Tuesday, 11 May 2021

The Robert B Parker Showcase with No Exit Press

 Welcome to my spot the Blogtour for 3 new releases from No Exit Press which are all set in the 'world' of Robert B Parker's crime novels

 


 First up is Ace Atkin's Someone To Watch Over Me. This novel features Parker's most popular creation Spenser and has the Boston PI investigating a 'billionaire money manager who is also into providing under age girls for his clients' needs' - and his own.

 I'll admit this was a tough read in places, especially as it is quite reminiscent of a recent high profile case in the real world, but I did enjoy the writing. At just over 200 pages this was a quickish read but one that sticks with you afterwards

3.5/5*


 Next up is the first of two from Mike Lupica - Grudge Match featuring the PI Sunny Randall. Grudge Match has Sunny searching for the girlfriend of her gangster 'friend' missing. If Sunny helps find her Tony will 'clear the slate' and all favours owed will be forgotten.

 At first it seems like maybe she doesn't want to be found but after Sunny starts digging deeper it turns out things could run a lot deeper and Sunny may well have her work cut out to find her in time.

 I really enjoyed this one, a proper pocket sized thriller (again just over 200 pages) with characters that felt like I knew them from the start.

 3.5/5*


Finally, in Fool's Paradise we meet Police Chief Jesse Stone. A body is discovered with links to Stone and it's not long before he and his friends become targets too. Someone's out to get the Paradise Police Department.

 I think that, of the three, Fool's Paradise is my favourite. It is late on into the series (19th?) but reads ok as a stand-alone but I will be going back to the earlier books I believe.

 I first discovered Robert B Parker when he finished Raymond Chandler's Phillip Marlowe novel Poodle Springs after Chandler's death so to rediscover him through the authors who are continuing his own legacy (Parker himself died in 2010) has a certain kind of pleasing symmetry to it.

 4/5*

 I would certainly recommend all 3 of these and will be searching out more

 Thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the tour and No Exit Press for providing the review copies. Please have a look at the posts by the other reviewers (below)



Friday, 7 May 2021

The Assistant by Kjell Ola Dahl

 


 This, I'll be honest, threw me a bit at first. The story is told through two different timelines; in 1924, when Ludvik Paaske is working for the police and trying to bring down his nemesis Jack Rivers and in 1938, when Norway and the world are on the brink of war and Paaske and Rivers are now working together as Private Investigators.

 In the 1938 timeline Paaske and Rivers are employed on a marital infidelity case which seems fairly straightforward until links start to emerge with events in their lives from the early 1920s and things get a lot more dangerous.

 In my opinion Rivers, the Assistant of the title, carries the bulk of the story which is a good thing as I found him the more relatable character (everybody loves a fictional rogue) than Paaske. Once I got into the two timeliness the story flowed well and the author did a great job of bringing the prohibition era Norway to life on the page.

 Where the book fell down for me a little was in the translation (I'm guessing). This made it feel a bit clunky in places but this can often be the case. It didn't really detract from a cracking story.

 This is certainly an author I will go back to again.


Thanks as always to Anne Cater at Random Things  for inviting me onto this Blogtour and please have a look at the posts by the other tour bloggers



Sunday, 2 May 2021

New Books In The Mail This Week

 I sometimes think our Postman might really regret getting up some mornings (although, to be fair, he always delivers the mail with a smile). Over the past 3 days he has had 6 book packages to deliver and the majority are chonkers. Here's the pile


See what I mean? Of those 6 there was only 1 that would fit through the letterbox! Just how I like it 😉😂


First to arrive was The Tyrant by Seth Dickinson (Tor, 13th May 2021)


First things first, HOW GORGEOUS IS THAT COVER?

Right, now I've got that out of my system, The Tyrant is the third in a fantasy quartet that follows Baru Cormorant on her quest to destroy the Imperial Republic of Falcrest from the inside. I've really enjoyed the two previous volumes in this series and I've no doubt The Tyrant will be just as good.

Next delivery was one I had been particularly waiting for


2019's Master of Sorrows was Justin Call's debut and my choice for Book of the Year. Master Artificer picks up exactly where MoS finished so I can't say much for fear of spoilers for those who haven't read MoS yet (seriously, go find a copy, you won't regret it). What I will say is that this volume moves out into the wider world that JC has created and so far I'm loving it. This is out from Gollancz on the 6th of May and I aim to have a partial review at least by then.


And then came Saturday... I saw the Postman come to our shared drive... and walk straight past! But I wasn't overly concerned, I have plenty of reading material for the weekend.

Then, half an hour later, a knock at the door... Postie is back and this time he's brought his van! Yup, Saturday was an Epic Delivery Day. Four parcels!!

First up


The House of Always is the fourth I Jenn Lyons' Chorus of Dragons series (I think there will be five but don't quote me on that). This series has everything - Gods, Monsters, Dragons, Quests, Magic Weapons, Footnotes, Epic World building (and possibly world destroying) with a great cast of characters. I've been hooked since book 1 (A Ruin of Kings) so this has always been high up on my I Want It And I Want It Now!! list. And again, how stunning is the cover art here.

THoA is released on 13th May from Tor


Day Zero by C Robert Cargill (Gollancz 20th May) is the sequel to Sea of Rust


Day Zero is the story of the day (or days possibly) leading up to the Robot Revolution and tells the story of Pounce, a young Nannybot who finds a box in the attic that shows something he didn't know - when his young charge is grown Pounce will be discarded. Will he join the revolution or lead his charge to safety?

Must say I'm very much liking the sound of this one.

Chuck Wendig's Wanderers was a cracking read, compared by many to King's The Stand and I have to agree. It really was that good. So when I heard of The Book of Accidents (Del Rey 20th July) trying for a review copy was a no-brainer.


In short Nathan and Maddie didn't have great childhoods but now they are married and forgetting all about the past. Until Nathan's father dies, passes the family home to them and they return home (seriously, when will people ever learn, it's never going to end well!! I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm glad characters make these stupid decisions, we wouldn't have these fantastic scary stories without them but, ye gods and sweaty socks, couldn't you just bang their heads together). Anyhoo, before too long the past comes back to haunt them and their son is involved too. I am really, really looking forward to getting my teeth into this, I think it's gonna be a belter.

Finally we have The Mash House by Alan Gillespie (Unbound, 6th May) 



I'll let the blurb speak for this one

'Cullrothes, in the Scottish Highlands, where Innes hides a terrible secret from his girlfriend Alice, a gorgeous, cheating, lying schoolteacher. In the same village, Donald is the aggressive distillery owner, who floods the country with narcotics alongside his single malt; when his son goes missing, he becomes haunted by an anonymous American investor intent on purchasing the Cullrothes Distillery by any means necessary. Schoolgirl Jessie is trying to get the grades to escape to the mainland, while Grandpa counts the days left in his life.

This is a place where mountains are immense and the loch freezes in winter. A place with only one road in and out. With long storms and furious midges and a terrible phone signal. The police are compromised, the journalists are scum, and the innocent folk of Cullrothes tangle themselves in a fermenting barrel of suspicion, malice and lies.'

Now, it's no secret I like my crime Tartan and I like it Noir (the Noirer the better if I'm being honest) and The Mash House looks like it could be all that and more. I read the first chapter just to get a feel and I honestly can't wait to get back into it


So, there we are, 6 book packages delivered in 3 days, well over 2000 pages to go at - yup, that's what I call a good end to the week.

Reviews will be posted here when the books are read 

Wednesday, 21 April 2021

Vanished by James Delargy

 


The Kane family, Lorcan, Naiyana and their young son, are desperate to move their young family far away from the hustle and bustle of modern city life in Perth.

The abandoned town of Kallayee, an abandoned mining town in the Great Victoria Desert, seems like the perfectg etaway: no one has lived there for decades. It will be peaceful. Quiet. Secure.

But life in Kallayee isn’t quite as straightforward as they hope. Lights flicker at night. There are noises in the earth, mysterious shadows and tracks in the dust as if their presence is breathing new life back into the long-dead town.

Lorcan and Naiyana refuse to leave. No one can talk sense into them.

And now, no one can talk to them at all.

They’ve simply vanished.


 So, we have a 'vanished' family, the police officer in charge of finding them and their separate viewpoints lead most of the narrative (although some minor characters have their moments too). The story flicks between then and now to lead the reader along (but not always to where you might be expecting). If this sounds vague that's only because I really don't want to spoilerise things for you. 

 One thing I couldn't shake was how, in the early stages of the story the family heard noises in the 'deserted' town and the young kid 'sees people' it reminded me so much of The Famous Five. As things progress though and we get down to the nitty gritty though the pages start to fly by, the answers you think you have change every ten minutes (ish). 

 A cracking mystery thriller set in the marvellous Australian Outback (I've read a few this year set in Australia and am hoping for more - certainly makes a change from the usual NYC, LA,Vegas, London et al) 

  4/5*




The Nirvana Effect by Brian Pinkerton

 


No one goes out anymore.


Society is sheltered indoors. The economy is in ruins. People spend their lives addicted to a breakthrough virtual reality technology, desperate for escapism in a troubled world. The Nirvana Effect has taken over.


Aaron and Clarissa are members of a subculture of realists who resist the lure of a fake utopia. They watch in horror as the technology spreads across the country with willing participants who easily forgo their freedoms for false pleasures. When the young couple discovers a plot to enforce compliance for mind control, the battle for free will begins. What started as a playful diversion turns deadly. The future of the human race is at stake.


 Well, this novel is certainly one to make you think. The idea of the majority of the population being hooked to a VR system that leaves them ignoring everything and everyone may seem far fetched but is it really that far from where we are with social media today? The main character, Aaron, isn't your regular hero (a bit on the bland side at times) but having someone who is just trying to do the best he can is kinda refreshing. The whole idea of the government looking at the VR addiction and thinking "hey, yeah, we can use that to our advantage" also felt scarily real. 

I'll be honest and say I have never read any of Pinkerton's books before but if they are half as good as The Nirvana Effect is then I'll be seeking out as many as I can. 

 At a time when so many people have been socially isolating maybe 'Nirvana' isn't too far away. Now there's food for thought


4.5/5*


Thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto this Blogtour and to Flame Tree Press for providing a review copy. Please have a look at the posts by the other bloggers on the tour (below) 



Tuesday, 20 April 2021

Bluemantle by Karen Langston

 






LIVE MUSIC IS OUTLAWED.

Set in the sun-scorched city of Wydeye, the totalitarian Authority controls its citizens through fear and cultivated dependence. Live music is deemed a threat to order and is forbidden by law. Punishment for participation is severe.

Chase Newell discovers his sister is missing. His search for her leads him to the underground music Scene, with its ageless Troubadours who must risk their lives to perform in order to survive. To do this, they rely on Bluemantle.

As the Authority's control-obsessed leader, Governor Blix, and her evil-incarnate Chief of Command, Wulfwin, step up their efforts to seize the Troubadours and destroy the Scene, the risks escalate.

While the Troubadours are forced to act, will the citizens of Wydeye wake up to Bluemantle's invitation and find choice beyond the caves of their own making?

The setting of Wydeye really worked for me in this. The drudge of life under the control of the Authority versus the wild exuberance of The Scene is vastly different and the feeling of 'impending doom' facing the musicians is well translated onto the page. The villainy of Blix and Wulfwin could have strayed into 'cartoon character pastiche' but thankfully didn't. 

What really surprised me with Bluemantle was that, until I started reading it I didn't realise just how much I needed it. With things as they have been for the past year the music scene here is practically non existent and this book shows, through the Troubadours and The Scene just how much we would miss live music if it wasn't there. 

The storytelling is top-notch and deserves a rockin' soundtrack 

A highly recommended 5/5*



Many thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the Blogtour and please have a look at the posts by the other reviewers (below). 

When things open back up remember to support live music - you'll miss it when it's gone 😉



Friday, 16 April 2021

Resourceful Living by Lisa Dawson

 


Welcome to my spot on the Blogtour for Resourceful Living, the new book by multi-award winning interior design blogger and writer Lisa Dawson. 

Now, I know this isn't usually my kind of thing but on looking at the ideas I decided to have a look and am glad I did. The general gist of Resourceful Living is how to make your home as lovely as you want to without breaking the bank. With such ideas as repurposing and upcycling, adding the right colour to the right room and even just little things like what to put where Lisa Dawson shows how to get the best out of everything for your home. 

The book is beautifully illustrated throughout so is also lovely just to look at, before you choose to take on a project. And the projects are presented in such a way that they seem 'do-able' (even to someone as clueless about these things as me!) 





So, a beautifully presented, easy to follow book that will show you how to get the best out of your rooms and turn a house into a home. The investment in purchasing this book will save you lots

5/5* Highly Recommended 


Thank you to Anne Cater for inviting me onto this tour. Please take time to have a look at the other bloggers who are taking part if you get the chance