sex and marriage to a larger extent than they may openly agree with.

Arguably Katerina Sestakova Novotna’s best written book to date, but in her growing library of works, there is some tough competition.

Book Review: Elisabeth McBride by Angie Blake



21799888

Synopsis:

What happens to five investigators when they meet up with one of the deadliest demons in Paranormal history? Do they escape the wrath of Elisabeth McBride or were they sucked into their own deaths by the hands of a demonic young girl? Will they be able to team up and help a young girl find her way or will they have to destroy her world and everything she touches to save their own lives? Read Elisabeth McBride, it's murder, horror,suspense and paranormal. So many thriller aspects in just one book!

Review:

This book is creepy from the get-go and the murky atmosphere is kept up throughout.. 

It's not easy to do that, but the author show's her skill by not revealing too much about the titular Elisabeth McBride too early on.

A group of paranormal investigators track her down and know some elements of her back story, which I will not list here as it would count as a spoiler.


"The creep factor makes this an extremely scary book."

The book is extremely well written - that may seem a given, but I found myself flipping away at the pages with speed. It is a book crammed with incidents but not for incidents' sake. 

As to the 'heroine' herself, you will have to make up your own mind if the fate that befell her should be visited on anyone else.

The creep factor makes this an extremely scary book - especially in the early hours of the morning when I caught myself reading it!

It's not without its humourous points, for example:-

"I don't get it. We're supposed to be investigators, and we bolt the first time we hear a scary voice?"

Rest assured, you would too.

Grab this excellent scary story today.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

Boook Review: Zeeka Chronicles by Brenda Mohammed

34389923

Synopsis:

How can one man misuse Science for Revenge?
Zeeka Chronicles is a spine -chilling series about betrayal, kidnapping, revenge, secrets, lies, murder, and evil. 
To what end is Zeeka willing to go to unleash terror on the small exotic island of Gosh? 
Will he and his zombies escape the law? 
Is he angry because his former lover jilted him? 
Or is it because his child was born deformed and his wife died in childbirth? 
Why did this vengeful man kidnap the son of his former lover? 
One man knows his secrets.
Can he stop him before more blood is shed and save the islanders? 
Find out the answers to these provocative questions. 
Get the book.

Review:

The Zeeka Chronicles bring together all five stories in the Zeeka series. It is well presented and formatted to a high standard, and it's been a pleasure to see the author's expertise and wordcraft evolve as the series came to its conclusion.

There are many interesting characters in the series, I especially like the robots Miranda and Eve, but also the humans, such as Detective Jack Wildy who is surely due a spin-off story of his own.

It may be beyond most of us to write one good zombie tale, but Brenda Mohammed has given us five.

When book three came out it appeared to be the end of Zeeka's story, but book four - Zeeka's Ghost - took the series to a new and exciting higher level.

Resurrection - Book Five, does what it is supposed to do - it rounds off the series nicely but not in a limp, predictable way. 

"Detective Jack Wildy....is surely due a spin-off story of his own."

It is sufficiently different from 'Ghost' to buy on its own, which you can do of course. But 'Chronicles' gives you the whole story for a great price.

So if you want a zombie story with a heart - get this collection today. 



Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Book Review: From the Baroness's Diary by Cristiane Serruya

32000573

Synopsis: At the tender age of 18, Lady Chlo√© de La Fleur was married off to 40 year-old Baron Beardley, a wealthy English peer, and taken away from the whirlwind of Paris and London societies to live in a forsaken manor way out of Warwickshire. 
Young, beautiful, and voluptuous, the Baroness finds that in Beardley Manor innocent flirtations can become erotic sex escapades. 
And soon Lady Chloe’s diary pages are filled with her adventures!

Review:

This intriguingly written short story has all the hallmark’s of the author’s longer tales, but it is no less punchy or lacking depth.

The diary / journal format works beautifully, as we learn first hand the thoughts that are running through the rather beautiful head of one Lady Chloe.

She is a dutiful wife but being married to a Baron has its plusses and minuses – she likes her high standard of living, but she would probably like to have more time with her husband.

While he is off doing whatever he is doing, Chloe opens up each chapter in this book with a Mon Cher Journal, and we know we are going to have fun reading the lines as she empties her thoughts onto the pages.

She is like any woman who wants to be sexually fulfilled. Sometimes her attention turns towards the gardener. He could be a bumbling, balding, 75 year old. But this is Lady Chloe’s world, so the man in question has to be some kind of musclebound type, so he is.

"This intriguingly written short story has all the hallmark’s of the author’s longer tales, but it is no less punchy or lacking depth."

The sex scenes are, as the subtitle suggest, rather erotic, and in the hands of a lesser author, would come across clumsy and forced.

It is a well written, fun, erotic tale, showcasing a character that is not without her flaws but does have her heart in the right place.

Strongly recommended.


Monday, 6 March 2017

Book Review: Resurrection - Revenge of Zeeka Book 5 by Brenda Mohammed

34103945

Synopsis: 

#New Release - Mandy’s new robot helper Eve encounters a stranger in the backyard.
He claims to have connections with Zeeka. Who is this stranger?
When he learns that Eve is a robot, he discloses his story to her.
Eve promises him to keep their conversation secret but can she?
‪She records it on her security device and plays it for Steven and Mandy. ‬‬‬‬
When he collapses in the backyard with an epileptic fit, Eve alerts the Gosh hospital
Tests and records reveal the stranger’s identity.
Police records show that he died in the Carnival massacre in 2036, but did he?
Steven faces opposition to launch his greatest invention of the century.
Who will be the first volunteer to test it? 
For answers to all these questions read the final instalment -" Resurrection: Revenge of Zeeka Book 5 "for this intriguing story

Review:

In an entertaining conclusion to the Zeeka series, Resurrection brings the story full circle. If you haven’t read any of the stories in the series, it’s worth starting with book one ‘Revenge of Zeeka’ just to see the author evolve alongside the story and her characters.

For me, the high point of the series was this book’s predecessor, Zeeka’s Ghost, but then, as a reader I do like ghost stories and this paranormal element was handled well in book four.

This final installment is quite surprising as it brings back the rather disturbing character of Nine from book one. Nine is on a mission all of his own, and when he learns of technology that may save him from the Zika virus and help him on his ultimate goal (read to find out) – he’s all for the procedure, despite the risks.

"Resurrection brings the story full circle."

Aside from this storyline the quirkiness of the robot Eve adds some humour to the story. The characters that have been with us throughout the series get a good send off too.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Book Review: Darkly Wood II by Max Power

34100874

Synopsis: This chilling sequel to Darkly Wood brings us back to the mysterious wood perched above the sleepy village of Cranby. The mystery returns with love and terror walking hand and hand through the seemingly innocent paths of the place that has generated many fearful tales. This time however, there is an even more sinister presence. Much time has passed since Daisy escaped the terror of the wood and on the surface little has changed. But behind the tree line, a new danger lurks. Fans of the original will be taken to darker depths and first time readers will discover the true art of storytelling from the mind of the award winning author Max Power. Heart stopping, fast paced, unrelenting danger lies waiting for you between the pages. Sometimes love is all you have. Sometimes, love is not enough. Darkness is coming…

Review: 

Darkly Wood was such an incredible read that any follow up had its work cut out. All the same I was very excited to hear of the release of Darkly Wood II, and just like its predecessor, it does live up to most of my expectations.

I’m generally more critical of my favourite authors so my review should be taken in the spirit it is meant.

In the opening pages of the story, we are introduced to Wormhold, a simply genius creation in terms of the creep factor. This is a man – if he is not a demon in disguise, who is genuinely creepy and acts in such a subtle way that you really don’t know what he is going to do from one scene to the next.

His first request of the wonderfully named Cathecus Flincher is truly horrifying. I was staring stunned at the page when I read the request / demand (the latter description more true as bad things happen to those who cross Wormhold.)

" This is one author who is a genius storyteller."

As the story progresses, we are taken back into the aptly named Darkly Wood, and this is strangely where the story lost a little of its power. ‘Woody’ seems less scary here, whereas in the first book he was something to be feared.

The book is part of a trilogy, that’s obvious from the ending, and whilst DW2 doesn’t suffer from ‘middle book syndrome’ it does have a slightly bloated middle.

The final third introduces us to Squelby – certainly a character to watch.

The simple and sheer joy of the Darkly Wood books is that they seem to be written by someone who enjoys enticing us with mysteriously named people – I thought a certain author of a young wizard was good at naming characters until I read the Darkly Wood series.

I do not wish to harp on about it, but this is one author who is a genius storyteller. You are pulled so effortlessly into the world he has created, it is a believable setup that would have me wanting to evacuate the village of Cranby if I could.

There is a delicious morsel for us who want more, because there is going to be a further segment to this series. For now, I am giving this particular book four stars. When I have read the closing chapter to the series, and I will be excited for it’s forthcoming release, I may come back and revise that rating.

It’s recommended to read the first book in any case. One could read this book as a standalone, but you would be missing out on vital character development from the first book.

Strongly recommended.