Monday, August 31, 2015

Short Review: A PRINCESS OF MARS by Edgar Rice Burroughs

A Princess of Mars (Barsoom, #1)From the back of the book
1866 Arizona, Confederate officer John Carter, Gentleman of Virginia, forever aged 30, wakes naked on Mars. Low gravity increases his speed and strength exponentially, so he impresses green alien Thark captors with fighting, wins high rank. He frees Dejah Thoris, Princess of red men in Helium, only to lose her to the Prince of opposing red Zodanga.

My Review
A PRINCESS OF MARS, whilst being a pulp science fiction classic borrows heavily from western fiction (the wild west adventure stories) and is somewhat spoiled by a pompous protagonist who can master any task he puts his mind to. 

Luckily, the comic book thematic feel and off beat nature of the narrative redeems the story and keeps things a little tongue in cheek rather than hardcore science fiction (which it could have been, had the author wanted to world build and over-complicate what was a pretty entertaining story). 

A PRINCESS OF MARS wasn't as good as I thought it would be but I still enjoyed it enough to want to read book 2. This time knowing what to expect from John Carter is likely to alter my expectation and enhance the reading experience. 

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey. In order to get some consistency to my posting I thought I’d jump on board this great idea. As a self-proclaimed bookaholic, I love talking about my books and finding out what others are reading.

Last week I posted the following reviews:

KING OF THE BASTARDS by Brian Keene (pulp fantasy)

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC BY V.E. Schwab (fantasy)

PROPHECY'S RUIN by Sam Bowring (fantasy)

Here's what I'm reading this week, just the one book but it's a good one:

Hellhole Inferno

HELLHOLE INFERNO by Kevin J. Anderson and Brian Herbert (book #3 in the Hellhole trilogy - really liked the first two and so far this one delivers. A little low on action but high on character scheming and epic world building).

After the events of Hellhole Awakening, the people of Hellhole and the shadow-Xayans scramble to rally against the threat from the still-living rogue Xayans. Back on Sonjeera, the Monarchy is in an uproar after their surprising defeat and the breakaway of the Deep Zone planets. The dowager Queen decides to go to Hellhole on a diplomatic mission, hoping to keep her power. But after touring Hellhole, Queen Michella is shaken, and begins to realize that she can never have the old Monarchy back. 

Before the Queen can return to Sonjeera, she's captured by the rogue Xayans and learns the reason for their attack: the orthodox Xayans had developed their minds to the point where they could evolve and, in so doing, trigger another Big Bang, wiping out everything. 

The rogue Xayans thought they succeeded in stopping the ascension, but the orthodox Xayans on Hellhole are nearly ready. Now, twenty-two huge asteroids from the outer reaches of the solar system are bearing towards Hellhole, summoned by the rogue sect as a last resort. Can all these lives and the planet itself be saved?

Friday, August 28, 2015

Friday Finds (28 August 2015)


Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading where you share the book titles you discovered or heard about during the past week. These can be books you were told about, books you discovered while browsing blogs/bookstores (physical or online), or books that you actually purchased. I think this is a great idea and a way to share my enthusiasm of discovering new books.

Much like last week, this weeks Friday Finds is all about fantasy, sci-fi - new surreal reads that I can't wait to delve into.

Aurora: Eden (Aurora, #5)AURORA: EDEN (Aurora #5) by Amanda Bridgeman (many thanks to Momentum for the review copy! The fifth installment in the popular sci-fi series is due 10 Sept.)

In the wake of the tragic events in Centralis, Captain Saul Harris stands with the weight of the world on his shoulders. With the truth of UNFASP revealed, he realizes that he must embrace his ancestry if he is to survive the coming onslaught. But how far will Harris go to protect the future? Will he sacrifice life as he knows it and become a Jumbo? Or can he face the future as a common man?

Meanwhile Sergeant Carrie Welles has been left devastated by what has happened. Uncertain of the future ahead, and with her nemesis, Sharley, on the brink of control, she struggles to pick herself up. But she is left surprised when help comes from the unlikeliest of places.

As her life veers off in a direction she never expected, Carrie soon understands that she is running a course with a destiny that lies far beyond her control. A destiny that is strangely aligned with her Captain’s.


A Crucible of Souls (Sorcery Ascendant Sequence #1)A CRUCIBLE OF SOULS (Sorcery Ascendant Sequence #1) by Mitchell Hogan (many thanks to Harper Voyager for the review copy! This book has been around a while as an ebook and it looks great in print! Due to be published in September)

When Caldan’s parents are brutally slain, he is raised by monks and taught the arcane mysteries of sorcery.

Vowing to discover for himself who his parents really were, and what led to their violent end, he is thrust into the unfamiliar chaos of city life. With nothing to his name but a pair of mysterious heirlooms and a handful of coins, he must prove his talent to earn an apprenticeship with a guild of sorcerers.

But he soon learns the world outside the monastery is a darker place than he ever imagined, and his treasured sorcery has disturbing depths.

As a shadowed evil manipulates the unwary and forbidden powers are unleashed, Caldan is plunged into an age-old conflict that brings the world to the edge of destruction. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Review: KING OF THE BASTARDS by Brian Keene

King of the BastardsSwords, sorcery, swashbuckling, and plenty of violence - KING OF BASTARDS by Brian Keene reads like a golden era fantasy pulp pumped up on pulse pounding intoxicants. 

Brutality articulated battle scenes punctuate a provocative narrative that truly enhances the bastardy aspects of lead character Rogan as he traverses the wild seas and dangerous wilderness on his way to forging a legend built on bloody lore. 

Adopting a storytelling approach, insomuch that the events of KING OF THE BASTARDS have already taken place and are being retold to eager listeners whilst hinting at a preconceived outcome it doesn't give up the game - we don't know if Rogan lives or dies through this entertaining adventure, only that someone of his reunite survives to hand down the story which keeps the mystery alive (a lot longer than Rogan's foes!).

Think Red Sonja but more violent and you've got a good idea as to what to expect from reading KING OF THE BASTARDS. I couldn't read it quick enough, fingers crossed we get a chance to read more of Rogan and his widespread adventures and bloody conquests. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review: A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1)A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC is an inter-dimensional traveler story that, to an extent, captures the essence of China Mieville's THE CITY & THE CITY and is written in a style not dissimilar to Brent Weeks' the Night Angel Trilogy - fast paced and easily consumable.

The core fantastical element is the use of multiple London's which can be accessed by a scant few who have the ability to travel between worlds. These few, Kell notably are found of taking trinkets as personal hobby or to be used as currency in trade from London to London; though. each time something is taken from one world to another the fabric of peace is threatened - the evil magic of black London is an omnipresent threat that, with the help of a couple of ruthless power-hungry royals looks to break the pattern of peace and establish a new world order.   

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC reads like a Young Adult novel early on, only to get progressively darker as the story unfolds. The characters (Holland, Kell, Lila) are as multidimensional as the London's they traverse with each London having as a unique feel to it that separates them from their namesake be it the language, inhabitants mannerisms or easy / rare use of magic. 

The atmospheric London's are a place the author makes the reader want to visit over and over again. Where danger lurks so do interesting and limitless surreal stories. A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC provides a mere glimpse into the potential of these interesting places and I, for one, can't wait to get lost in that magic once more! 

A Gathering of Shadows FinalMany thanks to New South Books and Titan for the review copy of A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC! 

The second book in the series A GATHERING OF SHADOWS is scheduled for a February 2016 release.

Read more about A GATHERING OF SHADOWS here from Victoria (V.E.) Schwab's blog

Links to publisher websites:

Titan Books

New South Books

Monday, August 24, 2015

Back in the land of fantasy: PROPHECY'S RUIN by Sam Bowring

Prophecy's Ruin by Sam BowringIt started with a brutal battle of magic and wit between mage Elessa and undead soul Fazal over the right to claim the blue haired boy who’d lead them to victory and shape their sides’ destiny. Corlas – the father could do nothing but watch as his newborn’s soul was torn in two by the Gods will through lightning strike leaving each of Kainordas (light) and Fenvarrow (dark) a powerful future leader. 

Whilst more bloodthirsty than not, PROPHECY'S RUIN did have a healthy dose of humor to soften the violence. 

The two factions at war were given equal time to tell their side of the story through their respective heroes (Bel and Losara) raising questions over who is good and who is evil. Unlike traditional fantasy, the sides weren't so easily defined. 

Of the more memorable moments (of which there are many) the battle in the forest of Drel stands out, I could almost smell the blood dripping off the pages and was filled with a sense of dread with each combatant felled or wounded. 

Destiny's Rift (Broken Well, #2)
PROPHECY'S RUIN was a great start to what I’m sure is a highly entertaining Broken Well Trilogy with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. 

*This review first appeared on my Goodreads profile. Re-posted on my blog for the purpose of revisiting the series. I plan to read the second book in the series DESTINY'S RIFT soon. 

Read more of DESTINY'S RIFT - book 2 in the Broken Well series HERE. 

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey. In order to get some consistency to my posting I thought I’d jump on board this great idea. As a self-proclaimed bookaholic, I love talking about my books and finding out what others are reading.

Last week I posted the following reviews:


LOST BOI by Sassafras Lowrey (A retelling of Peter Pan)

THOSE WE LEFT BEHIND by Stuart Neville (emotionally charged crime fiction)

CATCH ME WHEN I FALL by Nicci French (a book that reads as a 2 in 1 such is the different character focus)

Here's my fantasy themed reads for the week (continuing from my recent Friday Finds post):

King of the BastardsKING OF THE BASTARDS by Brian Keene

Part sword and sorcery, part extreme horror, King of the Bastards is wild adventure across seas, beaches, and mountains full of horrifying monstrosities, dark magic, and demonic entities. 

Rogan has been many things in his life as an adventurer — a barbarian, a thief, a buccaneer, a rogue, a lover, a reaver, and most recently, a king. Now, this prehistoric bane of wizards and tyrants finds himself without a kingdom, lost in a terrifying new world, and fighting for his life against pirates, zombies, and the demonic entity known as Meeble. And even if he defeats his foes, Rogan must still find a way to return home, regain his throne, save his loved ones, and remind everyone why he's the KING OF THE BASTARDS. 


A Princess of Mars (Barsoom, #1)THE PRINCESS OF MARS by Edgar Rice Burroughs

1866 Arizona, Confederate officer John Carter, Gentleman of Virginia, forever aged 30, wakes naked on Mars. Low gravity increases his speed and strength exponentially, so he impresses green alien Thark captors with fighting, wins high rank. He frees Dejah Thoris, Princess of red men in Helium, only to lose her to the Prince of opposing red Zodanga.

Review: LOST BOI by Sassafras Lowrey

Lost BoiPeter Pan re-imaged, his story revised and lavished in overt sexual themes and street life struggles, yet this distinct and dastardly different story manages to remain loyal to the source material. 

Reader warning - there is a clear distinction between the popular children's tale Pan and LOST BOI - author Sassafras Lowrey's book is decidedly adult, replacing motherly affection with fantasy role-play and fairies with pigeons among other switches that emphasize the sexual connotations of the original in full frontal adult narrative. 

LOST BOI is a clever retelling of the classic tale. Taking every element of the well known lost boy and Neverland and transposing it into a dirty street grime tale of lost souls who only want to feel needed and loved. This results in an interesting page turner that, while won't appeal to all, will tick all the boxes for originality and entertaining storytelling. 

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Finds - Fantasy Themed Acquisitions (21 August 2015)


Friday Finds is a weekly meme hosted by Should Be Reading where you share the book titles you discovered or heard about during the past week. These can be books you were told about, books you discovered while browsing blogs/bookstores (physical or online), or books that you actually purchased. I think this is a great idea and a way to share my enthusiasm of discovering new books.

It's been a while since I posted a Friday Finds blog entry (though I have acquired books!) so to kick-start what I hope will be a regular return to this series is a fantasy/Sci-Fi themed look at some of the newer additions to my personal library: 


King of the BastardsKING OF THE BASTARDS by Brian Keene (published by Apex Publications - many thanks for the review copy! This novella looks to tick all the right boxes for me, it's pulpy, quick, and works well with my current read THE PRINCESS OF MARS)

Part sword and sorcery, part extreme horror, King of the Bastards is wild adventure across seas, beaches, and mountains full of horrifying monstrosities, dark magic, and demonic entities. 

Rogan has been many things in his life as an adventurer — a barbarian, a thief, a buccaneer, a rogue, a lover, a reaver, and most recently, a king. Now, this prehistoric bane of wizards and tyrants finds himself without a kingdom, lost in a terrifying new world, and fighting for his life against pirates, zombies, and the demonic entity known as Meeble. And even if he defeats his foes, Rogan must still find a way to return home, regain his throne, save his loved ones, and remind everyone why he's the KING OF THE BASTARDS. 


Red CountryRED COUNTRY by Joe Abercrombie (Recently nabbed this off a bargain bin shelf at a local bookstore. It's a lovely hardcover edition that I'm sure reads as good as it looks. Interestingly enough, RED COUNTRY will be my first read by Joe Abercrombie, this despite owning several of his books)

Shy South comes home to her farm to find a blackened shell, her brother and sister stolen, and knows she'll have to go back to bad old ways if she's ever to see them again. She sets off in pursuit with only her cowardly old step-father Lamb for company. But it turns out he's hiding a bloody past of his own. None bloodier.

Their journey will take them across the lawless plains, to a frontier town gripped by gold fever, through feuds, duels, and massacres, high into unmapped mountains to a reckoning with ancient enemies, and force them into alliance with Nicomo Cosca, infamous soldier of fortune, a man no one should ever have to trust.


Leviathan Wakes (Expanse, #1)LEVIATHAN WAKES by James S.A. Corey (I've been hearing a lot about this series lately and decided to take the plunge and get hold of the first volume, another book that's high on the tbr pile!)

Humanity has colonized the solar system - Mars, the Moon, the Asteroid Belt and beyond - but the stars are still out of our reach.

Jim Holden is XO of an ice miner making runs from the rings of Saturn to the mining stations of the Belt. When he and his crew stumble upon a derelict ship, "The Scopuli," they find themselves in possession of a secret they never wanted. A secret that someone is willing to kill for - and kill on a scale unfathomable to Jim and his crew. War is brewing in the system unless he can find out who left the ship and why.

Detective Miller is looking for a girl. One girl in a system of billions, but her parents have money and money talks. When the trail leads him to "The Scopuli" and rebel sympathizer Holden, he realizes that this girl may be the key to everything.

Holden and Miller must thread the needle between the Earth government, the Outer Planet revolutionaries, and secretive corporations - and the odds are against them. But out in the Belt, the rules are different, and one small ship can change the fate of the universe.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Review: THOSE WE LEFT BEHIND by Stuart Neville

Those We Left Behind (DCI Serena Flanagan 1)THOSE WE LEFT BEHIND is more than a crime novel. It's an emotionally charged story that takes brotherly love to another level while focusing on the manipulative ways of the murderous and the malleable alike. 

A murder separated them and time reunited them. Yet the bone chilling incident that set them on their separate ways continues to haunt the brothers, who, at a young age, were forced into foster care and into the hands of a young couple with a child of their own. For the father, taking the brothers in would ultimately result in his death. As to which brother is responsible - that's a secret that gradually unfolds as the book progresses. Fair warning, author Stuart Neville doesn't let this cat out of the bag easily, I constantly found myself switching between the brother I thought responsible despite there being an early conviction though it was clear, things weren't quite what they seemed to be.

The series protagonist DCI Flanagan is caught in the middle having sided with one of the brothers during the initial murder investigation - being seen as a sympathetic shoulder to lean on, only to find herself and her family in grave danger in the present day setting. I liked the way Neville infused some personal identity to the professional role Flanagan has in the book to make the character feel more three dimensional and complex with plenty of threads to explore in subsequent series installments. 

THOSE WE LEFT BEHIND is a fast read that engulfs the reader in a closed case murder where there was meant to be little mystery, only for it to become paramount to proceedings. Different from Nevillie's other books but still the same quality. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

Returning to the scene of the crime: CATCH ME WHEN I FALL by Nicci French

Catch Me When I FallFrom the back of the book
A successful, happily married businesswoman, Holly Krauss is loved and admired by everyone she meets. But that's only one side of Holly: the other takes regular walks on the wild side. When the two sides of Holly's life collide, her world spirals out of control . . .

My review
Readers of this blog will know that I enjoy rereading my favorite and not so favorite books (see my recent post on rereading HERE). CATCH ME WHEN I FALL is one of those books that I really enjoyed the first part of yet failed to connect with the secondary story post the train wreck that is Holly Krauss and her spontaneous/care free/high risk life as the authors switch perspective to the relatively safe and, do I dare say, boring Meg, Holly's best friend and business partner. That was then - my first time reading, back in 2008. Fast forward 7 years and I viewed this book quite differently. 

Inspired to read a novel that showed the reader multiple perspectives, be it either points of view, different timelines, or different stories weaved together to form a broad single narrative after having read PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME HERE, the new Aussie crime novel by Tania Chandler, CATCH ME WHEN I FALL fit the bill, though I didn't delve in without some apprehension. 

I recall really liking the first half of this novel only to be let down by the drab second stanza. Not the case this time around. The book reads as if you're swimming through thick water with eyes open - vision completely distorted and unreliable, much like the central character Holly, only to break the surface and see things more clearly - as in the second half of the novel where the more reliable Meg is written as the character lead, filling in gaps and semi sleuthing her way to the truth. 

CATCH ME WHEN I FALL is an enjoyable novel that gives the reader a little extra by way of showcasing multiple perspectives and casting a consent doubt over the seemingly straight forward criminal aspects to the novel. 

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey. In order to get some consistency to my posting I thought I’d jump on board this great idea. As a self-proclaimed bookaholic, I love talking about my books and finding out what others are reading.

Last week I posted the following reviews:


PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME HERE by Tania Chandler (a multifaceted crime fiction set in Melbourne, Australia)

SPEAKING IN BONES by Kathy Reichs (a return to form for Riechs and her evergreen protagonist Temperance Brennan)

Here's what I'm reading (or have just finished reading this week)

Catch Me When I FallCATCH ME WHEN I FALL by Nicci French (continuing my recent streak of re-reads I thought the timing was right for this one - just finished and enjoyed is much better the second time around. Will post a review shortly).

A successful, happily married businesswoman, Holly Krauss is loved and admired by everyone she meets. But that's only one side of Holly: the other takes regular walks on the wild side. When the two sides of Holly's life collide, her world spirals out of control . . .

A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC by V.E. Schwab (switching things up from crime fiction to fantasy this week. This new release from New South Books / Titan makes for a good transition.) 

A Darker Shade of Magic (A Darker Shade of Magic, #1)Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit. 

Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London - but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her 'proper adventure'.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive — trickier than they hoped. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Review: SPEAKING IN BONES by Kathy Reichs

Speaking in Bones (Temperance Brennan, #18)The latest book in the long standing Temperance Brennan series grabbed hold of my attention immediately with a horror-like opening brimming with tension, dread and a touch of death. Whilst the momentum isn't maintained in that same pulse pounding frenetic pace for the entirety of the book, SPEAKING IN BONES is still a pretty damn good read. 

SPEAKING IN BONES takes cyber sleuthing to dangerous levels. Arm chair detectives who become the face of justice in the pursuit of finding and/or identifying missing persons are thrust into the spotlight when a unique character nicknamed Lucky Strike confronts Brennan with a terrifying voice recording of a woman seemingly held captive by two men. The recording is made all the more menacing by virtue of a probable linage to bones discovered near-by the recording in a secluded woodland. Strike sets a in motion a chain of events that brings Brennan face to face with killers and the harsh reality of her own mortality. 

Like with any 'Bones' book, there is a healthy smattering of Brennan's life outside her profession but in SPEAKING IN BONES, the down-time contributed to the plot rather than serving as a distraction or side element.  

One noticeable aspect to the book is the use of cliffhanger endings to each chapter. I really liked this approach as it made me want to keep reading and added a real sense of urgency to the cold case murder mystery. 

SPEAKING IN BONES is a great return to form for the series and one I enjoyed from beginning to end. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Review: PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME HERE by Tania Chandler

Please Don't Leave Me HerePLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME HERE is a Melbourne based Australian crime novel that goes beyond the confines of traditional crime fiction. 

Author Tania Chandler has crafted a moving tale of two distinct plot threads which ultimately converge to form a singular, broad spanning plot that at once paints a startlingly different picture of lead character Bridget from what readers are introduced to in the first half of the novel while also providing context to the murder mystery that envelops her throughout the present day passages as past events unfold. 

PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME HERE has the feeling of reading two books at once, such is the differentiation from present day Bridget as mother, wife to a cop husband, and homemaker to the more risque young, impressionable woman who uses the nightlife and her good looks to get by. It's a clever yin and yang effect that links a violent mystery to an unassuming character without compromising plausibility.  

Another element I particularly enjoyed was the use of dreams to break-up the narrative, a theme that was maintained throughout both past and present story-lines. It was interesting to see the relevance of these strange dreams come to fruition as the novel progressed; Bridget is a complicated character perfectly written by Chandler. 

PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME HERE is a highly enjoyable read that gives readers a multidimensional look at the lead character through two quite different aspects of life. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


This is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey. In order to get some consistency to my posting I thought I’d jump on board this great idea. As a self-proclaimed bookaholic, I love talking about my books and finding out what others are reading.

Last week I posted the following reviews:

PRIVATE SYDNEY by James Patterson and Kathryn Fox (a fast paced thriller in traditional Patterson style)

THE CREEPER by Tania Carver (creepy crime fiction that takes stalking to a new level)

DIVINITY by Matt Kindt (a character-centric sci-fi graphic novel that's a joy to read)

Here's my reads for this week:

PLEASE DON'T LEAVE ME HEAR by Tania Chandler (really liking the duel past and present tense of this book - two equally enjoyable sides to the interconnected plot threads)

Please Don't Leave Me HereKurt Cobain stands at the top of the stairs, wearing the brown sweater. ‘Please don’t leave me,’ she yells up at him. But it’s too late; he’s turning away as the tram slows for the stop out on the street.

Then she’s lying on the road. Car tyres are going past, slowly. Somebody is screaming. A siren howls.

Sweet voices of little children are singing ‘Morningtown Ride’.

Is Brigitte a loving wife and mother, or a cold-blooded killer?

Nobody knows why she was in the east of the city so early on the morning she was left for dead by a hit-and-run driver. It was the Friday before Christmas 1994 — the same day police discovered the body of a man beaten to death in her apartment.

Fourteen years later, Brigitte is married to the detective who investigated the murder, which she claims to have lost her memory of in the car accident. They have young twins, and seem to be a happy family. Until the reopening of the cold case.

SPEAKING IN BONES by Kathy Reichs (the new Temperance Brennan novel)

Speaking in Bones (Temperance Brennan, #18)For every case Temperence Brennance has solved, there remain innumerable unidentified bodies in her lab. Information on some of these is available online, where amateur sleuths sometimes take a stab at solving cases. One day, Tempe gets a call from Hazel “Lucky” Strike, a web sleuth who believes she’s successfully connected a body in Tempe’s lab to a missing persons report on an eighteen-year-old named Cora Teague. Since the bones in her lab do seem to match Cora’s medical records, Tempe looks into the case, returning to the spot where the bones were originally found. What seems at first to be an isolated tragedy takes on a more sinister cast as Tempe uncovers two more sets of bones nearby. When she then learns that the area is known as a viewing point for a famous unexplained light phenomenon with significance for a local cult, Tempe’s suspicious turn to murder by ritual sacrifice—a theory thrown into question when Hazel herself turns up dead. Still reeling from her mother’s diagnosis and the shock of Andrew Ryan’s potentially life-change proposal, Tempe races to solve the murders before the body count climbs further.

Friday, August 7, 2015

Review: PRIVATE SYDNEY by James Patterson and Kathryn Fox

Private SydneyPRIVATE SYDNEY is a popcorn thriller that delivers on action and mystery while providing only fleeting glimpses of characterisation.

The latest installment in the Private series sees the international private detective agency focus on its Australian branch in Sydney, where a team of well trained multidisciplinary skilled individuals look into the mysterious disappearance of a well known public figure at the head of a reputable research company.

The lead private investigator, Craig Gisto, continues to be haunted by his past while at the same time having an eye to the future with the daughter of the missing CEO firmly in his sights - if she can survive the clear and present danger which has befallen her family that is. It's an interesting dynamic that adds a little depth to the case. 

PRIVATE SYDNEY maintains that punchy pinch hitting chapter style of which James Patterson is renowned for, leaving little room to waste on inconsequential dialogue or introspective thought. Sure the character insight is surface level but the plot runs deep on enjoyment complemented with a touch of emotion.

Readers generally know what to expect in a James Patterson book and PRIVATE SYDNEY doesn't deviate from that tried and true formula. If you're looking for a fast paced thriller that can be easily consumed in a couple of sittings then this one is for you. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Bookish Thoughts: On ReReading

Alone (Detective D.D. Warren, #1)I love returning to books I've read - oddly enough, even those I didn't particularly enjoy the first time around. There is method to this madness though. I've found over my reading journey that my tastes have changed or evolved if you will. Initially I read mainstream popular crime fiction with a bit of Stephen King or Dean Koontz splattered in between for variety; basically all that was accessible to me at that time. 

LolitaNow, my reading is much more widespread and eclectic (thanks to the internet presence of authors, publishers, bloggers, and social media book sites like Goodreads) - and in recent times I've turned back to mainstream crime, in part due to the lovely arc's I get from publishers but also to revisit some books that I recall enjoying in that genre. GONE by Lisa Gardner being a prime example. 

As I mentioned, it's not just those favorites or go-to-good-reads I reread. I do like to revisit books that didn't connect with me for whatever reason the first time in order to give them another shot - this generally coincides with my reader journey and my tastes evolving over time. LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov is a prime example of this. I hated the book; couldn't stomach the topical natural and struggled with the authors' style, yet second time 'round LOLITA ended up being one of my favorite reads of that particular year (2014). 

Cold CallerThis year I'm rereading a couple of series I'm particularly fond of in the Jack Taylor books by Ken Bruen and the Frankenstein series by Dean Koontz as well as the odd book thrown in just because...like COLD CALLER by Jason Starr which I recently read and liked even more the second time around bumping my Goodreads star rating from 4 to 5. 

Rereading is an essential and enjoyable part of my reading journey - this year I've gone back to 10 of my books and plan to continue rereading at least 1 a month if not more in among the bevy of books that'll be first time reads.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Short Review: THE CREEPER by Tania Carver

The Creeper (Brennan & Esposito, #2)From the back of the book
Suzanne Perry is having a vivid nightmare. Someone is in her bedroom, touching her, and she can't move a muscle. She wakes, relieved to put the nightmare behind her, but when she opens the curtains, she sees a polaroid stuck to the window. A photo of her sleeping self, taken during the night. Her nightmare is just beginning.

My review
A thrilling whodunit mystery that pulls no punches in the creepy department. With shades of THE TREATMENT by Mo Hayder in that the antagonist lives in the attic while staking his victim, THE CREEPER adds another layer to the already uncomfortable hunter/prey theme present throughout the book. 

THE CREEPER is at times a formulaic police procedural that's punctured with clever twists and turns that heighten the suspense. The lead detective has some baggage which readers will struggle to appreciate if they haven't read the first book in the series (which I haven't) so some of that was lost on me but is by no means distracting to the core plot.

THE CREEPER is a real page turner that fans of mystery, thriller, and crime fiction will enjoy.

Monthly Reader Statistics: JULY 2015


This series of blog posts is as the title suggests; monthly statistics for the latest completed month with a year to date summary of my reading. I actually look at my reader stats every so often, more out of curiosity as opposed to using them to achieve a goal. I like to know how many of the books I've read are for review verses how many I have read just 'cos (those I purchased or borrowed) or the difference between physical books and kindle ebooks. As I don't tend to make a conscious decision to read an ebook verses a physical book or read a book given to me for review verses something from my tbr, it's just what attracts me at the time - I thought these statistics would prove a useful 'nice-to-know' and an interesting footnote in my 2015 reading journey. 

Monthly Reads (books completed reading): 11

Re-reads: 2
Review books: 3
Audio books: 0
*Just 'cos reads: 6
Kindle: 0
2015 published: 4


Year To Date Reads: 79

Re-reads: 10
Review books: 30
Audio books: 3
*Just ‘cos reads: 35
Kindle: 18
2015 published: 24

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*doesn't include re-reads/audio
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Best Reads of July:


All the Little Pieces  The Death-Defying Doctor Mirage

ALL THE LITTLE PIECES by Jillian Hoffman

THE DEATH DEFYING DOCTOR MIRAGE by Jen Van Meter