Tuesday 22 May 2012

Hounded - a review (and never judge a book by it's cover art)

First off a review of Hounded by Kevin Hearne (1st book in the Iron Druid series

Take a slice of Harry Dresden, add a pinch of Buffy/Angel, throw in some Sookie Stackhouse and you have a recipe for success.
Atticus, the 2100 year old druid (who only looks to be about 21 - don't worry, the explanation makes sense) runs a Pagan/Mysticism shop in Tempe, Arizona. He has a sword that Aenghus Og, of the Irish Pantheon wants - and he's coming to get it!
There are plenty of mystical and mythical creature in the pages of this book - Gods and Goddessess, witches, a Vampire and Werewolf legal team - and they all fit well within the story. There's always something going on but it doesn't feel rushed or overbusy. I am looking forward to reading more books in this series.

Oh, yes, and there is Oberon the Irish Wolfhound, Atticus' pet - possibly the greatest dog character ever written and an excellent comic foil at times.

NEVER judge a book by it's cover art

Up till the last few days I've never really given this old maxim much thought but then.............
Being a regular bookshop visitor I've seen the first three books in the Iron Druid series quite a few times but never bothered with them because I Really Do Not Like The Cover! If it hadn't been for accidentally reading a review of the books I may never have picked them up - and that would have been my loss. The guy on the front, who looked a bit surfer dude-ish (and no insult intended to surfer dudes!) just made me think it would be another book aimed at the twilight types (again, no insult intended, just not my "thing") so I ignored it and moved on to other things.

And this got me thinking of another plus thing for the Kindle/ e-reader, which is this;
When you pick up a book with an illustration of one of the main characters on the front, each time you see the cover a part of you may  unconciously think "this is what the lead guy or whoever looks like". Even though you may have your own idea of how they look a part of you will be guided by what the cover artist thinks they look like.
With Kindle/e-readers you only see the cover the once so the characters you see in your minds' eye as you read are more likely to be your own personal interpretation of the authors' vision.
And that for me is a massive plus point.

On a last point with Hounded (as mentioned above) the author has created, in Oberon the Irish Wolfhound one of the great animal characters in modern fiction. Kevin Hearne goes up there with Dean Koontz and Crystal Connor as one of the best authors of Dog characters around.

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Diary of a Part Time Ghost by Vered Ehsani (a review)

I was offered the chance to review the follow up to this book so thought I'd best read this one first. What follows is the review I posted on Amazon and Goodreads

Ash is disappointed when his Great Aunt, gives him an old book for his birthday - but it turns out to be more important than he'd ever expected!
This entertaining YA novel starts a series (the follow on book - Where Shadows Dance - is available now) that has a lot of promise for young and old readers alike. Ash finds he can use the book to travel, ghostlike, into the past and finds himself back around the time of the Boston Tea Party. I don't want to give anything away so I'll just say the action is more or less non-stop with a few twists along the way.
The main 'bad guy' is a nasty piece of work but also, slightly vague. I'm sure we will find out more about him in future volumes.
All in all a very solid start to a series, well written with mainly good characterisation and some clever ideas.
I will be following this series with interest.

Just a small point - although I have been offered free copies for review I generally prefer to buy them, both so I don't feel obligated to give a good review to a bad book (which I don't do - if I don't like a book doesn't mean everyone else will dislike it too - I just don't review it) and also to help support authors. That's just me though, I'd be interested to hear other opinions.

Monday 14 May 2012

Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace (a review)

Boy (Jason Priestley) meets Girl (The One?) briefly as he helps her into a taxi with her bags. As she disappears he realises he is left holding a disposable camera.
Jason's flatmate Dev convinces him the only way to find her is to get the photo's developed and hope for a clue or two. When Jason and Dev pick up the prints they find something they never expected to see..........

This first novel by Danny Wallace is a cracking read which I got through in a weekend - just because I really didn't want to put it down. At first I didn't like the lead character, Jason, but as the book went on I found myself warming to him.
 The secondary characters (Dev, Zoe - Jason's boss, Sarah - his ex girlfriend and many others) all bring their own thing to the story, while the band that feature in the book (The Kicks) deserve to be real.
 The story is full of lows and highs and even one moment that had me hoping and hoping that everything would be alright. There were also times when I felt like giving Jason a good shake but by the end of the book I felt like I was leaving friends behind.
 This is a book I feel I will come back to again and would recommend to fans of Notting Hill, One Day and the likes but also to anyone who likes a good story well told.
 The perfect holiday book.