On Vacation

21 Jul

Will be in London for the next couple of weeks, so no blog posts from me during that time.

Behave yourselves and I’ll be back, hopefully with some adventures to relate, in the middle of August.

Love ya all.

Lady MacBeth’s Daughter

19 Jul

“Lady MacBeth’s Daughter” by Lisa M. Klein is a delightful book that takes an unusual look at Shakespeare’s famous tragedy.

While the viewpoint does switch, the story is mostly told from the viewpoint of Albia, the daughter of MacBeth and his wife, who was abandoned at birth and raised by three weird sisters.

It’s marketed as a young adult romance, but don’t let that stop you for several reasons.

It’s a damn good story.  Well told and absorbing.

The romance isn’t overplayed.  It’s young love (Albia and Fleance), but not in that nauseating way that adults seem to usually view teenagers in the first flush of love.  In all honesty it is more of a female perspective quest narrative than a romance.  Love drives the quest, but then that is usual of most quest narratives anyway.

The story, like any good quest, has a sprinkling of myth and magic to season it.  In this case it’s Celtic.

Highly recommended.

Dwarves in Space 2: Family Matters

10 Jul

First off I’ll let it be known that I was gifted a copy of the book by the author, S. E. Zbasnik, in exchange for an honest review.

Imagine, if you can, a world created by collaboration between Douglas Adams and J. R. R. Tolkien.  If you can manage that, then you’ve at least got a bit of a handle on the Dwarves in Space series.

“Family Matters” is the second book in the series and carries on from the first book.  This one explores Variel’s background a little more when her husband turns up basically demanding money with menaces (or, in this case, lawyers, it all amounts to the same thing).

The plot twists and turns as Variel tries to find a way to bury her past, and this time have it stay buried.

Fast paced, quirky, and at times laugh out loud funny.

Highly recommended.

The Mammoth Book of the Adventures of Moriarty

3 Jul

An excellent book of short stories involving Sherlock Holmes arch enemy Professor James Moriarty, edited by Maxim Jakubowski.

Some stories also feature Colonel Sebastian Moran, Sherlock Holmes, John Watson, and Mycroft Holmes.

Some stories propose a reversal of canon where it is Moriarty who survives the Reichenbach Falls.  Moriarty as a child, as a young man, as a very old man.  The possibilities are endless, and also entertaining.

Unusually for an anthology, the story quality was high through out.

My favourite stories were by:
Priscilla Masters
Keith Moray
David Stuart Davies

All in all an excellent anthology.  Highly recommended.

The Adventure of the Colonial Boy

27 Jun

By now I’m sure everyone has realised that I read a lot of Sherlock Holmes pastiches.  Some are good, some are mediocre, and some are downright terrible.  Occasionally you get one that is bloody brilliant.

“The Adventure of the Colonial Boy” by Narrelle M. Harris is bloody brilliant!

Mourning both the death of Sherlock Holmes at the Reichenbach Falls, and the death of his wife Mary in childbirth, John Watson is shocked and angered to get a telegram purporting to be from Sherlock himself.  After a meeting with Mycroft Holmes, Watson finds himself bound for Melbourne, Australia, to help Sherlock Holmes track down Colonel Sebastian Moran.

The book is a wonderful adventure and crime story.  Published by the romance/erotica specialist Sherlock Holmes imprint Improbable Press, “The Adventure of the Colonial Boy” is also a romance.  So if two men loving each other is not for you, then do not read.  But if you chose not to read it, you will be denying yourself a truly fantastic reading experience.

Highly recommended.

Bloodline

21 Jun

Raymond Garvey was a serial killer, now deceased.  Someone, however, has started killing the children of Garvey’s victims.  Tom Thorne is racing against the clock to find all of the offspring and get them into safe custody before the killer can reach them.  But will he succeed?

“Bloodline” is one of Mark Billingham’s best works.  Well plotted, well written, and a massively enjoyable read.

The shocks keep coming.  You barely have time to draw breath before you’re broadsided again!  And the twist towards the end is a doozy.

Mark Billingham is one of the best crime/thriller writers around today, and “Bloodline” is one of his best books.

Cannot recommend highly enough.

Piece of My Heart

16 Jun

“Piece of my Heart” by Peter Robinson is an excellent DCI Alan Banks novel.

This one swings between a murder in 1969 and one in about 2006.  In 1969 a young woman is found murdered in the aftermath of a music festival.  In 2006 a male music journalist is founded murdered in a Yorkshire holiday cottage.  Slowly, the threads of the two murders, separated by nearly four decades, begin to twine together.

The past and present are carefully separated in the book, not always as clearly as they could’ve been.  However, it isn’t too hard to keep track of the time strands.

The most interesting juxtaposition is that between the policing methods of the late 1960s and those of the 21st century.  The contrast weaves an interesting spell through the book.

Not the greatest Alan Banks novel by far, but an absorbing and delightful read.

Highly recommended.

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