Saturday 24 March 2012

Answer to a question

Earlier this week I was asked a question on Twitter that got me thinking.
The question was with reference to my offer to review books - "Is there a cost for getting a book reviewed". My first thought was the obvious "no no no no no!"
I don't believe there is any place for "bought" reviews, because, let's be honest that's how it would seem to be. If I were to review a book and was paid for it and gave it 5 stars it could be taken that I have given 5 stars BECAUSE I was paid to do the review.
On the other hand, if someone were to pay me £x and I gave a poor review (let's say 2 stars), the author could easily turn round and say "hold on, I paid you £x to do this review, I want more stars than that"
So, my answer, as I said is NO! there is no cost for a review (bought reviews, like bought votes in an election, is wrong in my opinion). did get me thinking.
I cannot and will not charge for reviews but if you are appreciative of what I and other reviewers do, maybe you can do something "nice" for someone else, maybe put a donation in a charity box or something like that or try and support your local literacy support group. I guess what I'm trying to say is treat it like Karma - when you do something good, something good happens.
I hope this makes some kind of sense - please feel free to comment your opinions

Two Graves - A Review

A well paced Serial Killer novel with a Mafia side story thrown in - what's not to love?
I found this to be an interesting take on the serial killer genre as you get to see how the killer develops in his confidence as the story progresses. The killings get more gruesome as the bodies mount up. The characters in the Kesle Police Department are believable and all are given their own bit of background which keeps the story ticking along.
There were also a few moments which made me think "never saw that coming".
I know there is at least one more book to come featuring the Kesle PD, and I hope there will be more than that.
I don't read a lot of serial killer type fiction but this was a story that promised to be a bit different and lived up to that promise.

Sunday 18 March 2012

Protector (Anniversary of the Veil book 1) by Vanna Smythe - A Review


1000 years ago The Veil was formed that separated two realms and now, as the Anniversary approaches a sacrifice will need to be made to reinforce The Veil.
Princess Issiyanna (Issi) is the Beacon, one of the people needed to reinforce The Veil and a group of Keepers cross The Veil to abduct her and lead her to her purpose.
Kiyarran (Kae) has wanted to be a Protector all his life. He is a young man with powers that have not been seen for many many years. He is determined to rescue Issi.
That this is a first novel by Vanna Smythe is quite astounding. She not only tells a wonderful story with characters you can't help but care about, she also brings her world to life. The developing relationship between Issi and Kae is brought on steadily and at a pace that fits well with the story - when they are happy, you are happy for them, when things are going wrong you ache for them to be ok.
The secondary characters also bring something to the story. The Priests, who are the main power in Issi and Kae's world are mainly devious types with only their best interests at heart and their 'asassain branch' The Pure Ones are a particularly evil creation.
This book has certainly left me wanting more and I look forward to the next installment eagerly.
I had hopes for this book from the offset but I could never have hoped it would be this good.

Vanna Smythe is a stunning talent with a voice and storytelling ability that promises lots. I see a promising future for this author and I will be following her career closely.

I strongly recommend this to fantasy lovers but also to those who like a story well told

Monday 12 March 2012

Enemy in Blue by Derek Blass (a review) and what's next

I don't often read Thrillers - fantasy is more my thing really, but for once I'm really glad I did. This first novel from Debut author Derek Blass really hits all the right buttons.
We start off with a raid on a latino families home that goes to hell when one of the occupants is shot by the Police Seargent (Shaver - a particularly despicable person). The raid is being filmed by a tv station for a police documentary type show.
What follows, for the first part of the book, is a high octane chase for possession of the video - Shaver and various others want it so they can bury it, the good guys have it and want justice. The really good thing for me here was that the author was not afraid to kill characters off which serves to keep you on tenterhooks as you know no-one is safe or guaranteed to reach the end.
The second half of the book deals with the trial, and here the pace slows down a little, although it is no less suspenseful. Personally, I would put this up with the likes of John Grisham and Harlan Coben and I believe that with the right kind of push this could be a massive bestseller.
All in all a wonderfully exciting debut from an author I will be keeping an eye out for.
And at the time of writing this review it only costs 77p ($0.99) - you can't get much better value for money than that.

Next for me is a book I have been looking forward to for a few weeks now (since I first heard about it) - Protector (Anniversary of the Veil book1) by another first time author - Vanna Smythe. More on that when I post my review, probably later this week.

Monday 5 March 2012

Nightingale by David Farland

I really enjoyed this book. Didn't think I would at first (it sounded a bit "Twilight meets Glee") but on starting it I was, thankfully proved wrong.
The action starts from the get-go and never really lets up till the very last word.
The "Nightingale" of the title is Bron, a 16 year old in care after being abandoned as a baby. He is moved from home to home never really settling. On being moved on from his latest home, he is passed into the care of Olivia who finds that, like herself, Bron is a member of a race of people with special powers who are the next step up the genetic ladder from humans (Super-humans if you like).
There are two types of these "super-humans", one good, one bad and the bad guys want Bron on their side and will stop at nothing to achieve their goals.
The ideas Mr Farland has here are very clever and the story-telling is top notch. I believe there are 3 more books after this in he series and I for one will be waiting eagerly for the next one.
Highly recommended

(Also - I think this would make a brilliant film or tv show - just saying!)