Thursday, 24 December 2015

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

The Goldfinch 

by Donna Tartt

Rating: 4 Star

Donna Tartt was working on The Goldfinch for over a decade and this time invested into the novel really comes through during the reading. The long writing process explains the 800+ pages too, this definitely isn't a 'quick' or indeed 'light' read.

As soon as you start the novel, you you immediately feel both the complexity and depth of the world that she creates through Theodore Decker's eyes. The characters, locations, and even dialects of the main protagonists are all very richly described.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

The Advent of Murder: A Faith Morgan Mystery by Martha Ockley

The Advent of Murder: A Faith Morgan Mystery 

By Martha Ockley

Rating: 4 star

The Advent of Murder is number 2 in a series of books focusing on Faith Morgan, a former police officer who has become the Vicar in the quaint English village of "Little Worthy", a fictional village near Winchester in Hampshire.

Despite Faith's change of profession, the skills she developed in her former career soon prove useful when Lucas Bagshaw, a member of Faith's choir, is found dead.

Monday, 30 November 2015

ON by Jon Puckridge

ON review: Jon Puckridge

Rating: 3 Star

I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

On explores a dystopian future where all of humanity is connected via sub dermal implants into the 'One Network' or 'ON'.

Saturday, 31 October 2015

The Eye of Shiva review: Alex Lukeman

The Eye of Shiva

by Alex Lukeman

Rating: 4 Star

"The Eye of Shiva" is number 8 of a series of books focusing on a secret US anti-terrorist team called "The Project" by Alex Lukeman.

The story begins with a raid on a terrorist camp in the Philippines where an ancient gold coin is found. From there, the plot rapidly expands before focusing on a plot to start a nuclear war between India and Pakistan.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Hunter: Mercedes Lackey book review


by Mercedes Lackey

Rating: 3 Star

I received an advanced copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wow, the reviews on this book all seem to come down firmly in either the love or hate category. After careful consideration, I'm somewhere in the middle with my 3 star rating.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

The Shadow Artist: James Grayson book review

The Shadow Artist 

by James Grayson

Rating: 3.5 Star

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This novel stars Alex Winter, an experienced CIA operative with an amazing ability to draw photo-realistic pictures from memory.

One day on assignment in London Alex sees the last person on earth she would ever expect. Right there in front of her eyes (just before he jumps into the Thames) is her father who she has believed dead for over 20 years. 

Following on from this revelation Alex finds herself pitched into a complicated international conspiracy against a classic "bond type" villain who is intent on causing havoc in the international currency markets.

"The Shadow Artist" is a fast-moving spy thriller with some well-written characters, dramatic plot turns, and a fast pace. Alex is a great central character, who is well described and has a lot of back story. I look forward to reading more in the series.

Please note: I know that a lot of Spy Thrillers are popular with young adults. This story contained quite a lot of well-written and highly descriptive fight scenes and one particularly tough torture scene. Caution advised before reading from that perspective.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Passenger 19: Ward Larsen book review

Passenger 19

by Ward Larsen

Rating: 4 Star

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

NTSB investigator and former pilot Jammer Davis is faced with the toughest assignment of his life when he is asked to investigate the disappearance of a passenger airliner over dense jungle in Colombia which was also carrying his daughter.

We follow widower Davis through the plot at breakneck speed as he rushes to Colombia to find his daughter and solve the mystery behind the crash.

If you liked the Taken movies you'll certainly enjoy this action-packed thriller. Jammer is a determined character who will stop at nothing to find his daughter.

He pushes and shoves his way through anything or anyone slowing down his search, and despite some of the scenes pushing my willing suspension of disbelief a little bit, it was a great read that I zoomed through really quickly.

A trained aircraft investigator himself, Larsen adds a lot of detail about the air crash investigation into this novel and also describes the jungle areas of Colombia in a lot of detail. This novel might also appeal to anyone who likes Tom Clancy's style novel of fact & fiction combined within a story.

Authors website: Ward Larsen

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Witches Protection Program: Michael Phillip Cash review

Witches Protection Program

by Michael Phillip Cash

Rating: 3 Star

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Wes Rockville is a cop working for the NYPD who is unexpectedly transferred to a 232 year old division that no-one has heard of.

This division of the NYPD is the Witches Protection Program, tasked with protecting the good witches or 'Davina' of the world from the evil witches or 'Willa'.

Unbeknownst to the people of New York, this department keeps the good witches form the bad, and also protects the people from New York from their evil plots.

Shortly after transferring into the department, Wes along with Alastaire Verne begins an investigation into a Willa plot that threatens the whole world and has Bernadette Pendragon as the central villain of the plot. During this investigation Wes meets Morgan, a good witch and niece to Bernadette Pendragon, and with her help races against time to stop her evil Aunt Bernadette.

This was a well-written and fast-paced novel. Michael Phillip Cash has excellently blended modern elements (characters using Uber to get around the city) with the mystical (broomsticks, potions, and magic mirrors) in present day New York. 

Monday, 3 August 2015

The Girl on the Train: Paula Hawkins Review

The Girl on the Train

by Paula Hawkins

Rating: 3 Star

Rachel, like thousands of other commuters squeezes into a train each day on its way into London. Just like everyone else, Rachel uses the time to think about the other people around her and the lives she is watching out of the window as the train passes by.

Rachel regularly pays particular attention to one couple who she imagines are leading the "perfect life". After many observations, Rachel has even named them Jesse and Jason. When Rachel learns that the woman she calls Jesse has unexplicably disappeared, she feels compelled to get involved and we follow her on the investigation into this unknown couple's life.

This was an interesting book for me to read because each character is quite negative in nature and that almost led me to stop reading it completely. The main protaganist is a depressed alcoholic, the "perfect couple" turn out to have several deep-seated issues, and even Rachel's supposed friends will have you gripping the book tightly wishing you could give them a piece of your mind.

The story moves very slowly to start, building up a sense of anticipation, but once the investigation into Jesse (real name Megan) begins in earnest it becomes a real page turning thriller.

I am glad that I persisted with this book though, because by the end of the novel I had completely changed my planned rating for it.

I realised that the strong reactions I was having to the characters must mean that a) they were believable and b) that I was engaged into the writer's world.

An engrossing thriller and an acute observation of some very messed up lives.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Dead Drop: Jesse Miles Review

Dead Drop

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Dead Drop is the first novel from Jesse Miles and as is a very fast paced Mystery/Thriller novel. I rated it 4 Stars.

Jack Salvo is a Los-Angeles based private investigator who also teaches part time at a local college as a Professor of Philosophy. This combination gives his character in the novel quite a unique outlook on life and I really liked him as a character. His investigations actually seemed realistic

Shortly into the novel Jack is hired by an Aerospace company to start investigating a case of suspected embezzlement. Jack finds the first culprit very quickly and thinks that the case is all wrapped up before he discovers evidence of a far greater-reaching mystery lurking underneath the surface.

From there on, the plot quickly increases in pace and scope as Jack works through each layer of the case with the assistance of Lilith Lin, a security expert at the Aerospace company. Soon Jack and Lilith find themselves wrapped up in an international conspiracy with their own lives at stake.

Dead Drop was a great fast moving plot with good dialogue and very detailed descriptions of Los Angeles. I look forward to reading more of Jesse Miles' work.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Life or Death: Michael Robotham Review

Life or Death

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

The story starts with a compelling question:

Why would convicted robber (Audie Palmer), suddenly choose to escape prison after 10 years of confinement, one day before he's due to be released?

So begins the exploration of Audie Palmer's background and the history behind the $7 million dollar robbery that sent him to jail and killed 3 others.

As Michael Robotham develops the story via a richly described series of flashbacks told from individual character perspectives we learn that there is much more at stake than the robbery haul. Audie is keeping a promise that he made 10 years ago and now time, and the odds of success, both seem to be against him.

This story flows at a very fast pace and has enough twists to make you want to read further at the end of each chapter. I really liked Audie Palmer's character in this story and the other main protagonists; Sheriff Ryan Valdez, FBI Agent Desiree Furness, and fellow prisoner Moss Webster. 

I have seen several comparisons made to the Shawshank Redemption in other reviews due to the friendship between Audie and Moss in prison and if you liked that or other novels of that genre then I would definitely recommend this.

Life or Death was an excellent read, and it warranted a very rare 5 out of 5 rating from me, I simply couldn't put this novel down and finished it within a few days.

To learn more about Michael Robotham visit his web page here:

Saturday, 6 June 2015

The Final Minute: Simon Kernick Review

The Final Minute

I received a copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This is a fast paced action thriller, with a high body count and an intriguing plotline.

The main character Matt Barron has amnesia and we follow him as he races against time trying to restore his memory so that he can piece his life back together. Matt's efforts to do this are hampered by the fact that several thugs and hitmen keep kidnapping and then torturing him to find out "where the bodies are".

Without any memory of his friends or family, Matt's only hope is to convince a private detective called Tina Boyd to help him and both expose the people who are after him and help get his life back.

I didn't realise when I started reading this novel that it was part of a series. I would recommend reading Simon Kernick's earlier books if possible before getting to this one as I think it would help to undestand the character's actions better.

However, I really enjoyed following the fast paced novel of this story and look forward to reading more of Simon Kernick's work.

Friday, 15 May 2015

The Devil Will Come: Glenn Cooper - Review

The Devil Will Come 

This is the second Glenn Cooper novel that I've read and I have really enjoyed them both.

"The Devil Will Come" is an archaeological and religious thriller which pits the Church against a secretive organisation known as the "Lemures" who are intent on its destruction. 

When the current pope dies and the Vatican begins the process of appointing a new Pontif, the Lemures set in motion an evil plan to fulfil an ancient prophecy and destory their arch enemy once and for all.

Given that the novel is set largely in Rome and the Vatican, and that the main character Elizabetta Celestino is a Nun, the theme of religion does flow throughout the plot, but this is first and foremost a thriller set within a religious context.

I liked the main character Elizabetta Celestino and thought she was a well rounded and strong character. Elizabetta, a former archaeology student turned Nun who uses her skills as a scientist and her access to the Vatican archives to expose the Lemures conspiracy before it is too late.

Glenn Cooper has weaved together a conspiracy that spans centuries in this novel. If you enjoyed Dan Brown's "Robert Langdon" novels or similar works then I'd definitely recommend this.

I obtained a preview version of this novel for review via in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

The Glittering World: Robert Levy - Review

The Glittering World

I just wanted to share my review of this novel by Robert Levy. I'd really recommend it if you like fantasy authors such as Neil Gaiman or Terry Brooks.

The Glittering World novel starts with a group of friends Michael Whitley (Blue), Elisa, Jason and Gabe visiting the Starling Cove Friendship Colony in Canada to visit a house that Blue's recently deceased Grandmother bequeathed him.

 As we get to know each of the characters we find out that Blue's upbringing in the Starling Cove Friendship Colony has some startling secrets to reveal. As we learn more about the character's history, and the history of the cove, Robert Levy introduces us to a richly described fantasy world that promises to answer some of the questions regarding Blue's past. Some reviewers mentioned that they disliked the structure of this novel - (each main section is told from a specific character's viewpoint) but I thought it worked really well.

If you have a favourite character though it does mean that you have to wait a bit to hear from them. I really enjoyed The Glittering World by Robert Levy and look forward to future works from him.

I rated this novel 4 out of 5. Many thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review. As always, my opinions are my own.

Glittering World on Amazon:

Glittering World on Goodreads:

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Great Zoo of China: Matthew Reilly - Review

Great Zoo of China

Public review posted for Great Zoo of China on Amazon:

I rated this book as 4 Stars

After years of secret research, top reptile expert Dr Cassandra Jane Cameron "CJ" and her brother Hamish, along with selected other VIP guests, are invited by the Chinese Government to witness the grand unveiling of "The Great Zoo of China" - which turns out to actually be the "The Great Dragon Zoo of China".

Things all start well during the tour. The Chinese have constructed an amazing purpose built home to show the dragons off to the world, but things soon go awry (as you may likely have anticipated), and it's down to CJ and company, (but mainly CJ) to save the day.

This novel is action-packed throughout. I finished it in a couple of days.

I was really impressed by the level of detail and planning that Matthew Reilly puts into the story. The book is complete with detailed schematics and layouts that are relevant for each chapter and the description of the various Dragon clans/species is vivid and detailed.

This is firmly an action-genre novel so don't expect huge amounts of characterisation or plot-twisting surprises.

I'd also recommend putting your "suspension of disbelief" setting up to the maximum, otherwise it might interrupt your enjoyment of the story. For me, one description of a 747-sized Dragon throwing a building at its captor stretched my imagination right to the limit. However, I moved on through that and still really enjoyed the story.

An enjoyable, fast paced action novel.

I received a free advanced reader copy of this book from the Publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.